Architecture in Africa, with Special Reference to Indigenous Akan Building Construction
Famed nineteenth century botanist, Dr. Georg Schweinfurth, here writes of one of tropical Africa’s most remarkable achievements in indigenous architecture and building technology, what he calls the “royal halls” of the Mangbetu kingdom. In the last years of the 1860s, Schweinfurth, traveling with Sudanese merchants, made his way southward along the Nile corridor toward the African interior. Ultimately, he reached the northeast quadrant of central Africa.
Schweinfurth would go on to write voluminously about this central African world. He also produced illustrations in quantity and of considerable quality. From his writings and illustrations we can gain some appreciation of the technological prowess of this region’s cultures in the late precolonial era. The grandeur and elegance of the “royal halls” certainly captured Schweinfurth’s imagination. So too did the considerable building skills embodied in their construction.
The “royal halls” were merely the grandest expression of the...
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