3DUX UNIVERSITY GOLD STAR PROJECT:
Benin is a french speaking county in West Africa
the 12 palaces, photo credit: wikipedia
Photo credit Ian Hollaway, Flickr
pottery at the local craft market
about the community
Abomey is the historical capital city of the republic of Benin in West Africa. The town covers 54 square miles and has 78,000 people. It has a wonderful rich culture known for 12 famous palaces, each belonging to one of the 12 different kings that ruled the country from 1600's to 1900 (Ghézo, Glèlè, Behanzin, Agadja, Houégbadja just to name a few). The brilliant civilization which characterized Abomey in the past is still a very important part of the daily culture making it a UNESCO world heritage. The largest Benin museum is located in Abomey and also houses the artisan market. The country of Benin is known to be a peaceful and beautiful place to visit filled with warm and inviting people. Like all communities, Benin has faced challenges which you can learn more about from the students of Abomey and their teacher Charlemagne Edjekpoto who works directly with the students and runs programs that support education in Benin.
- About the community
- A story without paper?
- The birthplace of Voodoo
- Fun Facts
Abomey’s culture is the richest in the country and also appreciated in international exhibitions and performances. In Abomey, some families specialize in specific arts like sculpture, weaving, and ironwork. In the past, most things were made only for the kings but today, the museum yard has become an artisan market where hand crafts are sold. This is very popular for tourists.
The children of Abomey are warmly connecting with tourists and want to share their culture and learn about others.
The local children like to learn the arts from the local merchants. Here 3 boys are learning how to sew a decorative felt hat.
The original empire was a society without written documents, so decorative paintings were used on the palace walls, illustrating the most significant events of the empire, including the wars they won and customs and rituals.
Can you think of other civilizations from history that used painting to share stories from one generation to the next? Ancient Egyptians, American Indians, Christian Churches, Islamic Mosques, Buddhist Temples are just a few examples. Take some time to research the art from these amazing and diverse cultures that all used paintings on walls to share their story.
Did you know that Abomey, Benin is the birthplace and center of voodoo worldwide? Voodoo is a community-centered religion and supports individual experience, empowerment and responsibility. Those who practice Voodoo believe that there is a visible and an invisible world, and that these worlds are intertwined. Voodooists believe that death is a transition to the invisible world, so loved ones that have died are still with us in spirit. They watch over and inspire us.
In addition to our ancestors and loved ones we knew in life, the invisible world is also filled with spirits that have different personalities. they are called Lwa, and they are looked up to for inspiration as well. Below are painted examples of some of these spirits.
These students enjoyed sharing the local culture and customs of thwir community in Abomey, Benin. Zangbeto and the other spirits of Voodoo are an important part of their culture and they are proud to share. As a night watchman and spirit, sometimes Zangbeto may seem a bit scary, but using 3DuxDesign modeling sets and their own local recycled materials, these students were able to show a more fun and playful side of their religion.
The Lwa are represented by masks with names: egun egun, Zangbeto...Here, the students wish to share an example of the Zangbeto. Zangbeto is one of the most famous spirits and functions in Benin much like a policeman. Zangbeto is a night watchman and catches criminals in the night.
Fun fact #1 Climate. Even though Benin is in West Africa, the climate is just like sub Saharan Africa, characterized by two rainy seasons and a dry season, the latter covering early December through February. Dry season is the best time for hunting. Local animals are hens, goats, cows and pigs.
Fun fact #2 Transportation. Bicycles have been the most common used means of transportation until recently when motorbikes have become a new mode. They are mostly used as motor taxis providing an employment opportunity for thousands of young people. One motorbike can carry lots of people.
Fun fact #3 Challenges. Today, the whole world is facing a lot of environmental challenges as a consequence of development. Abomey is not an exception. Here, domestic waste disposal is one of the most difficult issues because there is no functioning plan. People throw garbage in the environment and it spreads around by the flow after the first rain. As for power sources, there is a timid promotion of domestic use of renewable energies but firewood and grid energy remain the main source for more than 60% of the households.
A word from Charlemagne Edjekpoto, the educator in Abomey Benin that has been working with the children and 3Dux to create these projects. " I am delighted to be one of the founding members of the 3DuxUniversity global program and so are the students working on this project. It is enjoyable to project our identity model for appreciation by other people and the outside world mainly when this is vividly done by the means of photography, written stories and video content. The best way to connect communities and build a better united world cannot be achieved otherwise." Read more about Mr. Edjekpoto on the 3DuxUniversity faculty page.
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Architecture brings open-ended creativity and design thinking to traditional STEM learning.
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