Social Organisation and Production.
Economic production in the pre colonial Africa can only be analysed when we look into modes
of production in the pre colonial African society. This consists of the productive forces and
relations of production. Examples of modes of production existed in the pre colonial African
societies were communal mode of production, feudal modal of production and slave mode of
Can be defined as the mode of production existing in a given place at a given period of time.
Modes of production involve productive forces that are human labour, instrument of labour,
economic activities and objects of labour and production.
Types of Social Organisations and Production; Communalism.
Mode of production.
Refers to the varied ways that human being collectively produce the means of subsistence in
order to survive and enhance social being. Therefore in this topic we shall fully analyze
characteristics of various mode of production in the pre colonial African societies. The
followings are the modes of production existed in the pre colonial African societies.
The Meaning and Origins of Communalism in Africa.
Communal mode of production.
This was the first mode of production to exist in pre colonial African societies and is divided into
1. Primitive communalism The first mode of production through which all societies passed
was primitive communalism. It is called “primitive‟ because of the low level of productive
forces and “communalism‟ because there was no exploitation of man by man. This mode of
production existed for much longer period than any other mode as it ranged from theemergence
of man more than one million years ago.
2. Advanced communalism During that era man advanced in his tools through various
discoveries like iron tools. It is because of this technological advancement that is why it came to
be known as advancement communalism.
Characteristics of primitive communalism.
Low level of production:
With crude tools like stone and little knowledge, man hardly mastered
his surroundings. He managed to get basic needs such as food, clothes and shelter. Due to low
level of development in science and technology people produced food for their day to day use;
hence there was no surplus of production.
Members of the community jointly owned the major means of production
including land, tools and animals. The clan leader headed the members of the clan. However,
communal societies were not stratified as a result all commodities produced were shared equally
for there was no exploitation.
Absence of specialisation:
:People were obliged to do all the jobs including making tools,
hunting, looking for foods, preparing shelters and clothes. The division of labour was based on
gender and age, men hunted and collected food while women were responsible for cooking,
taking care of the young, sick and old people.
All decision making was arrived at by all adult members of the group
regardless of their gender.
Generally, people lived together according to blood relations in small groups by tracing their
origin from the same ancestor. Each group was separated from the other by large tracts of land.