Teaching about Africa

Teaching about Africa

See also: History: Teaching history K-12


Africa Access
Guide to children's literature on Africa. Reviews are written by university faculty, librarians, and teachers many of whom are in African studies or have lived in Africa. Use the Search to locate, for ex., Swahili culture. Edited by Brenda Randolph. http://www.africaaccessreview.org/

Africa Center (Colorado)
"...a [Colorado] non-profit organization dedicated to promoting social awareness and knowledge of Africa by providing information, materials and services..." Directory of Colorado Africa-related resources. Based in Boulder, Colorado. [KF] http://www.africacentre.org/index.htm

Africa No Filter

  • Why Change the Way We Write About AfricaA storyteller's guide to reframing Africa. By Lerato Mogoatlhe. Published by Africa No Filter. 2022.
  • "ANF’s goal ..... is to leave an empowered narrative change ecosystem and an informed community of storytellers who work more deliberately to change harmful narratives within and about Africa." Has a grants program. Funded by the Ford Foundation, Bloomberg, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, British Council and others. http://www.africanofilter.org/

Africa Society (of the National Summit on Africa)
Non profit launched 2002 as a a combination think-tank and public education organization. Its Teach Africa program supports the inclusion of Africa education in American schools. Based in Washington, D.C. http://www.africasummit.org/

Africa South of the Sahara: Selected Internet Resources - History for K-12
An annotated directory of internet resources for teaching African history to K-12 students. http://library.stanford.edu/africa-south-sahara/browse-topic/history/k-12-history-education-resources

Africa South of the Sahara: Selected Internet Resources - Historical Photographs
Directory of internet resources for historical photographs of Africa. Maintained by Stanford University Libraries. https://library.stanford.edu/africa-south-sahara/browse-topic/photographs/historical-photographs

Africa South of the Sahara: Selected Internet Resources - Recipes and Foods
Learn about foods, find African recipes. https://library.stanford.edu/africa-south-sahara/browse-topic/african-recipes-and-african-foods

African Indigenous Knowledge Systems
Dr. Gloria Emeagwali, Professor of History, Central Connecticut State University, provides citations to books and links to web sites relating to the, "Background History of Africa, African Food Processing Techniques, African Textile Techniques, African Metallurgy, Colonialism and Africa's Technology, and Mathematics in pre-colonial Hausaland, West Africa. http://www.africahistory.net

African Odyssey InterActive - Kennnedy Center for the Performing Arts
Site for a festival in New York of music, dance, and theater from Africa and the African Diaspora.  Has interviews with artists, a directory of web sites about Dance, Music, Literary Arts/Storytelling, Theater/Performance, K-12 teaching resources. [KF] http://artsedge.kennedy-center.org/aoi/artsedge.html

African Storybook
Download online picture storybooks in the languages of Africa. Includes stories in English. How to- and indepth guides in the use and development of picture storybooks, create a new picture storybook, translate a story, adapt a story for a different reading level and build your own storybook collection. Works with libraries in Kenya, South Africa and elsewhere. Based in Johannesburg, South Africa. https://africanstorybook.org/

African Studies Association. Outreach Council
U.S. scholarly organization which promotes the teaching of Africa in K-16 classrooms, collaborates on an annual teacher workshop, and produces teacher resources. https://www.asaoutreach.org/

Afrophile: Recommended Titles on Africa for Children and Young People
Compiled by Brenda Randolph. Covers from primary grades to high school, includes books for teachers. Orig. pub. 1994, updated for 1996. Print copies are available for $15 plus $3 postage from Africa Access, 2204 Quinton Rd., Silver Spring, MD 20190. http://www.sas.upenn.edu/African_Studies/Proceedings_Rev/men_afrophle.html

American Historical Association
See Teaching Resources.  Includes Through the Lens of History: Biafra, Nigeria, the West and the World. http://www.historians.org/

Bartle, Lisa M. - Database of Award-winning Children's Literature
Find books with African themes which have won American book awards. Bartle is a librarian at the Lima Regional Campus of Ohio State University. Searches can be limited by reading level, language. http://www.dawcl.com

Boston University. African Studies Center. Africa in the K-12 Classroom
Teaching tips and articles, Curriculum Guide: “How Big is Africa?”, podcasts, resources by grade level, lesson plans & activities, read aloud books with video (Wangari Maathai), videos about African languages, activities, etc. https://www.bu.edu/africa/outreach/

  • Artifact map - click on any artifact on the map (images included) and find a list of resources for the classroom about the artifact’s origins, background, and history. https://www.bu.edu/africa/outreach/teachingresources/bu-african-artifact-map-teaching-ideas/
  • How to Write about Africa. By Binyavanga Wainaina.  https://www.bu.edu/africa/files/2013/10/How-to-Write-about-Africa.pdf

  • Climate Change. https://www.bu.edu/africa/outreach/teachingresources/climate-change/

  • Health and Disease in Africa. https://www.bu.edu/africa/outreach/teachingresources/health-disease/

  • Ancient to Medieval History
    Nubia, Kingdom of Axum, the Spread of Islam, Empires of Medieval West Africa: Ghana, Mali, and Songhay, the Swahili Coast and the Indian Ocean Trade, Great Zimbabwe, and African and European Images of Each Other in History. https://www.bu.edu/africa/outreach/teachingresources/history/ancient-to-medieval-history/

  • History - 15th-19th Centuries. Enslavement and the trade of Enslaved People. https://www.bu.edu/africa/outreach/teachingresources/history/slavery-slave-trade/

  • History - 19th-20th c. Colonialism and Resistance. https://www.bu.edu/africa/outreach/teachingresources/history/colonialism/

  • Teaching African literature. https://www.bu.edu/africa/outreach/teachingresources/literature-language-arts/

  • Math and Science. Includes mathematics in the history of Sub-Saharan Africa, by Paulus Gerdes, https://www.bu.edu/africa/outreach/teachingresources/outreach-teachingresources-mathematics/

    • Specific Countries. Extra resources for Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal. https://www.bu.edu/africa/outreach/teachingresources/specific-african-countries/


    British Broadcasting Company - Africa Across the Continent
    Older site. Daily life, profiles of kids, quizzes, a clickable map leading to country facts. http://news.bbc.co.uk/cbbcnews/hi/static/find_out/specials/newsround_extra/africa/html/default.stm

    British Broadcasting Company, BBC. Lost Kingdoms of Africa
    "British art historian Dr. Gus Casely-Hayford explores the pre-colonial history of some of Africa's most important kingdoms." Dr. Casely-Hayford is the Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum East, London, U.K. and was Director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art in Washington DC.
    Series 1.
    1. Nubia https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mpz8h_MFkWg
    2. Ethiopia https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qF8EqEqoI24&t=842
    3. Great Zimbabwe  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2JR2FVrDHM
    4. West Africa. Benin Plaques.  Benin art at the British Museum. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmrdunRXfbw

    British Broadcasting Company. The Story of Africa
    "...the history of the continent from an African perspective." "from the origins of humankind to the end of South African apartheid" by major African historians (Jacob Ajayi, George Abungu, Director-General of the National Museums of Kenya and others). Each segment has a timeline, bibliography, useful links. Mainly in text format. http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/africa/features/storyofafrica/

    Children's Africana Book Awards - Outreach Council, African Studies Association U.S.A.
    The Outreach Council of the African Studies Association (U.S.) "annually honors outstanding authors and illustrators of children's books about Africa published in the United States." https://cfas.howard.edu/CABA

    ePALS: Classroom Exchange
    K-12 classes can locate schools in Africa which are interested in communicating by e-mail, IRC Chat, in English, French, Swahili, Afrikaans, and other languages. Use the Find Classrooms search form. From Cricket Media, Inc. of Cricket Magazine. Based in Easton, Connecticut. http://www.epals.com/

    Facing History
    "Facing History’s resources address racism, antisemitism, and prejudice at pivotal moments in history... Has teaching resources on South Africa. https://www.facinghistory.org/

    Five Windows into Africa
    Bloomington: Indiana University Press, c2000. A cd-rom by Patrick McNaughton, John H. Hanson, Dele Jegede, Ruth M. Stone, and N. Brian Winchester.... An "interactive view of the people, cultures, and arts of contemporary Africa..." Examples from Ghana, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria. Article about the CD-ROM in Africa Today, Jan. 1999. The Instructor's Guide is online. "Designed as a companion to Indiana University Press's....textbook Africa, edited by Phyllis Martin and Patrick O'Meara." $39.95 for 2 cd-rom disks. https://www.amazon.com/Five-Windows-into-Africa-CD-ROM/dp/0253337593

    GLAD, Centre for GLobal And Development Education
    GLADE, is a development education centre in Somerset, England and an educational charity. http://www.glade.org/resources_teachingaboutafrica_links.htm

    Google Earth
    Combines satellite imagery & maps.  Fly to African cities. Many photographs of each city. Useful for seeing the location of lakes, bays in relation to cities. https://earth.google.com/web/

    Discussion on teaching about Africa. For teachers at all levels. Has course syllabi, reviews of children's books. H-AfrTeach is supported by H-Net, Michigan State, Boston Univ., and the Univ. of Pennsylvania. https://networks.h-net.org/h-afrteach

    Hakuna Matata Adventure
    Oregon teacher, Mary Foster, and her husband Abdiaziz who is from Somalia invite you to travel with them. Read about their 1996-1997 travels in an electronic journal (includes Morocco, Kenya, South Africa, Mauritius). On the site of the Global SchoolNet Foundation. "GSN began in 1984 as the Free Educational Mail (FrEdMail) Network and in 1990 became the Global SchoolNet Foundation. In 1993, with a grant from the National Science Foundation." http://www.globalschoolnet.org/gsh/past/hakuna/

    Howard University. Center for African Studies - Outreach - K-12 Teaching Resources

    • Gold Road Interactive Map
      "The Gold Road Interactive Map highlights the people, places, and items related to the medieval Sudanic empires of Ghana, Mali and Songhai." https://cfas.howard.edu/outreach/gold-road

    • Discover Africa in the World
      The Project "reveals Africa-related sites in regions beyond the continent of Africa." Includes the U.S., Caribbean, Europe, Canada. Learn about the presence of early West African Muslims in the US and other historical figures. https://cfas.howard.edu/discover-africa

    • African Tea Traditions
      From Senegal and Tanzania. https://cfas.howard.edu/tea

    • Young Africans Building a Better World
      Environmentalists, inventors, writers, musicians, visual artists. https://cfas.howard.edu/outreach/read-africa/young-africans-building-better-world

    • K-12 Outreach Library
      Suggested books with reviews. https://cfas.howard.edu/outreach/k-12-outreach-library

    • Lesson Plans. https://cfas.howard.edu/outreach/k-12-teaching-resources/lesson-plans

    • Articles, Bibliographies, Videos
      Chimamanda Adichie speaking on "The Danger of a Single Story", Beyond Wildlife: Teaching About Africa and Stereotypes, The Trouble With Tribe and other topics. https://cfas.howard.edu/outreach/k-12-teaching-resources/k-12-teaching-resources-articles-bibliographies-videos

    • Read Africa Aloud
      Features author readings of outstanding books on Africa together with classroom applications and fun activities for children. https://cfas.howard.edu/outreach/read-africa/read-africa-aloud

    •  Summer Institutes for Educators. https://cfas.howard.edu/outreach/professional-development

    Indiana University. African Studies Program - Outreach

    • Teaching Resources. https://africanstudies.indiana.edu/outreach/teaching-resources/index.html

    International Children's Digital Library
    Free online children's books in English, Amharic, Swahili, Shona, Kinyarwanda, Arabic, Afrikaans. A digital library of international children's books.  Based at the Univ. of Maryland, College Park, Maryland. [KF] http://www.icdlbooks.org/

    Islam in Africa Map - University of Texas, Austin. Library
    Shows predominantly Muslim countries and coutnries with significant Muslim minorities. The map does not designate South Africa which has significant Muslim communities. From the Perry Casteneda Library Map Collection, Univ. of Texas at Austin. http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/africa/africa_islam_87.jpg

    Lost Boys of Sudan
    Award-winning documentary about two Sudanese refugee boys and their experiences in U.S. society. Producer / Directors: Megan Mylan and Jon Shenk. Study guide, lessons, essays.  Community Action Guide. Information about refugees. 87 minute film, in English and Dinka with subtitles. Site based in San Francisco, California. http://www.LostBoysFilm.com

    Mali Magic - Google Arts & Culture
    Mali's manuscripts, music, monuments & contemporary Mali art.
    Short general articles, are not signed. Many images, photographs of Mali. https://artsandculture.google.com/project/mali-heritage
    Includes -

     Map Quizzes

    • Africa Map Puzzle
      Identify countries and capitals. Easy and Hard levels of difficulties.  Does not include the Indian Ocean islands. Time yourself on how fast you can complete the puzzle. From Owl and Mouse Educational Software. http://www.yourchildlearns.com/mappuzzle/africa-puzzle.html
    • Map Game - African Countries, from Sheppard Software
      Includes the Indian Ocean islands. Different levels of difficulty. http://www.sheppardsoftware.com/African_Geography.h
    • Seterra Geography - Africa
      Quizzes for African countries, capitals, flags, cities, physical features, country provinces or counties. Download blank printable countries map. Does not include Comores, Mauritius, Seychelles. https://www.geoguessr.com/seterra/en/l/afr

    Mariners Museum, Virginia - Age of Exploration
    Exhibit designed for K-12. Brief information, maps showing routes traveled by Hanno, Ibn Battuta, Bartholemeu Dias, Prince Henry the Navigator https://exploration.marinersmuseum.org/explore/

    Metropolitan Museum of Art

    • A huge resource, many photographs of art work.
    • Timeline of Art History - Africa https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works/#!?geo=af
    • Chronology- Africa https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/chronology/#!?geo=af
    • Essays - Africa such as African Christianity in Ethiopia. https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/essays/#!?geo=
    • African Influences in Modern Art
      African Lost-Wax Casting
      African Rock Art
      Afro-Portuguese Ivories
      The Age of Iron in West Africa
      Art and the Fulani/Fulbe People
      Art of the Asante Kingdom
      Arts of Power Associations in West Africa
      Arts of the San People in Nomansland
      Asante Royal Funerary Arts
      Asante Textile Arts
      The Bamana Ségou State
      Benin Chronology
      Divination and Senufo Sculpture in West Africa
      Early Histories of Photography in West Africa (1860–1910)
      The Empires of the Western Sudan
      Ethiopia’s Enduring Cultural Heritage
      Ethiopian Healing Scrolls
      Exchange of Art and Ideas: The Benin, Owo, and Ijebu Kingdoms
      Foundations of Aksumite Civilization and Its Christian Legacy (1st–8th Century)
      The Fulani/Fulbe People
      Gold in Asante Courtly Arts
      Great Zimbabwe (11th–15th Century)
      Ife (from ca. 6th Century)
    • Portraits of African Leadership: Living Rulers. Includes 
      • Bortolot, Alexander Ives. “Women Leaders in African History: Ana Nzinga, Queen of Ndongo.”
        Bortolot, Alexander Ives. “Women Leaders in African History: Dona Beatriz, Kongo Prophet.”
        Bortolot, Alexander Ives. “Women Leaders in African History: Idia, First Queen Mother of Benin.”
        Bortolot, Alexander Ives. “Women Leaders in African History, 17th–19th Century.”
        Bortolot, Alexander Ives. “Women Leaders in African History, 17th–19th Century.”

    Metropolitan Museum of Art - Art of Africa: a Resource for Educators
    By Christa Clarke. 217 pages. 2006. https://www.metmuseum.org/learn/educators/curriculum-resources/the-art-of-africa

    • Classroom Applications 
    • Animals in African Art 
    • The Power Behind the Throne 
    • The Human Figure and Abstraction 
    • African Art: Materials and Techniques 
    • Art and the Cycles of Life 
    • Masks and Headdresses 
    • Comparisons for Classroom
    • Websites

    Metopolitan Museum of Art - Lesson Plans

    Miami University Libraries. Children's Picture Book Database (Oxford, Ohio)
    Created by Valerie A. Ubbes, Ph.D. "contains abstracts of over 4000 picture books for children, pre-school to grade 3." Under keyword, African, retrieved over 20 citations to titles. https://dlp.lib.miamioh.edu/picturebook/

    Mountain Voices
    A rich resource. "...interviews with over 300 people who live in mountain and highland regions round the world. Their testimonies offer a personal perspective on change and development." To access the interviews, one needs to register and fill out a questionnaire. Interviews from Lesotho, Kenya, Ethiopia, gathered by the Oral Testimony Programme of the Panos Institute. Topics discussed include agriculture, community, conflict, culture, development, economics, education, employment, environment, family life, festivals, food security, forestry, gender, health, history, identity, industry, crime, land, migration, politics, spiritual beliefs, tourism, etc. [KF] http://www.mountainvoices.org/

    National Endowment for the Humanities - Edsitement - Africa
    From the National Endowment for the Humanities, an independent federal agency created in 1965. Based in Washington, D.C.
    Has Lesson plans, see the Search for Africa for topics such as -

    • Royal Art of Benin
    • Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart: Oral and Literary Strategies
    • Chinua Achebe’s "New English" in Things Fall Apart
    • Nelson Mandela & South Africa
    • Remembering Fela (Nigerian musician)
    • Meaning Behind the Mast - cultural significance of masks.
    • Egyptian Symbols and Figures: Hieroglyphs

    National Geographic Kids

    Ngorongoro, Africa's Cradle of Life
    Public television free lesson plans. Teacher professional development, videos, blogs. Select grade level, then Cultural Studies: Africa. Topics include Nigerian elections, Sudan, AIDS, slavery, Rwanda, African culture, Ethiopian religions, South Africa, African drumming, Queen of Sheba, Timbuktu, Kenyan women, Swahili coast. [KF] http://www.pbs.org/teachers/socialstudies/inventory/culturalstudiesafricanstudies-912.html

    PBS. Africa's Great Civilizations
    Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. hosts videos on African history. For Grades 6-8, 9-12. Discussion questions. Handouts. https://ca.pbslearningmedia.org/collection/africas-great-civilizations/

    • Mitochondrial Eve and Homo Sapiens in Africa’s Great Rift Valley
    • Aksum Kingdom: Trade and Ancient Africa
    • The Expansion of Islam and Trade in Africa | Africa's Great Civilizations
    • Queen Njinga Mbandi
    • Berlin Conference of 1884-1885.
    • Links to California State Board of Education standards.

    PBS Teachers
    Public television free lesson plans. Has California State Standards; need to sign in. It is free. Select grade level, then Cultural Studies: Africa. Topics include Nigerian elections, Sudan, AIDS, slavery, Rwanda, African culture, Ethiopian religions, South Africa, African drumming, Queen of Sheba, Timbuktu, Kenyan women, Swahili coast. [KF] http://www.pbs.org/teachers/socialstudies/inventory/culturalstudiesafricanstudies-912.html

    Seeley, Cathy - PCV in Burkina Faso
    Hundreds of photos, information, and essays about Burkina Faso, West Africa and Cathy Seeley's Peace Corps service as a secondary mathematics teacher from 1999 to 2001. About local gardening, school life, rural life, artists, craftspeople, a student activities page with sample questions. http://csinburkinafaso.com

    Super Sema
    African Animated Kids Superhero Series free on YouTube. Super Sema is a 10 year old girl with futuristic science-tech powers. Official trailer.  In "The King and the Forever Forest" Super Sema thwarts the evil King, who chops down all the trees, by using a tree planter drone to grow back the forest. Actor Lupita Ngong'o is one of the series' producers. Began March 2021.

    Teachable Moment
    Free lesson plans  Has a section on South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu. A project of Educators for Social Responsibility Metropolitan Area, in New York City. http://www.teachablemoment.org/

    Clmate change education - Africa. https://tropicsu.org/resources/pedagogical-tools-examples/regions/region-afirca/
    Lesson plans. High school, undergraduate level. Funded by the International Council for Science (ICSU France), led by the International Union of Biological Sciences (IUBS France), and co-led by the International Union for Quaternary Research (INQUA).

    UNESCO World Heritage Sites
    See heritage sites by region Africa. Interactive map.  Download an excel spreadsheet listing sites by country. See photos of landscapes by country.

    UNICEF, Global Village Game
    Register online to play a game for young people which helps them learn about the problems facing children in a Burundi village. Information on Burundi history and on the cost of various supplies and facilities to improve village life.  http://www.unicef-kids.org/

    Wonders of the African World - Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
    Covers Black Pharaohs, Meroe, Gedi, the Swahili People, Zanzibar, the Ashanti and Dahomey (Benin) Kingdoms, Aksum, Gondar, the Churches of Lalibela, the Dogon, Grand Mosque of Djenne, Empires of Mali & Ghana, the Tuareg, Great Zimbabwe, a 1,000 year old South African city - Mapangubwe, the Shona People, etc. Site based on the TV programs hosted by Prof. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (Harvard Univ.) Includes a kids' activity page, teachers' lesson plans, audio clips. http://www.pbs.org/wonders/
    For comments on the programs, see:

    • Africa Update (Central Connecticut State University) Vol. 7, No. 1, Winter 2000 on the debate. http://www.ccsu.edu/AFSTUDY/updtWin2k.htm

    Young African Leaders Initiative,YALI
    YALI is the U.S. government’s effort to invest in the next generation of African leaders. Launched 2010.