Traditional African SocietyPresentation Transcript
Traditional African Society
Bantu Migrations Stateless Societies Bantu Societies did not depend on elaborate hierarchy of officials of a bureaucracy Governed through Kinship groups – extended families consisting of about 100 people. Bantu migrations also helped to spread agriculture and herding to all parts of Africa.
1000 different languages; 1000+ different tribes
Social Structure Large Kingdoms Ruling Elites Military Nobles Administrative Officials Religious Officials Wealthy Merchants Artisans Commoners Peasants Slaves
Social Structure Small States Ruling Elite Religious Officials Kinship Gender Age-set Maasai men. These men gather together at an age set ceremony to celebrate the murran (warriors) becoming junior elders
Kinship Societies Tribe (communal living) 1. Nuclear Family 2. Extended Family 3. Age-Set 4. Clan 5. Lineage (ancestry)
Traditional Family Structures Nuclear Family: Extended Family: C C C C C H W W C C C C C H W W GP Cs GP Cs U A
Family Group, Tanzania
Groups of all individuals within a given community born within a few years of one another.
Members perform tasks appropriate for their levels of development.
Boys and girls usually separate at 10 or 11 years old.
Children bond together to form tight circles of friends and political allies.
Boys learn how to herd goats and cattle, hunt, farm, and fight. Also, craftsmaking of weapons and tools, communication, cooperation.
Girls learned skills of house management, child care, field work, organization, and marketing.
Woman & Child, Kongo
Problems of Tribalism Today 1. The tribe is more important than the nation. 2. Communication problems. 3. Inter-tribal warfare --> civil wars. 4. Tribal favorites for government jobs: Nepotism Urbanization: Breaks down tribal traditions. Tribal intermingling on the job.
Land is very Valuable
Private Property did not exist.
Communities claimed rights to use land communally.
Male heads of families jointly governed the village and organized the work. They allocated portions of land to their family members to cultivate and distributed the harvests.
Most slaves were captives of war
Others were debtors, suspected witches, and criminals.
Most worked as agricultural laborers – some were laborers, miners, porters
Slaves were a sign of personal wealth – increase agricultural output.
Muslim merchants bought slaves from East Africa and through Trans-Saharan trade route.
Zanj Revolt People joined the revolt for many reasons. The majority of slaves joined due to poor treatment and working conditions (they were arguably the worst treated slaves in the Islamic world), while others joined to fight for a purer form of Islām. The "Zanj" were black African slaves who revolted against their enslavement, and against the corrupt and oppressive Arab `Abbasid regime, and conducted an armed resistance struggle in southern Iraq between the years 869 and 883 A.D. The Zanj rebellion was ultimately suppressed with the intervention of large Arab armies and the lucrative offer of amnesty and rewards to any rebels who might choose to surrender.
Traditional African Religion ANIMISM 1. Belief in one remote Supreme Being. 3. Ancestor veneration. 4. Belief in magic, charms, and fetishes. 5. Diviner --> mediator between the tribe and God. 2. A world of Lesser Gods spirits (good & bad) in all things.
African Diviner (Shaman) Rituals included prayers, animal sacrifices, ceremonies and dances for important events – births, circumcision, marriage, and death. Diviners were usually men who clearly understood the networks of political, social, and economic relationships within their societies. People consulted Diviners when affected by illness, sterility, crop failure, or other disaster.
African Diviner (Shaman) The Shaman wears an isiba headdress of porcupine quills, several animal hides, snakeskin, rattles on his ankles and several strands of beads. He carries a special whisk which he waves while calling the spirits. It is believed that he is empowered by the qualities of the animals whose remains he is wearing and sickness is caused by malevolent spirits. The Shaman ‘communicates’ with the ancestors and acts as an intermediary between the dead and the living.
World of the Spirits Dogon “Spirit House” The traditional dama (funeral ritual) consists of a masquerade that essentially leads the soul of the departed to their final resting places through a series of ritual dances and rites. Dogon damas include the use of many masks and statuettes. Each Dogon village may differ in the designs of the masks used in the dama ritual. Every village may have their own way of performing the dama rituals.
Fetishes Common to many tribes was the belief that the fetishes acquired power through the ritualistic carving and consecration, the addition of special substances and the recurring activation of its spirit by offering sacrifices and magic words.
Rubbing Oracle, wood
African Cultural Rituals Ritual puberty painting, Monrovia, Liberia the peoples of the Omo have nevertheless developed different art forms that allow them great artistic expression. Such practices, including body painting, are among the most ornate and extravagant in the world. Clay lip plates are the most well-known feature of the Mursi women
Mask With Headcloth, Zaire (19c) Tribal Mark --> scarification
Kisokolo Initiation Costume, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Other Religions in Africa ISLAM --> 40% * Nigeria --> largest sub-Saharan Muslim countries. CHRISTIANITY --> 46% - Kush, Nubia, and Ethiopia INDIGENOUS --> 12%
Islam in Timbuktu
Common Traits or Characteristics of Traditional African Tribal Life
The good of the group comes ahead of the good of the individual.
All land is owned by the group.
Strong feeling of loyalty to the group.
Important ceremonies at different parts of a person’s life.