What Is The Culture Of Africa


Africa Culture and History

Due to a paucity of written records, it is difficult to depict the history of Africa. As a result, many historians must depend only on oral history, archaeology, and genetics to piece together the continent’s history. Beginning in Egypt, the documented history of early civilisation moved through Nubia, the Maghreb, and the Horn of Africa before concluding in China. Islam swept over Africa during the Middle Ages and continues to be the major religion in Northern Africa today, according to the United Nations.

Image courtesy of: Abolition of the slave trade took place in the late fifteenth century when Europeans and Arabs abducted slaves from various regions of Africa and brought them outside to be used for the slave trade.

In contrast to Europe, where history is typically preserved in crumbling structures, the people who live on the continent tell the story of the continent.

African culture

The culture of Africa is quite intriguing owing to the fact that it differs from nation to country depending on where you travel. The continent is home to a broad range of people, many of whom have been shaped by external influences. Each nation has its own tribes, dialects, and cultural peculiarities that distinguish it from the others. Even small African countries like Uganda have more than thirty recognised tribes, despite the fact that the country is small. We will now take a look at some of the most well-known products of African culture, such as tribes, food, arts, and language, which will be discussed further below.

Famous African tribes

The Zulu people are the biggest ethnic group in South Africa. The province of KwaZulu-Natal is home to between ten and eleven million people, according to population estimates. During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, much of South Africa was under apartheid, and the Zulu people were treated as second-class citizens, frequently subjected to prejudice. As of today, they are entitled to the same privileges as any other citizens. Located in the Rift Valley area of Kenya and Tanzania, the Maasai are a pastoral people.

They are a strong and independent tribe that derives its riches and power from the livestock it raises.

As a result of the presence of more than fifty distinct tribes in the Omo River Region of South Western Ethiopia, it is an excellent site to visit if you are interested in African culture in general.

Because of the limited access to the area, many of the old practices and beliefs have survived unaltered.

African Food

Many of the people who live in African communities, particularly in Eastern, Western, and Southern Africa, are farmers. They rely nearly totally on the food that they farm for their own consumption. Outdoor markets also sell traditional African fare, such as jerky and couscous. Couscous is a popular meal in countries such as Morocco and Algeria, where it is often eaten with meat and vegetables. Cassava, maize, millet, and plantains are all major crops in Western Africa, and people cultivate and eat them in large quantities.

In certain African countries, such as Kenya, where it is usual for people to consume tea, colonization has also had an impact on the food and drink supplied to them.

African Art

Africans are among the most significant contributions to the field of sculptural art. African sculpture is an ancient art style that extends back thousands of years, with some of the earliest examples having been discovered in Egypt.

African Languages

In Africa, there are thousands of indigenous languages and dialects that are spoken by the people. Every African country, even the smallest, has its own language, which includes English. Given that many African nations were historically European colonies, many individuals are able to communicate in Creole or Pidgin versions of English, Portuguese, or French as a result of their exposure to these languages. In Northern Africa, Arabic is the primary language spoken, whilst in East Africa, Swahili is the primary language spoken.

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Africa is truly a fascinating continent

When it comes to African history and culture, there is a plethora of information to be discovered. When visiting African nations and speaking with locals, one might have a better understanding of the many customs and civilizations found there. Africa is a fascinating continent, with some of the world’s most diverse cultures, languages, and traditions to be found anywhere on the planet.

African Culture – Rich, diverse culture across the vast continent

Home| African Culture and Traditions

This rich and diverse culture varies from country to country.

In African culture, the “self” does not exist in isolation from the rest of the world; rather, it is intertwined with and influenced by the natural and social environments. One’s relationships with one’s community and surroundings are the primary means through which an individual develops into a person of volition, whose actions and decisions have an impact on the entire group rather than simply on oneself. Among all African cultures and languages is a Xhosa proverb that goes something like this: “Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu,” which translates as “A person is a person through individuals.” It is not only from one nation to another that the rich and diverse African culture can be found, but it can also be found inside each country.

  1. The inhabitants of Africa speak a diverse range of languages, adhere to a diverse range of religious beliefs, and live in a diverse range of types of structures.
  2. After making their way over the Mediterranean Sea from the Middle East in the 7th century A.D., Arabs began traveling into North Africa, carrying their religion with them.
  3. South Asians established themselves in the countries of Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa.
  4. Homestead in the African tradition (Ndebele village in Zimbabwe) Ethnic groups and African tribes each have their own set of traditions that are exclusive to their culture.

The habits and traditions of each tribe have been woven together to create a tapestry that is as vibrant and diverse as the people of Africa themselves.

African Art

A wide range of African arts and crafts are available include sculpting, weaving, beading and painting, as well as ceramics and accessories such as jewellery and headgear. Depending on beliefs, values, and customs, art from different places has various qualities. However, frequent motifs seen in art include women, couples, children, animals, and a man with a weapon or a mix of these. Masks are typically used as a symbol of religious and spiritual beliefs in many cultures. They are used in traditional ceremonies to pay homage to deities or ancestors, among other things.


Across Africa, the sort of clothing worn varies from north to south, and is influenced by religious beliefs and cultural practices. Various civilizations dress in a variety of colors, while others dress in fewer colors yet add sparkly threads in their clothing while wearing little jewelry.

African Food

The environment has a significant impact on the kind of meals that are consumed in various sections of the African continent. Fruit, grain, vegetables, milk, and animal products are all common ingredients in most cuisines. A large number of cultural groups have meals that are highly similar to one another in their cuisines. For example, pap (also known as ugali, sadza, nsima, nchima, chima, poshto, tuozafi, ubgali, bugali, sokoro, and sokora depending on where you are on the continent) is a very common maize/corn-based food that is known by many different names depending on where you are on the continent.

Music of Africa

African music is as diverse as the people who make it, and it has also been affected by music from the western world, among other things. Traditional music in southern Africa is typically characterized by the use of drums and singing, as well as instruments such as the thumb piano, which is accompanied by rattles made from some dried fruit or vegetable that contains seeds. Zimbabwean artists playing the mbira (on the left) and the hosho (on the right) are shown here (right)

Some Interesting African Cultures

Men from the Latuka tribe in Sudan continue to follow the ritual of kidnapping a lady they wish to marry, which began centuries ago. After a Latuka man has abducted his bride-to-be, he returns to the woman’s father to beg for his blessing in marriage. The Himba people of northern Namibia coat their skin with a combination of red dirt and milk fat to protect it from the sun, giving them the appearance of having reddish skin. Theotjizemixture is regarded as a type of cosmetic for the skin. Because there is a scarcity of water, they also use wood ash to clean their hair.

Cultural Activities in Victoria Falls

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Africa – Cultural patterns

The knowledge of the majority of the particular languages of Africa is still quite limited, although it is estimated that there are more than 1,500 unique languages spoken throughout the continent. Due to the great complexity of the languages and the confusion that exists between language, “race,” and economy, many attempts to categorize them have been ineffective; for example, there was once an erroneous belief that pastoralism was associated with cultures whose members spoke “Hamitic” languages and were descended from ancient Egyptians.

  • The four major language groups, or phyla, of the continent are today recognized as being the Niger-Congo, the Nilo-Saharan, the Afro-Asiatic, and the Khoisan.
  • As a result of recent migrations, those languages are spoken over most of Central and Southern Africa; they may be found from Senegal to the Cape of Good Hope, with a geographical distribution that is unprecedented.
  • The most innovative feature of this categorization is the group known asBenue-Congo, which linguistically encompasses all of the Bantu languages spoken over most of eastern, central, and southern Africa.
  • The high degree of linguistic similarity across the Bantu languages indicates that the enormous migration occurred at a rapid pace.
  • It originated as the language of the people of Zanzibar and the east coast, and was spread by Arab slavers in the nineteenth century throughout the hinterland, reaching as far as what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • It is possible that the Nilo-Saharanfamily categorization is the most contentious because of insufficient study, and the family is one of the most dispersed.
  • Songhai, Saharan, Maban, Fur, Eastern Sudanic, Central Sudanic, Kunama, Berta, Komuz, and Kadu are some of the subgroups of this group.
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Semitic languages include Arabic, Amharic, and Tigrinya.

In the countries north of the Sahara, as well as in Sudan, Arabic is both an official and an unofficial language, with the former being the official language.

Ethiopia’s official language is Amharic, which is one of the country’s two primary languages.

The Khoisanlanguagefamily includes the languages of the aboriginal peoples of Southern Africa, who are currently confined primarily to desert regions of southern Africa, as well as the languages of the distant Hadza and Sandawe peoples of northern Tanzania, according to some estimates.

In addition to the languages mentioned above, there exist a plethora of widely spoken trade languages and lingua francas.

Some of those languages have evolved into the national languages of independent nation-states, and as formal education becomes more widely available, they are rising in popularity and recognition.

There are several countries that speak French as an official language, including the countries that used to be part of the former French West Africa and French Equatorial Africa, Madagascar (where Malagasy is also an official language), and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Portuguese is spoken both officially and informally throughout the nations that were once under Portuguese rule.

Among the several official languages are Dutch (which came to the country through the ancestors of European colonists, indigenous Khoisan-speaking peoples, and African and Asian slaves).

In western Africa, creole (Krio) and pidgina are widely spoken in coastal cities with a diverse ethnic mix, particularly in the region’s seaside towns.

The vast majority of African languages do not have native forms of writing, which is a sad fact.

Many African languages (including Swahili) have been written in Arabic script for centuries, and this is still the case today.


Though not evenly distributed, the peoples of northern Africa are mostly Muslim, and the peoples of southern Africa are predominantly Christian, although their religious affiliations are not well delineated. Consider the Coptic church, which may be found in Egypt and Ethiopia, as well as Islam, which is prevalent along the coast of eastern Africa and is spreading southward into western Africa. Many Sudanic peoples, including as the Malinke, Hausa, Songhai, and Bornu, have become Islamized, and the religion has made significant advances with Guinea Coast peoples, such as the Yoruba of Nigeria and the Temne of Sierra Leone, who live along the country’s coast.

  • Dejenné, Mali: mosque (in French).
  • jean claude braun/Fotolia, a photograph by Throughout much of the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, people worship a number of traditional religions, all of which have similar characteristics.
  • That God is normally not assigned a gender, but in certain contexts is either male or female; that God is frequently given both an immanent and visible aspect; and that God is typically not assigned a gender.
  • As a result, there may be many different types and degrees of spirits of the air, the soil, rivers, and other natural phenomena.
  • A traditional Yoruba dance.
  • Frank Speed is a well-known author and illustrator.

They typically have ritual authority due to age, genealogy, or political office, and they are primarily responsible for the ritual well-being of the members of the social groupings that they head; their congregations consist of their joint families, lineages, clans, local village communities, chieftaincies, or other similar social groupings.

Every indigenous African religion has a cosmology, which tells the story of tribal origins and early migrations as well as explains the fundamental ideological problems of any culture, such as the origin of death, the nature of society, the relationship between men and women, and the relationship between the living and the dead, among other things.

  1. For a long time, witchcraft and sorcery were widely accepted as legitimate, and they were used to explain or manage the misfortunes of people who were acutely conscious of their lack of power over and comprehension of natural and social phenomena.
  2. The colonial rulers concluded (incorrectly) that witch doctors were socially destructive and so prevented them from practicing.
  3. Witchcraft beliefs have been widespread in contemporary times, and a variety of evanescent faiths led by various types of prophets and missionaries have sprouted up as a result of such “epidemic” spread of witchcraft ideas.
  4. Social and theological transformations in Africa have frequently been followed by the advent of prophets who argue for the expulsion of Europeans from the continent or the elimination of pandemic illnesses that threaten traditional ways of life in the region.
  5. These groups reject European-controlled mission churches for reasons that are nationalistic, tribalistic, or racial in nature.

In most cases, such prophets form their own organizations and create their own churches, generally earning new political power as a result of their presumptive direct connections with God. New churches have been recorded in practically every section of the continent, according to reports.

Domestic groupings

People in northern Africa are overwhelmingly Muslim, whereas those in southern Africa are overwhelmingly Christian, however their religious affiliations are not well defined. To provide just a few examples, the Coptic church may be found in Egypt and Ethiopia, while Islam can be found along the east African coast, where it is spreading southward into western Africa. Several Sudanic peoples, such as the Malinke (of Mali), the Hausa (of Nigeria), the Songhai (of Nepal), and the Bornu (of Nigeria) have become Islamized, while Islam has made significant advances with Guinea Coast peoples, such as the Yoruba (of Nigeria) and the Temne (of Sierra Leone).

  1. a mosque located in Dejenné, Mali It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988 after the mosque at Dejenné, Mali, was built.
  2. The inhabitants of much of the remainder of Sub-Saharan Africa practice a variety of traditional religions, all of which have some characteristics.
  3. Even though God is normally devoid of assigning a gender, he or she may be either masculine or female in some instances; he or she may also have an immanent or visible aspect.
  4. It is possible that spirits of the air, soil, rivers, and other natural phenomena exist in many different forms and levels.
  5. Dancing in Yoruba Dancers from the Yoruba ethnic group of Nigeria perform in honor of the deity Shango.
  6. He has been in several films, including Priests, lineage and clan leaders, rainmakers, diviners, prophets, and other ceremonial functionaries may be found in most African communities, among them.
  7. It is consequently a justification for their secular and domestic power that they exercise ceremonial authority.

It provides an explanation for tribal origins and early migrations while also addressing the fundamental ideological issues that confront any culture, such as the origin of death and the nature of society, the relationship between men and women and the relationship of the living and the dead, among other things.

  1. When witchcraft and sorcery were popular in the past, they were used to explain or control the misfortunes of people who were conscious of their inability to master and understand the natural world and society.
  2. In spite of the fact that belief in witchcraft is on the decline, it is nevertheless prevalent in both rural and urban communities, where it is frequently used to explain the disasters that befall urban people and labor migrants who find themselves in unfamiliar and complex social milieux.
  3. Periods of drastic change, as well as the uncertainty and stress that accompany them, are conducive to the development of mania.
  4. Recent developments have also given birth to Christian prophets and leaders of separatist movements that reject European-controlled mission churches for nationalistic, tribalistic, or racial grounds, as well as to Christian prophets and leaders of separatist organizations who oppose Islam.

Prophets of this type usually head their own organizations and build their own churches, earning new political power as a result of their alleged direct connections with God. New churches have been recorded in practically every section of the continent, according to the reports.

What Is The Culture Of Africa ?

11th of January, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. The culture of Africa is as diverse as can be anticipated from a continent of such size and population. ‘What is the culture of Africa?’ is the answer to the question. Africa is a cultural hotspot, with a plethora of customs, art, music, literature, and cuisine to offer. The continent has been subjected to internal and external influences, as well as exported and reimported content, yet the continent has remained. The culture of Africa is as diverse as can be anticipated from a continent of such size and population.

  • Africa is a cultural hotspot, with a plethora of customs, art, music, literature, and cuisine to offer.
  • “Any study of antiquity must take into consideration that Africa 5 minutes ago, Africa 50 years ago, Africa 500 years ago, and Africa 5000 years ago is not a static entity.” –Shahadah.
  • Family and ethnic groupings, their beliefs, folklore, religious and social traditions, and other factors contribute to the tradition of Africa.
  • Whether in the diaspora or on the continent, the tradition of Africa is evident in the day-to-day activities of the people.
  • Sculpture is considered to be one of the most prominent art forms in Africa.
  • Maulana Karenga describes African art as follows: “The item was not as essential as the spiritual power that inspired the development of the artefact,” says the author.
  • Image courtesy of Wikipedia Africa has long been known as the cradle of great music; history demonstrates that the majority of African songs are passionate, centered on work chants, history, storytelling, and good times.
  • As a result of modern influences, this list has expanded in number.
  • Right present, African music has had a significant impact on worldwide music and is well known across the world.
  • There isn’t a single crop that Africans can’t turn into a delicious dinner.
  • Photo courtesy of Betumi If you ever had the impression that African culture was lacking, take a stroll around your neighborhood and note the constant shift in the slightest of things, such as the music, the energy, the cuisine, the color, and so on.

The list is infinite, but it is what it is. It is the African way of life.

Culture as a trigger for Africa’s development

As a Nigerian entrepreneur and inventor, Elizabeth Kperrun-Eremie says, “I want my children to grow up in a world where Africa is represented and African tales are told by Africans, rather than a narrative that is manufactured by someone else who has no idea what is going on on the continent.” The realization that African languages are dying and that the next generation of Africans may grow up unable to speak their indigenous languages or be unaware of their culture, as well as the desire to preserve local languages, inspired her to develop Tesem, an interactive phone application that teaches children words in English as well as some indigenous African languages, among other things.

  • When asked about Tesem at a recent Africa Dialogue Series (ADS) session with African entrepreneurs, Kperrun-Eremie, who had previously developed a folk story-telling app, said it was her contribution to the preservation of cultural heritage through technology.
  • The talk was one of the events held during the recent fourth edition of the ADS, which took place in May and focused on the subject “Cultural identity and ownership: transforming mindsets.
  • The African Development System (ADS) exhibited the region’s rich and diverse cultural history on a daily basis during May in an effort to reform attitudes and shift the narrative about the continent.
  • The event recognized and honored the diversity of Africa’s identity, culture, history, and achievements while bringing together key stakeholders to address the continent’s challenges and potential.
  • In addition to online art and innovation exhibitions, conversations with academics and experts, including artists, filmmakers, and youths, among many others, virtual activities included musical performances and historical documentaries on African history.
  • African activists, anthropologists, archeologists, architects, civil society leaders, economists, educators and historians, innovators and media practitioners joined together to share their wealth of knowledge and ideas on how to accelerate Africa’s development.
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The importance of cinema in promoting cultural identity, the application of culture to address emerging challenges, the ability of museums to foster unity and social cohesion, the role of art in peacebuilding, and the importance of indigenous knowledge in addressing modern problems were just a few of the many topics covered during the conference.

“This demonstrates the true potential of culture as a catalyst for sustainable development,” said Cristina Duarte, Undersecretary-General and Special Adviser on Africa, in a recent statement.

Fatima Kyari Mohammed, Permanent Observer of the African Union to the United Nations (Permanent Observer of the African Union to the United Nations), stated that understanding how culture and traditions have assisted people in Africa to survive and adapt for generations in the past could be crucial in developing sustainable policies to mitigate future challenges and accelerate development.

According to him, “Africa’s past and present are replete with success stories, as demonstrated throughout the ADS.” He went on to say that great civilizations were founded in Africa without the assistance of external parties.

However, in order to achieve this, African countries require committed partners who recognize Africa’s role as a global player and ensure that past inequalities are not used to maintain a global imbalance.

The ADS provided a platform for African experts, introduced the world to previously unknown facts and untold stories about the continent’s diverse cultural heritage, history, and knowledge base, and created a rich repository of information about Africa that can be used as a reference long after the event has concluded.

Chanfi stated that “during this month of the ADS, we have experienced that a whole new story is indeed achievable, if only we give voice to African specialists.” The annual Africa Development Summit (ADS) is the premier event for the Office of the Special Adviser on Africa (OSAA).

It gives a forum for advocating for Africa and the issues she faces in terms of development. It also aspires to develop a new narrative that matches Africa’s vision, as expressed in Agenda 2030 and the African Union’s 2063 Agenda, as well as other relevant documents.

17 African Cultural Values (To Know Before You Travel to Africa)

DR Congo: African Cultural Values – Democratic Republic of the Congo In Africa, deeds speak louder than words, especially if there is a language barrier between the many languages spoken there. The following are some African cultural values to be aware of when visiting in Africa, in an effort to contextualize and be careful of a complex mindset and worldview!

1. Greeting – Hello and a Handshake

One of the most essential things you can do in Africa is to provide a kind greeting to everyone you meet. A simple “hi,” followed by a firm handshake, is all that is required to establish a good first impression on everybody you encounter.

2. Show Respect to Elders

African cultural values are built on a foundation of both the past and the present, which is one of the primary reasons that elders are so highly revered in their communities. Always recognize an elder, allow them to ask questions, and serve seniors first while serving them a food at a mealtime.

3. Pointing At Things

Using your index finger to point at something or someone is typically considered unpleasant or just plain insulting — it’s not something you want to do, especially in public. Diverse ethnic groups have their own methods of pointing, but the one I prefer is thrusting my chin in the appropriate direction and widening my eyes, as seen in the image below.

4. OverhandMotion Calling

Avoid calling someone’s attention by raising your palm upwards. When calling someone over, it is best to do so with the palm of your hand facing down and your fingers drawing inward.

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5. Sole of the Foot

In many cultures throughout the world, the sole of your foot is considered to be the dirtiest part of your body, and this is no exception. Make an effort not to direct the sole of your foot directly towards someone.

6. Eat with the Right Hand

You’ve probably heard it before: the right hand is for consuming food, while the left hand is intended for the filthy duty of cleaning up after eating. If at all possible, avoid eating African food with your left hand!

7. Hissing and Kissing Sounds

A hissing or a loud smack of the lips is commonly used to attract the attention of another person. Even while the noises may come as a surprise if you are not prepared for them, they are quite normal and fairly frequent.

8. Silence is an African Value

Hissing or smacking the lips together loudly is a common way of attracting someone’s attention. Even if the sounds take you by surprise if you aren’t expecting them, they are quite normal and fairly common.

9. Time – A Little Less Important

Despite the widespread usage of clocks to determine “what time it is,” African clocks operate in a different manner, with events unfolding as they should. An African worldview does not look far into the future, but rather focuses on the events of the past and what is now taking place in the present. Future scheduled times cannot be hastened, and attempting to do so would only lead to frustration and anger on one’s part.

10. Use Flexibility

Africa will teach you the importance of being adaptable. Schedules aren’t constantly in the forefront of people’s minds, which is closely related to the fact that future time is less important.

In the event that your plan is scrapped or substantially altered, there isn’t always much you can do but accept the situation and go forward with a positive attitude.

11. Do NOT Publicly Show Anger, Frustration, or Impatience

Despite the fact that situations have the potential to become annoying, it is extremely crucial not to publicly express any form of negative emotion in public. Africans have extraordinary self-control, and they are extremely cautious not to insult or embarrass someone in public.

12. Positive Communication

Positive communication is seen as a fundamental African cultural ideal. Along with refraining from exhibiting negative emotions in public, there are various methods to convey “good” or “fine.” Don’t jump into a conversation about adversity or struggle right away; these issues can be broached gradually as the conversation progresses.

13. Relationships Matter

With the importance of future time decreasing, the importance of current time increases dramatically. Meeting new people and spending quality time with them in order to build long-lasting connections is a treasured feature of African culture that is highly regarded.

14. Don’t Talk Too Much During a Meal

Simple light conversation is OK over a meal, but avoid attempting to talk about business or important matters throughout the meal. Serious concerns are dealt with following the meal.

15. Receive a Gift With Both Hands

If someone has been generous enough to offer you a present, accepting it with both hands outstretched is a non-verbal approach to express your sincere gratitude.

16.The Un-Stated – “Sorry We’re Out”

Every now and then in Africa, you will find yourself in the situation of going into a restaurant, ordering something and being brought something completely different — no questions asked. You will naturally express dissatisfaction, stating that “this is not the food I requested.” The waiter will take a step back and simply inform you that the item you requested was not available at the time. If you recall the numbers 10, 11, and 12, as well as that African flexibility, it may be a little challenging to say the least.

17. Personal Space

When you are the only one on an empty bus and another person gets on and seats down directly next to you, it may appear strange (or even weird) to you (or drive you insane). Growing up in a single room with 10 people living together, or living with a clan of extended relatives, your concept of personal space could be a little different if you were thinking about it from an African point of view. Rwanda’s Cultural Values are based on African traditions. Finally, keep in mind that Africans are incredibly kind and loving individuals who are willing to go the additional mile to show respect and service to others.

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Material Culture from Africa

What tales can artifacts from Africa teach us about diverse people and civilizations, and what lessons can we take away from our interactions with these objects? The collection of almost three hundred things from Africa at the Boston Children’s Museum may tell us about the types of activities that children could play, the manner in which people dress, and the objects that are utilized in the home across the continent. Every area of Africa is represented in the collection, which includes, among other countries and regions of the world such as Morocco and Algeria; Ethiopia; Kenya; Tanzania; Uganda; Nigeria; Liberia; the Ivory Coast; South Africa; and Madagascar.

  1. Instruments, textiles, jewelry, tools, and sculptures are among the items included in the collection.
  2. While kentecloth was initially intended to be worn as royal regalia in the Asante Kingdom, it has now evolved into a symbol of pan-African identity in the modern day.
  3. The two pieces in the Museum’s collection are from Nosy Be (“large island”), an island off the northwest coast of Madagascar that is home to a diverse range of wildlife.
  4. Kelsey Petersen worked as an intern at the Growdon Collections during the fall 2018 semester.

She spent her time at the Boston Children’s Museum studying, categorizing, and digitizing the Museum’s collection of African artifacts, among other things. Take a look at the collection:

Africa’s cultural revolution is here. Meet some of its movers and shakers.

Africa is experiencing a renaissance, thanks to a transformational cultural revolution that has swept across everything from literature and movies to video games and fashion design. The importance of this is not just social, but it is also strategic in nature. These days, the continent is demonstrating that soft power has surpassed physical force as a strategic tool. In order to understand how this transformation can reach far beyond the creative and cultural realms to foster collective security and prosperity, the Atlantic Council convened a gathering of Africa’s brightest cultural minds—as well as the policymakers who have made their achievements possible—for the Africa Creative Industries Summit on Friday, hosted by the Atlantic Council.

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Forging Africa into a “powerful tool for change”

“The stakes are extremely high” for Africa’s growing economies, according to President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré of Burkina Faso, as the cultural revolution begins to take root. He went on to explain that fostering African soft power through the continent’s creative industries may help to create jobs for young Africans, revitalize the economy, and contribute to the growth of the continent. Consequently, he urged on African countries to place a high priority on “the inclusion of the creative industries in our development and industrialization strategies,” and for investments from development agencies and the private sector to spur the expansion of the industry.

American culture, African roots

Jessica Davis Ba, senior coordinator and special adviser for Africa in the office of the vice president, relayed a message from US Vice President Kamala Harris, who stated that while the United States is the worldwide leader in the creative industries, “American culture is founded in African culture.” The African people who transmitted down cultural practices “even through slavery” were credited with establishing these roots, according to her.

The common African-American cultural legacy, according to Davis Ba, helps to bring people together while also offering jobs and economic possibilities for millions of people.

In addition to the power of music, being African possesses a certain amount of authority.

A “remarkable opportunity” for the United States

Investing in Africa’s future, according to Dana Banks, special assistant to the president of the United States and senior director for Africa on the National Security Council, represents “a remarkable opportunity” for the United States to “build back better at home and abroad” as a result of the continent’s integration into global markets and demographic boom. The approach will place a strong emphasis on the creative industries. Banking on Africa’s economic growth, Banks explained how the Biden administration is collaborating with politicians, business leaders, and creative industry leaders to spur the continent’s economic development.

Banks also stated that the administration’s revamped Prosper Africa Initiative will have a particular emphasis on the African diaspora in the United States and their enterprises in the country.

An investment for future creative industries

Deputy United States Representative Sara Jacobs stated, “It’s past time for us to change some of the ways we think about help” (D-CA-53). As vital as it is to support Africa’s creative industries, Jacobs believes that America cannot presume that it understands everything or just throw money at the region. In its place, the organization should consider “how we can truly cooperate with countries to build up these sectors.” According to Jacobs, improving the quality of education is a high issue, particularly when certain school systems are “still extremely steeped in the colonial past,” emphasizing memorization over in-depth comprehension of subjects.

“We have to make certain that those young people are receiving an education that provides them with the tools that they will need to be successful.” Given the fact that Africa is the world’s youngest continent with the fastest population growth, Jacobs explained that quality education is essential to ensuring that African governments are functioning and innovative, as well as to facilitating the export of African goods, arts, and ideas to other parts of the world.

“We’re really making sure that it gets to other areas,” Jacobs said of the long-term strategy.

In the event that we do not exercise sufficient caution, this will generate issues for our country as well as the rest of the globe since it is a matter of national security.

President and chief executive officer of Africa Development Solutions Group, Samba Bathily

On turning potential into success

Didier Drogbare, a former Chelsea striker and captain of the Ivory Coast national football team, has asked for a return to his hometown to work on digital literacy initiatives. “60 percent of the population is under the age of twenty-five,” he explained, and “they’re the ones who are watching the games, they’re the ones who are always on social media.they’re the ones who are the future of this continent.” Atlantic Council (@AtlanticCouncil) on October 15, 2021.

Africa’s cultural strength will determine its resurgence

Hilda Suka Mafudze, the Ambassador of the African Union to the United States, has stated that Africa has to produce one million jobs per month in order to keep up with its expanding population. She believes that Africa’s creative industries will be up to the task, as the rapidly developing sector will be a “major employer,” will improve the continent’s gross domestic product, and will accelerate the continent’s digital transformation, among other things. Members of the African Union, on the other hand, must “get a hold of themselves” and recognize that creative industries “are more than just commercial sectors with increasing economic worth,” according to Suka Mafudze.

It is possible that “there is one industry that may make a difference” in Africa’s growth and diplomacy, according to her.

Suka Mafudze, who spoke at the event on Friday, stated that the strength of Africa’s cultural identity will be a “key aspect in Africa’s reemergence on the world arena,” according to Suka Mafudze.

This free trade agreement may change the game

As Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo put it recently, “every part of Ghanaian society offers an imaginative tale.” “We have a lot to say to the rest of the world.” According to Akufo-Addo, the government is working to create an atmosphere in which artists “receive respect and high value for their work” in order to propagate such narratives throughout the country. It results from the improvement of copyright rules, the construction of infrastructure such as arts warehouses, and the provision of chances for people to engage with art through exhibits of photography and cinema screenings.

When it comes to arts, culture, customs, and legacy, he warns that “the Africa we want may never be fulfilled” if we turn our backs on them.

His remarks about the deal were that it was “one of the most important decisions that we as a continent have made.” In terms of employment creation and increasing other sectors of the African economy, “the creative industry is critical in altering the African continent,” says the author.

Governments: Here’s how you can help

According to Abrao Anbal Fernandes Barbosa Vicente, Minister of Culture and Creative Industries of Cabo Verde, while there is a cultural “revolution” taking place in Africa, there are challenges that governments will have to address in order to support their creative industries, according to the minister. It will be necessary for governments to establish copyright management bodies because, if copyright laws are not in place, “African culture will soon be in the hands of other countries,” as he put it.

It will need the government’s decision to “put culture first,” he explained.

The countries will need to start thinking about global tools to support artists and cultural leaders, such as international agreements to make it easier to obtain visas for travel or even agreements to bring more technological capabilities to the continent, which will aid artists in gaining access to international markets, as soon as possible.

Creative industries as “levers of influence and power”

As Akunna Cook, the United States’ deputy assistant secretary of state for African affairs, put it, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” During the epidemic, for example, people turned to the arts, sports, and culture rather than government policy in order to make sense of what was happening. According to her, “the creative industries, as a result, have an impact on and shape policies and events,” and that they are “major levers of influence and power.” Additionally, Cook stated that the creativity of Africans has the potential to influence how others see and interact with the continent, particularly investors.

  1. “We have to shift that mindset in order to see that Africa is a country rich in opportunity, rich in innovation, and rich in creativity,” Cook added.
  2. The African diaspora is another another source of influence in the region.
  3. Consequently, “the power that will define our future for Africans throughout the world” is in presenting better tales about Africa, but also stories about the movements that have created the African diaspora community, as stated by the African Diaspora Network.
  4. “Not only should investors be paying attention, but the entire globe should be paying attention.” Deputy President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina

Reclaiming Pan-Africanism

BarbadianPrime Minister Mia Mottley praised a variety of her country’s artistic sectors, including cricket, during a visit to the United States on Tuesday. Barbados’ international renown for cricket has yielded benefits, including opportunities for young people to get engaged as nutritionists, personal trainers, stadium management, and other roles. According to Mottley, the creative industries have “transformative power.” However, she cautioned the audience not to view “our creative industries just in terms of economics and profits,” as they also had “immense power and influence.

The expansion of the creative industry might contribute to reviving such spirit.

“We have to get rid of the intermediary who has refused to enable us to engage with each other directly,” Mottley stated emphatically. This commonality of purpose and aim will be discovered amongst our people through the creative industries, according to the authors of the book.

Shoot your shot

Basketball Africa League head Amadou Gallo Fall feels that there is “something very strong about the game of basketball” when it comes to helping to economic growth in Africa. Gallo Fall also believes that basketball can be a vehicle for social change. Fall stated that not only has the league produced jobs for everyone from players and coaches to videographers and sports reporters, but he also believes that the “entire creative sector” will be brought to life as a result of the league. Young people will be inspired to be inventive and to make a contribution to Africa’s future progress by musicians, artists, and sportsmen who will utilize sports to interact with them.

The Pan-African league need infrastructure, such as more convenient travel alternatives, in order to be successful, according to Fall.

The 1.2 billion people who reside in Africa come to me when I think of Africa, but I also think of the Africans who live in diasporic communities throughout the world.

Watch the full event

Currently, Katherine Walla serves as the Atlantic Council’s associate director of editorial affairs.

Further reading

Featured image: Jessica Davis Ba, senior coordinator and special adviser for Africa in the office of US Vice President Kamala Harris, talks at the Atlantic Council’s Africa Creative Industries Summit on October 15, 2021 in Washington, DC. Photo courtesy of Jasper Gilardi.

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