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Cultural Characteristics of Africa. Religions, Customs, and Traditions. Africa is made up of 54 different countries and many ethnic groups. A group ’ s customs and traditions often come from religion, from where the group lives, or from the demands of daily life.

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religions customs and traditions
Religions, Customs, and Traditions
  • Africa is made up of 54 different countries and many ethnic groups.
  • A group’s customs and traditions often come from religion, from where the group lives, or from the demands of daily life.
  • Most Africans today are either Muslim or Christian, but traditional religions and customs still play a role in African culture.
  • The term Arab refers to a mixed ethnic group made up of people who speak the Arabic language.
  • Arabs mostly live in North Africa and the Middle East.
  • Some Jews, Kurds, Berbers, Copts, and Druze speak Arabic, but are not usually considered Arab.
  • The term “Arab” includes Arabic-speaking Christians in Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan. Overall, Arabs are divided into two groups—nomadic Bedouins and settled Arabs.
  • The Ashanti people live in central Ghana.
  • The family, especially the mother’s family, is most important to the Ashanti.
  • They believe that children inherit their spirits from their father and their flesh and blood from their mother.
  • The mystical Golden Stool has been the center of Ashanti spiritual practice since the late 17th century.
  • It is said to have arrived on Earth by floating down from the heavens.
  • The Ashanti people believe the strength of their nation depends on this safety of this stool.
  • It represents the unity of the Ashanti and the power of their chiefs.
  • The Ashanti honor kings after death, in a ceremony in which a stool is blackened.
the swahili people
The Swahili People
  • The Swahili people live on the East African coast from southern Somalia to northern Mozambique.
  • The Swahili people practice a strict form of Islam. In addition to Islamic beliefs, the Swahili believe in spirits, or djinns.
  • Swahili Muslims use trances to speak to djinns.
  • Men wear amulets around their necks that contain verses from the Koran, which they believe will protect them.
  • Only teachers of Islam and prophets are permitted to become spiritual healers.
  • The Bantu originally came from southeastern Nigeria, near the Benue-Cross Rivers that spread east and south near Zambia, in Central Africa.
  • Around 1000 CE, the Bantu reached present-day Zimbabwe and South Africa.
  • Here, the Bantu established the Munhumutapa Empire.
  • This new empire controlled trading routes from South Africa to the area north of the Zambezi River.
  • The Bantu traded many natural resources: gold, copper, precious stones, animal hides, ivory, and metal goods.
  • They traded with Arab traders from the Swahili coast, as well as others.
  • The empire collapsed in the early 16th century, after it used up all its resources.
african literacy
African Literacy
  • The literacy rate in Africa is 50%.
  • This means that half the population of Africa cannot read or write.
  • Literacy is good for individuals as well as their communities.
  • More developed countries tend to have a higher literacy rate.
  • Sudan and Egypt both have a literacy rate of only 51 %.
  • South Africa, the most developed country in Africa, has a literacy rate of 83%.
art and music from africa
Art and Music from Africa
  • The dance and music of Africa has many distinct styles and uses unique instruments.
  • Sub-Saharan African music and dance is different from the music and dance of the Arab cultures of North Africa, or the Western settler populations of southern Africa.
  • Many of the Sub-Saharan traditions are maintained by oral tradition.
  • Describe the diverse cultures of the people of Africa and how is literacy rate affect standard of living.