What You Should Know About The Cradle Of Humankind
Africa and its culture is incredibly interesting because it is so diverse. A lot of our culture centers around family and tradition. Today, let’s talk about Africa unseen. All the wonderful about the continents’ beauty the media won’t show you.
Each and every African country is a mix of tribes each with their own unique language and traditions.
Africa is the second largest continent and second most-populous continent which includes 54 individual countries, with South Sudan as the continent’s newest country.
Africa And The Media
I love to travel, see new places and learn about different cultures. On our most recent of several trips to Africa, we visited Morocco and had a blast in Tangier, Casablanca and Marrakesh.
I am not the fittest person, but I did hike up the Atlas Mountains. When we got to the waterfalls, it was an amazing feeling of accomplishment.
I was able to accomplish one of my goals and cross something off my bucket list in the Motherland.
Ouzoud Falls, Morocco – I told you Africa is beautiful….
One thing I hate is when Africa is featured in the news as the coverage mostly focuses on the negative.
We have all seen the pictures of poverty, the starving children, the run down houses and streets, the illnesses, the fighting. Yes, many countries in Africa have poor and struggling who deserve help.
Just as many countries around the world do. Too often, the presentation of African news by Western media convinces the audiences in United States, Europe and other parts of the world that the entire continent of Africa is poverty and disease stricken.
The media loves bad, sad and emotional stories. Africa is not singled out for that, but it would be great to see fair and unbiased news coverage.
Why Africans Worry About How Africa Is Portrayed In Western Media
I am asked way too often for my liking, if my family in Nigeria or Ghana live in “real houses”!!! *roll eyes here*
You may have read popular headlines like ‘ U.S Sends Team to Fight Africa Ebola Outbreak.” Well, the whole continent was not affected by the virus. In actuality, the recent Ebola crisis only affected a few regions in four West African countries.
Let me use this moment to shed light on the bad habit of people referring to Africa as one big country! *Grrrrr*
The Real Africa Unseen
Usually, you see run-down huts, not huts as nice as these….
What you won’t see are homes like these, or the many mansions owned by millionaires…
Arts & Crafts In Africa
African art history has played a significant role in shaping the culture and history of the world.
Rock Art is centuries old and shell beads fashioned for necklaces are the oldest form of arts and crafts. We know from human evolutionary science that modern Homo Sapiens began in Africa.
This makes it clear to reason and research back that the oldest and greatest amount of rock art is from Africa. The carvings known as petroglyphs depict animals and motifs.
The art forms found on the African continent are as diverse as the African people themselves. Tribes produce their crafts according to tradition, availability of raw materials and historical influences.
When you views African art, you are sure to notice several themes that come up over and over again. The themes are representations of different things that are significant to African culture; and reveal the importance behind some of its most beautiful art.
The common themes are:
– a woman and a child
– a male with a weapon or animal
– outsider or “stranger”
All countries in Africa have a wide selection of arts and crafts, commonly in the form of wood carvings, brass, jewelry and leather.
Traditional Clothing Worn In Different Parts Of Africa
There are regional, cultural and ethnic distinctions in the various traditional wear which helps express the tribe’s identity. The traditional dress always has it’s own name, and it’s colours are usually bright.
In West Africa, the caftan or boubou has also been widely adopted. The boubou can be worn both as formal or informal attire.
In Morocco, northern Africa, the traditional attire is canned the Djellaba. It is the traditional long loose-fitting hooded garment worn by Moroccan men and women. The fabric of the Djellaba changes according to the weather. The haik is a traditional white outdoor costume, made of silk and wool and covers the whole body except the face and hands.
Traditional attire is worn on a daily basis in many areas of Nigeria. The top three ethnic groups in Nigeria are the Hausa-Fulani (the largest ethnic group), Yoruba, and Igbo. The Yoruba people of Nigeria are known for their exquisite clothing. Clothing serves as an indicator of status and wealth.
Gele – The traditional Nigerian cloth women wrap around their heads. There are many variations of how they wrap it.
Iro – Long wrap-around skirts. The rectangular skirt is worn by wrapping it around your waist and tucking it in at the end.
Buba – A loose fitting blouse with long sleeves and a neckline that is either V-shaped or round.
Agbada – Nigerian men wear a robe called an agbada over their clothes for formal events.
Sokotos – Loose-fitting pants for men with a drawstring used to hold them up.
Africans love meat, chicken and spicy food. The dishes you eat are enriched with a base of tomatoes, onions and hot peppers.
It’s not easy pinning down a national favorite dish for Nigeria, because this is a vast country with many distinct regional cuisines. I love RICE! Rice with Chicken! For me, Nigerian Jollof rice is the best thing in the world. Especially when you eat it with plantains.
Don’t confuse plantains with bananas. Plantains are larger, have a thicker peel and are much less sweet than bananas.
Couscous is a staple found mainly in North African cuisine. It is the national dish in Algeria, and is made with semolina, flour, boiling water and spices such as saffron and cinnamon, There is a wide choice of tropical fruit available such as avocado, mango, melons, coconuts, citrus, grapes and pineapple.
Traditional Music And Dance
African music is very captivating, with the drum at its’ center. Drums are played by hand in a loud manner, allowing it to be heard clearly as a solo instrument over a large percussion ensemble.
The roles of music and dance are tightly woven together.
Traditional music is used to help mark the important moments in life such as births, deaths, weddings, and other celebrations.
Many cultures use song and dance to ward off evil spirits, or even pay respects to good spirits, the dead, and ancestors.
Victoria Falls – Zimbabwe
There is so much to see, enjoy, and learn from Africa. Don’t rely on everything you see in the media or read on Google.
There are many people out there who can share their experiences with you (like me)!
Give you advice and tips of what to expect, depending on what country in Africa you are travelling to.
Countries In Africa I Have Lived In Or Visited
- Ivory Coast
- Sierra Leone
- Burkina Faso
- South Africa
ONLY 19 OUT OF 54! Just over a third! LOL – I wonder if I will ever get to visit all of them.
Places In Africa You Must Visit
The Cap – Franshoeck – South Africa
Suspension Bridge – South Africa
Zanzibar – Tanzania
In Africa you can enjoy modern development, African culture, and outdoor attractions.
Wildlife that you will find nowhere else in the world.
Home to the River Nile, the longest river in Africa, and the second longest in the world.
Sossusvlei – Namibia
Africa The Motherland
Africa is the only continent to stretch from the northern temperate to southern temperate zones.
The second largest continent in the world, Africa accounts for about 14.2 percent of the world’s human population and makes up about 22 per cent of the world’s total land area.
Have you had misconceptions about Africa? Were you able to learn a little about this great continent from this post?
Share your travel experiences, and thoughts about Africa with me in the comments section below.