Introduction to West Africa through primary sources

Lesson rationale

There is a vast range of inventive combinations of word, symbol and song across peoples and cultures in West Africa. This interweaving of art, communication forms, languages and writing systems lends itself beautifully to cross-curricular learning. Indeed, the cross-curricular approach enhances students’ ability to understand and learn from West African cultures. For this reason, most of the activities combine, for example Art, History, Geography, RE, English Literature and English Language in different ways.

Key questions in this lesson:

  • What are the countries that make up West Africa? And what are their size and population
  • What are some of the major historical empires of West Africa?
  • What is the difference between countries and empires?
  • Which of the images of artefacts, art and literary works presented are associated with each country, region or empire?
  • What other kinds of languages, or ways of communicating ideas, have been created in West Africa?
  • What do all these objects tell you about West Africa?