Africa’s Peoples and Cultures

Women_3 Humans have existed on the African continent longer than anywhere else in the world. Consequently, Africa’s cultures–its languages, religions, art, music, cuisines–reflect a deep past, rooted in ancient kingdoms, nomadic migrations, the Age of Exploration, and modern globalization.


Africa is home to many different peoples (such as San Bushmen, north Africa’s Tuareg, and the Maasai plainspeople) and religions (Islam and Christianity share prominence). This diversity makes Africa special, but also combustible, as tensions between peoples can spark civil wars, exploitation, even genocide.  However, if history teaches us anything, it’s that the African people and culture are most representative of survival and a celebration of heritage.

Photograph of women walking along the Zambezi River in Zimbabwe by Chris Johns/National Geographic Image Collection

Don’t forget to take our Test Your Africa IQ quiz on Google Earth.


Interactive Features

  • African Voices (Smithsonian)
  • African Regions and People (PBS)
  • African Cultures (Minnesota State University, Mankato)
  • The Living Africa: The People (ThinkQuest)
  • African Lives (Washington Post)
  • African People and Culture (The Africa Guide)
  • Among the Berbers (National Geographic magazine)
  • Bushmen: Land Stand for Southern Africa’s First People (National Geographic magazine)
  • Johannesburg: City of Hope, City of Fear (National Geographic magazine)
  • Keepers of the Faith: The Living Legacy of Aksum (National Geographic magazine)
  • The Nuba: Still Standing (National Geographic magazine)
  • Shattered Sudan (National Geographic magazine)

    In Google Earth

  • National Geographic Magazine
    Explore Africa’s peoples and cultures through a wealth of georeferenced articles, photos, and Sights and Sounds multimedia from National Geographic magazine. To view, open Google Earth (get it free here) and click the box next to "National Geographic Magazine" in the Featured Content folder. Then zoom into the African continent, click on the yellow icons, and explore!


  • African People and Culture (The Africa Guide)
  • Africa PhotoScope (PBS)
  • African Images and Sounds (University of Wisconsin)
  • Faces of Africa (National Geographic)


  • Religion in Africa (ThinkQuest)
  • The Story of Africa (BBC)


  • African Languages (African Cultural Center)
  • Languages in Africa (ThinkQuest)
  • Languages of Africa (Ethnologue)


  • African Music Encyclopedia
  • African Music on the Internet (Stanford University)
  • World Music: Africa (National Geographic)

    For Kids

  • Africa for Kids (PBS)
  • Life for African Kids (BBC)

    Classroom and Family Activities

  • African Act Activities (Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University)
  • African Songs, Chants, and Games
  • Talk With Your Hands (PDF) (National Geographic)

    Lesson Plans

    From National Geographic Xpeditions

  • Grades 6-8: Africa’s Struggle With AIDS
  • Grades 6-8: Is African a Language?
  • Grades 6-8: Pygmies, Pictures, and Poetry
  • Grades 6-8: What’s Happening in Darfur?
  • Grades 9-12: African Language Diversity
  • Grades 9-12: AIDS in Africa I: The Scope of the Problem
  • Grades 9-12: AIDS in Africa II: More Than Sympathy
  • Grades 9-12: Darfur and the Janjaweed
  • Grades 9-12: Pygmies: Getting Right to the Point

    From PBS:

  • Grades 3-6: African Arts and Music
  • Grades 9-12: Exploring African Culture

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  • One response to “Africa’s Peoples and Cultures

    1. I think you should have a look on Cameroon.
      Its amazing. All Africa in a small country.
      Think about it.


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