Contemporary Africa: Geography and Change

Contemporary Africa: Geography and Change

Contemporary Africa: Geography and Change

Contemporary Africa: Geography and Change

Excerpt

The continent of Africa consists of two distinct, but intertwining cultural realms. Africa north of the Sahara is part of the wider Arab world; to the south of the Sahara lies Black Africa. The Sahara appears to pose a formidable barrier separating these realms, but this is more of an illusion created by Western images of deserts than a reality. For centuries, indeed millenia, it has served more as a bridge than a barrier between north and south. Goods, peoples, and ideas have freely moved across it, and these contacts continue today in such forms as Pan-Africanism, the Organization of African Unity, and the collaboration in addressing Third World concerns in the United Nations.

Nevertheless, there are enough major differences between Arab and Black Africa so that each realm deserves treatment in its own right. The focus in this book is on Black Africa, or, as it usually is called, Africa south of the Sahara. Frequent reference will be made to the continent as a whole, but the overall intent is to keep discussion geographically restricted. Indeed, some chapters deal only with tropical Africa, excluding both northern and southern Africa.

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