Things or types of people you probably didn’t know exist in Africa


11 types of people or things you probably didn’t know exist in Africa

By Samuel Yeboah

Africa is the world’s second largest continent in population and size is home to over 50 different countries. It’s so big that you have to split it up into regions: West Africa, East Africa, Northern and Southern Africa. and is more diverse and complex than many people give it credit for.  Home to almost 3,000 different ethnic groups and languages, Africa is a diverse continent that ironically falls under a lot of generalizations. Here is a list of 10 types of people and things you probably didn’t know existed in Africa.


  1. African Atheists – South Africa

Africa is known as a continent that is very religious, home to megachurches, major evangelism crusades, huge Muslims, devout Muslims, and major religious conflicts, Africa is said to be the continent with the highest percentage of people who believe in a God or religion. However in certain parts of Africa, many people do not subscribe to a religion most notably in Botswana where 20 percent of the people are atheist and South Africa where 15% are atheist.

Wole Soyinka

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  1. Snow – Snowy mountains and ski resorts are not usually the first things that come to mind when one thinks about Africa, but in certain places in Africa they do exist, particularly South Africa, Lesotho, Algeria, Morrocco, and sometimes Madagascar. South Africa is one of the few countries in the world to cover every topographical category in the world, and that includes snow, and Lesotho, a country that South Africa completely surrounds is considered to be the coldest country in Africa. Lesotho is the coldest country in Africa, with average June temperatures hovering at around 0 degrees Celsius, and 32 degree Fahrenheit.

Snow in Africa


  1. Poor White People – South Africa

When someone thinks of a White African, even if they know they exist, which a lot do not. Lot of times we think of Dr. Livingston, Indiana Jones, an NGO volunteer, or a Coloniast in Khaki shorts smoking on cigars with an African or Native houseservant waiting on them, this situations may be true, but not every white person in Africa is rich, with a housemaid serving them, Their numbers may be disputed from 80-400,000. Poor white South Africans do exist. Particularly in White shantytowns like Munsieville, in Gauteng Province

Poor Whites


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  1. African heavymetal Rock bands – Botswana

Botswana is known for its Metals The mineral industry is reponsible for about 40% of all government revenues. It is rich in diamonds, oil, gold, Uranium, copper. But there is another metal that Botswana is rich in and that is heavy metal. Botswana, unbeknownst to many a very vibrant heavy metal scene. Many of them are actually cowboys from small villages and farms, which explains the appropriation of cowboy and biker looks. They also wear symbols of Africa -like animal horns- and adopt names like Bone Machine, Bound By The Moon, Demon, Gunsmoke, Morgue Boss, Coffinfeeder, Venerated Villain, or Apothecary Dethrok.




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  1. Black Americans, – There are over 5,000 Black Americans estimated living in Ghana. Many times people have made the argument Black Americans, will complain about racism in America, but they would never move to anywhere in Africa, their ancestral homeland due to its many problems and issues. However, many Black American, as well as Black Brazillians and Cubans, have made the journey home, most notably in places like Ghana, and other West African countries where there is a sizable community. As far as their relations with the local communities, some have integrated and intermarried with the local communities, (Ghana and Nigeria) while others have not, (Liberia, and Sierra Leone.)

Black Americans


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  1. Latin Telenovela fans – Kenya, Angola

When we hear the word telenovela and Africa, one would suspect that these are two words that would have no relation to each other. However, it may come as a surprise to many any that many people in Africa are major connoisseurs of Latin American telenovelas ( Latin American soap operas) . Many Latin American travelers to Africa have been surprised to Latin American telenovelas playing on the television. In countries such as Kenya, there is a 24 hour telenovela channel called “Romanza Africa”, and is the largest channel for Latin Telenovelas. reaching 4.5 million Kenyan viewers, or households on Bamba TV which is a digital network. Romanza Africa   is a joint Venture between Mexico’s popular Channel TV Azteca, Venezuela’s Cisneros Media, and the local digital content distributor Africa XP.

Other networks like Brazil’s Globo, Colombia’s Caracol and RCN, and Mexico’s Televisa also have their telenovelas in the region and have seen their programs gain popularity as well.

The Spanish telenovela “Mi corazón insiste en Lola” (My Heart Beats for Lola) is the most popular telenovela in the region, ratings wise. Latin telenovelas are shown in TV Channels all across Africa. With the exception of Equatorial Guinea most African countries do not speak Spanish. So they are usually dubbed or shown with subtitles. However in the many Portuguese speaking former colonies like Angola, Cape Verde, Mozambique, Brazilian telenovelas are just shown in their original language due to their linguistic bonds.

In some parts of Africa, telenovelas are so popular that they have made their own versions of telenovelas that have gained popularity as well, most notably Windeck which is from the Portuguese speaking country of Angola, and has become a very popular show for many people.



Photo Credit: My heart beats for Lola

  1. Penguins – South Africa, and Namibia

Africa is famous for its animals, when we think of animals in Africa,

The wild animals of Africa are some of the most incredible creatures in the world. On this continent you will find the fastest, largest, and weirdest animals on the earth, many of which are unfortunately endangered species.

we think of lions, tigers (erroneously, Tigers are in Asia, not Africa), elephants, hippos, rhinos, giraffes, but not penguins, however, due to the cooler climate of Southern Africa, Africa is actually home to a large number of penguins, In facts is home to a local breed of penguins known as the black footed penguin that migrates between Southern Africa and Antarctica yearly. Thus more deeply edifying the amazing diversity of African fauna.



Photo Credit: USA Today

  1. High speed rail lines – Johannesburg, South Africa

Many times people associate the African continent with total backwardness, and while it is understandable in some cases, one needs to understand that Africa is a huge continent and not all of Africa is technically behind, and technological development varies from country to country, while some countries do not even have functioning rail systems, some countries are home to high speed rail lines, subway systems, trams, and world class airports. South Africa is home to the Gautrain which connects the two cities of Pretoria and Johannessburg. On the 7th of June, 2010, Minister of Transport Sbusiso Ndebele said that plans were seriously being considered for a high-speed line from Johannesburg to Durban. The line would reduce the current journey time from 12h to about 3h. The 721 km line would involve major engineering challenges, including traversing the Drakensberg mountains. A high-speed line from Johannesburg to Cape Town is also under stud

Morocco is also planning a high speed rail line from Casablanca to Tangier

High speed rail

Li Qihua/Xinhua /Landov

  1. Capoiera enthusiasts – Angola

For most people, capoeira — an art which mixes combat, dance and music — is associated with Brazilian culture. But the origins of the discipline can actually be traced back to the west coast of Africa — in particular, Angola.



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  1. Chinatowns– South Africa, Madagscar, Angola, Mauritus, Kenya, Nigeria

Zheng he was the first recorded Non African to visit Subsaharan Africa in 1413 when he landed on the Kenyan Coast of Malindi, The Ming Dynasty voyages of Chinese admiral Zheng He and his fleet, which rounded the coast of Somalia and followed the coast down to the Mozambique Channel. The goal of those expeditions was to spread Chinese culture and signal Chinese strength. Zheng brought gifts and granted titles from the Ming emperor to the local rulers, with the aim of establishing a large number of tributary states.[3] In October 1415, Chinese explorer and admiral Zheng He reached the eastern coast of Africa and sent the first of two giraffes as gifts to the Chinese Yongle Emperor.[15]


There are some other accounts that mention Chinese ships sinking near Lamu Island in Kenya in 1415. Survivors are said to have settled in the island and married local women.[16][17]

Coastal African countries such as South Africa, Madagascar, and Mauritius were the main receiving points of Chinese immigrants from the 1890s to the early part of the 20th century. The early Chinese arrived to labour in the Transvaal gold mines of South Africa and on the Tananrive Tamatave railway of Madagascar. This was the first wave of Chinese people to the African continent. For

Fast forward to recent times since the last 15 years, there has been another wave of almost 1 million Chinese who have recently moved to Africa. Making a population of almost 2 million Chinese people. Trade between the PRC and Africa increased by 700% during the 1990s,[7] and China is currently Africa’s largest trading partner. The Confucius Institute, which focuses on the promotion of the Chinese language and culture, has 20 centers distributed around 13 African countries.

In 2012, China’s trade with Africa reached $198.5 billion, More than 80 percent of China’s $93.2 billion in imports from Africa in 2011 were crude oil, raw materials and resources. China accounts for more than 30 percent of total value of infrastructure projects in Africa, higher than other donors. And African governments, businesses, and citizens are all clamoring for infrastructure investment. The Nan Hua temple in South Africa is one of the largest Buddhist temples outside of Africa.



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11. Rice Paddies – Madagascar

When one thinks of Terraced Rice Paddies one usually thinks of a place in Asia, not Africa. However, in Madagascar they are quite common due to the fact that Madagascar is a country that has been a fusion of Asian and African culture both culturally and genetically, ever since the first Southeast Asians migrated to 3,700 miles from Asia to Africa thousands of years. One result of that fusion is Asian style Rice Paddies.

Rice Paddies


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12. Blonde haired blue eyed Africans – Cape Verde

European ancestors include Spanish and Italian seamen who were granted land by the Portuguese Empire, followed by Portuguese settlers, exiles, Portuguese Muslims and Portuguese Jews who were both victims of the Inquisition. Many foreigners from other parts of the world settled in Cape Verde as their permanent country. These people came from places such as the Netherlands, France, Britain, Arab countries(Lebanon and Morocco), China (especially from Macau), India, Indonesia, South America, North America and Brazil (including people of Portuguese and African descent) and were absorbed into the mestiço population. This melting pot of people created a society, where many people were genetically mixed with different races.

In Cape Verde, it is not unusual to encounter dark-skinned people with blond hair and blue eyes or children with pale skin and jet black hair。It is estimated that 10% of Cape Verde’s population is blonde.


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