Choon Yong-ACE Class Report-The African Experience: From “Lucy” to Mandela

Author of Book: Instructor: Professor Kenneth P Vickery
Date Read: November 21, 2023

Book Report

Begin: 8/5/2023
Finish: 10/21/2023
Title: The African Experience: From “Lucy” to Mandela.
Instructor: Professor Kenneth P Vickery
North Carolina State University.

Why I chose to take this class:
Africa is a vast continent and yet very little is known about Africa. It has been referred to as the Lost or Dark Continent. It is good to know about Africa, its history, their religion, Language and everything about the Lost Continent.

What I learned from this class:
Africa was referred to as the Lost Continent because very little was known about Africa’ s interior Geography, and they mistakenly believed that the people of the interior had not developed any important culture, instead poverty, corruption, disease, negative imagery and savagery. Not culture like art or science. Africa is the second largest continent in area and in population. Only Asia covers a larger area and has more people. Africa covers 11,676,600 square miles, about a fifth of the world land area and has a population of more than 1 billion, about one-seventh of the world’s population.
The African continent is an immense plateau (1000 feet), broken by the few mountain ranges and bordered in some areas by a narrow coastal plain. Tropical rainforest of the Western and Central Africa, the towering treetop forms a thick canopy. The world largest desert, the Sahara, stretches across Northern Africa. The world’s longest river is the Nile – over 4000 miles through Northeastern Africa. The Congo river carries the most water. The Horn of Africa is located in Eastern Africa. Africa is divided into 54 countries. The largest is Algeria and the smallest is Seychelles (176 square miles). Most populated is Nigeria with about 175 million people. Highest elevation is Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, 19,340 feet and lowest is lake Assal in Djibouti, 509 feet below sea level.
Africa has great mineral wealth, including huge deposits of copper, diamonds, gold and petroleum. It also has valuable forests. In addition, many African rivers and waterfalls are used to produce hydroelectric power. Africa produces most of the world’s Cassava, Cocoa beans and yams. But Africa ha the least developed economy of any continent except Antarctica.
Agriculture is the leading economic activity in Africa, but most farmers use outdated tools and methods to farm thin, poor soil. Two third of Africans make a living growing crops and/or raising livestock. The development of manufacturing has been handicapped by a lack of money to build factories, shortage of skilled labors and competition from other continents. Many African countries depend on only one or two farm produce or mineral products for more than half their export earnings. Majority of African Nations rely on some extent on aid from countries outside of the continent.
Africa has been called the “Cradle of Humanity”, the earliest human beings lived about 2 million years ago in Africa and spread to other parts of the world. One of the world’s greatest civilization- Ancient Egypt – arose along the backs of the river Niles more than 5000 years ago. Later other powerful and cultural advanced empires developed in Africa. During the late 1400’s and 1500’s, Europeans began to establish trading posts in Africa. Gold, Ivory and slaves became the continent’s most valuable exports. By late 1800’s European nations competed for control of Africa’s resources. By 1900’s they had carved almost all of Africa into colonial empires. Most African resisted colonial rule, but demand for independence did not become a powerful movement until the mid 1900’s. Between 1950 and 1980, 47 African colonies gained independence. Years of colonial rule had left Africa poorly prepared to face the modern world. Ethnic rivalries and territorial disputes among nations continue to threaten stability in Africa. Problems such as overpopulation, poverty, famine, corruption and disease remain challenges for African leaders.
Religions: Millions of Africans practice local traditional religions. Millions of African are Muslims. Islam is a strong force in countries in Northern Africa and including Chad, Mali, Sudan, Nigeria and Tanzania. Millions of other Africans are Christians. Most belong to Roman Catholic church or to Protestant churches. The Ethiopian Orthodox church is the largest church in Ethiopia.
Slave Trade: African practice of slavery since ancient times. The slaves who were captured in warfare were sold to Arab traders in Northern Africa. Portugal and Spain became actively involved in African slave trade in the 1500’s.

How will this class contribute to my success upon release:
African history is intertwined with African American history. The knowledge gained from this class will help my critical thinking skills and this information about Africa can be conveyed to others in my volunteer teaching and mentoring services.