What Is The Continent of Africa's Original Name?

South Africa landscape mountains
William Anderson
July 10, 2020

Africa is the most fascinating continent on Earth. Its people, its vast riches, and its history of colonization continue to capture the attention of scholars everywhere. But even among academics, there’s one simple question that doesn’t truly have an answer.

What is the name of the continent? Africa wasn’t originally called Africa, and the name came from Romans seeking to pillage Tunisia. The point of contention comes from exactly what the continent’s name was before the Romans. Well, sort of.

Of course, white scholars contend the name “Africa” is derived from the name of a European traveler, Leo Africanus, who suggested that the word “Africa” is derived from the Greek word ‘a-phike.’ However, there’s a motive behind this explanation.

Europeans knew separating our ancestors from their languages and customs would make it easier to exploit our vast riches. So white scholars discarded the fact our people referred to the continent as “Alkebulan.” But there’s still another issue.

Some white scholars discount “Alkebulan,” looking for evidence that fits THEIR narratives and NOT ours. We come from the first and strongest civilizations on this Earth. It is important to honor our true connections to - and the true name of - the land, regardless of what white-centered stories would have us believe.

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