Africa

By Maria Groz-Ngaté; John H. Hansan et al. | Go to book overview

Introduction

Africa has moved dynamically into the twenty-first century. It has more mobile phone users than the United States, for example, and cables placed along its Atlantic and Indian Ocean coasts recently have expanded broadband internet access. Africa still has some of the poorest countries in the world, but it also has six of the world’s ten fastest-growing economies of the past de cade. Africans increasingly are city dwellers: nearly 40 percent of Africans live in urban areas now, and projections suggest that figure will increase to 50 percent by 2030. Occasional famines still claim lives, but overall rates of African infant mortality have dropped significantly in the past de cade, and even though HIV/AIDS has not been eradicated, new therapies have decreased mortality and national campaigns have contained its expansion. Armed conficts have not ended everywhere, but perpetrators of war crimes have been sentenced in courts, and more and more Africans vote in meaningful elections that regularly remove entrenched governments peacefully from power. Challenges still exist, and Africans direct their energies to finding solutions to problems: drawing on local knowledge, African entrepreneurs, politicians, artists, religious leaders, healers, and others are contributing to the social, cultural, and political affairs of their nations. This volume introduces students to African social, artistic, and political pro cesses and structures, Africans and their energy, and the continent’s challenges and potential.


AFRICA’S DIVERSITY

Africa is vast, with a landmass more than three times the size of the continental United States. As the second-largest continent after Asia, it has dense rain forests and expansive deserts, undulating grasslands and snow-covered mountains, inland lakes, and many other geograghical features. Africa is bifurcated by the equator, and most of its land is in the tropics, with only its northern and southern extremes in temperate zones. For millennia Africans have drawn resources from the continent’s

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Africa
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Africa a Geographic Frame 7
  • 2 - Legacies of the Past Themes in African History 32
  • 3 - Social Relations Family, Kinship, and Community 56
  • 4 - Making a Living African Livelihoods 83
  • 5 - Religions in Africa 103
  • 6 - Urban Africa Lives and Projects 123
  • 7 - Health, Illness, and Healing in African Societies 140
  • 8 - Visual Arts in Africa 161
  • 9 - African Music Flows 187
  • 10 - Literature in Africa 209
  • 11 - African Film 233
  • 12 - African Politics and the Future of Democracy 250
  • 13 - Development in Africa Tempered Hope 275
  • 14 - Human Rights in Africa 293
  • 15 - Print and Electronic Resources 315
  • Contributors 349
  • Index 353
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