Kingdoms of the Savanna

Kingdoms of the Savanna

Kingdoms of the Savanna

Kingdoms of the Savanna

Excerpt

Relatively little is known about the history of Central Africa in precolonial times, and even today this part of the continent is the stepchild of African historiography. One reason for this seems to be that the sources at our disposal are often not the familiar written documents, and that even when written documents are available-for instance, as in the history of the coastal peoples during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries-they were not always exploited. Because the sources are unfamiliar, the unfortunate result has been an unspoken feeling that there are no sources for a history of Central Africa, that such a history cannot be written. This is of course not true. Actually, the overriding reason for this state of affairs is the general lack of interest in African history, as distinguished from a history of European endeavors in Africa.

The ultimate justification for this book is to break with the tradition of neglect, to counter the vague feeling that nothing can be done. It is true, certainly, that because of the lack of data it is not possible at the present time to write a well-rounded book on the early history of Central Africa; in fact, this work will remind the reader very often of a Swiss cheese-all holes with enough . . .

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