Beyond the exotic wildlife and vast deserts, Africa has a myriad of traditional cultural beauty. The art and cultural assets of this region are one of a kind and distinctive. All of these attributes contribute to making amazing Africa that we know today. There’s more to this land of nature than what meets the eye. So, let’s dig deep to crack the art and cultural code of Africa.
Getting To Know Africa
Africa is one of the most linguistically diverse regions of the world, with around 1500-2000 languages spoken in 54 countries. The languages spoken in Africa are categorically divided into 4 groups according to their geographical locations. These groups are:
- Afro-Asiatic (includes around 200 languages spoken in Northern Africa)
- Nilo-Saharian (includes around 140 languages spoken in Central and Eastern Africa)
- Niger-Saharian (includes more than 1000 languages, it is the most widely spoken, covering the two-thirds of the continent)
- Khoisan (includes around 30 languages spoken in the Western part of Africa)
The food in Africa is a ride for your taste buds. It is the use of tantalizing spices that makes African cuisine unique. Porridge, grains, yams, plantains, and other vegetables are a staple food in Africa. But besides these, the celebratory food in Africa is the real deal. Like the rest of the world, good food is a must for any festivity. Some of the delicious meals served on special occasions are jollof rice, piri piri chicken, chicken stew, and breyanis.
Generally, traditional African clothes are vibrant and full of life. Their clothes represent their rich history and cultural heritage. The bold prints and bright colors resonate with the welcoming and cheerful personality of the locals. But clothing style differs from region to region in a country.
This gigantic continent has valuable musical treasures. Music is an integral part of African culture. It is a means to communicate their emotion of joy and grief and is also a crucial element in certain religious rituals. Besides, it is a source of entertainment, and many ethnicities consider making musical instruments and learning traditional music important. Fulani flute and Arched harp called Kundi are some of the traditional African musical instruments.
5. Arts and Crafts
The Arts and crafts of Africa have a long history. The art of painting, sculpture making, masks, rock painting, pottery, and jewelry making has been around for ages. The first impression you get from African art is that it’s glossy and symmetrical. The themes that usually follow in African art are based on religious symbolism, functionalism, and utilitarianism. What’s unique about African art is the extensive use of human and animal images, and you will rarely see any botanical representation in African art.
Being a widespread land, it is understandable to have many religions. In the past, traditional African religions were prevalent, where there was no concept of God and were merely based on ancestor worship, spirits, and the afterlife. However, today, most believers follow Abrahamic religions, of which Christianity is the most popular with around 49% followers, and Islam a close second with 42% followers. Other major religions are Buddhism, Hinduism, and Baháí faith.