Westerners’ Perceptions of Africa vis-à-vis Africa’s Urbanization Process: Is Africa Really a Dark Continent Devoid of History as Portrayed by the Westerners?

  • Gutema Imana


This paper aims to evaluate the Westerners’ conceptions or perceptions of Africa by reviewing historical sources in the area of world urbanization in general and Africa in particular. Africa has been portrayed by many in the western world as a dark continent devoid of history and anything good. Africa has been considered as a dark continent devoid of all elements of civilization - statehood, urbanization, and advances in social and economic spheres. In this paper, therefore, an attempt is made to look at the urbanization process of the world in general and Africa, in particular, to see whether or not Africans have had their course of urban history and civilization contrary to the perceptions held by many Westerners against Africa. The study employed a qualitative secondary research method that involved the collection and review of historical data that were produced on the urbanization process of the world in general and Africa in particular. Results indicate that Africa, contrary to the Westerners’ perceptions, had its independent urban history and civilization. Indeed, Africa’s achievements in history are not limited to urbanization as Africa had also registered significant breakthroughs in the area of technology, creative arts, agricultural techniques, governance, gender equality, conflict resolution systems, etc. though this paper is limited only to Africa’s achievements in the area of urbanization.

Keywords: Africa; Civilization; Pre-colonial; Urbanization; Westerners

Author Biography

Gutema Imana

Haramaya University, College of Social Sciences and Humanities, Department of Sociology

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