WESTAFRICAN ANCIENT SOCIETIES
AncientWest African Societies
AncientWest African societies are synonymous with the beginning and thetransfer of civilization. The paper will feature various societiesand their way of life. The societies will include the Wolof, theSerer, the Senegambia, Wadan, Bamako, Awdaghost and the Kumbi. Theaforementioned societies engaged in trade, iron smelting and wereorganized socially. The societies also practiced agriculture whilesome were involved in the slave trade. The above communities alsohave various similarities in dialect.
TheWolof also known as Jolof communities, lived in small villagesinhabiting the coastal zone of West Africa. Mainly engaging infarming, the community also had proper governance structures and acaste system. Mbembé,J. A & Rendall, S. (2000). The Wolof community also lived areligious lifestyle, practicing Islam that they adopted from tradeand interactions with the Northern African tribes such as theBerbers.
TheSerer community’s origins are closely related to the origins of theWolof community. Cohen, R. Z. (2013) opines that the Serer wereorganized into kingdoms with kings ruling with the aid of chiefs. Thecommunity has a staple food, the ‘chere’ prepared by the sererwomen. The community also has traditional attire the serr that wasspecifically woven by men. The serer engaged in communal events suchwrestling. Music was part of the serer community and was used intraditional ceremonies such as circumcision. The community’s liferevolved around animal husbandry, trade, fishing, agriculture andboat- building. The community also had of laws governing their lives.
TheSenegambia community comprised of a combination of major and minorancient that included the Wolof or Jolof, the Fulani, the Nalu,Basari- Bedik and the Cangin communities.West African community’sthat led an organized life engaging in trade of animals such ashorses and camels. According to Sonko-GodwinP (2004), the community engaged in the Atlantic slave trade. Thecommunity also engaged in cultivation of crops, fishing and huntingusing poisoned arrows. The Senegambia was also adept at weavingproducts from the palm tree using its leaves and fibre.
Jackson,J. G. (2001) notes the Wadan communities inhabited the northernAfrica ancient trading post of Wadan that was part of the Portugueseslave trade route. The community exchanged slaves for horses andother wares. Hunting was also part of the community’s life,targeting exotic birds that they sold to the Portuguese. The Wadancommunity also engaged in gold prospecting and trade that led to theformation of their trading culture.
TheBamako society is closely known for its role in education apart fromvarious developments such as trade, legal systems and kingdom rule.Bamako included communities such as the Tuareg, who were mostlynomadic were also divided socially into castes such as the keldinnigor the kelataram.Islam was also a major part of the Bamako society providing a basisfor the beginning of ancient civilizations such as Timbuktu.
TheAwdaghost society was part of the Sahara deserts’ caravan routethat was used by traders. The society included peoples such as theinvading Almoravids, the Berbers and the Soninke. The society was acontinuous source of conflict due to its strategic placement on thecaravan route. The society also engaged in date and wheat farming andanimal husbandry.
TheKumbi society was renowned for its ancient civilization andorganization. The society had presence of the Ghana kingdoms andcommerce was part of the society. The society also presented a pointfor the start of education. Islam was practiced in the Kumbi society.It is conclusive to note that the featured communities interacted dueto trade and shared a common religion, Islam. The presence of anorganization also made it easier to create centers of intellect thatled to the growth of ancient West African societies.
Cohen,R. Z. (2013). Discoveringthe Empire of Ghana.The Rosen Publishing Group.
Jackson,J. G. (2001). Introductionto African civilizations.Citadel Press.
Mbembé,J. A & Rendall, S. (2000). At the edge of the world: Boundaries,territoriality, and sovereignty in Africa. Publicculture, 12(1),259-284.
Sonko-Godwin,P. (2004). Tradein the Senegambia: From the 12th to the Early 20th Century.Sunrise Publishers.