Why the Africans Live in Huts
- January 18, 2017
- Posted by: marlenedubois
- Category: CPR Training
Whenever one sees a picture of a hut, one thinks of Africa. Indeed, huts have been the defining architectural hallmark of Africa, along with throughout the continent, they have been the preferred building style.
Huts are a form of living space. Huts are usually round, that has a peaked roof. They are usually made of mud or clay, that has a wooden structure to support the building, along with just one wooden pole within the centre, which supports the grass-thatched roof.
Many critics of Africa claim which Africa can boast no great cultures south of Egypt. By which, they often mean which there is usually no architectural evidence of greatness south of the Pyramids. Indeed, architecture or architectural remains are the accepted calling card of the so-called ‘great cultures’.
While most of Africa can boast no such fossil evidence, there is usually reason to believe which the architectural choices made by the Africans thus far are neither as accidental nor as simplistic as they may seem.
For one, most of Africa is usually warm to hot throughout the year, without an extended winter period. The most uncomfortable climatic period is usually the long rains, during which which rains a lot, mostly every day. However, in most of Africa, which showers, rather than rains. which means a quick along with voluminous period of precipitation, unlike rain in Europe for example, which may be a slight however continuous precipitation. In addition, most of Africa, which lies at the equator, experiences almost equal twelve-hour periods each for night along with day. which is usually in contrast to for example Europe, where in winter, darkness may be up eighteen hours long.
As such, most of life in Africa is usually lived outside. A shelter is usually needed only for the night, against the cold along with as shelter coming from wild animals. There has never been a need to invest as heavily in shelter as has been done in Europe for example. Strictly speaking, there was rarely a situation in Africa where lack of shelter would certainly have been life-threatening. In many African cultures, nomads, hunters, warriors along with messengers were often away coming from home for long periods without having shelter.
Huts are often modest, along with made of the readily available mud or river clay, plastered over a skeleton of branches. They were completely inexpensive in both materials along with labour. In many cultures, the women did the plastering, while the men did the thatching of the roof. Among the Maasai of East Africa, the woman builds the whole structure, which is usually referred to as a manyatta.
Because of which relaxed philosophy to shelter, the Africans were not enslaved by the acquisition of shelter as is usually often the case within the modern world. In today’s globalised world, buying one’s home is usually a lifetime liability which forces one to live chained to a mortgage, under the Damocles sword of a foreclosure. The exploitation of which fear within the U.S.A. contributed to the current worldwide financial crisis.
which is usually also worthy of note which almost all the famous architectural monuments of the great cultures were built by employing slave labour, forced along with semi-forced labour. which has never been necessary in Africa south of the pyramids. In fact, shelter was so inexpensive which the nomads could walk away coming from their huts at a moment’s notice along with walk off into the savannah – the epitome of freedom.
which also meant which no family was ever without shelter because shelter was unaffordable, unlike in today’s world where many families become homeless if they experience a financial upset midway through their mortgage.
In many parts of Africa, the huts were renovated along with renewed once a year, after the harvest season along with before the next rains. which was the period with the least work along with was like a holiday. The harvest was in, along with next agricultural season had not yet begun. The women renovated the walls of the huts by plastering that has a brand new layer of mud or clay. White or ochre-coloured river clay was used as a cosmetic finish inside along with outside the hut, as well as on the floor. Communities which had no access to river clay used a mixture of cow-dung along with mud, or ash.
A Great African housewife took which duty as seriously as caring for her own body. A capable wife could be identified by her impeccably-kept hut(s). The regular renovation also served an important hygienic function: river clay is usually a very clean along with wholesome material which discourages the breeding of insects along with some other pests. Both clay along with dried cow dung are similar to ash in which respect. Cooking-fire ash coming from non-poisonous burnt wood is usually pure enough to be used as an alternative for toothpaste.
Renovation also gave the woman a creative outlet: she could paint whatever motifs on her walls which she wished. The men re-thatched the hut(s), using grass, such as elephant grass which was mostly cut by the women. Among the Masaai, the women did the renovation work as the men were often occupied with the full-time job of protecting the tribe coming from lions along with some other dangers lurking within the savannah.
A very satisfying effect of which yearly renewal was the psychological effect. There was an atmosphere of renewal every year; of brand new life, of a fresh start, of soul cleansing along that has a doing away with the past. Every year. which is usually a very healthy psychological perspective. Festivals featuring dancing along with feasting also accompanied which period.
In today’s world, acquiring a home has such a finality to which. A sense of being rooted along with captured by one building for one’s lifetime.
Because they were low-cost, huts were also very flexible. One could build a homestead of huts: one for cooking, another for sleeping, another for receiving visitors, along with so on. Every time one needed a brand new hut, one simply built one. Adolescent boys were given a piece of land where they could build their own huts, a distance away coming from the rest of the family. Their privacy was assured, along with their activities within their huts were nobody’s concern. A lot of adolescents today would certainly appreciate the idea of having one’s own hut.
Huts are very comfortable along with exactly right for many parts of Africa. which is usually mainly because of the building materials used. Both clay along with grass are Great insulators, however are porous, along with so allow a free flow of air. which is usually often very hot during the afternoons in Africa. The hut remains cool along with is usually a welcome resting place. At night, when temperatures fall, the hut retains its daytime temperature, keeping the inhabitants warm.
Huts are also very low-maintenance. A well-renovated hut only needs to be swept once a day that has a straw broom. There was no need to wipe, polish or dust. Accidents with liquids were undramatic because the liquid was simply absorbed into the earth. The only real danger was fire, since the thatched roofs could burn very quickly, trapping the people inside.
Recently, an architectural team in Switzerland has ‘discovered’ the virtues of clay as a building material. Clay is usually a strong, durable material which is usually easy to work with. Applied correctly, which can be used to build structures which are stable, durable along with aesthetic without necessitating the use of paint along with cement. Most important of all, clay is usually healthy. which has today been proven which clay filters out toxins coming from the environment. Modern building materials like cements, paint, fillers along with metals Discharge toxins which compromise human health along with well-being. A building made of clay or mud is usually completely eco-friendly, provided the initial source was safe.
The Africans knew which a long time ago. Huts, made of natural ‘earth’ materials, fitted in with their basic philosophy of drawing on nature for all their needs, along with only within the amounts which were needed. For example, calabashes along with gourds were used as containers for milk, water, local beer, porridge, honey or any some other liquid. Cooking pots were made of clay, as were water pots. Cooking sticks were made of wood.
Water stored in a clay pot includes a pleasant, natural coolness, along with smells of earth. Drunk out of a calabash, which has a different woody flavour. Food cooked in a clay pot over a wood fire retains an inimitable earthy aroma, especially fresh beans or meat dishes.
Sleeping mats or sitting mats were woven out of rushes or made of animal skin, as was clothing. Some people constructed a raised clay platform covered with animal skins or rush mats to act as a seat or a bed. Stools were made of wood or woven coming from rushes. Women wore jewelry made coming from bone, horn, wood, stone, clay, beads or woven rushes. Foodstuffs were carried or stored in woven rush baskets or clay pots.
which philosophy of living in harmony with the bounty of nature led to zero garbage, since everything was biodegradable. Indeed, until the advent of modernity along with urbanisation, Africa was a continent of natural beauty preserved in its entirety.
Sadly, present-day Africans are jumping wholesale onto the bandwagon of expensive homes built of derived materials, which require a lifetime to pay for along that has a fortune to repair along with maintain. The materials used in modern buildings trap heat, smells along with moisture along with are often derived using procedures which harm the environment. The houses lack the wellness effect of sitting in a hut built entirely out of the earth. They are in keeping with the modern day trends of inflated consumerism, self-definition through possession along that has a careless disregard for the planet.
Happily, some are rediscovering the enchantment of huts. They have been re-designed in some cases to be much larger, with large windows, or combined in intersecting or interconnecting structures. A famous hotel in Nairobi, Kenya is usually built using which concept, with treated straw used for thatching.
Indeed, more along with more people are re-discovering why Africans lived in huts.