The Kingdom of Aksum

The Kingdom of Aksum was an ancient state centered in present-day Aksum, Ethiopia. It existed between 100 CE and 940 CE. At its height, the empire stretched across present-day Eritrea, northern Ethiopia, Sudan, western Yemen, and southern Saudi Arabia. Aksum established its prominence as a commercial hub, engaging in the trade of gold and ivory… Continue reading The Kingdom of Aksum

Rastafari

Rastafari (also Rastafarianism) is a spiritual and political movement which syncretizes elements of Christianity and Pan-Africanism. It started in 1930s Jamaica, inspired by the teachings of Jamaican-born activist Marcus Garvey and following the inauguration of the Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie. It is named after Selassie’s pre-coronation name, Ras Tafari. Adherents are called Rastafarians or Rastas. … Continue reading Rastafari

Gadaa: Classical East African Democracy

Gadaa is a historical democratic governance system practiced by the Oromo people of Ethiopia and Northern Kenya. It was developed in the 16th century during the Oromo expansion, to help govern people militarily and administratively. Over time, it evolved into a system for disseminating cultural knowledge, regulating moral responsibility and maintaining peace. The system is… Continue reading Gadaa: Classical East African Democracy

Capoeira: The Afro-Brazilian Martial Art

Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian martial art which incorporates dance, music and play. Practitioners are capoeiristas. Since it was developed in secret, there is little historical documentation around capoeira. Some say it was created in the 16th century by enslaved West Africans taken to Brazil. With defensive arts forbidden, they camouflaged their practice as dance. Others… Continue reading Capoeira: The Afro-Brazilian Martial Art

Ancient Egypt

Ancient Egypt was the preeminent civilization in North Africa, the Mediterranean and Middle East for nearly 3,000 years, from 3100 BC to 332 BC. The River Nile’s predictable flooding along with controlled irrigation systems allowed for flourishing agriculture (primarily wheat and barley) and large food surpluses, and subsequently, denser populations, and much social, cultural and… Continue reading Ancient Egypt

The Belgian Annihilation of the Congo

Leopold II inherited the Belgian throne in 1865. In 1879, envious of other European nations’ overseas empires, Leopold tasked famed British explorer Henry Morton Stanley to establish a Belgian colony in Central Africa. On 5 February 1885, the "Congo Free State" (an area 76 times larger than Belgium) was founded. Unlike other government-run European colonies,… Continue reading The Belgian Annihilation of the Congo

Orishas of Yoruba Mythology

Orishas are Yoruba gods and goddesses. Mythology surrounding them, including the Yoruba creation story, is vast. Below are descriptions of some Orishas, and the story about how they got their powers. Olorun/Olodumare: Supreme God and Creator; sometimes depicted androgynous Orunmila: God of Wisdom and Divination; Olorun's son and representative Obatala: Olorun's Deputy; creator of land,… Continue reading Orishas of Yoruba Mythology