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Africa Vocabulary

Page history last edited by Barbara Allen 16 years, 1 month ago


  • Afrikaans - One of South Africa’s 11 official languages and derived largely from the Dutch spoken by South Africa’s first white settlers.
  • anthropology - The study of the similarities and differences of the world's people.
  • artifact - Any object manufactured, used or modified by humans. Common examples include tools, utensils, art, food remains, and other products of human activity.
  • Ashanti / Asante - The largest tribe in Ghana, the Ashanti grew to prominence due to the wealth of iron and gold found in their country before the rival Mali tribe put an end to the Ghana Empire in 1180.
  • Bantu - of or relating to the African people who speak one of the Bantoid languages or to their culture
  • ceremony - A ceremony is an activity, infused with ritual significance, performed on a special occasion.
  • culture - a set of learned beliefs, values and behaviors the way of life shared by the members of a society.
  • Dogon - a people of present-day Mali whose ancestors built their houses on the sides of steep cliffs in the 14th century AD
  • fetish - An object used to represent and create a bond with the spirit world.
  • forage -The act of looking or searching for food or provisions.
  • gold weight - Weight used for weighing specific quantities and qualities of gold.
  • grazer - an animal that feeds on growing grass or other plants
  • guardian - defender: a person who cares for persons or property
  • habitat - The natural home or environment of a plant or animal.
  • hunter-gatherer - A hunter-gatherer society is one whose primary subsistence method involves the direct procurement of edible plants and animals from the wild, foraging and hunting without significant recourse to the domestication of either.
  • linguist - A specialist in languages, including translators, interpreters, and language teachers
  • migration - The act or process of people moving from one place to another with the intent of staying at the destination permanently or for a relatively long period of time.
  • moiety - a social grouping that alternates group membership between generations. For the Turkana a boy whose father was of the "Leopard" moiety will be a "Stone".  His sons will in turn be "Leopards". 
  • Ndebele - The Ndebele people live in South Africa in the Transvaal and are known for their colorful houses painted in geometric patterns as well as their intricate colorful beadwork and traditional dress.
  • nomadic - Communities of nomadic people move from place to place, rather than settling down in one location.
  • norms - behaviors or beliefs that are considered typical of a community.
  • okyeame - linguist to Asante chiefs or kings
  • pidgin - an artificial language used for trade between speakers of different languages. Pidgin languages are very common in trading areas. 
  • Pokot - The Pokot people (commonly spelled Pökoot, and called Suk in older literature) live in the West Pokot and Baringo Districts of Kenya
  • relic - An object interesting because of its age or association.
  • reliquary - A box or other container for relics
  • ritual - A ritual is a set of actions, performed mainly for their symbolic value.
  • rural - living in or characteristic of farming or country life
  • Sahara Desert - the world's largest desert (3,500,000 square miles) in northern Africa
  • Sahel - The transitional zone of several hundred kilometres between semiarid deserts in northern Africa and the open woodland savanna to the south. It extends over 6000 kilometres from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea.
  • savanna - One of the Earth's biomes characterized by an extensive cover of grasses with scattered trees.
  • San / Khoisan - The San (or Bushmen) were the original inhabitants of South Africa, appearing there about 30 000 years ago
  • urban - relating to or concerned with a city or densely populated area
  • Sundiata Keita - Sundiata Keita or Sundjata Keyita or Mari Djata I (c. 1217 - c. 1255) was the founder of the Mali Empire
  • Transvaal - The Transvaal (lit. beyond the Vaal [pale river]) was one of the provinces of South Africa from 1910 until 1994. The province no longer exists, and its territory now forms the provinces of Gauteng, Limpopo and Mpumalanga and part of the North West Province.
  • Turkana - The Turkana are a Nilotic people of Kenya, numbering about 340,000.

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