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December 1999 - Issue No. #37 (p.13)

Quiz on African Culture and Society

by Yasuko Enomoto

(Ichihara Senior High School, Chiba, Japan)
INSTRUCTIONS: Choose the best answer (a, b, or c)
and write the reasons why you chose that answer.
1. The average temperature in African countries is:
a. 35 degrees C
b. 30 degrees C
c. 25 degrees C
2. Most people in Africa live in houses made of:
a. mud
b. stone
c. wood
3. Most African countries are hot, so people wear:
a. almost nothing
b. T-shirts and shorts
c. sweaters
4. It's cool in some African countries because:
a. they're near the equator
b. the altitude is very high
c. it rains a lot
5. The number of supermarkets in Kenya is:
a. 0 - 9
b. 10 - 50
c. more than 50
6. The number of golf courses in Kenya is:
a. 0 - 9
b. 10 - 50
c. more than 50
7. The number of buildings in Kenya higher than 10 stories is:
a. 0 - 9
b. 10 - 50
c. more than 50
8. Most people in Kenya:
a. Speak English very well
b. Speak only their own language
c. Speak English but not very well
9. Most people in Kenya run fast because students:
a. have a montly marathon
b. have to run all the time
c. have to walk to school far from their houses
10. There are no air conditioners in people's houses
in most African countries because:
a. they can't afford them
b. it's cool
c. they like hot weather

How many correct answers did you get?

0 to 3: Do you have a TV set or subscribe to a newspaper? Maybe you've never been abroad or have only been to Western countries. You should go to many other countries and broaden your horizon!

4 to 6: You may have a stereotyped image of Africa. Don't be afraid of going to countries you don't know or eating food you don't know.

7 to 10: You're a real cosmopolitan! Keep on trying to be a global citizen.


  1. (c). 25 degrees Centigrade

    The temperature varies from 15 degrees to 30 degrees. 57% of my students chose answer (a), while 32.8% chose answer (b). 89.8% o students thought it was hot in Africa.

  2. (a, b & c) All three are correct to some degree

    The Masai tribe (for example) lives in mud houses, some people live in concrete or stone houses, and some live in houses of wood.

    47.7% of my students chose wood, 24% chose stone, and 21% chose mud.

  3. (b). T-shirts and shorts

    29.7% of my students chose answer (a), and 50% chose answer (b). People in Africa are fashionable with an innate sense for vivid colors. They wear what people wear in other countries and sometimes wear sweaters. Some Japanese students think Africans are still primitive tribes with spears.

  4. (b). the altitude is very high

    35.2% chose answer (c) and 30% chose answer (b). 12% selected answer (a).

  5. (c). more than 50

    50% of my students chose (b) and 20% chose (a). Some students also thought Kenyans still exchange goods barter without money.

  6. (b). 10 - 50

    30% chose answer (b) and 45% chose answer (a). Many students thought golf was not an African hobby.

  7. (b). 10 - 50

    34.4% of my students chose answer (b) while 28% chose (a).

  8. (a). speak English very well

    31% of my students chose the correct answer. 29% chose answer (c) and 60% thought Kenyans speak English. A Kenyan man who worked with my father in a Japanese company in Nairobi told me, "The biggest reason Japan has become a world power is that Japanese people don't have to study foreign languages. Kenyans have to study 3 languages: English, Swahili and a tribal language. While Kenyans study languages, Japanese have time to study science and technology." What language did I use to communicate with him? English and broken Swahili, neither of which are my native languages.

  9. (c). have to walk to school

    People in Japan are familiar with marathon runners from African countries, especially from Kenya. 54.7% of my students chose the correct answer.

  10. (b). it's cool

    Comments to my mother from her doctor and hairdresser in Japan caused me to make this question. They said to her, "You can't bring your eye drops to Kenya because there may be no refrigerators" and " Of course, there are no air conditioners in Kenya, are there? It must be so hot!" They didn't imagine how cool Nairobi is. People never need air conditioners.

Resources for Teaching about Africa (n.d.). - Kenya. Accessed at on 1 Dec. 1999.

Boston University Africa Studies Center (Ed.) (1995). [Video] What do we Know about Africa?. Boston, MS: Africa Studies Center, Boston University.

Clark, L. (1988). Through African Eyes. New York: Center for Int. Training & Education.

Author Unknown. (1990). Creative Ideas for Teaching about Africa. (1990) Stockton, CA (USA): Stevens & Shea.

Haskins, J. et al (1998). From Afar to Zulu: A Dictionary of African Cultures. New York: Walker & Co.

Lamb, D. (1987). The Africans. New York: Random House.

White, J. (1994). Step into Africa. Denver: CITR.

Africa and Me

by Yasuko Enomoto

I first visited Kenya in 1992 a year after my father was transferred there on business. At that time, I didn't have much interest in Africa and was scared to go to any country where I needed an injection. I stayed for a month and was vividly impressed by the streets full of energy, the simple, powerful people, the huge trees and all the colorful flowers. Nairobi was unlike any place I'd ever been. Since then, I've visited Nairobi every year, making a half-year stay in total. Other than Kenya, I've also visited Tanzania, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. It was amazing how I changed after visiting Africa. "Ignorance is NOT bliss" in terms of knowing other cultures, I realized how ignorant Japanese people are about African culture and society, and what strong stereotypes they have of African people. When I got back to Japan, I had difficulty getting people around me to understand Africa. It became my mission to introduce "the real Kenya". As a teacher, I want to explore more about African cultures and help my students overcome their stereotypes of other countries and cultures.

Also in this issue:
Images of Africa: Japanese Students and EFL Textbooks by Yasuko Enomoto by Yasuko Enomoto


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Kip A. Cates, Tottori University, Koyama, Tottori City, JAPAN 680-8551
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