Are there kingdoms in Africa?
There used to be great kingdoms, states, and empires in Africa such as Old Oyo, the Akan states of Ashanti and Fante, and the Kingdom of Dahomey, but these were destroyed or weakened by invading Westerners, while Britain, like Spain and other European nations, are still enjoying their royal tradition. There are structures similar to kingdoms that still exist in Africa, but these have been rendered almost sterile by the Western system of government that has been made paramount to them, while a few hand-picked miscreants passing for heads of states, continue destroying the classical socio-cultural practices of African peoples by rendering themselves open to the influences of Western governments.
Are there chiefs in Africa like we have in Native American communities?
Yes, there are chiefs in Africa. These are traditional leaders who are at the head of their traditional communities. These chiefs were, and some are still, very powerful as leaders of their societies. The colonialists tried destroying some of these traditional administrative set ups, but others proved too strongly established to be tampered with and so the colonialists thought it wise to work hand in hand with these leaders, rather than alienate them.
In some parts of Africa though, like in Nigeria, this is sometimes just a title of honor, and so it must not be confused with those areas where chiefs are leaders of huge communities.
Are there wars in Africa?
Yes, there are civil wars going on from time to time in parts of Africa. Some of the earliest of these wars had to do with freeing certain African states from the grip of their so-called colonial masters, as was the case in Algeria and Angola, and others from their fellow countrymen, as was the case in Liberia. In the latter case, these countrymen who took over from the colonialists have only made things worse in their countries, and as a result, it is not surprising to see people struggling to free themselves from oppressive African regimes.
What's all the talk about Nelson Mandela? Who is he?
Nelson Mandela is a lawyer by training, and an African "rebel" who led his people's (the black majority) struggle against the exploitative, discriminatory, and abusive white minority, through the political party known as the African National Congress (ANC) in South Africa. His dream was to win his people's rights and freedom from a most oppressive white regime made up of people who had come into his country and taken over everything of theirs while discriminating against them. For this reason, this innocent man fighting only to be accepted as a human being by immigrant white exploiters and oppressors in his own country, found himself sentenced to jail by a kangaroo court. Mandela was to spend over a quarter of a century in jail, refusing to get out when offered his freedom on the condition that he abandoned his struggle on behalf of the people of South Africa. Before long, thanks to their efforts, daring African patriots and even some Westerners—musicians, writers, and politicians alike—made the world aware of the plight of this great soul.
Meanwhile, different Western regimes dragged their feet about pressuring South Africa to abandon apartheid: some talked about being diplomatic when the South African Gestapo was butchering thousands of black patriots and prophets alike. But the strength of truth will always prevail, and so the lawyer and freedom fighter unjustly turned prisoner in 1964 by the apartheid regime, was released on February 11, 1990. And as if to repay him for his honest efforts, this great soul soon rose from prisoner to elected president. Mandela's popularity soared greatly when, instead of seeking revenge against the white minority population, he pleaded with his fellow countrymen, even at the risk of being branded a traitor, that nothing like apartheid should ever deface South African soil again.
All the talk about Mandela, therefore, is because the world became aware of the injustices of influential political leaders in not forcing South Africa to unconditionally free a man they had imprisoned simply because he was leading his peoples' struggle to free them from the yoke of white injustices and brutality in their own native country. The whites had come to their land as guests and were welcomed, only for them to discover the wealth, the favorable weather conditions, and the beauty of the land and then decide to stay while attempting to seize everything from the natives. Accordingly, with the collapse of apartheid, some of the blacks did thirst for revenge, but Mandela, one of the greatest victims of all, refused endorsing revenge, which would have led to the possible massacre of all the whites in South Africa given the level of barbarity they had displayed to their African hosts when the minority white population was in control of power.
Mandela is therefore the symbolic victim of white oppression and its ultimate defeat in South Africa.