Long before the invention of cars in Europe, African people were still traveling. Some of the travels were trade routes and others were just routes used to go to war. The traveling incorporated canoes, walking on foot or riding on animals. Anyway, the fact that they did not have motorized vehicles did not deter them from moving over long distances. From the ivory, salt, and farm products, the people of this continent were determined to get things moving until their life got a surprise turn with the introduction of cars. Contrary to what many people may think, the earliest cars in Africa were not rudiments, but they were handcrafted works of science and art.
Imagine how surprised the people were when they first saw a car for the first time. Some must have taken to the bush to hide while some must have gone close to look, no, stare at the strange thing that made noises and seemed to take commands from a white man holding a circular thingy. I am sure the feeling was not similar to coming close to a plane for the first time because today, we are decades wiser and there is the TV where you will see these things prior to the live encounter.
Where Did the Cars Come From?
Automobiles started being developed from as early as 1769, with the efforts being directed towards the steam engine vehicles. The first car to have run on fuel and a combustion engine came in 1806. But it wasn’t until 1885 that the internal gasoline fueled engine made its way into the vehicles. From the day the modern vehicle was designed, what followed was a series of madness in the production of vehicles that led to what we have today on our roads.
Back in 1900s, a few years after the modern vehicle started its journey, Africa saw the first car through a number of ports. In Ethiopia, the first vehicle arrived from Djibouti through driving. The pioneer newspaper also described the car belonging to Alafin, the king of Oyo in 1927. Back in the days, you had to be either white or a high and mighty person to own vehicles in Africa. To other people, the vehicle remained to be a puzzle and a machine to behold that reduced the walking distance from a months’ affair to an hours’ thing.
As the cars became popular and as other inventions in Europe and America became serious and geared towards mass production, there were other vehicles such as trucks and lorries. In the 1920s, there were many lorries being used in Africa as a means of transporting both people and goods. Over time, vehicles became common sights such that the African countries decided to make their own. Through out the 20th century a number of countries have tried manufacturing their own vehicles, some being successful and others recording some failures. Comparing today’s Africa with what it was back then, the automotive industry has come from far and it is headed further.