Glimpse of Africa

Ancient Africa

By Yao Ni

Kush and Axum Kingdoms

The Kingdom of Kush was an ancient African Kingdom to the South of Egypt, built in at the base of the mountains, at the start of Nile River, Kush is also called Nubia. As the Kingdom near the Nile River, the annual flood bring people good soil to keep their fresh growing. The Kushite capital had been captured by the Beja Dynasty, because he tried to revive the empire during 1st Century A.D. That the Kushite capital was captured and burnt to the ground by the Kingodm of Axum. Kush had tremendous natural wealth, such as gold mines, ivory, and iron ore, these resources they have make many other kingdom want to take over.

Axum, also called Aksum, is the name of a powerful, urban Iron Age Kingdom in Ethiopia, that flourished in the centuries before and after the time of Christ. It lies high on a plateau 7200 ft above sea level, and in its heyday. Axum began to grow agricultural resources, and it gold and ivory through the port of Adulis into Red Sea trade network and thence to the Roman Empire during 1st Century. As time go on, settlement began to include town, villages and isolated hamlets, also the monasteries and church were added after Christianity was introduced in 350 A.D. Further, the ruler Ezana during the early 4th Century spread his realm north and east, conquering the Nile Valley realm of Meroe and becoming ruler over part of both Asia and Africa.

African Empires

Saharan trade routes

Saharan Trade Routes

Saharan trade routes start around 5th Century, That Berber-speaking people began crossing the Sahara Desert to the availability of camel. In the beginning of time, gold was the main commodity of trans-Saharan trade form western and central Sudan. Also the rise of the Soninke empire of Ghana appear to be related to the beginning of the trans-Saharan gold trade. As time went on, from 7th to 11th Century, more traders that demanded gold, and could supply salt to the sub-Sahara economies, where the gold was abundant.

By 1050 A.D, Ghana was strong enough want to control of Islamic Berber town of Audaghost. But in the end of 21th Century, Ghana had lost its domination of the western Sudan gold trade. Further, during the late 1400s, Portugal successful find a new way around Africa by sea, that the southern tip of Africa was named The Cape of Good Hope. As the new way developed, more traders began to travel and trade by ship, make the desert trade slow down, but it never stop.

African Slave Trade

Early Trade (1550-1650)

Juan de Cordoba of Sevilie become the first merchant that send an African slaves to the new world in 1502. The slave trade in Africa had main spread out to some main empire in Africa, in 15th century, new European development in seafaring technologies meant that ship were better equipped to deal with the problem of tidal currents, and could begin traversing the Atlantic Ocean, there are start of Atlantic slave trade, some slave sellers had start sending slaves from old world (Europe, Africa, Asia) to new world (North America and South America). The South Africa Atlantic economic system centered on producing to sell in Europe, and increasing the number of African slaves brought to the New World.

The Portuguese were the first to engage in the New World slave trade in the 16th century, and others soon followed. Some of Atlantic slave traders had established outposts on the African coast that purchased their slaves from local African leaders, there are about 12 million Africans were shipped across the Atlantic. The Atlantic slave trade is divided into two eras, such as the First and Second Atlantic System. The First Atlantic system was the trade of enslaved Africans to the South American colonies of the Portuguese and Spanish Empire, as time went on, more people join the slave trade, the slave had spread out the world. The Second Atlantic system was the trade of enslaved African, the second one is more over English, Portuguese, French, and Dutch trader. In this time, the Europeans nation had built up economically slave-dependent colonies in the New World, the number of the slave exported from Africa had become higher.

European Imperialism

France and Africa

European Imperialism in Africa

Start in 1870, 10 percent of Africa of Africa was under European control, 90 percent was continent by 1914, only Ethiopia and Liberia are still independent. Africa faced European imperialist aggression, diplomatic pressure, military invasions, and eventual conquest and colonization, pushing into Africa was motivated by economic, political, and social. The political impetus make the impact of inter-European power struggles and competition for preeminence. All European countries were competing for power within European power politics.

From the European Imperialism, France conquest of Algeria, but the powers was end of the 19th century. Even the time to the protection of Algeria, France had invaded Tunisia in 1881 and Morocco in 1912 to forcibly states into the global French Empire. Because the Tunisia and Morocco is different compare to Algeria, they had different local ruling families and limited sovereignty, but France just controlled what they need. One important thing France did was the change of the modern education, giving more educational opportunities for children to learn. That these education also had a little disrupted on the woman's right.

African Mask


In Africa, ritual and ceremonial mask is an traditional culture, and art of the people of Sub-Sahara Africa. Masks are most use for some of the important ceremonies, every mask have their own spiritual and religious. Also the mask making is an art that is passed on from father to son, along with knowledge of symbolic meaning conveyed by such mask. That ritual ceremonies generally depict deities, spirits of ancestors, mythological being, good or evil, the dead, animal spirits, and other being believed to have power over humanity. But through today, mask still is an important culture in Africa, but because the vast number of people have lost some of its tribal identity and culture, the mask ceremonies no longer common in Africa.

African masks are usually shaped after a human face or some animal, all mask have different style. Stylish element in a mask's looks are codified by the tradition and may either identify a specific community or convey specific meaning. Animals are common in African mask, it represent the spirit of animal, that the mask-wearer becomes a medium to speak to animal themselves. I make my mask as a tiger shape, because I was born in the year of tiger.

Africa Tribe

The Twa (Great Lake)

The Twa tribe

The Twa tribe also called as "Forgotten tribe", know as Batwa in English. This tribe separated in two area in Africa, the Twa I do is located in the Great Lake, this tribe assumed to be the oldest surviving population of the Great Lake region of the central Africa, and also related to the Hutu and Tutsi. Twa is a semi-nomadic hunter gatherers of the mountain forest living in association with agricultural village, use the bow and arrow to hunting, the skill of hunting was pass down through century.

Twa only have little support of art, the one important art they do was the basket and pottery, there are not traditional carving or painting, those basket and pottery they make are mostly use for household. Though, the music and dance have been the most important artistic expressions in this tribe, the music consist of African folk music, vocal songs accompanied by a solitary lulunga(similar to harp). Dancing is the important part of Twa, celebratory dance accompanied by a drum orchestra. Futher, the most honoured one is ikinimba, a dance accompanied by many different instrument called ingoma, ikembe, iningiri, umuduri and inanga and telling the tales of the heroes

The rite of passage in Twa know as birth, married, having kid, death. As a child born, the baby will stay with mother alone in house for first 7 days, at 8th day, the naming ceremony will held on to announce the baby. Marriages are legal when the man's family pay the brade wealth to the women's family, it paid in cattle, goats, and beer. For the marriage ceremony, the bride's body is covered with herbs and milks to make it pure. And death is marked by prayer, speeches, and ritual, but the close family member can't take part for any activities, even after death, they do not work in the field or have sexual relationship during the period of mourning.

The most Twa are Christians, but they still kept some of their ancient beliefs, as Twa are related to Hutu and Tutsi, the Twa believe in the ancient Hutu God, Imaana, it had many human quantity. Imaana meant well, but he was distant from the people. The abazima were the spirit of the ancestors, they could become angry and bring bad luck to the living. Gift were offered to the abazima for protection, people contact them through fortune-tellers.

Modern Issue

China Investment in Africa

China is African's largest trading partner, that in 2012, the China Development Bank agreed to provide $3 billion in loans to Ghana, which was almost 10% of Ghana's GDP. As China made a historic push for business opportunities and expanded influence in Africa. More building are built in Africa, such as newly stadiums, airports, hospitals, highways and dams, that more and more Chinese had migrant into Africa. There are more than 2000 Chinese companies have investment in Africa, including in natural resource extraction, finance, infrastructure, power generation, textiles, and home appliances.

The increasing amount of money flowing from China to Africa had create both challenges and opportunities. As the governments and lawmakers in both countries, had follow good practice that not to harm to the environment and communities. That China investment in Africa had never decrease, that estimate by 2020, trade between China and Africa will double.

Tribal Tradition in Modern World

the twa tribe

As Twa tribe live a long time in African, but their generations are having low education, over have of the Twa do not know to write and to read the local language. The youth in the tribe need to learn more training skill to help time earn a living, such as sewing, carpentry or metallurgy. That the tribe should prove better living, and medication, to help the young to live better.

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