Unit 1: Ancient Africa - The Cradle of Civilization
(200,000 B.C. - 476 B.C.)

Unit 1: Class 3: The Beginning of Civilization

People To Know
Basil Davidson, (1914 - 2010) Historian of Africa, Journalist, Activist.  Basil Davidson was a true champion of African history in the face of a white world unwilling to acknowledge Africa's righteous place in world history...

Documentary: Africa: A Voyage of Discovery, Episode 1 of 8 - "Different but Equal" 

Related Video
The Dabous Giraffes are a neolithic petroglyph (rock art) completed between 9,000 B.C.E. and 7,000 B.C.E. in what is now Niger, Africa. One giraffe has on a leash, suggesting the early domestication of the camel. The sophistication and significance of these carvings provide evidence that the African genius was sparked thousands of years before the founding of Ancient Egypt. ​

Basil Davidson’s seminal 8-episode documentary series ‘Africa’ challenges the long held beliefs like the opinion of David Hume that Africa had ‘no ingenious manufactures among them, no arts, no sciences’. The series presents a pan-African conception of history from the origins of Egypt and Nubia to the liberation movements that Basil was familiar with, and newly independent nations in Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

When Greek Historian Herodotus visited Ancient Egypt he described the civilisation he saw there as ‘different but equal’. Episode one shows that some of the world’s greatest early civilisations have their origins in black Africa, including those along the Nile Valley. The episode includes interviews with Senegalese mathematician, philosopher and Egyptologist Cheikh Anta Diop and explores the growth of African civilisations in West and Northeast Africa.

About the series:

The series was produced in collaboration between Channel 4, The Nigeria Television Authority MBTV and RM Arts. It first aired 30 years ago in 1984 and won many awards, including the International Film & TV Festival of New York Gold Award. It has since been distributed, free of charge to many schools and colleges in the UK and Africa.