10 things you probably didn't know about Africa

10 things you probably didn't know about Africa

In our spotlight on Africa series 2021 we will be offering a different perspective, one that is hardly covered and other interesting facts that are often overlooked. We also will be dispelling some of the myths that are misrepresentative of this vast, diverse and beautiful continent.

Just like our coffee we hope to show you the real Africa that is uniquely different to anything you may have come across before. Let's begin. 

1. Size matters

First thing to dispel is the true size of African continent. The Mercator projection is a map most of us are familiar with but look closer and you will discover that it is highly inaccurate.

The Mercator map was drawn by Flemish geographer and cartographer Gerardus Mercator in 1569.

The problem with this widely used map is that it is nowhere near to scale. Africa is shrunk, Greenland appears 14 times larger than Africa and three times larger than Australia. Europe is centralised and together with North America are made to look bigger than they actually are. According to Gall Peters (projection map shown below) the Mercator projection shows a euro-centric bias and harms the world's perception of developing countries.

Do not adjust your sets.

Gall - Peters Projection. Wikipedia Commons

The Peters projection map shows a more accurate representation of Africa. With a land area of 30.37 million square kilometres (11.7 million square miles). To put it into context, Africa is larger than the USA, China and Brazil combined. Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent, after Asia.

2. Age

Africa comprises of 54 countries with a population of 1.3 billion people and has the youngest population of all continents with a median age in 2012 of 19.7 compared to a worldwide median age of 30.4.

According to the institute for securities studies, by 2035, sub-Saharan Africa’s population will still be the youngest in the world whilst the share of working-age individuals (aged 15 to 64) relative to the non-working-age population is increasing, which is good news for the continents economy.

3. Coffee

Africa is the most centrally located continent on the planet. Both the equator and the Greenwich Meridian line cross it. The equator is the invisible line that separates the northern hemisphere from the southern hemisphere and runs across the centre of the Earth at a latitude of exactly zero degrees.

The Equator cuts across Africa 2,500 miles from the West to the East thus dividing the continent into two separate halves (north and south). It passes through many of the African nations such as Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, Uganda as well as Kenya.

The elevated terrains warm days and cold nights typical of these mountainous regions creates the perfect environment ideal for growing the perfect bean. The combination of high elevation, humidity, rainfall and soil quality affects the coffee bean so precisely that one plant could have a radically different taste from another plant grown within a close neighbouring farm.

The continents coffee have unique wide ranging distinct flavour profiles, satisfying aroma and tasting notes. This is why African coffee is highly revered for their diverse flavours which are not found anywhere else.

Due to the planet warming up, farmers are facing challenges with crop diseases, unseasonal weather and other factors which are a looming threat to your favourite drink.

4. Cradle of humankind

The African continent is the world’s oldest populated area. Africa, particularly Eastern Africa, is widely accepted as the place of origin of humans. Fossil remains have suggested that humans had inhabited the African continent around 7 million years ago.

5. Land of the pyramids

Did you know, Sudan has more pyramids than Egypt! Egypt has 132 pyramids which are considered to be among the oldest in the world. Nubian pyramids were built by the rulers of the ancient Kushite kingdoms. According to Wikipedia the first had its capital at Kerma (2500–1500 BC). The second was centred on Napata (1000–300 BC). The last kingdom was centred on Meroë (300 BC–AD 300). They are built of granite and sandstone.

6. Windmills

South Africa has more than 200,000 windmills. Which is much more than the 10,000 recorded in the Netherlands, although the Dutch windmills are more popular.

7. Higher than a kite

The 20,000-foot Mt. Kilimanjaro is Africa’s highest peak and also the tallest free-standing mountain in the world. Kilimanjaro has three volcanic cones, Mawenzi, Shira and Kibo.

Mawenzi and Shira are extinct but Kibo, the highest peak, is dormant and could erupt again. The most recent activity was about 200 years ago; the last major eruption was 360,000 years ago. Almost every kind of ecological system is found on the mountain: cultivated land, rain forest, heath, moorland, alpine desert and an arctic summit.

8. Tall, big and fast

Africa is among the best continents for nature and wildlife lovers to explore.

The continent boasts some of the world’s most dense population of wildlife, the richest diversity of fauna of any continent on our planet due to its enormous landscape with diverse climates ranging from subarctic to tropical.

Africa is also home to the largest land animal in the world the African elephant, the tallest animal in the world (giraffe) and the fastest animal in the world, the cheetah.

9. 365 days

Egyptians are said to have invented the 365-day calendar. This helped them predict the annual Nile flooding. The Egyptians invented the schematised civil year of 365 days divided into three seasons, each of which consisted of four months of 30 days each. The civil calendar was derived from the lunar calendar and the agricultural or Nile fluctuations using seasons.

10. Sahara Desert

The Sahara is the largest desert in the world with an area of approximately 9,200,000 km2. To put that into perspective that is bigger than the continental USA and around 30% of Africa. Wow!

Surprised? Hopefully you learnt something new from this blog. I'll be sharing more facts about Africa next month. Until then take care and keep drinking and enjoying great African coffee.


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