Contributions to World Culture that Originated in Africa



African Contributions to World Culture


Africa is a continent consisting of many ethnic, social and tribal groups with some groups representing a bigger population of individuals while other groups are very small and are at times some few thousands. There are some countries with over twenty different ethnic, tribal, or social groups. These groups also do have different cultural beliefs. The cultural restoration of African’s has been an important part in the development of many countries inside and outside Africa after colonization. This was done as there was desire to harmonization the cultural Africa’s cultural resources to improve the education sector (Asante, 2005).

Africa is a continent with many different cultures that has played a major part in the development of the world culture. Most of these cultures originated from Africa and the rest of the world have imitated these cultures in different ways. In this research paper, we are going to analyze the 5 various contributions of Africa’s cultures to the world cultures that originated from Africa.

African Crafts and Arts

Africa is a continent with many cultures of arts and crafts. The African crafts and arts are mostly based on brass, leather, and woodcarvings artworks. These arts and crafts also consist of pottery, paintings, sculpture, ceremonial, religious dress and headgear. According to Mr. Maulana Karenga, an African he thinks that the object was not as useful as the main force behind the development of the object in an African art (Gabel, 2007).

The African culture has consistently placed a lot of emphasis on the individual outlook and jewelry has continued to be a vital individual accessory. These African arts and crafts have contributed a lot to world cultures. Many foreigners who tour Africa usually end up copying African cultures. Every time they visit African countries, foreigners normally get attracted to the arts and crafts of different materials made in Africa. For example, they may buy pottery, jewelry, paintings etc which they take to their countries. These arts and craft materials are also being exported to foreign markets where foreigners buy them for their personal uses in their own countries. These has really changed the world cultures since many non-Africans have left their traditional cultures in arts and crafts to depend on the African arts and craft materials being exported to their countries or world market (Gabel, 2007).

Religion and Myths

Just like in every culture, the African religion and myths represent many social faces of the African cultures. In many cultures and societies, several myths have been spreading in various parts of Africa as well as the whole world. Both religion and cultures are deeply related and are tangled in many African traditions. For example, in countries like Ethiopia in Eastern part of Africa, Islamic and Christianity are parts of the Ethiopian cultures and participate in traditional rites and rituals. These myths and religions have been imitated by several world cultures. There are some countries where they have adopted the practice of these African traditional religion and myths.

Folk story tales form very important aspects of African culture. The stories told by different ethnic or tribal groups illustrate the identity of the ethnic group and holding the African stories will assist in maintaining the whole African culture and beliefs. Storytelling displays identity and pride in community culture. In the African continent, different communities or ethnic groups compose the stories themselves and present them to the locals or foreigners. Various groups or tribes in Africa usually organize ceremonies or rituals to tell their stories. Nowadays, the storytelling sessions have attracted many people from different cultures all over the world with others coming from abroad to listen to the stories being told by Africans. As a result, different world cultures have been attracted by these storytelling sessions. Foreigners have developed storytelling sessions with other foreign people composing folktales to match the African styles. For different world cultures listening to these folktales, it provides them with a detailed idea about what the African customs, views and beliefs. To African’s, it allows them to showcase the uniqueness of their communities. These stories show the individual fears and cultures like death, marriage and love (Sow, 2009). They are also viewed as educative and entertaining. Each story has its aims and objectives to educate individuals about moral ideas. In the entertainment, these African folktales are composed in a beautiful and pleasing non-human environment where they can be used to entertain people from different cultures around the world. These cultures about tales and religions have contributed greatly to the world culture. That is, many African storytellers are usually invited in international exhibition to display their talents by presenting their folktales to the entire world.

There are various kinds of African folktales. These stories can be animal or day-to-day storytelling. In most occasions, animal storytelling is deeply inclined towards entertainment part, however, they still contain ideas and morals on them. This is what has contributed greatly to world cultures. In the current century, even foreigners try to compose folktales on their own even though they borrowed the storytelling ideas from Africans (Asante, 2005).


In Africa, many ethnic groups have different kinds of dresses and fashion. African clothing is made from different materials with some made from animal skins. This type of clothing is preferred by many cultures around the world. For example, in Ethiopia the traditional clothes for women are made from a cloth known as schema. Shema is used to making a cotton cloth approximately 90 centimeters wide. They are woven together in long strips which are sewn jointly. These clothes made from schema clothes are called habesha semis (Nuttall, 2010).

These traditional clothing are good for different climatic conditions around the world. This is why they have been adopted in many cultures. Foreigners do like them with others traveling all the way to Africa to come and purchase the traditional clothes on their own. In Africa, some types of clothing are determined by religion and age. For example in West Africa, the common domestic dress is majorly characterized by the Islamic cultures. The Zulus put on different clothing attires during different occasions where they receive guests from various cultures. This is a form of association between the Africans and the whole world resulting into foreigners being attracted with the African dressing cultures.

At weddings, the western cultures have adopted the African cultures of putting on traditional clothes copied from Africans. It is just important for Africans to appreciate themselves and focus on themselves alone. They will be able to offer quality clothing that will continue to attract many cultures around the world. The clothing designs should be suitable for different age groups and cultures around the world (Chambers, 2013).

African Cuisine

Africa is a big continent and its foods and drinks replicate domestic influences just like the foods which were initiated by the African colonizers. The various traditional foods during the colonial period include foods such as maize, groundnuts and peppers. Cuisine is a mixture of meat products with traditional milk, fruits, vegetables and fruits. The main best African local diet is usually whey, curds, and milk. Fish is also a major delicious dish liked by many all over the Africa and the entire world.

These foods are usually prepared in a specific manner and this is what has made them popular among different world cultures. People from different continents around the world prefer these traditional foods when they come to Africa and even when they are back in their countries. This has resulted in many Africans being hired by people from different world cultures to go and prepare for them these dishes in their home countries. Most foreigners like these traditional foods since they are healthy and do not have any health hazards. Unlike in more developed nations, Africans still depend on the older methods of cooking. Even though it might take long before the food is ready, it is a good method to ensure that food is effectively cooked. For example, many world cultures have borrowed these African cuisines back to their countries as their best dishes instead of the modern dishes which contain high carbohydrates contents as well as fats (Nuttall, 2010).

In Africa, majority of the traditional cuisines are characterized by starch accompanied by food stew having vegetables or meat. Yams and cassava are the main vegetables. Foods such as sweet potatoes, yams, cassava and vegetables are mostly consumed not only in Africa but throughout the world. There are also many fruits such as bananas, plantain and watermelon which are popular foods consumed by many Africans. As we all know, fruits and low fat foods are good for the health of an individual, many world cultures have adopted these African dishes hence making these African traditional dishes a major contributor to the world culture. If you go to most western countries like United Kingdom and the United States you will never miss any African foods. They are liked by many people and this has made them very popular.

The other most important thing which makes African cuisine popular amongst world cultures is the cooking techniques used to prepare them. For example, in West Africa cooking methods usually combine meat and fish together. The South African cuisines have mostly adopted the Indian culture in the method of preparation and that is why they are favorite dishes in many cultures in the world. Therefore in terms of which continent has contributed what to the world culture, Africa has contributed a lot and this has made it one of the highly recognized continents in the world (Sow, 2009).

African Songs and Artists

In terms of songs, Africans are not left behind. She has many song artists and composers who have attracted even the greatest of all world musicians. The only difference with African from other songs is that they mostly rely on drum beating. This is one of the things that have made it contribute greatly to world culture. Many years ago, music artists did not use drums to compose their songs. However, currently even the rich and famous musicians use drums in their music bands and live performance. This has marketed Africa throughout the world as a continent of many talents. It has even led to other foreign cultures seeking advice from Africans on how drum beating is done in order to maintain the rhythm accordingly. The dancing styles of many African songs are also something that has attracted many world cultures. The dancing styles involve the movement of many parts of the body simultaneously (Gabel, 2007). These styles were copied and imitated by various world cultures and it has led to many cultures adopting different types of music such as salsa, rap, rock and roll, blues, jazz, samba and rhythm music.

It is also the only continent in the whole world where music is played through horn blowing or strings. Various string instruments are being used to compose or play music on many occasions. Foreign cultures admire this criterion of playing and some people have even requested many Africans to assist them in playing the music using horns or string music. In the current century, music has evolved and this has influenced many cultures through the rise of popular music styles like mbalax in Senegal. Due to the rising popularity of music as an African culture, it has contributed hugely in the development of change of African culture. As in many cultures, music is liked by many people. It is a form of entertainment and that is what has made African music great in the world cultures. For example, during the inauguration of several heads of states, African music is usually being played through drum beatings and string playing. This has made Africans in the international level not to forget about their cultures and origin which is very important in maintaining the originality of our traditions (Sow, 2009).


In conclusion, the above five African cultures have contributed greatly to the development of world culture. People all over the world appreciate them so much that some foreigners have decided to seek services of Africans to go to their countries and provide services to them. It has promoted harmony, unity and together amongst different cultures throughout the world through international trading. It is now upon people around the world including Africans and their heads of states and governments to ensure that these African cultures continue to contribute greatly to the development of the world cultures. Through this, Africa shall have achieved one of its objectives of maintaining peoples’ cultures through proper and legal formal means. The world cultures will also appreciate its cultures through the inventions of many traditional cultures (Asante, 2005).

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