August is Women’s Month and on the African continent, award-winning Sudan-born journalist Zeinab Badawi (presenter of HARDTalk) is taking on the challenge of painting an insider’s portrait of the continent in History of Africa S2. We’ll now see the second half of the season, in which Zeinab highlights not only slavery and the aftermath, but the intriguing story of how one Congolese queen fought off a quarter century of colonial invasion. Zeinab has deep ties to the empowerment of women in Africa. Her grandfather, Sheik Babikr Bedri, championed women’s education in the Sudan and founded the school that went on to become the al-Afhad University for Women.
Zeinab intends to help tell Africa’s story through African mouths as she interviews local experts across the continent to expose a vast, rich series of tales of kingdoms and rebellions and independence struggles. It’s time to bust those stereotypes and educate the children.
“For too long, Africa’s history has been maligned, misrepresented and misunderstood, but with these new episodes we hope audiences across the world can enjoy an in-depth exploration of African history, as told by Africans. In the first series of History of Africa, we went all the way back to the origins of humankind and concluded with the early spread of Islam throughout Africa. The second series will continue the journey, right up to the modern day,” says Zeinab.
On the map
The scope of the series is dramatic. This season covers events from the 8th to the 20th centuries. South Africa and Zimbabwe, in particular, come into focus during episode 9 when Zeinab examines how colonialism’s abuses impacted existing local populations. Here is a taste of the breath-taking stories to come:
- Episode 7 (Saturday, 1 August at 17:10): Zeinab confronts the harm done and the long shadow cast in Africa itself by the centuries of Transatlantic slave trade. One man on the Senegalese island of Goree tells the story of slavery as he’s been telling it to tourists for the past 35 years, and academics discuss the whys of Africans selling other Africans into slavery.
- Episode 8 (Saturday, 8 August at 17:10): In Ghana, Zeinab visits the slave forts along West Africa’s coast and uncovers the inhumane conditions that slaves were imprisoned in, along with evidence documenting how women were selected for rape. But along with the bloodshed, she journeys to Liberia to look into the abolitionist movement and the first slaves to return to Africa.
- Episode 9 (Saturday, 15 August at 17:10): We return to South Africa and Zimbabwe to explore the devastating clashes between white settlers and local populations. Zeinab examines what happened to the indigenous population of the Cape when they tried to resist the invaders, and highlights the battles of the Zulu against Europeans with a thirst for land, gold and diamonds – and labour to work them all.
- Episode 10 (Saturday, 22 August at 17:10): The great Kongo Empire encompassed territory in modern-day Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Congo in central Africa. Here Zeinab focuses on the role of women like Queen Nzinga during her 25-year battle against the Portuguese, and Kimpa Vita, who paid a barbaric price for resistance. And one centenarian reflects on the time of Belgian rule.
- Episode 11 (Saturday, 29 August at 17:10): In the final episode, Zeinab gathers freedom and liberation struggle histories and talks to families of lead figures in struggle and uprising from around the continent, and she even meets fighters from different resistance movements like the Mau Mau.
Watch The History of Africa S2 Saturdays at 17:10 on BBC World News (DStv 400).
How to watch The History Of Africa S2 online
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The series has its roots in UNESCO’s (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) long-running General History Of Africa project.