African traditions and culture are not only unique, but also encompasses a variety of beliefs from across the globe. African cultures are varied and diverse, and are in a constant state of evolution and development. They have also been found to significantly impact the day to day lives of African natives. Here are five aspects of African traditions and culture to help you better understand the general way of life on the African continent.
Africa is known all over the world as home to thousands of tribes and ethnic and groups. Some of these tribes are comprised of small families of hunter-gatherers, while others are much larger and have different subgroups within the tribes. Some countries have over 20 different ethnic groups and are greatly diverse when it comes to their religious and cultural beliefs. Tribes, such as Hutus and Tutsis in Rwanda, have their roots in divisions created by colonial powers. One of the most deep-rooted African tribes is the Berbers, who have been in Africa for over 5,000 years and occupy North Africa. Even small countries like Uganda are home to over 30 different tribes.
African Arts and Crafts
African people are known for their intricate craft creations. The making of arts and crafts is a way African people express their beliefs. Much of the art include wood carvings and leather works. Other art forms through which African people showcase their cultural beliefs include paintings, pottery, sculptures, and dress. In many African art pieces, the object crafted is not considered as important as the soul behind its creation. For generations, Africans have continued to place emphasis on the appearance of personal jewelry and other important personal accessories they have crafted themselves.
Religion and Folktales
African religion represents a variety of social facets of the African culture. The religious aspect of the African culture is multifaceted and is spread primarily across four specific faiths: Baha’i, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. The African people also believe in folktales told to children that have been passed down from generation to generation. These folktales serve to enlighten them about their cultural identity, as well as the importance of preserving their cultural beliefs.
Africans have trained themselves to make their own clothes that match with their cultural beliefs. Both men and women traditionally have their clothes made using locally available materials. This helps create unique and elegant garments that offer a natural and organic look. Some of the more unconventional garments that Africans are fond of wearing include knee-length white collared shirts and sweaters for men, as well as naturally colored shawls and long dresses for women.
Work and Language
In Africa, women have mostly been trusted with domestic chores such as cooking, washing, and general cleaning of the house. Men are responsible for more complex duties and are given the breadwinner responsibilities. However, there has been a shift from traditional gender roles as parts of Africa have become more westernized. Although Africa has several ethnic groups, English, Arabic, Hausa, French, and Swahili are the main languages spoken on the continent. Dutch and Spanish have also become more prevalent in many African countries and territories.
With the myriad elements of tradition and culture in Africa, the one aspect of it that is consistent throughout all of the differences and nuances is the African people. Africa is a diverse continent due to the many tribes that each have their own unique language and culture. The religion, dress, and language of the African people help set them apart, leading to a generational sense of pride that has thrived in Africa for centuries.
Components of African Traditions and Culture