Misunderstanding Africa: A Look at the Real Africa


Fall 2016 Lecture Series

Tuesdays, Sept 27 – Oct 25, Grace United Church, Cook & Grove St, Barrie

Sept. 27, 2016: Africa, Myths and Realities

Presenter:  Dr. Gerald Caplan

Westerners know—or think they know—a fair bit about Africa.  But much of it is actually wrong.  More than most areas, we view Africa through mythology rather than reality.  And many of those myths are race-based, originating in the openly racist 19th century and still prevalent.  This lecture, delivered by Gerald Caplan, will examine some of these myths and present the truths they conceal.

See Biography: Dr. Gerald Caplan

Oct. 4th, 2016: We Called and No One Came–The Rwandan Genocide of 1994

Presenter:  Major (Retired) Brent Beardsley

Major Beardsley served as the Military Assistant to the Force Commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda before and during the genocide in Rwanda that ultimately claimed the lives of approximately 1 million innocent men, women and children.  As an eye witness to the worst genocide since the Holocaust, this presenter will describe the crime of genocide in general, and the Rwandan Genocide in particular, as a case study of the failure of the “Never Again” pledge.

See Biography: Major Brent Beardsley

Oct. 11, 2016: African Challenges – Are we the Solution or the Problem

Presenter:  Dr. Gerald Caplan

Perhaps the greatest myth of our time is that Africa has the problems and we in the west have the solutions.  The fact is that the west has contributed significantly to many of Africa’s most serious challenges, and that the west has benefited far more from its interaction with Africa than has Africa.  Examples of this critical but little-know phenomenon will be presented.

See biography: Dr. Gerald Caplan

Oct. 18, 2016: African Health Issues—It takes a local community

Presenters: Ky’okusinga Kirunga and Janet Solberg

One of the greatest misunderstandings about the continent of Africa is that expertise, sophistication, human and social capital don’t exist in African countries. Furthermore, the assumption is that the solutions to the continent’s challenges lie in the western world. Ky’okusinga will talk about how that perspective undermines the success of African responses to African issues. This presentation will further debunk this myth with first-hand accounts of community-based solutions.

See biographies: Ky’okusinga KirungaJanet Solberg

Oct. 25, 2016: The Art of Africa—African Art “Primitive” Art?

Presenter:  Fran Fearnley

Fran Fearnley will share the insights she has gained over the years exploring the history and evolution of Shona sculpture from Zimbabwe. She will draw some parallels between the Inuit and Zimbabwean sculpting movements.  Fearnley will also show how Shona sculpture defies narrow definitions of so-called ‘African tribal art’ and how this art is both universal in its appeal and entirely contemporary.

See Biography: Fran Fearnley

Venue:   Grace United Church

Venue Website: http://www.graceucc.ca/

350 Grove St. E, Barrie, Ontario, Canada