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How is African history recorded?

How is African history recorded?

The history of Africa has tended to rely on written evidence. But Africans had their own particular system of recording past events, situations and traditions, before Europeans started writing about it. This was based on collecting oral testimonies.

How were stories or histories of the people of West Africa passed down?

In the region of West Africa known as the western Sahel, legendary tales are shared and passed down through different forms of expression. Griots often accompany their stories and songs with music from instruments like the kora (a stringed instrument similar to a harp) or balafon (a kind of xylophone).

Why was it hard for historians to study ancient Africa?

Writing African history has been challenging and mostly difficult, due to a lack of both comprehensive written records and holistic archaeological evidence that covers all the zones of Africa from past times.

How did griots pass on history and values?

Griots were also the historians of Ancient Africa. They would keep track and memorize the history of the village including births, deaths, marriages, droughts, wars, and other important events. The stories and historical events would then be passed down from generation to generation.

Do griots still exist?

Since the 13th century, when Griots originated from the West African Mande empire of Mali, they remain today as storytellers, musicians, praise singers and oral historians of their communities.

Why does Africa have no history?

According to this imperial historiography, Africa had no history and therefore the Africans were a people without history. They propagated the image of Africa as a ‘dark continent’. It was argued at the time that Africa had no history because history begins with writing and thus with the arrival of the Europeans.

What are the disadvantages of oral history?

Oral history has many advantages, but as a primary source there are a few disadvantages. One of which is an individual recalling a false memory. In some cases when events took plave more than forty years ago, the individual could have trouble remembering the exact details of their experience.

What purpose did African griots serve?

The griots’ role has traditionally been to preserve the genealogies, historical narratives, and oral traditions of their people; praise songs are also part of the griot’s repertoire.

Is there a tradition of preserving history in Africa?

Like some other ancient societies, Africa also has a great tradition of preserving and genealogic histories of its people. Even today, there are many who claim to have the genealogies spread over many centuries, and many of them can actually recite them.

What are some ways of recording African history?

Throughout sub-Saharan Africa, dedication to traditions of scholarship and literary production has ensured that knowledge of the past has survived for hundreds of years.

Is there a lot of written history about Africa?

There is a dearth of written history about Africa, leading to a lot of vacuum about its pre-colonial past. While archeological excavations tell us that Africa was the first place on this planet to be inhabited by humans, it tells us almost nothing about the life and society of those earlier ancestors.

How are oral histories transmitted in African history?

Histories were transmitted orally, in performance and from one generation of specialists to the next. While some narratives, such as those detailing the origins of a nation or royal lineage, were mythic in scope, others were much more prosaic and might have concerned legal codes or accounts of village or clan history.