African buildings are frequently cylindrical (round). The Xhosa people of southern Africa construct rondavels, which are spherical one-room dwellings. A rondavel is normally constructed from a ring of timber poles that is filled with mud or basket weave and capped with a conical thatched roof. It can be moved to another site if necessary.
Other Africans build their homes out of sticks and leaves instead. These are known as wigwams and do not need any foundation pits or walls. They are easy to move if you have to follow your food harvest or if you want to go live on a farm somewhere else.
In Europe, we often think of houses as big things that look nice inside and hold us up against the weather outside. In fact, the average African house is only about 5 meters high and 12 meters in diameter - just large enough for a single room where you sleep and eat.
There are two types of housing for Africans: house roofs and hut floors. House roofs are usually made of tiles or shingles which may be natural materials like clay or wood, or they may be plastic or metal. Hut floors are usually made of earth or compacted sand. Sometimes they are covered with grass or bark.
People used to live in very different ways before the industrial revolution. There were no real rooms in houses back then, only spaces where people slept.
Lesotho's traditional house type is known as a rondavel. A rondavel is a type of traditional African home. It is typically circular in shape and is traditionally produced with raw materials that may be sourced locally. The walls of a rondavel are frequently made of stones. Roofs are usually thatched with grass or metal sheets. The floor is usually made of wood planks.
In modern times, concrete blocks and tiles have become common replacements for stone. In rural areas, mud bricks are still used to construct homes, although they are now often supplemented with sticks and clay tiles.
The name "rondavel" comes from the Sesuto language and means "something round which has been built". This refers to the shape of the house when viewed from above. Although houses like this one can be found all over Africa, they are most common in Lesotho because there is much land and few people. There are only 1.3 million people in Lesotho today, compared with more than 7 million in South Africa at its peak population size.
People usually live together in groups called "mohomotsi", which means "those who eat together". They usually consist of relatives or friends. A man will usually have several wives, but usually only one mistress or concubine. Children inherit their status from their father; if he has no children, then an uncle will adopt them.
They do not have access to basic necessities such as clean water and power. Their dwellings are either round (rondavels) or rectangular in form. Their dwellings are generally composed of mud or concrete blocks, with a thatched roof made of grass or iron sheets.
The Zulu people lived in small, one-room structures called "rondavels." These were the most common type of house in South Africa when the British colony was founded in 1795. Each rondavel had a conical clay pot for storing rainwater or cooking food. The walls and floors were made of mud, which was mixed with straw and cow dung to make it dry and stable. A thatch roof covered the rondavel and kept out the heat of the sun but allowed moisture to escape. There were no windows or doors in a rondavel.
In addition to their rondavels, the Zulu people also used bark as a building material. They would strip the bark off of trees and use it as roofing or wall coverings. When dried, the bark provided protection from the elements while still allowing light into the structure and air circulation inside the home.
The Zulu people were able to build such large cities because they were originally a nomadic tribe that only settled down to avoid being killed by other tribes. As soon as peace was restored, they would simply move away again.
For starters, traditional African builders built circular houses for utilitarian reasons. The walls are not only easier to create using natural resources (poles and mud), but the roofing support is easier to build from a circular base than, say, a square-shaped structure.
There are several reasons why traditional African builders used circles as the basis for their buildings. First of all, it is easier to construct a house with a circle as a foundation because you don't have to mark off specific angles like 90 degrees or 67.5 degrees. Any angle will do as long as it covers the entire circle.
The second reason is that a circle can accommodate any size, while a square structure must be large enough to fit its purpose. A small hut would need a small circle, while a large house would require a larger one. This was particularly important in Africa where land is limited. Round houses could be constructed out of anything that can be spun into thread, such as trees or bones. They were not restricted to mud or sticks like their Asian counterparts.
The third reason is cultural. In many parts of Africa, including Nigeria, people believe that spirits live in sacred objects called "idols." These idols are often made out of wood and therefore must be circular. A square idol would not be considered safe to sleep in at night!
Traditional South African dwellings are built with materials that may be found anywhere. Traditional resources are used to construct Zulu houses, including common thatch grass, hyparrhania hirta, black wattle, Acacia mearnsii (saplings for hut walls), Natal fig Ficus natalensis bark for tying material, and rock alder, Canthium mundanium for pole support. Houses are usually made on stilts so they do not flood during rainstorms.
In addition to being inexpensive, traditional houses are very flexible in design. A family can easily modify or add to the structure if it needs to accommodate growing children, who need more room, or an expanding business, which requires additional work space.
It is estimated that there are still many thousands of traditional houses in South Africa. Although many cities have been destroyed by mining operations or urban development, many villages remain untouched by progress. In these communities, you will still find traditional houses being used for various purposes including as shops and offices.
In recent years, some organizations have begun rebuilding existing houses using modern construction techniques. These "rebuilt" houses are now available for sale or rent. However, the original character is often lost. When buying or renting such a house, make sure you get all the details in writing before signing any contracts.
In Tanzania, there are two types of circular houses: beehive and cylindrical. A circular structure of branches linked at the top is used to construct the beehive home. The exterior of this structure is then covered with grass or palm thatch, leaving a tiny hole for a door (Figs. 1-4). Inside, the walls are made of mud bricks. There is no ceiling, but there is a wooden platform for sleeping on. The Tanzanian beehive house has only one room, although it may be divided into several sections by bamboo partitions.
The cylindrical house consists of a tube of wood or cane surrounded by a wall of earth or clay. The roof is usually thatched with grass or leaves. This type of house is common in rural areas where timber is available. Sometimes the walls inside the tube are made of stone or even metal. In these cases, the house is called a nkura.
In urban areas, where building materials such as wood, cement, and steel are available, people often use their knowledge of engineering to design and build their own homes. These homes can be one-story or have multiple floors depending on the needs of the family. Usually, apartments are also separate units that can be rented out.
People usually buy land for their house site. If they cannot afford to pay cash, then they will take out a loan from a bank or a neighbor.