What were the African societies like in the terms of urban life, family relationships, and the parts played by women and the institution slavery in their social fabric.
Urban Life -
Family Relationships -
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If you are asking about ancient urban (i.e., pertaining to cities and towns) life in African urban centers, they reflected the move from nomadic wanderings to the settled means of sustenance provided by agriculture and domestication of animals. As the Sahara re-expanded to envelop most of North Africa, Africa's Nile Valley became the center of urbanized trade and commerce--and the beginning of the Cushite kingdom becoming the kingdom of the Egyptians.
This is a massive topic and one that you leave very broad and open. What particular period are you refering to? Which particular locations within Africa are you looking at? My suggestion is that the first thing you do is narrow down this question to make it more focussed. Don't fall into the trap of assuming that one massive continent is the same and experienced the same history.
This is a topic about which I know almost nothing. Whenever I am faced with such a topic, my immediate instinct is to go to Google Books and see what might be available. When using Google Books, it's always useful to remember that anyone can publish a book these days. It's best, then, to look for books that have been peer-reviewed (reviewed by other experts). Often these books are published by university presses or by the major presses often based in New York. It's also good to remember that the better books will often contain notes and bibliographies that will lead you in the direction of other useful sources. Here is a link that may be helpful to you:
Slavery was an important part of life in Africa. Slaves were generally people who had been taken in wars. They could be kept or sold by those who had captured them. Some of them were treated as we think of slaves being treated, but others were more like members of the family. In these ways, slavery in Africa was more like Roman slavery than like American slavery.
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