African history is a very important part of world history. One can study African history and African literature to understand the complexity of African history. African history covers more than 50 years (ca. 4000 B.C to A.D. 1500) and African history cultures are numerous, but there are five that have formed the basis for much of African history: the Beninids, the Moors, the Ndem, the South Africans, and theagers. It should be noted that African history is more fluid than most European or American history in that, African history has been interrupted many times by different groups of people coming and going and sometimes, entire kingdoms have collapsed. So African history has many twists and turns and the reader will benefit if he/she keeps up with these changes.
African literature is vast and one can choose from many categories. One of these categories is African Traditional Literature, which is written in mainly the Maori language. The most famous writers in this category are Memaro Okalambwa, Coker and Wedi Okata. These writers have produced some of the finest pieces ever put to print. This literature provides insights on the life of ordinary people in Africa.
Another category is African Urban Literature which relates to African cities in particular. Some of the most renowned names in this category are Chinua Achebe, Cyprian Ekwensi and Barbara Kimenyi-Mackie. These authors have produced works that are seminal in influencing world literature. Examples of works that have shaped African literature in this regard are “The Sellout” by Chinua Achebe, “The Remains of the Mother Goddess” by Ekwensi and “The Gate of Heaven” by Barbara Kimi-Mackie. This literature has had a tremendous impact on world literature. There are many books that have been written about these works and they have inspired Achebe to write many other wonderful novels.
African history, like all history, is divided into two sections. The first section is that of pre-colonial period and the second section is that of post-colonial era. In addition, there is the post-colonial period wherein there has been a great influx of African scholars, artists and writers who have lived in the continent since the days of the slave trade. African literature during the colonial and the post-colonial period can be classified under Western and African literatures respectively. Examples of African literary works that have influenced Western literature are The Battle of Campello by Maracquinet, Cheopsie Kukuiwa by Chinua Achebe and The Book of Temptations by John Milton. On the other hand, examples of works that have influenced African American literature include narrations by E.E. Cummings, Langston Hughes and Chinua Achebe.
Writing about African history and African culture has been very fruitful since the last couple of decades as there has been a major development in the use of the internet as a platform for sharing information and knowledge on any given subject. All the aspiring authors and publishers alike can access this vast pool of information and literature from the privacy and comfort of their homes with no charges to make. Also, as the number of publishers grows, the competition among them is also increasing giving each a chance to provide readers with the best books available in the market.
African history has also given rise to a number of popular works in the form of novels, plays, short stories, poems, song lyrics and so on. These African classics have helped African writers gain recognition in the Western world. A good example is the novel The Cabeiri, written by Chinua Achebe. This novel, which was inspired by the life of the great spiritual and moral teacher Cabeiri is currently being turned into a film by Disney.
Apart from the written word, African literature is also being represented by movies and television shows. For example, the movie “Lagaan” which was directed by Michael Moore is an example of African story telling. It depicts a story about a young man who escapes from a cruel and unjust king and sets sail for a new life on a raft. He is joined by other people trying to freedom themselves from the king and their kingdom. This is an inspiring story that can be followed by any African youth.
However, one cannot overlook the impact of African history and literature on the minds of the African people themselves. In particular many youths have found their emotions expressed through the medium of literature. For instance, Emile Zola wrote several influential books in English that provided African Americans with an insight into their history, society and culture. Furthermore, William Faulkner who was a renowned African American author and playwriter is known to have adopted many themes and ideas from African mythology, culture and literature.