For Africa, 2012 was a year of sporting triumph, as men and women brought home medals galore from the Olympic and Paralympic games.
Kenyan David Rudisha smashed the 800m world record and Botswana won its first medal, a silver for Nijel Amos.
The Olympics turned the world's attention to theatre too, with a ground-breaking run for African theatre companies staging Shakespearean plays in indigenous languages at The Globe in London, something that will return in 2013 for a longer run.
In music, the Zimbabwean musicians of Mokoomba made a feisty international release with the much-applauded Rising Tide, and in film Senegal had some hefty releases including La Pirogue and Tey.
But 2013 promises to be even more exciting, kicking off with the Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa from 19 January until 10 February.
Ouagadougou's film festival in February will throw an international light on African film, and the film adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Half of a Yellow Sun will star Thandie Newton and Chiwetel Ejiofor.
Adichie will have a new book next year, a diaspora love story.
In Kenya, the Kwani? Manuscript Project, with a panel of judges led by Sudanese author Jamal Mahjoub, will announce its winner in May.
The Caine Prize for African writing will do the same in July.
Despite Mali's political strife, the country will continue to enrich the international music scene with new albums from Rokia Traoré and Bassekou Kouyate.
The Festival au Désert will take the form of a musical caravan from Mauritania, through Mali and Burkina Faso in February.
To guide you through the year ahead and the best bits of the year gone by, our correspondents have put together a cultural guide for 2013, with some special artistic voices from the ground●