This past Friday, RCSE was fortunate to hear from Dr. Mohamed Mukhtar who is a professor at Savannah State University.  The talk was fascinating, informative and educational!  Dr. Mukhtar is originally from Somalia, has been a Fulbright Scholar twice and holds a PhD from an Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt.  He spoke to the club about teaching African History in an American University.  
While teaching in the USA, Dr. Mukhtar has taught at a predominantly white college (University of South Carolina) and a predominately black college (Savannah State University).  He said in both institutions, he was expecting American students to know basics facts about Africa but that was not true.  He found this to be both challenging and humbling.  When he asks his students what comes to mind when someone mentions Africa, the initial responses are always the same and very monolithic.  Some of the feedback he receives is Africa is always hot, mostly black people live in Africa, there is very little history, and the majority of the terrain is safari or jungle.  After hearing these thoughts, he began trying to demystify the students perception of Africa.  For example, the largest desert on earth is in Africa and Africa is home to a powerful civilization along the Nile Valley Region.  One of the reasons most English speaking citizens aren't aware of African history is because there isn't one comprehensive book about it.  Also, most of the history is written in the African language (there are over 1000) and very few have been translated into English.  
Africa is not that different from any other continents in the sense that it is very diverse.  The size of the continent is three times that of USA.  It's the second largest continent and one of the oldest on earth.  It is comprised of 54 countries and is a very wealthy continent having oil, precious metals, and natural resources.  Before Q&A began, Dr. Mukhtar stated he thinks the United States needs to inject more African history in our Middle School and High School curriculum.  A member asked Dr. Mukhtar about China and Africa.  His response was that currently, China is trying to infiltrate Africa by encouraging poaching and supporting dictatorships because they want access to the raw materials that Africa has to offer.  Another question was posed about the state of Somalia.  Dr. Mukhtar said that Somalia has a hard time partly due to its strategic location.  He said the country is still struggling but that the civil unrest is quieting.