Most Ancient African cultures had an emphasis on spirituality and the worship of guardian spirits or gods. The Ancient Egyptian religion is the most well-known in Africa. The Ancient Egyptians worshipped many gods, some of whom are among the most famous gods in mythology (e.g. Ra, Horus, Isis, Anubis, or Osiris,) and honored them in a number of religious ceremonies, festivals, and offerings.
However, outside of Ancient Egypt, there were other gods who were worshipped as well. Many African tribes worshipped the spirits of their ancestors, and believe that when a person died, they continued to live in the spirit world and gained supernatural powers. Many Africans prayed daily to their ancestors for protection and guidance, in place of traditional gods. Many Africans would dedicate a spot in their homes to pay honor to their guardian spirits.
Outside of religious work, however, men and women both had special jobs to do in African culture. For girls in Ancient Africa, it was believed that it was their destiny to become good mothers, wives, and sisters.
Girls were raised from a young age to be mothers – they were taught how to cook, sew, clean, and care for children from an early age, while men were trained in a different way to become fathers. Men were trained to fight, hunt, build, protect their loved ones, and dedicate themselves to their family, to ensure that they would become good fathers.
Unlike nowadays, where men and women can become almost anything they want to, men and women in Ancient Africa had very fixed roles. These roles dictated how they spent their free time and had a great influence on their daily lives.
Two of the most common jobs for men in Ancient Africa were those of the farmer and soldier. Many people in Ancient Africa relied on subsistence farming – a system of farming that meant only enough food would be produced for survival, and not enough to sell and make a profit.
Farmers would have toiled day and night to get enough food for their families, even during the off-season. This is why, instead, many men turned to fighting as a way to make money – although much more dangerous, it was easier than being a farmer.
Soldiers in Ancient Africa would fight to protect their tribes, families, and rulers. Depending on the empire they lived in, they may also have acted as invading forces, and fought to take over territories for their rulers.
Boys and men in Ancient Africa would have trained daily to fight, and would typically use a spear to fight instead of a sword. Craftsmen (the men who would build these weapons, and their armor) were held in very high regard, and their work was seen as incredibly important.
In the earlier portion of Ancient African history, the African people didn’t wear many clothes. Because the climate of Africa is so hot, clothes were usually not necessary – however, as the religion of Islam spread through the continent, clothes became more common, and eventually, the continent developed its own sense of fashion.
This is when the daily role of women in society expanded to making clothes as well. While men would spend much of the day gathering materials (food, plants, crops, wood, etc.,) women would spend their day using those materials to create something (meals, clothes.)
At the time, this balance between the male and female role in society was extremely important, and whether you were a man or woman, your days were practically scheduled from dawn till dusk.
Who would some Africans pray daily to?
– Their ancestors/guardian spirits.
How did young girls spend their days?
– Learning about how to be good wives and mothers.
How did young boys spend their days?
– Learning to fight, and how to be good fathers and husbands.
How did men spend their days?
– Working, hunting, building.
How did women spend their days?
– Cooking, cleaning, sewing, caring for their children.
What were the most common jobs for men in Ancient Africa?
– Men were most commonly farmers or soldiers.