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.

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. 

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On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

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