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  8 interesting facts about Africa

Africa is a continent with 54 independent states. And, unfortunately, one colony: Western Sahara, which is currently occupied by Morocco. Before the continent was invaded and colonised by European states and kings, around 10.000 kingdoms and autonomous groups thrived there.

Africa Day on 25 May every year celebrates the unity and diversity of Africa.

Alkebu-lan

Alkebu-lan is the oldest name for Africa. In Arabic, it means “The Land of the Blacks.”

This map, created by artist Nikolaj Cyan, represents an Africa that was or could have been – if history would have played out a bit differently and the African continent hadn’t been subjected to brutal colonisation.

The map is ‘upside down’ compared to the common practice today where North is considered “up”. In old Islamic cartography South was often on top.

Experts in epidemics

African medical practitioners and scientists have decades of experience in dealing with outbreaks of communicable diseases such as HIV, ebola, tuberculosis, cholera and malaria. Therefore, the continent is doing relatively well in containing the novel corona virus and labs all over Africa are working hard to find solutions.

One example is the Senegalese Dakar Pasteur Institute. In partnership with British company Mologic, they plan to manufacture 10-minute COVID-19 test kits with the aim of distributing them by June. They will cost less than a dollar per test kit. Read more about it here.

Timbuktu is home to the world’s oldest university

Sankoré Madrasah, The University of Sankoré, or Sankore Masjid is one of three ancient centers of learning located in Timbuktu, Mali, West Africa.  Founded in 989 the Sankoré Madrasah in Timbuktu prospered and became a very significant seat of learning in the next five centuries.

Read more on Think Africa.

 

Arabic is the most widely spoken language

As a rich, deep and diverse continent steep in history and huge geographical variance, it’s no surprise that Africa has developed some of the most complex languages, alphabets and scripts of any continent. Over 1.500 languages are spoken across its 1.1 billion strong population. In Nigeria alone, 250 languages are spoken.

African languages can be grouped into Afro-Asiatic, Nilo-Saharan, Niger-Congo, and Khoisan. They are composed of many dialects including sign languages and languages with clicks or other tones that are unique to the continent.

The most widely spoken language on the African continent is Arabic (by 170 million people), followed by English (by 130 million people) then Swahili, French, Berber, Hausa and Portuguese.

.

Mozambique has a Kalashnikov on its flag

The AK-47 symbolises the struggle for independence and perhaps it is still there to remind us that the struggle for development and better conditions for all Mozambicans is still real.

Only a few other countries have weapons on their national flags, for example Haiti and Bolivia.

Read more stories and news from Mozambique.

A new country name

The newest country name on the map of Africa is eSwatini.

This is now the name of what was formerly known as Swaziland. They got sick and tired with being confused with Switzerland, so they changed the name to eSwatini. Also, after 50 years of independence from the British empire, it was about time to get rid of the colonial name. eSwatini means “the land of the Swazis”.

Female presidents

Johnson Sirleaf, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, became Africa’s first elected female head of state in 2006 and stepped down in 2018 in the war-scarred West African state’s first peaceful democratic transition in seven decades.

In 2018, Sahle-Work Zewde became the first elected female President of Ethiopia. She is currently the only female out of  the 54 Presidents in Africa. She took office on October 25, 2018 after being unanimously elected by members of the National Parliamentary Assembly. Prior to her election as President, she worked as Special Representative of United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres to the African Union and Head of the United Nations Office to the African Union.

 

Ms Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Ms Sahle-Work Zewde

Your origins are African

Your ancestors came from Africa. In fact, all of our ancestry can be traced back to Africa. The cradle of humanity was placed somewhere on the continent, but it is uncertain where. The scientists are still researching precisely where homo sapiens evolved, and different theories exist. The jury is still out on that one.

Read more fascinating theories about humanity’s origin.

 

 

PS. Stay curious. Search for different perspectives on news and issues – instead of relying on the information you are served curated for western audiences. 

Here are some alternative media outlets you can explore:

Africa News

Democracy Now

AlJazeera English

TeleSur English

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Stuck at home, now what?

Here are 10 good ideas for how to utilise your time in a lockdown situation. Let us make the best out of it and cherish the privilege of having a home to be stuck in.

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7 things to do during a lockdown

Many countries are taking measures against the COVID-19 outbreak by announcing lockdown and quarantine. So how can you utilize your time at home?

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The outbreak of COVID-19 is a world crisis. While it is important to take the right measures we also need to remember the other threats of our world.

Take The Leap

Take The Leap

When we are not happy with our current situation change becomes a necessity. Fighting the initial fear and discomfort of it leads to growth and progress.

Africa is a continent with 54 independent states. And, unfortunately, one colony: Western Sahara, which is currently occupied by Morocco. Before the continent was invaded and colonised by European states and kings, around 10.000 kingdoms and autonomous groups thrived there.

Africa Day on 25 May every year celebrates the unity and diversity of Africa.

Things to do during quarantine
Things to do during quarantine

Alkebu-lan

Alkebu-lan is the oldest name for Africa. In Arabic, it means “The Land of the Blacks.”

This map, created by artist Nikolaj Cyan, represents an Africa that was or could have been – if history would have played out a bit differently and the African continent hadn’t been subjected to brutal colonisation.

The map is ‘upside down’ compared to the common practice today where North is considered “up”. In old Islamic cartography South was often on top.

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Things to do during quarantine

Experts in epidemics

African medical practitioners and scientists have decades of experience in dealing with outbreaks of communicable diseases such as HIV, ebola, tuberculosis, cholera and malaria. Therefore, the continent is doing relatively well in containing the novel corona virus and labs all over Africa are working hard to find solutions.

One example is the Senegalese Dakar Pasteur Institute. In partnership with British company Mologic, they plan to manufacture 10-minute COVID-19 test kits with the aim of distributing them by June. They will cost less than a dollar per test kit. Read more about it here.

Things to do during quarantine
Things to do during quarantine

Timbuktu is home to the world’s oldest university

Sankoré Madrasah, The University of Sankoré, or Sankore Masjid is one of three ancient centers of learning located in Timbuktu, Mali, West Africa.  Founded in 989 the Sankoré Madrasah in Timbuktu prospered and became a very significant seat of learning in the next five centuries.

Read more on Think Africa.

 

Things to do during quarantine
Things to do during quarantine

The most widely spoken language: Arabic

As a rich, deep and diverse continent steep in history and huge geographical variance, it’s no surprise that Africa has developed some of the most complex languages, alphabets and scripts of any continent. Over 1.500 languages are spoken across its 1.1 billion strong population. In Nigeria alone, 250 languages are spoken.

African languages can be grouped into Afro-Asiatic, Nilo-Saharan, Niger-Congo, and Khoisan. They are composed of many dialects including sign languages and languages with clicks or other tones that are unique to the continent.

The most widely spoken language here is Arabic (by 170 million people), followed by English (by 130 million people) then Swahili, French, Bereber, Hausa and Portuguese.

.

Things to do during quarantine
Things to do during quarantine

Mozambique has a Kalashnikov on its flag

The AK-47 symbolises the struggle for independence and perhaps it is still there to remind us that the struggle for development and better conditions for all Mozambicans is still real.

Only a few other countries have weapons on their national flags, for example Haiti and Bolivia. Read stories and news from Mozambique here.

Things to do during quarantine
Things to do during quarantine

A new country name

The newest country name on the map of Africa is eSwatini.

This is now the name of what was formerly known as Swaziland. They got sick and tired with being confused with Switzerland, so they changed the name to eSwatini. Also, after 50 years of independence from the British empire, it was about time to get rid of the colonial name. eSwatini means “the land of the Swazis”.

Things to do during quarantine
Things to do during quarantine

Female presidents

Johnson Sirleaf, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, became Africa’s first elected female head of state in 2006 and stepped down in 2018 in the war-scarred West African state’s first peaceful democratic transition in seven decades.

In 2018, Sahle-Work Zewde became the first elected female President of Ethiopia. She is currently the only female out of  the 54 Presidents in Africa. She took office on October 25, 2018 after being unanimously elected by members of the National Parliamentary Assembly. Prior to her election as President, she worked as Special Representative of United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres to the African Union and Head of the United Nations Office to the African Union.

 

Ms Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Ms Sahle-Work Zewde

Things to do during quarantine

Your origins are African

Your ancestors came from Africa. In fact, all of our ancestry can be traced back to Africa. The cradle of humanity was placed somewhere on the continent, but it is uncertain where. The scientists are still researching precisely where homo sapiens evolved, and different theories exist. The jury is still out on that one. 

Read more fascinating ideas about the origin of humanity.

 

 

PS. Stay curious. Search for different perspectives on news and issues – instead of relying on the information you are served curated for western audiences. 

Here are some alternative media outlets you can explore:

Africa News

Democracy Now

AlJazeera English

TeleSur English

International volunteer opportunities in India.
International volunteer positions and comprehensive training.
International volunteer opportunities in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Take 10 Gap Year structure

3 months:
Preparation – training, practical skills, teamwork, setting goals

6 months:
Project work – in Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique or India

1 month:
Conclusion and information activities – reflection, bringing the good message out