All about West African culture

West Africa is composed of a multitude of countries that have marvelous culture. From the modern skyscrapers to untouched nature, you will find amazing places in this region. The countries that compose this region are: Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.

These countries have an amazing folk culture that was brought in Occidental states from the beginning of the 15th century. Many of the traditional stories influenced later Occidental stories like Bret the rabbit. Before the arrival of the Europeans, this region was divided in Kingdoms ruled by local kings. Many countries now share similar clothing and cuisine thanks to the common past. After the arrival of the Europeans these borders were destroyed and the colonial era started. The unfortunate slavery era influenced the West African culture immensely. Many songs and stories revolve around those dark times and they are still told to the younger generation.

The architecture depends on the location of the area. The distinct Sudano-Sahelian style can be found in inland areas while the coastal forest style it is best found in sub-Saharan areas. Even with these different architecture styles, all bulding have a certain role. The compound is the centre of the traditional family house while public and administrative buildings have a distinct look.

The clothing found in this region is simply amazing thanks to the detailing and beautiful hemming. The traditional clothing pieces are knee-to-ankle-length and include Dashiki, flowing Boubou robe and the Senegalese Kaftan. Many of these pieces remained unchanged since the times of African Kingdoms. Another traditional clothing piece is the tunic that is half-sleeved and hip-long. In some areas it is worn over a pair of baggy trousers. The detail work on all these pieces is amazing and the colors are vibrant.

The West African food met the foreigners a long time ago and left a very good impression. The generosity of local people impressed traders and historians and many elements of the traditional cuisine were taken back home. Coastal areas feature a lot of fish in the cuisine while inland areas have meat. Vegetables are a must in the traditional cuisine and they include: yams, plantains, sweet potato cassava and rice. Some of the most loved traditional dishes are Akara (fried bean balls served with sauce and bread), Fufu (dough served with spicy stew and sauce), taguella, eghajira and Jollof rice.

Football is one of the most popular sports. There are many football championships all over the region and the players are true superstars. A popular board game in this area is Oware.

Traditional music is one of the most beautiful cultural heritages in this area. The unique talking drum can be found only in this area. There are many music styles that can differ from country to country. The traditional music has different purposes and it is meant to be enjoyed by everybody. Modern music still has its roots in the old traditional music.