b'DECOLONISING THE CURRICULUMThis year we have studied a unique and new topic: African Kingdoms before colonisation. In this topic, we learnt about kingdoms such as Benin, Great Zimbabwe, Mali and Oyo.Benin (900-1897CE) Mali EmpireThe Benin Kingdom began when small villages situated in the(1235-1610CE)rainforests of West Africa joined together as a conglomerate inSundiata Keita, known as the Lion of Mali, was order to improve trading and security. At first, they were ruled by athe founder of the Mali Empire, the largest and dynasty of kings called Ogisos. However, in 1180, the Ogiso andperhaps most interesting kingdom in West Africa.his family were exiled for misrule and a man named Eweke becameAfter King Soumaoro Kante of the Sosso took king, thus creating a new dynasty of kings called Obas. Ordinaryover the Madinka people, they sent word to the people believed that Eweke was the descendant of Osanobua,exiled Sundiata to reclaim the land as theirs. the creator god of the traditional religion in Benin. Along with thisIn exile, he built many alliances and returned traditional religion, Benin was predominantly Roman Catholic,victoriously, taking the title of Mansa. He ruled due to Portuguese influence in the 15th century. GeographicallyMali from 1235-1255 and expanded it to the Niger perfect for trade, the Benin Kingdom peaked in their Golden AgeRiver. Mali is most known for Mansa Musa. He (1300-1700). They used brass, using cowrie shells as currency, butdeveloped Gao and Timbuktu into outstanding their largest source of wealth came later through slave trading. Inuniversities, cultural centres and trading centres. 1700, civil wars broke out over who should be the next Oba. AfterHe built structures like Sankore University, the a dispute regarding a treaty, British officials were killed and Britainfirst university in the world, and Djinguereber invaded Benin, taking the Benin Bronzes in the process. Mosque. This brought in scholars and made Mali prominent. Their wealth came from trade, such as gold and salt mines. His empire was unique in the Islamic world.Mansa Musas pilgrimage in 1324 showed his wealth as he gave away so much gold it collapsed the economy in Cairo, and also put Mali on the Catalan Atlas in 1375, recognised even by Europe.His administration meant that he maintained Timbuktus status as a trading centre of sub-Saharan Africa. This was shown after he died, when his successors started to quarrel about who should be the next Mansa, making them vulnerable to invasion, which Morocco and the Songhai Kingdom took full advantage of. Timbuktu and Gao had been taken control of and in 1610, the Mali Great Zimbabwe (1100-1450CE)Empire officially came to an end, breaking up into smaller empires. Its legacy, however, for historians Great Zimbabwe, founded between two rivers, was formedand scholars lives on. in c.1100 by the Shona people. Their trade came from cattle, crops and gold. Great Zimbabwe was famous for its Great Stone Enclosure, built for religious purposes and to demonstrate power. The structure had a height of 9.7m and circumference of 250m. It relied on carefully placed rocks instead of structures built with mortar. Life for ordinary people in Zimbabwe was similar to Europe; households were dominated by males and wives sowed, tended crops, harvesting them and preparing food. In the 15th century, the Shona people abandoned Great Zimbabwe and emigrated. This was due to a decline in trade, overpopulation,Student Experiencesdeforestation, exhaustion of gold mines, political instability, famine and water shortages due to climate change and the unpredictable weather. Interestingly, there are disputes about who actually builtWe have enjoyed African Kingdoms Great Zimbabwe. In 1871, its people thought it was impossiblebecause we find African culture very for Africans to have built these structures, which could have beeninteresting, and have found the topic built by the Ancient Greeks or a group from the Middle East. In 1895, archaeologists finally found evidence that it had been builtof Benin fascinating. (Jovan Mann & locally. In 1931, archaeologists dug deeper and confirmed it hadBen Marra in 8H)been built by indigenous people; with evidence from excavations, this was further confirmed in the 1960s.African Kingdoms has been an Ive enjoyed the African Kingdoms module because it challengesexciting journeyit has opened new misconceptions about African history being all about slavery and being less smart than Europeans. (David Akanihu in 8N) historical doors for me. (Christian Mussie in 8A)George Lin, 8W31'