Misconceptions About African History & Civilization


The role Africa played in the history of human development and civilization is undeniably accepted today. Records have shown across the ages, the continent played host to sundry cultures and outstanding civilizations. The continent played host to the longest lasting great civilization of Egypt, Kush, and Aksum, and in all the Nile valley as well as states like Ghana, Mali and Songhai in the Western Sudan and the great Zimbabwe in the north. Because most of the early works on African History were written by Eurocentric scholars who:

1. Portrayed Africa as a dark continent which neither contributed to the civilization or was touched by it.

2. Africans were painted as a people engrossed so deep in barbarism and chaos that it could not have left in its pasta history of any significance.

3. Africa as a land of wild animals and dark jungles. The thought lingers in the mind of the Europeans who couldn’t admit to the civilizations thats coming from it. However, since the mid twenties century, great strides have been made in to the historical study of Africa that today the study of African history constitute the intergral part of the broader history of civilization.

4. Because of the principal result of the rise of the racist scholarship in Europe led to the conceptual idea of Africa as a continent without civilization and significant historical achievement. During the part of 19th and 20th century, Europeans were unable to rationalize the civilizations the saw in  Africa in line with their seeming superior complex. They were confounded by the complexities of cultures of Africa which were different from those of Europe; hence they classified Africa as a dark continent. Most of these early writers were travelers, explorers, traders and missionaries who visited Africa and wrote account of their visit and their perception of the continent. But their perception was marred by racial prejudice as they laboured to present African as a land of wild animals and it’s people as primitive and so incapable of building civilizations.

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5. Even in the United states, the misconceptions were not only Europeans alone. American popular literature in the form of books, magazines, journals, pamphlets and comic as well as films and stage presentations, constantly published the idea of an Africa irreparable lost in barbarism

In conclusion, with the introduction of African history in this curriculum, there arose new crops of African historian who redefined the history of Africa. Thus, there was serious study on pre-colonial African societies and the civilization and development. These studies cleared the air from the erroneous views that Africa had no history civilisations or culture prior to European encroachment to the African continent.


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