Africa. This continent is overwhelming for a couple of reasons. First, as a continent containing 52 countries whose names and boundaries change relatively frequently, recognizing which country is which is a challenge in itself. Second, political unrest is a mainstay in many regions and knowing who is running which country can sometimes be more a matter of opinion than fact.

However, as far as learning the basics, we can break the continent into regions to learn each African country’s location, capital, assets, and leaders.  This way when we hear, for example, that the President is visiting Tanzania, we can know a little about where he is and what issues he may be addressing. Also, when those humiliating categories ‘World Leaders’ and ‘Foreign Capitals’ comes up in Scategories, we have a better chance of getting some points.

The 5 geographic regions we’re learning are the Northern, Eastern, Southern, Western, and Central regions of Africa. Today we’re beginning with the Southern region. It contains only 5 countries so hopefully we can build confidence going into our ambitious endeavor.

5 countries make up Southern Africa

5 countries make up Southern Africa

Southern Africa:

Assets: Platinum, diamonds, gold, uranium

Issues: Poverty, corruption, HIV/AIDS


  1. South Africa: Capital cities are Cape Town, Pretoria, and Bloemfontein; Constitutional parliamentary republic led by President Jacob Zuma
  2. Lesotho: Capital city is Maseru; Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy led by King Letsie III and PM Tom Thabane
  3. Swaziland: Capital cities are Lombamba and Mbabane; Unitary parliamentary absolute constitutional monarchy led by King Mswati III, Queen Ntombi, and PM Barnabus Sibusiso Diamini
  4. Nambia: Capital city is Windhoek; Presidential republic led by President Hifikepunye Pohamba and PM Hage Geingob
  5. Botswana: Capital city Gabarone; Unitary parliamentary republic led by President Ian Khama

Practice memorizing these five countries in the Southern Africa region, and then we’ll move on to the Eastern region.