Journal of
African Studies and Development

  • Abbreviation: J. Afr. Stud. Dev
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2189
  • DOI: 10.5897/JASD
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 236

Full Length Research Paper

The persistence of western negative perceptions about Africa: Factoring in the role of Africans

Japhace Poncian
  • Japhace Poncian
  • Department of History, Political Science and Development Studies, Mkwawa University College of Education, P. O. Box 2513, Iringa, Tanzania.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 03 March 2014
  •  Accepted: 10 February 2015
  •  Published: 31 March 2015


Africa has continued to be looked down upon by the Western powers. Negative perceptions and representations such as civil wars, hunger, corruption, greed, selfishness, diseases, poverty, and the like have been the defining characters of Africa and the Africans in the minds of many Western people. While the mainstream media has been blamed for much of Africa’s negative perceptions, little has been done to establish how Africans have actively assisted the Western nations to continue perceiving Africa negatively. The paper used a historical approach and secondary sources to examine the role Africans have played in the persistence of Western negative perceptions about Africa. The main argument is that the persistence of such negative views about Africa suggests that Africans have played an active and important role. It is concluded that Africa’s current and future development will continue to depend on how Africans view themselves before the Westerners and how they seek to be viewed by the West.

Key words: Africa, negative perceptions, Africans, Western perceptions.