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The Importance of Africa as a Civilization and People - Essay Example

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This essay focuses on the topic of African culture while throwing more light on the influences of other religions and culture on this ancient land. Very few are aware that the forerunner of the Homo sapiens that inhibit planet earth was believed to have lived here…
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The Importance of Africa as a Civilization and People
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Download file to see previous pages The essay "The Importance of Africa as a Civilization and People" focuses on the topic of African culture while throwing more light on the influences of other religions and culture on this ancient land. Very few are aware that the forerunner of the Homo sapiens that inhibit planet earth was believed to have lived here. One of the first known clues to this question of where man originated came from fossils found in the Afar depression in Ethiopia in the early 1970's. More importantly, the continent has been inundated with many alien cultures starting from the Muslim influence to the colonization in the latter part of the nineteenth century. But in spite of this swarm of cultures, the continent has been able to maintain its ancient individuality. There may be many reasons for this situation. It could be that the land is inhospitable in many places. The climate may be too harsh for alien cultures with tropical rain forests to deserts that are found here in abundance. The culture or aggressiveness of some of the tribes found in the land may have prevented the dilution of such cultures. It could also be that the African way of thinking that has been a subject of study by many historians and anthropologists may have had an influence in keeping the ancient ways of life, vibrant in some places and diluted in others. In all probability, it could have been a mix of all the above factors that have been instrumental in helping the people of that continent to maintain their individuality. But what this paper attempts to prove is that the so called African system of thought has to a large extent been responsible for the preservation of culture and civilization even if it is in a diluted form. Hence it is proposed that one of the reasons for the retention of African civilization by way of culture, beliefs, and practices is rooted in the ancient African system of thought that is still alive today.
Essay Summary
Prehistoric Africa: “Of all the earth’s continents, Africa provides the longest, deepest record of the human past. Several million years ago in Africa, a group of primates diverged from the rest of the apes and set forth on a distinctive evolutionary pathway involving bipedal or upright walking.” (Matrin and O’Meara 1995). The land is often referred to the cradle of humanity. Evolution of civilization was slow until the practice of herding and agriculture began to take root about 8,000 years ago. Distinct ways of life that can be described as proper civilizations began to evolve rapidly after that.
Egyptian influence in Africa: Even though this advanced ancient civilization was situated in the continent of Africa, many scholars believed that African and Egyptian cultures were distinct from each other. It was thought that Egypt only used the rest of Africa as a source of slaves and other raw materials. But this erroneous line of thinking was seen by later historians and anthropologists only as a way to maintain European supremacy in the continent. “In reaction, African and African American scholars, mostly in the latter twentieth century, adopted an opposite paradigm: that ancient Egypt was not only an African civilization, populated by "black" Africans, but also a civilization that imparted its culture to the rest of Africa as well as Europe.” (O’Connor and Reid 2003).
Muslim influence: One of the biggest influences on African civilization was that of Islam. It is estimated that one out of every three Africans believes in this faith. The faith first spread into many parts of this continent during the second half of the 7th century. But the influence and faith is still strong in the continent even today.
Colonialism and post-colonialism: European colonists had established a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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