Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

African society & culture


Published on

Published in: Education

African society & culture

  1. 1. 500 BCE – 1400 CE
  2. 2.  Much of what we know about Ancient African society comes from the writings of foreign visitors. African towns began as fortified villages, which grew into larger communities that served several purposes  Towns were center of government  Towns had markets with goods from trade  Towns had artists who made pottery, tools, woodwork, and other crafts  Farmers could trade their crops for goods
  3. 3.  Inmost African societies, the ruler would hold audiences with commoners The king was held in a position high above other people in the kingdom The relationship of the king to his subjects was beneficial to both sides  Merchants received favors from the king, while the king received taxes  The king maintained law and order, which allowed the merchants to practice their trade
  4. 4.  People who lived in villages generally lived with extended family and/or lineage groups  The extended family was made up of parents/grandparents/children and other family members  Lineage groups were the extended family that may live in separate homes in the same village, and were all related  Lineage groups were the basic building block of African society  Members of the same lineage group could claim relation to a common ancestor  Leading members of the group had power over the others  The lineage group provided support for its members, taking care of one another
  5. 5.  Women were usually subordinate to men in Africa, as they were in most early societies around the world  Women often worked in the fields while men hunted or took care of the cattle One critical difference between African women and women from other areas of the world was that lineage was based on the mother; African society was matrilineal, based on the mother. (Most other societies were patrilineal – based on the father. Women were permitted to inherit property and often a new husband would move into his wife’s house
  6. 6.  In the Congo, children were raised by their mothers and were prepared to become part of the community  They learned language, family history, and music from their mothers At age 6, the sexes were separated and the fathers began to take an active role in educating their sons  Boys learned to hunt and fish  Girls learned to work in the villages and fields As they aged, children were given increasing responsibilities until they fully entered the community, usually at puberty.  Their transition was marked by ceremonies and/or rituals
  7. 7.  Slavery was practiced in Africa even in ancient times  Berber groups in North Africa raided farming villages south of the Sahara for captives  The captives were taken northward and sold throughout the Mediterranean as domestic slaves or soldiers Slavery was common in south and East Africa.  Slaves were captives, conquered peoples, debtors, and criminals Life was difficult for most slaves, who often worked long, hard hours In Muslim societies and Asia, some slaves could earn their freedom
  8. 8.  Early African religions varied from place to place, although most shared some common ideas  The Yoruba people of Nigeria believed that their chief god sent his son Oduduwa from Heaven to create the first humans  The Ashanti people of Ghana believed in a supreme being called Nyame, whose sons were lesser gods. Each son served a different purpose, like making rain or sunshine. Most African religions had rituals and ceremonies  One way to communicate with the gods was through diviners, or people who believe they have the power to foretell events by communicating with supernatural forces
  9. 9. A key element in African religions was the importance of ancestors  Each lineage group could trace itself back to a founding ancestor or group of ancestors  Ritual ceremonies were dedicated to ancestors Many African religions shared a belief in the afterlife  They believed life existed in two stages: earth and the afterlife, where the soul floated for eternity
  10. 10.  African religious beliefs were challenged by Islam, but not always replaced Islam swept rapidly across the northern coast after the Arab conquest Islam was spread as a result of trade throughout Africa  The first ruling family to convert to Islam were the Gao’s Islam spread even more slowly in East Africa  Christianity dominated much of the region  Was more successful when Swahili culture emerged
  11. 11.  Earliest forms of African art were rock paintings, dating back as far as 4000 BCE Wood carving existed throughout Africa. Carvers made elaborate masks and statues Clay and metal figurines were found in Nigeria that demonstrated a flourishing culture Metalworkers produced bronze and iron statues African music and dance was extensive and often served a religious purpose Griots were storytellers who kept African traditions and history as part of their stories