Shaped by History “ Africa”. Hunter-Gatherers.
In 1324, Mansa Musa made a pilgrimage—a religious journey—to the Arabian city of Mecca, a Muslim holy place where Muhammad, the prophet who first preached Islam, was born. Mansa Musa brought 60,000 people and eighty camels with him. Each camel carried 300 pounds (136 kg) of gold, which Mansa Musa gave to people along the way.
Some East African cities grew into powerful city-states. A city-state has its own government and controls much of the surrounding land.Among the greatest of these city-states were Malindi (muh LIN dee), Mombasa (mahm BAH suh), and Kilwa (KIL wah). These city-states grew rich from trade and huge taxes traders paid on goods they brought into the city.
How were the East African city-states ideally located to become centers of trade?
Europeans had gained power in part by encouraging Africans to fight each other. They also took the best land to farm and, in some areas, forced Africans to work under terrible conditions. The new political boundaries drawn up by the Europeans divided some ethnic groups and forced others together. This caused much conflict, some of which continues in Africa today.
In 1912, a political party was formed in South Africa and its members protested laws that limited the rights of black South Africans. Today this party is the African National Congress (ANC). In British West Africa, African lawyers formed the West African National Congress, a group that worked to gain Africans the right to vote.
In some African countries, military leaders took control of the government by force. Military governments are not always fair since the people often have few rights, and citizens may be jailed if they protest. But this form of government has held together some African countries that otherwise would have been torn apart by war.
Other African countries have a long history of democracy. In a democracy, citizens help to make governmental decisions. Some countries have made traditional ways a part of democratic governing. For example, in Botswana, lively political debates take place in “freedom squares.”These outdoor meetings are like the traditional kgotla (KUHT luh), in which people talk with their leaders.
Most African countries are less than 40 years old. In contrast, the stable, democratic country of the United States is over 200 years old. Many Africans feel that building stable countries will take time. One leader commented, “Let Africa be given the time to develop its own system of democracy.”