Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Igbo vs. The Chewa

The Igbo tribe, who are located in southeastern Nigeria, and the Chewa tribe who are found in Malawi are both similar economically. The first similarity that both tribes’ posses is they both rely on farming a lot for food and to trade with other tribes. Every family in the Igbo tribe would help farm for the tribe. “After the Week of Peace every man and his family began to clear the bush to make new farms” (Achebe 32). The types of food that the Igbo grew were: yams, cassava, and taro, maize, melons, okra, pumpkins, and beans. Then the Chewa tribe heavily depended on farming and agriculture for their tribe. “Their economy is based mainly on shifting agriculture” (Chewa). The Chewa’s staple crop that they grew was maize. The next similarity that the Igbo and the Chewa tribes had was that they both hunted. In the book Things fall apart the main character Okonkwo gets really mad and demands someone to hand his gun to him so he can go hunting. “His anger thus satisfied, Okonkwo decided to go out hunting” (Achebe 38). The Chewa tribe not only depended on farming as a source of food and trade but they also hunted and fished. “Considerable hunting and fishing are done” (Chewa). The Igbo and the Chewa are both similar economically. They both farm, fish, and hunt for their food. Now how is this possible? Since both tribes farm and grow similar vegetables does that mean they have similar soil? Also since both of these tribes hunt is land where their tribe is located easy for animals to survive? Or did both of these tribes encounter each other during pre-colonial times and learned from each other the techniques to hunt and farm. These tribes are very similar economically because they both farm and hunt for food.

Works Cited

Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. New York: Anchor, 1994. Print.
"Chewa." Encyclopædia Britannica. 1 Apr. 2011.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Pre-Colonial Paragraph

Alice Nemoto
Humanities 1c

The Igbo and the Hutu, the original inhabitants of Rwanda, were both similar and different in their political aspects because of their traditional court systems. Both the Igbo and the Hutu had a type of court system that was similar to each other, in example, they both had a type of jury system. The Igbo used a group of people that represented each of the clans, and that group of people were leaded by one main person. The author of Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe, writes, “Each of the nine egugwu represented a village of the clan. Their leader was called Evil Forest” (Achebe 89). This quotation shows that the Igbo did have a sort of a jury that was lead by a main person who was called Evil Forest. Similar to the Igbo people, the Hutu people also had a jury system. The Hutu people had a group of elders that acted like a jury. In Paul Rusesabagina’s book, he writes, “If somebody had a problem with a neighbor he… brought it to the attention of a group of men who we called elders” (Rusesabagina 8). This quotation shows that similar to the Igbo, that the Hutu had a jury system. The Hutu and the Igbo had this jury system in common, but they had a few differences and in particular with the actual verdict. The Igbo people had a part in their court system that was basically the same as verdict. Also in the book, Things Fall Apart, Achebe writes, “Go to your in-laws with a pot of wine and beg your wife to return to you” (Achebe 93). This quotation is only a small example of how this jury of their court system, actually came to a verdict. Like the Igbo, the Hutu also had a type of verdict in their court system, but it was slightly different. The Hutu also came to a verdict, but instead of one person making the decision of what the punishment was, it was a collaborative effort from the elders. Rusesabagina writes, “After the two enemies had finished speaking, the elders would give their opinions, one by one, on what should be done to remedy the problem” (Rusesabagina 9). This quotation shows that the Hutu, unlike the Igbo, made a group decision of what the punishment should be. The Igbo and the Hutu have a court system in common, with the fact that they have a jury system and also a verdict. However, they are different in some aspects because of the way they come to the verdict, which is that the Hutu make a group effort while the Igbo have Evil Forest make the decision. Overall the fact that they had a court system shows that these two pre-colonial societies had political aspects that were similar to each other.

Works Cited

Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. New York: Anchor Books, 1994.

Rusesabagina, Paul. An Ordinary Man. New York: Penguin Group Inc., 2006.

The Similarities and Differences of the Igbo and Mende tribe

Ben Gerstein
Colin Williams

The Igbo people of Southeastern Nigeria and Mende of Southern Sierra Leone have similar methods of using Iron and differences in their educational practices. In Pre-colonial times the Igbo were able to mine iron which they used to create useful tools. In his introduction to Things Fall Apart, Ohadike states,” Igbo people have smelted and forged iron for centuries…over time, the Igbo improved their technological skills and began to produce sophisticated metal tools such as spearheads, arrowheads, swords, hoes, knives” etc.( Don C xxii ). The ability to mine iron gave the Igbo an opportunity to make tools and other artifacts which made life easier. Like the Igbo people, the Mende were able to mine iron and put it to useful work. In his article about the Mende people Chrishom says,” The region’s inhabitants were working iron by 600 C.E.”(Sierra Leone). The Mende people, like the Igbo, also worked with iron that they utilized to create everyday tools. In Pre-Colonial times, the Igbo of southeastern Nigeria and Mende of Sierra Leone had different ways of educating their people to enable their tribes to achieve success and growth. In the Igbo society, children learned how to act, behave and carry out duties by learning under their fathers or mothers. In Things Fall Apart, by Achebe Chinua, Okonkwo encourages Ikemefuna to follow him around while he tends to the crops and during social events (Achebe 53-55). Children in the Igbo society would follow their father or mother around to learn their duties and act properly. Unlike the Igbo way of education, the Mende had two main educational systems that taught children. The educational systems were split up by gender the Poro for boys and Sande for girls. According to one scholar “the primary role of both is to teach individuals about the expectations of the community. Such organizations function to institute community morals and act as a very efficient means of social control” (Mende Information). The Poro and Sande education systems taught children how to socially act, community morals and spiritual guidance to enable the positive development of the culture. While some people believe Africa is a universal country the Mende and Igbo share some characteristics of having Iron however, they have completely different education systems.

Works Cited
Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. New York: Anchor, 1994. Print.

“Mende Information.” Art and Life in Africa. 3 November 1998. Web. 4 Apr. 2011

Ohadike, Don C. “Igbo Culture and History.” Introduction. Things Fall Apart. By Chinua Achebe. Oxford: Heinemann, 1996. xix-xlix. Print.

"Sierra Leone." Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience,
Second Edition. Eds. Kwame AnthonyAppiah, Henry Louis Gates Jr. Oxford: Chisholm, 2010. Oxford African American Studies Center. Web. 31 Mar. 2011.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Pre-Colonial Essay

Gabriel Chan
Humanities 1c
Pre-colonial Compare/Contrast Essay
The Ibo people in the book Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe and the Bantu settlers in modern-day Gabon have large differences in their lifestyle; While the Ibo and the Bantu both farmed and hunted for food, the Ibo’s society was militaristic and martial compared to the Bantu’s smaller fishing communities. Right after the Week of Peace in Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo and his family begin to plant the yam seeds. “. . . Okonkwo and his family went to the farm with baskets of seed-yams, their hoes and machetes, and the planting began” (Achebe 33). Okonkwo and his family begin to plant the common Ibo crop, yams. Since the entire family is involved in the planting, the yams have a high level of importance to the Ibo. While the Ibo grew yams and other crops, the Bantu in modern-day got food from oil palms, bananas, yams, fishing, and hunting (“Gabon”). The Ibo in Things Fall Apart grew crops that were similar to the Bantu, but the Bantu were also able to fish because they lived along the coast of Gabon. The Ibo and Bantu live in totally different places, but they share the similarity of farming yams.
Even though the Ibo and Bantu are similar in terms of farming, the Ibo’s villages in Umuofia were martial and organized, while the Bantu settled in small fishing villages along the coast with a lack of organization. In Things Fall Apart, a man from Mbaino kills a woman from Umuofia and Umuofia offers to wage war against them. “Umuofia was feared by all its neighbors. It was powerful in war and in magic,. . .” (Achebe 11), so the people of Mbaino decided to avoid war with them. This shows that Umuofia’s neighbors fear Umuofia and the Ibo’s martial society. In contrast, the Bantu settlers in modern-day Gabon lived in small fishing villages because of the lack of threatening neighbors (“Gabon”, Africa: An Encyclopedia for Students). Even though the Bantu settlers did not need to develop a warrior society like the Ibo, the two groups of people both grew yams for survival.

Kikuyu vs. TFA

Compare and Contrast: Kikuyu vs. TFA
Pre-Colonial time in Kenya greatly affected the beliefs and cultures of the present. The Kikuyu people can be said to have come from the north high in the mountains of Kenya in around 1200. They have been known to be the largest of Bantu people. The Kikuyu settled south of Mount Kenya and highlands of central Kenya. During the 10th century the spread from this region into many other areas South of Kenya. The tribe was originally formed from a man named Gikuyu (“Pre-Colonial Times in Kenya”)
The social life of a Kikuyu is very similar to the clans in the town of Umuofia in Things Fall Apart. Kikuyu men and women both think that the males should be the leader of the household, and in Things Fall Apart there are many similar roles that are given. One example is when Ojiugo, Okonkwo’s youngest wife, “went to plait her hair at her friend’s house and did not return early enough to cook the afternoon meal…and when she returned he beat her very heavily. (Achebe 29)” Woman of the Kikuyu people are usually viewed as having more control when it comes to crop growing and disciplining small school aged daughters. Baptizing children and deciding on whether they should go to school or not is both the role of the men and women to decide.
Throughout Things Fall Apart the boys are classified more as farmers picking yams, than working with farm animals in the Kikuyu culture. “Okonkwo wanted his son to be a great farmer and a great man. (Achebe 33)” Girls of the Kikuyu are raised to work in farms and boys work with animals (“Kenya: Social Life”), the girls also have the responsibility of taking care of a baby or a sibling and helping the mother out with chores around the household.
Kikuyu history states that the head god, Ngai, took Gikuyu to the top of Kirintaga and told him to stay atop the mountain and build his home there. He was given a wife, Mumbi. Together they had nine daughters. There was actually a tenth daughters but the people of Kikuyu considered it bad luck to say the number ten. Usually when people counted, instead of ten they would say “full nine”. From these nine daughters there was then formed the Kikuyu clans- Achera, Agachiku, Airimu, Ambui, Angare, Anjiru, Angui, Aithaga, and Aitherandu- were created (“Religion in Kenya”). In TFA, the author mentions 9 villages in the first line of the beginning of the book; there is much evidence that there were nine different clans in each of the villages. “Okonkwo was well known throughout the nine villages and even beyond. (Achebe 3)”
In Conclusion, the compare and contrast between the Kikuyu and the social life in Things Fall Apart are very similar and slightly different.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Economics of Pre-Colonial South Africa

Economics of Pre-Colonial South Africa

By Jonny Barnet

Both the Ibo and San tribes have similar economics, because in each tribe, the people that were generally successful had and a way to do so . In the Ibo tribe, from the book Things Fall Apart, the people with a that had a title generally earned it from harvesting yams. This is similar to the San tribe from South Africa because people that had a lot of money, earned it from tendering cattle. These two ways from each tribe for becoming “favored” by the economy came from doing something well, and working hard with a certain job. Successful people in the Ibo tribe depended greatly on their yams, “If you split another yam of this size, I shall break your jaw” (Achebe 32). Although Nwoye is Okonkwo’s son, he is still threatening him for cutting the yam incorrectly. To someone that is successful in the San, tendering cattle is just as important to them "Men tended to spend their time tending to cattle which were not only sources of food but were seen as symbols of wealth and thus importance" (Beaton). The women of these tribes were treated poorly if they were married to someone successful (Beaton). In each tribe, the men that had money normally had around three wives. These wives were treated poorly as well, “’Sit like a women!’ Okonkwo shouted at her. Ezinma brought her two legs together and stretched them in front of her” (Achebe 44). This example of one of Okonkwo’s wives, Ezinma, being yelled at for sitting not like a female. This is a sign of Okonko being wealthy. One can tell that Okonkwo is wealthy in this situation, because the women treated like crap are normally married to someone successful. In the San, the wives of people that spent their time with cattle, would often be treated like this, and were talked to disrespectfully. The Ibo and San tribe were both tribes in which you became successful from doing one thing in particular. In the case of the Ibo’s, it was from harvesting yams, for the San’s, it would be from tendering cattle.

The Somalian Tribes Versus the Ibo

Joe Purtell
The Somalian Tribes Versus the Ibo
Pre-colonial Somalians were politically similar to the pre-colonial Ibo. These communities had two similar political practices. The Somalians and the Ibo were both ruled by councils of elders and had a blood compensation practice. Many of the Ibo’s decisions were made by councils of elders, “The elders of the clan had decided” (Achebe 27). The Somalian tribes, the Dir, Issaq, Darod, Hawiye, Digil, and Rahanweyne for example, were ruled by councils of elders (Marian Aguiar “Somali”). The Ibo also had a blood price of sorts. When an Ibo woman was killed they asked for “a young man and a virgin as compensation” (Achebe 11). The virgin replaced the woman that was killed and the young man was eventually slaughtered. The Somalians had a similar practice with a different name, it was called diya, blood compensation (Marian Aguiar “Somali”). The Somalian tribes and the Ibo were similar, despite the fact that the rested on opposite coasts, nearly 3,000 miles apart.