When you think of the best dad in the world, who comes to mind? Perhaps it is your father, husband, brother, uncle, grandfather, or a male mentor in your life. Father's day is a special day to celebrate the contributions they make to their children's lives.
At Our Ancestories, we value sharing African history and culture. And as it's the season to celebrate fathers, we decided to look at African stories and cultures that exemplify fatherhood.
The Aka Pygmy Fathers
The men from the Aka pygmy tribe of Central Africa have been given the title of 'best dads in the world'.
The fathers from the Aka tribe spend half of the time caring and tending to their infants and children. They are actively involved within the first months of infants being born.
The fathers carry their children around, wake up at night to comfort them, and they are also known to offer their infants their nipples to soothe them when the mothers are away.
The culture of father's taking care of their infants and children is so deeply ingrained that they visit local pubs while carrying their children.
The Aka Pygmy Tribe live in the forest of both Congo and Central African Republic. Photo by Laurens Desoete
Additionally, in the Aka tribe, household duties are divided equally among the men and women. By being actively involved in their children's lives, the fathers of Aka tribe form strong bonds with their children. They have truly earned the title of the best dads in the world.
Looking back in the pre-colonial history of Africa, we can see that some fathers played significant roles in molding the legends that we celebrate today. Queen Njinga Mbandi is a perfect example of a father's impact.
Over 400 years ago, Ngola Kiluanji was the leader of the Kimbundu people of Ndongo Kingdom in what is now Angola, Africa.
Ngola Kiluanji was able to spot his daughter's unusual intelligence and set in place a course of education that honed in on her natural abilities. He decided to send his daughter to school to read and write Portuguese and invited Njinga to accompany him to business meetings involving the kingdom.
Her father's love and adoration made her older brother jealous of Njinga.
Njinga absorbed all the information she was taught. She later used it to save her people, and brother who was king, from Portuguese invasion. She became the Queen of two kingdoms, Ndongo and Matamba. Read more on Queen Njinga in our children's book here.
Queen Idia's Father
Our other African children's historical book, Idia of the Benin Kingdom, tells a story of Idia's childhood and of the role her father played in preparing her to become a leader. Very little is known about Idia’s actual upbringing, so we filled in the gaps with our own version.
In our story, she had supportive parents growing up. The values, skills, and knowledge they instilled in her led her to become one of the most notable women leaders in African history. Her father took his time to teach her leadership skills. In doing so, he empowered her to become the queen of the Benin Kingdom.
Idia's father teaching her leadership skills.
African culture has long promoted fathers' active involvement in their children's upbringing. We dedicate this post to all the wonderful fathers worldwide. We appreciate all the sacrifices you make for your children and loved ones.
Happy Fathers Day to all of you!