From medieval times till recently, there have been practical pieces of evidence of the cultural and traditional participation of Africans that are visible in their food, arts & crafts, languages, ceremonies, and events, especially weddings, rites, burials, and other important events to mark some monumental events as has always been practiced.
The variety of these cultures is dependent on countries and territories where you find diverse ethnic groups practicing varying traditions that agree with the cultures of their ancestors. With the diverse population of Africa, both at home and in Diaspora, they find themselves unique amid the diversity of culture and heritage, which has been ceremoniously preserved and experienced in the recent era.
The largest ethnic group in Africa is found to be the Zulu people of Africa. They are estimated to be a collective population of 11, 000, 000 people in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. In the 19th and 20th centuries, it was recorded that South Africa was under apartheid and the people of the Zulu Kingdom were classed as the third citizens and suffered from massive discrimination. However, the reverse seems to be the case in the present day as they have equal rights with all other South African citizens.
The Zulu people are predominantly Christian and have succeeded in retaining their belief in their cultural and ancestral supreme being ‘Unkulunkulu,’ who as said is the creator of all life. And they also uphold the belief that all good, bad, and misfortunes are attributed to the ancestral spirit widely known and regarded as ‘amadlozi.’ They sacrifice to the ancestral spirits and observe these sacred sacrifices especially to mark marriages or births.
The Zulu people are predominantly craftsmen who do their crafts in earthenware pottery, weaving, and beadwork. These beadworks are majorly crafted using brightly coloured beads and woven into intricate patterns that are symbolic and at the same time decorative according to functions. For each colour, there is an interpretation and connotation they usually stand for. For instance, red is a symbol of love and passion but can also stand for anger, and similarly, blue connotes faithfulness and also can connote hostility, and dislike.
The Maasai people of Kenya and Tanzania, the red-clad Maasai is synonymous with the Great Plains and savannahs of Africa. They are renowned warriors and pastoralists who for hundreds of years roamed the wild of East Africa. Irrespective of the modern development being witnessed across Africa as a result of urbanization, the Maasai people have fought to preserve their cultures and ways of life, and as a result, east Africa is a sight of colourful Maasai culture, headers, and cultural dancing ‘adumu.’
The Himba population of northwest Namibia is believed to be living in the desolate Kunene region found in the northwest of Namibia. This is home to a people whose calling is majorly hunting and pastoralism. They descend from the southward migrating Heroes of Angola. The Himba people are majorly polygamists and the average man takes an average of two wives. This is a commonly arranged marriage with the full participation of the parents in the arrangement of the marriage. Both sexes take part in the rite of passage before they are permitted to get married and both would always be circumcised before they witness puberty. After marriage, a male will be considered a man while a female will be considered a woman and allowed to wear the traditional ‘Erembe’ on their first issue.
The African culture also finds embedded in its fabric a variety of meals and delicacies unique to regions and cultural groups, and ethnic tribes around the African continent. Lots of the population of Africa are considered farmers and live entirely on the foods they grow and this suggests the importance of the variety of delicacies every ethnic group is bound to have as their favourites.
In Africa, it is common for people to grow and eat cassava, maize, millet, and plantains. When visiting African countries you will find that they are very traditional, with most women and girls carrying out the task of cooking meals. Despite the post-colonial times, local foods are served in both local and fie star hotels and restaurants across Africa.
African Art has come to stay and Africans are one of the biggest if not the largest contributors to sculptural art pieces. The art of sculpture dates back thousands of years with some earliest sculptures from ancient Egypt.
There are thousands of indigenous languages and dialects spoken across Africa with millions of indigenous speakers. Every African country has diverse languages, and the smaller countries are not left out too as they possess mostly above 50+ languages and a diverse population.
Although most African countries were colonized and influenced by Europeans, Pidgin English and Broken versions of European English is a predominantly used language that is collective in daily communication and interactions across most African countries colonized by the Brits.