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African Culture

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Paul Souza

on 3 December 2013

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Transcript of African Culture

African Culture
African Origin
Africa, the birthplace of humanity
July 2002, further evidence was found in Chad (Sahelanthropus tchadensis)

Kingdoms of Africa
Egypt was the first of many great African civilizations
West of Africa, the kingdom of Ghana was a vast Empire
The kingdoms of Benin and Ife
The kingdom of Mali
Between 1450-1550, the Songhay kingdom grew very powerful and prosperous

Ethnic groups:

Fante Ga
Fon Ewe

*Africa has 3,000 distinct ethnic groups and 2,000 languages. Home to the most genetically diverse people on Earth.

Transatlantic Journey
Africans in the Caribbean and Central America (Before Christopher Columbus)
African Caribbean History
Hispaniola, ports had already been established.
Third voyage to Americas
Ship loaded with goods
West Africa records
Led by Abu Bakari
One or more crossed civilizations
Introduced technology to Native Americans

Langston Hughes
Languages of the Caribbean
Anguilla, Bahamas, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Barbados, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Montserrat, St. Lucia, Turks and Caicos, U.S. Virgin Islands, Florida Keys

Cuba, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Central America, South America

Haiti, Guadeloupe, Martinique, St. Barts, St. Martin

St. Maarten, Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire, Saba, St. Eustatius (English and Papiamento, a local patois, also widely spoken)

First slaves arrive in 1619
Fugitive slave law
Banned importation of slaves
Abolitionist Movement
Maya Angelou
Civil War


Freedmen's Bureau

Slavery ends

After Slavery
Reconstruction Era

Civil Rights Act



Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka, Kans.
Rosa Park
Martin luther King Jr.
Voting Rights Act of 1965
Civil Rights Act of 1968

Civil Rights Movement
African-American Music
A form of communication
An outlet
A way to tell a story
It comforts and heals us

African American Music contributions:
Folk Spiritual, Ragtime, Gospel, Blues, Boogie Woogie, Jazz, Big Band, R & B, Soul, Motown, Funk, Disco, Rap, Techno, Rock ‘N’ Roll, and the list goes on…

African American music has made a profound impact on society…
Who were the first explorers to reach America?
Many scholars argue that when Columbus reached the Americas in 1492, Africans were already there.
Harvard professor, Leo Wiener, in his book
Africa and the Discovery of America
, published in 1920, was one of the first to put forth this argument.
Africans had explored and traded with people in the Americas long before the Spanish.
The Spanish had arrived from the South, while Africans had proceeded in from the Southeast .

Yoruba does not have a single founder
“It holds that all human beings possess what is known as "Àyànmô"[4] (destiny, fate) and are expected to eventually become one in spirit with Olódùmarè (Olòrún, the divine creator and source of all energy).”
“Furthermore, the thoughts and actions of each person in Ayé (the physical realm) interact with all other living things, including the Earth itself.
Creation Story

Yoruba Religion
The Orishas of Yoruba mythology
The Vonduns of the Ewe and Fon (Jeje nation)
The Nkisis (Minkisi) of the (Bantu Angola nation and Congo).
The Candomblé ritual

Candomble Religion
Umbanda similarities
Beliefs from Catholicism
Beliefs from Spiritism
Beliefs from African-Brazilian religions

Umbanda Religion
“Experts observe that Haiti, Brazil and nineteenth-century Cuba had a much higher ratio of African to European inhabitants.”
“Both Cuba and Brazil received sizable numbers of enslaved Africans until far later than did the United States, allowing the continual reinforcement of African forms of knowledge and ritual life.”
“These were Roman Catholic countries where the rich iconography and mythology of the Catholic saints provided convenient symbols through which to honor Yoruba, Fon and Kongo gods, each with his or her own distinctive emblems and traits.”

Information obtained from http://pluralism.org/files/wrgb/afro_caribbean/OCG_Afro_Caribbean_Introduction.pdf
Caribbean and South American Religions: Candomble and Umbanda
Santería beliefs
Clergy contains both male and females priests/priestesses
There is a lot of healing from the spiritism perspective, using herbs and prayers in order to cure physical ailments.
Rituals include animal sacrifice, alter building, dance and possession trance.

Santería Religion
Voodoo is a religion.
It is the main religion of Haiti.
There is one god, Bondye
Rada & Petro

Voodoo in Haiti
Family Configuration
Several factors have shaped the current family structure:
Cultural practices adapted from West Africa
Structural adaptation to slavery
Current economic struggles

The importance of extended family has survived the evolution of the African American family.

West African Tradition
The marriages between a man and woman of the tribe were not only marrying each other.

Contracts were arranged between the families of the couple in order to maintain a tight unit.

The family was seen as a “clan” within the tribe.

Family and Slavery
The slave trade changed the family structure drastically.
Relatives were not always kept together, but that did not always mean they were lost.
Among the slaves nuclear families formed in order to recreate the unity associated with their lost families.

Many African Americans moved away from the South after emancipation.
Leaving rural areas for urban areas diminished the ability to live among extended family and isolated families.
The affects of poverty and long work hours also played a role in the stress on the family.

Family after Freedom
African Art History
African art precedes recorded time
Earliest known art is found in rock carvings and paintings found in Namibia, which date back 27,000 years
In the Drakensberg Mountains of South Africa, over 30,000 known paintings have been discovered.
Distinction between Sub-Saharan and North Africa peoples
"African Art"
Art emphasizes three-dimensionality

• Jewelry: Tiger's eye stone, hematite, sisal, coconut shell, beads, and ebony wood.
• Sculptures: wood, ceramic, bronze, or carved out of stone.
• Textiles: including mud cloth, kente cloth, and kitenge.

African-American Music:
A Timeline
Thematic Elements
Human figure: Primary subject matter for most African art.
Visual abstraction: Visual abstraction over naturalistic representation.
Sculpture: Favor three-dimensional artworks over two-dimensional works. Even many African paintings or cloth works were meant to be experienced three-dimensionally.
Performance art: Three-dimensional art, masks, and costumes are often used in communal, ceremonial contexts, where they are "danced." The name of the mask is incorporated into its meaning.
Nonlinear scaling: Think "not proportional."
Influence on Western Art
18th-century sculpture of St. Benedict of Palermo, who came from a family of African slaves in Sicily.
“Portrait of Maria Salviati de’ Medici and Giulia de’ Medici” (around 1539)
Influence on Western Art
“The Three Mulattoes of Esmereldas” (1599), by Andrés Sánchez Gallque
Influence on Western Art
“Portrait of an African Slave Woman,” attributed to Annibale Carracci, from around 1580.
Influence on Western Art
“Adoration of the Kings,” from the workshop of Gerard David, from around 1514.
Contemporary African Art
Sokari Douglas Camp
Born in Nigeria in 1958
Is one of the first female African artists to have attracted the attention of the European art market.
She was honored as a Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
Studied in Oakland, California and at the London Royal College of Art.
Her expressive man-high steel sculptures show her immediate relationship to her home country.
She draws relationship between Africa and the Western world by using masks and ritual clothing.
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