The architectural theme is extended to the outdoor museum where the public can visit African villages and compounds. You can stroll through a Ghanaian compound, discover a Dogon village from Mali, visit the Baka pygmies’ mongulus from Cameroun, and cross the bridge to the pile dwellings from Benin. A Lesotho compound represents the south of Africa. The grazing cattle, the vegetable plots and the houses’ decorations complete the genuine African atmosphere.
Basotho compound - Lesotho, South Africa
The Basotho villages are all different in size. Some of them are only inhabited by one family, others by five hundred. In the past, the best place to build a village was on a hill, because hills are easy to defend. Nowadays, most villages are situated on natural terraces, away from the valley with its acres and the top of the hill with its meadows. These villages are permanent and many of them are over 150 years old.
Kusasi compound – Ghana
The first compound you come across is a Kusasi compound replica. The original buildings are in Tempane, a village situated in the north-east of Ghana and the home of the Kusasi people. The most important means of living in this area is agriculture. The Afrika Museum has strived for a realistic representation. Besides traditional elements, like round buildings without a door, you will also see European influences like doors, furniture, radios and bicycles. Adjustments had to be made with regard to building materials and the compound’s size.
Dogon – Mali
The Dogon live in an area that is known as the Bandiagara plateau, which is a steep cliff in the middle of vast sand plains. The closely built houses and rabbit warren alleys situated against the cliff face remind one of hidden fortresses. In the fourteenth century, the Dogon moved to this area to flee from rival peoples and this is the reason for the fortress-like villages.
Baka pygmies camp – Cameroun
The Baka are hunters and gatherers who live in the tropical rainforest. They live off edible tuberous plants, funguses, leafs, nuts, caterpillars and fruits and game. They trade many of these products of the forest with neighbouring peoples for knives, cooking utensils, and crops like bananas and cassava roots.
Toffinou Pile dwellings – Benin
In the water are two pile dwellings like the ones in Ganvié, a village on the southcoast of Benin. The materials that were used to build these houses originate from Benin. The left building serves as an information centre and the right one is decorated as a home for a man, his wife/wives and children as authentically as possible. The Ganvié village is built in the middle of a saline lake and is a true watercommunity. The village is inhabited by over 10,000 people from the Toffinou (people carried by water).