African Culture
Mrs. Sumlin
Ms. Seabrooks
 Westerners
hold many misconceptions
about African culture and the continent.
 Some people envision “Africans” as
people wearing little but necklaces.
 This is considered a stereotype and while
there are groups that dress like this, there
are many more that do not.
Review of Demographics
 Remember Africa’s
population is around
800 million.
 There are actually more than 1,000
different ethnic groups.
 Each group has its own language, religion,
history, art and culture.
Demographics Continued..
 Another
misconception is that the cultures
of the tribes have changed very little over
the years.
 These tribes have been changed greatly
by one another and the people of the land.
 Muslims from the Middle East have greatly
influenced the culture of North Africa while
Europeans have impacted parts of the
continent, particularly South Africa.
Review of Influences
 All
racial groups live on this continent.
 Chinese, Indian and Jewish influences can
be found throughout Africa.
 People in Africa speak well over a 1,000
different languages.
 Some languages have been blended
together to create a new one.
 Swahili is the 2nd most widely understood
language in Africa after Arabic.
Cultural Changes
Cultural changes are widely influenced by where
people live in Africa.
People in urban areas live like people from the
There are tall office building, movie theatres, and
People in cities watch TV, listen to rock music
and send e-mails.
Outside of the cities, however, people are more
likely to live as their families have for
Few villagers have computers or stereos.
Village Life
One of the most important forms of
entertainment for the village people is listening
to the griot, or storyteller.
Storytelling not only provides entertainment, but
fulfills many important community roles.
The storyteller serves as the community
genealogist, historian and tribal spokesperson.
Until recently, few African tribes kept written
records, so storytellers were responsible for
passing down the group’s history.
Griots were also considered advisors to chiefs
and other groups.
Religious Practices
 Storytelling
plays an important role in
Africa’s traditional religions.
 Since many tribes practice ancestor
worship and believe that most things on
earth have spirits, stories explain many of
the beliefs.
 Creation stories are common and many of
them involve a “Creator” or God.
Other Religious Practices
 Other
religious practices involve art and
 Much of Africa’s art and music is in some
way related to religion.
 Masks and sculptures depict spirits and
are used in religious ceremonies.
 Kente Cloths, created by the Ashanti and
others, visually show history, philosophy,
values, stories, religious beliefs and ideas
about the world.
Today 45% of Africans are Christians and 41%
are Muslims.
 Many of them no longer follow traditional
religions, but often incorporate traditional
practices in their lives and worship.
 For example a Christian may visit a shaman,
witch doctor, or medicine man for healing, or a
Muslim might kill a chicken as an offering to a
spirit before leaving on a trip.
 Traditional religion remains an important part of
the African culture.

African Culture - Cooper Blog