Meaning of Interaction
To interact means to spend time with other people in different aspects of life. For example there is interaction between teacher and students in the classroom, interaction between people in the community and others.
Before colonialism African communities had several interactions which included social and economic interactions.
Social interaction was influenced by the following factors;
Migration is the movement of people from their origin to other places. East Africa origin belonged to four main language groups namely Khoisan, Cushite, Nilotes and Bantu group
Oral traditions show that the earliest inhabitants of East Africa were Khoisan origin. This group were nomadic hunters and gathers, they interacted with the large group of Cushite, Bantu and Nilotes communities who began to settle in East Africa from the 1st
Southern Cushite were another group of early inhabitants of East Africa originated from Ethiopia highlands and these people were pastoralists
Another group is Nilotes who were originated from Nile Valley in Sudan. Examples of Nilotes group include Mang’ati of Tanzania and Kenya, Maasai of Kenya and Karamajong of Uganda
Historical evidence shows that the original home of the Bantu was the area between the Cameroon, Some Bantu communities in East Africa are Nyamwezi, Sukuma, Chagga, Pare of Tanzania, Kikuyu and Kamba of Kenya and Buganda, Busoga and Bunyoro of Uganda
Impact of Migration
- Introduction of Iron technology to East Africa from Bantu speakers
- Occurrence of inter communal conflicts in the continent
- Interference of Cultural practices for example Nilotes and Bantu interference
- Exchange of skills and knowledge between different communities, for example Bantu were farmers so they influenced other groups such as Maasai to undertake cultivation
- Replacement of settlement for some weak communities, for example the original inhabitant of Est Africa (hunters and gathers) were forced to move from their original settlement by the stronger groups
- Increased of population
- Development of trade activities
There was the presence of religion activities in pre-colonial African societies, these include rituals, purifications, ceremonies and prayers for soldiers before they went to the wars and other activities.
Among the Asante people of West Africa King/the royal/ priest was believed to be the link between the living and non-living and stood as a symbol for the unity of the State.
Impacts of Religion
- It built unity between members of the community
- Religion laws helped to maintain order in the societies, for example the use of Islamic laws and Sharia
- It promotes moral values in the societies
- Led to the rise of powerful people in the societies
Also in pre-colonial African societies there was presence of wars, African communities engaged in wars from time to time, they fought for various reasons such as for getting fertile land, to expand their kingdom, to test their military strength and to increase their herds of live stocks.
Impacts of Wars
- Weaker societies lost their land, live stocks and their citizen.
- Led to death of many people.
- Destruction of properties.
- Led to insecurity to the defeated societies.
- MUSIC AND DANCE
African music and dances brought people together, different community events and ceremonies were accompanied by songs and dances. Every African society developed songs and these songs spread from one community to the other.
Impacts of Music and Dance
- Songs were used to pass traditions of the community from one generation to the other.
- Music were used in working places to simplify them
- Songs and dances enhanced Unity in the community
- During wars songs instilled courage and hope especially to warriors.
African had medicine, men and women played an important role to both spiritual and medically. Most of the medicine were extracted from plant roots, barks and leaves. A variety of herbs and trees were used for example Muarobaini (Swahili word) believed that could heal over 40 diseases. Kinjeketile Ngwale was a famous medicine man from Ngarambe, during majimaji resistance to colonial rule He used magic water from Uluguru Mountains and claim that those magic water could turn bullets into water.
Impacts of Medicine
- It enabled people to live longer and healthier by curing their diseases
- It provided an inspiration for the communities
- Community with powerfully medicine gained great respect from other societies.
Marriage occupied a position of great important in African community, every member of the society ought to build their families so people were allowed to have children only within the institution of marriage ceremony.
Impact of Marriage
- Married people got children who increased the size of the society
- It enhance political unity in the kingdom for example in Buganda kabaka married from different clans.
Economic interaction was affected by the following factors;
- METAL WORKING
African communities used various kinds of metals to make tools, weapons, utensils and ornaments. Examples of those metals are Iron, copper and gold.
Egyptian were the the first known people to use copper, Gold was used in the Kingdom of Ghana, Egypt and Zimbabwe.
Impact of Metal Working
- Led to increase of food production and food security
- Development of urban cities such as Western Sudan and Sufila
- Society became stratified due to the availability of metals for example blacksmith
African communities also practiced agriculture activities which involved cultivation of crops. Maasai people initially did not practice agricultural activities but as a result of interaction with agriculture communities.
The use of iron tools such as knives and axes in turn led to increased interaction among communities.
Impacts of Agriculture
- Led to increase of food production.
- Agriculture encouraged societies to settle in one place in order to protect their crops.
- Surplus production encouraged the development of trade between communities.
- Urban centers such as Egypt developed.
- Allowed some people to specialize in a particular activities such as tools making, trade activities and others.
- In Egypt agriculturist invented writing, geometry and calendar skills for keeping agriculture record.
Fishing is an economic activities that was practiced by communities who lived near water bodies such as river, lakes and the sea.
In pre-colonial East Africa the Wandengereko fished in river Rufiji while the Zaramo and other coast communities who were the fishers interacted with pastoralist and agriculturist communities to get animal products and agricultural products.
Impact of Fishing
- Development of large fishing village.
- Fishing provided an additional source of food.
- Led to the interaction of different cultures due to fish men travelled in their beats to new places.
Trade enabled various communities such as pastoralists, agriculturist and others to interact each other. It was conducted through barter trade in pre-colonial Africa that was exchanging of goods with goods with other societies.
Impacts of Trade
- Development of Market centers such as Ujiji in Tabora, Kibwezi in Kenya.
- Emergence of mining centers such as Meroe in Western Sudan.
- Development of Trade routes such as North and West Africa.
- Intermarriage for example between Nyamwezi and Swahili people from coast.
- Islamic religion spread to the Coast of East Africa.