'Africa' is just as much a convenient geographical term as is 'Europe'. The
continent is huge (the world's second largest) and diverse, with Arabs in the
north and whites in the south as African as the peoples of the Black interior.
The Equator cuts Africa in half Most images of Africa are those of the
sub-Saharan tropics which were inaccessible to all but the most hardy foreign
explorers until quinine in the later 19th century reduced (it did not entirely
eliminate) the chance of death from malaria, still a tremendous killer
world-wide, carried by the mosquito. Africa is a source of inspiration for many
Black Americans and Britons who search for a rich heritage, but for those who
live there it is divided by language ( many states have several dozen; total
languages in Africa are perhaps 1000, but counting dialects, there must be many
thousands) and ethnic feuds. One of the significant changes in thinking about
Africa has been the way that it has become a mystical (and trendy) icon, rather
than the Dark Continent.
Its name comes either from the Greek aphrike (no cold), or aprica (Latin for
sunny). The Greeks called Africa 'Libya'. Africa is a vast plateau, with
volcanoes in the east, and the Great East African Rift Valley which starts in
Syria and continues to Tanzania. There are basins in the Congo, Chad and the
Sudan. Only 10% of the world's population live in Africa, partly because of
there being so much desert. Most people live in Nigeria or East Africa. The
northern half of the continent is hottest April - September, but the southern
half, September to March.
Violence has sometimes occurred because imperial powers drew arbitrary lines
on maps, paying no attention to the tribal differences in those new countries.
However, some feuds are traditional rivalries, such as between Zulus and Xhosas
of the Inkarta Freedom Party in South Africa (see section 4 for issues in South
Africa). West Africa, which was mainly part of the French Empire, though it
contains some formerly British territory, such as Nigeria, is the focus of many
black aspirations, because it was practical for slave-traders to buy slaves here
bound for America and Brazil (which received seven times as many slaves as the
USA). Hence many Black Americans and Caribbean islanders must have had
ancestors from here. This is the land from which Alex Haley traced his ancestry
in his 1976 work Roots, set in Senegambia, a search for Black identity. Liberia
was founded in West Africa by ex-slaves and humanitarians; successful writers
and poets, such as Ben Okri and Wole Soyinka, have come from Nigeria.
The church has grown over the past years but since the end of colonialism
there have arisen many national African churches. These range widely from
stable orthodox Christian groups to wildly heretical ones, but all manifest
African culture rather than European culture. The need is to help all these
African churches play their part in global missions by teaching, resources and
partnerships where Africans take the leadership. They know the cultures,
languages and ways of their own peoples or peoples from a similar culture.
||Training, equipping and sending of
African missionaries who are also
Near Relatives is a high priority. Team teaching and literature
distribution is an important aspect of evangelism and motivation of these
Christians. Many social and economic needs have also to be addressed in creative