A “single story” is an idiom that is used express peoples’ discernment and feelings
towards individuals, groups of people or nations due to a repeated tale that has been in existence
concerning them. In most cases, these perceptions are usually false because many people lack the
firsthand information about a place or people and their social structure. When someone claims to
have a single story, it is probably a story in their mind about a culture, nation, religion or a group
of people they have not met before or not known clearly. There is a need to enlighten people
about the danger of a single story to avoid embracing one story as the only story that defines
other people or a place.
In Africa for example, people are perceived as uneducated and of low intellectual
capacity. This stereotype has cultivated the denial of employment opportunities to many Africans
seeking for jobs especially from corporations owned by people from the western nations.
Through the development of these single stories, Africans’ humanity and dignity have been taken
away (Brooks, 2020). Many stereotypes that are not completely real about Africans have been
created. Many people disbelief the Africans ability to communicate and comprehend
competently the English language. Therefore, ethnic music, books and films are thought to be the
only source of delight. Consequently, Africa has been viewed as a place where unlearned and
undiplomatic people exist.
For decades, the dark continent’s single story has been that of violence and civil wars.
The recent menace of Boko haram and Al-Shabaab terrorism has propagated the stereotype of
Africa being termed as a place of despair (Chakravorti,2020). The prevailing civil wars in
democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Burkina Faso has headlined Africa as a place of
turmoil and political instability. Lack of proper government systems has led to dictatorship
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leadership brought about by leaders who have been in power for many terms and this has led to
political unrest evident in countries such as Zimbabwe and Uganda. The religions, lives and
culture of many African countries are constituted of many overlapping single stories.
Peoples’ single stories about my personality at time seems to be very strange. Most
people that I’ve interacted with regard me as being rude and offensive. This is totally different to
what I think because I view myself as a fairly charming and kind type of a person to those
around me. Sometimes am forced to seek other peoples’ opinions on what they think about my
personality to affirm if truly I possess the rudeness trait. I came to realize that I have no power or
control over peoples’ thoughts and feelings about myself so I had to bear with their single story
concerning my life.
If ever any people have suffered the problem associated with single story are the
Africans.The perception of the continent being dominated with poverty ,corruption, suffering and
lack of education is however not untrue or inaccurate but it exposes only a small portion of a
rich, vibrant culture and a place full of lively people. The problem associated with single story is
that it results in stereotyping that robs peoples’ self-esteem hence developing inferiority complex
among them (Machando, 2020). A single story emphasizes how human beings are in contrast
rather than being similar. It’s time for people get past the single story about other people’s
culture, religion economic and social backgrounds.
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Brooks, D. (2020). Opinion | The Danger of a Single Story. Retrieved 18 February 2020, from
Chakravorti, B. (2020). It is time to get past the “single story” about Africa. Retrieved 18
February 2020, from https://www.brookings.edu/research/it-is-time-to-get-past-the-
Machando, A. (2020). 3 ways to challenge the single story you’ve heard about Africa. Retrieved
18 February 2020, from https://matadornetwork.com/life/3-ways-challenge-single-story-