Why Afrika with a K?

I shared this on my Facebook profile earlier and figured to post it here too.

A couple of people ask me why I spell Afrika with a ‘K’ and not a ‘C’, so in case you’ve been wondering, here’s a brief explanation.

The alphabets, as we know them, are not indigenous to Afrikan languages, however, most Afrikan languages spell Afrika with a K, for example Swahili. Afrika was initially spelt with a ‘K’ before European invasion of the continent. When the Europeans settled on the continent, the ‘K’ in many words was replaced by ‘C’, because phonetically it sounded so. Accra for example, was initially Akkra and Congo – Kongo.


The spelling of it with a ‘K’ and not ‘C’ is a political statement, symbolic of the reclamation of the Afrikan narrative, and attaching a Pan-Afrikan angle to it. More over, for the Pan-Afrikan movement, AfriCa represents the separation of the Afrikan people who were dispersed into different parts of the world. AfriKa, is symbolic of the unity/re-uniting of the Afrikan people.

Although it’s also worth noting that the name Afrika is also not the original name of the continent. I am still researching to find the very first name. Before Afrika, it was Kemet, and that too, was not the original name… There are conflicting arguments over how it came to be known as Afrika. Some claim it derives its name from Emperor Tirus Afrik who is also credited for the red, black and green Pan-Afrikan flag which has been adopted into the flags of various nations and by many black liberation movements. Others say it was named after Scipio Africanus, a Roman General. However, evidence shows that Scipio was born Publius Cornelius Scipio and only became Scipio Africanus after the second Punic war fought between Rome and Carthage – now Tunisia.


A few years ago, I wrote an inconclusive research paper on this which I had initially offered to forward, but after reading through it, I realised I have learnt quite a bit between then and now, so I will improve on that then post it here in the near future.


2 thoughts on “Why Afrika with a K?”

  1. Seeing that Africa is a large continent filled with a bunch of different people, is it possible that Africa didn’t have an ‘original’ name? Is it possible that Africa had a whole lot of names which varied from culture to culture, or region to region?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely!

      I don’t even think it was seen as Afrika as the land mass/continent it is today, which is possibly why it is difficult to find it’s ‘first’ name that’s not based on a certain civilisation e.g “Kemet” which is based on the Ancient Egyptian/Nubian civilisation.


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