SOCIAL AND POLITICAL SYSTEM IN PRE COLONIAL AFRICA

THE CAUSES AND IMPACTS OF NGONI MIGRATION CENTRALIZED STATES IN CENTRAL AFRICA SOCIAL AND POLITICAL SYSTEM IN PRE COLONIAL AFRICA FACTORS FOR STATE FORMATION IN SOUTHERN AFRICA

SOCIAL AND POLITICAL SYSTEM IN PRE COLONIAL AFRICA

Before the coming of colonialist, Africans had their own social and political system of administration, African administration system was interrupted after the interaction with colonialist in 19th century.

Therefore, in this topic we explain Development of social and political system of Africa.

The pre-colonial African societies had centralized and decentralized political set up whichwere able to expand and build strong empires likeBuganda, Ethiopia, Nyamwezi, Bunyoro, Asante, Ghana, Mali, Songhai, Ethiopia among others that were even able to resist theintrudersbravery.

EVIDENCE SHOWING THAT THE PRE COLONIAL AFRICAN SOCIETIES WERE NOT STATIC, BARBARIC AND UNCIVILIZED

1. Existence of Modes of Production.

This is relationship between production and productive forces. The pre-colonial African societies passed through various mode of production which started with primitive communalism where people lived in small communal groups and slept mainly in rock shelters did not keep domestic animals or cultivated theland, they ate wild roots and vegetable.

Then developed to advanced communalism where man begun domestication and agriculture practicing, and lastly feudalism where private ownership started. All these are signs that show the African societies were changing from thelower stage to the upper stage.

2. Existence of Education.

The pre-colonial African societies had education in their societies both formal and informal but informal was more dominant that largely depended on the environment of a given society.

It was largely for survival for the members of each society, most of the education in the pre-colonial societies was informal that varied from one societyto another. Also formal education was provided at the University of Timbuktu in Mali something shows that pre-colonial African societies were not static or unchanging, they were moving forward.

3. Occurrence of Neolithic Revolution.

The discovery of iron was a significant age whereby man discovered iron and its application. This occurred about 1500 BC, iron provided a better cutting edge than copper or bronze, agriculture increased using iron hoes, domestication of animals, migration, population growth and trade were all as a result of Neolithic Revolution.

The Bantu speaking people were the first of all smelted the iron in the long trenches in the ground then in the land blown clay furnaces using charcoal as fuel. The ironwas then made into arrows head and spears, head axes and small trinket and razors. Thus the pre-colonial African societieswere changing.

4. Existence of Strong Political System.

The pre-colonial African societies had centralized and decentralized political set up whichwere able to expand and build strong empires likeBuganda, Ethiopia, Nyamwezi, Bunyoro, Asante, Ghana, Mali, Songhai, Ethiopia among others that were even able to resist theintrudersbravery.

Such centralized had standind army with outstanding leaders like Kabaka Mutesa of Buganda, Theodore of Ethiopia among others. These were clear vsignsthat the African societieswere organised and moving forward.

5. Existence of Strong and Technology.

The pre-colonial African societies were developing various science and technology which began with the discovery of fire, iron smelting, mining,bark cloth making etc that was enough to shoe that African societies were changingfrom one level to another level.

6. Existence of Agriculture.

The Africans practiced agriculture as their major economic activity, it wasmostly for subsistence such agriculture included permanent agriculture, mixed agriculture, shifting cultivation and pastoralism which acted as the backbone of their livelihood.

7. Existence of Trade.

The African societies conducted trading activities; long distance trade was dominant in the East and Central Africa, Trans-Saharan trade in the Northern and Western Africa. And the medium of exchange wasthrough barter system.

8. Changing of Stone Ages.

The pre-colonial African societies changed from Early Stone Age to Middle Stone Age when hunting and fruit gathering were the common activities up to the Modern or New or Late Stone Age then Neolithic Revolution occurred that made agriculture and pastoralism to be the major economic activities. These are indications that African societies were on the move and not stagnated

9. Existence of Various Culture, Norms and Taboos.

The pre-colonial African societies had their various norms, culture, traditions, tabooswhich guided them, and anybody who went against them was punished.

SOCIAL AND POLITICAL SYSTEM IN PRE COLONIAL AFRICA

FACTORS FOR STATE FORMATION IN CENTRAL AFRICA​​ FACTORS FOR STATE FORMATION STATES OF CENTRAL AFRICA​​ FACTORS FOR STATE FORMATION IN WESTERN SUDAN (THE WESTERN SUDANIC STATES​​) FACTORS FOR STATE FORMATION IN WESTERN SUDAN (THE WESTERN SUDANIC STATES​​)

I: THE CLAN ORGANIZATION

Clan was the organization which involved combination of several related families with a common ancestor. Clan is controlled or ruled by the clan’s head.

DUTIES OR FUNCTIONS OF THE CLAN HEAD

1. To distribute land to the communities or clan members.

2. To preserve traditions and customs of the clan.

3. To preserve land belonging to the clan.

4. To settle disputes and quarrels.

5. To find wives for boys and husbands for girls.

TYPES OF CLAN ORGANIZATIONS IN AGRICULTURAL SOCIETIES

There are two types of clan organizations in agricultural societies:

1. Matrilineal clan organization Societies

Matrilineal clan organization is the system of organization where by the husband moved to the wife’s family and children of the new family belonged to the mother’s (wife’s clan).

As a result, clan heritage was based on the mother’s clan. Matrilineal in Africa was practiced among the Makonde, Makua, Mwera, the Yao of Tanzania, and the Kamba of Kenya.

2. Patrilineal clan organization societies

Patrilineal clan organization societies is the system of organization in which the clan heritage was based on the father’s line and all children bared the name of the father.

The husband had to pay substantial bride price in different forms such as cattle, goats, etc. in order to get the wife, the bride price could be stored as wealth, in this system all the children of the new family belonged to the father’s clan.

II. AGE SET ORGANIZATION

Age Set Organization is the kind of socio-political organization based on age and sex. Age set organization was the determinant form of organization in pastoral societies.

The division of responsibilities and duties was based on age and sex and was usually done during initiation ceremonies. The best examples of these societies were the Maasai, Nyakyusa of East Africa, Hausa in West Africa and the Khoi Khoi of South Africa.

Age set covered a specific group of years for example:

<> Children group aged 0-8years were regarded as non-producers group. They were not directly involved in production.

<> Youth group 8-18 years their main responsibility was to graze animals, trading young animals and milking cattle they were assisted by women.

<> Moran group (people between youth and adults aged between 35yers) and above these were soldiers of the society.

The main responsibilities of the Moran were as follows:

1. To protect the whole society as trained soldiers.

2. To protect livestock against dangerous animals and raiders

3. To increase the number of animals through raiding their neighbors

4. To travel with their herds in search for water and pastures.

<> Laibons this is the group of elders aged 40years and above it consisted of elders who were divided in groups namely; junior elders and senior elders.

Responsibilities of elders were:

1. To control livestock and all the properties on behalf of their communities.

2. To enable norms and ethics to govern the society.

3. They were top overseers of all the spiritual and political matters of the community.

4. They were responsible for counseling other members of the society.

5. To settle disputes among the society members.

III. STATE ORGANIZATION

State is a community occupying a certain given territory and living under full control of its government and therefore it is independent from of external control.

State in East Africa mostly started to emerge in the 18th century AD due to the rapid spread of agricultural communities and improvement of science and technology.

FACTORS FOR STATE FORMATION IN SOUTHERN AFRICA

GENERAL FACTORS FOR STATE FORMATION.

1. Conquest

Some powerful states conquered the weaker societies and therefore making them strong and expand. For example, Buganda conquered Bunyoro in the interlacustrine regions.

2. Trade

Trade such as the Long distance trade enabled the society concerned to become strong and powerful after acquiring commodities of different types including weapons which were used for strengthening their societies.

Buganda got guns from the East Coast to defend and expand. The empire of the Mali, Ghana and Songhai got metal and hoes from North Africa to strengthen their military.

3. Good climate and fertile soils (soil fertility)

It led to the increase of food and assurance of feeding which led to population increase, a factor that was very important for the state formation. For instance heavy rainfall and fertile soil enabled production of more food and surplus in Buganda.

4. Good leadership

Some African rulers were strong and ambitious to expand their empire so they organized their people and got support from them for example: Kabanga of Buganda.

5. Availability of iron

Iron promoted agricultural products and was used for making war weapons, which in turn became most important for conquering other states.

6. Migration

This was a complimentary factor it happened that some people migrated to other states and brought with them new technology and skills which were used to expand and strengthen the new societies concerned.

7. Size of the kingdom

Kingdoms that were small such as Buganda and Ghana were easier to organize, to administer effectively and to defend unlike the larger kingdoms like the Bunyoro; the effective control was impossible.

The Writer