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Video Description

Introduction

    When one looks at the modern cities of Africa, the European influence is obvious with its cars, highrises, and Western dress. However, if we look deeper, we will see there was a rich history unique to Africa. Science has shown that human civilization began in Africa. These early Africans were faced with great difficulties in mastering their continent. This is a great achievement in the history of mankind, keeping in mind Africa's climate and ecology of ferocious extremes, lethal diseases, man-eating beasts, and the task of farming under tropical conditions. 

 



Pekot of Kenya

    These so called primitive peoples have superior skills in nature. For example their hunting and bridge-building abilities are superb despite the fact that their technological skills had not surpassed the stone age. These people went from food gathering to food producing by mastering their environment and natural resources. They successfully bred cattle under tropical conditions. The cattle represent what money does in the West: status and power. The Pekot integrated livestock in every aspect of their living. They relied on the cattle for meat and milk. The cow dung is used as an insulator in roofs and walls, as it was in Europe. The Pekot social structure includes men owning cattle and giving their wives specific cattle to take care of. The boys are put into working age groups. Pekot life appears simple, but its political and economic system exists remarkably well. They see no need for change or improvements. They have resisted foreign influence and invasions to keep their way of life successful. 

 



Suka of Nigeria

    The Suka made the technological advance to mixed farming in tropical agriculture through the new use of iron. These iron tools were used in the farming of guinea corn. It also lead to a change in the way the people structured themselves. The farmers could now produce enough food to support craftsmen. Women could make pots and men could weave baskets. This more complex society called for a new political structure. Kings were thought to have religious power, for they could ask the gods for fertility of women and agriculture. They organized the building of stone roadways, making travel and trade easier. This society could also now support 'professionals' such as healers or doctors. In all, the iron smelting and smithing was the decisive technological advance. The metallagical and artistic achievements of the Sukas illucidate how the technology connected to spiritual ideas. 

 



Dogon of Mali

    This agricultual society made another major technological advance: irrigation. As it seems to be the trend in Africa, women did much of the laborious work in the farm. They farmed onions and had enough to store some for themselves, and to sell the rest to neighboring villages. These innovative people created a human aquaduct. They did this through using women to transport water to keep the area irrigated. The Dogon people also developed an elaborate system of religious belief. This religion somewhat resembles the structure of Christianity. It says that God withdrew to heaven when he was offended by what he saw. Also, they believe the fox will tell the future, which is similar to the Christian serpeant. While they believe that God leaving left much human death and despair, they also celebrate death through a masquerade. They dance as a celebration of their history and ancestors, and for the joyful promise of the future. It also possibly makes enduring the environmental hardships easier, because they see life as a gift from God. 

Source: http://dickinsg.intrasun.tcnj.edu/films/basil/video2.html

Documentary Description

Africa: A Voyage of Discovery with Basil Davidson is a critically acclaimed informative series describing the history of Africa. The eight-hour series was produced in 1984. it is broken up into eight sections on four videos. Each section is 57 minutes long. Basil Davidson uses various resources. Davidson usually speaks as location footage of Africa is shown. From time to time, he makes an appearance in the videos. Also shown are archived media and dramatic reconstructions. The eight sections are listed below with subsections that we have created from notes.

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