Cultures and Languages in Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali & Mauritania

African Language Family Distributions & Migration. Courtesy of ResearchGate
African Language Family Distributions & Migration. Courtesy of ResearchGate

All the Cultures & Languages in Africa

Cultural Diversity in Kenya

The 44 groupings of Kenya are divided ethnologically into three main classes – those of Cushitic origin, Nilotic origin and Bantu origin. In 2017, Makonde tribe originally from Mozambique and Kenyans of Indian descent were recognized as the 43rd and 44th tribes. Today, the largest ethnic grouping in Kenya, the Kikuyu, represent, along with the Luhya and Kamba, the greatest quota of speakers of Bantus, making up 20%, 13% and 11% of the society, respectively. The Nilot- speaking Luo, numerically the 2nd-largest group in the population, account for, together with the Kalenjin, 14% and 10%, respectively, of the populace. The rest of the nation’s cultures are much smaller in size.


Culture Diversity in Lesotho

Lesotho, a landlocked country with a land surface area of total area of 30 350 km2, completely enclosed within the Republic of South Africa, is a mountainous country (60%) that is, uniquely, the only nation in the world that is entirely elevated above 1,000 m in altitude. Her population as at 2019 was almost 2.13 million. For all proximity to South Africa, a culturally-rich nation, Lesotho is rather culturally homogenous, with 97% speaking Basotho or Sesotho; that’s one of its official languages along with English. Even so, some languages native to South Africa are spoken here, accounting for 2%, that include: Baphuthi, Ndebele, and Xhosa.


Cultural Diversity in Liberia

Liberia’s comparably compact population – 5 million in 2019 – is culturally robust, consisted of at least 16 unique ethnic groups. Kpelle and Bassa (Kru) are the largest and second largest ethnic groups, respectively, with about 21% and 15.1% of the population. Belle, Dey, and Mende groups are among the smallest, making up, each, about 0.5% of the total population. Krahn, who appear to be well represented within the Liberian refugees in the United States, make up 4% of the total population. Historical accounts of Liberia by and large begin by focusing on ‘Americo-Liberians’, whose ancestors founded today’s nation of Liberia in the 19th Cent


Cultural Diversity in Libya

Covering 1,759,540 km2 in North Africa, with a coastline of almost 1,800 kms on the Mediterranean, much of hinterland Libya lies in Sahara Desert. Which is why, the majority of its 7 million citizenry (2019) live along the coast and in major cities like Tripoli – not too far inland. The dominant ethnic groups in Libya are Berber and Arab (97%). Arabic-Muslims of mixed Arab-Amazigh ancestry
constitute 97% of the population. The three minorities groups are: Amazigh, Tuareg, and Tebu. These minority ethnic groups are predominantly Sunni Muslim but “associated” with their respective cultural and linguistic heritages, rather than with Arab traditions.


Cultural Diversity in Madagascar

Madagascar, an island country resembling an oval sketched with an unsteady hand, located off the east coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean, has a total land surface of 587,041 km2; including its small offshore islands. Her population as at 2018 was almost 26 million. Madagascar’s cultural diversity is quite a unique fusion of elements drawn from the western, eastern, and northern parts of the Indian Ocean, blended in various ways – historically and ecologically – to form its own culture. Malagasy, that has twelve variations, is the most spoken language. Along the west coast area, Makoa, a Bantu lingua of Mozambique, is spoken as a second language. The minor languages are: Arabic, English & Shimaore. Official languages are its local Malagasy and French


Cultural Diversity in Malawi

Previously known as the British Protectorate later as Nyasaland, Malawi is a multiethnic nation, largely comprised of the Chewa, Yao, Tumbuka, Nyiha, Sena, Lomwe, Batonga, Banyanga, Nkhonde, Ngoni, Asians and Europeans. The Chewa people form the largest ethnic group and by and large reside in the central districts around the capital city of Lilongwe. Their language known as Chichewa is Malawi’s national language. Yao group, the second largest, mainly occupy the south district(s). A landlocked country, with an area of 118,484 km2 and population of 18.1 million (2018), mainly lies along the Rift Valley.


Cultural Diversity in Mali

Despite being a very large nation expanding over 1.24 million km2 in West Africa regarded as one of the poorest in the world, Mali is world-famous for its rich cultural diversity. Its population of 19.08 million (2018) is split into twelve ethnic groups (with seven major groups) each speaking a different dialect. The largest of the groups, the Bambara, reside in Central and Southern Mali and converse in Bamanakan, a language which has been promoted as the state’s national language since self-rule. There are varied ethnic groups in Northern Mali, most notably of: Fulani, Moors, and Berbers, like Tuareg. In spite of this, there are deep diversities between and even within these groups, as well as betwixt the ‘North’ and ‘South’ groupings. Mande, Senufo and Dogon stand out among Niger–Congo Bantu fam of West Africa.


Cultural Diversity in Mauritania

Islamic Republic of Mauritania extending over 1.03 million km2 in West Africa, with only a small population of 4.4 million (2018), has a great degree of diversity in geography, climate, ethnicity and culture. Still and all, almost 90% of the country’s area is classified as desert – the northern territory being much drier and wasteland compared to the south. A French colony up until 1960, a variety of Arabic, Hassàniyya, that’s native to the Moors, is the language of close to 80% of the people. Some of the smaller groupings include: the Soninke, Fulani, Tukolor , Wolof and Bambara — all of the Niger-Congo family. Arabic is the official language; Fula, Wolof and Soninke also being endorsed.


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