- For a topic outline on this subject, see List of basic Africa topics.
Africa is the world's second-largest and second most-populous continent, after Asia. At about 30,221,532 km² (11,668,599 sq mi) including adjacent islands, it covers 20.4% of the Earth's total land area, and with over 1 billion inhabitants in 61 territories, it accounts for about 15% of the world's human population. Modern human evolutionary theory recognizes Africa, particularly the area in and around present-day Ethiopia, as the cradle of humankind.
The continent is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Suez Canal and the Red Sea to the northeast, the Indian Ocean to the southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. It straddles the equator and encompasses numerous climate areas and is the only continent to stretch from the northern temperate to southern temperate zones. Because of the lack of natural regular precipitation and irrigation as well as glaciers or mountain aquifer systems, there no natural moderating effect on the climate exists except near the coasts.
The Lord's Resistance Army insurgency is a guerrilla campaign waged since 1987 by the cult-like Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebel group, operating mainly in northern Uganda, but also in South Sudan and eastern DR Congo. The movement, led by Joseph Kony, who proclaims himself the "spokesperson" of God and a spirit medium, aims are to overthrow Yoweri Museveni's Ugandan government and to establish a theocratic state based on the Ten Commandments and Acholi tradition, according to its leaders.
The conflict, one of Africa's longest running, resulted in a very severe humanitarian crisis. The LRA is accused of widespread human rights violations, including mutilation, torture, rape, the abduction of civilians, the use of child soldiers and a number of massacres. (Read more...)
Chinua Achebe, born Albert Chinualumogu Achebe on November 16, 1930, is a Nigerian novelist, poet and critic. He is best known for his first novel, Things Fall Apart (1958), which is the most widely-read book in modern African literature.
Raised by Christian parents in the Igbo village of Ogidi in south Nigeria, Achebe excelled at school and won a scholarship for undergraduate studies. He became fascinated with world religions and traditional African cultures, and began writing stories as a university student. After graduation, he worked for the Nigerian Broadcasting Service and soon moved to the metropolis of Lagos. He gained worldwide attention for Things Fall Apart in the late 1950s; his later novels include No Longer at Ease (1960), Arrow of God (1964), A Man of the People (1966), and Anthills of the Savannah (1987). Achebe wrote his novels in English and has defended the use of English, a language of colonisers, in African literature. In 1975 he was the focus of controversy when he delivered a lecture entitled An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad's "Heart of Darkness". He criticised author Joseph Conrad for his unflattering depiction of African people, referring to him as "a thoroughgoing racist". (Read more...)
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