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The Rich History of Africa

The African continent has 53 independent countries, many of which have their own diverse geographical features, peoples, languages and cultures. But these countries share many similarities; a rich history - one that includes the rise and fall of African empires and kingdoms; the slave trade era; colonialism; independence struggles and civil wars. The outcome of these times has taught Africans to continue fighting for unity, peace and sustainability of their fledgling economies and governments.

Before discussing Africa’s history, it is important to highlight the following facts about the continent’s prehistory period:

  • The earth’s continents were once joined together, forming a super continent, known as Pangaea. Over 200 million years ago, this Pangaea broke up and created the various continents we have today. This continental drift saw Africa breaking away from South America. This is why these two continents fit extremely well when put next to each other.
  • Africa is known to be the cradle of humankind as it is in Africa that the oldest fossils of the early ancestors of humankind were found. The Cradle of Humankind sites are located in different parts of Africa, namely in South Africa (Guateng and North West provinces) and Tanzania (The Olduvai Gorge). These sites are considered World Heritage sites.

Africa has a rich and diverse history. Although each country has its own individual history, these countries are connected together with one common history; a history that includes ancient kingdoms and empires and the European presence in Africa. To learn about the milestones of Africa's history, please click on the below topics: 

Africa Now...

Africa has come a long way, from slavery, colonialism and finally to independence. With all its past struggles, Africa continues to learn and to strengthen its national institutions while empowering its populace. Better economic policies are being implemented; more industries are being established (oil, tourism, mining etc) to diversity respective economies while the push for self-reliance is increasingly becoming a continental motto. With more investments trickling into the African continent, there are more opportunities for African economies to thrive, which will subsequently improve the living standards in the coming decades. Currently more and more areas of Africa have access to clean water, electricity and education. The communications infrastructure and greater trade relations are becoming increasingly common in many African countries. Information Technology (IT) is becoming the norm particularly in urban Africa as telecommunications is eased with the use cell-phones and the internet.

As governments strive to supply electricity to rural areas, private and public television stations bring news from afar to African living rooms. Despite the current challenges of protracted civil wars, HIV/AIDS and poverty, Africans guided by the richness of their culture and pride of their ancestry, continue to harbor hope for a better future. Indeed, Africa, as a youthful continent has great chances to continue growing, and growing in a more positive direction.