In order to fully understand contemporary Africa we need to examine how it got where it is today, by examining the historic developments that have influenced and shaped the present. The history of Africa, from the pre-colonial era through to the age of independence in the 1960s, is one characterised by layers of change and evolution. There have been some major junctures in Africa’s past, which brought about enormous disruption and modification to its states and societies, such as the rise of kingdoms like the Asante in West Africa, or the imposition of white minority rule in southern Africa. While history is often written around such major turning points, it is crucial to note that Africa’s past is predominantly about evolution and flexibility, especially in terms of societal composition, political norms, and ethnic identity. For example, European colonialism, which lasted a relatively short time in the continent’s historical trajectory, did not totally rupture or transform African societies; many political and cultural practices of the pre-colonial era remained unaffected by imperial rule, with profound effects on post-colonial polities.
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Dr. Matthew Graham
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