Why the Africans Reside in Huts

Each time one sees an image of a hut, one thinks of Africa. Certainly, huts have been the defining architectural hallmark of Africa, and all through the continent, they’ve been the popular constructing type.

Huts are a type of dwelling area. Huts are normally spherical, with a peaked roof. They’re normally product of mud or clay, with a wood construction to assist the constructing, and a single wood pole within the centre, which helps the grass-thatched roof.

Many critics of Africa declare that Africa can boast no nice cultures south of Egypt. By that, they typically imply that there isn’t a architectural proof of greatness south of the Pyramids. Certainly, structure or architectural stays are the accepted calling card of the so-called ‘nice cultures’.

Whereas most of Africa can boast no such fossil proof, there’s motive to consider that the architectural selections made by the Africans so far are neither as unintended nor as simplistic as they could appear.

For one, most of Africa is heat to sizzling all year long, with out an prolonged winter interval. Essentially the most uncomfortable climatic interval is the lengthy rains, throughout which it rains rather a lot, principally every single day. Nonetheless, in most of Africa, it showers, moderately than rains. Which means a fast and voluminous interval of precipitation, in contrast to rain in Europe for instance, which can be a slight however steady precipitation. As well as, most of Africa, which lies on the equator, experiences virtually equal twelve-hour durations every for night time and day. That is in distinction to for instance Europe, the place in winter, darkness could also be up eighteen hours lengthy.

As such, most of life in Africa is lived exterior. A shelter is required just for the night time, towards the chilly and as shelter from wild animals. There has by no means been a necessity to speculate as closely in shelter as has been completed in Europe for instance. Strictly talking, there was hardly ever a state of affairs in Africa the place lack of shelter would have been life-threatening. In lots of African cultures, nomads, hunters, warriors and messengers have been typically away from house for lengthy durations with out having shelter.

Huts are sometimes small, and product of the available mud or river clay, plastered over a skeleton of branches. They have been utterly cheap in each supplies and labour. In lots of cultures, the ladies did the plastering, whereas the lads did the thatching of the roof. Among the many Maasai of East Africa, the girl builds the entire construction, which is known as a manyatta.

Due to this relaxed philosophy to shelter, the Africans weren’t enslaved by the acquisition of shelter as is commonly the case within the trendy world. In immediately’s globalised world, shopping for one’s house is a lifetime legal responsibility that forces one to dwell chained to a mortgage, beneath the Damocles sword of a foreclosures. The exploitation of this concern in the united statesA. contributed to the present worldwide monetary disaster.

It is usually worthy of be aware that the majority the well-known architectural monuments of the good cultures have been constructed by using slave labour, pressured and semi-forced labour. That has by no means been essential in Africa south of the pyramids. In truth, shelter was so cheap that the nomads may stroll away from their huts at a second’s discover and stroll off into the savannah – the epitome of freedom.

It additionally meant that no household was ever with out shelter as a result of shelter was unaffordable, in contrast to in immediately’s world the place many households develop into homeless in the event that they expertise a monetary upset halfway by their mortgage.

In lots of elements of Africa, the huts have been renovated and renewed every year, after the harvest season and earlier than the following rains. This was the interval with the least work and was like a vacation. The harvest was in, and subsequent agricultural season had not but begun. The ladies renovated the partitions of the huts by plastering with a brand new layer of mud or clay. White or ochre-coloured river clay was used as a beauty end inside and outdoors the hut, in addition to on the ground. Communities that had no entry to river clay used a combination of cow-dung and dirt, or ash.

A superb African housewife took this responsibility as significantly as caring for her personal physique. A succesful spouse may very well be recognized by her impeccably-kept hut(s). The common renovation additionally served an vital hygienic operate: river clay is a really clear and healthful materials that daunts the breeding of bugs and different pests. Each clay and dried cow dung are just like ash on this respect. Cooking-fire ash from non-poisonous burnt wooden is pure sufficient for use as a substitute for toothpaste.

Renovation additionally gave the girl a artistic outlet: she may paint no matter motifs on her partitions that she wished. The boys re-thatched the hut(s), utilizing grass, equivalent to elephant grass which was principally minimize by the ladies. Among the many Masaai, the ladies did the renovation work as the lads have been typically occupied with the full-time job of defending the tribe from lions and different risks lurking within the savannah.

A really satisfying impact of this yearly renewal was the psychological impact. There was an environment of renewal yearly; of latest life, of a contemporary begin, of soul cleaning and a casting off the previous. Yearly. This can be a very wholesome psychological perspective. Festivals that includes dancing and feasting additionally accompanied this era.

In immediately’s world, buying a house has such a finality to it. A way of being rooted and captured by one constructing for one’s lifetime.

As a result of they have been low-cost, huts have been additionally very versatile. One may construct a homestead of huts: one for cooking, one other for sleeping, one other for receiving guests, and so forth. Each time one wanted a brand new hut, one merely constructed one. Adolescent boys got a chunk of land the place they might construct their very own huts, a distance away from the remainder of the household. Their privateness was assured, and their actions inside their huts have been no person’s concern. A number of adolescents immediately would respect the thought of getting one’s personal hut.

Huts are very comfy and precisely proper for a lot of elements of Africa. That is primarily due to the constructing supplies used. Each clay and grass are good insulators, however are porous, and so enable a free stream of air. It’s typically extremely popular through the afternoons in Africa. The hut stays cool and is a welcome resting place. At night time, when temperatures fall, the hut retains its daytime temperature, holding the inhabitants heat.

Huts are additionally very low-maintenance. A well-renovated hut solely must be swept as soon as a day with a straw broom. There was no must wipe, polish or mud. Accidents with liquids have been undramatic as a result of the liquid was merely absorbed into the earth. The one actual hazard was hearth, for the reason that thatched roofs may burn in a short time, trapping the individuals inside.

Lately, an architectural crew in Switzerland has ‘found’ the virtues of clay as a constructing materials. Clay is a powerful, sturdy materials that’s straightforward to work with. Utilized accurately, it may be used to construct constructions which might be secure, sturdy and aesthetic with out necessitating the usage of paint and cement. Most vital of all, clay is wholesome. It has now been confirmed that clay filters out toxins from the surroundings. Trendy constructing supplies like cements, paint, fillers and metals launch toxins that compromise human well being and well-being. A constructing product of clay or mud is totally eco-friendly, offered the preliminary supply was protected.

The Africans knew that a very long time in the past. Huts, product of pure ‘earth’ supplies, fitted in with their fundamental philosophy of drawing on nature for all their wants, and solely within the quantities that have been wanted. For instance, calabashes and gourds have been used as containers for milk, water, native beer, porridge, honey or another liquid. Cooking pots have been product of clay, as have been water pots. Cooking sticks have been product of wooden.

Water saved in a clay pot has a pleasing, pure coolness, and smells of earth. Drunk out of a calabash, it has an extra woody flavour. Meals cooked in a clay pot over a wooden hearth retains an inimitable earthy aroma, particularly contemporary beans or meat dishes.

Sleeping mats or sitting mats have been woven out of rushes or product of animal pores and skin, as was clothes. Some individuals constructed a raised clay platform coated with animal skins or rush mats to behave as a seat or a mattress. Stools have been product of wooden or woven from rushes. Ladies wore jewellery produced from bone, horn, wooden, stone, clay, beads or woven rushes. Foodstuffs have been carried or saved in woven rush baskets or clay pots.

This philosophy of dwelling in concord with the bounty of nature led to zero rubbish, since all the things was biodegradable. Certainly, till the arrival of modernity and urbanisation, Africa was a continent of pure magnificence preserved in its entirety.

Sadly, present-day Africans are leaping wholesale onto the bandwagon of costly houses constructed of derived supplies, which require a lifetime to pay for and a fortune to restore and preserve. The supplies utilized in trendy buildings entice warmth, smells and moisture and are sometimes derived utilizing procedures that hurt the surroundings. The homes lack the wellness impact of sitting in a hut constructed totally out of the earth. They’re in line with the fashionable day developments of inflated consumerism, self-definition by possession and a careless disregard for the planet.

Fortunately, some are rediscovering the enchantment of huts. They’ve been re-designed in some circumstances to be a lot bigger, with giant home windows, or mixed in intersecting or interconnecting constructions. A well-known lodge in Nairobi, Kenya is constructed utilizing this idea, with handled straw used for thatching.

Certainly, increasingly more individuals are re-discovering why Africans lived in huts.


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