African Experience Essay

When first thinking of Africa not many people think of the great ancient African civilizations that shaped our world today. The movie the Wonders of the African World opened up my eyes to the amazing Black Kingdoms that were built in Africa and their advanced civilizations. The histories of these kingdoms have been ignored by many, for example the Nubian people had built great pyramids just as Egypt did and yet these people didn’t get the recognition for it.

In fact, in ancient times these people were the most intelligent civilizations in the world, they even had universities in Meroe the capital of ancient Nubia along with huge temples and their own form of writing. The saddest part of all this is that there were many intelligent and sophisticated black rulers of ancient Africa and people are reluctant to accept this because of the great surge of racism. What intrigued me the most throughout this movie is creation of the life with the Swahili natives.

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It fascinates me that this race was created due to the integration of the Arab man with the African woman and that their culture is most influenced by Islam. Also the fact that in America if you see someone with dark skin people usually automatically characterize them as black. In Swahili that’s not the case, these people are Arab, Persian, African and or black and the people there do not see everyone as the same race even though they are so closely related in color. Another important key fact in understanding the Swahili people is that most of the ancient civilization peoples lives revolved around trade.

Swahili stayed a great civilization because they had the ability to trade goods and riches such as livestock, gold, ivory and slaves. Before the journey of Henry Louis Gates, Jr. enlightened me, I only thought of slavery as the white man enslaving the black man. I was one hundred percent wrong. In Swahili as well as other great ancient African nations, slavery took place among people of the same race during the great slave trade. This was due to many reasons and it was accepted during the beginning of the 19th century.

This documentary about ancient African civilizations changed my perspective on my own ideas of where I came from and where I would or wouldn’t be today if not for these great civilizations. I come to realize it all started in Africa and that the cultures and races of the world are not white vs. black. Yet, it goes deeper than that and to fully understand where you come from you have to know about the ancient African civilizations no matter what race or color you are. The wonders of the African world come full circle and impact every single persons past in some way, shape, or form, its just a matter of realizing it.


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