Africa is the Sub-Sahara and the countries that located in the north part of the continent are Arab or part of the Middle East or the south of Mediterranean. so the geographical location is a confused issue and that affect the identity of African people.
I understand that the historical experience with the colonial powers ( from Europe or Arabs) was different between countries located in the north and south of the Great Sahara. then the economic and political interactions with other world countries are not similar or do not depart from the same legacy.
Based on these factors (history, economic and political conditions) many articles analyze why the peoples in the north do not introduce themselves as African or consider Africa is a significant or first container in their identity circles.
But in this globalized world with intensive interactions among every individual across the world, why we (who belong to countries located in the north part of the continent) still detach ourselves from Africa or look to other African from a tourist’s eye!!
I am thinking about another factor that shapes our belongingness to Africa..it is the pace of urbanization.
Because we are in a globalized world and due to the location on the shores of the continent, so we have easy and intensive interactions with “modernized” outsiders. Therefore, there is an expectation that other African countries have cities with facilities like the other countries across the Mediterranean sea or the Red sea.
Another layer is the perception of young people who live in the north part, they are the category of a population who are going into global intensive interactions through the internet communication. Our cognitive image to whom is not at the same level of urban status is a poor (uncivilized, lack of resources, dummy capabilities, …).
Therefore, we separate ourselves from other African countries because we do not share the similar urbanized style of life.
My friend from the Republic of Central Africa told me a situation happened in a student activity in Cairo Univerity that aims to introduce Africa to Egyptian students, the presenter depended on pictures of villages in other African countries to show them how other countries look like! here my friend stood up and said to presenter if you would like to show Africa so project villages in Egypt as well because there are not the big difference among them and when you compare cities across the continent not a city with a village!
This situation shows how urbanization can be a factor in shaping our perception to ourselves as African…
I think that the velocity of urbanization in other countries that located in the south of great Sahara can close the gap in the cognitive image between the north and the south. and it may be made Africa in the closer circle of the identity of young people who belong to the countries in the north of Great Sahara.
*the photo by Timothy kisambira and retrieved from: http://www.newtimes.co.rw/section/article/2015-01-05/184660/