In the annuals of history, Africa has been viewed as a continent taken advantage of, plundered by those from lands far beyond its own, by those within and without. Because of a general lack of interest in its people, history and graditude given its subjugation for so many centuries, few realise the potential Africa had had once to rival the mighty empires of Europe and Asia. The Ethiopian Empire was at one point considered one of the four world powers during the time of ancient Rome. The Mali Empire was once the wealthiest nation on Earth, possessing gold in amounts kings from afar could only dream of. And there are the Swahili, who once traded with the Chinese, even receiving the mighty fleet of Zheng He.
In this alternate history, we shall explore the Africa that could have been had its leaders and people been more willing or able to make sound decisions, and win the crucial battles that wiped once mighty empires from the map and from the history you and I know. This is the Pax Africana. The African Peace.
Point of Divergence
Starting in East Africa around 900 AD, the Empire of Aksum is in decline. The Islamic Empire continues to grow and isolate the Christian nation from the outside trade. The inhabitants are forced into the mountains for protection, and the Jewish queen, Yodit, begins to destroy chruches and cities in the lowlands as the Aksumites retreat. This isolation does much to damage the precursors to the Ethiopian empire in the long-run, keeping the once mighty empire from remaining up-to-date with ongoings of the world. In this time, Aksum's decline is not devastating as in OTL. In fact, Yodit is defeated by the Christian Emperors of Ethiopia, and the coast reclaimed. The Ethiopians lose their colony in Yemen as was the case in OTL to the Muslims, but they remain a formidable force in Africa. And unlike their OTL brother, they are able to continue trading following Yodit's defeat.
In West Africa around 1610 in the Mali Empire, Mahmud IV has died. His three sons all sought to have the throne from themselves, and this as oral tradition have stated, resulted in the once great empire fracturing and falling prey to its enemies. In this timeline, they come to view Morocco and its growing empire in the north as the greater threat to their power. having seen how its neighbor, Songhai, was crushed by the Moroccans, they agree to permit the eldest son to inherit the throne, and consolidate their power by building up their military strength by purchasing firearms, having seen how Songhai's 10,000 archers and spearmans were wiped out by the 1,000 Moroccans musket-armed soldiers. With their much larger and better-equipped forces, the Malian armies force Morocco back north of the Sahara and establish Mali as the predominate power in Saharan Desert.
In Nigeria, the Oyo Empire rises to prominence in the 14th-century, just was the case in OTL. Additionally, just as in OTL, they become the most politically and militarily important state in the region. While they do not step in to do much in regards to slave trading in West Africa, they are vital in putting a stop to European exploitation of the native kingdoms, who unite behind the Oyo when the British, French, and Portuguese attempt to colonize the lands. These European nations are defeated a phyrric victory for the Oyo-led coalition, and the growth of African kingdoms in the region continues unabadded until 1754. This is when the Oyo leader, Prime Minister Bashorun Gaha, attempts to gain absolute power through a series of coups which fail, and damage his nation's power.
This is put to a stop in this timeline, where he is found out, and executed. While the Oyo remain a powerful force in West Africa, the Ashanti come to power around the period, and soon rival their former protector by the 1800s. The Ashanti soon eclipse the Oyo, but never too the point where they dominate them, and both grow together as ever wary neighbors. The British invasion of the Ashanti lands begins at the same OTL date in 1824. The British do win in the first conflict, setting the border at the Pra River in 1831. In the second war, the result is the same, though victor was declared as in OTL. In the third conflict, the Ashanti win both battles at Amoaful and Ordashu, saving their capital city of Kumasi. Mali and Oyo's intervention prevents the start of the Forth Anglo-Ashanti War, and keep Ashantehene from falling.
The Kingdom of Kongo does not fall to the Portuguese Empire. The Kongolese king, João I converts to Christianity, and begins trading with Portugal. However, unlike in OTL, he does not allow for the selling of slaves to the colonial power. This decision was important, as the kingdom of two million people is not depopulated by the king's foolish choice, and allows the much larger populace of ATL Kongo to remain defiant in their leader's choice. Their armies were finally strong enough to repulse the Portuguese at the Battle of Mbwila, where the Kongolese are able to amass a force of 70,000 soldiers (unlike the 30,000 do to lack of manpower), and crush the Portuguese forces.
Finally, in South Africa, the Zulu make wise choices under the rule of Shaka Zulu, who is not assassinated by his two half-brothers, Dingane and Mhlangana, both of whom are killed when their plots are revealed. When is mother dies, Shaka does not give the order to mourn her. This is important as he ordered that no crops be planted for the following year, no milk be drinken (staple of the Zulu diet), and no women become pregant less she and her husband be killed. Thus, the Zulu remain suffiently stronger to combat the future threats they faced. Also, they trade more frequently with the Boers and the British, whilst remaining defiant in the face of their enemies, learning how to use guns properly (as they shot too high believing the bullet would be blessed), and defeat numerous attempts to expand into their lands.