Over the past year, BBC readers and listeners have been sharing their personal experiences of the African continent.
More than 10,000 entries have been received in the Why I Love Africa competition run by the BBC's Network Africa programme and BBC News website.
Now it's time for you to choose your favourite.
Click on the links below to read the shortlist and then make your choice by using the voting buttons on the right.
You can hear a selection of the favourites on Monday 26 December at 0330GMT, 0430GMT, 0530GMT, 0630GMT and 0730GMT on the BBC's Network Africa.
Africa's natural beauty was eulogised with praise from its natural resources to its beautiful women. Patricia Buckle in Sierra Leone summed it up imagining a conversation between a Man and Lady Africa.
MAN: Hello Miss, how are you?
LADY AFRICA: Good day my brother, I'm fine and you?
Africa, your complexion is as dark as the night
MAN: Oh my dear, I'm fine, please can you spare me a few minutes? I'd like to talk to you.
LADY AFRICA: Come right along, let's walk together, yes I'm listening - go right ahead with what you want to say.
MAN: Miss, first of all, I am one of your admirers.
Oh my, what a lovely name, Af...ri...ca...
Miss, your eyes are as bright as the moonshine, your nose is shaped like the rocks from which waters flow, my dear your face is as smooth as the blue sky.
Africa, your complexion is as dark as the night, your hips like the mountainous scenes and above all I love the colour of your dress, green.
You look very natural.
But Miss to be sincere my friend Big Brother Cares (known among us as BBC) told me that though you are well decorated, you are going through hell on earth.
But yet you are very happy in your distress.
Miss I'm willing to go through it with you.
My dear Africa, the news of your hospitality can be heard all over this global village.
Africa all I want to say is that I love you very much.
LADY AFRICA: Thanks for the compliments, I love you too.
Africa's zest for life, its festivals and music have been the subject of many entries. Nigerian Abby Udofia limbers up ...
I love Africa for her dances.
I see dances fit for fantasies and the whimsies of dreams.
Clad in well embellished robes, the dancer, singer, drummer and spectator gather often in impromptu festivity.
There are dances for births, marriages, coronations, ordinations, house-warmings, graduations, success, burials and funerals.
The young and the old dance and bounce in powerful and poignant rhythms. They dance in joyous jerks with delightful and joyous smiles. They dance, roll and swing as grubs.
The singers and dancers are intriguing in their display; the singers are feverish in their compositions; the drummers are vehement in their pulsating beats; and the spectators often become the troupe singing louder than the musicians and dancing more vibrantly than the dancers.
It all shows the great cultural spectrum and dexterity of African craftsmanship.
Africa is innocent like a little girl showing her invented dance steps. I just love her for her simple, ordered and highly artistic conceptions.
No conversation about why Africans love Africa could be complete without mentioning food and this entry from Ayo Obe, in Lagos, Nigeria whetted most palates.
Mmm this Lagos wedding feast is worthy of the name: Hot peppery efo egusi stew - full of the fruits of the sea - with pounded yam and fresh, bitingly-sweet palm wine to smooth its way down my throat.
When passing Accra, I mustn't forget to stock up with sh'ito pepper sauce - I'll need it when I get to pepperless South Africa.
But wait ... isn't that the home of the fabulous Nando's Chicken and jumbo chips? Oh, those fiery peri-peri chicken recipes are Mozambican are they?
I was too busy 'breaking and entering' succulent giant shrimps when I passed through Maputo... mmmm... to notice.
Those southern countries provide enough creamy European-style puddings to keep me comatose till I get to Addis Ababa.
So hold the injera bread, but don't stint on what goes with it - spicy chicken stews, tender beef concoctions.
Moving up north - hey Algerian sister: Let my couscous have raisins. And bake the lamb with dried fruits: Tender, sweet, savoury - delicious!
Do you know, this Dakar jolof rice is different from what we have at home? But I don't mind some more. A lot more.
Back to Nigeria. I think I'll have eba - or as they call it here in Calabar gari - with my white savoury stew, yes, fresh fish, thank you.
And Lagos at last. What I could do with right now is some of that Togolese rice with fried plantain.
What's that? You don't have room for anything but some boli - roasted plantain - and groundnuts? But you'll have some suya barbecue later won't you?
Kidney, liver and chicken as well as beef... with maybe an icy beer to cool your mouth?
Can there be any doubt why I love Africa? I beg: "Mama put! Put more!"
During the year many people were impressed by African's mastery of languages and the diversity of languages and dialects. Sampa K Chiombe from Lesotho celebrated accents.
There is nothing more than an African accent that makes me love Africa.
African accents make me identify with our origins.
When a person says shirt - pronounced shati, or work - pronounced waki, I know that he or she is from East Africa.
When a person says son - pronounced sooni, or money - pronounced moone, I know that he or she is from West Africa.
When a person says bank - pronounced benki, or pressure - pronounced prezure, I know that he or she is from southern Africa.
These African accents make me love Africa and enjoy African programmes such as Network Africa and Focus on Africa on the BBC World Service.
The programmes that have exposed me to various countries' accents mean that I now know a Liberian, Malawian, Kenyan, a Somalian or a Zimbabwean when one speaks.
Indeed, African accents make me love Africa.
SPIRIT OF SURVIVAL
Africans' ability to triumph in the face of adversity, their innovation and resilience is admired by Saheed Babs Nasir in Lagos, Nigeria.
Many people outside the continent still think of Africa as a jungle. Well... it is and you need to be mentally and physically strong to survive in this interesting land.
Take the transport system in most African cities for example, it is a jungle dominated by reckless bus drivers, daredevil commercial bike riders, and seemingly careless but agile pedestrians.
To survive in this jungle, you need to be as alert as a night hunter and as fit as an Olympic athlete. How else would you be able to jump over 10 metres of water into an already overloaded ferry, knowing that if you miss this boat, you will not only have to pay more but run at over 60km/h to catch up with an even more overloaded bus?
This ''only the strong survive'' scenario extends even to the railways. Only old women and little children use the station. For the rest, you just walk down to the nearest part of the rail track, wait for the coming train, run along a few metres and hop in.
Fit as a fiddle
Tickets? No need. The reward for your agility is to pay the conductor half the price, which is his own reward for giving you a helping hand as you jump in.
Even if reaching your destination requires only taking a walk, you still need to be as fit as a fiddle, because you need to out-manoeuvre reckless ''okada'' riders and cross busy highways; you cannot use the pedestrian bridge - they have been taking over by the destitute and drug addicts.
Nobody is complaining about this almost chaotic situation because we know it takes a special breed of people to survive, and in fact we are proud to live here. I love this jungle... I love Africa!
Africa's customs from respect for elders to traditional dress were often noted as a source of pride. Village life for many represented home and a desire not to forget this heritage as Alex Mawazo Kasengo explains.
I live in Msia Village, Ileje in southern Tanzania.
Here everything is truly African. Houses are built with mud, poles and thatched with grass.
Many people from outside and inside the village fear witchcraft and so don't build brick houses with corrugated iron sheets.
Old men in the village say that our ancestors never lived in brick houses before, therefore building brick houses would be a violation of our ancestral traditions.
We share our houses with chickens, goats, sheep and cows.
Although ticks and fleas feast on us the whole night, this is my home and I love Africa.
Women wake up early in the morning with gourds on their heads and babies on their backs and go to the river to draw some water.
Although we share the river with animals, water is never treated - we drink it fresh from the river.
We don't believe that there are waterborne diseases... we strongly believe in ancestral healings.
We also help one another in my village.
When one is building a house or cultivating acres of land, we just prepare traditional beer and some food.
We call men and women to come the following day for help.
Women bring pots, firewood, maize and millet while men come with sickles, axes, ropes, poles and hoes.
As women sing while cooking, men are busy digging the land or building the house.
Only the village headman has a radio, it's a wooden two-band radio.
Every morning villagers flock to the headman's compound to listen to BBC Network for Africa.
The village headman beats a big drum at exactly 6:15am so that everyone should be ready for the programme at 6:30am.
Since many don't understand English, I have been chosen as their interpreter.
Please accept the warm greetings from my fellow villagers.
I love Africa.