This analysis of “How to Write about Africa” by Binyavanga Wainaina is based on the rhetorical pentagram model.
In the next few pages, we will explore the topic of the essay—clichés and stereotypes about Africa – looking at the examples used by the writer: clichés related to the environment, to people, and to animals.
We will present the writer of the essay, Binyavanga Wainaina, looking at his background and the image he conveys about himself through the essay.
We will consider the potential readers of the essay: Western media and writers covering topics related to Africa. We will also reflect on the groups of people the essay mentions explicitly.
We will examine the language used in the essay, taking into account the choice of words, the tone, rhetorical devices, and modes of persuasion.
We will look at the circumstances of the essay –mainly the fact that Africa is portrayed in the media and literature using stereotypes, most of which are negative.
We will discuss the writer’s intention with the text, of criticising Western stereotypes about Africa and of encouraging people to develop a more complex understanding of Africa, taking into account positive aspects as well.
At the end, we will give you a few extra points to help you comment on the essay and put it in a wider perspective.