sub saharan

This is a baby hippo. Hippopotamuses are thought to be around 55 million years old. They come from Sub-Saharan Africa, and their name means ‘River Horse’ in Ancient Greek. They’re generally considered to be the third-largest land mammal after elephants and white rhinos, and although you probably wouldn’t guess it, their closest relations are actually whales and dolphins.

Source: tomotomotomomo

Dear white supremacist/racial purist dweebs and fools:

Every last one of us is related to people who evolved in Africa.

Some groups of sub-Saharan Africans remained in Africa, while others left Africa and spread across the world.

Everyone – and I mean everyone – is therefore genetically at least partly African.

People who have descended from those African groups that left Africa have a series of genetic adaptations and mutations that have helped them adapt to the environments they settled in. European “White” people are almost entirely the product of changes that have occurred in the last 8000 years or so.

If – IF – anyone is “racially pure” (a horrible phrase and concept), it’s people whose ancestors never left sub-Saharan Africa, AND whose ancestors never had children with anyone who had any ancestors who were from anywhere other than sub-Saharan Africa. The rest of us – which is pretty much everybody – are all cousins.

Whether you like your cousins or not.

5

Celebrate black history month by watching the works of these 10 history-making directors

1 to 5:

Amma Asante 

Best Known For: Winning a BAFTA award for Best Debut Feature for A Way of Life, directing indie hit Belle 10 years later. 

Notable Works: Belle (2014)A United Kingdom (2016)

Forthcoming: Where Hands Touch (2017)

Ava DuVernay 

Best Known For: Being the first black woman to win Best Director at Sundance, the first black woman to be nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Director and being the first black woman to direct a movie nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars. 

Notable Works: Middle of Nowhere (2012), Selma (2014)

Forthcoming: A Wrinkle in Time (2018)

Julie Dash 

Best Known For: Being the first black American woman to have a feature length film be theatrically distributed in the U.S.

Notable Works: Daughters of the Dust (1991)

Forthcoming: Travel Notes of a Geechee Girl (2016)

Safi Faye 

Best Known For: This Senagalese woman became the first Sub-Saharan woman to have a film be commercially distributed in 1976. 

Notable Works: Letter From My Village (1976), Mossane (1996)

Forthcoming: N/A.

Kasi Lemmons 

Best Known For: With all four of her feature films released theatrically in the U.S. she currently holds the record as the black woman director with the most commercially distributed films. 

Notable Works: Eve’s Bayou (1997) 

Forthcoming: Agaat, On Beauty

CLICK HERE FOR DIRECTORS 6-10

i love that charles dickens got paid by the word. like i cant even be mad when he’s boring and long-winded bc i would do xactly the same??? i wouldnt use contractions or colours at all. want to say the word red? too bad. we r now only using “the colour of freshly-spilled blood on snow; the hue of the horizon when the sun sets over the deserts of sub-saharan Africa” BOOM guess who can afford 2 eat now: me and my boi dickens 

Ethiopian Orthodox priest celebrates mass

Christianity in Ethiopia dates to the 1st century AD, arguably the first nation in the world to accept Christianity (the other nation to debate this being Armenia) and this long tradition makes Ethiopia unique amongst sub-Saharan African countries. Christianity in this country is divided into several groups. The largest and oldest is the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (in Amharic: የኢትዮጵያ ኦርቶዶክስ ተዋሕዶ ቤተክርስትያን Yäityop'ya ortodoks täwahedo bétäkrestyan) is an Oriental Orthodox church in Ethiopia that was part of the Coptic Orthodox Church until 1959, when it was granted its own Patriarch by Coptic Orthodox Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of All Africa Cyril VI. 

The largest pre-colonial Christian church of Africa, the Ethiopian Church has a membership of between 40 and 46 million, the majority of whom live in Ethiopia, and is thus the largest of all Oriental Orthodox churches. Next in size are the various Protestant congregations, who include 13.7 million Ethiopians. The largest Protestant group is the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus, with about 5 million members. Roman Catholicism has been present in Ethiopia since the century, and numbers 536,827 believers. In total, Christians make up about 60% of the total population of the country.

Location: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

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10 amazing animals you’ve never heard of before - but need to hear about now as some are endangered

1. Okapi - found in Central Africa. Endangered
2. Quoll - native to Australia and New Guinea. Threatened
3. Mara - native to South America. Threatened
4. Rock hyrax - native to sub-saharan Africa and South Africa. Not threatened
5. Dhole - native to Asia. Endangered
6. Japanese dwarf flying squirrel. Not threatened
7. Ring-tailed coati - native to South america. Not threatened
8. Pink fairy armadillo - native to Argentina. Currently no conservation status
9. Marble fox - native to Canada. Endangered
10. Australian golden possum. Not threatened

6

There were many other Kingdoms in Africa, not just the Kingdom of Egypt, that are worthy of praise and honour. Indeed, Egypt played a great role in civilization, but it was only one of many on the continent.  Below are few of the many greats:

While Europe was experiencing its Dark Ages, a period of intellectual, cultural and economic regression from the sixth to the 13th centuries, Africans were experiencing an almost continent-wide renaissance after the decline of the Nile Valley civilizations of Egypt and Nubia.

The leading civilizations of this African rebirth were the Axum Empire, the Kingdom of Ghana, the Mali Empire, the Songhai Empire, the Ethiopian Empire, the Mossi Kingdoms and the Benin Empire.

Axum Empire

The Aksum or Axum Empire was an important military power and trading nation in the area that is now Eritrea and northern Ethiopia, existing from approximately 100 to 940 A.D.

At its height, it was one of only four major international superpowers of its day along with Persia, Rome and China. Axum controlled northern Ethiopia, Eritrea, northern Sudan, southern Egypt, Djibouti, Western Yemen, and southern Saudi Arabia, totaling 1.25 million square kilometers, almost half the size of India. Axum traded and projected its influence as far as China and India, where coins minted in Axum were discovered in 1990.

Axum was previously thought to have been founded by Semitic-speaking Sabaeans who crossed the Red Sea from South Arabia (modern Yemen) on the basis of Conti Rossini’s theories —but most scholars now agree that when it was founded it was an indigenous African development.

Kingdom of Ghana

Centered in what is today Senegal and Mauritania, the Kingdom of Ghana dominated West Africa between about 750 and 1078 A.D. Famous to North Africans as the “Land of Gold,” Ghana was said to possess sophisticated methods of administration and taxation, large armies, and a monopoly over notoriously well-concealed gold mines.

The king of the Soninke people who founded Ghana never fully embraced Islam, but good relations with Muslim traders were fostered. Ancient Ghana derived power and wealth from gold and the use of the camel increased the quantity of goods that were transported. One Arab writer, Al-Hamdani, describes Ghana as having the richest gold mines on Earth. Ghana was also a great military power. According to one narrative, the king had at his command 200,000 warriors and an additional 40,000 archers.

Mali Empire

After the fall of the Kingdom of Ghana, the Mali Empire rose to dominate West Africa. Located on the Niger River to the west of Ghana in what is today Niger and Mali, the empire reached its peak in the 1350s.

The Mali Empire was founded by Mansa (King) Sundiata Keita and became renowned for the wealth of its rulers, especially Mansa Musa. He was the grandson of Sundiata’s half-brother, and led Mali at a time of great prosperity, during which trade tripled. During his rule, Mansa Musa doubled the land area of Mali; it became a larger kingdom than any in Europe at the time.

The cities of Mali became important trading centers for all of West Africa, as well as famous centers of wealth, culture and learning. Timbuktu, an important city in Mali, became one of the major cultural centers not only of Africa but of the entire world. Vast libraries and Islamic universities were built. These became meeting places of the finest poets, scholars and artists of Africa and the Middle East.

The Kingdom of Mali had a semi-democratic government with one of the world’s oldest known constitutions – The Kurukan Fuga.

The Kurukan Fuga of the Mali Empire was created after 1235 by an assembly of nobles to create a government for the newly established empire.  The Kurukan Fouga divided the new empire into ruling clans that were represented at a great assembly called the Gbara. The Gbara was the deliberative body of the Mali Empire and was made up of 32 members from around 29 clans. They were given a voice in the government and were a check against the emperor’s (mansa’s) power. It was presided over by a belen-tigui (master of ceremonies) who recognized anyone who wanted to speak including the mansa. The Gbara and the Kurukan Fuga remained in place for over 40o years until 1645.

According to Wikipedia, Disney’s “Lion King” movie was based on the real life narrative of Mansa Sundiata Keita.

Songhai Empire

The Songhai Empire, also known as the Songhay Empire, was the largest state in African history and the most powerful of the medieval west African states. It expanded rapidly beginning with King Sonni Ali in the 1460s and by 1500s, it had risen to stretch from Cameroon to the Maghreb. In 1360, disputes over succession weakened the Mali Empire, and in the 1430s, Songhai, previously a Mali dependency, gained independence under the Sonni Dynasty. Around thirty years later, Sonni Sulayman Dama attacked Mema, the Mali province west of Timbuktu, paving the way for his successor, Sonni Ali, to turn his country into one of the greatest empires sub-Saharan Africa has ever seen.

Perhaps, it’s most popular leader was Muhammad Askia the Great. At its peak, the Songhai city of Timbuktu became a thriving cultural and commercial center. Arab, Italian and Jewish merchants all gathered for trade. By 1500, the Songhai Empire covered over 1.4 million square kilometers.

The Ethiopian Empire

The Ethiopian Empire also known as Abyssinia, covered a geographical area that the present-day northern half of Ethiopia covers. It existed from approximately 1137 (beginning of Zagwe Dynasty) until 1975 when the monarchy was overthrown in a coup d’état.  In 1270, the Zagwe dynasty was overthrown by a king claiming lineage from the Aksumite emperors and, hence, Solomon. The thus-named Solomonic Dynasty was founded and ruled by the Habesha, from whom Abyssinia gets its name.

The Habesha reigned with only a few interruptions from 1270 until the late 20th century. It was under this dynasty that most of Ethiopia’s modern history occurred. During this time, the empire conquered and incorporated virtually all the peoples within modern Ethiopia. They successfully fought off Italian, Arab and Turkish armies and made fruitful contacts with some European powers, especially the Portuguese, with whom they allied in battle against the latter two invaders.

Mossi Kingdoms

The Mossi Kingdoms were a number of different powerful kingdoms in modern-day Burkina Faso which dominated the region of the Upper Volta River for hundreds of years. Increasing power of the Mossi kingdoms resulted in larger conflicts with regional powers. The Kingdom of Yatenga became a key power attacking the Songhai Empire between 1328 and 1477, taking over Timbuktu and sacked the important trading post of Macina.

When Askia Mohammad I became the leader of the Songhai Empire with the desire to spread Islam, he waged a Holy war against the Mossi kingdoms in 1497. Although the Mossi forces were defeated in this effort, they resisted attempts to impose Islam. Although there were a number of jihad states in the region trying to forcibly spread Islam, namely the Massina Empire and the Sokoto Caliphate, the Mossi kingdoms largely retained their traditional religious and ritual practices. Being located near many of the main Islamic states of West Africa, the Mossi kingdoms developed a mixed religious system recognizing some authority for Islam while retaining earlier African spiritual belief systems.

Benin Empire

Once a powerful city-state, Benin exists today as a modern African city in what is now south-central Nigeria. The present-day oba (King) of Benin traces the founding of his dynasty to A.D. 1300. The Benin Empire was a pre-colonial Edo state. Until the late 19th century, it was one of the major powers in West Africa. According to one eye witness report written by Olfert Dapper, “The King of Benin can in a single day make 20,000 men ready for war, and, if need be, 180,000, and because of this he has great influence among all the surrounding peoples… . His authority stretches over many cities, towns and villages. There is no King thereabouts who, in the possession of so many beautiful cities and towns, is his equal.”

When European merchant ships began to visit West Africa from the 15th century onwards, Benin came to control the trade between the inland peoples and the Europeans on the coast. When the British tried to expand their own trade in the 19th century, the Benin warriors killed their envoys.

Source: http://atlantablackstar.com/2013/12/05/7-midieval-african-kingdoms/4/

How has the number of people living in extreme poverty changed?

The treemap above (interactive version here) illustrates how the number and distribution of people living in extreme poverty has changed between 1990 and 2013. The reduction in the number of poor in East Asia and Pacific is dramatic, and despite the decline in the Sub-Saharan Africa’s extreme poverty rate to 41 percent in 2013, the region’s population growth means that 389 million people lived on less than $1.90/day in 2013 - 113 million more than in 1990

The World Bank is pleased to release the 2017 Atlas of Sustainable Development Goals. With over 150 maps and data visualizations, the new publication charts the progress societies are making towards the 17 SDGs.

nature.com
Mummy DNA unravels ancient Egyptians’ ancestry
Genetic analysis reveals a close relationship with Middle Easterners, not central Africans.

“The tombs of ancient Egypt have yielded golden collars and ivory bracelets, but another treasure — human DNA — has proved elusive. Now, scientists have captured sweeping genomic information from Egyptian mummies. It reveals that mummies were closely related to ancient Middle Easterners, hinting that northern Africans might have different genetic roots from people south of the Sahara desert.

The study, published on 30 May in Nature Communications1, includes data from 90 mummies buried between 1380 bc, during Egypt’s New Kingdom, and ad 425, in the Roman era. The findings show that the mummies’ closest kin were ancient farmers from a region that includes present-day Israel and Jordan. Modern Egyptians, by contrast, have inherited more of their DNA from central Africans.

Archaeological discoveries and historical documents suggest close ties between Egypt and the Middle East, but “it is very nice that this study has now provided empirical evidence for this at the genetic level”, says evolutionary anthropologist Omer Gokcumen of the State University of New York at Buffalo.

The scientists obtained information about variations in mitochondrial DNA, which is passed from mother to child, from 90 mummies. Because of contamination, the team was able to acquire detailed nuclear DNA, which is inherited from both parents, from only three mummies.

Both types of genomic material showed that ancient Egyptians shared little DNA with modern sub-Saharan Africans. Instead, their closest relatives were people living during the Neolithic and Bronze ages in an area known as the Levant. Strikingly, the mummies were more closely related to ancient Europeans and Anatolians than to modern Egyptians.


Well this is fascinating

Mediterranean Sea. Off the Libyan coast. July 25, 2017. Sub-saharan migrants and refugees wait to be rescued by aid workers of Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms, about 15 miles north of Sabratha. More than 120 migrants were rescued Tuesday from the Mediterranean Sea while 13 more —including pregnant women and children— died in a crammed rubber raft, according to a Spanish rescue group.

Photograph: Santi Palacios/AP

An “Ethiopian” (all sub-Saharan Africans were referred to as Ethiopians by ancient Greeks) slave tries to tame a horse in a Greek funerary relief (4th-1st century BCE). Many of the Africans who ended up in Greece had been captured as part of the Persian army during the Persian Wars.

Who built Great Zimbabwe?

Stretched across a tree-peppered expanse in southern Africa lies the magnificent ruins of Great Zimbabwe, a medieval stone city of astounding wealth and prestige. Located in the present-day country of Zimbabwe, it’s the sight of the largest known settlement ruins in Sub-Saharan Africa, second on the continent only to the pyramids of Egypt. But the history of this city is shrouded in controversy, defined by decades of dispute about who built it and why.

Its name comes from the Shona word madzimbabwe, meaning big house of stone for its unscalable stone walls that reach heights of nearly ten meters and run for a length of about 250 meters. For its grandeur and historical significance, it was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1986. Back in the 14th and 15th centuries, it was a thriving city. 

Spread across nearly eight square-kilometers, Great Zimbabwe was defined by three main areas: the Hill Complex, where the king lived; the Great Enclosure, reserved for members of the royal family; and the Valley Complex, where regular citizens lived. Rulers were both powerful economic and religious leaders for the region. At its highest point, the city had a bustling urban population of 18,000 people and was one of the major African trade centers at the time. What enabled this growth was Great Zimbabwe’s influential role in an intercontinental trade network. Connected to several key city-states along the East African Swahili Coast, it was part of the larger Indian Ocean trade routes. The city generated its riches by controlling the sources and trade of the most prized items: gold, ivory, and copper. With this mercantile power, it was able to extend its sphere of influence across continents, fostering a strong Arab and Indian trader presence throughout its zenith. 

Archaeologists have since pieced together the details of this history through artifacts discovered on site. There were pottery shards and glassworks from Asia, as well as coins minted in the coastal trading city of Kilwa Kisiwani over 1,500 miles away. They also found soapstone bird figures, which are thought to represent each of the city’s rulers, and young calf bones, only unearthed near the royal residence, show how the diet of the elite differed from the general population. These clues have also led to theories about the city’s decline. 

By the mid-15th century, the buildings at Great Zimbabwe were almost all that remained. Archaeological evidence points to overcrowding and sanitation issues as the cause, compounded by soil depletion triggered by overuse. Eventually, as crops withered and conditions in the city worsened, the population of Great Zimbabwe is thought to have dispersed and formed the nearby Mutapa and Torwa states.

Centuries later, a new phase of Great Zimbabwe’s influence began to play out in the political realm as people debated who had built the famous city of stone. During the European colonization of Africa, racist colonial officials claimed the ruins couldn’t be of African origin. So, without a detailed written record on hand, they instead relied on myths to explain the magnificence of Great Zimbabwe. Some claimed it proved the Bible story of the Queen of Sheba who lived in a city of riches. Others argued it was built by the Ancient Greeks. Then, in the early 20th century after extensive excavation at the site, the archaeologist David Randall-MacIver presented clear evidence that Great Zimbabwe was built by indigenous peoples. Yet, at the time, the country’s white minority colonial government sought to discredit this theory because it challenged the legitimacy of their rule. In fact, the government actively encouraged historians to produce accounts that disputed the city’s African origins.

Over time, however, an overwhelming body of evidence mounted, identifying Great Zimbabwe as an African city built by Africans. During the 1960s and 70s, Great Zimbabwe became an important symbol for the African Nationalist movement that was spreading across the continent. Today, the ruins at Great Zimbabwe, alluded to on the Zimbabwean flag by a soapstone bird, still stand as a source of national pride and cultural value.

From the TED-Ed Lesson Who built Great Zimbabwe? And why? - Breeanna Elliott

Animation by JodyPrody

“Hey, wanna see a Pixie Frog?” I ask

“Sure,” you say, holding out your hands

I plop this into your arms.

“hold him like a baby, he’s heavy” I instruct you

“what,” you mutter “the fuck.”

congratulations, you have  been forcibly introduced to the African Bullfrog, also 

known in pet-owner circles as the Pixie Frog.

look at his little hands!

while they are indeed adorable, the nickname actually derives from the scientific name of the species (pyxicephalus adspersus), and not any positive qualities they possess. 

hoo boy they don’t have many of those, lemme tell you

found throughout much of sub-Saharan Africa, the Pixie Frog lives in wet areas where they eat pretty much anything they can fit into those ginormous mouths. (this includes fish, other frogs, bugs, snakes, lizards, other frogs, rodents, unattentive birds, other frogs, and probably you too if you hold still long enough)

this is a creature born with neither fear nor conscience

and it’s no idle threat either, because Pixie Frogs can grow to 10 inches long, which is well within ‘unreasonably huge’ for an amphibian. also, unlike most frogs, Pixie Frogs have fucking teeth

ALL THE BETTER TO EAT YOU WITH, MY DEARRRRR

in spite of all of this, Pixie Frogs remain popular pet animals, possibly because they will allow you to pick them up and carry them around like a newborn.

and we can respect that.

she has four of them and they’re named after her grandchildren

just, you know, make sure you count your fingers after you hold one.

Crested barbet (Trachyphonus vaillantii)

The crested barbet is a sub-Saharan bird in the Lybiidae family. With its thick bill and very colourful plumage the crested barbet is unmistakable. The crested barbet feeds on insects, other birds’ eggs and fruits and sometimes mice. They are found singly or in pairs. They like to bounce around on the ground looking for food, they usually call from a branch out in the open. They do not fly easily and then only for short distances. Crested barbets roost in holes in trees.

photo credits: wiki

Portuguese map of the Western Mediterranean and Western Africa, 1563. In Africa one can see a depiction of the Elmina castle, the oldest European building in sub-Saharan Africa and a key hub of the transatlantic slave trade. Various colonial claims are also depicted with flags in Africa.

3

The red-cheeked cordon-bleu or red-cheeked cordonbleu (Uraeginthus bengalus) is a small passerine bird. This estrildid finch is a resident breeding bird in drier regions of tropical Sub-Saharan Africa.The adult male has uniformly brown upperparts, pale blue breast, flanks and tail and a yellow belly. There is a red patch on each cheek, but this can rarely appear orange or even yellow. Females are similar but duller, and lack the cheek spot) female in middle picture). Immature birds are like the female, but with blue restricted to the face and throat.

I feel like everyone needs to UNDERSTAND that being ‘Black’ goes beyond skin colour. We can all bond over nappy hair and full lips but please understand that BLACK is different depending on the country you’re in/from (not even continent). For example, in Nigeria, everyone is black. It doesn’t come with any qualms. The world says because they are sub-saharan, then they are black. Cool. Their culture is defined according to their tribes and NOT according to their race. Cool. Move south to South Africa, it changes. To be black (collectively speaking, irrespective of tribe/language) comes with a different history and daily livelihood (compared to the black people in America for example). It now is not just about the skin colour but is also about language, music taste, food choice, schooling, home address, clothing stores, mode of transport, university lifestyle and a million other things. And these are unspoken truths but most of them are really all about the culture as a black South African (generally speaking that is). What I mean is that black as a race in South Africa comes with a wide array of cultures specific to the country and the different provinces. So when, as a black American, an African tells you that it’s not the same, please try and understand that it is not the same. Being Black is more than skin deep and is more than the whole slavery history situation.