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The Scout's and King's African Rifles Uniforms

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The top photograph shows members of a South African scout troop specifically for blind adolescents and young men c.1950. The bottom photograph is of non-commissioned officers from the King's African Rifles in the mid-1950s. Note that both groups wear similar clothing consisting of khaki shirt and shorts, knee-length socks, clasp belts, and wide brimmed hats. The similarities are not accidental... Read More »

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The Scouts' War Dance: Sir Robert Baden Powell's adaptation of a Zulu chant

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Like much of the public in turn-of-the-century Britain, Baden Powell was fascinated by "primitive" cultures. Although he claimed an expert knowledge of Africa from his service in colonial wars, Baden Powell was hardly an authority on Zulu customs. This did not matter, because metropolitan Britons were almost entirely ignorant of African institutions. Nevertheless, they were fascinated by... Read More »

Image of the website header reading "The Story of Africa: African History from the Dawn of Time"

The Story of Africa

Review
Each segment provides a selection of quotes from primary sources that illuminate specific issues. There are many gems to mine. They range from original lyrical quotations that capture the imagination...to arresting images of initiation rituals and political power.

The Turin Beatus Map of the World

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Before the modern age, maps offered more than just an objective, geographical survey. Often, as is the case with this world map from the 12th century, they also conveyed a set of stories that shaped the worldview of its viewers. This map, for instance, sought to convey allegorical, religious, and geographic information all at once. It located Adam and Eve, the world's first humans according to... Read More »

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Thoughts and Sentiments on the Evil of Slavery: Middle Passage

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Born in present-day Ghana, young Ottobah Cugoano was kidnapped and sold into slavery at the young age of 13. Cugoano worked in the sugar fields of a Grenadan plantation until 1773. That year, Cugoano traveled to England with his owner where he obtained his freedom, inspired in part by the Somerset Case, an English legal case that declared slavery illegal in England. Cugoano then joined the... Read More »

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Thoughts and Sentiments on the Evil of Slavery: Slave Coffle

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Born in present-day Ghana, young Ottobah Cugoano was kidnapped and sold into slavery at the young age of 13. Cugoano worked in the sugar fields of a Grenadan plantation until 1773. That year, Cugoano traveled to England with his owner where he obtained his freedom, inspired in part by the Somerset Case, an English legal case that declared slavery illegal in England. Cugoano then joined the... Read More »

Through Masai Land title page

Through Masai Land

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Joseph Thomson traveled through Kenya Maasailand from 1883 to 1884 on a journey of exploration from the coast to Mt Kenya and Lake Victoria, under the auspices of the Royal Geographical Society. He was the second European to visit the area. Thomson travelled with a trading caravan, for traders knew the routes across Maasailand well. They often spoke the language and had contacts with local... Read More »

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Tophet of Carthage

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These images show a stone grave marker carved with symbols and a terracotta funerary urn containing the charred remains of an infant. The Tophet of Carthage is a cemetery for infants in the ruins of the North African city of Carthage, now located in a suburb of Tunis. It was once located on the edge of ancient Carthage, which was destroyed by the Romans in 146 BCE. The cemetery is the subject... Read More »

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Two Daughters of Akhenaten

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The bas-relief, or carved panel, in limestone shows two sisters embracing. They are princesses from the family of Akhenaten, the 18th pharaonic dynasty in ancient Egypt, dated to 1349–1336 BCE. This artistic style belongs to the Amarna period, which is unusual because of the affection and intimate portrayal of the sisters. Unlike the more formalistic or highly symbolic style of portraying... Read More »

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Two Field Interviews

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British colonialism in what became Kenya began officially in 1895 and lasted until 1963, but the Maasai themselves were not effectively under British rule until just before the First World War. These excerpts come from longer interviews conducted in Narok District in Kenya in 1973 and 1983 in the years following the end of British colonial rule. In these interviews, elders were asked about a... Read More »

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