Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Front Matter
 Table of Contents
 African house painting
 Meanings behind the masks...
 Precious treasure of Africa
 American dollar - African...
 Merging religion and culture :...
 Proverbs - an Akan tradition
 True circle of life : African rituals...
 Representative rule and consensus...
 Staple foods

Title: Irohin
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00075548/00014
 Material Information
Title: Irohin
Physical Description: v. : ill. ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: University of Florida -- Center for African Studies
Publisher: Center for African Studies, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville FL
Publication Date: 1991-
Frequency: semiannual
Subject: Study and teaching -- Periodicals -- Africa   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
periodical   ( marcgt )
Dates or Sequential Designation: Began with Feb. 1991.
General Note: "Bringing Africa to the classroom."
General Note: Description based on: Feb. 1992; title from cover.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00075548
Volume ID: VID00014
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida
Resource Identifier: aleph - 001640153
oclc - 25762685
notis - AHR5232
lccn - sn 92022991


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Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Front Matter
        Front Matter
    Front Matter
        Front Matter
    Table of Contents
        Table of Contents
    African house painting
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
    Meanings behind the masks of Africa
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
    Precious treasure of Africa
        Page 12
        Page 13
    American dollar - African connection
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
    Merging religion and culture : a dialogue with the past, a song for the future
        Page 18
        Page 19
    Proverbs - an Akan tradition
        Page 20
        Page 21
    True circle of life : African rituals and celebrations of life
        Page 22
        Page 23
    Representative rule and consensus in precolonial Africa
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
    Staple foods
        Page 27
        Page 28
Full Text


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Brightly decorated houses are found throughout Afica
As recently as the late 19' century, Afficans in the Lower
Nile Valley area,own as Nuba wownas Nuba, wereown to have
painted and decorated their houses Houses in Nubian
villages were typically made of white washed plaster,
with vaulted roofs The entranceways were decorated
andpanted, usuallywith geometric andrepresentatonal
themes In addition to te use o pant, often broken china
plates, tin cans and pot lids were placed in angular
patterns on the walls There are no photos of these
decorated buildings, but verbal description tells us that
they used themes including fish, birds, flowers, palms,
animals, geometric patterns and flagshaped symbols
Thehouse decorationswere expressions of social status
and also expressions of religious beliefs Some of the
plates had hotel names showing where the owner might
have worked The symbolic meaning of the plates was
to signify Ithe goal o fbnnging bread into the house, and
the shiny surfaces were believed to rep el the evil-eye,"
a belief oginating in Upper Egypt The designs and
surface attachments seemed to function as powers and
symbols of powers that could prevent and counteract
evil Some designs may reflect things the painters
do not have, but desire
For the Nubians, the exuberant and
fantastic imagery and decoration of
their houses might express prde for
theirpeople, prestige, self-expression,
and a desire to make the countryside
morebeautiful Theirreason for this
kind of art seems rootedin tadition
and spintual beliefs, which reflect
their need for display, spectacle,
self-expression and changing ways
Ethnic groups in South Affica also
known for decorative house panting
include the Ndeble, the Basotho, and


the Lesotho people
The tradition ofpanted houses for the Ndebelepeople
of SouthAfnca dates back to about 50 years Pror tothis
time, house walls were painted with earth-toned colors
and often the artist would scratch patterns into the wet
plaster using their fingers It is believed that these early
patterns, unlike the more recent panted designs, had
sacred powers and may have been made to answer the
request made by their ancestors The Ndebele people
prefer to decorate inthe winterduring dry season because
inthe summer, theintense rains can destroythe panting
and even cause deep holes in the walls
More recently, the Ndebele's bnghtly colored geometnc
wall paintings are believed to be an attempt to identify
themselves, and set themselves apart from other ethnic
groups This attempt at self-expression manifests itself
in the colors, motifs and themes used
InAfnca women play a dominant role as builders and
designers Theyprmaily are the ones who do thehouse
paintins The paintings have symbolic meaning showing
their rich culture and ancient art-making traditions
Politically, these walls were used
as signs min the face of
the oppressive

South Africa, which tried to oppress and demean the
black population. As women painters create the wall
murals, they depict rituals, announce marriages, show
forms of prayer and worship, and often depict themes
of protest. For example, women from the Basotho group
in South Africa used to paint their houses in the colors
of the then outlawed African National Congress Party,
black, green and gold. These party colors would have
been considered illegal.
Traditionally, the Ndebele women painters pass their
skills to their daughters and granddaughters. In the early
times, the paint was made from cow dung mixed with
different colors of earth clay to produce black, white, red,
green and yellow. The paint was applied annually using
feathers and bundles of twigs with chewed ends. In more
recent times, they use acrylic paints and brushes, which
allow more variety in their colors. The earth color paints
obtained from clay deposits include some colors that
were so difficult to obtain that in the early days women
might have to travel as far as 100 miles to find a particular
color. They would roll the red, brown and yellow ochre
earth into compact spheres, which would dry with little
chunks of solid pigment, very similar to our modem
dry watercolor paints. Black was made by mixing soot
with the dark soil from a nearby riverbank. Some of the
women painters have become known throughout the
world for their beautiful designs, some of which have
been used in advertising for, the car manufacturer BMW,
and the airline British Airways.

"The murals are a form of religious art. They honor and
please the ancestors to whom the Basotho pray for peace,
rain and plenty. If the prayers are successful, the rains
arrive and wash away the painting, but the fields, the
herds and the families of the land all flourish, fertility
and abundance abound.The mud walls of the houses
are likened to the fields, and the designs incised into the
walls and painted are signs of cultivation, equivalent
to the furrows hoed into the earth. Many mural designs
refer to flowers and to the plant world, and are signs of
fertility. Houses themselves are metaphors for the womb
and Creation, when humans emerged from a cave deep
in the earth. The symbolism of the houses and the murals
are thus intimately related in many ways to the realm of
women." (Van Wyk p.10)

Being primarily abstract, Ndebele murals include such
,ictorial motifs as animals, light bulbs and even razor
Alades! They combine sun and tree motifs with letters of
he alphabet. Other motifs might include inspiration from
children'ss school books (for example, a lion may never
)e seen in real life by the painter, so she would get her
dea from a story book), telephone poles, wrought-iron

work, airplanes, staircases and steps. Their geometric
stylized shapes rarely include human figures, considered
too difficult to render, but rather they use flowers and
trees, which are more easily reduced to simplified
Esther Mahlangu is probably the best known of the
South African women painters. She was the first to
transfer her designs from house walls to canvas, which
allows her work to be displayed in galleries around the
world. Isa Kabini and Francine Ndimande are two other
prominent women painters. Another known artist, Vasi
D. Mchunu, says of her work:

"I simply rise up, go to the wall, and start working. I do not
need to waste my time drawing sketches and musing over
details. As I proceed, I constantly correct any mistakes
by hand. Of course my mind is sorting out the images,
the patterns, and the colors. I am striving for harmony
and brightness.
I decorate the front and the sides of the courtyard in the
same manner. Harmony is my watchword...All the shapes
are willed by my brain. It is my own creation and I am
not imitating anyone. My constant guide is the constant
quest for beauty. I always want to paint.This is my love
and my will. Unlike other women artists who decorate
as a preparation for some occasion or other. Be it a dance
ceremony...a wedding...not so with me. If when looking at
my children, I am inspired to create designs for each one
of them, I simply go to the wall and paint this love for
them to see." (From Interview with Vusi D. Mchunu: "To
paint is to express joy" in AmaNbedele, Signals of color
from South Africa, Ed. Ernst Wasmuth Verlag, Tubigen,
Germany, 1991.)

In the present day, undoubtedly, part of the
motivation for house mural painting is tourism. Today,
visitors to the villages in South Africa will pay for a
tour of the painted homesteads. Monetary negotiations
vary as to how much is charged for the experience.
Some Ndebele will charge by the photograph.

Florida Sunshine State Standards: Visual Arts
B. Creation and Communication
1. The student creates and communicates a range of
subject matter, symbols and ideas using knowledge of
structures and functions of visual arts.
VA.B.1.2.1. The student understands that the subject
matter used to create unique works of art can come
from personal experience, observation, imagination and

VA B12 b The s dentcreates worlsof ardepict
how signs and svbols convey lhisoncal. cultural or
personal meaning,
VA B I2 3 The student knows how to identfy he
mintentions of those creating worse of ar

C Culturalan alHistoral Connectro
I The studenunde stands the visual ars inrelation to
listoiyand culture,
VA C I2 The student undersandse slantes and
differences iworl of a from vnety of sources,
VA C 122 The student understand how atsts have
used visual languages and sh y ol sytems though
tme and across culture,
VA C 1 2 2 a The student recognizes signfcant wor
ofartand architecture and how ey have functioned
over tne

Fifth grade children will gain an understandig of
Afncan house paint, uhyit was done, te sy ohc
meanngs, and what matenals ere used Theywll have
anopporituyto create there own house pintig

Mae nals needed
Ivap of Afnca
Pictures of Afcan Pamted Houses
Tempera Pait
Water bucket
18 X 24White paer

Explamtheie cm ue tobe used forthe n pntg
They o me o ae ir house as large as posile
S till the white paper sTikaboutlwhat smDo
fley oughtwant to include n heihouse nr
Usechalkto planthecompositon Fillmtheareas
usng colorsthatthey feel willbest teietthe
s mohc hmes age heymight ant to present
Tis lemon would probably e e thee 45-
S ute seasons S ealon 1 wouldbedevotedto
background styand sdi usi ,andbegn
the plan for their pintngs, Session #2 they
wouldbeginpainr, andsession3 theywould
complete theuirojecs

A critique could be done to descnbe he sv ols
used and he colors selected Compere these paints
to the Afncan house paintlrs looked at in the earlier
Questions Do any Esybols look alkeu How would u
compare your paint techque to that of the Afncan
women Did you ums colors simlar to the colors used
bythe Afncan women painers


Courty-Clarke, Ivhiaret Nebele, TheArofan
Sncan Trnbe, 1990

Powll or Aebele A People and The Ar, 1995

VanWy GaryN 4Afcan Pamined Houe4 1998

Enst, Ed IntemviewwiVusi lvhunu To Paint is to
Express Joy"inAmaNdebele, Sgnal of lorfro
South Afnca, Wasmufh Verlag, Tubmgenm Genmany

%Meaploorsand angs ofHous AfncanPamied
House Traditons
httplvlww uxl eu educfiblamedhoues htm

httpllwovgaljleryco z8 2001art clelv 1 ne h

Afncan House Paintgs
htlplllidsarhorlhopoafncanhouseaintig htm



Intornlntinn African Masks

When asked aboutAfica, specifically Af can at, one of
the images that may come to mind is beautiful wooden
mask Whether the masks have been seen on the covers
of magazines, i documentary videos, or displayed in
museums, most Westeners have a concept of theAfican
mask Afican masks haveintngued me because each one
is unque with a story behind it My interest in Afican
masks has ledme to increase my understanding oftheir
signficance and purpose in their natural setting and to
provide ameaningl way for others to betterunderstand
and appreciate their importance
The purpose of ths project is fr the learner to
A learn a brief history and meaning behind
African masks through examples
ofhowthey are used by African
A learn the various forms and styles ofAfnican
masks as well as the materials used in
their creation,
A understand the similarities and differences of
Afnican masks and head adornments used in
Western society
A gan abetter appreciation ofAfnican masks and
their significance

Iiff History and Meaming BehidAfsrican Masks
Afnicanmasks canbetraced backthousands ofyears
They still play a significant role for many people in
contemporary Afica, 1 ) Masks are used in many of
the traditional ceremonies ad are both functional and
artistic 2 )Masks are also usedto rpresentdeities, good
or evil spirts, mythological beings, and the sprits of
ancestors 3 )Different masks are worn dunng various
occasions ferlityoriitiationntes, celebrations, peace
ad trouble times, fuels, and for entertainment
One of the most important functions of the mask in
Afica is to change the identity of the person who is
wearing it To wear the mask along wi the rest ofthe
costume is to replace one's identity Other identities
commonlytakenare those ofspints ancestors, or another

personwho is either revered or feared An example of an
identity -changing African mask comes from tie Baule
peoples of Cote dIvoire Their mask called the albino,
incarnates "bo un amun-god of the forest" or ameta
yasua-men's e godThe s are thought to possess
the wearer of the mask and a dance is performed to
protectthe village, to disciplinewomen, or at he funerals
of former dancers and important men
Another significant function of the Afran mask is
in te transformation of a person in a "ite of passage
Itiation into adulthood, a secret soacety mamage or
a person's movement into a higher rank are just some
ofthe examples ofceremoesthatmarkedby masked
In a"nte of passage" ceremony, the former identity
ofaperson issymbolicallyrelaced wth a newidentity
One of the few examples where women in Afca wear
masksis dunng a"nte ofpassage" ceremony performed
bythe Mendepeople inpars of Lb ea as well as Sierra
Leone, Cote d'Ivoire and Guinea Tis group ofwomen
known as the Sa e society provides a secluded school
and sanctuary for girls to be imtiated into adulthood The
masked women officate cery oe ate the ceony of the rates'
debut after completing their schooling The sade
women officials are adorned in a black helmet mask
known as a scwes mask The term soaws stems from
Sowo, who isthe goddess ofwater and symbolizes truth
and wisdom, a soe is the person who itiates the new
inductees and is their leader and teacher
When masks are used for the purposes of entertaming
it is often dunng thearcal performances that portray
pro fund ethc myths Forexample the Dan peoples of
WestAficawear taa agle mask to entertan spectators
dunng celebrations

Afncan Masks Forms, Styles and Matenals
An Aflican mask can be worn three ways as a
face mask, helmetmask orheaddess Theface maskis
not directly attached to the dancer's head but is hld in
front o fthe face, possibly supported by a stick Aelmet

covers the entle head and a headdress ia n on the Ao be won alone, but is accomied wit musc and

crown of the dancer's head and joins a costume that
covers the dancer's body These masks can be oval
cucular lectangula elongatedl heart-shaped. anrumalor
human, and maybe anycombination of these
The styles and fos ofAfncanmasks are influenced
bytwosouices the social radiions andrlehglobeliefs
oftle person'sgroup and the mdidual's cleawty
andvision fort he mako ohe masks are realisc
poirtaits of the people's ancestos and other masks
lepesentabstact conceps hke courage, beauty
noblhty andhumnor To express these absteact
quahtlesthe masksmayehavw exaggeratedand
stdlzed features
The masks ae made fom a wide range
ofmatenals mcludng bonzeleatherbras
copper ivoiy tenacotta, fabnc, and wood
However, wood is the most comorly
usedmatenalbecase ofts accessbility
and the belief thata ee hasa apntual
soul MIasks ae oflen decorated swit
cowe shells,beads, ammal sus, and
bone Wooden masks ae often ded
with pigmenis created from plants,
sees, vegetables, and soil

Masks an Mortlatoards
ConmparnagRile of Passage
Masks are one of the most notable and
recogruzable symbols ofAfnca and even though
theyhave been emovedfrom heirnatualsetmng they
ave hadanenomouseffecton ai thoughoutlastory
Howe whendscusngAfncanmasks is necessary
to ecoguze that they are not isolated objects without
a voice, movement, or music, and ha they used to
transform te weaer into a tangle presence
One method usedtounderstandthevanousfunctions
ofsomethingis o complex and contest it to tiat which
issunar m one'ssociety Westemes could look at te
motaiboard (graduation cap) as a ss ol used in eir
"nes of passage" ceremony which is smlar to how
some Afncans celebrate their "ntes of p age from
childhood to adulthood, or from one social rank to
another, as m te e he case ofhe de women
The moilaiboard, like anAfncanmask, is notmeant

a rocessonals, speakers, arobe, and diplomas Family
members and fnends are present to commemorate te
passage of the graduate to a hgher academic or social
level Equallyimpoiant is the more subtle meaning of
the graduate's passage to a more mature, resrponsble
Although the inteireions of these ceremonies
diffe in their cultural symbols, tis companson shows

recogu e and honor the same captone
oflife buth chadhod, adolescence,
( adulthood, manage, anddeat

1 Lead student through
acompm ativstudy
African masks and the
moritaolb dbyustig avels
2 Have te stdens des
andwaite thel maOe m oass
of an Mncanmask ad all tat
accompanies thi e mask to an
object tt is fahar to luher
(for example a football lhehnt
wlsch accomaedwithethe rest
oftlheattlre,prarades,bonfires, far,
e gamenes)
3 Compare and contrast nte of passage" niales m
Afnca the UmtedStatesand aound th world
4 Have the students discuss and wte about non-~,sual
maks that we wear at different tunes to lode feehnags
5 Have le stiden,make masis to rersent ti erslves
Numerous we bstes offer creavr,e mya to make masks
usng vanous maen als
6 Use aKWLClartorecordte students'un tandmg
ofAfnca..n a sks

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Afrca is the second largest continent in the
world The land mass encompasses more than
three times the size ofthe United States There
are a vanety of clmates as well as a diverse
terrain From the northern borders of Afica,
through the Sahara Desert, the ways of life are
dictated by the heat and dryness The eastern
coast of Africa is rich and
fetile The landscape includes
tropical rain forests, as well
as beautiful beaches The 1
southern region of Africa is .* -
teaming with natural resources h
such as oil, copper, and bronze
The west coast continues
in the same rich and fertile
producing tradition as the
abovementioned threeregions
ofAfrica One of the primary
exports and themosttreasured
metals is gold
In ancient Egypt, gold was one
ofthema or metals usedto portray
artwork The techniques of the
goldsmiths alone were astoshing
andpleasingtothe eye ThePharoah
or kngoften was adoedwisthlarge
amue brlets, bracelets, satue staffs
and personal ewey all made with
near perfect precso One of the
mostfamouslhngs ofancent Egpt
wasTutankahem The discovery of .
his tomb almostfulyntact proxded
anopportuntyto studythe precious
artifacts andtheir craftmanshnp His
coffin and burial mask. as well as numerous jewelry
pieces were all made of gold which was considered a
sign of beauty strength andpower
The Akan of West Afica used gold as a means to
express numerous ideals m there culture The symbol
of twmn gold crocodles j oned at the stomach depicted
the belief of political democracy This same figure

symbolized uityintwo persons aswell The golden art
work calledtheAoIena (state sword), symbolize state
authont, legitimacy and power Gold weigts m the
Akanwe recatd d ued and,us like spokenlanguage to
honor social and stoncal events or entites, to excess
philosophical orreligiousviews, asprations anddreas,
or simply to ask questions, or express displeasure"
(Nitcli1982) Goldwas lso
usedto isplayhistoical and
C l Imythical events as well as
Ssocialvalues andmstittions
suchas mamageandraising
W,7' children
S JA". Goldcontainersofpottery
F 4 were fashoedto not only
beautify, but also edify
S r_- one's home Creations in
II gold would serve as storage
Scontainers evenfor gold dst
St itself Encompassing the
A usage of goldby the Aka
_. gold weights served as
S. proverb-lke symbols These
T symbols allowed the user
j to expressreigous beliefs,
,,. 5 social relaticm land wisdo
S swithoutvocmagasound An
r mteresing example would
be apatr of golden sandals
(mpOboa) which states
"Womin mpa boa ape'bz
onni afundsora, pe'bi
name wo wo'bika
If yo don't hive scmdds,
frdsom, if you dint haea powder, d some fo
there s a srcoa o seted onthe baittegoind Thsphrase
usually was a declarat ofwar Gold was adoed for
fash splays, aswell astoshowcasepower, reveang
religious views and epessions of political views
TheAsante people ofWestAfricausedgoldas away
of pexessingpower m the form of a golden stool that

symbolized unity in their political system. The enormous empire of the Asante included the present day countries
of Gyaman, Gonja, Mano Prussi, Akwamu, and Wassa. Gold was a major export to both the north and the south.
It was not only used for exporting, but large amounts were used for artwork for the native people. The Asantehene
custom was to melt down all of their ornaments and have them re-made annually. Arrayed in portraits as well, an
Asante captain was depicted with ornaments of both silver and gold.
In modem African society, gold is still a major export. The continent produces some of the purest as well as the
finest gold in the world. From ancient times to the present gold continues to be an expression of one's wealth,
social status, religious beliefs, political beliefs.


Isichei,Elizabeth Asante The Gold Coast, The Kingdoms Of Africa.

Kojo, G.F. Arthur and Rowe, Robert 1998-2001Akan Cultural Symbols Project

Koslow, Phillip,Ancient Ghana The Land of Gold, The Kingdoms OfAfrica.

Koslow, PhillipHistory of WestAfrica Since 1800

McIntyre, L. Lee and D. Roy, Christopher; 1998. TheArt andLife inAfrica Project, Art andLife inAfrica
Online 1998

Vilbert, J. P. Akan Fetish Gold

A Study of the Akan, (Nitcki,1982)

http://www.Egyptian Art.com

http://www.marshal.edu.akanart/ brammoo abramobe.html, (Leyton,1979, McLeod, 1978)



Students wll be able to
* Definethe word symbol,
* Recognize the symbols used on the U S dollar
* Compere andconiast the meangs ofthe symbols on
theU S dollar bill as it relates to ancient Afca
* Illustrate that theAfrican orgn of humaty tends
into the currcy of the Unted States,
* Recognize symbols located n Washington D C
whichare hnked to anc entAfica,

Symbols conveyeaning man insl t Yougchildren
recognize the golden arhes ofa McDonald's restaurant
TheAmerican flag represets patriotism n oucunty
TheAmencan bald eaglereresents freedom Smbols
arearoundus veyday These mbols conveymeanings
of countless things in our everyday life They ring
vivid images of the obj ect they re rest to our minds
immnedately Symbols help us connect our feelings to
obl ects or events

What is money? What do the symbols on the US
dollar represent? Today in he United States we are
literally surrounded by ages or references to money
Entertainers sing about money, people talk about
money on he thelesion, we read about money in the
newspapers There ae even moes about money How
are e symbols used on thoe Amean dollar bill linked
to Aflcan society?

The founders of he constitution and creators ofhe
monetary system understood the power of African
symbolismasitrelates to life, liberty, freedomandjustnce
fromthe spinrtalphysical and meal viewpoints The
Afican piosopl hy and way of life is all around us

Anthony Browder states that a Frenchman named
Jean hampollion decpheredtheRosetta stonein 1822
and"revealed he mystenes ofheEgyptian heroyphs
which ae ved the way for the European interpretation
of ancient African history Today, an Afrocentnc
decphement of the Great Seal all also shednewliht
onahe estabhisment ofthe UnitedStates ofAmeca nd
its relationship wthAfcan people"

h AmeranEBald Eage S tcenlipifcete ohl GPa.t
;ealon t ba ofthe dllarbill

i baldeagle wa cdenJule 21 `1732, AI he ebile
IftleUIndedS ial ofAaencbeca e of it loEg he,
eaPt e iEth and D es~el c olad 1al o because it was
henbehli ed n i exi only on ti anme he eagle wa
elecoedi a ib d olof fied.o

I he EAanne 'gye

hIE All-S eeEye"loaE abow tl pyraE t n ggets
heE mpoEti n e oSdinEgEuazicem!fahvoofto AntencanA

hE acnpon toephs trarsla s i le (God) hlb
Awolieda cirunleiala," aId fein otei enAe ofdi
,mvuleme gAIdlNg The fonnation ofour govmne
idditioz, tIn niscnptionfhyj Or& Scll
SwEo rP t- pg f E C SE S g
A~ flEE sAenoa &n

Tie AfnScain ynb olf r he iEEgypigodHon
thefalconazii lolst aiThlyys imri o th eagles edon
TheUS ieal

Hois wastfal 0rd n-headedolrand kygodfmanent
Egypt He E iociae lwit ialitynalthad igeneaion
Hoislwastles onoxfO sani Elis HI ngleew
whmieand eppesediedtah lnh leftheewasblachani
epreeniel tI? zmon Accordug oEgypltanmyEh, Set
Honii'sblEik hilledA Os Horn fught Spetl oange
this deah adlolh lefeye hefigh godof
wiHdomnitI? p ThOedpE eaEeble
Honi' eye OnpeentCiSgHHo'ey ,O
e.,AI nAC, bf


The eye ofHon, synbEohs plectEionE adthebnnin?
ofwidom The eyey alo iynb olise ouiityo eewith
tdabl Mdtnuth6ini TI eye ofHous symbolwaispsed
mful er i e ando de rationoaniafe rl2(oEC, etwas
alsos 1 h Egypthans to Pepte factlionE, basel on

eol yheh ngE ht a d the lek eyes ofH o us w ePe deptiH d by
taheifEgyplas The woundulgofthelef eye eived
-- -t^^^l~hmionofthephasesofla1:ona it
ttht fln le s uslly fleE
pspd 1 E atobntinEf yeoSHonos<

Great Seal of the United States

The Number 13

The number 13 is represented throughout the dollar bill and
other U.S. currency.

a. Thirteen stars in a constellation above the head of the eagle
b. Thirteen stripes on the shield
c. In the right talon of the eagle is an olive branch bearing
thirteen leaves representing peace
d. Thirteen arrows in the left talon of eagle symbolizing war
e. Thirteen letters in the words Epluribus unum
f. The number thirteen is used thirteen times throughout the
g. Thirteen steps on the pyramid
h. 13 original colonies
i. 13 signers of the Declaration of Independence

Color Green
Growth, nature, prosperity

African Connection
Significance of the number thirteen from an
Afrocentric perspective

Many historians write that the number thirteen represents
the thirteen original colonies. However, in his book
From the Browder Files, Anthony Browder illustrates
the significance of the number thirteen. "In masonic,
esoteric and metaphysical literature, 13 is the number of
transformation. The completion of a cycle is represented
by 12, and 12+1 is the transformation of the energy of
that completed cycle to a higher, more spiritual level.
We see this philosophy expressed in the symbolism of
Christ and the 12 disciples, the sun and the 12 signs of
the zodiac, King Arthur and the 12 knights of the Round
Table, and December 25 and the 12 days of Christmas."

The number 13 deals with astronomy and the 12 positions
in the heavens. The time it takes the sun to complete a
circuit is called the Great Year (25,827 years). The sun
travels to the 12 positions of the zodiac and takes 1/12th
of the Great Year to stay in each house (2.152 years). The
Egyptian priests studied astronomy and the circuit for two

Color Green
The color Ausar. It is the color of growth in nature and
became the symbol of resurrection after death. George
G.M. Jones stated in Stolen Legacy that the Masons
copied the education system of Egypt

Configuration of Dollar Configuration of Dollar
Fhe configuration of the dollar bill takes its shape from
Based on the shape of the Grand Temple of Wast. he University of Ipetlsut (the most selectplace) built by
pharaoh Imhotep III and designed by Amenhotep the son
ffHapu. It is also called the temple of Thebes or Luxor.

The Great Seal was first used on the reverse of the one-dollar Federal Reserve note in 1935. The Department of State
is the official keeper of the Seal. They believe that the most accurate explanation of a pyramid on the seal is that it
symbolizes strength and durability. The unfinii ~ ,iri,. means that the United States will always
grow, improve and build.


Bronemannspirs, Karen.Our Money. Brookfield, California: Millbrook Press.

Facts about United States Money, (Department of Transportation, 1976, sudocs T 1.40 1976)

Jabade Powell -lecturer, researcher in Taseti African Historical Society.

Lurker, Manfred. The Gods and Symbols of Ancient Egypt: An Illustrated Dictionary. New York: Thames And Hudson,
Inc. 1991.

Maestro, Betsy The Story of Money. New York: Clarion Books, Houghton Mifflin, 1993.

Sertima, Ivan, ed. Blacks in Science: Ancient andModern. New Jersey: Transaction Publishers, 1983.

Shapiro, Fred R., ed. Stumpers, New York: Random House, 1998.


http://www.holisticshop.co.uk/dictionary/eye horus.html
http://www.niehs.nih. ov/kids/triviadollar.htm




Prmitive native", uncivilized These are terms
that were used to descnbe the people of Afhica when
We stern civilization f st began bleaching the soil ofthe
so-called dark continent" This terminology reflected
the deeply ascribedideologies thatperpetrateda myth of
Western supenoity With
this sense of superionty
came no doubt, adesire to I
accllHce andnmelvitably
through systematic
westerrizati oni tocontroll
Thus, it can be argued
that the begni ng of i5
century acculturation
stemmedfrio abehefthat
iblst lng ig civildzaticon"
toAfnca greater chance
for future survival
was being gfted to an
otherwise unknowing
people With the advent
of colonzatiion, the ideas
espoused m early acculturatiou rachtces often became
laws that led to civl discontent and a loss of thadticonal
values andpractices
Now too, we must recognize that part of the
acculturationprocess mnvolvedthe ifusion cf Western
religon The vast mce lh ofCehnstianity and Islan intoo
Afdica has geatly altered the face of community and
tradition in many AfMncan cocttnes So we must how
examine how a post colonial Africa already largely
Chlistian anndlushm, canbeginto re-evluate andrepai
the misttes of the past in an attempt to bridge a laxge
gap betweenperceivable Westemnideologies and the nch
txaditione of Africa's cverse religons Viale the sama
principles can be applied to IMaiuslim aeas f Afica, the
following will focus on Chlistianity and the mentable
infusion of the tradtonal and the modern
We need to began this process by understanding that
in conversion to Christianity, many Africans were
compelled to surrender the culture that was so deeply
entrenched in every facet of the traditional religions

First, we must begn to transform the acculturation
of previous centunes into a newer understanding of
inculturation The difference lies primarily in the
sensuality that cultures can and do coexist We are each
bornmto culture thatisintnnsicallypamtofwhowe are,
and we cannot rightly
suggest that anyone
must lay down hts ors
her culture to pick up
the mantle of od Ealy
Christians mistakenly
adhered to the theory
that religionwas culture
when in fact the solhty
of afaith oftenbeccmes
more bindng in regads
to one s own communal
understanding of his
resentandhispast Giur
em ageiy and m etaphors
axe meaningful only in
the c context of what we
experience constantly Our concepts of time, space,
and relgons ar e il ented ys our ecological glasses
( apongl ) Incultrat ourests uponthe supp ostionthats
when two cultures meet both gain from the eencolutter

Family aid Commm unty
One of pills of the Christian faith is the idea of a
connectedness to all m anknd throul the Creator in
whom t hele is neither Greek ncr Jew" Chistandity
espouses the idea that we ae family and must provide
for eachother Inthe apostlePaul'swntngstoTimothy,
he eferredto Timothy as ics son Theywere not blood
related butunutedby a commonality and bond of ftath
However the model of AfMncan tatonal religions
is far removed Entire communities participate in
reading a child and min many Africam languages, there
isn't even a name for aunt or uncle They ae simply
mother and father Family, its value to society, and its

extended nature are tenets of Christianity that we could
strengthen by observing traditional ideals of African
religion and moving away from our concentric measuring
sticks of value that degrade the family, both natural and
The social nature within African traditional religions
could also teach Christianity great lessons about the


participation and involvement of everyone. Traditional
religion was not confined to a building, one day a week,
and intensely personal; it was a way of life, a system of
beliefs that permeated all social spheres and was societal
in nature.

Rites of Reconciliation

Perhaps one of the most profound facets of traditional
African society can be seen in what is often termed
rites of reconciliation. Reconciliation is also central to
worship in Christianity and operates on the principle that
reconciliation is communal because division affects an
entire community, not just the people involved in the
dispute. Believers are admonished to seek out one with
whom there exists division before coming before God
in worship.
Among the Zulus, the rite of reconciliation is called
"Ukuthelelana amanzi," which translates, "to wash each
other's hands." When an argument occurs, a mediator
will invite the parties to cool the heat of anger and hate.
Sitting opposite one another, they are given a mixture
of cool water, ash, and traditional medicine to wash

their hands. Then, each would be given an opportunity
to speak and the mediator would lead them toward
forgiveness. Then each would take a sip of the ash-water
and spit it over his left shoulder and they would together
drink out of a common cup.
A similar ceremony is practiced among the Tsonga. In
this ceremony, an herb called mudahomu is poured into
a shell with water and each of the offenders takes a sip
and spits it out. The first recites these words: "This is our
imprecation. We have pronounced it because our hearts
were sore. Today it must come to an end. It is right that
we make peace."
The second, upon spitting out his water replies: I was
angry but let us make peace and eat from the same spoon
and drink out of the same pot and be friends again. They
then break the shell and drink beer out of the same cup.
(Tlhagale 5)
These cultural observances mimic Biblical principals
of forgiveness and the cooling of anger and are not
contrary to Christianity, but rather in accordance with
The preceding examples are only a few of the ways that
Christianity ignored the fluidity of a deeply connected
society that had more to offer Western understanding
then anyone may ever truly understand.


Ejizu, Christopher I. "Conversion in African
Traditional Religions"
Tlhagale, Buti. "Bringing the African Culture Into the
Sarpong, Peter. "Can Christianity Dialogue with
Traditional African Religion?"
Msiska, Stephen Kauta.Golden Buttons: Christianity
and traditional relhgon among the Tumbuka.
Blantyre, Malawi: Christian Literature Association
in Malawi, 1997.



1 )To build background knowledge of the oral
traditional language oftheAkan people of hanathrough
proverbs, 2 )to discussthe meanings of proverbs, 3) to
collect proverbs ro from family and fends 4 )to illustrate
proverbs ad to create a linguist staff

1 The student understands the power of language,
2 The student uses appropate words to shape reactions
perceptions, and beliefs (firative la age),
3 The student understands similes, metaphors, and
alliteration LAD2 21,
4 The student listens attentively to the speaker and
responds to the speaker by asking questions, making
contributions, summaring and reflecting on ideas
LAAC 23 2 4 & LAC125,
5 The student creates and communicates a range of
subject matter, symbols, and ideas using knowledge
of structures and functions of visual arts VAB 1 2 1
VAB 1 2 2,
All Afican societies relied on oral means to preserve
their knowledge of the past Each generation added
or subtracted where it saw the need Jan Vansina
defines oral tradition as verbal messages which are
reported statements from the past beyond the present
Traditional oral language in Afica was and is used
for teaching children, preserving faly identity, and to
explain individual's placeinthe family and community
as a whole People achieved cultural consciousness
through oral traditions by learning proverbs
Intraditional oral societies children sawheirrelatives
face to face and interacted with them daily Aperson's
faal expressions, body movement noise, and gestures
added to the spoken word and made alasng impression
on children They remembered he lesson as well as he
To be an effective communicator, one must add color
to the spoken word Using similes and metaphors such as
proverbs brings a clear message that people can connect

Manyproverbs are twisted so people will take sometime
to think aboutthe lesson or lessons they are intended to
teach Symbols can be found in most proverbs that are
shortbutteach a short message Forinstance, One finger
does not catch a fly" This means hat you need more
than one and people must work together to get things
done Trees, animals, people, and objects all serve as
symbols in proverbs to teach moral and ethical issues
These issues are taken to heart and mind because the
wordshelp people decide between ght and wron good
and evil, and justice and injustice Other proverbs deal
with spintual and religious meanings and dictate what a
person can or cannot do inhe community Daily activity
centers around proverbs and people seem to find one to
fit every occasion and situation, but proverbs must be
used forareasonortheywillnotbeeffective Ancestors
spoke in proverbs ad because of this it is customary
to begin a proverb with, "The ancestors say" or "The
elders say" to give authority to the words

In the Akan culture in Ghana a linguist specialized
in variety of speech forms that d notinvolve many
words These non-royal pests or advisors to the chief
would carry, and still do today, tall staffs made ofwood
coveredwith gold-leafdecorated wih motifs Thebearer
of the staff cared the mark of authority wherever he
went and acted on the chief's behalf
During colonial rule, African chiefs were given staffs
by Europeans to control their people After awhile, he
chiefs handed the staffs over to the oyeame who acted
as his translor
The okyeame would translate the chief's words into
thelanguage the people could understand or accept He
spoke eloquently and with confidence as he cared the
staff and revealed he chief'smessage as he showedthe
symbol on the staff to depict the proverb he wanted to
convey to an individual or to the community

Thelinguist staff ayeameoma is he official symbol
ofthe linguist the one in which he cames outhisspitual

and ritual functions by order of thechieTheypic
staff is made of wood and carved in three pieces: two
for the staff and one 1... ii i .1 ,i .., .nirli ,n
The staff is usually (I,, .. 1 i.I ili i .lrin .i -c. ,
wisdom knot, and a g.l, l 1I ii'IilI ir i1i il i k .. .11-[i
maybe simple or coml, rid l ri.l..I. ii, iI .1 ih
proverbs that are taug I i

* One person depend .1-i. ani, i
* News is like a bird, i i .IlU I I
* A person should n(. mu, In1 *'r Ih .... J .. .. .. i
* Money has wings.
* When a leopard is I,. I, r ii, II ii .1
* A royal's name is r .i I- J'
* Every animal eats, I',. ,jIlmJ ld. I.
* One man cannotb.i.I1 i.. I. t.
* The one who keeps i I .I.. J .a....l Ii.
* The early bird catc',. iI. ..111
* Tothe hunterthe a:'. ilii. I _i i i i I i.
big one.
* What I hear, I keep
* A toad does not rut, m. iI. .I, i.,i I.., i..i.....i
* All that glitters is r.-- I -1.1 I
* No one says good I -.:. 1.%1..4 I11 ...i I1 .
* No one measures Il, II,|iiii 1, IIi .clti I,.
gathers i i.. I .. i
* The cat may have r.i". I I.ii it ri ,,I I i
agility and swiftne
* Because lizard is p I .I. ,,J, I
* The road has ears.
* N o one pays for .1.'.,,, .. .1 iiil.'i the ,I ..i. ,i,
pays for its l i ..
* The feet go the wa: .I II. I,, ,.I ii,
* What a man likes k1- .I..W "
* Awellknownpers., I.., i. I .. i 1.1. ii iimi
* Friendship spreads ii., i,.

Oba nyansal/
Wobu no k
Na wanka
No asem

ii Il' c i I- I

Students choose pi.. .I. i .. i II iI ..
linguist staff using in .. i I I ,, i
branches, papertowe IiI. iili .i, i I
thickposterboardfor I 11 ,I_ I" li.. ,I. .I11
withmetallic crayons, ni ..,I ii.I I l .. .kiin
they mean.

. i I. I I
,) -1I,-
11. 11 1--
. ,. .l ... l

1 ll lh i

Students explain why they think we still use proverbs
I .J I

14R1 1-1 I14 \1 F,
1,ll I .ii ii I 3 inAfrican
S Africa Studies
-. ,n, ,,.,,, i i .a ii i..omington, Indiana,

..I i., I i I '. I'.ili..,ii onthe Native
,11.I i ., i I ,i,, ..-1 ..I s.,m-ill Pi.)verbs", African
,ii i \ 1 ".1 i

i...l i. i .. .. 3 Proverb, African
S... i.. ,i I) ).. .n, 1972, pp. 183-

t ; ,I i'

S e Materialist
,age, Vol. 1 (2), 1977, pp. 237-

-..i ili.,i. li I m,. i )ran H Ross. TheArts of
I iii i. .1 t- tural History: University of
i iI.I- i i.. .,,_ i 1177 .

-l li, I ,ii,, i ii .. thousand six hundred Ghanian
S. oi w "' inte andFante language) .
, ,, ,,,,ii [g .. I'"').

iI... iin Sm .4-on toAfrican Relhgon. 2d Ed.
' .l...I i j1- i,,.l l ,,,i mann, 1999, pp. 10-59.

V mn: A Study in Historical
i "' -I' ,_.. A ldine, 1980.

'rk.1 K in Ghanian Linguistics. No.5.
,ii i it -I .1I I. ii dilies, University of Ghana,

S'r"' .I, ". and Keeping- Akan Proverbs.
,IIi j.lt ,I ilnisa, 1997.

\1 I 1' II" 1
litll .11l i. 1 .1.i
1,11 '% I hi i .Ih

hi ',h, ,' .,rg



InAfnca. elders are considered te vsionand wisdom
keepers while children ensure the survival of the
community Thoughou he-contnen ofAfca life is
celebaied toughvanous eent fes as, and ntuals
Manypeople look ard o these o pledge loyaltylo
theirancesors, for renewal and regeneraon

Pie Bfth separation
For le garau people of Burkina Faso WestAfnca
chldbuth is looked at as a contract be een this world
and ti e world of te ancestors or otfler dimensions Itis
imoran for a couple o go onahea gouneybefore
they attempt to bing a child inio te world Rituals of
personal healn may include making ajoueytobirt
placesandtotih le placewh lacentasarebuned Such
joueeys seive as a wayto comnect with tie pastand o
re-expenence whatitisl e lobe achld
A ferility nual of givmg away smetlng of value
follows the hearing ]ouney The woman who wants to
have a chldgies something oflue, such as aclthor
abaske to anotherwomanwth toddler The mangives
away seeds for planning cmr or some cereal grns to
an oldwoman or old man Then a co unal giveaway
is done in the form of a feast The couple cooks a large
meal and nies all the childrenfrom the village todine
with heirpoential siblgN

Clearmg the wonb of pos sbe to energy
Before a woman onceives, she has to clar eelf
from whatever weakness se mayfeelinher femnn
andamend anythoughs ta mayendangerte viabiity
of the womb Ritual seeingg is done to keep her
from tunking orfeelng negative Wilth te eaters of
a baby chicken and some leaves from the gnamr tre,
her bodyis swept from op to bottoni and a rayr is
spoken to toect her from negative energy It is only
upon completion of this ntual. tat tie calling of the
child o come akes place

Ferti[ty Rituals
Tradional indigenous cutures consider conception
a sacred act and teat it as such Mancultures beheve

cldren are gifts andblessings frm God Therefore
theireny nto tins world mus be welcomedin a sacred
way Feriyntualsae eiformed to ioke the divine
myAienesioshowe rthecouple's fe w dne energy
andtobing about aconsantsced energyto ensure e
conlnuation of fe
Some rituals sat at te beginning of wedding nuals
where aprayr is redask ted ie divine mysenes
tobless fhe couple withs fetle energy At a after tme,
when a couple stalts t ti ao ea the ato enthood, ol
rituals are done to invke e spit of fe lity Fetility
rituals usually ke place inaves or at ebans For
one such ntual ashne to tie eat and to tie sint of
fethityis eecedat the entrance ofthe cave decomed
withall kinds ofchild figures, seeds, egg clohs, and
frits An earthenbed is dug inide te cave, and t
elders and dwes tie nexplinthe significance of tie
ritual and te meaningofeach symbolon the sne
The eah and file cave are symbolic ofthe womb A
big clayot ofwatereresens life Theegg seeds,and
figunnes weresbohc ofnewbeginngs andnewlife
The eldersalsoe explain hyever ng on te shne is
aangedin gmus ofhee four or seven there is the
masculine numer four is the femmine, and the seven
is te combinaton of te to, which poduces balance
andnokesfertliy Ashis sprinkledallaroundthe nual
space to rotectit
After a long location, te woman is brushed wit
some of te eggs, then washed andaed into te cave
where she will sndthe night mafeal position Oher
women spend the nightwith her invoking sngs and
gentlymassagng her (Some, 4-50)

There isgreat oyandexie ane whenawfe findsout
that she is exectng a chld The commumty welcomes
this event witi pnde pleasure and satisfaction An
expectntchldis one ofthe greaesblesss oflife If
iis the mothers fist child tenit auesbothfamlies
that she is ferle andable tobearchildren Once tis is
known, her marriage islargelysecure ad her m-law
willntreat herwithmore respect

Once the word is out, steps are taken immediately to
ensure esaethe safety ofthebaby and the mother dung and
afterthe pregnancy In some parts ofAfrica people do not
allow the expectant mother to do certain types of work
like cutting firewood, using knives, drawing water, and
so forth (Muti, 87) In other cultures, the expectant
mother is forbidden to eat some foods, such as meat
killed with poisoned arrows, salt and certain fats
Many cultures perform rituals and make offerings
to thank God for the
expectantchild, andtopray .
for the safety ofthe child
and mother When a Twa
thatshe is expecting a child,
she offers a portion offood
to God and thanks him for
the baby Oromo women
(of Ethiopia) perform a
"birth ritual" by singing
and beating the skin from a
fertile cow

As the mother to be
and baby journey together
through pregnancy, there
comes a time when the
elders do a life purpose check with the baby, through
what is called a "hearing ritual This takes place a
few months into the pregnancy Many people of the
community take part in this ritual the elders, the
women, the husband'smothfer, herhusband's sister, her
own mother and brother, drummers, five gatekeepers,
representing the four directions, with the fifth standing
in the middle This ritual begins at dawn and includes
singn, paying,a and invoking the ancestors and the
The elders ask th cUild what it is coming here for,
what its purpose is, andwhy ithas come at tis particular
place and trme They askwhatneeds tobe done to have a
space that is conducive to thatpurpose They listenvery
carefully, then setup the space accordingly, and a name
is found (Some, 55) For the Dagara society, knowing a
person's name is to have an access code to that person's
world Ad venatron is always done to make sure that an
agreeable name is chosen for the baby, for a name can
be a blessing or a curse
As the ritual ends, the woman regains her body and
voice and often feels exhausted from the trance like

The loss of a baby is devastating, regardless of the
culture It is compared to lightning striking a tree at
its core Losing a child throws a couple into turmoil It
drains them and the community physically, emotionally,
mentally, and spiritually
While a woman is miscarrying, she is surrounded by
other women of the village who not only support her,
butwitness and gothroughthe experience with her This
intense grieving rtual allows the mother to go through
her pain of loss It lasts up
to seventytwo hours The
whole village joins her in
mourning her loss (Some,

A mid-wife is always
assignedto a mother-to be
It is her job to supervise
each step ofthe pregnancy
d k She must be attuned to the
woman's energy It is as if
she becomespregnant along
with the mother Prayer
rituals are performed a few
days before the anticipated
birth to pray for blessings
ofthe brthprocess

Placenta Rituals
In some societies, after the baby is born, the placenta
is thrown into a running stream, buried nearby, or dried
and kept for later rituals The disposal of the placenta
and umbilical cord is done ceremoniously In Uganda,
it is dried up and kept for a long time with great care
Some people identify their origin by the place where
heir placenta is buried A child's birth, which is
celebrated by the whole community, marks the
of a lifetime of communal celebrations including
puberty, marriage and death An adult person's death
is celebrated because people believe they continue to
impact their societies positively Thus the circle of
life is complete


Some, Sobunfu Welcoming Sprit Home Acenrt Afri-
can Teachings to Celebrate Children and Commnity,


We began each newschool year th the cllenge to
create a classroom co utyhat among other things,
fosters respect, encourages learning, stmulates cuosity
and creativity, and nurtres the social and individual
growth of our students Cenral to any community is a
system for handing the inevitable conflicts that arse
amongits members I also thin it's import to have
a y fr my class class to m e certain nds of group
decisions Connecting the methods we use n school to
the broader woidwll ve the students an opportunity
toapply snoe ofwhattheyhave leanedandanchorthat
learmn ing dailyving
Teaching about representative rle and consensus, as
practiced by s ne tit onalA fian peoples, and ab out
dictatorship and majonty rlethat we aremore farliar
wth, awll help students recognize ven each is being
practiced n our classroom

Representative Rule andConsensus in Precolonial
Political organization of traditional Afican people
falls into two general categories centralized and
deceotralzed Rulers th cetrazed authonty gained
power by inheritance A few leaders ruled large,
economically diverse groups that wre highly socially
stratfied Cla nts to leadership however often engaged
imserous baftles leavpngthe state fragmented (Cartin
Peopleswthdecantalizedauthoitywere sohisticated
societies, nonethelessand wreatleastas sableasthe
centalized ones Authontylaywth theheas oflieages
who worked toward consensus (Marin 94)

First we ill look at some generalizations about
ttadtional leadership stAicture i nehbonng peoples
oftwo dffeerntngusticgroupsinsouthernAf ca the
Nguni(Zulut, Swasmosa, ThaebuMfengu Mpondo,
andMpondonise) andtheSotho(Tsnaia,Ped,Lobedu,
Thetraditioralaangdoms of southenAficahad clear
and elite lines ofauthonty Some had more centrazed

power and otherwere more segm ted An age class
systemnwth elder meninpositims oflhghestauthonty
defined power, pnvileges, rights, duties th rules of
success formaleleadersin some groups definedalag
matnlineal lines A leader's political powers kelt i
check by an inner council consisting oftusted people,
close relatives and important community members
This iner council discussed issues, represented the
co untandould privately rep and the leaderif
Thetradtional leaderworked wthhis inner council
the council of elders and the village assembly The
village assembly allowed all adolescent males i the
comm nity to discuss political, social and economic
issues "Therole oftratinal leaders his process of
coirnumty- asked decision-rmakng as to reflect and
discuss the oprmons expressed m the village assembly
andltmelytosugge nd publidyappro vea decision
of consensus, considenng the different opinions and
interests of involved persons Thus, in precolomal
societies of Southern Afica the rule of consasus and
unan ty have been the central principles of political
decision mm ng" (Dusng7S)

Wst Afica
The traditional Akan groups (including Ashanti
DenkyirasAkmsAkuapmsFantes. KwahusWassas,
Brongs, Nzamas and others) lived i West Afica in
adloing regions of present day Ghana and Cote
d'Ivoire The basic political unit s linear consisting
of all descendants of one ancestress A town would
have a number oflneages eachlead byan elder elected
by consensus among rales in the lineage based on
consideration oflhs wisdom and rhetorical alites
The Akan town was ruled by a council of lineage
leaders wth a "chief oroheeverseeng that council
Thepositionof "chef'waspatiallyhereditaryparially
elected The general populace was represented by a
"chef of young meat" This position was unique and
unofficial in that it as not related to his ineage and
he was not pat of the chiefs council This system of


lepesentaon proved tIwo aenues freffectlg town a head, ifthe town were to be seen as a person A top

policies mough the lineage leader and through the
leader of he populace
TheAkanrsli, bodiesmade deacons byconsensus
"Deliberation in council was infonned by two
methodclogicalaims fst to elicit iffereices fopinon
and second to nonthem out in each ofconsensus In
pursuitoft he fis thefreestainrg ofopin osmiouncil
wasencourage d One levantAkansaying isthat "even
a foolish entitled tbe heard" (redu 174) The Akan
wee aware ofthe natue ofdiffeencesamong eoplebut
bbeedtheycoubereconciled "Tus ew ofhuman
relations is encaslatedm a remarkable consticion
of fine axt Two heads of crocodiles ae locked up m
cofict over fodbuttleyhave one stomach The lesson
is that dvergent mneesis ansg out of mdiidualized
thoughtand feeng will lead to conflict in society but
ulunatelyallm idualsshare a common I
interest andtius corsittutes
the natural basis for the
possibility of conflict
resoluton" (Wredu 172)
Even though rmajonty
agreement is easier to
aclheve han consensus, the
Akan deliberately worked
for consensus Current
forms of democracy are
generally systems based on the
majonty principle The party that
wms the majonty of seats of
the greatest proportion of tihe
votes, if the system m force is one
of proportional representation,
mvestedwiithgovenmentalp ower
Paites under tus asceme of pohlcs
are organizations f people f
sunilartendencies ad aspiratons
with the sole aim ofgaimng power
for the implementation of their
policies (Wledu 17)
The radintonal
Dogon people
lived m present
day southern
Mali in three
areas lughlands, a rockybelt and the Seno plam The
first structure built m a additional Dogon town was a
tog na ("house of words', placed m the position of

ia served several functions mcludng adminsterg
justice, fixing the agricultural calendar, emergency
interventons famem, epdenucs, natural disasters a
place for meeting, teacng, rest and conersaton an
most sigrficantlyfor our dscussio, decision making
(Spnl 14)
Common elements of the tog n m all geological
areas include vertcal llars withcarvmgs of cultural
and myticalsigraficance, suprotng a oofcovered wth
altematnglayrs of millet stalks Theheight ofthe roof
waslowmak itimpossible to stand upright side the
stiuctue Tus sticturalfeatue plad a sigmficant role
inthe use ofthetogn Sigficant toour discussion f
a man m the to i n gets up manger he wll bump his
head. sit down and no longer feel lhke quaiel g
Be foe entenng the tog is a man must leave outside
his domolo, a hook-shaped weapon sy olic of his
viityand thereforeotherwrserparable flomthe man
Tis is to honor the fact that fightmg and qcuaels must
be left outside and that only words of peace, wusdrom
and justice maybe uttered m the top n (Spn 212,
The togna is conswictedwithmatenals ailable m
the geological region m which it was built The pllars
are often made of stones m a trncated cone shape,
or m some areas of ile a hard wood unlikely to be
attacked by tenmtes (Spsi 15, 16) Much of te nch
oral radiion ofthe Dogonis represented inthe stucue
and decoration of the top na The number of pllas is
sigmafcane embcause bers hold meaning o heDogon
and are oftenrerented m te carvings on te pllars
along withmany other sbols from Dogon lore

Classroom Actrite (Created first gade)
Overallplan C erthe course of the yfr ea n about
vaous aspects of counumty in specnic precolomal
Afncan traditions Adapt them to our
classroom conmunity
Grmis Oneoftle tlaassoomhelpers"wll
beag ~ ot Fis the class, and entualythe
mdividual student will summa e events
that took place m the classom or school
The gnot will memorze the sumnaryand
recite it for the class and perhaps other
classes Wecanm coorate simple rhyming
and rhytlh

*Lmiust One of the "lasstioom helpers" wll be a and attitude about the ,o nsa, 3 )M e sure no one

hngust The class wil learn some Akan proves and
their meamngs, explore aysto represent em asuaflly
then create aclassoom supplyof apopnate hngoust
staffs The linguist's obwillbe t choose te arponate
slafffor the message, and ten deer oal messages to
the class fomte he teacheru l or other adult
The staff couldbe d from rapp apertubes or
aper toweltub es tapedtogether The top portonwllbe
tlere se aon oi of the
uiopa drawre roster
board. cu out wthatab
extend ionatthe bottom
A onzmntal base can
be made from poster
board or ca oard and
be attached to the sTaff
th etare The staffcan
be spaypemtedgoldby
thei teacher or tempera
Snpltd by stade n
Decisions Give the
students numerous
opportunities to make
group decisi ons by
majontrote, one person deciding for the whole group
andby consensus Afer experiencing each method.
discuss the process and outcome Teach about the
ethi groups of precolomal Afnca anld w they use
consensus and hby and how it was a rit of thhen way
of tihng about fe Teachhowwevote m the mted
Stats andhow m some govenunnone e ratn de cides
fiore eio TIuo s vd be anNongo process aslondlas
discussion throughout the feear Pu in examples from
the news (that are arroni ate for children tils age to
dascus) of owdecisions are
Tou n After teacoIng about the Dogonbuld a to
ia i thle classroom anld eh of unpirtant stones or
classroom lore to be represented on the prllars Thik
ofa nubeer that is sg cani t tohe class and of
wayc to represent that umber on our topg St ude
canworkin cooperalve groups to create lars or else
lars c anbe e nanow so that each child can make
Ils/lher ow S r s of cdoard can seive as the basic
llars Simp rle images rerresent the classroom lore
and the mproliant number can be drawe and then cut
fromotlherarcdaoard andglue ldonto aplarto gve the
calved eect Iv lore doard can fnu the oden
put of the roof

MRW 4,yp

i absent for the process, 4) Rules need to be posted
5)The class could make up a song mcoioating the
rules and the gnot could s it When a small group or
pulofstuades have to make a dec sion the cause the
og a It can also serve as a place sustained silent
read oin r rtne reading



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Background Information
Food is an important aspect of cultures around the
world. The varieties and ways of enjoying food are
limitless, but the major foods of a society or group of
people are its staple foods. These foods are usually
widely grown in a region and are used regularly as part
of the everyday diet of a community. Crops become
staples when the climate, soil, and other conditions are
conducive to the production of that crop. That crop then
becomes economically feasible to produce and cheap
enough for all in the region to afford. These
foods then become ingrained in the culture of
a particular ethnic group.
The five main staple crops of the world today
Rice Asia
Corn -North America
Wheat -Asia (The Middle East)
Potatoes -South America
Soybeans -Asia
These crops sustain the lives of millions of
people in all regions of the world and each
culture has its own unique way of using these
The Sahel region of Africa is the southern
fringe of the Sahara Desert. It extends from
the eastern African coast to areas of western
Africa above the savanna region. This region
is credited with the domestication of coffee,
sorghum, and watermelon, but sorghum and
millet are the indigenous staple food crops
grown on a larger scale than any other.
Since the region of the Sahel is on the edge of i
the desert with limited rainfall the conditions for ..
growing millet are ideal because it is a drought i
resistant grain. Pearl millet is the variety that .
is grown in this region because it is the most
drought resistant. Pearl millet has been grown in Africa
since prehistoric times and it is generally accepted
that pearl millet originated in Africa and that it was
introduced into India from there. Today pearl millet is
grown on 26 million hectares worldwide. A hectare is
equal to 100 acres. Millet grain is the basic staple for


farm households in the poorest countries and amongst
the poorest people.
Sixty percent of Africa is farmland and three fourths of
farmers are involved in subsistence farming. Subsistence
farming is when you are only able to grow enough for
yourself and your family. Women are responsible for
80% of the agricultural work. They work from 16-18
hours per day and do most of the labor by hand using
machetes and hoes. They farm in communal



fields to produce ther sale ops ad stoe tthe in Suested LesnPln

commimnal grananes
In the Sahel region, millet is consumedinthe formn of
feimentedandnon-fermentedbihreads porndges,
and steamedlikence, andin alcoh beverages e
evening meal a st always inl a stff
pondge called "t hch is ma om mille
and eatenwith a sa vegetables eat It
animpoati ingIei n couscou osth t
is ground daily foI b ireadm The s
valuedas abull In
Millet is also r
United States, but .
areasitis mostly --
IntheU I ,
andcook -
to cookm_ *
andprocessed cereals e l *

"To" (rhymes wthdoul)
I Ibmilletflour

Bnng 2 quPut of water to
high heat Slowly add abo
the water sllrnng qtcldy
allow anylumtps to foin A
sting constatlyReckceb
of the flour mixte and set
the remaining flomu bt by
Si vigorously each tmefl
becomes loothinck tostir, ad
mixtae thatwasset aside T
smooth paste that is oo th
Cove and cook fo an a
vey low heat Remove fro
a sauce a stew

Boiled Mille
1 np millet(dehullecd
2 cups water
Salt to waste

Bnngwatertoaboil Acdd
tender(20-40 mili

I -

. I 1

1 Students will
agriculture mall

n to understand the lole of
erstand the concept of staple

ead contasttheusageof gains

1' *I 1
0 1

I *

* .-1 1

I I 1

I 1i ,;J

Ii i,

I 4j .*
^ I *i ^*-


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