Modern Inventors and Scientists of African Ancestry

Africans and peoples of African ancestry have been inventors and scientists, contributing to global human knowledge, across various fields, despite often difficult and discriminatory conditions. Machine-making. Jan Ernst Matzeliger, an African-Surinamese, invented an automated shoe-making machine in 1883, producing ten times more shoes than existing methods in America, cutting production costs/prices, and revolutionizing footwear. Electrical… Continue reading Modern Inventors and Scientists of African Ancestry

Voyager Golden Record

What image of Africa might aliens have?   In 1977, NASA launched Voyager 1 and 2 to study our solar system. These probes since drifted into outer space, making Voyager 1, the farthest man-made object from Earth and the first to enter the interstellar medium. A Cornell University team, led by astronomer Carl Sagan, coded information… Continue reading Voyager Golden Record

Ancient African Calendar Systems

African communities have had varied ways of tracking and synchronizing time with their activities. Some ancient calendar systems were lunar-stellar, meaning they interpreted the days and months of the year in relation to different moon and star formations. The Borana people of southern Ethiopia and northern Kenya had a lunar-stellar calendar of 354 days, with… Continue reading Ancient African Calendar Systems

A Brief Account of Same-Sex Relationships in Africa

In 2014, Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni made international headlines by claiming that homosexuality was a ‘Western import’ and that homosexuals were ‘disgusting.’ Museveni is not alone in his views, with several other prominent African figures such as former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh, and the late Ethiopian religious leader Abune Paulos,… Continue reading A Brief Account of Same-Sex Relationships in Africa

Sawadogo, Zai and Rediscovery of Ancient African Knowledge

Yacouba Sawadogo is a Burkinabe farmer who in the 1980s reintroduced Zai, a traditional African agricultural technique, which helps restore barren lands and which significantly increases soil fertility and crop yields. Rainwater catching and management is key for survival in the desert lands of western Sahel region (Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali). With Zai (or Tassa),… Continue reading Sawadogo, Zai and Rediscovery of Ancient African Knowledge

Conceptions of Death Across Bantu Traditions

The Bantu people are the speakers of Bantu languages, comprising of hundreds of different ethnic groups spread out across sub-Saharan Africa. There are approximately 350 million Bantu speakers, which is roughly 30% of the total population of Africa. As is common across the world, various Bantu cultures have traditional stories and explanations regarding death, sharing… Continue reading Conceptions of Death Across Bantu Traditions

Mathematics in Ancient Africa: Lebombo Bone & Others

Innovative record keeping and complex mathematical calculations were commonplace in some of the earliest civilizations of Africa. The oldest mathematical instrument in the world is the Lebombo bone, discovered in the Lebombo Mountains in present-day Swaziland. The bone, which comes from a baboon’s fibula, is dated at 35,000 BCE. The bone bears 29 markings believed… Continue reading Mathematics in Ancient Africa: Lebombo Bone & Others

Kente, Kitenge and Other African Textiles

For millennia, textiles have been used in Africa for more than warmth or protection. African textiles have been used as means for communication, conveying history and information through symbols, colors, threads, proverbs. They have been used to commemorate weddings, funerals and important political events. They have also been used to show faith, status, and, of… Continue reading Kente, Kitenge and Other African Textiles

The Road to Pan-Africanism: The African Union

On May 1963, representatives of 32 independent African states convened in Addis Ababa to form the Organization of African Unity (OAU) to help members transition into independence. In 2002, the African Union (AU) succeeded the OAU, with a renewed mandate of integrating the continent. The AU is currently made up of 55 member countries with… Continue reading The Road to Pan-Africanism: The African Union