September 25, 2023

3 Surprising Facts About Africa

While the African continent is steeped in a rich heritage, there are frequently small pieces of information that can fall through the cracks of time and risk becoming lost. So what are some of the more surprising facts about the continent that you probably don’t know?

10 000 States to 54 Countries

Between the ninth and 18th centuries, Africa was comprised of as many as 10 000 separate state-nations under different political organisations and rule. Each “state” came with their own language and customs, which have led to the diverse selection of languages spoken throughout the continent today.

Currently, there are 54 countries on the second largest continent in the world, placing it ahead of Asia – the largest continent in the world.

Zambia Had a Space Program

While the United States of America and the Soviet Union were racing to the moon in the 1960s, Zambia was reportedly also developing its own space program. The self termed “Afronauts” had plans to journey to the moon, then on to mars.

Edward Makuka Nkoloso, originally a science teacher, appointed himself as head of Zambia’s unofficial National Academy of Science, Space Research and Philosophy.

Some of Nkoloso’s training tactics included rolling his 12 astronauts down hills in oil drums, teaching them to walk on their hands, and cutting them down from a hanging rope to emulate free falling.

The Nuclear Power Station on Top of a Faultline

The 1970s were a fearless time, when power stations could be built on faultlines and no one would bat an eyelid. Take Koeberg for example, a nuclear power station 30 km north of Cape Town in the Western Cape Province of South Africa.

Koeberg is currently sitting on top of the “Cape Fold Belt”, which forms part of a geological faultline. The last major earthquake in the area dates back to 1809 but a series of minor trembles in recent years have made sure to keep everyone on their toes.

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