The Lion King
||Disney film that honestly doesn't have much to say
about Africa. I usually show the opening scene just to give students a sense of
the landscape. I show the whole movie, however, during the Renaissance as it is
a retelling of Shakespeare's Hamlet. |
The Gods Must Be Crazy
||Comedy about somewhat modern Africa that tells the
story of a very traditional tribe living in the Kalahari. Very funny movie
but again I show only the beginning to set some background. |
Wild Boyz Season 2
||This will require some definite editing. Wild Boyz is
essentially MTVs version of National Geographic. Two guys who are definitely of
the MTV generation travel to various countries to meet the people and animals.
Surprisingly educational in parts and hilarious in others (if you have the sense
of humor of a 14 year old which admittedly, I do). In season 2 they visit Kenya
and I show two very short scenes as part of my unit introduction.|
Sahara: Forgotten History
||The closest I've found to a documentary on West Africa.
It is actually about North Africa of course but includes some of the key points
important in the west such as the gold/salt trade, the influence of Islam and
Mansa Musa. Not perfect but definitely the best I've found. |
Season 12: Simpsons Safari
|| The Simpsons take a trip to Africa and
visit Victoria Falls among other things. Definitely good for a
few clips. |
"Tortoise Beats Hare"
||When I talk about oral history and griots in West
Africa I discuss the importance of folk tales. Some research a few years
ago led me to the African version of The Tortoise and the Hare. In it the
tortoise wins through teamwork which I use to show the necessity of the village
system in Africa. This Looney Toons episode plays out in a similar
and the Hare
||Downloadable (legally) at archive.org this is the more
common (for the West at least...) version of the folk tale. This version is not
particularly interesting but it works.|
Africa Unit Guide
I. Geography and Society of Western
a. This covers the 5 major geographic regions of Africa as
well as a very brief explanation of oral history. Included in my notes but not
online is an "Animal Break" section about gorillas. I use a clip from Wildboyz
here. It helps break up what is an otherwise very text heavy lecture. Also of
note, I no longer include the folk tales or proverbs section in the lecture as I
cover those in the Culture Shock.
II. Government and Economics
a. Day 2 of the notes examines the impact Islam had in Africa
by looking at Arabian traders and the Salt Trade. It also looks at Africa
government briefly with a focus on Mansa Musa and his pilgrimage. I have an
animal break here about camels and their impact on the expansion of the desert
Admittedly not my best work but the kids enjoyed it well enough.
The first shock involves designing a game to be played in the desert (my
personal favorites: Pin the Tail on the Camel, Camel Tipping and Lizard Darts).
The second is about oral history. I read my students The Battle of Kirina
and have them attempt to tell it back to me orally and see what
details are lost. It works with any Africa folk tale and actually a bit better
as those tend to be more interesting. The final section is about Africa proverbs
and, while basic, was fun for my students.