Satelite image of Africa

10 Things Out of Africa

Last week I read an article in The Guardian: 10 things Africa has given the world. It was disappointing. I appreciate that the list doesn’t claim to be the top 10 things Africa has given the world, but it’s hard to escape the idea that any list of items like this must be chosen for their significance. Anyway, the 10 things the article identifies include two vegetable products (shea butter and coffee), a dish (jollof rice), a word (ubuntu), a fast food chain (Nando’s), penis transplants (yes, really), jazz, modern art (because African art inspired Picasso), mathematics (because of two disputed archaeological discoveries) and mobile telephones (apparently because some of the rare earths used in mobile phones are mined in Africa).

Weak!

Here instead is my own top 10 of things I think Africa has given the world. Let’s start with…

1. The Human Race
2. Civilisation
3. Resources
4. The Scatterlings of Africa
5. Food and drink
6. Swahili
7. Inspiration
8. Beyond inspiration
9. Medicine
10. Hope

I know the Internet likes articles that list things: “The 20 cutest faces cats pull”, “5 ways to know you’re a jerk”, “10 things Africa has given the world”. I know this article doesn’t really fit the mould. Writing it has taken a lot longer than I expected. Writing it has also given me – I have to admit – more respect for people who do write those sort of articles. (Not a lot more respect, but some.)

I’m sure you could come up with another list, perhaps a better list. Feel challenged? Got to it!

Africa in the world - satelite image of the world globe showing Africa


This took me far too long to research and write, consequently no recording this week.

The illustration – a satelite image of Africa from NASA – is reproduced from the creative commons stock at Wikimedia. “Africa is front and center in this image of Earth taken by a NASA camera on the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite. The image, taken July 6 2015 from a vantage point one million miles from Earth, was one of the first taken by NASA’s Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC). Central Europe is toward the top of the image with the Sahara Desert to the south, showing the Nile River flowing to the Mediterranean Sea through Egypt.”

This article was written for the #Blogg52 challenge.

3 thoughts on “10 Things Out of Africa”

  1. Your list is far better than the list from The Guardian!

    Shea butter might be splendid but the very first thing one would expect on such a list is that we all come from Africa. What use would the shea butter do if we vere not here??

    1. Thanks Eva,

      It’s that old philosophical question: If there is no one around to make butter from the shea nut, does it then contribute to the cosmetics industry? (I think I got that right. 😉 )

      Mitochondrial Eve does seem to be a key African export, doesn’t she.

      Cheers,
      John

Leave a Reply