A lot of dialogue surrounds the African continent. Having a total of 54 sovereign countries, and home to the longest river in the world, the continent Africa has a wealth of information. There is a lot of ignorance about Africa because people feel too lazy to research on the vast continent.
Here’s a list of what you must know about the most talked-about continent.
1. Africa, particularly central-eastern Africa, is widely accepted as the place of origin of humans. The oldest human remains ever discovered were found in Ethiopia, which is approximately 200,000-year-old.
2. Africa is the hottest continent on earth.
3. Africa is the world’s second-largest and second most-populous continent.
4. Africa has a varying diversity of ethnicity, cultures, and languages. People from the African continent are called Africans.
5. By population size, Nigeria is the largest African country, while Algeria is the largest by landmass.
6. Africa is the only continent to stretch from the northern temperate to southern temperate zones.
7. European countries colonized almost all of Africa.
8. The largest religion in Africa is Islam, followed by Christianity.
9. The African continent has approximately 3,000 distinct ethnic groups, while Nigeria alone has about 370 of these tribes that have been officially recognized.
10. It is estimated that more than a thousand languages are spoken in Africa.
11. Many African languages are “tone languages,” meaning that pitch level determines the meaning. This is seen in many tribes, for example, those of the Nigerian extraction, where one word spelled in one exact way, has up to four different meanings; each varying according to the tone and accent indicated during pronunciation.
12. Oral tradition is very important in African culture, as it ensures the passage of cultural practices from one generation to another. The majority of Africa’s history was handed down from the older ones to the next generation through word of mouth. This accounts also for the lack of uniformity in accounts and also, the loss of most parts of African history.
13. The Zulu people of South Africa are well known for their intricate bead-work. The color of each bead is said to carry a specific meaning. The beads have been used to send messages known as “ucu,” a Zulu term loosely translated as “love letters.”
14. The African folklore is an essential facet of the traditions and customs of African people. During the olden days, children used to gather round in playgroups and have the elderly ones tell them these tales. Each tale usually carries with it, a robust life-impacting message.
15. Africa’s Nile River is the world’s longest river. It has a total length of 6,650 kilometers (4,132 miles) and cuts across 11 countries. It drains into the Mediterranean Sea from Africa’s Northeastern edge.
16. Mount Kilimanjaro is the largest mountain in Africa and stands tall at 19,340 feet.
17. Lake Victoria is the largest lake in Africa measuring 26,560 square miles.
18. The largest desert in the world the Sahara desert is also situated in Africa and it spans across at least a dozen countries – around 3.5 million square miles.
19. Madagascar is the largest island in the African continent and it lies just off the east coast of Africa. It has a length of around 1,000 miles with a width of about 350 miles. This island is also the 4th largest island in the world.
20. Africa is home to the world’s largest living land animal, the African elephant, which can weigh up to 7 tons.
21. Africa has over 25% of the world’s bird species.
22. Africa is full of dangerous animals that account for thousands of human deaths per year. Mosquitoes that can transmit numerous dangerous diseases such as malaria kill the most people. Other deadly animals include the hippopotamus, the deadliest mammal, and the Puff Adder, the most dangerous snake.
25. The world’s tallest animal, the giraffe, lives in Africa.
26. The fastest land animal in the world, the cheetah, lives in Africa.
27. Africa is home to the world’s largest reptile, the Nile crocodile.
28. The gorilla, which can be found in the continents jungles, is the world’s largest primate.
29. The world’s largest frog, the goliath frog (also called the goliath bullfrog), lives in Africa. They can be found in the central African countries of Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea. They can grow to lengths of over 1 foot (30.5 centimeters).
30. There are over 3,000 protected areas in Africa, including 198 Marine Protected Areas, 50 Biosphere Reserves, and 129 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
31. Africa has approximately 30% of the earth’s remaining mineral resources.
32. Nigeria is the fourth-largest oil exporter in the world and Africa’s biggest oil producer, with about 2.2 million barrels produced every day. Top 10 oil producers in order of total exports: Nigeria, Algeria, Angola, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Equatorial Guinea, Republic of Congo, Gabon, South Africa.
33. Africa’s mining is well known, and the continent produces at least 50% of the diamonds and gold in the whole world. The rest of the countries around the world contribute to the remaining 50% of the production of these precious stones and metal.
34. Despite its abundant natural resources, Africa remains the poorest continent in the world.
35. Almost 40% of adults in Africa are illiterate – two-thirds are women. Adult literacy rates are below 50% in Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Ethiopia, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and The Gambia.
36. Over 25 million people are HIV-positive on the continent, and over 17 million have died of the disease already.
37. Water scarcity impacts the lives of over 300 million Africans, of whom approximately 75% of Africans rely on groundwater as their primary source of drinking water. Global warming is aggravating the situation.
And importantly, Africa is not a country as carelessly opined by some people from the west. There are 196 fully independent countries in the world, and Africa is home to more than a quarter of that.