What is something most people don’t know about Africa?

There are so many things people do NOT KNOW ABOUT AFRICA; though, Africa has been around for thousands of years-from the days of ancient Egypt-where civilization spread into the world. Africa has come a long way, witnessed and survived all yesterday’s powers-Assyria, Babylon (modern-day Iraq); Persia later Media and Persia (modern-day Iran); Greece, Rome, and more recently, European seven colonial brothers-British, French, German, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, and Belgian.

Africa has been in the news and world history for ages; unfortunately, only a little is known about Africa by peoples who are not Africans.

Because of what Euro-American media continue to push into global markets for immediate and international audience to know, which IS NOT DIFFERENT from what European scholars from pre-colonial days through many eras of occupation and annexation of Africa informed their home audience.

Unfortunately, we have lived with what might have been half-truths; or stories far from the truth for centuries.

Work like this, mostly from Africans will however, correct some of the past misrepresentations and present Africa exactly as it is with all supporting evidence and available facts, previous histories and news failed to take into consideration.

Here are some Things People do not Know about Africa.

The Twenty Things People Do Not Know About Africa: First, Africa is A CONTINENT NOT A COUNTRY. Africa has fifty-two independent countries, hundreds of islands on Atlantic and Indian Oceans, also around Mediterranean Sea in the north. Besides, it has eight territories, these countries are located within the six geographical regions on Africa continent. North Africa-Morocco, Algeria Tunisia, Libya and Egypt; in West Africa are sixteen countries-Nigeria, Benin Republic, Togo, Ghana, Cote d’ Ivoire, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, Gambia, Senegal, Mali, Mauritania, Western Sahara/Polisario, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad; Horn of Africa- are Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, North and Southern Sudan; in Central Africa-are-Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Angola, Rwanda and Burundi; in East Africa are-Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Malawi. In South Africa-are-Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland, and South Africa.

Second, Africa is the third largest continent after Asia, the Americas; Africa has a landmass of over 30 million square kilometers or 11.7 million square miles. However, if Americas are taken into two separate continents-North America and South America, Africa becomes the second largest-and its largest city is Lagos, Nigeria with over 18 million residents.

Third, Africa true size-twice the size of Russia; about four times bigger than United States. Africa can hold-Mexico, China, India, United States, Western and Eastern Europe, Japan, many more Islands and territories.

Fourth, Africa has the largest and second hottest desert on earth-the SAHARA DESERT. Sahara Desert covers approximately the entire size of United States of about 9,200,000 square kilometers. The desert covers an extensive landmass from Atlas Mountains in Morocco through Nile Valley in Egypt, but ends in Sudan. The desert is bordered on the southern fringe by Sahel; on the west, Ahaggar Mountains in Algeria; in the north, Tiberti Mountains in Chad, Air Mountains in Niger; Tenere in Libya.

Fifth, Africa has Atlas Mountains-these are series of mountains from Morocco through Algeria to Tunisia; stretching 2,500 kilometers or 1,600 miles. These mountains are similar to Andes of South America and Alps of Europe. The range’s highest peak is the Toubkal with 4,167 meters or 13,671 ft in Southern Morocco. The Atlas Mountains separate Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea coastline from Sahara Desert.

Sixth, Africa has the second largest rainforest in the world after the Amazon in Brazil. It is located in equator, which run through Congo Basin on the Atlantic side of the great continent. It has precipitation of 60–160 inches or 152- 402cm; has eight or nine months of continuous rainfall all-year round. The region-Central Africa- is poetically and geographically referred to as the JEWEL OR GEOLOGICAL GARDEN OF AFRICA. It is famous for different wildlife: the mountain gorilla, chimpanzees, elephants, okapi, hippos, white rhino, black mamba, king cobra, zebra, pangolin, monkeys, leopards, lions. The African “Amazon” or rainforest represents 18% of world’s remaining rainforest of 50 million hectares; Democratic Republic of Congo (DCR) accounts for 20 million hectares or 40%. In the region are: 11,000 species of birds; home to 10,000 plants; 400 species of animals; 700 types of fish. The Africa rainforest holds 36 billion tons of carbon-dioxide in its vegetation, second after the Amazon of Brazil of 100 billion tons carbon dioxide in the world.

Seventh, Africa is the home to the world second longest river, The AGELESS NILE. A river of great historical importance, it meanders from the great lake region of East Africa-from Lake Victoria- through several Africa nations to Egypt, before discharging into Mediterranean Sea. A river of two colors, blue in Ethiopia-from silt deposit that makes the water turn dark brown or black; white in Southern Sudan, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo. Nile River supports more than three hundred million lives on daily basis; from seafoods provision to navigation, eco protection, irrigation needs, electricity generation from dams it powers. Nile River is one of African heritages of unquantifiable or priceless value.

Eighth, Africa’s Congo River is the second largest river in the world by DISCHARGE OR WATER FLOW RATES AND VOLUME; after Amazon River with a phenomenal discharge of 100,000 m3/per second, Congo River discharges 41,200 cubit meter per second. More than two-thirds of the river lies in Democratic Republic of Congo; this river support other regional waters before empty self into Atlantic Ocean.

Ninth, Africa has the largest wildlife in the world- from the open grassland in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi to bushveld Southern Africa.

Between five to seven million square kilometers, millions of animals of different makes and designs roam the open grassland. The carnivores, herbivores, amphibians, marine lives, insects, birds, reptiles, have continued to co-habit with man for millennials in Africa. However, the most popular among the animals are BIG FIVE-elephants, lions, leopards, buffalo, and rhino; they have lived in Africa for countless centuries.

Moreover, African bushveld (South Africa) and savannah region on East African corridor continue to play a vital role of home to small and big, wild and moderate animals. The big cats-lions-king of the jungle; leopards-the jewel of the jungle-and their cousin-cheetah, regardless of physiological and anatomical differences, these animals will always make Africa their permanent home.

Tenth, the Great Migration: every year, over three to five million animals-in a multiple large formations leave Serengeti in Tanzania to Maasai Mara in Kenya in an eighth month trip that has become a ritual without equal ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD. From Serengeti Plains in Tanzania, wildebeest, zebras, deer, begin a 2,000-mile-journey-of-eight-month-round-trip.

Twelfth, Africa is a home to the tallest and shortest humans in the world. The Dinka people are the tallest ethnic group in Africa domicile in the East and West Banks of Nile River, principally found in Abyei area of Angok Dinka in Southern Kordofan of Sudan. The Dinka people call themselves MOINJAANG, meaning “People of the Peoples.” Average Male Height in 1953/1954 Height survey was: 182.6 cm (5ft 11.9inc); in 1995 survey, average male height was 176.4cm (5ft 9.4 inc).

Apart from Dinka people, the Tutsi of Rwanda and Burundi are very tall averaging between 5ft and 6ft. Also, the Maasai people in Kenya, average height is 6ft.

Thirteenth, Africa is a home to the shortest people on earth; the Pygmies of Congo or “Central African Foragers”; the Pygmies of Congo are classified into three groups: The Bambenga, live in Cameroon, Gabon, Democratic Republic of Congo; the Bambuti, found in Democratic Republic of Congo; and the Batwa or Twa in Rwanda, Burundi, Angola, Namibia, Zambia, Uganda, Tanzania, and Democratic Republic of Congo.

Fourteenth, the oldest university in the world is in Fez, Morocco; Al-Qarawwiyyin University was established in AD 859 by a woman, Fatimah al-Fihri, her family migrated from Qayrawan in Tunisia some 1,200 years ago. When her father, Mohammed al-Fihris died, Fatimah and her sister, Mariam, inherited enormous wealth; she decided to build a mosque for her community and a Madrasa. The Madrasa soon became a global center of learning, which offered courses in calligraphy, Arabic grammar, Sufism, medicine, music, and astronomy.

Fifteenth, the oldest library is located in Fez, Morocco at al-Qarawiyyin’s University; the library has over 4,000 manuscripts, Rare and Ancient book date back to 9th century. Among the rare collection in the library is the 9th century AD Hadith, which record says is the oldest in Muslim world.

There are so many things on the continent of Africa, most people do not know, just because, Africa and Africans for a long period have been wrongly misrepresented.

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Santosian Noor is a Kenyan Environmental Engineer, Wildlife film producer, and director of film and television. He is best known as wildlife conservationist and the Author of "THE CRY FOR ELEPHANTS", "THE LAST TUSKS", "THE CRY OF A SON", and "THE MISSING ELEPHANTS"

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