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Published September 04, 2022 Updated June 12, 2023

Africa playing cards

According to the United Nations there are 54 countries on the continent of Africa

2012 Africa South Africa Heraclio Fournier MapStudio Sasakti Christopher Hobbs Ethnic & Indigenous Add to Collection

According to the United Nations there are 54 countries on the continent of Africa – which is just as well, as this 54 card pack, produced in Cape Town, South Africa by MapStudio, provides information about each of them. It certainly makes one appreciate the vast size of the continent. Each playing card features an African country with interesting facts:


  • national flag
  • area in kilometres /area in miles
  • highest point
  • population
  • capital city
  • other important cities
  • currency
  • main exports

MapStudio, founded in 1958, is the leading publisher and distributor of Street Guides and a large range of travel, adventure, sports and lifestyle books. The company also produces road maps, atlases, tourist maps, educational products and wall maps. See the box

Africa playing cards, South Africa, 2012.

Above: Africa playing cards produced in Cape Town, South Africa by MapStudio, 2012. 54 cards in box.


More African themed playing cards

"Africa, and its tantalizing thrusts of mystery, majesty and malevolence, remains an enigma"

Above: nine cards and back design from "Pharaoh Palmier Poker Cards".  52 cards + 2 Jokers plus pyramid card in tuck box.

Other African themed decks reviewed on this website include: "The Frozen Court"

Above: 52 + 2 jokers + extra joker in Special Box: BLACK PACK, featuring thick-set black characters in traditional African dress. First edition, limited to 5000 copies. Manufactured by Heraclio Fournier S.A., Spain for Sasakti, London, 1993. 33% proceeds to aid African children "for personal freedom & social justice". Illustrated by production designer Christopher Hobbs. An error can be seen on the queen of diamonds, the inner pip symbol is missing.

In the traditional African worldview, life and death are inextricably linked. All members of a family, both living and dead, continue to depend on one another. Ancestral cults confirm common provenance and thus the unity of the clan.

Pair of amulets in ivory, Republic of Congo, 19th century

Above: pair of amulets in ivory, Republic of Congo, 19th century. The dot-circle motif on the body symbolises life and continuity.

Round the World card game published by Pepys, 1961

Above: African themed card from Round the World card game published in 1961.

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By Peter Burnett

Member since July 27, 2022

I graduated in Russian and East European Studies from Birmingham University in 1969. It was as an undergraduate in Moscow in 1968 that I stumbled upon my first 3 packs of “unusual” playing cards which fired my curiosity and thence my life-long interest. I began researching and collecting cards in the early 1970s, since when I’ve acquired over 3,330 packs of non-standard cards, mainly from North America, UK and Western Europe, and of course from Russia and the former communist countries.

Russian Playing Cards

Following my retirement from the Bodleian Library in Dec. 2007 I took up a new role as Head of Library Development at the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP) to support library development in low-income countries. This work necessitated regular training visits to many sub-Saharan African countries and also further afield, to Vietnam, Nepal and Bangladesh – all of which provided rich opportunities to further expand my playing card collection.

Since 2019 I’ve been working part-time in the Bodleian Library where I’ve been cataloguing the bequest of the late Donald Welsh, founder of the English Playing Card Society.


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