Should We Do More To Preserve Unique African Architecture?

Should We Do More To Preserve Unique African Architecture?

In the rush to modernisation Africans often forget about what they already have; exquisite beauty across the whole of the continent. Burkina Faso, for those of the English speaking African diaspora is not one of those areas frequently visited, but perhaps it should be, just to see the wonderful buildings of the Kassena people in Tiébélé who are believed to have settled in the area around the 15th century making them one of the oldest ethnic groups in Burkina Faso.

The isolated village is extraordinary, with amazing architecture beautifully illustrated. Islam and local traditions exist side by side and in her blog, Olga Stavrakis ( declares that no one cares who believes in what. The buildings are a composite of homes, mausoleums to the dead and a royal compound all made of mud brick material and decorated with  intricate geometric patterns and clay paints on the surface.

Surely more should be done to preserve villages of this nature to make them more sustainable against a background of modernity to continue to show a side of the continent that rarely makes it outside the exotic books category.

The economic attraction of such a unique area is high although there is an understanding that the process of doing this is delicate as the people themselves have vigorously guarded their isolated and closed community.

See more from Rita Willaert who travelled to the village in 2009 taking an extensive range of photographs here.

Image credit: Rita Willaert, Cour Royale à Tiébélé, CC BY NC