Class Objective Students will investigate the religion, ethnicity, customs, language, and government of East Africa.
Religion Traditional religions of the area are based on Animism. The religion is based upon the belief that the natural world contains spirits in animals, mountains, trees, and waters. Christianity came to Ethiopia more than 1,500 years ago and was also spread during the 19 th and 20 th centuries.
Religion Cont. Islam was brought into the region by Arabs several centuries ago. Islam is growing rapidly throughout the area. This can be seen by the building of new mosques. Communities are usually dominated by one religion.
Ethnicity and Language Like West Africa, East Africa is full of many different races of people. Arab races have spread from the middle east. There are 3 native groups.
The Nilotic people are located along the Nile river area of the Sudan. Two tribes migrated south into the highlands. They were the Tutsi and the Masai. The Cushitic speakers stretch from the Red Sea through the Horn of Africa. The Bantu speakers are farther south. They include the Kikuyu of Kenya and Hutu of Rwanda. They also went into South Africa.
East Africa East Africa is facing many of the same issues as the rest of Africa. One thing that is even more severe is the ethnic conflict in the area.
Causes of Conflict Some conflicts are caused over land and fair distribution of government aid and jobs. Many of these conflicts started during the time of European imperialism. The European countries just drew random borders for countries without thinking of the peoples who were living there.
Some of the conflicts today are over land that is claimed to be traditional homeland of the people. That land is now in another country because of the way the borders were drawn. Some of these conflicts escalate past the point of political war to the eradication of a culture.
Genocide is the intentional destruction of a people. An example of this would be the Nazi's trying to kill all of the Jewish people. One of the worst cases of this in Africa happened in Rwanda in 1994.
Somalia In 1992 the United States joined in a peace keeping mission in Somalia. Somalia had been involved in a civil war. The civilians trapped in the middle of the civil war were being starved to death. The United States and the U.N felt they needed to get involved.
In 1993 President Clinton took office and decided not to pull out U.S troops but gave control of the mission to the Sec. Gov. of the U.N. In an attempt to capture the head of the rebel force a group of army rangers and special forces were thrown into a battle against an entire city.
Republic of Southern Sudan The Sudan has been a place of conflict since the 1800’s because of the access to the Nile river. The French and British have both sought to control the area. During the time of British control Britain would not allow Muslims to spread their religion to the southern portion of the country but Christian missionaries were allowed. This created a religious divide between the ethnic groups to the North and South.
Conflict Conflict has been occurring between the North and South since the 70’s. In 2002 there was a cease fire negotiated by the U.S. The Northern portion of the Sudan used oil money to fight and persecute the people of the South. Ethiopia provided a safe haven for rebels in the South.
Independence Jan 11 2011, the people of South Sudan voted to become independent with 98.83% of the population. One of the benefits that South Sudan has is oil. The majority of Sudan’s remaining oil is located in the South. Not everything is peachy for South Sudan. Civil war rages in many territories of the country. Citizens claim that the government is trying to stay in power permanently instead of having elections.