My review of Binyavanga Wainaina’s memoir, Someday I Will Write About This Place, should be up this week. In the meantime, I thought you might be interested in reading his 2005 article from GRANTA entitled How to Write About Africa. Below is a small excerpt.
In your text, treat Africa as if it were one country. It is hot and dusty with rolling grasslands and huge herds of animals and tall, thin people who are starving. Or it is hot and steamy with very short people who eat primates. Don’t get bogged down with precise descriptions. Africa is big: fifty-four countries, 900 million people who are too busy starving and dying and warring and emigrating to read your book. The continent is full of deserts, jungles, highlands, savannahs and many other things, but your reader doesn’t care about all that, so keep your descriptions romantic and evocative and unparticular.
I’d print the whole thing, but GRANTA would probably come after me. So, follow the link, then come back and tell me what you think.