Photo by احمد كلاسيك
The African continent is one big pool of diversity that somehow shares similar values and belief systems. Every country has a rich and fascinating history; tribes, languages, and traditions make up various facets of Africa.
The African culture is highly regarded, with customs and heritage passed down from generation to generation. These traditions are heavily expressed through music, art, dance, sculpture, and jewelry. It is crucial, not just for foreigners but also for next-generation Africans who may not be that aware of the continent’s collectively rich culture. Let us look into the most well-known cultures of African countries.
The Dilemma Of A Fading Heritage
Many are worried about African cultural erasure happening all over the continent, not just the ones that dealt with colonialism. Professor Chinua Achebe, a renowned novelist, shares the worried sentiment that the African way of life is falling apart. The 21st-century economic era brought many new things that overshadowed where Africa once stood its ground.
The African life is so rich in culture and constructs that it became a blueprint for so many parts of modern society – our humor, slang, music, lifestyle, and heritage are now being lauded and represented in the media and pop culture. A famous example would be African American artists heavily incorporating their African roots into their music. If we talk about the film, Marvel’s film Black Panther is, with intensive references to African culture. The world has tapped into who they are and their inner diversity and cemented their societal place.
What You Should Be Aware Of Regarding African Culture
African people must take a trip down memory lane and reflect on the aspects that built each country into what they are today. Forgetting where one came from is a dangerous place, and that applies to Africans who toss out their rich culture, history, and traditions.
In South Africa, the Zulu tribe is the largest. They live in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, with a population estimate of eleven million people. The segregation in that region turned this tribe into third-class citizens, resulting in hate and discrimination. Nowadays, though, they enjoy equal human rights as any other citizen.
Another famous tribe is the Maasai, located in the Rift Valley of Kenya and Tanzania. The Maasi is composed chiefly of cattle herders and tends other livestock like sheep and goats. Being an independent tribe allowed them to display their power and wealth through cattle. The influential Maasai usually has the most livestock among their tribespeople.
Popular African Food
The food consumed around the African continent is heavily influenced by their environment, particularly in the Eastern, Western, and Southern regions where farmers primarily live.
They usually grow their food and consume them when the time is right. These people also sell their products around markets. You will find homegrown food like cassava, maize, yams, millet, and plantains in these areas. While different African nations have varying food, their common ingredients include fruit, grain, vegetables, and dairy.
Couscous is a prevalent dish in Morocco and Algeria, and women usually take on the role of cooking them. Additionally, colonization drastically changed some of the food and drinks consumed in some parts of Africa. For example, in Kenya, people learned to drink tea from the British.
African Language And Art
African arts and crafts had a massive role in shaping the continent’s culture. Africa is rich in creative talent from painting, sculpture, weaving, embroidery, dressmaking, headgear, and beading. The continent is also one of the most significant contributors of tribal art and sculptural artifacts found back in Egypt.
There are large amounts of diverse representations in African art, and they are established on many beliefs and traditions. Animals, people, warriors, and others are popular themes explored by ancient African artisans and craftsmen.
Contrary to popular belief, Africa doesn’t have a single monolithic language system. Comprised of different countries, Africa has numerous languages spoken in other regions. Colonialism may have caused some of these ancient languages to die out over time, but many have remained steadfast in preserving this precious part of who they are.
Because most of Africa has been colonized, many people speak Creole or Pidgin English, Portuguese and French. Arabic is a common language in the Northern regions, while Swahili is predominantly expressed in East Africa.
Embracing The Culture As A Native African
Embracing our roots and being proud of our origins is essential in a world where diversity is spotlighting. The book Sparrows of Senegambia by Charles Sampson shows us the beauty of traveling around the globe and relays an indispensable message for readers. Without cultural heritage, one will forever lose their place in the world. If you’re an African reading this, it is high time to be loud and proud of the rich cultural heritage that shaped the country you were born into.