African Culture Africa is a gigantic continent, with deserts, rivers, mountains. Grasslands and jungles separating peoples and ideas. There is no one common culture in Africa. Differences in religion and language often Mean even a single nation may have several cultures within it. This has often lead to the use of a European language as the language of the government. This also has lead to rivalries and civil wars in nations of Africa.
Proverbs• A good person earns more than just wages.• What the parents discuss on an evening, the child will reveal in the morning.• Dont sweep anothers house whilst your own is dirty.• You can learn wisdom at your grandfathers feet, or at the end of a stick.• If your parents take care of you up to the time you cut your teeth, you take care of them when they lose theirs.• The family is like the forest. If you are outside, it is dense; if you are inside, you see that each tree has its own position.• Until lions have their historians, tales of the hunt shall always glorify the hunters. You can tell what values Africans hold important with their proverbs. Africa’s history is rich with oral traditions and proverbs. These come from Ethiopia, Kenya and Nigeria
Languages• African language is diverse and separated into 6 main groups. Each group has several sub groups.• Linguistic divisions are hurdles to national unity and economic development
Food• Food in Africa is varied with Arabic cuisine in the north, and a mix of traditional, European, Asian and South Asian in the Southern half of the continent• African slaves brought food products like Yams and Plantains• Asians brought lentils, curries and soups to Africans• Ethiopia claims to have invented coffee drinking. They have a coffee ceremony that’s similar to the Japanese Tea Ceremony, in purpose and preparation
Family life• Extended family is the norm• Elders play important role in families• Mothers have large roles in African families• The good of community is more important than the individual• “It takes a village to raise a child”• A child is born in Africa and the family celebrates the occasion with a feast. Kids are given names based on the family history or anticipated future.
Family (traditional roles)• Grandmother and father are heads of families• Dads provide for families and arrange marriages for daughters• Moms rule the homes. Kids help and support the family• Uncles and aunts help provide for kids, arrange marriages and help settle disputes between other family members. Uncles are often called Junior Fathers.
• Marriage No two cultures have the same customs• In Ethiopia, some people tattoo the bride’s stomach for good luck• With the Massai people of Kenya, The bride packs her belongings and is dressed in jewelry. The father of the bride spits on her head and breasts as a blessing and then she leaves to her new home. She never looks back, fearing that she will turn to stone.• The Himba people of Namibia kidnap a bride before the ceremony and dress her in a marriage headdress. After the ceremony she is brought into the house where the family tells her what her responsibilities will be as the wife and then anoint her with butterfat from cows. This shows that she has been accepted into the family.• The Wodabee of Niger court their cousins for marriage. The male cousins wear powerful amulets which are supposed to heighten their attractiveness to the girl. If there are two cousins who desire the same girl the girl chooses the one she wishes and the other man is welcomed into the home of the couple.• The Neur people of southern Sudan -the groom must pay 20-40 cattle, the marriage is completed only after the wife has born 2 children. If the wife only bears one child and the husband asks for a divorce he can also ask for either the return of the cattle or the first child. Divorce therefore is very difficult. Another interesting fact is that if a husband dies then the husbands family must provide a brother to the widow and any children born to the brother are considered the deceaseds children
Polygamy• Polygamy is common in parts of Africa• The current president of S. Africa is an ethnic Zulu and is allowed to have more than one wife.• Africans feel that polygamy helps ensure the future of the family, gives women help raising children and in parts of Africa, if a man died, his brother was expected to marry his widow and care for his children• Polygamy also gave women help in gardening and other household chores• In parts of Africa that practices Islam, there is a religious basis for polygamy as well.
• Death is not the end of life to Africans, it’s only a transition to a• new world Africans feel that their ancestors live on in the village and surviving family Death members• The goal of life is to become an ancestor after death. This is why every person who dies must be given a "correct" funeral, supported by a number of religious ceremonies. If this is not done, the dead person may become a wandering ghost, unable to "live" properly after death• Many African peoples have a custom of removing a dead body through a hole in the wall of a house, and not through the door. The reason for this seems to be that this will make it difficult (or even impossible) for the dead person to remember the way back to the living, as the hole in the wall is immediately closed.• Death in African religions is one of the last transitional stages of life requiring passage rites, and this too takes a long time to complete. The deceased must be "detached" from the living and make as smooth a transition to the next life as possible
Beauty and African standard? Sexuality• Many Africans see a large, well rounded women to be a sign of health and beauty.• Men are not expected to be monogamous• Men also feel they have a “right to sex.” This has helped to spread HIV.• Many see homosexuality as an evil. Anti- homosexual laws are found across the region Western Standard?• Some Africans practice female circumcision. An act that has no reason to exist in the first place.