Arab, Ashanti, Bantu, & Swahili

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Arab, Ashanti, Bantu, & Swahili

StandardsSS7G4 The student will describe the diverse culturesof the people who live in Africa.a. Explain the differences between an ethnic groupand a religious group.b. Explain the diversity of religions within the Arab,Ashanti, Bantu, and Swahili ethnic groups.

TeachersPrint off the following page for each student. Theyshould complete the graphic organizer while discussingthe presentation.*I have them fill it out as we go, and when we get tothe “Let’s Review” slides, they fill in what they mighthave missed.

Arab, Ashanti, Bantu, & Swahili

This is a group of people who share a commonculture. These characteristics have been part of theircommunity for generations.Ethnic groups can have many things in common: Shared history, common ancestry, language,religion, traditions, beliefs, holidays, food, etc. All of these things make up a common culturethat is shared by the members of the ethnicgroup.

This is a group of people who share a beliefsystem. They believe in the same god (or gods)and have common sacred text with a specificset of rules about how to live. Religious groups have many things in common: God(s), prophets, prayers, history, sacredtext, religious laws, holy days, etc. People from different ethnic groups may sharethe same religion; however, they may be fromdifferent cultures.

Most Africans today are either Muslim or Christian,but traditional religions and customs still play a role inAfrican culture.Characteristics of traditional African religions include: Storytelling: Creation stories Kings are seen as gods Ancestor worship Rituals including art, music, fire, dance, food, drink Charms and amulets Animism: Belief in spirits in nature Prayers and offerings to spirits

Most of Africa’s Arab population is foundin the countries of Northern Africa. While the majority of Arabs are in NorthAfrica, the gold and salt trade spread theArab culture beyond the Sahara into theSahel region and beyond.

Arab people began to spread into North Africa in thelate 600s, when the first Muslim armies arrived inEgypt. Arab armies, traders, and scholars soon spread acrossnorthern Africa all the way to Morocco. Wherever the Arabs went, they took Islam and theArabic language with them. Arabic was necessary to be able to read the Quran,Islam’s holy book. The Arabic language, the religion of Islam, and manyother aspects of Muslim culture became part of Africa.

Most Arabs, but not all, practice Islam. The term “Arab” also includes Arabicspeaking Christians in Syria, Lebanon,Israel, and Jordan.

The term “Arab” refers to an ethnicgroup made up of people who speak theArabic language. Some Jews, Kurds, Berbers, Copts, andDruze speak Arabic, but are not usuallyconsidered Arab.

Arab Girls’ School inEgypt

The majority of Arab people are found inSouthwest Asia and northern Africa. The language of the Arab people isArabic. Most Arabs, but not all, practice Islam.

Prior to European colonization, the Ashantipeople developed a large and influential empirein West Africa. Today, they live predominately in Ghana andIvory Coast. The majority of Ashantis reside in Ashanti,Asanteman (currently a sub-nation withinGhana). Asanteman has a population of 3,812,950. The total Ashanti population is over 7 million.

In 1701, a meeting of all the clan chiefs in the region was held. In this meeting, a Golden Stool was produced from theheavens by a priest and landed on the lap of Osei Tutu, thefirst king. The Golden Stool was declared to be the symbol of the newAshanti kingdom. The Golden Stool is sacred to the Ashanti, as it is believed thatthe kingdom will last as long as it remains in the hands of theAshanti king. The Golden Stool is an Ashanti legend and has only been seenby the tribe's royalty -- only the king and trusted advisers knowthe hiding place of the stool.

Bells are attached tothe side to warn theking of impendingdanger.Golden Stool of theAshanti (Replica)

Ashanti believe in a supreme god who takes on various namesdepending upon the region of worship. The Ashanti believe lower gods, like spirits, are on earth toassist humans. Spirits receive their power from the supreme god and aremost often connected to the natural world. Ashanti priests serve the spirits and act as mediatorsbetween the supreme god and humans.This is called animism – the belief that natural physical entities,including animals, plants, and features of the earth, have aspiritual essence. Other religions (Islam & Christianity) are also practiced bymany Ashanti.

The major dialect of the Ashanti languageis called ‘Asante’, or ‘Twi’. It is spoken in and around Kumasi, thecapital of the former Ashanti empire, andwithin the current sub-national AsanteKingdom in Ghana.

They live predominately in Ghana and IvoryCoast. Most speak Twi (or Asante). The Ashanti religion is a mixture of spiritualand supernatural powers. They believe that plants, animals, and treeshave souls. The Golden Stool legend is very important toAshanti culture.

Bantu generally refers to nearly 600 ethnicgroups in Africa who speak Bantulanguages. The Bantu people are distributed throughoutcentral and southern parts of the continent. Bantu make up about two-thirds of Africa’spopulation and cover the southern half ofthe continent. The word “bantu” means “the people”.

The Bantu originally came from southeastern Nigeria andCameroon, and then spread east and south near Zambia. Around 1000 CE, the Bantu reached present-day Zimbabweand South Africa. As they spread across the continent, they met many new people,learned new skills, and shared their customs and beliefs. They intermarried with the people, accepting new traditionsand blending them with Bantu culture. Bantu-speaking people settled as far south as the southern tip ofAfrica. The Bantu migration was one of the largest movements ofpeople in Africa’s history.

Many Bantu people settled in areas wherethere was a strong Arab presence and are nowMuslim. Other Bantu people were influenced bymissionary efforts in Africa and are nowChristian. Still others follow traditional African religions,like animism. Animists believe that spirits are found innatural objects and surroundings.

There are over 650 different Bantulanguages and dialects. Today, close to 70 million people acrossthe southern half of Africa speak Bantubased languages and share some part ofBantu culture.

High School Classroom

The Bantu people are found throughout SubSaharan Africa. Bantu is usually known more as a language than anethnic group. Bantu is a mixture of nearly 600 different ethnicgroups combined. There are over 650 different Bantu languages anddialects. Bantu practice Islam, Christianity, & traditionalAfrican religions (animism).

The Swahili people inhabit the southerncoast of East Africa, in Kenya, Tanzania,& Mozambique. Members mostly reside in the easternAfrican Great Lakes region, along theSwahili coast. The total population is 1,328,000.

The Swahili community developed alongthe coast of East Africa when Arabtraders began to settle there andintermarry with the local Bantu-speakingpopulation. The groups’ name comes from the Arabicword “Swahili,” which means “one wholives on the coast”.

Swahili Women & Girls

Islam established its presence in the region during the9th century, when Arab traders made contact with theBantu people. Islam has been one of the factors that helped createa common identity for such a diverse group ofpeople. Many among the Swahili also follow local religiousbeliefs that have been part of the culture of easternAfrica since before Muslim traders arrived.

Men &Boys

The Swahili speak the Swahili language astheir native tongue. While the Swahili language is considered aBantu language, there are many Arabicwords and phrases included as a result ofinteractions with early Arab traders.


The Swahili people are found in easternAfrica (Kenya, Tanzania, & Mozambique). The language they speak is Swahili. This is a mixture of Arabic & traditionalAfrican languages. Most Swahili people practice Islam.

Four Perspectives Poetry–Teacher Directions You can have the students choose their ethnic group, oryou can assign them one. Each student should complete the graphic organizer as ifhe/she is a member of the ethnic group. *This is therough draft. Next, the student should write out the full poem on whitepaper. Finally, put the students in groups of 4—each ethnicgroup should be represented. They should cut out theirpoems and glue all 4 onto construction paper. *Thesemake excellent hallway displays!

Ethnic Group Pen Pals –Teacher Directions You can have the students choose their ethnic group, oryou can assign them one. After the students write their letters, I like to have themswitch letters and read what someone from anothergroup wrote. You can even have them answer the questions in the PenPal letter.

TeachersThank you for downloading this file. I hope you enjoy using it with yourstudents, and I can’t wait to read your feedback in my TPT store! For more social studies materials, please visit my in-Wrinkles I teach Language Arts and Social Studies in Georgia, so my productsare aligned with Common Core (LA) and Georgia PerformanceStandards (SS). Copyright 2013. Brain Wrinkles. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to copy pages specificallydesigned for student or teacher use by the original purchaser or licensee. The reproduction of any other partof this product is strictly prohibited. Copying any part of this product and placing it on the Internet in any form(even a personal/classroom website) is strictly forbidden. Doing so makes it possible for an Internet search tomake the document available on the Internet, free of charge, and is a violation of the Digital MillenniumCopyright Act (DMCA).

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Bantu is usually known more as a language than an ethnic group. Bantu is a mixture of nearly 600 different ethnic groups combined. There are over 650 different Bantu languages and dialects. Bantu practice Islam, Chr

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