Learn Something Surprising About Africa, Courtesy of ‘Africa Facts Zone’

Professional wresting known as Laamb in Senegal is more popular than football. Photo released under Creative Commons by Wikipedia user Pierre-Yves Beaudouin.

Professional wresting known as Laamb in Senegal is more popular than football. Photo released under Creative Commons by Wikipedia user Pierre-Yves Beaudouin.

Did you know that Rwanda has the highest proportion of women in parliament? Or that the lyrics of Nigeria's national anthem, “Arise, O Compatriots”, are a mix of words taken from the five best entries in a national contest? The countries that make up the continent of Africa are much more than the doom and gloom portrayed in western media, but many of these facts don't receive any coverage.

17-year-old Nigerian student Isima Odeh (@IsimaOdeh) plans to change that through Africa Facts Zone, a facts brand designed to give people refreshing tidbits about Africa and Africans. He created Africa Facts Zone in 2013, and it has over 55,000 followers on Twitter and over 124 likes on Facebook page.

During a brief email conversation, Odeh told Global Voices that he came up with the idea in 2013 when he decided to use some of the time he spends on the Internet to tell people about his beautiful continent. He gets his facts from newspapers, history books, news from reliable websites, and watching the news. Something he says he did not know before he started his initiative is that Africa has the lowest divorce rate in the world.

The founder of Africa Fact Zone

Isima Odeh, the founder of Africa Fact Zone. Photo used with his permission.

Below is some of the information that Africa Facts Zone has shared with its followers so far.  

Ghana's expat king

King Bansah decided to settle in Germany after he went there as an exchange student in 1970.

Ancient Egyptian dentistry

Hesy-Ra was an official physician and scribe who lived during the Third dynasty of Egypt. He bore titles such as “Chief of Dentists and Physicians”.

Madagascar's ex-president's diverse CV

Andry Rajoelina began working as a disc jockey when he was in high school to earn pocket money.

Marco Polo's poor navigation

The name Madagascar was first recorded in the memoirs of 13th-century Venetian explorer Marco Polo as a corrupted transliteration of the name Mogadishu, the Somali port with which Polo had confused the island.

Death while in office

10 African leaders died in office between 2008 and 2012 compared to only three in the rest of the world.

Uganda's large endowment

A Ugandan member of parliament, Tom Aza, said this year that Uganda's Parliamentary Committee for HIV/AIDS's tour of areas worst hit by the virus revealed that some men have bigger sexual organs and therefore should be considered for bigger condoms.

Africa's first satellite

Nigeria launched into orbit the first satellite to be designed and built by Africans, NigeriaSat-X, in August 2011.

Nigeria's towering bottle tree

The world's tallest bottle tree, built by Nigeria's indigenous beer Star Larger, symbolises greatness and the enterprising Nigerian spirit. The tree aims to break the World Record of 1,000 beer bottles being held by the Chinese city of Shanghai.

The brave men and women fighting Ebola

Time magazine editor Nancy Gibbs explains why the Ebola Fighters are TIME magazine's choice for Person of the Year 2014.

Egg-cellent water storage

The Khoisan or San people are known for burying sealed ostrich eggs filled with water during the wet season and recovering them during the dry season.

Miriam Makeba's return home

Miriam Makeba was a Grammy Award-winning South African singer and civil rights activist. Because of her anti-apartheid work, the South African apartheid government revoked her passport in 1960 and her citizenship and right of return in 1963. She received nine passports and honorary citizenship in 10 countries.

Senegal loves wrestling

Senegalese professional wrestling, known as Laamb, has become a national sport.

Egyptian football rivalries

The Cairo Derby involving Al Ahly and Zamalek is most violent and fiercest football rivalry in Africa.

Fast cash in Somalia

On October 7, 2014, Somalia got its first ATM.

Salaam Somali bank installed first ATM in Mogadishu, Somalia this year.

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