The History of Africa with Zeinab BadawiZeinab Badawi delves into the history of Africa for a brand new, nine-part series on BBC World News. The continent of Africa has a long, complex history, and its people built civilizations which rivalled those that existed anywhere else in the world. However, much of the continent’s history is not widely known, and what we are presented with often projects a distorted and partial picture. Sudan-born Zeinab travels to all four corners of Africa, interviewing African historians, archaeologists, and citizens whose accounts and stories paint a vivid picture of their continent’s past and how it informs their present lives. It is a series that will inform, educate and entertain – Africa’s history told by Africans themselves.
Episode 1: Mother Africa.
In the first episode Zeinab Badawi travels across the continent, examining the origins of humankind and how and why we evolved in Africa. During her journey Zeinab is granted rare access to the genuine bones of one of the most iconic discoveries in the field of palaeontology: Lucy in Ethiopia, or as she is known in Amharic ‘Dinkenesh’ – which means ‘you are marvellous’! Zeinab also spends time with a unique tribe in Tanzania, who provide insight into how we have lived, for most of our history, as hunter-gatherers. She also looks at what distinguishes us from the animal world and makes us human.
Transmission Times: Sat 1st July 02:10 (Except North and Latin America), 15:10. Sun 2nd July 09:10, 21:10
Episode 2: Cattle, crops and Iron.
Zeinab Badawi continues her journey through the history of human development, travelling to meet the Masai of East Africa where she explains how humans began to domesticate animals and become pastoralists; in Zimbabwe, Zeinab visits one lively farming family and examines how we became settled and began to live from farming. She also looks at how the Iron Age transformed life in Africa and paved the way for the development of rich urban civilisations.
Transmission Times: Sat 8th July 02:10 (Except North and Latin America), 15:10. Sun 9th July 09:10, 21:10
Episode 3: Gift of the Nile.
Zeinab Badawi’s quest to uncover the history of Africa takes her to Egypt, where she explores the most famous civilisation on the continent – the ancient Egyptians. Zeinab takes you beyond the usual coverage of the pharaohs and asks first who the ancient Egyptians actually were? What was their ethnicity? What made such a great civilisation possible? How did they order their society, and what were their values?
Transmission Times: Sat 15th July 02:10 (Except North and Latin America), 15:10. Sun 16th July 09:10, 21:10
Episode 4: The Kingdom of Kush.
In the fourth episode, Zeinab Badawi travels to the country of her birth and the very region of her forefathers: northern Sudan, where she sheds light on a little know aspect of ancient African history: the Kingdom of Kush. Its kings ruled for many hundreds of years and indeed in the eighth century BC, they conquered and governed Egypt for the best part of 100 years. Furthermore Kush was an African superpower, its influence extended to the modern day Middle East. Zeinab shows you some of the best preserved of Sudan’s s 1,000 pyramids and explains how some of the customs of Kush have endured to this day.
Transmission Times: Sat 22nd July 02:10 (Except North and Latin America), 15:10. Sun 23rd July 09:10, 21:10
Episode 5: The Rise of Aksum.
Zeinab Badawi travels to the little visited country of Eritrea and neighbouring Ethiopia, to chart the rise of the Kingdom of Aksum. Described as one of the four greatest civilisations of the ancient world, Zeinab examines archaeological remains in both countries dating from many hundreds of years before Christ. She explains how the Kings of Aksum grew rich and powerful from their control of the Red Sea trade and how they were one of the first civilisations that officially embraced Christianity in the 4th century. Also find out why the Queen of Sheba and the Sacred Ark of the Covenant are so critical to the story of Aksum.
Transmission Times: Sat 29th July 02:10 (Except North and Latin America), 15:10. Sun 30th July 09:10, 21:10
Episode 6: Kings and Emirs.
In the sixth episode, Zeinab Badawi focuses on the fall of the kingdom of Aksum, and how the Christian kings that followed in Aksum’s wake left powerful legacies, especially that of King Lalibela. He is credited with building a complex of rock-hewn churches, which represent amazing feats of engineering. She also charts the arrival of Islam in this part of Africa and how the Christian kings and Muslim emirs co-existed. In the most Muslim of Ethiopia’s cities Harar: she observes the bizarre, long standing tradition of the Hyena Men of Harar.
Transmission Times: Sat 5th Aug 02:10 (Except North and Latin America), 15:10. Sun 6th Aug 09:10, 21:10
Episode 7: North Africa.
In this episode, Zeinab Badawi’s exploration of Africa’s rich history focuses on North Africa. She goes to Morocco to find out about the original inhabitants of the region – in particular the Berbers or Amazigh – the best known of the people of North Africa. Zeinab visits Carthage in Tunisia and explains who the Carthaginians were. She looks at the great Berber kings and how they managed to retain their influence when North Africa came under Roman rule. Zeinab shows you some of the most extensive and least visited Roman sites in Algeria.
Transmission Times: Sat 12th Aug 02:10 (Except North and Latin America), 15:10. Sun 13th Aug 09:10, 21:10
Episode 8: Ancestors, Spirits and religion.
In this episode, Zeinab Badawi examines religion in Africa. First the enduring presence of Africa’s indigenous ancestral religions, which millions of people on the continent still adhere to. She travels to Zimbabwe to find out more about a remote community that follows traditional African religion. In Senegal she meets a Muslim man who blends Islamic beliefs with his ancestral ones. She also charts the impact of Judaism and early Christianity in Africa and how Africans in particular made significant contributions to Christian thinking and practice.
Transmission Times: Sat 19th Aug 02:10 (Except North and Latin America), 15:10. Sun 20th Aug 09:10, 21:10
Episode 9: Islam in Africa.
In the final episode Zeinab Badawi travels to several countries and looks at the early spread of Islam in Africa and how many Africans practise to this day a mystic, Sufi form of the religion. She shows how Arab culture came to influence a large part of the continent – particularly in the north. And she charts the rise of the powerful Islamic dynasties of North Africa, that built magnificent monuments, mosques and empires – including a part of southern Europe.
Transmission Times: Sat 26th Aug 02:10 (Except North and Latin America), 15:10. Sun 27th Aug 09:10, 21:10