Tuesday 4 November 2014

AFRICA A Voyage of Discovery - Basil Davidson [documentary series]

Thoughts turned to nationalism over the weekend, and as it turns out part 7 of this series by Basil Davidson is to be shown as part of Film Africa this week. I'll be attending something else so was really pleased to find it on Youtube.
Great series.
It's old and I don't remember seeing the entire series before. I watched parts 7 and 8 last night then decided to post the rest too. (I still have a few to get through! - full series parts 1-8) It's very informative, and despite its age very relevant.


Youtube synopsis
'Basil Davidson's seminal documentary series 'Africa A Voyage of Discovery' challenges the long held beliefs that Africa had 'no ingenious manufactures among them, no arts, no sciences'. The series presents a pan-African conception of history from the origins of Egypt and Nubia to the liberation movements that Basil Davidson was familiar with, in newly independent nations Zimbabwe and Mozambique'.

Part 2 synopsis

In this episode of Basil Davidson's award winning documentary series 'Africa A Voyage of Discovery' looks closely at three different communities to examine the way African peoples carve out an existence in an often hostile environment. A group of Pokot cattle herders in Kenya tell how they use the natural environment to their advantage. Two very different farming villages show how, in Africa, spiritual development goes hand in hand with technological advances.

Part 3 synopsis
Davidson looks at gold and its role in Africa. Gold was not only a raw material which represented wealth in Africa. Those who had gold were ranked based on the amount of it they had. It served as a status symbol for many of the leaders, in the past and in the present. Gold was used as jewelry and many wore it with great pride. The kings garnered much of the gold, and displayed it with great pride.

The trading of gold was what Africa's economy was based on. Mali became a center for this type of trade. This was due to the gold pockets found around West Africa. The video showed many metal workers turning the gold into jewellery and other such items, to help display individual wealth as mentioned before. In West Africa, the King of Ghana was thought to be the richest King in the world, according to ancient scholars who traveled the lands of Africa.

Part 5 synopsis
The fifth episode of the Africa A Voyage of Discovery series examines one of the more powerful influences on the development of Africa was exerted by the European missionary quest, In the fifth of the series Africa: this influence is discussed by host Basil Davidson. The missionaries looked down upon Africans and were unable to convert many to their beliefs. Basil Davidson also examines the role of Cecil Rhodes the founder of 'De Beers' in appropriating land and mining rights from King Lobengula of Matabeleland later renaming the acquired land Rhodesia, modern day Zimbabwe. The diamond mining company Cecil Rhodes founded 'De Beers' to this day is the biggest and most profitable Diamond mining company in the world.

Part 6 synopsis
The Magnificent African Cake - Scramble for Africa
The title is derived from King Leopold II of Belgium who declared his determination during the scramble for African territory to secure for himself a large a slice as possible of this so called 'magnificent African cake' The main European powers of the day met at the 1884 Berlin Conference to carve up the continent of Africa between themselves. Starting out on a West African shore where new European commercial interests had come to replace the old slaving ties, the films shows a variety of locations to examine the character and effects of European colonial interference in African affairs.


  1. Looks like a really interesting series!

  2. I can't wait to listen to all of these!

  3. Some great footage.. and depending on area of interest I think there's something for everyone
    Hope you enjoy