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Interesting things about Africa

 

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1. He lived up to his name: Mandela's birth name was Rolihlahla. In his Xhosa tribe, the name means pulling the branch of a tree or troublemaker.

2. He had a cameo in a Spike Lee film: He had a big part in Spike Lee's 1992 biopic "Malcolm X." At the very end of the movie, he plays a teacher reciting Malcolm X's famous speech to a room full of Soweto school kids. But the pacifist Mandela wouldn't say "by any means necessary." So Lee cut back to footage of Malcolm X to close out the film.

3. There's a woodpecker named after him: From Cape Town to California, streets named after Mandela abound. But he's also been the subject of some rather unusual tributes. Last year, scientists named a prehistoric woodpecker after him: Australopicus nelsonmandelai. In 1973, the physics institute at Leeds University named a nuclear particle the 'Mandela particle.'

4. He married a first lady: Before tying the knot with Mandela on his 80th birthday, Graca Machel was married to Mozambique President Samora Machel. Her marriage to Mandela after her husband's death means she has been the first lady of two nations.

5. He was a master of disguise: When Mandela was eluding authorities during his fight against apartheid, he disguised himself in various ways, including as a chauffeur. The press nicknamed him "the Black Pimpernel" because of his police evasion tactics. "I became a creature of the night. I would keep to my hideout during the day, and would emerge to do my work when it became dark," he says in his biography, "Long Walk to Freedom."

6. He was on the U.S. terror watch list: Mandela wasn't removed from the U.S. terror watch list until 2008 -- at age 89. He and other members of the African National Congress were placed on it because of their militant fight against apartheid.

7. He drew his inspiration from a poem: While he was in prison, Mandela would read William Ernest Henley's "Invictus" to fellow prisoners. The poem, about never giving up, resonated with Mandela for its lines "I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul." You may know it from the movie by the same name starring Morgan Freeman as Mandela.

   
Siya

Planet named after a South African

A young man from the Eastern Cape in South Africa can now boast about having a whole planet named after him. Siyabulela Xuza has received an honour of having a celestial body named after him by the MIT Lincoln Laboratory. The planet named 23182 Siyaxuza circles in the main asteroid belt near Jupiter and takes 4.01 years to complete a single orbit. It was discovered in July 2000.

You wonder why Siya? At a young age Siya was already doing experiments. “I developed a fascination for chemicals when I was 12 years old. I mixed them in my mother’s kitchen and caused minor explosions to her utter dismay,” he says. From those experimental days he went on to build a rocket propelled by Siya’s own invention, a cheaper, safer type of rocket fuel, which became the subject of a project titled African Space: Fuelling Africa’s quest to space. It won a gold medal in the 2006 Eskom National Science Expo as well as a trip to the Nobel Prize ceremony in Sweden, where he presented his work to the Swedish king and queen.”

Matriculating in 2007 with a string of As, Siya went to study at Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, where he became one of just 1 948 students accepted out of about 28 000 who applied.

   

9 Proud Facts you did not know about South Africa

1. Table Mountain in Cape Town is believed to be one of the oldest mountains in the world.

2. Table Mountain alone has over 1,500 species of plants, more than the entire United Kingdom.

3. South Africa is the second largest exporter of fruit in the world.

4. South Africa has the longest wine route in the world.

5.Kruger National Park supports the greatest variety of wildlife species on the African continent.

6. South Africa is rated 3rd in the world in supplying safe, drinkable tap water.

7. The Palace of the Lost City resort hotel is the largest theme resort hotel in the world as well as the largest building project undertaken in the southern hemisphere.

8. Walt Disney serves South African wine exclusively at its 73-acre Animal Kingdom Lodge in the United States.

9. South Africa generates two-thirds of Africa's electricity.

   

5 of The Greatest Socially Conscious African Musicians…EVER!

Fela Kuti – NIGERIA

Fela Anikulapo Ransom Kuti is arguably Africa’s most globally recognized musician. Kuti was the self-named “black president” and creator of Afrobeat music. He believed in using music as a weapon, producing politically charged songs like “Zombie”—a compilation of controversial lyrics addressing corruption in Nigeria’s government laid over attractive saxophone and drum arrangements. His wild personal life, fleet of wives and privately owned village, named the Kalakuta republic, made him a legend. Unfortunately, this same lifestyle led to his death from AIDS in 1997. In the years following his untimely passing, Kuti’s music and activism continue to influence the continent’s socially conscious artists.

Mariam Makeba- SOUTH AFRICA

She’s known popularly as “Mama Africa.” Mariam Makeba spent decades bringing awareness to some of the continents most pressing issues. She is one of few African artists to achieve success in the international market, a result of her relocation to the U.S. after speaking out against the country’s apartheid government and subsequently losing her citizenship in 1960. Makeba became widely popular under the management of American performer Harry Belafonte, and even after her death in 2008, the “Pata Pata” singer and activist is still remembered for her work fighting against HIV/AIDS and her contributions to the anti-apartheid movement.

Angélique Kidjo –BENIN

In an interview with Amnesty International, Angélique Kidjo speaks on the conflict in Darfur and asks, “How can we talk about peace, when fundamental rights are not being respected?” The outspoken Grammy-award winning songstress has made a career of speaking on some of the continent’s most controversial topics and singing songs like “Leila” for international humanitarian efforts. Kidjo has worked with organizations like the Mo Ibrahim foundation and UNICEF to bring attention to health and education issues in Africa’s communities. As co-founder of the Batonga foundation, she now advocates for the increased access of education for girls around the world.

Youssou N’dour- SENEGAL

In 2012, musician Youssou N’dour placed his name in the pool of potential candidates for Senegal’s presidential race. Though his bid was unsuccessful, the move wasn’t unwarranted. N’dour, often called a modern griot, is a Grammy-award-winning storyteller who has sold out arenas and spent almost three decades making music centered around the idea of a ‘better Africa.’ As the recently appointed tourism and culture minister, he begins a new chapter of his work to improve Senegal.

Salif Keita- MALI

Salif Keita knows what it feels like to be ostracized. Growing up, he was often excluded by his family and members of his village community because of his Albinism. When he began his music career in the late 1960s, Keita became a voice for the community, even dedicating his album La Différence to albinos around the world. Keita has also used his music for advocacy in other areas, bring awareness to HIV/AIDS through live performances and giving international audiences a taste of Africa with songs like, what else, “Africa.”

   

Young African Entrepreneur of the Year

The World Entrepreneurship Forum has named Ugandan-born businessman Ashish J. Thakkar the world’s best young entrepreneur. Thakkar, 32, was given the award last Thursday at a gala dinner during the World Entrepreneurship Forum’s annual convention in Singapore. Ashish J. Thakkar is the founder and CEO of Mara Group, a pan-African conglomerate that operates in 26 countries and employs over 7,000 people. He grew up in the UK and Uganda, survived the terror of the Rwandan genocide, and started his first company at the age of 15. “It’s very humbling for me and this gives me all that more energy. The thing I’m most excited about is that we as Africa won,” he said.

   
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