Princes shall come of Egypt; Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God
In Western fiction, this may not differ much from depictions of modern Africa
. Depictions may also reference African mythology. Although in the less-politically-correct past the "savage with the bone in his nose stuffing the pith-helmeted explorer into a cooking pot" image was quite prevalent. Going back even further, when the Ancient Greeks referred to Africa they tended to focus on Egypt or Ethiopia as mystical, exotic lands.
In reality, Africa has a history as stocked full of rising and falling empires, artists, intrepid merchants, heroes, power-mad lunatics and wars as anywhere else in the world.
See also Darkest Africa
and Useful Notes: Africa
Works set in this time period are:
- One Hellboy story features a retelling of the story of ancient West-African Culture Hero Makoma, a superhuman guy with a hammer who perishes after a Double KO with a 7-headed monster. May or may not be the forerunner to African-American Culture Hero John Henry who also used a hammer and perished in a similar, though less fantastic manner.
- One of the The Royal Diaries was set in Angola; supposed to be a diary of a young Queen Nzingha (of Ndongo and Matamba), it is truly quite lacking in stereotypes about Africa and presents an interesting picture of the continent during the 1500's (colonization and the slave trade), particularly for a book written for a YA audience.
- Lots of Robert E. Howard stories are set here, with visits by characters such as Conan the Barbarian or Solomon Kane typically involving Eldritch Abominations terrorizing the countryside.
- In the middle of the futuristic Zimbabwe of The Ear, the Eye and the Arm is Resthaven, a sacred country where the old ways are preservednote - "the spiritual heart of Africa." Even airplanes aren't allowed to fly overhead, and the people who live inside of it have only the vaguest notion of the outside world - most of them.
- Axum in Belisarius Series is a subversion. While it's warriors bear a resemblance to the ones in Zulu they are also capable of building palaces, ships, and cities, forming an elaborate system of political checks and balances, dominating the trade in the Indian Ocean, and negotiating as equals, with great empires.
- Wilbur Smith's The Sunbird is partially set in a lost kingdom in the area of modern Botswana, and partially set in the present day, following the archaeologists who are beginning to uncover its remains.
- Shaka Zulu
- On Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The first Vampire Slayer was an ancient African girl with face-paint and dreadlocks, given powers by a group of misogynist shamans.
- Europa Universalis and its sequels, which let you play as an African empire even if your usual fate is to get invaded.
- On the other hand, a HUGE part of inland Africa is inaccessible to anyone.
- The Settlers II had Nubians as one of the four playable civilizations. Of course, since the game has Cosmetically Different Sides (and that only for the buildings. The workers all have the same (Caucasian) sprite no matter the civilization), the Nubians civilization is exactly as developed and complex as the Roman, Viking or Japanese — up to and including sophisticated ship-building and ironworking techniques.
- Guild Wars Nightfall features Elona, a Fantasy Counterpart Culture to Africa (especially the North).