The idea that Africa was totally uncivilized before Europeans arrived for trade and taking slaves around 1500 is a racist fabrication. This BBC report tells about the wealth of written documents in Timbuktu that pre-date European influence being collected in a new library/archive:
BBC Report: Saving Africa's Precious Written Heritage
With the gathering and preservation of these important manuscripts, let us hope there is a flowering of scholarship and reporting to correct history, which will support a rebirth of Africa. If new books and documentaries are produced about the civilizations of Africa, let's also hope that Americans and Europeans bother to notice.