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Author challenges Africa myths during first event in HSDC lecture series

October 24, 2022

Dipo with his book Africa is Not a Country

An engaging lecture from an author aiming to change perceptions of Africa provided inspiration to students, staff and community guests at HSDC Alton.

A series of lectures on geographical subjects has been introduced at the Alton Campus, with the first event hosting author and journalist Dipo Faloyin.

Geography A Level students, guests from Eggar’s School and HSDC staff headed to the Martin Read Hall on campus to learn more about Dipo’s book Africa is Not a Country, which challenges stereotypes about Africa.

Dipo, who grew up in Nigeria, shared his passion for changing perceptions of the hugely diverse continent which is mainly thought of, in his words, as “poverty and safari with no in-between”.

As well as reading extracts from his book, Dipo talked about colonialism and the 1884 Berlin Conference, slavery and how media portrayals such as Band Aid perpetuate the myths about Africa.

Dipo with two HSDC staff underneath a projection of his book

Assistant Principal Nicola Kingsley, Dipo Faloyin and teacher Izzy Wood

When talking to the young people gathered at the lecture, Dipo said:

“The aim in my work is to ensure that your generation doesn’t grow up learning those myths and projecting similar myths. 

“I’m trying to ensure that the myth that was created in 1884 doesn’t continue into the future. In small ways and big ways, every effort matters – because it was in small ways and big ways that it started.”

Students were given an opportunity to ask questions at the end of the talk, and a huge range of insightful questions were posed to Dipo.

He discussed the inspiration behind writing this book, how his career led to him becoming a senior editor at VICE and his thoughts on a variety of issues.

The series of Geo-Lectures has been arranged by Geography teacher Izzy Wood, who said: 

“The idea is to host events to serve the wider community and not just the college, so as to contribute to people’s discussion, knowledge and interest in the subject. 

“I am very passionate about inspiring students and garnering interest in a subject which can literally change how we look at people and places in the world. 

“After all, we don’t know which one of them will go on to change it in the future and how an inspirational and informative talk could spark that interest or motivation.”

Next month, author Jeremy Williams will speak about his book Climate Change is Racist during the second lecture in the series, with plans for more Geo-Lecture events throughout this academic year and beyond.

Interested in studying Geography A Level at HSDC? Visit our course finder to learn more.