Remember who you are. Let the stories sync in, right to your soul like the beat of a drum, which is our African heartbeat. Let it permeate and lead you to know you are able to do anything.Nya Mona Muchemi, host AfriWetu Podcast
What comes to mind when you think of African history and culture? The civilisations of Merowe, Egypt, Mali, or better yet, the kingdoms of Great Zimbabwe and the Zulu nation? Fair enough, they are the better-known aspects of ancient Africa. However, African culture spans further into different elements with tribes, such as the Zulus of South Africa and the Maasai of Kenya and Tanzania, and African food, such as couscous, a popular dish in Morocco and Algeria. African languages and the interesting fact that every country has its own set of languages contribute to the thousands of indigenous dialects spoken across Africa. And finally, African art, with sculptural art being the most popular form in a country like Egypt.
When it comes to Africa, there is just so much to learn. Unlike in other parts of the world, where history is captured in decaying buildings, in Africa, the continent’s story is found in the people who live there. And what better way to learn in a non-academic way than through podcasts?
Here is a list of 8 top podcasts that explore Africa’s history and culture.
Not Your African Cliche (Nigeria)
Hosted by four Nigerian women, Not Your African Cliche is a podcast that highlights the complex stories of Africans, ranging from African literature and travel to politics and activism. Ifeyinwa, Onyeka, Ifeoluwa, and Amayo challenge myths and assumptions about the African continent and its people.
The quartet don’t hold back when talking about all important African issues, from the origins of certain aspects of culture to their day-to-day interactions with them in today’s society.
A typical NYAC session would begin with a catch-up of what they’ve been up to, followed by introducing the episode’s topic of discussion. They would then analyse facts and debunk myths on that particular issue while serving an equal measure of laughter and joy in the conversation.
AfriWetu is an audio-story repository aimed at transporting the listener to the places being spoken of, guided by the motto “Watu wetu (Swahili for “Our People”), rooted in our story.”
The podcast celebrates African history, people, culture, and folklore. Nya Mona Muchemi, the creator and host of AfriWetu, wants our folklore (as Africans) to be the lexicon of our future generations.
“I want the next GOT (Game of Thrones), Marvel, and Harry Potter to be rooted in our stories because we have them.”Nya Mona
This podcast reminds listeners that stories promote a sense of belonging, and as a result, everyone has a story to tell. Hence the tagline, “rooted in our story”. Tune in to travel with Mona towards identifying our belonging as Africans.
African Folktales Podcast (Nigeria)
African folktales podcast focuses on an in-depth exploration of folktales from all parts of Africa. Makafui, the host and a researcher with a passion for folktales, tries to bring them back by re-telling them. After all, that’s how they were passed from one generation to another, by word of mouth. What makes them interesting, however, is how the folktales are never repeated in the same way. The narrator then traces its origin in Africa, followed by a character analysis, a short side story, and a proverb for the conclusion.
A keen interest in these folktales reinforces a specific philosophy about human nature. Perhaps, how human beings came into existence or maybe why certain things are how they are today. After all, each story embodies a moral.
Africa’s Untold Stories (Zimbabwe)
The podcast hosted by Bryan Adaare and Seyram Ofori was created to get rid of ignorance, burst up stereotypes, debunk myths and give a clear and broad understanding of African heritage.
Each episode features a conversation between the hosts about a topic in African history, where they then point out some lessons that come with that significant aspect of the continent’s history.
If your interest lies in the untold African history of pre-colonial Africa, then ask no more! Africa’s Untold Stories is the heritage.
Inside Wants Out (South Africa)
In the spirit of celebrating African identity, Tinzwe Media’s Inside Wants Out Podcast is here to look into the rich histories, identities, and meanings of African indigenous and mother-tongue languages. Unlike the other podcasts, which are personal initiatives, Inside Wants Out is powered by the South African Department of Sports, Arts and Culture (DSAC).
Creatively hosted by Lesego Mitshegwa, the podcast features poets from different African countries who each provide the original vocal delivery of the poems. The poet gives an introduction, the original poem delivered in their mother tongue and the English translation of the poem.
Inside Wants Out is a podcast dedicated to celebrating language through the art of poetry. It creatively combines written poetry, language, and the spoken word. Where else would you find such a cocktail of history in creative words? Head on to the podcast.
Those Who Came Before Us (Uganda)
Take my hand, as I guide you down the pathways of Africa’s supposed night covered past. Allow me to show you her numerous and diverse people, their perspectives, religion and their stories.David Ibanda
Triggered by a particular British historian’s reference to Africa’s past as darkness, David Ibanda, the creator and host of Those Who Came Before Us podcast, embarked on a journey to change the narrative on Africa’s representation while squashing such degrading stereotypes.
David picks a particular African group and talks about their pre-colonial history and how that history affects the modern-day nation of the group. To him, it is a way of teaching himself African history through studying, learning and then sharing with the listeners.
Paukwa Stories (Kenya)
Paukwa is an award-winning, episode-style culture podcast sharing positive narratives from Kenya. It takes you through the 47 counties that make up Kenya. Each episode features one county with a history of that county and how it came to be. It also highlights the communities that currently inhabit the area and what each of those counties offers.
Paukwa stories are researched and curated for all audiences; they cover equal parts of the country’s shared history, everyday lives, and snippets of homegrown joy. Travel with the narrator and explore Kenya on an insightful and exciting journey.
Goodnight Azania (South Africa)
Goodnight Azania is a South African podcast hosted by one compelling thinker, Mzamo Simone. The podcast aims to enlighten listeners who might not know how South Africa became what it is today. Goodnight Azania, therefore, talks about South African society and culture.
Mzamo is motivated by his passion for reviewing culture and learning from it. He believes that people can’t fully engage in any public culture if they don’t understand where it came from and what has shaped the present, to eventually reach a point of talking about it and what the future would be.
“If you don’t know where you’ve come from, you don’t know where you are going.”Maya Angelou