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Village life in West Africa

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Michelle Anderson

on 3 November 2014

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Transcript of Village life in West Africa

West African Culture and Daily Life

The Oral Tradition in West Africa
What is oral history?
Village life in West Africa
What role did families play in West African society?
The Importance of Family
-family relationships were important in West Africa
-A connection among people by blood, marriage, or adoption is called kinship,(which made up African societies)
-kinship groups with a common ancestor formed larger groups called clans (which in some clans,members were not allowed to marry one another

-In West African villages, the way of life for most people centered on farming
-women-prepared food,cared for children,made pottery,worked in the fields, and brought water to the village
-Some people focused on specific types of work called labor specialization

- People practice an economy based on farming
Trade and Regional Commerce
How did trading develop in West Africa?
- as regional and international trade increased
- the expanding cities became even more important as centers of trade
- trade between West and North Africa continued to grow
- in return, West Africans traded gold, slaves, ivory, and cattle hides.
- As West African societies developed complex trade systems, some powerful individuals called kings gained control of this system.

-Others specialized in the herding of animals
- metalworking was a specialization that required great skills
- Iron technology allowed Africans to create stronger agriculture tools and weapons

-because of this the population grew and became wealthier
Rise of Kings
- As west African societies developed complex trade systems, some powerful individuals called kings gained control of this system

- people were loyal to the king

- kings performed the proper prayers, rituals, kings were expected to help bring rain, to make the land fertile, and to bring prosperity to their people
-West Africa had no written language

-West Africans did not record a written history, instead they recorded their culture using oral history

Lesson Summary
-Kinship groups and farming shaped the lives of West Africans.

-Trade with North Africa brought wealth to West Africa where kings rose to power by controlling trade

-Oral tradition preserved the history and culture of West Africans

- West Africans passed on their history and cultural values through a rich collection of stories about people and spiritual forces

- The storytellers, or griots often used music to tell the stories

-West Africans believed their departed ancestors watched over them

- Griots were often part of religion rituals in which people appealed to ancestorsfor favor and protection
- Griots were important in the transmission of African history
Stories and Community
Review: What was the relationship between kings and trade in West Africa?
-While the most famous griots sang for kings and other powerful people, they also entertained and instructed common villagers

-Griots acted out various characters in a story, and the audience often participated.

-The cultures all had strong oral traditions

Review: What does labor specialization mean?
- labor specialization means some people focused on specific types of work,a process
Review: Why were oral traditions important in West Africa?
Full transcript