African Culture

North Africa

North Africa has been a prominent location for trade throughout much of history. Therefore, they have been subjected to much cultural diffusion. North Africa today has been greatly influenced by western cultures.

West & Central Africa

West Africa has 17 countries and 100s of ethnic groups. Most of these ethnic groups speak a different language. Therefore, it is not uncommon for them to speak several languages. These Africans are united by a strong tie to kinship or a family relationship. The nuclear family is the parents and children. The extended family includes all relatives. A common ancestor makes you part of a lineage and several lineages can form a clan. This is strong in West Africa because they have to band together for survival.

Storytelling is a major source of passing down traditions. They also pass down traditions through dance and artwork. Many of the slaves that came to America were from West Africa which has greatly influenced American culture. (jazz, blues, Brer Rabbit)

East Africa

East Africa has a multitude of ethnic groups who have migrated to it from West Africa, Middle East, India, and China. East Africa teaches school in English but speak Swahili to preserve their African heritage. Mixture of religions from Islam to Christianity. Huge farming plantation and scarce land has lead to conflict between Rwanda and Burundi.

Southern Africa

South Africa was arranged by skin color with whites being the highest rung and the only ones that could vote. This area of the country was moved by a strong sense of Nationalism and fought for equal citizenship. Growing sense of group unit based upon workers rather than family units.

How much do you really know about AIDS? Click on the title above and take a Fact or Fiction quiz.

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A Girl from Uganda Fights HIV By Colleen Messina

Annabelle felt sad and nervous as she waited for her test results. She felt much more scared than you do when you wait for the results of a test in one of your classes at school. Annabelle was finding out whether she tested positive for HIV.


Annabelle is only 11 years old, but she has faced many challenges. She became an orphan when she lost both of her parents to AIDS. Unfortunately, she tested positive for HIV. Annabelle learned that she got the virus when her mother breastfed her. This is called perinatal transmission. Even though there was a drug that could have prevented the virus from infecting Annabelle, her mother did not receive the medicine. Annabelle is receiving treatment for her illness, but her condition does not have a cure.


Annabelle is not alone in Uganda. Thousands of children there are infected with HIV. Approximately 110,000 children in her country are living with HIV/AIDS. Many are not receiving proper treatment for their condition. People with HIV often do not have symptoms for many years, but at some point, symptoms do appear. They might lose weight. They might have a dry cough or a fever. They have spots on their tongues and in their mouths and throats. It might seem like the person has the flu. During this stage of the disease, they will test positive for the HIV virus.


After living with the HIV for a period of time, the person develops AIDS. AIDS is caused by the HIV virus. AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. There is no cure for HIV or AIDS. The virus destroys a cell in the body that is important for defense. The HIV virus infects the immune system and the vital organs of those who contract it.


After enough of these cells are destroyed, the person develops full-blown AIDS. The person's body can no longer fight infectious diseases. About half of the people who have HIV develop AIDS within ten years. During this stage, the person's immune system breaks down. Glands in the person's neck and armpits may swell. The person becomes vulnerable to many infections.


Many children with AIDS live in Sub-Saharan Africa in countries like Uganda. Uganda is about twice the size of Pennsylvania. It is completely surrounded by land, but it does have several large lakes. Many people make a living through agriculture because of Uganda's tropical climate. They are able to farm because of the fertile soil and regular rainfall through out the year. Uganda also has many mineral resources, such as copper and cobalt, as well as reserves of natural gas and oil. The people of Uganda are working hard to help children like Annabelle who are sick