Or how to slag off 60 places in one post. Since uncovering the following list, I am frankly appalled that I know so little about this vast swathe of humanity, a mere fifth of the entire land surface of the Earth. So let's Benin.
I mean begin.
Burundi, (capital:Bujumbura) Heard of it, sounds like fun.
Comoros, (cap:Moroni) An island, no?
Djibouti, (cap:Djibouti) They lack imagination in naming places.
Eritrea, (cap:Asmara) Something very bad happened here maybe.
Ethiopia, (cap:Addis Ababa) Famous for famines. Populated by very dark thin people who tend to lead the crowds running in the London marathon. A tribe of nomads called Falashas once appeared around 1984 looking for food. They were carrying ancient scrolls and saying "Oh don't mind us, we're these odd people called 'Jews' and we're desperate for food." Israel then heard about them and covertly airlifted them into Israel where the Falashas discovered that their co-religionists were largely white. And gesticulate a lot and run Hollywood, but won't let me in.
Kenya, (cap:Nairobi) More very dark people. They have a pretty flag and lots of reservations - in the safari sense, not in the cautious sense.
Madagascar, (cap:Antananarivo) A very large island off the coast of Africa with a hitherto unknown capital (to me anyway). Is also a CGI animation flick with Ali G.
Malawi, (cap:Lilongwe) Strong weed grows there.
Mauritius, (cap:Port Louis) Another island, my Muslim lady friend's family hails from there, so I'm fond of it. They do very nice curries apparently, and it's lovely and tropical.
Mayotte, (cap:Mamoudzou) Nope, no idea.
Mozambique (cap:Maputo) Now this I do know. But know nothing of.
Réunion (cap:Saint-Denis) French, and another island. Their capital would appear to be named after a dodgy part of Paris - or more likely the inspiration for said Parisienne area's name, also honoured by French rap group NTM in their jolly romp, Seine Saint-Denis Style. (NTM stands for Nique Ta Mère, or Fuck Your Mum, and one of the rappers has managed to turn one of the world's most beautiful languages into something akin to someone vomiting loudly. Download it. It's cracking.)
Rwanda, (cap:Kigali) Very very bad things happened here.
Seychelles, (cap:Victoria) Very nice, I've heard.
Somalia, (cap:Mogadishu) In a constant state of war, with no government in large parts. Probably not a good place for a holiday. They chew Qat and go nuts too, apparently.
Tanzania, (cap:Dodoma) Sounds familiar.
Uganda, (cap:Kampala) Idi Amin's manor. I recall a story where one of his wives pissed him off, so he had her arms removed, swapped with her legs, and stitched back together. He then took his son to see what he did to the lad's mother, so by all intents he was a bit of a shit. In trying to find some evidence of that story (I couldn't), I did discover that Idi declared himself King of Scotland. How sweet.
Zambia, (cap:Lusaka) Probably has crocodiles.
Zimbabwe, (cap:Harare) Ruled over by a cunt. Used to be Rhodesia, named after Cecil Rhodes who nicked the country and all its wealth for the glory of Britain. Current dictator Robert Mugabe is a fervent Anglophobe and frequently makes pronouncements alluding to the homosexual tendancies of my goverment. In other words, he frequently calls them queer. Fair enough. Oh, and he destroys entire towns that voted against him following a rigged election. But on a plus side, Zimbabwean Makosi was good enough to frequently go naked (Damn that anonymous foot) on British Big Brother 36 or whatever one she was on.
Africa: Who stole What. Note independant Ethiopia, although Mussolini tried to nick it when it was Abyssinia.
Angola, (cap:Luanda) Sounds South American, or is that just me?
Cameroon, (cap:Yaoundé) Ageing footballer Roger Miller came from here, and was quite good despite being 80.
Central African Republic, (cap:Bangui) Its initials are CAR. He he he.
Chad, (cap:N'Djamena) Sounds like someone's nickname.
Congo, (cap:Brazzaville) I think the Belgians used to run this with stupefying brutality.
Democratic Republic of the Congo, (cap:Kinshasa) Or was that here? Kinshasa makes me think something very bad happened here too. Ironically not very democratic.
Equatorial Guinea, (cap:Malabo) Probably very hot.
Gabon, (cap:Libreville) French?
São Tomé and Príncipe, (cap:São Tomé) Portuguese?
Photo courtesy Goldberg & Stein Construction Corp.
Algeria, (cap:Algiers) Formely French, some kind of independance tussle in the Sixties sounds familiar. Zinedine Zidane's family hail from there. The headbutting World Cup loser may have even been born there. I'm sure I could find it on the Internet, but I can't be bothered.
Egypt, (cap:Cairo) Pyramids, Pharoahs, asps, lots of gods, and more recently, a base for Islamic extremism. Yasser Arafat was born there and his strong Egypitian accent was apparently a source of much mirth for Palestinians, when they weren't bemoaning their lack of a proper home. Which I do have issues with - I'm most certainly not gloating.
Libya, (cap:Tripoli) Colonel Gadaffi and camels. Apparently, word has it that they had nothing to do with the downing of a plane over Lockerbie. This case to me is certainly not 'closed'. Many say it was always Iranian-led. I will not jump on the current Iran-bashing bandwagon, but lets just say that that's what the rumour-mongers have always been saying, and I for one want to know more.
Morocco, (cap:Rabat) And I thought the capital was Casablanca, but perhaps 'Rabat' was too blunt a name for a Bogie/ Bergman 'vehicle'. Souks, slippers, young boys, and hash, Morocco for me also screams VINDICTIVE EX-GIRLFRIEND. (She's French/ Moroccan)
Sudan, (cap:Khartoum) Hot.
Tunisia, (cap:Tunis) Just as hot. Filmed the Tatooine Star Wars scenes there.
Western Sahara, (cap:El Aaiún) Boiling.
Southern Europe dependencies in Northern Africa:
Canary Islands (cap:Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Santa Cruz de Tenerife) Aha! Now I do know that canary birds are named after the island, and not vice versa. The island is in fact named after the Latin for dog. Geeeeek.
Ceuta, no capital. Tiny chunk of North Africa nicked by the Spanish. I could see its hazy coastline from the south coast of Spain when I went there a decade ago and I was called El Blanco by a cheeky local.
Madeira Islands (cap:Funchal) Went here as a kid. I recall the airport had 'Funchal' spelled out in flowers near the runway, and you could be pushed down a cobbled alleyway in a wicker basket by men in striped shirts. Holy cock, here's a picture, except the stripes have gone. Maybe I imagined it. And perhaps the cobbles too.
Melilla, So small it doesn't have a capital. It's a city next to Morocco and having just discovered it a few seconds ago, I'm quite keen to visit.
Botswana, (cap:Gaborone) Have heard of it.
Lesotho, (cap:Maseru) See above.
Namibia, (cap:Windhoek) Keep going.
South Africa, (cap:Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Pretoria) Oh, it's a beaut this one. I'll save this for another day. Sorry Anon from Fix My Taps, You Bastard comments.
Swaziland, (cap:Mbabane) Neighbours of the above. I once worked with a guy from Swazi who told me a story about his hippy parents. Apparently they were lovely people who befriended the local Swazis. One such man they helped out gave them something one day, saying "I know you white people like these. I found them on the ground. Please have them." They were uncut diamonds. His parents gave them all to a friend of theirs to find out how much they were worth. The guy subsequently vanished.
Benin, (cap:Porto-Novo) Sorry, don't know much about this place.
Burkina Faso, (cap:Ouagadougou) Heard of this, that's it.
Cape Verde, (cap:Praia) Again, I'm aware of its existence.
Côte d'Ivoire, (cap:Abidjan, Yamoussoukro) Ah, the Ivory Coast.
That's the extent of my knowledge.
Gambia, (cap:Banjul) Aware. That's about the sum of it.
Ghana , (cap:Accra) Oh dear.
Guinea, (cap:Conakry) Isn't this where the old English coins come from?
Guinea-Bissau, (cap:Bissau) More English coins?
Liberia, (cap:Monrovia) Ah, Michael Jackson sung about a girl from here. Who was probably 13. And male.
Mali, (cap:Bamako) All I know about Mali is that it's home to the Dogon tribe, a remarkable people who have in their culture a story of visitations by aliens from outer space. The Dogon have centuries old etchings of the star system these aliens came from. And guess what? When superior Europeans discovered the Dogon, they found their primitive beliefs actually tallied with known theories of the universe. What this means in the grander scheme of things, I haven't a Scooby.
Mauritania, (cap:Nouakchott) Erm, sounds familiar.
Niger, (cap:Niamey) Isn't this a river?
Nigeria, (cap:Abuja) Ah, now this is where all those dodgy emails requesting money in return for more money come from.
Saint Helena, (cap:Jamestown) Now this I know. British, or at least it was. I believe Napoleon, the Hitler of his day in the expansionist Dictator sense, was exiled here when we caught the fucker.
Senegal, (cap:Dakar) I believe a lot of great music comes from here, least of all MC Solaar.
Sierra Leone, (cap:Freetown) I know this one - a refuge for freed slaves from the Americas, hence the capital's name. Actually, I've just discovered that the capital was founded by Black Britons who'd fought for the British during the American Revolution. So, we Brits are more than amiable towards our black brethren providing they're on our side when trying to kill an American rabble. And I heartily agree.
Togo, (cap:Lomé) Big colourful dresses?
Pros: Cradle of fucking everything.
Cons: Poor. And hot.