People often refer to Africa as the Dark Continent, meaning that Africans were uncivilized, unsophisticated, and ignorant people. West Africa, East Africa, and ancient Zimbabwe are examples that refute this stereotype. The Dark Continent would not be an accurate label for Ancient Africa.
West Africa consisted mainly of three empires: Ghana, Mali, and Songhai. They had intelligent people that contributed to their culture and structures that resemble to a nowadays-city. In Kumbi Saleh, Ghana, there was a fortress built that was guarded by many soldiers to protect the city, which is similar to the cities today in modern countries with their own military force. The successor of Sonni Ali, the king of Songhai, called Askia Muhammad established a fair method of taxation because he believed that the wealth of the empire depended on commerce. Only modern governments today would be able to create a taxation method like this. Ghana and Mali also traded. Their trade was based on trust between the two traders. It was a devise system of bargaining that means they traded wisely and organized like a modern country would do today.
East Africa is another example that shows that African nations were not "dark". Kilwa was a city located in East Africa. It was a rich city based on trade. Kilwa people wrote poetry in different languages and sent paintings to China. It is easy to see that they were literate and had a passion for arts, proving they had their own culture. Traders in East Africa had good trade relations with other cities. They traded peacefully and interacted with diverse kinds of people while they traded. In Kilwa was one of the most beautiful and well constructed towns with structures that resemble a modern city today such as mansions, public fountains, police force, mosques, arched walkways, and town squares.
Zimbabwe was a city located in South Africa that characterizes a city of today. In Zimbabwe they had very skilled masons that built impressive stone buildings using the dry stone technique.