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

Braiding hair #lagos Island Photo by @tomsaater Tom Saater #documentaryphotography#streetphotography#everydayafrica#tomsaater

A photo posted by Everyday Africa (@everydayafrica) on

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. 

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

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