Africa has huge sparse of highland vegetation. In Africa’s discontinuous areas of high mountains and uplands, altitude plays a significant role in determining climate and vegetation. On high peaks such as Kilimanjaro, vegetation changes as altitude increases: savanna vegetation near the base, … Continue reading
The Growth of the ANC (African National Congress) began to reach its climax after the introduction of segregation policies by the white minority government of South Africa. African National Congress (ANC) membership greatly increased in the 1950s after South Africa’s white-minority government … Continue reading
The Founding of the ANC (African National Congress) came at a time when black Africans in South Africa thought of ways of prodding a common course in their collective interest and aspirations. The African National Congress (ANC) was founded in 1912 as a nonviolent … Continue reading
If ethnicity is considered synonymous with how people are identified, both by themselves and others, then throughout Africa, language serves as its primary marker. Language links people to a specific place of origin, which, in turn, signals a shared cultural history. In South … Continue reading
Early Southern Africa
By 650 small Bantu-speaking communities of ironworkers and farmers had settled all over southern Africa, excluding only the drier regions of central and western Botswana, Namibia, and the Cape of Good Hope region of South Africa. In these drier areas, Khoisan hunter-gatherers and herders were dominant.
- Art in Southern Africa (egrejeen.wordpress.com)
- Early Central Africa (egrejeen.wordpress.com)
- Dutch at the Cape of Africa (egrejeen.wordpress.com)
- Bantu Migration (egrejeen.wordpress.com)
- Discovery of Mineral Wealth in Southern Africa (egrejeen.wordpress.com)
- Beadwork in Southern Africa (egrejeen.wordpress.com)
The colonial economy was centered around isolated agricultural and mining centers in which foreign-financed and foreign-managed firms employed local labor to produce raw materials for export to Europe, North America, and Japan. Colonial administrations started most of the important large-scale farming and mining activities: for example, cotton growing in the irrigated Al Jazīrah (Gezira) region of Sudan, rubber growing on plantations in Liberia, coffee growing in Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, and Kenya, and copper mining in Zambia.
For a variety of reasons, colonial economies did not focus on developing industry to produce finished goods for local consumption. First, markets for finished goods in Africa were small. Second, mineral and agricultural raw materials, for the most part, were not processed in Africa, or were only minimally processed to ease shipment to ports. Third, since African industrialization was largely initiated by European firms, it was not in the firms’ interest to create competition for their own products in Europe. Fourth, in the case of some countries, both the colonial and later African governments kept the exchange rates of their currencies too high, making imported consumer goods more affordable.
South Africa and Zimbabwe were two distinct exceptions to this general lack of industrialization. South Africa had been administered by settlers of European descent since the early 20th century. The size and technical skill level of the settler population—combined with relative autonomy from colonial powers—supported greater economic development, making it possible for industrialization to succeed. In the case of the colony of Rhodesia (what is now Zimbabwe), the white minority regime faced world sanctions for its illegal takeover of the government in 1965, and was forced to embark on homegrown industrial development to meet its own domestic needs. At independence in 1980, Zimbabwe had one of the most developed economies on the continent, second only to South Africa.
Colonial export-oriented industries did make some positive marks on the African economic landscape. They introduced important innovations in transportation, banking, marketing, trade, and many commercial services. They also led to improvements in government administration, agricultural practices, health care, and education. However, these innovations were not intended to modernize Africa as a whole. Instead, they were primarily concentrated in and around a small number of principal ports and trade centers, which usually also served as colonial capitals. This unbalanced system gave rise to tremendous disparities between developed urban centers and the rural sector.
- Colonial Rule in Africa (egrejeen.wordpress.com)
- Architecture in Africa’s Rural Settlements (egrejeen.wordpress.com)
- Development of the Modern Sector of the African Economy (egrejeen.wordpress.com)
Coastal Processes of Africa
Coastal deposition (accumulation of sediment) occurs along much of the African coastline, particularly along the Mediterranean coast, along the Atlantic coast from Liberia to South Africa, and along the Indian Ocean coast of South Africa and southern Mozambique. Where there are strong winds parallel to the coast, waves and currents move sand along the coastline, in the process creating large sand spits and blocking harbors. At the mouths of the Niger and Nile rivers, large fan-shaped deltas have been created through the deposition of vast amounts of sediment carried downstream by these rivers. Few good harbors are found in areas where there are high levels of coastal deposition.
By World War I (1914-1918) Ethiopia and Liberia were the only independent nations left in Africa. France and Britain held the most African territory: French colonies stretched across almost all of West Africa, while Britain held an almost unbroken string of colonies from Egypt to South Africa.
Southern Africa encompasses Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Lesotho, and South Africa. The region is home to some of the oldest art in Africa, although it largely lacks the strong artistic traditions found elsewhere in Africa. In Namibia, a few images of animals painted on rock slabs were found within caves and have been reliably dated to 25,500 bc. These are by far the oldest surviving record of artistic activity on the African continent. Another important southern site is Great Zimbabwe, a city-state that flourished from the 12th to 15th centuries. Among its remarkable artifacts are large soapstone bird sculptures that most likely date from the early 15th century. Seven terracotta heads, known as the Lydenburg heads, date from much earlier—about 520.
- Architecture in Africa’s Rural Settlements (egrejeen.wordpress.com)
The way of life in Africa’s rural settlements determines the types of dwellings built. Settled farming societies have different requirements than herding societies, which are usually nomadic. Other rural societies in Africa are based on farming, hunting, and gathering in various combinations.
Of the many types of traditional rural dwellings, relatively permanent houses grouped in villages are found only in agricultural settlements. A typical farming village consists of a number of family compounds along with structures that serve the larger community. Each family compound may have separate structures for cooking, eating, sleeping, storing food, and protecting animals at night. Structures may be round, rectangular, or semicircular. Communal structures, for holding meetings and teaching children, are located in a prominent place in the village.
The Dogon people of southern Mali cultivate grain on a plateau at the top of the Bandiagara cliffs near the Niger River. They construct villages on the steep sides of the cliffs. Their rectangular houses are built of sun-dried mud brick and stone. The roofs are thatched, and the dwellings rest on ledges along the cliffs. The Dogon store and protect their harvest in granaries that have beautifully carved wooden doors and decorative locks. Figures carved on many granary doors represent sets of male and female twins, which symbolize fertility and agricultural abundance.
The Zulu of southern Africa, who cultivate grain and raise livestock, have traditionally built houses shaped like beehives. They arrange these houses in a circular, fenced compound, and they keep their cattle in the middle of the compound. Zulu houses are made of thatch that covers a framework of wooden strips and is bound together with a rope lattice.
Nomadic herders need homes that they can easily build and take apart when they move their herds to different ground. The Masai of eastern Africa, for example, construct homes using a framework of sticks that they seal with cattle dung.
Many rural societies in Africa adorn the outsides of houses with painted designs or with relief (raised) patterns worked into a soft clay surface. The job of decorating houses generally belongs to the women. Frafra women of northern Ghana decorate the walls of houses and other buildings with geometric patterns that communicate information about the social status of a building’s owner. Ndebele women in Zimbabwe and the northeastern part of South Africa paint the mud walls of their houses with geometric patterns based on the shapes of windows, steps, and other building features and everyday objects. Traditionally, Africans have used natural clays as paints, but today brightly colored acrylic paints are popular.
- Agriculture in Africa, Agriculture-Based Continent (egrejeen.wordpress.com)