Sub Saharan African Culture – Things That You Must Know

sub saharan african culture

Tucked in between The Sahara desert to its south and mighty Indian and Atlantic oceans to it’s North, Sub Saharan Africa is a land of diverse cultures, traditions, languages and ethnicities. It is where humankind is said to have originated and spread across the world.

There are 43 Nations of mainland Africa and six nations in African Islands in this region but it houses a larger diversity and ethnocultures. Most of the nations are still young and have got their independence from European colonization in the 20th century.

People and Population

A young boy wearing a hat

The rapidly growing population is one of the stumbling block for the growth of this region. Children make up the most portion of their population. With the population of over 1 million and one-third of it being younger than 15, poverty and illness have been constant cullies of people for ages despite the galore of resources.

The independence from European colonization wasn’t plain sailing for them and when they were left, they were left with only a few skilled manpower and lack of internal stability.

Ethnic Groups

A man wearing a costume

The major and oldest tribe that originated in Sub Saharan Africa was the Bantu and this tribe has now evolved into 500 different tribes and spread across Africa. Some of the popular ethic groups are – Zulu, Kongo, Mongo, Kikuyu, Swahili, Luba, etc.


With its humongous population, Sub Saharan Africa has sundry of languages. There are around 1500 languages that are spoken throughout the region, some of them do not have scripts.

Many of the local languages with no script are slowing vanishing into thin air as the globalization hits Africa.


The families are generally large and joint. The fertility rate of this region is high and ranges between 5-7. The extended families are considered to be immediate families. The siblings of parents are treated as parents and the children of present’s siblings are treated as their own siblings.

Clothing and Cuisines

The food in this region can be described as starchy and spicy. Fufu, kenkey, couscous, garri, foutou and banku are some of the popular dishes.

The most commonly used cloth material is cotton. The cotton cloth is called as machira.


Sub Saharan African art majorly speaks about their culture, traditions and life. Sculptures and abstract arts are their major interests. Their art represents their society, spiritual notions, ideas, values, etc. The second oldest abstract form of art and the oldest rock art is found in this region.


There is no second thought in the fact that Sub South African nations are a few of the world’s most culturally rich countries. It is a home for varied rich culture and heritage.

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