The Sahara is the world’s largest desert and a clear dividing area in Africa, between the Arab ethnic identity of the north with the more equatorial climate of what is known as Sub-Saharan Africa below. The earliest Homo sapiens are believed to have originated from central Africa, with 195,000 year old fossils found in what is modern day Ethiopia.
Two of the best universities on the continent are the University of Cape Town and the University of the Witwatersrand, both of which teach courses in English. Outside of South Africa is Fourah Bay College in Sierra Leone, founded in 1827 and the oldest university on the continent. The University of Cairo is a renowned learning institution on the banks of the Nile, and one of the largest universities in Africa.
The ancient Egyptian civilisation on the northwest of the continent is was a bedrock of modernity for over three millennia. In Sub-Saharan Africa the peoples of the Zulu tribe formed a kingdom in 1818 under Shaka Zulu, but were defeated by British forces in 1879.
One of the most well-known Africans of the last century is Nelson Mandela, who became President of South Africa after years of imprisonment for opposing an apartheid regime in the region.
Rhodes scholarships offer places at Oxford university for graduates in South Africa and around the world, and is named for the controversial diamond miner, who also had the nation of Rhodesia named after him (modern day Zimbabwe).