The magic of Africa comes from that unique mixture of tribes and ethnic groups in which each has its own characteristics. The culture in Africa is mostly described as widely diverse and complex. African culture can be understood through recognizing its components such as arts and crafts, folklore and religion, clothing and music, poetry and languages. African people are not the same all over the continent, not only across different countries but also within one single country. Expression of culture differs from region to region, from city to city, and sometimes from village to village. The abundance and diversity within Africa made anthropologists divide this continent into five distinct regions. North, West, East, Central and South
Throughout history, Africa has proved its willingness to influence and to be influenced by other civilizations, whether through invasion or trade. This can be vividly seen in the continuous adaptation to the ever-changing world. Rather than staying tightly connected to one static culture, African people has shown complete will to adapt to the dynamic world around them. Influenced by European lifestyle and Christianity, westernization depicts itself in many African countries. Other regions adapted to the Islamic way of living. In both cases, however, the rooted African culture and tradition that blend all the African in weren’t allowed to be wiped out or even touched.
The Opposite Bank of The Mediterranean Sea
Mostly inhabited by African Arabs and Arabs, northern African countries are considered part of the Middle East. North Africa has a better economy and strategic ties with the whole world, especially Europe. People of this part of Africa almost have similar characteristics due to the fact that Islam is the prevalent religion in this part of Africa. Even other minorities share the same history and tradition with the majority.
Residents of the northern coastal cities of Africa have a lot in common with the rest of Mediterranean cities. Notwithstanding the differences in ethnicity, religion, political and economic features, Italy, Egypt, and Jordan, for example, share a mutual cultural and historical heritage though they are located in different continents. Due to the influence of the Greek, Roman and Phoenicians civilization, people of the coastal cities in North Africa carry some mutual social and cultural characteristics.
The Sahara regions are inhabited by Bedouin tribes who have a special way of living and doing things. The life of desert residents is characterized by raising livestock, migrating and moving from one place to another in search of pasture and water. Their lifestyle is simple and does not change very often, the thing that is reflected in their behavior. Although urbanization and modernity has entered the life of the Bedouins, their relationship with the Sahara still strong. A Bedouin can stay isolated from people for many days. People there are accustomed to being on their own for days in the desert, herding camels and sheep. At night, the Bedouins gather around the fire, drinking coffee and listening to poems and popular tales. The Bedouins have a sacred status for the father within the small family. On the extended family level, the grandfather and the elder uncle have a distinguished position as well. On top that, everyone in the tribe must show complete obedience to the sheikh of the tribe.
The Heart of Africa
West and Central Africa is well known for gold, diamonds, and cocoa. For more than 300 years, those natural resources has been attracting European invaders and exploiters to dominate and keep a tight grip on this part of Africa. Therefore, colonial languages such as French, English and Portuguese are widely spread. Residents of this part of Africa are a mixture of Muslims and Christians. All the above-mentioned factors shaped the residents of this part of Africa distinctively. Art, literature and architecture are what most differentiates western and central Africa form the rest of the continent. People have an ever-changing type of life, politically, economically and socially.
The Last Piece of Land
Consisted of a massive region and a large number of countries, eastern and southern Africa has a diverse culture, yet, a common thread and a shared heritage run through much of the region, and the rest of African as well. From a single African Empire or Sultanate to Western colonialism and subsequent independence, civil wars and internal clashed has portrayed the personality and mentality of eastern and southern African residents. The export of platinum, copper, cobalt and uranium has distinguished this part of Africa from the rest of the continent. Furthermore, land reclamation is one of the important agricultural activities in this part of the continent. Therefore, when passing through rural areas, no wonder you see rain gauges installed on the edge of land
Since Africa extends into both northern and southern hemispheres of the earth, the climate differs drastically in accordance. For example, when it is winter in Cape Town, it is summer in Cairo. However, the average annual temperature is high nearly everywhere in Africa, therefore, division of the continent into climatic regions is based chiefly on the amount and seasonal distribution of rainfall. Accordingly, Africa is divided into eight climatic regions: the equator region, the Savanna region, the Tropical desert regions, the eastern margins region, the Mediterranean region, the grassland region, the highland region, the Monsson region, the China type region.
Nevertheless, some African countries lie in two or more climatic regions. For example, the climate of Kenya lies in three climatic regions: the desert in the north with hot and dry climate, humid and hot in the coastal area and the adjacent plains, the mountain regions with lower temperature and higher rainfall. This variation in climate affects business and agricultural activities. Farmers and grains producers usually relay on rain gauge in order to keep an accurate rainfall record throughout the year.
Four main factors affect the climate in Africa
- The latitude: most of Africa lies in the Torrid Zone since the equator passes through the middle of the continent and makes it receive sunrays during the year. Hence, most of African experiences hot climate throughout the year.
- Altitude: plateaus are cooler than lowlands.
- Land and sea contrast: Due to the fact that Africa is surrounded by the Mediterranean sea and the Atlantic ocean and the Indian ocean, the costal ears of this continent has a moderate climate.
- Currents: Cool Canaries and regular currents in the west wash the costal ears of Africa and cool off the climate on this coastal side. However, these currents pick no moisture. On the other hand, the warm Mozambican current wash the southeast African coast and carries more moisture.