All the Cultures & Languages in Africa
Nothing, perhaps, says more of Egypt than its ancient Egyptian Language, an extinct Afroasiatic language expressed in pharaonic Egypt – 2600 BC until 2100 BC; oft-times referred to as Egyptian Hieroglyphics. Although ancient Egyptian is an extinct language, the current most-widely spoken language, Egyptian, has retained its name. Despite having a robust population of 100 million (2019), Egypt is, at best, homogenous in its diversity, identifying itself as an Arab nation: The distinction between Arab and Egyptian well recognised among Egyptians and Arabs alike. Egyptian-Arabic is the most spoken and its national language. Minor dialects include: Nubian, Bedouin, & Saidi Arabic.
Until the late nineteenth century, the high plateau of present-day State of Eritrea was a part of the Ethiopian province of Tigray. Hence, its cultures are alike, and more so the Tigraya who account for 32% of its 3.2 million citizens. English, Tigrinya, and Arabic are the official languages. Each of its nine cultures – Tigraya (32%), Saho (5.2%), Afar (5%), Bilen (3%), Hedareb (3%), Kunama (2%), Nara (2%) and Rashaida (0.5%) – has its unique oral and literary traditions, its music and customs, architectures, arts and crafts. Spanning 117,598 km2 in North-Eastern Africa, Eritrea is very culture-bound, its citizenry taking deep pride of their ethnos. 63% of the Eritrean population is affiliated to Christianity. Islam is the religion for more or less 36%.
Located near the North-Eastern horn of Africa, Ethiopia, with a land surface area of 1.14 million km2, has a big population of 110 million (2019); the second most populous country in Africa. Set on the highest plateau in Africa, comprised of rugged mountains, elevated highlands, deep gorges and river valleys that’re dissected by major rivers such as Blue Nile, Tekeze, Awash, Omo, and Wabii Shebelle. There are more than 80 cultural groups in Ethiopia, with seven major cultural groups and languages. The two predominant ethnic groups are Oromo (34%) and Amhara (27%). The Tigre (6%) has had a political majority within its government since 1991.
Gabon, one of the most sparsely populated nations in Africa, with a population of 2 million (2018), occupies 267,668 km2 in Central Africa – along the Gulf of Guinea with the Republic of Congo lining the eastern boundary. Rainforest covers more than 80% of Gabon, making it one of the most heavily forested countries on the planet. Hence, the areas with the highest population are the urban centers of Libreville, Franceville and Port Gentil. 40 ethnic groups dwell in Gabon, all of Bantu ethnic origin excepting the Pygmy groups. The largest ethnic group is the Fang. Other major groups are: Myené, Nzébi, Mpongwé, Bapounou, Bandjabi, Mitsogho, Bateke / Obamba, Punu and the Eshira
The smallest of all the mainland African countries, with a surface area of 11,295 km2 and populace of 2.3 million, Gambia is all but engulfed by Senegal except for a small Atlantic coastline. Home to the ancient Mandinka Kingdoms, a heritage that still greatly sways its internal borders, it is home to 10 ethnic groups. None, though, are exclusive to Gambia, as each can also be found in Senegal and other West African countries. All of Gambia’s languages fall under the Niger-Congo family, divided in two major branches: Mande and Atlantic. Further these are split into: Bambara, Jahanka, Mandinka, Serahule: Mande; Fula, Serer, Wolof, Balanta, Bainunka, Jolla, Karoninka and Manjago: Atlantic descent.
Relatively small in size within the exotic West Africa block, Ghana, which covers 238,535 km2 with a population of 30 million in 2018, is also dubbed as the Gold Coast; evocative of the foremost place in Africa where ‘Europeans’ arrived to transact in gold and slaves. Its population is a patchwork of vast ethnic groups comprising dozens of robust ethnic groups, notably: Akans, Guan, Ewes, Gonjas, Dagombas, Walas, Dagabas, Gas, and Frapras. Other ethnic tribes are: Ga-Adangbe, Keta, Aflao Mole, Dagbani, Gonja, Mamprusi, and Dagombas. It is thought that over 90 languages are spoken in Ghana, the largest, Akan, used by 44% of the people.
Guinea in West Africa, spread over 245,857 km2 with a goodly population of 13 million (2019), is home to over 20 native tribes. In addition to these indigenous languages, French is used as the official language; and Arabic is used as the language of Islam, a majority religion. There are four linguistically relevant regions in the country each one dominated by one of Guinea’s three popular languages: Sussu (20%), Pular (34%) and the Maninka (33%). Smaller groups, mostly from the Forest Region, such as Bassari, Coniagui, Guerze, Kissi, Tia, Kono, and Toma, make up the remaining 19%. Some languages spoken in Guinea are singular to one village while others are used almost nationally and regionally.
There are between 22-40 unique ethnic tribes in Guinea Bissau. Its largest, Fula, who live mainly in the eastern part of the country (Gabú and Bafatá), make up 30% of its population; followed by the Balanta (23%), who live mainly in the south (in Catió) and in the north (Oio). Other robust groups include the: Mandinga (15.5%), Papel (9%) and Manjaco (8%). Smaller tribes include: Beafada (3%), Mancanha (3%), Bijagó (2%), Felupe (2%), Mansianca (1.4%) and Balanta Mane (1%). The Nalu, Saracole and Sosso account for less than 1%. Guinea-Bissau (36,125 km2) is located in Western Africa between Senegal, Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean. It has a population of 1.874 million.
- Cultural Diversity in Africa – All the Cultures and Languages in Africa
- Cultures & Languages in Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cape Verde, and Cameroon
- Cultures & Languages in Central Africa Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Republic of Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, and Equatorial Guinea
- Cultures & Languages in Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, and Guinea Bissau
- Cultures & Languages in Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, and Mauritania
- Cultures & Languages in Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe
- Cultures & Languages in Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, and Swaziland
- Cultures & Languages in Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe