Example Essay About Africa Through Movies and Books

Africa was one of the continents that have been colonized by the European from the north to the south and from west to east. In the 19th century until 21st century Africa has been colonized by different European countries such as France, Spain, British, Germany, Portugal, Belgium, and Italy,... African people at that time lived with racism and discrimination in their own countries. They didn’t only colonized Africa, but also killed, tortured, and sold the African to rich people. The European came to Africa because of the richness and diversity of the resources that Africa had like gold, oil, copper, natural gas, cobalt, iron, and more.

Foreign Gods

In this semester we had the chance to read different books and watch some movies to discover more Africa and what they have been facing during the colonization. These sources helped us to deepen our understanding of African history and also know how African lived during the colonization in Africa and out of Africa. FOREIGN GODS was the first book we read in this semester, it includes two different topics one is how Ike lived out of Africa in the USA, and also in Africa.  This book gave an example, what thirst of money can do to people, and what people can do to get money, and Ike was a living example of it. Ike in this book stole and sold the god that his own people believed in ‘God of war’, he betrayed his own family especially his uncle. From this book we can conclude that the African inherited some behaviors from the European during the colonization like betraying, lying, and cheating,...etc. Colonization played a huge role in African countries because people start following the European path like their religions and their living style. In Foreign Gods, we can see that because many people covered their religion to Christianity, for example, Ike’s mother and his sister and this is also one of the impacts of the European on African. 

Camp de Thiaroye

Along with FOREIGN  GODS, I think the movie “Camp de Thiaroye” is almost similar to this book because we can see how easy was lying and betraying the African. In the FOREIGN GODS, Gruels gave hope to Ike when he told him, he will buy the statue from him with big pay, but in the end, he only gave him a 1000 dollars, and the money didn’t even cover Ike’s bill tickets, or the rent. And in the film, we can see that the French didn’t want to change the money currency of the African military to the exact amount, for example, 1000 should be 500 in the currency of Africa but they only wanted to give them 250 instead.  Here in both sides, we can see some differences; in Ike’s story we see a weak man who couldn’t talk and stand for his rights, and in the film, we see brave African military who will do whatever it takes to get their rights back. But at the end of the movie, we see how the French betrayed these military people by killing them all and forget that those people stand by their side in the war. This movie really showed me how Africans could be loyal to someone and do everything for them. In this film, not all the Europeans were the same because some of them stood with the Africans on their side and tried hard to get them their right back, but they were only a few of them that’s why they could not do anything for about. 

Slave Owners of West Africa

In all the sources we see how Africans were kind, nice, and educated people. Along the colonization in Africa, there were rich African who used to sell their own kind of people and have them as slaves. In SLAVE OWNERS OF WEST AFRICA, we get to understand more than the African used to be slaves for the rich African people in their countries. This book really gave me another side that not all people know about it “Africans slaving Africans” especially in Ghana. There were three groups who were against pausing slavery during the colonization. Amakashi wanted to maintain slavery, he was wealthy, and religious too. His mom was a slave so he had an idea that having more slaves will make him more wealthy. Also, Tomma Clode was famous in Ghana and his family too. They have reach history in trading, power and also education. Clode was wise and he used to influence people. He married from his own slaves, he also covered his religion to Christianity to meet his dead wife after death. All of these three guys left behind them their own legacy. In this book, we learned that African people made slavery and trading by themselves.        


“Guelwaar” was the first movie we watch in this semester, this movie is about two different religions and how people tried to make problems between them so they can forget about slavery and colonization.  Guelwaar was the man who died and his body was a mismatch and he got buried in an Islamic cemetery. This movie brings an idea of how people will try anything to make problems between religions so people will stay distracted. I liked the idea of the policeman who brought the priest and the imam to solve this problem and this showed how smart people were especially the educated ones. This movie showed us the tradition of Senegal and their culture; how people live and their values. 

Visiting the Newark Museum African gallery we discovered a different kind of art from all over Africa. This museum has many types of art such as painting, statues, and jewelry. What got my attention in the gallery is a Quranic Prayer board, it is from the 1970s, these boards were used throughout the African continent by students to learn and memorize Quran and I think people don’t know that this board people still using it now in many countries including my country ‘Morocco’ in the mosques as a way of learning. This board is made of wood and we used to write over it with ink and when we finish from writing the Quran we start memorizing by taping on it many times till we memorized the Ayat from Quran very well.  Movement #36 is one of the paintings that I liked by Kwesi Owusu-Ankomah because his art is about the human body and the visual power of symbols from around the world. And also he was inspired by different culture like Ghana, Chinese ideograms and that's what makes his special painting.


With these sources, we discovered many new things about Africa and how Europe impact on them. From FOREIGN GODS and SLAVE OWNERS OF WEST AFRICA, and the two movies we got to know the new cultures and values of different countries like Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, and more. We also got to know the old religious more like the Gods that the African used to believe in and the new religions such as Christianity and Islam. From these sources, we get to know how the African used to solve their problem and try to defend their rights, and how some of them were educated and left behind them a legacy that their generation will remember.



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