Tag Archives: africa

Tribes {2} ~ African {1} ~ Maasai

The Maasai are a Nilotic ethnic group inhabiting northern, central and southern Kenya and northern Tanzania.

It is estimated that 1 million Maasai people live in Kenya and Tanzania but most Maasai doubt these numbers because they see the national census as government meddling and often miscount their numbers to census takers, according to the Maasai Association.

The Maasai tribe are a tribe of warriors who trace their origins from migration from Sudan to Kenya and Tanzania along the Great Rift Valley.

The tribe is nomadic in nature, choosing to stay in smaller homesteads. They build their way of life around their cattle which they insist are a gift from their god Ngai. They use the cattle primarily as a measurement of wealth as well as a source of food, even going as far as drinking the blood of the cattle for sustenance.

Did You Know {49} ~ Eye Of Sahara, Africa

The Eye Of Sahara in Africa occured when subsurface volcanic flow eventually pushed up the overlying layers of sandstone and other rocks. After the volcanism died down, wind and water erosion began to eat away at the domed layers of rock. The region began to settle down and collapse in on itself, creating the roughly circular eye feature.

Civilizations {9} ~ Mali Empire

~The Mali Empire, also historically referred to as the Manden Kurufaba, was an empire in West Africa that lasted from c. 1230 to 1600. It was the largest empire in West Africa and profoundly influenced the culture of the region through the spread of its language, laws, and customs along lands adjacent to the Niger River, as well as other areas consisting of numerous vassal kingdoms and provinces.

~Modern oral traditions recorded that the Mandinka kingdoms of Mali or Manden had already existed several centuries before unification. This area was composed of mountains, savanna, and forest providing ideal protection and resources for the population of hunters. Those not living in the mountains formed small city-states.

~The combined forces of northern and southern Manden defeated the Sosso army at the Battle of Kirina in approximately 1235. This victory resulted in the fall of the Kaniaga kingdom and the rise of the Mali Empire.

~The Mali Empire covered a larger area for a longer period of time than any other West African state before or since. What made this possible was the decentralized nature of administration throughout the state. Its power came, above all, from trade.

~The Mali Empire reached its largest size and flourished as a trade and intellectual center under the Laye Keita mansas (1312–1389). The empire’s total area included nearly all the land between the Sahara Desert and the coastal forests.

~The 1599 battle of Djenné marked the effective end of the great Mali Empire and set the stage for a plethora of smaller West African states to emerge.

Source: https://courses.lumenlearning.com/suny-hccc-worldcivilization/chapter/mali/

Mythology ,{2} ~ Creation Stories {3} ~ The African Bushmen

People did not always live on the surface of the earth. At one time people and animals lived underneath the earth with Kaang (Käng), the Great Master and Lord of All Life. In this place people and animals lived together peacefully. They understood each other. No one ever wanted for anything and it was always light even though there wasn’t any sun. During this time of bliss Kaang began to plan the wonders he would put in the world above.

First Kaang created a wondrous tree, with branches stretching over the entire country. At the base of the tree he dug a hole that reached all the way down into the world where the people and animals lived. After he had finished furnishing the world as he pleased he led the first man up the hole. He sat down on the edge of the hole and soon the first woman came up out of it. Soon all the people were gathered at the foot of the tree, awed by the world they had just entered. Next, Kaang began helping the animals climb out of the hole. In their eagerness some of the animals found a way to climb up through the tree’s roots and come out of the branches. They continued racing out of the world beneath until all of the animals were out.

Kaang gathered all the people and animals about him. He instructed them to live together peacefully. Then he turned to the men and women and warned them not to build any fires or a great evil would befall them. They gave their word and Kaang left to where he could watch his world secretly.

As evening approached the sun began to sink beneath the horizon. The people and animals stood watching this phenomenon, but when the sun disappeared fear entered the hearts of the people. They could no longer see each other as they lacked the eyes of the animals which were capable of seeing in the dark. They lacked the warm fur of the animals also and soon grew cold. In desperation one man suggested that they build a fire to keep warm. Forgetting Kaang’s warning they disobeyed him. They soon grew warm and were once again able to see each other.

However the fire frightened the animals. They fled to the caves and mountains and ever since the people broke Kaang’s command people have not been able to communicate with animals. Now fear has replaced the great friendship once held between the two groups.

The Bushmen of Africa believe that not only are plants and animals alive, but also rain, thunder, the wind, spring, etc. They claim:

What we see is only the outside form or body. Inside is a living spirit that we cannot see. These spirits can fly out of one body into another. For example, a woman’s spirit might sometime fly into a leopard; or a man’s spirit fly into a lion’s body. (Fahs and Spoerl 6)

This may be part of the reason that animals play such an important role in their myth.