Happy Africa day. In honour of today I am sharing facts about Africa. Some not widely known ,hopefully we will all learn something and not be surprised like I was last year when I found out South Africa is on the border of Texas. This post is not intended for the set of people who believe Africa is a country because they’re dedicated to not reading or picking up a map. In fact Kwame says hi we passed each other on the road as he rode his elephant and I rode my lion.
What’s in a name?
Have you ever wondered where the name comes from? There are many theories and facts
The original name was Alkebulan which translates to “mother of mankind” or Garden of Eden. This name was used by the Moors, Nubians and Numidians.
Some theorists suggest Africa came from Romans when they “discovered” land opposite the Mediterranean. They named it after a Berber tribe that was inhabiting the Carthage area, the name of the tribe was Afri. It is suggested the Romans named the continent Afri- terra which later transformed into Africa. This name Africa was used in 17th Century it to refer to mostly the Northern parts of Africa
2. Benin City
I heard about it as part of some video that I was watching. I was gob smacked to find out A) we had a wall in Africa that was four times larger than the Great Wall of China. That B )there was no trace of it any more. This led me down a rabbit hole about the great Benin City and here are some facts about it.
Benin City was originally known as Edo, the capital of a pre-colonial African Empire in what is now Southern Nigeria. It was one of the oldest most highly developed states in West Africa that had the first street lamps fueled by palm oil.
It managed to maintain its independence during the scramble for Africa
In 1897 British soldiers destroyed it and looted the remains during the punitive war also known as Benin Punitive Expedition. The looted goods known as Benin Bronze were sent to the British Museum.
We have over 2000 languages spoken, with Arabic being the most widely spoken.😲
More than 50% of the world’s French speaking population is found here.
Angola has more Portuguese speakers than Portugal
4. Sudan has the most pyramids
Whenever the mention of the word Pyramids the mind instantly goes to Egypt yet the country with the most Pyramids is Sudan. Egypt has 118 Pyramids whilst Sudan has around 255.
Once home to the Kingdom Kush which in its peak had territories stretching all the way to Libya and Palestine.
The capital city Meroe ( found on the east bank of the Nile )has over 30 kings buried in the in 200 pyramids.
Although their steeper and smaller in stature than the Egyptian ones they are recognized as an Unesco heritage site.
5. Ethiopia is 7 years behind
Yes you read correctly, this wonderful East African country that has never been colonized, uses a different calendar. The Ethiopian calendar is similar to the Julian calendar that the world used before converting to the Gregorian calendar. Here are some interesting facts below about it:
Its main point of difference is the birth of Jesus as a result their Christmas is 7th of January and New Year is 11 September.
Their year has thirteen months. Each month has thirty days then the thirteenth Pagume has 5 days or 6 days on leap years.
6. Lake Malawi is home to the most species of fish than any other lake in the world.
Also known as lake Nyasa in Tanzania and Lago Nyasa in Mozambique, it not only has the most species of fish but the third largest lake in Africa. It has two inhabited islands, Likomo and Chizulu island.
7. The deadliest animal in Africa is a hippo
This fact always has me chuckling in disbelief and a grim reminder to never judge a book by its cover. Hippos are aggressive, short tempered and very territorial. They have been known to capsize boats. They are estimated to kill 500 people a year in Africa. They kill more humans in Africa then sharks, crocodiles and lions combined.
8.The Congo war deadliest war since World War 2
Probably the grimmest fact on todays list. According a study published by the International rescue committee over over 5.4 millon people died. Many of which were children dying from this more than a decade long war.
9. South African inventions
I think we all know about Dr. Christian Barnard and the first heart transplant in the world. So for today I thought let me share some knowledge on some of our other inventions.
The Computerized Axial Tomography or CAT scan was developed in 1972 by South African nuclear physict Allan Cormack and British engineer Godfrey Hounsfield. They won the Nobel Prize in 1979
The well known pool cleaner Kreepy Krauly developed by Ferdinand Chauvier from SPrings.
3rd March 2019, Professor Mashudu Tshifularo became the first person to transplant 3D-printed bones for reconstructive middle ear implants.
I was alarmed to learn that Africa loses 4.1 million hectares of natural forest a year. That is twice the rate of the world. This is mostly due to human consumption.
11. Al-Qarawiyyan, is the worlds oldest operating university was founded by Fatima Al-Fihri
I have always known about Timbuktu but was surprised by this discovery. That the acknowledged by Unesco and Guinness world records oldest and still operating University in the world was founded by a Tunisian woman in Fez, Morroco. And not in Europe as we so often incorrectly believe. Al-Qarawiyyan was founded in 859AD by Fatima Al-Fihri who after inheriting her fathers estate saw the need for an educational hub. Of all the facts this was my most mind blowing and a reminder I have not read nearly enough.
” I am an African. I owe my being to the hills and the valleys, the mountains and the glades, the rivers, the deserts. The trees ,the flowers, the seas and the ever changing seasons that define the face of our Native land.”- Thabo Mbeki
I do hope you enjoyed my chappies wrapper inspired blog post. In the interest of sharing knowledge be sure to share any facts you might have in the comment section. I always enjoy hearing from you.