01.07.2017 -

Watch on BBC World News: eight-part series based on UNESCO’s "General History of Africa" book collection

© BBC World News

Zeinab Badawi delves into the history of Africa for a brand new, eight-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.

BBC World News Webpage

Episodes

BBC World TV: Transmission dates

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.

Sat 1st July: 02:10 (Except North and Latin America, 15:10)

Sun 2nd July         09:10, 21:10

 

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.   

Sat 8th July: 02:10 (Except North and Latin America, 15:10)

Sun 9th July         09:10, 21:10

 

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? 

Sat 15th July: 02:10 (Except North and Latin America, 15:10)

Sun 16th July       09:10, 21:10

 

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.

Sat 22nd July: 02:10 (Except North and Latin America, 15:10)

Sun 23rd July       09:10, 21:10

 

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.

Sat 29th July: 02:10 (Except North and Latin America, 15:10)

Sun 30th July       09:10, 21:10

 

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.  

Sat 5th Aug: 02:10 (Except North and Latin America, 15:10)

Sun 6th Aug         09:10, 21:10

 

7) North Africa   

In the penultimate 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. 

Sat 12th Aug: 02:10 (Except North and Latin America, 15:10)

Sun 13th Aug       09:10, 21:10

 

8) Pagans and God

In the final episode, Zeinab Badawi examines the role of religion in Africa.  To this day tens  of millions of Africans are pagans,  who worship a pantheon of Gods and venerate their ancestors.  And many more millions of Africans incorporate pagan customs  into their monotheistic beliefs.  Zeinab takes you through the stages of the arrival of monotheism in Africa: first  Judaism , then early Christianity and then finally Islam.  She  charts the rise of the powerful  Islamic dynasties of North Africa, that went on to conquer Spain.

Sat 19th Aug: 02:10 (Except North and Latin America, 15:10)

Sun 20th Aug       09:10, 21:10

 




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