A little perspective never hurt anybody, and this week, I got a great dose of it, thanks to a wonderful infographic about the African Continent.
Making the rounds in social media this week, it’s titled The True Size of Africa. The work has been released into the public domain, with the subtitle “A small contribution in the fight against rampant Immapacy, by Kai Krause.”
The creator has, to scale, inserted a variety of countries from around the globe into the borders of the African continent, giving viewers both inside and outside Africa a great visual perspective of the relative size of the world’s second largest continent.
The United States, the fourth largest country in the world, could fit into Africa more than three times. China and India, the two most populated countries, could fit into just 40% of Africa. In fact, the USA, China, India, Japan and all of Europe could fit into the African continent!
This way of representing Africa reminds me of this travelling phenomenon I sometimes experience, where I discover that I have actually travelled across more of certain countries than my own. I hail from Canada, the world’s second largest country, and I can only realistically aspire to visit a tiny fraction of the country. It’s likely I’ve trotted across more of the UK, Vietnam, Thailand, Denmark, and Sweden, than I can over hope to explore of Canada.
This would likely be true for many South Africans – when your country is the 25th largest in the world at over 1.2million square kilometres, it’s quite likely that if you’ve travelled to Japan, or the UK, or France, you’ve possibly explored more of those countries in a relative sense than your own. South Africa, and the African continent, are so big it would be impossible to fully explore them in a lifetime. Too many square kilometres; too little time.
This way of viewing Africa, and the world for that matter makes the explorer in me overwhelmingly happy. That often used expression “it’s a small world” might be true when it comes to our social networks, but in the geographic sense of the world, it might be more appropriate to say “it’s a huge world.”