Another world from C to C: Cape Town to Cairo

For most of us living in the Western hemisphere, European superiority has long been touted, first by the Greeks and Romans then by the Vikings and Saxons (latterly the Germans) and finally by the Scots, the Irish and the British Empire. China is presently on the edge of asserting its modern global dominance.

Given the current fixation of the United States upon world supremacy (characterized for example by its so-called “World Series” baseball games) since its formal beginnings in 1763 (or somewhat earlier in 1492 if one prefers the Christopher Columbus fiction to the Davy Crockett backwoods legislator image), conceive by comparison the astronomic height of achievement claimed by those living on the continent of Africa, the crucible of civilization, the home of the pyramids (2649 – 1640 BC) and the Egyptian pharaohs, the legends of Cleopatra (69 – 30 BC), Julius Caesar and Mark Antony and travel upon the Nile the world’s longest river, Mount Kilimanjaro, Victoria Falls, the very birthplace of Jesus Christ and the home of God’s chosen people. This means too that the 500 million worldwide fans of baseball can be easily dwarfed by the 2.5 billion fans of cricket.

The United States of America is currently facing challenges both superficial and elemental (constitutional) to its modern version of democracy.  I thought it were time for the benefit of some improving comparative thinking to remind us of the precarious and yet evolutionary nature of representative government. Civilization is a long, daily and arduous process and we should not ignore the significance of current developments, revolution or degeneration. The great American enterprise of democracy is historically relatively new.

Storytelling sets the tone for global perceptions of reality, which in turn influence the behavior of one group of people towards another.

Africa is sometimes nicknamed the “Mother Continent” due to its being the oldest inhabited continent on earth. Humans and human ancestors have lived in Africa for more than 5 million years. Africa was originally dubbed the “Dark Continent” by Welsh journalist and explorer Henry Morton Stanley who saw Africa as mysterious. Its landscapes and cultures were largely unknown to outsiders until the late nineteenth century.

Africa is home to the world’s earliest form of mathematical thinking and the first known use of measuring and calculation, confirming the continent as the birthplace of both basic and advanced mathematics. Numerous discoveries in architecture, medicine, engineering and astronomy originate from the continent.

In antiquity the Greeks are said to have called the continent Libya and the Romans to have called it Africa, perhaps from the Latin aprica (“sunny”) or the Greek aphrike (“without cold”). The name Africa however was chiefly applied to the northern coast of the continent which was in effect regarded as a southern extension of Europe. The Romans, who for a time ruled the North African coast, are also said to have called the area south of their settlements Afriga, or the Land of the Afrigs—the name of a Berber community south of Carthage.

February 16, 2023
Toronto, Ontario

One of my father’s favourite Noël Coward songs was “Mad Dogs and Englishmen” and he always saw himself as one of those (both mad and English). The family were of that ilk which back in colonial times was known as “from C to C”, meaning from Cape to Cairo which given that his father grew in South Africa and his mother grew up in Cairo and he and my uncle grew up in Kenya, fit the definition perfectly.  However, I always liked the other definition of ‘from C to C’.  In the early 20th century there was a brand of cigarette of the same name, but it was made of an inferior tobacco and was known across the British colonies in Africa as ‘from Camel to Consumer’.  I think Noël could have written a good song about that, don’t you?

Fiona St Clair

A true spirit of adventure is needed to tackle one of the most daunting and revered road trips in the world. The Cape to Cairo trip is a thrilling, unpredictable journey of over 6,200 miles and it is not for the faint of heart. From road troubles to the political plight, those who brave this journey will leave the continent a true child of the soil. From breathtaking sights to local culture, Africa is the heartbeat of the world, and anyone lucky enough to spend time here is sure to be changed forever.