Saturday, April 23, 2016

Reading Period 26: April 22-28: Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia

Long Read:

Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe, chapters 8-13

Short Read: 

"How to Write About Africa" by Binyavanga Wainana


Galaa Leged (Defeat of the Infidels) by Mohammed Abdullah Hassan

Somalia is famous for its poetry. The explorer Richard Burton said, in his book First Footsteps in East Africa: "The country teems with poets... every man has his recognized position in literature as accurately defined as though he had been reviewed in a century of magazines - the fine ear of this people causing them to take the greatest pleasure in harmonious sounds and poetic expressions ... Every chief in the country must have a panegyric to be sung by his clan, and the great patronize light literature by keeping a poet."

Creative Assignment:

Watch this video, which shows a man playing an Igbo flute, like Okonkwo's father would have:

Now experiment with your own flute, ocarina, recorder, tin whistle, or fife. Can you figure out some elements of this music that you can replicate? Do you think it has sheet music or is it improvisation? How would you make sheet music for it if you had to? What notes repeat and return? Create a video of yourself playing the flute or flute-like instrument in this style.


Coptic art was religious art practiced by Coptic Christians. The Copts are a denomination of Christianity established in Alexandria by St. Mark and practiced in northeastern Africa. Take a look at this page about Coptic art and then create your own Coptic illustration. You must follow the symbolic rules of Coptic illustrations (from that page):

Large and wide eyes symbolize the spiritual eye that look beyond the material world.
Large ears listen to the word of God.
Gentle lips to glorify and praise the Lord.
Small mouths, so that they cannot be the source of empty or harmful words.
Small noses, because the nose is sometimes seen as sensual.
Large heads, which imply that the figure is devoted to contemplation and prayer.

Since we're studying Ethiopia, you may take as a model one of these paintings, and copy it:


In chapter nine of Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo considers the folk tale about why the mosquito buzzes in his ears. Create your own version of the story by expanding the few sentences in the book with details and dialogue. You can add characters, descriptions of the setting, or anything you like while sticking to the basic idea. Imagine you are tasked with entertaining a group of children around a campfire, and tell a 300 word version of this silly story. 

Writing Assignment: 

Mohammed Abdullah Hassan (author of our poem for this week) was a Somali leader who established the Dervish state to combat the British imperialism that he felt was annihilating his culture and people. The British called him "the Mad Mullah." Research his life and write a 300 word essay about him with a clear introduction, body, and conclusion. Your introduction must pose a research question: why was he called "the Mad Mullah"? Your conclusion must answer it. Cite at least one source at the end of your essay.


 The Scramble for Africa was the invasion of Africa by European powers between 1880 and 1910. Over these years, 90 percent of the country was taken over, but the country of Ethiopia managed to remain independent. Write a 300 word essay about the colonization of Africa. You won't have time to get very specific, so let's focus the essay just on Ethiopia. Start with this research question: How was Ethiopia able to stay independent? Your intro must pose the question, your conclusion must answer it.


Peer editing is due on Tuesday! If you need to exchange with a partner still, please take care of that in email. You'll need to print your partner's paper if you didn't get it on Tuesday. Bring your peer-edited version of the paper, along with your sheet, to class to exchange back. When you turn in your entire paper on the following week, you'll turn in your partner's peer-editing along with your final draft. Don't lose it!


No quiz this week. Keep reading!

No comments:

Post a Comment