Posted: September 23rd, 2020

Cultural Legacy of the Colonial Period in West Africa

What Was the Most Profound Cultural Legacy of the Colonial Period in West Africa

African archaeology from the colonial periods highlights the outstanding contributions to culture. These cultural activities range from the early manifestation of human civilization to African plant and animal domestication. Interregional interactions, cultural dynamics, and biocultural evolution presented a new field of data. It enables scholars to understand the significant cultural legacies present in the African colonies in the past. Under colonialism in Africa, the colonialists influenced the development of African culture, both economically and politically. For someone to understand the role of historical legacies, it is essential to view it from an intellection point of view. For the assignment, west Africa, specifically Nigeria, will be explored and its cultural legacies. Nigeria was under the British colonial rule and became a protectorate in 1901 but became independent in 1960. The country showed complexity, significance, and diversity of its culture during the colonial period and is well worth exploring. The country’s culture is influenced by tales, folklore, proverbs, music, griots, and visual arts.

The first cultural legacy is the folklore that was present in Nigeria during the pre-colonial period. The stories were rich and fertile, and in the vast country, the folk tales served as a means of handing down customs and traditions from one generation to another (Barker, 2020). The folklore tradition legacy has thrived for a long time because of the absence of printed material. These stories also had moral values and beliefs that were meant to instill cultural values to its audience, mostly young children. Thus, oral tradition came to be a significant part of West Africa’s culture, especially in Nigeria. An example is the trickster tale. The story made famous by Joel Harris usually involved an intelligent animal or individual who tries to get the better out of others in a particular story setting. He, alongside other missionaries, made the stories famous.

The next Nigerian profound cultural legacy is the practice carried out by the Griot. These are skilled poet-musicians who told stories. They also perform dances, music, and drama activities. Their practices helped to preserve the rich African heritage and legacy (Kouyaté, 2018). Their job was to keep the oral tradition through oral techniques, and some performances could even last for hours. That could recite the events of births, deaths, successful hunts, the succession of previous kings, and the colonial empire. On most occasions, every village had its Griot. Up to date, they are still common not only in Nigeria but in West Africa.

West African music and Proverbs were also a fundamental part of the West African culture, specifically in Nigeria. The music tried to portray feelings and ideas as much as the music from the western and European culture (Djedje & Ampene, 2015). The music also commemorated special occasions such as births and historical events. The west African music culture would continue to influence music art in the country and other parts of the world. A particular form of music is the call and response, and the key phrases of the song are repeated. This technique has helped revolutionize other music genres, such as gospel, jazz, and blues.

One of the key concepts that the west African culture has is the ethnicity they treasured. Nigeria, as a British colony, was no exception. It allowed them to retain their culture, and as it continued to act as a cohesive or unifying force among themselves. As a result, it resulted in ethnic identities and provided a robust framework for analyzing the region’s diverse culture. Such activities thus helped bring greater administrative and political system.


Barker, W. H. (2020). West African Folk-Tales. History Heritage.

Djedje, J., & Ampene, K. (2015). Music and Diasporas within West Africa: The Pre-colonial Era. ULCA.

Kouyaté, N. (2018, April 22). The Griot Tradition of West Africa. Esplanade.“blood%20of%20the,knowledge%20through%20the%20oral%20tradition

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