Wednesday 20 February 2019

Big mama Africa belittled by cartographers

Crossing into the southern hemisphere,
Over a line that makes you wonder where,
Strange and familiar names do appear,
This is the Africa we probably should not fear.
Three villes say the French Belgians were here,
Libreville to Franceville are not quite near,
By the time Brazzaville is at your stare,
You're in Congo and it is not a dare.
Mbandaka sticks in my mind like a crime,
It was Coquilhatville once upon a time,
Congo and Ruki rivers make it maritime,
As it sits on the equator just in its prime.
Africa is a place of distances far apart,
The maps conceal a secret we never chart,
If Bakwanga does play a part,
It is four thousand miles from your start.
In Livingstone a place to which he came,
Even Victoria falls he did name,
Much he did to build his fame,
Yes, the British left many marks of shame.
If we knew our basic geography,
From our narrow African philosophy,
We'll realise it's extensive ethnography,
And redraw the misleading cartography.
A Flickr slideshow of flight tracker places mentioned.
The flight tracker playback of the journey, you can zoom in on the maps to see the place names that came up in the poem.

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