African Cultures and Traditions

Africa is the second largest continent and the most populous after Asia. More than one billion people live in Africa. Origins of humans and hominids are traced back to Africa, making it the oldest habited region. Africa has a diverse geography ranging from deserts to snow capped mountains. Tropical rain forest is present in the equatorial region. Due south are found the grasslands which give way to the coastal plains. Long rivers such as Nile, Niger, Zaire, and Zambezi drain the continent. Africa consists of more than 50 countries and occupies a large amount of land divided into distinct ecological zones. African Culture Facts Due to adaptations to the different African regions, many African traditions and cultures have been developed. In colonial times Africa was exploited for its natural wealth, which led to major consequences such as slave trade, indentured labor and forced migration of people. To understand this further, consider the words of Dr. Marimba Ani, "The continuity of African cultural identity has been interrupted by the experience of slavery. We as people, have not been allowed to find our way back to the sense of cultural identity and continuity needed to function in the world with a collective consciousness." People and Culture When one thinks of Africa, many ideas come into the mind. The culture of Africa to many minds consists largely of tribal communities living in harmony with nature, with unchanged lifestyles since millennia. Also, other popular themes about Africa emphasize its natural wealth in the terms of flora and fauna over diverse landscapes such as deserts, grasslands, rain forest and coastal plains. Africa, even today stands out as a continent marked by violence, AIDS, underdevelopment and poverty, amidst vast resources of minerals and natural wealth. These

African Culture and Food African cuisine largely consists of local influences and colonial additions and includes . Some of the tribes have traditions of clothing and accessories in the form of jewelry's. folklore. who previously did not store this knowledge in written records. Linguistic diversity is seen in the number of languages and dialects spoken in Africa. initiation into warrior groups. Tattooing. genealogy. ethnic and social groups. up to two thousand. Some of the tribes and ethnic groups are engaged in different forms of activity including subsistence activity such as hunting and gathering. weapons and dress. musical instruments. but sometimes female is practiced in some parts of Africa as a rite of passage. coming of age. Numerous tribes. gourds and leather are used for fashioning all types of work.images and information only serve to give an incomplete view of Africa. history. which are often added to the core belief systems. Oral Traditions Word of mouth is very important in Africa and oral literature consists of myths. paintings. are indigenous to Africa some representing very large populations consisting of millions of people and other smaller groups of a few thousand. Circumcision. There are many social events associated with the tribal cultures such as courtship. There are many other religions and belief systems in Africa. Other social groups are engaged in activities such as trade and commerce all of which contribute to the fabric of African culture and traditions. and traditional rituals. spiritual beliefs. pastoralism. Singing and story telling are very popular and highly prized in society. Diversity Africa has a rich and diverse presence of humanity which has adapted to different ecological zones. scarring and otherwise enhancing some part of the body through accessories is common. Arts and Crafts Arts and crafts have a rich tradition in Africa. Some are also influenced but not completely taken over by modern religions such as Christianity and Islam. but rather passed it from generation to generation by word of mouth. ritual articles. witchcraft and Shamanism. feasting and other traditional celebrations. Modern religions such as Islam and Christianity still have a large number of traditional adherents. shell and apparel that reflect their traditional origin. weapons. Wood. elaborate headgear. hunting gear. folk remedies and is very popular with the people of Africa. etc. metal. weddings. Masks. special abilities and status of the individuals. ceremonial and religious headgear. are used to mark identity. horticulture and farming. largely male. complex socio-economic spheres and still preserved its culture and traditions in the face of a hoary and often turbulent past. piercing. African Cultures and Tribes Many different social groups and tribes are found across the continent of Africa .with their culture varying from tribe to tribe. origin fables. African arts and crafts include sculpture. pottery. Religion and Beliefs African religions include many beliefs including animism. ritualistic artifacts. These activities and other social activities form the essential basis of life in Africa. beads.

cassava and yams form the basis for many meals. Grains. Stews of vegetables and meat are quite popular. Europeans. Hope this piece has provided you a certain picture of the complex patterns of African cultures and traditions . add to the kind of food and cuisines available.vegetables. etc. meat and dairy products. Africa is a huge region with many traditions and cultures. but to do justice to such an exercise it would be necessary to undertake a lot of research and field work. It would be possible to write more. fruit. Indians. Influences from migrants and immigrants such as Arabs. Even focusing on a region of Africa such as culture in South Africa would be challenging.

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