Africa is a continent, Not a country – Brief History, People, and Culture

Africa is not a country, but a continent with 54 internationally recognized states, while two of its states independence is disputed; Somaliland and Western Sahara. It is troubling that some influential persons are not even aware of this simple fact. The blurry image that often comes to the mind of many people is that Africa is still undeveloped and struggling with poverty. A simple way to change the mindset of this group of persons is to visit Africa. Many megacities in Africa currently compete favorably with some cities around the world.

Archaeological evidence has proven that the birthplace of the Hominidae is Africa. Human beings belong to the taxonomic family of Hominidae.  It is also believed that the early humans first inhabited Africa before spreading to the rest of the world. The continent is the world’s most tropical with some regions sitting between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.

The physical and cultural variations of Africans depict adaption to wet and hot climates, dry, hot and climates.  The skin  of African people is not uniform varying from tan to a light color for those who live in the northern fringe, while those in Western and East Africa have dark skins.


Africa has over 1,500 distinct languages, but the languages are divided into six groups; Afroasiatic languages, Austronesian languages, Indo-European languages, Khoe languages, Niger-Congo languages and Nilo-Saharan languages.


The distribution of religion in the continent is not discrete. Those living in the northern part are predominately Muslims while those in the South are Christians.  The Bornu, Songhai, Hausa, and Malinke people are Islamized including parts of Temne of Sierra Leone and the Yoruba of Nigeria. Roman Catholicism takes a chunk of the Christians predominated areas.


The African culture is intermingled with the social and natural environment.  The continent has a rich and diverse culture that varies from one place to another. Mostly, an ethnic group culture focuses on the family that can be found in oral literature, music, and art.


The arts and craft include weaving, sculpture, painting, beading, jewelry, pottery, headgear, and dress.  Every region has its distinct art that depends on customs, values, and beliefs. The common art themes are seen in weapons, man, animals, children, couples, women, or a combination of each.  Spiritual and religious beliefs have their representation in masks that are traditionally respected.


There are numerous fabrics that Africans use in creating their clothing. Clothing varies from religion to religion, region to region, and customs and beliefs. The men wear differently from the women, who are mostly adorned with jewelry or beads.

Food & Drink

The cuisine is mostly inspired by the environment and the available foods available. Starchy foods take the lead in most regions while fruits, vegetables, and grains follow. Soups are highly regarded as favorites because of the way they are prepared. Every region has its special local drink like palm wine that is gotten from the palm trees.


Africans love music! Though, some music genres have been heavily influenced by the Western world. However, traditional music remains undiluted in villages. The singing and unique dancing accompanied by clapping, drumming cannot be missed.