From Sahara to Serengeti: 77 Key Facts That Define the Spirit of Africa

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1Botswana farmers

Botswana farmers

Farmers in Botswana have started painting eyes on their cows' bottoms to stop lions from attacking them.


2. In 1996, Pfizer may have killed 50 kids in Nigeria while improperly testing experimental anti-meningitis drugs.


3. In 1972, a pocket of uranium in Africa was found to have undergone self-sustaining nuclear fission for over 100,000 years, making it the only known naturally formed nuclear reactor.


4. A teenage girl named Nongqawuse of the Xhosa people in Africa convinced her entire tribe to kill all their cattle, saying it would bring about a cataclysm destroying English colonizers. Tens of thousands died in the subsequent famine, and the English were unharmed.


5. There's a bar (Baobab tree bar) in South Africa entirely inside a 6,000-year-old baobab tree, a species which naturally begins to hollow after it reaches about 1,000 years old.


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6Beehive fences

Beehive fences

Beehive fences (spaced along the edge of their property) in Africa help farmers ward off elephants without harming them, while also producing honey that they can sell in addition to other crops.


7. When Columbian drug lord Pablo Escolar's home was raided, the military released the dangerous hippos of his personal zoo, not knowing what to do with them. They now thrive in the Columbian rivers. This makes Columbia have the largest wild hippo population outside of Africa.


8. An African tribe (Herero tribe) still wears Victorian clothes, the style of former German occupiers that they've made their own


9. Giant rats have been trained to sniff out land mines in Africa. In Mozambique, they have already been instrumental in the removal of 13,000 mines, helping reclaim 1,100 hectares of land


10. 12 African nations have come together pledging to build a 9-mile wide band of trees that will stretch all the way across Africa, 4750 miles, in order to stop the progressive advancement of the Sahara.


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11Columbian Exchange

Columbian Exchange

Before the Columbian Exchange, there were no oranges in Florida, no bananas in Ecuador, no potatoes in Ireland, no coffee in Colombia, no pineapples in Hawaii, no rubber trees in Africa, no chili peppers in Thailand, no tomatoes in Italy, and no chocolate in Switzerland.


12. Africa is the only continent that is in all four hemispheres. (Northern, Southern, Western, Eastern)


13. The Prawns in the movie District 9 are not called that because of shrimp but are in reference to the Parktown prawn which is a cricket native to South Africa.


14. There is a frog from Africa, Trichobatrachus robustus, that breaks a bone in its toe pad, pushes the sharp broken bone through its skin, and tries to shank you with it if it feels threatened.


15. Roger Federer's coach, Peter Carter, was killed in a car crash in South Africa in 2002. Every year since 2005, Federer arranges for Carter's parents to fly out of Adelaide to attend the Australian Open in Melbourne, where they sit in his box, stay at his hotel, and attend the celebrations.


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16Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela

In 1962, the CIA tipped off South Africa's intelligence service about the location of Nelson Mandela, leading to his arrest that put him in jail for 27 years


17. In Algeria, the largest country in Africa and 35th in world population, women make up 70% of the country's lawyers and 60% of its judges, as well as dominating the field of medicine. Increasingly, women are contributing more to household income than men. 60% of university students are women.


18. Amazon and Congo were likely one river before Africa and S. America drifted apart.


19. During the peak of Ebola news in 2014 people started to avoid Liberia airport in Costa Rica thinking that it was the country in Africa.


20. During Apartheid in South Africa, Glasgow renamed the street which at the time was the address of the South African Consulate from St George's Place to Nelson Mandela Place. Consular officials would be forced to look at his name when reading and addressing postal correspondence.


21Bouvet Island

Bouvet Island

Norway owns an uninhabited frozen island located halfway between Africa and Antarctica.


22. There is a fictional island in the South Atlantic, off the west coast of Africa, at lat/long 0,0, called 'Null Island'. Although it doesn't exist in reality, it serves as an error trap for map systems. Map enthusiasts have given the island its own history, geography and even flag.


23. Scientists from South Africa discovered a formula that calculates how likely a frog is to eat another frog. "For every one-millimeter increase in body size, a frog is 2.8 percent more likely to eat other frogs."


24. In 2007, two teams of armed intruders stormed their way into a nuclear plant used to store weapons-grade uranium from South Africa's decommissioned arsenal. The coordinated assault was thwarted by an off-duty firefighter, a plant employee, and their dog.


25. Camels originated in the present-day United States and only later spread to Asia and North Africa

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