Sources of Information


History, as a study of man in time perspective, of necessity, impinges on other disciplines. Besides, because the historian partakes in the general task of interpreting change in society, it means that the historian has to lean on other disciplines which have their own specialized but, alternative ways of viewing the study of man (Oloruntimehim, 1978).
To clearly write and understand history, one has to collect historical facts and interpret them logically so as to develop a clear account of events that took place, this same procedure has always been used in Africa in the past and even to present. For this purpose, historians have to employ various sources in order to gather information on African history. From this logics, the Eurocentric and the Hegelian connotation that Africa had no history stands to be disputed and found to be baseless. The various sources used include, written sources, anthropology, archeology, oral tradition, linguistics among other sources. Below is an in depth study on some of the sources highlighting their strengths and weaknesses.

  a) Written sources
These refer to what has been written about on a given community’s past. Written sources on African history include books and reports written by Arab explorers and travellers who visited Africa. Also included are letters written by African leaders or Europeans, business reports and records of foreign companies. They also include newspapers, magazines, journals, pamphlets and court proceedings that took place in Africa.
The importance of written source to the historian cannot be over-emphasized. It was the inability of Western Scholars to penetrate African tradition of documentation and what they saw as "apparent lack of written materials" that made them to dismiss Africans as being no part of the world. The absurdity of this claim, has been debunked by scholars (Sanders. 1969).
Written sources have...