A Small Rant

Friday 5 August 2011

I received a piece of mail yesterday and it sparked a frustration that has been burrowing inside me (and Joe) and I'd love to get it off my chest.

Africa is a continent and it is HUGE!  It is the second largest continent with the second largest population (behind Asia.)  It has 54 countries - 54, that's a lot - and it's home to over 1 BILLION people.

Simple lesson here: Africa ≠ South Africa

South Africa is 1 out of 54 countries on the continent of Africa.  So when I say I live in Africa, it does not mean I live in South Africa.  (You would be surprised how often we get that response!)  Should be fairly simple however, even some major organisations have had troubles with this concept.

1.  Royal Bank of Canada addressed a piece of mail to me as

Jay St John
BP ****
Port Gentil, Gabon, South Africa

RBC - you should be ashamed.

And even worse...

2.  The IRS (Yes, the Internal Revenue Service of the USA)

did the exact same thing on mail addressed to Joe.

Now that is embarassing.

Ahhh  - I feel much better.  Thank you for indulging me.


  1. It's embarassing that people think Africa is a country not a continent! I was recently watching a customs program and an immigration officer asked someone where in Africa he came from because it's a large country. He probably knows, well I am assuming he does and just made a mistake but you can never be sure.

  2. Also not shocking for RBC, they are idiots...my small rant is over :)

  3. Everyone needs a small rant every once in awhile!

  4. I'm always surprised how little Americans know about geography in general, but when we moved to Gabon, only the expat community at my daughter's International School knew more than a couple of countries in Africa. Also, I am floored that you recieved mail in POG - that was unheard of three years ago. You had to have the boite postal, but the mail was so uncertain you didn't mail across town, much less out of the country! Congrats!

  5. We get our mail delivered to my husband's company - we certainly don't have our own mail delivery! We are uncertain how much of it actually makes it through and it's usually a few months late!


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