Understanding Africa Myth 7: Can you speak African? There is an African Language

  • This is one of the most ironic myths about Africa due to the fact Africa is linguistically diverse. I think Africa is the most diverse continent in the world as there are hundreds of different languages spoken across it.
  • There are 2,100 languages spoken in Africa
  • Every country in Africa has at least five lesser languages as well as the common language, and it is true that many of these languages have clicks in them, but they are definitely not all the same language.


Official Languages or Second Languages of most African countries

  • English 400 million (18) – Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Uganda, South Sudan, Liberia, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia, Botswana, Mauritius
  • French 250 million (18)–Democratic Republic of the Congo, Madagascar, Cote D’Ivoire, Senegal, Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, Rwanda, Burundi, Guinea, Chad, Benin, Togo, Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Comoros, Djibouti, Mauritius, Seychelles
  • Portuguese 40 million (5) – Angola, Mozambique, Guinea Bissau, Cape Verde, Sao Tome and Principe
  • Swahili 140 million (3)– Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda,
  • Arabic 150 million (7)– Egypt, Sudan, Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Tunisia,Mauritania
  • Amharic 80-90 million – Ethiopia
  • Somali 17 million (1) – Somalia
  • Spanish -700,000 (1) – Equatorial Guinea
  • Most people in Africa/With the exception of Arabic,Amharic, Portuguese, some French and English speakers speak more than one language


Local African Based Languages

  • Swahili 140 million – Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda
  • Amharic 30 – 90 million – Ethiopia
  • Hausa Fulani – 50 million – West Africa
  • Yoruba 40 million – Nigeria, parts of Benin
  • Berber 40 million – Morocco, Algeria
  • Oromo 30 million – Ethiopia
  • Igbo 30 Million – Nigeria
  • Malagasy 23 million – Madagascar
  • Akan 22 million – Ghana
  • Somali 17 million – Somalia
  • Zulu 17 million – South Africa


Submyth 7.5 – Africa has no written languages

  • True for many countries
  • Just like it was true for most countries worldwide that were not Latin and adopted the Latin script
  • There are a few exception


Amharic – 30-90 million speakers

  • One of worlds oldest written languages
  • Worlds oldest abugida script
  • Abugida is an Ethiopian name for the Ge‘ez script, taken from four letters of that script, ’ä bu gi da,
  • The Ethiopian script of the 4th century AD influenced the writing script of Armenia.
  • A Russian historian noted that: “Soon after its creation, the Ethiopic vocalised script began to influence the scripts of Armenia and Georgia. D. A. Olderogge suggested that Mesrop Mashtotz used the vocalised Ethiopic script when he invented the Armenian alphabet.”


Somali Osmaniya script 17 million speakers

Chose to use different script

Somali Osmaniyya Script


Nsibiri Igbo Script

Insibiri script






Bamun Script



Egyptian hieroglyphics

Egyptian hieroglyphics



Nubian Wadaad Scripts


Submyth 7.7 Africans don’t value education

African Immigrants in the U.S and U.K, and Canada

There are 3 million African immigrants America. (The highest African immigrant Population outside Africa) 1 million in the U.K. Have the highest educational attainment in the U.S and U.K Some 48.9 percent of all African immigrants hold a college diploma. This is more than double the rate of native-born white Americans, and nearly four times the rate of native-born Black Americans

According to the 2000 Census, the percentage of Africans with a graduate degree is highest among Nigerian Americans at 28.3 16][17] Of the African-born population in the United States age 25 and older, 87.9% reported having a high school degree or higher,[19] compared with 78.8% of Asian-born immigrants and 76.8% of European-born immigrants, respectively

Nigerians Most Educated in the U.S. According to 2006 census data, 37 percent of Nigerians in the U.S. had bachelor’s degrees, 17 percent held master’s degrees and 4 percent had doctorates. In contrast, the same census data showed only 19 percent of white Americans had bachelor’s degrees, 8 percent held master’s degrees and only 1 percent held doctorates, the paper reports.

Kwasie Enin



  • Three sons and two daughters of Senator David Omueya and Cynthia Esella Dafinone of Lagos, Nigeria, all qualified as members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales between 1986 and 1999. Their father had also become a member of the same institution in 1963.
  • Igho Omueya Dafinone, Ede Omueya Dafinone and Duvie Omueya Dafinone are currently working within the firm of D O Dafinone  Co. Chartered Accontants in Lagos. Daphne Omueya Dafinone and Joy Ufuoma Dafinone live in London.


  • They passed the University of Cambridge Advanced Maths A level at age 8

Peter and Paula Imafidon

In the United Kingdom – African immigrants in the U.K have the highest University degree attainment rate at 45%

The average annual personal income of African immigrants is about $26,000 nearly $2,000 more than that of workers born in the U.S. This might be because 71 percent of the Africans 16 years and older are working, compared to 64 percent of Americans. This is believed to be due larger percentage of African immigrants have higher educational qualifications than Americans, which results in higher per capita incomes for African immigrants and Americans born to African immigrants.[66]

Other than in the United States, Africans have been experienced success in numerous other countries such as Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom, which have attracted many educated and highly skilled African immigrants with enough resources for them to start a new life in these countries.[67]

In the United Kingdom, one report has revealed that African immigrants have high rates of employment and that African immigrants are doing better economically than some other immigrant groups.[90] Africans have obtained much success as entrepreneurs, many owning and starting many successful businesses across the country.[91][92] Of the African immigrants, certain groups have become and are highly integrated into the country especially groups which have strong English language skills such as Zimbabweans or Nigerians, and they often come from highly educated and highly qualified backgrounds.[93][94] Many African immigrants have low levels of unemployment, and some groups are known for their high rates of self-employment, as can be seen in the case of Nigerian immigrants.[94]Certain groups outside of having strong English skills have found success mostly because many who immigrated to the UK are already highly educated and highly skilled professionals who come with jobs and positions such as business people, academics, traders, doctors and lawyers as is the case with Sudaneseimmigrants.[95]

As of 2013, Nigerian immigrants were among the nine immigrant populations that were above average academically in the UK.[96] Euromonitor International for the British Council suggests that the high academic achievement by Nigerian students is mainly from most of the pupils already having learned English in their home country. Additionally, many of them hail from the wealthier segments of Nigerian society, which can afford to pursue studies abroad.[97] A notable example of the highly educated nature of British Nigerians is the case of Paula and Peter Imafidon, nine-year-old twins who are the youngest students ever to be admitted to high school in England. Nicknamed the ‘Wonder Twins’, the twins and other members of their family have accomplished incredible rare feats, passing advanced examinations and being accepted into institutions with students twice their age




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