The Different Social Classes of Ancient Africa

Similar to nearly all areas in the world, ancient African communities were classified into diversified classes and groups. Traditionally speaking, social classes of Ancient Africa is divided into three basic principles specifically the elder hood, servitude and the rank or the person’s position in the community which is similar to the leader.

A provincial community which is comprised of adequately straightforward agricultural societies is popular in ancient Africa. In such communities, everyone lives identically and the differences and occupation and wealth have little to no significance at all. Alternatively, the ranking is primarily based on the idea of seniority which indicates that established groups and old people have more power compared to the new.

In other words, newcomers live nearby must maintain peace relations by acknowledging the ranks of those were the first. Usually, the first settled family becomes the leaders of the local councils while other families assume parts according to their respective abilities. It is, however, essential to note that some may obtain higher influence as a result of their strength, fertility, wisdom and courage.

Servitudes, on the other hand, are the ones who control society and third-class people such as the slaves and other servants. Ideally, they are known to have more rights and authority compared to the commoners. Only people from this structure have the chance to become the ruler of a particular community.

Even though they were considered as free members, servitudes were under the power of Emperors and Nobles and are prohibited to marry people that are not members of their own groups.

Other than the elderhood and the servitudes, the African social class also has a group known as the rank which is mainly made up of aristocrats who created hierarchies within the emperor’s courts.

While a significant amount of Africans have remained deeply loyal to their conventional social structure, modern Africa is currently dominated by Western groups and policies. At present, the elite class in Africa has become more diverse and larger with members serving as links between a global elite and African societies.

Interesting Facts about Ancient African Social Classes

  • The Osus of the Igbo tradition as considered being sub-humans that were killed as a sacrifice to Gods. They are banned to marry Igbo persons and have to remarry people within their group.
  • Each class has its own unique attributes, privileges, limitations, relations and roles.
  • People living in East Africa are ruled by a cattle-owning class known as the Tutsi. Next to the Tutsi are the Hutus are farmers.
  • The country of Senegal has a social structure known as the Wolof system which has three different classes.
  • The Mande society classifies its people on the basis of ethnicity, color and the line of work.
  • The Jonow or slave caste is considered to be the lowest rank of the societal pyramid of the Mande.
  • The Yimbee Pulaku is a group of people from the Fulani system who are not noble or born free.
  • The social classes of Tuareg are consists of clans that have political confederations.

What are the three types of people of the Wolof system?

The Wolof system has three types of people which include the Geers, Jaams and Neno.

What is the iklan consists of?

The iklan is made up of laborers, farmers, artisans and herders.

What is Hassane?

The Tuareg society is conventionally composed of a Hassane which is recognized as the warrior tribe of the community.

Who are the Horons?

The Horons are considered to be the noblemen of the Mande who are skilled in agriculture, fishing and hunting wild animals.