Google received thousands of entries from across the country for the Doodle competition, which was looking for entries from children centred on the theme “South Africa of Their Dreams”. The winning entry, from grade 8 pupil Katya Ludick, is an acacia tree with a sunset in the background.
The winning South African themed Google Doodle,to go live tomorrow, is an image of an orange sunset & an acacia tree pic.twitter.com/BR351KGxtr
— HRH Gugu Mhlungu (@GugsM) December 2, 2014
You may think this is a bit harsh but for context, it was back in May when a writer on Africa Is a Country pointed out the acacia tree meme, which usually features “an acacia tree, an orange sunset over the veld, or both”.
“In short, the covers of most novels ‘about Africa’ seem to have been designed by someone whose principal idea of the continent comes from The Lion King,” it said.
Images of the shockingly similar book covers, which were produced by a variety of publishing houses for various genres of writing, soon started doing the rounds online.
I’m not judging young Katya Ludick – her illustration is lovely, and she told TimesLive that her doodle was meant to depict her hopes for a country without poaching. “In my South African dream, there is no more poaching. We must fight for those that can’t speak,” said the 14 year old.
(You can see more of the competition entries here.)
But it was, presumably, mainly adults who voted for the winning entry and I hope that at some point, South Africans young and old will move past these types of stereotypes, and start telling the world about our country in our own unique way.