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African Spotlight |
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The Ghana Empire:
Last week, we looked at the empires of the Western Sudan.
We noted that the word 'Sudan' means - the land of black
people in Arabic. This week we are going to look at the rise and
fall of the first black empire - Ghana. Note that we are not here
concerned about the modern Ghana. We are dealing with the
ancient black empire called Ghana.
At the height of its power in the 10th and 11th centuries, the
government of the Empire of ancient Ghana was very efficient.
There was a Cabinet of imperial ministers. The majority of them
were Moslems and others pagans.
The Court Interpreter and the State Treasurer, for example,
were Moslems because literacy was necessary for these offices.
- The Emperor had flags which were carried before him as he
rode round the city to receive the petitions of his subjects.'
There were a court of justice and a court of appeals at the
capital. ? The
Empire was divided into sixteen large principalities or
voting province. A governor was appointed over each voting
province. The governor was assisted by a chief judical officer, a
linguist, a treasurer and a number of subordinate offficials.
The capital city Kumbi consisted of two townships about six
The Moslem townships had twelve mosques and possessed
many scholars, professors, theologians and priests. Arabic was
the written language here and throughout the Empire.
The royal town. El Ghaba was protected by defensive wall.
And the gold trade between Ghanaians and V^angaras was
carried on at the imperial boundary.
Ghana's commercial relations with the outside world was very
important. Traders from North Africa flocked to its famous
market to obtain gold, slaves, ivory, kola-nuts, honey, gums and
cotton. The traders imported into Ghana salt, copper, clothes
and brocades and dried fruits. Gold was the principal export of
The Emperor's revenue came from the Empire's properous
trade. In the 10th century he charged duties based on what was
imported into his Empire.
The fall of Ghana empire was not a sudden affair. It came in
stages by repeated attacks by enemies. In 1020, Berber forces
from the Sahara attacked the Empire but was driven back.
In 1032, the Almoravids attacked some of the outlying
districts, and in 1055, they captured Audoghast - a vassal state
of the empire, converted its people to Islam and made it their
base. Then from here. Ahn R#?irr i
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forces captured Kumbi the capital of Ghana in 1076. Finally, the
empire disintegrated as some of its outlying provinces broke
Some years later, the nomadic Almoravids left, the sacked
city was rebuilt, and in 1088, Ghana regained its independence.
But the rich city soon attracted fresh invaders, and in 1203, it
was captured by Sumanguru a Susu ruler of Kaniaga. Following
this, the traders of Kumbi emigrated to Walata and other
> . places.
Finally in 1240, Sundiata the ruler of Mali sacked Ghana.
Sumanguru was killed and the remaining inhabitants of Kumbi
fled. And so Ancient Ghana disappeared from history until
recently when Cold Coast named itself Ghana.
The Winston-Salem Chronich
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by Chris Sherman
It doesn't seem to be happy
stuff: the bedroom killing by a
jealous husband; a fight
promoter baiting the crowds; a
prostitute being kicked across
UMWM kWM Ml.
of ghetto life, those scenes
indicate the cruel prediction of
the Shaw Players' latest
production, "Ain't Supposed
to Die a Natural Death".
Despite almost persistent
physical and personal violence,
a spirit of wit and
vitality bursts from the stage.
The flashy colors of street
women, the sounds of a fine
jazz band and comical ciowing
by winos, junkies, country
boys and hardluck losers
comes through cheerily,
offsetting the violence.
,1*1. i i * a ?
me musical oy ivieivin van
Peebles is a kaleidoscope of
- cameo performances and
sideline antics that has no
plotline except survival of the
1 Sometimes, as in a Fellini
movie, the two dozen
performers are impossible to
watch as much as you want,
and yet keeping track of all
three rings is crucial.
For instance, a very likable
old drunk has just won his
woman back and clumsily
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sings iou ain i no astronautess,
but we've been out in
orbit and walked further than
In am er corner, a tall
gent in sunglasses peddles
"Muhammad Speaks". Maleand
female lovers get together
in a bar on still another part of
And th**n the killing in the
bedroom ,rupts into general
An earnest teenager gives
up hope and grabs a rifle.
Through it all, the reunited
couple are the only ones
snuggling instead of struggling.
And even a choreographed
riot, has parts that delighted
.. _ z*
the audience, like when the
hopped-up addict ran jerkingly
by with a television, and
another looter with a ham.
Earthy dialogue and action
keep "Ain't Supposed to Die a "good
clean fun", but it is a
life-force that contends successfully,
at least for an adult
auaience, wun more mortal
' A largely student crowd got
considerable charge out of the
throaty transvestite, although
it became bittersweet than the
. blind beggar fell in love.
There^are numerous excellent
portrayals- in the play,
most spiced with?^musical
Governor Jim Holshouser
annoarvc&d today that Welcome
Elementary School has
received the 1974 North
Carolina State Champion
Award from the President's
Council, on Physical Fitness.
Robert Ronkin is principal
of the school, which is located
in Davidson County.
The award is based On the
percentage of students who
qualified for the President's
Youth Fitness Award, admi
j . iTWBlWIli NQC
:>asty warm fleece lined
?d boot in a soft brushed
?kin by Hush Puppies*. Steel
nk support. Underfoot a
;ed sole and heel to prevent
i from flipping over winter.
November 30, 1974
solos. The old woman who
totes her shopping- bags
throughout the show almost
without a word, is a forceful
She wags her finger to
horrors of ghetto life, that may
have brought the events of the
play to happen.
Van Peebles has drawn
. criticism, particularly for
recent movies that emphasize
low-life as black culture, but
this performance is a welcome
addition to the local theatre.
The Shaw Players presented
"Ain't Supposed to Dift a
Natural Death" November 9
through November 14.
nistered at the end of the last
school year. To receive the
award, a student must score
aKnt/A fKa fiCtU ? ? ?
mwvt v iiiv> u^lll CCHllIC UI1 (1
battery of seven fitness tests.
Notification of the award
came from Captain James A.
Lovell, consultant to the
President on Physical Fitness
and Sports, who noted that
"this award represents the
highest achievement of its
kind" by a school in North
;y's, Inc. j 8
ade St. 5
le Mall 8