© Sulaiman Ishola
“African Faces”, acrylic painting on Canvas

1964, UNESCO launched the elaboration of the General History of Africa
with a view to remedy the general ignorance on Africa’s history. The
challenge consisted of reconstructing Africa’s history, freeing it from
racial prejudices ensuing from slave trade and colonization, and
promoting an African perspective.
UNESCO therefore called upon the then utmost African
and non African experts. These experts’ work represented 35 years of
cooperation between more than 230 historians and other specialists, and
was overseen by an International Scientific Committee which comprised two-thirds of Africans.
The result was the elaboration of the General History of Africa into eight volumes (Phase
I of the project). This huge task, completed in 1999, had a great
impact in Africa and, beyond, within the scientific and academic circles
and is considered as a major contribution to the knowledge of Africa’s
history and historiography. 
Given its importance for humanity, the General History of Africa was translated into thirteen languages including English, French,
Arabic, but also into three African languages. In pursuing its efforts
for Africa, UNESCO has just launched the second phase of the project
which is entitled “The Pedagogical Use of the General History of Africa”.