Artisans From Africa
Many North Americans think of Africa as being full of arid deserts and roving wildlife. While those images are partially accurate, Africa is also a continent of lush jungles, unspoiled beaches, cosmopolitan cities, and hospitable people. The African continent is home to more than 200 indigenous tribes; Nigeria alone has 250 ethnic groups. Each tribe has its own customs, norms, and social structures. Religions range from Islam and Christianity to animism and other indigenous beliefs. As complex as Africa is, conflict abounds – both between tribes and between nation states. In 1994, South Africa saw the end of apartheid after years of violence and civil unrest. Democratic Republic of the Congo endured severe internal warring over government control in the latter half of the 20th century, and Uganda continues to free itself from civil oppression. Of course there is much more to Africa than violence and political instability. African nations have exhibited some of the most sophisticated artistic expression in the world. The people of Burkina Faso celebrate the arts, holding festivals to engage the senses in theater and film. Niger produces talented silversmiths, and Cameroon excellent music.