Speaking of ancient North Africa, haven’t there always been “Two Africas,” at least throughout recorded history – a Northern part in contact with Europe and the Middle East, and a Southern part not so much? This isn’t “race” or genetics or class or wealth, just the intersection of geography and cultures. Certainly Northern Africa itself was in more touch with southerly peoples than Europe and Western Asia were.
I’m somewhat familiar, but not enough to know where exactly to draw the line. Mauritania / Sahel / Ethiopia / Horn of Africa?
And it’s not like one was “better” than the other, any more than ancient Western Europe’s “barbarians” were “better” than Eastern Europe’s, or Iroquois were “better” than Salish, or whatever. Africans had empires all over the continent – if that’s a good thing(!). Remember the original Zimbabwe? “Recorded history” has known about the more-northerly ones longer because writing AFAWK started around there, the Near East and all. Before “the winners wrote the histories,” the writers wrote them!
It’s a big continent, and it’s definitely not a single country, no continent can be. (Australia is the exception that proves the rule … or something … because the English settlers did that, without consulting the Aboriginal Australians.) Does stereotyping it do anybody good?