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You’ve been seeing Africa all wrong. These stunning photos will fix that.

It's time we see Africa the way it wants to be seen.

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It’s hard to tell where our collective misconceptions around Africa came from.

Pictured: Not a country. Image by NASA/Wikimedia Commons.

Whether it's western privilege or something else altogether, we’ve been getting Africa wrong for a really long time. In media, movies, and TV, the western world is guilty of talking about Africa as if it is a homogenous place filled with only war, famine, disease, and large aggressive animals ready to murder. Honestly, it's become embarrassing. 


South African comedian and "The Daily Show" host Trevor Noah is here with the truth. GIF from Comedy Central.

If your understanding of Africa started and stopped with "The Lion King," here's a brief overview.

Africa — the world’s second largest continent — is home to 55 countries and a full one-seventh of the world’s population. It’s so large that if America were superimposed on top of it, the lower 48 states would only cover about one-third of the continent, about the size of the Sahara desert. 

Africa contains multitudes — dozens of languages and nationalities, climates ranging from desert to jungle. There are tiny villages and bustling metropolitan cities with infrastructure rivaling any in the developed world. Africa is modern and ancient, but mostly it’s everything in between — and this in-between is where some of the most fascinating and authentically African stories are found.

In 2012, Peter DiCampo and Austin Merrill started a Tumblr named Everyday Africa to fight back against media and cultural stereotypes of the continent.

Beryl and Peter got married in August 2014 in their hometown of Bukavu in the Democratic Republic of Congo. I remember how Beryl shared with me how Peter pursued her for many years. Both were away – she studied in South Africa and he had a job in Canada – but not a day went by without contact between them. His persistence paid of as Beryl realized what a great guy Peter is. They got married. Their wedding had several parts to it – a combination of local tradition as well as western influence. Their celebration was spread over several days. I photographed their wedding portraits around the town and we stopped by to shoot in some of the most familiar places - like in here the marketplace in Bukavu. It will soon be two years since this day and I just found out that Beryl and Peter just recently had their first child! Cheers to them and their growing family. Bukavu, South Kivu, Democratic Republic Of Congo. Photo by Jana Asenbrennerova @asenbrenenrova #drc #drcongo #africa #wedding #love #bukavu #asenbrennerova

A photo posted by Everyday Africa (@everydayafrica) on

In their experience, conventional media only talked about an Africa ravaged by disease, war, and famine. The reality they knew — through years of working and living on the continent — was very different and much more interesting.

Several times a week, Everyday Africa’s Instagram shares photos of real African life. There are people, places, art, fashion, sports, food, culture, and architecture — most of the images are captured with cellphone cameras.

Look through the stream — or its photojournalist database — long enough, and you’ll notice how familiar it all feels. People shop for groceries; they get their hair done; they skateboard, ride bikes, go to work. At a time when politicians are trying to get elected by sowing fear of immigrants and the unknown in other continents, it is refreshing and comforting to see how similar — and sometimes mundane — our daily lives really are. 

Three years later, the boundary pushing that started with Everyday Africa hasn’t stopped.

Bonteheuwel, a so-called coloured township, was created to house people of mixed descent, many of whom were victims of forced removals form areas that were declared "whites only" under the Apartheid government's Group Areas Act. Despite the fact that my parents both grew up in Bonteheuwel, today was the first time I properly learned about Ashley Kriel through watching Nadine Cloete's documentary Action Kommondant. He was a tireless political organiser during South Africa's state of emergency, the dark years of the 1980s. He was known for his powerful speeches and his magnetic personality. He was an uMkhonto we Sizwe soldier, 20 years of age when he was murdered by the Apartheid police. Role models are often cited as lacking in the townships so it is fitting that the poster is titled "Ashley Kriel, The pride of Bonteheuwel". Photograph by Barry Christianson @thesestreetsza #thesestreetsza #bonteheuwel #capetown #southafrica #ashleykriel #actionkommondant #everydayeverywhere #everydayafrica

A photo posted by Everyday Africa (@everydayafrica) on

Photos from Everyday Africa have been featured in Time Magazine, The Guardian, and The New Yorker, among others. The site also inspired a student curriculum from the Pulitzer Center, where kids can explore how the photos challenge their impressions of Africa, and then they can take a series of photos of their own daily life.

Everyday Africa has also become part of a larger network of "Everyday" sites. There’s Everyday Eastern Europe, Everyday Bronx, Everyday Mumbai — all with their own networks of contributors and fans. 

As DiCampo said in 2013, “I want people to use this anywhere they feel it’s needed to change people’s perceptions. Whether that’s a continent, a country, a city or a neighborhood, it’s really up to the person who has chosen to take that on.”

Art mirrors life! In passing this morning on Ngor beach. Photo by @malinfezehai #dakar #senegal

A photo posted by Everyday Africa (@everydayafrica) on

The images we see of our world define how we think of it. Every photo Everyday Africa's network of photographers posts helps reframe western narratives about its subject.

There will always be war and famine in our world. By virtue of its size and population alone, Africa will inevitably be home to some of that. Projects like Everyday Africa are helping ensure that isn't the only story the rest of the world sees. 

Nature

Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave that’s been closed for 70 years

You can only access the cave from the basement of the home and it’s open for business.

This Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave.

Have you ever seen something in a movie or online and thought, "That's totally fake," only to find out it's absolutely a real thing? That's sort of how this house in Pennsylvania comes across. It just seems too fantastical to be real, and yet somehow it actually exists.

The home sits between Greencastle and Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, and houses a pretty unique public secret. There's a cave in the basement. Not a man cave or a basement that makes you feel like you're in a cave, but an actual cave that you can't get to unless you go through the house.

Turns out the cave was discovered in the 1830s on the land of John Coffey, according to Uncovering PA, but the story of how it was found is unclear. People would climb down into the cave to explore occasionally until the land was leased about 100 years later and a small structure was built over the cave opening.

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via Pexels

A couple celebrates while packing their home.

One of the topics that we like to highlight on Upworthy is people who are redefining what it means to be in a relationship. Recently, we’ve shared the stories of platonic life partners, moms who work together as part of a “mommune” and a polyamorous family with four equally-committed parents.

A growing number of people are reevaluating traditional relationships and entering lifestyles that work for them instead of trying to fit into preexisting roles. It makes sense because the more lifestyle options that are available, the greater chance we have to be happy.

A recent trend in unconventional relationships is married couples "living apart together," or LATs as they are known among mental health professionals.

Actress Helena Bonham Carter and director Tim Burton, actress Gwyneth Paltrow and producer Brad Falchuk, and photographer Annie Leibovitz and activist Susan Sontag are all high-profile couples who’ve embraced the LAT lifestyle.

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Professional tidier Marie Kondo says she's 'kind of given up' after having three kids

Hearing Kondo say, 'My home is messy,' is sparking joy for moms everywhere.

Marie Kondo playing with her daughters.

Marie Kondo's book, "The Life-Changing Art of Tidying Up," has repeatedly made huge waves around the world since it came out in 2010. From eliminating anything that didn't "spark joy" from your house to folding clothes into tiny rectangles and storing them vertically, the KonMari method of maintaining an organized home hit the mark for millions of people. The success of her book even led to two Netflix series.

It also sparked backlash from parents who insisted that keeping a tidy home with children was not so simple. It's one thing to get rid of an old sweater that no longer brings you joy. It's entirely another to toss an old, empty cereal box that sparks zero joy for you, but that your 2-year-old is inexplicably attached to.

To be fair, Kondo never forced her way into anyone's home and made them organize it her way. But also to be fair, she didn't have kids when she wrote her best-selling book on keeping a tidy home. The reality is that keeping a home organized and tidy with children living in it is a whole other ballgame, as Kondo has discovered now that she has three kids of her own.

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Pop Culture

YouTube star MrBeast sponsors 1,000 people's cataract surgery to help them see again

"I had never heard of MrBeast so I almost hung up. But gratefully did not hang up."

YouTube star sponsors 1,000 people's cataract surgery

Blindness touches people's lives around the world and YouTube star Jimmy Donaldson, more popularly known as MrBeast, is trying to do something about it. Donaldson made it his mission to help 1,000 people regain their eyesight with the help of Dr. Jeff Levenson, an ophthalmologist and surgeon in Jacksonville, Florida.

Levenson has been operating a program called "Gift of Sight" for over 20 years. The program provides free cataract surgery to uninsured people who are legally blind for free, so long as they meet certain criteria. Levenson had never heard of Donaldson, and he almost hung up on him when the YouTube star called to ask about a partnership.

"I had never heard of MrBeast so I almost hung up. But gratefully did not hang up," Levenson told CNN.

After figuring out that Donaldson was indeed a real person who wanted to help others, the duo called around the Jacksonville area to determine the people who needed help the most. They got their list of clients from free clinics and homeless shelters, which covered the United States portion of the surgeries.

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A parenting influencer who goes by the name @ellethevirgo on TikTok has shared a brilliant hack that can turn a simple box of Cheerios into a fun sensory sand experience. The great part is that the sand is edible, so you don’t have to worry if your child puts some in their mouth, which they will inevitably do.

The recipe for Cheerios sensory sand is pretty simple:

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Gaël Monfils makes tennis a must-see.

Tennis isn't always the most entertaining sport to watch, especially if you're not particularly interested in seeing a ball get slapped across a net at 1,000,000 mph approximately 17,000 times. You could probably get whiplash or eye strain if you focused too hard on it. While some people love the sport, others need a little more than grunts and sneaker sounds to capture their attention.

If you're in the group of people who need to be entertained, look no further than Gaël Monfils, a professional French tennis player that has earned the nickname, "The Entertainer." Monfils turned pro in 2004 and has multiple championship matches under his belt, and yet he still takes the time to be...extra while playing.

In a compilation video uploaded to TikTok, we see the 36-year-old tennis player dancing after hitting the ball across the net just out of his opponent's reach. But of course, he also doesn't hit the ball like your average player, either. In one part of the video, Monfils jumps up extremely high and bicycle kicks as he hits the ball with his tongue hanging out of his mouth.

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