Kendall Onley

I am a sophomore at the Lawrenceville School and I am from Atlanta, Georgia. Although not born in Africa, I have spent much of my time studying the history of the continent and communicating with very close friends who live in Southern Africa. I have even travelled to the continent and spent weeks in South Africa immersing myself in the culture. This allows me to have a dual perspective on topics and issues happening throughout the world.

To most, Africa is seen as an impoverished continent filled with terrorism and devastation. Many people wallow in apathy, not willing to learn about its rich history and culture. For the majority of my life, I did not seek to expand my knowledge on the continent; I was content with being ignorant. This was my mindset until I took a year long extensive course on the continent. During this time, I wrote on its history, the dangers of stereotypes, misrepresentation of Africa in the media, etc. While doing these studies, it became more apparent to me on just how little we know about the world, especially Africa. This is true in the news; yes attacks are horrid in “big time” continents such as Europe and North America, but news of crisis stemming within African countries are seldom heard. The same can be said for the switch side of the argument; most news heard about Africa is only about poverty and terrorism while we are left in the dark about its beautiful and rich culture.

I hope to raise awareness on topics happening around the world. At Lawrenceville, we talk about the importance of being a global citizen and expanding our knowledge on global issues. You do not have to be from a certain region to care about it; issues anywhere affect places everywhere. It is like a domino effect. How can we expect to truly live in this world yet not be knowledgeable about what’s happening? The Contour can help raise true global leaders and potentially erase apathy existing throughout our communities.