Dr. Kwame Nantambu

Afrikan history is world history
Posted: August 11, 2002
An analysis by
Dr. Kwame Nantambu

Life began in Afrika and it will end in Afrika. For the first 110,000 years of human existence on this planet, only afrikan people existed. We Afrikans are the people of yesterday and tomorrow; Europeans are only the people of today. We Afrikans are the Alpha and the Omega-the beginning and the end.

As "The Revelation of Saint John the Divine" reminds us in the Holy Bible: "And he (the Afrikan) that overcometh and keepeth my words unto the end, to him (the Afrikan) will I give power over the nations" and peoples of the earth.

The fact of the matter is that Afrikan history is a vital part of world history, a very old and very important division of the total study of humankind. Because it is an essential segment in the field of scholarship and learning, scholars today consider it to be worthy of considerable attention.

In recent years, intensive research has opened up avenues for new insights into our understanding of the Afrikan continent and as a result, students at all levels can now profit from a better appreciation of the contributions of Afrikan culture to the other cultures of the world and to world civilization as a whole.

The fact of the matter is that there would not be a Europe today, there would not be an America today and there would not be TnT today if there was not an Afrika of yesterday. That's just the historical reality.

Indeed, research on Afrika and its place in human history has proven that Afrika is the birthplace or origin of all humankind and was, for many centuries, in the forefront of human progress. As such, Afrikan history must be looked at anew and seen in its relationship to world history.

What is usually referred to as world history is only the history of the first and second rise of Europe and Europeans. Yet, the history of Afrika was already old for thousands of years when Europe was born.

Until quite recently, it was rather generally assumed, even among well-educated persons in the West, that the continent of Afrika was a great expanse of land, mostly jungle, inhabited by savages and fierce beasts. It was not realized that great civilizations could have existed there or that great kings and queens could have ruled there in might and wisdom over vast empires.

This false Euro-centric notion speaks to the supremacist nature of European scholarship.

It is true that there are also some notions about the cultural achievement of Egypt, but Egypt was erroneously conceived as a European land rather than as a country in Afrika. Hence the notion that "Tanned Europeans" built the Pyramids. Although a cursory glance at an atlas or a globe would reveal that Egypt is in Afrika, the Sahara Desert was seen as a formidable barrier that divided Afrika into two parts: one, North of the Sahara, inhabited by a European-like people of high culture and noble history; the other, South of the Sahara, was inhabited by a dark-skinned people who had no culture and were incapable of having done anything in their past that could be dignified by the designation of "history".

According to the deceased, Afro-centric historian and teacher, Dr. John Henrik Clarke:

" Europeans have long been in contact with Afrika, that is, Northern Afrika. The names of Aesop and Memnon, of Terence and Cleopatra, are names of Afrikans who have figured in the legend, literature, the arts and history of Greece and Rome. Indeed, the land of Afrika was a land of wonders for the ancient Greeks and Romans and this to such an extent that among them it was a proverb that,'Out of Afrika there is always something new.'"

The concept of "darkest Afrika" refers to the comparative ignorance of Europeans regarding the Afrikan continent and its people over the last five hundred years and continuing as part of the "manifestation of the evil genius of Europe" and European scholarship.

There is another reason why the people of Afrika, with the notable exclusion of Kemet (Egypt), were depicted as uncivilized, primitive and barbaric and lacking in cultural achievements. A number of well-intended people in Europe would have been struck with horror if they knew the cruel and bloody acts of their fellow countrymen in the course of the inhumane slave trade, Afrikan Holocaust or MAAFA.

Ruthless European adventurers promoted the destruction of complete villages to capture the inhabitants and sell them like cattle---human beings. As a result, European slave traders invented fantastic tales of savagery about Afrikans so that their capture and their transportation to labour on the plantations of the American South and Caribbean would appear to be acts of Christian concern and high-minded enlightenment and humanism.

Of course, history has shown that nothing is more further from this Big Lie.

Dr. Clarke argues that "to justify the enslavement and the exploitation of Afrikans, the Europeans began in the fifteenth century to read them out of the respectable commentary of human history. Many achievements of black people were attributed to white people" as part of "the manifestation of the evil genius of Europe" and European scholarship.

The Euro-colonisers of Afrika had repeatedly proclaimed that " the Afrikan people had no history." They concluded that nothing came out of Afrika but powerless, defenceless, nothing slaves. And indeed many Afrikan people, including some Afrikan-Trinis, believe this European Big Lie.

But despite all of these European attempts at historical superiority, historiography proves quite convincingly that all humankind originated in Mother Afrika and NO where else. This then makes the Afrikan man and the Afrikan women the FATHER and MOTHER of all humankind on this planet.

Despite all this proof, a primary myth has been developed in Euro-Western thought process and culture which depicts Afrika as the "dark continent" and devoid of history and culture and any civilization. This 'darkness' was not only a physical description of the inhabitants of Afrika but also a callous insinuation that Afrika and Afrikans had never produced a high level of civilization and had existed in isolation and savagery from the rest of the world.

Furthermore, this vicious myth maintains that "only in the modern period, when Europeans came to Afrika to explore and colonise, was it civilized." Such a racist, supremacist position is patently and categorically untrue and historically speaking, unsupportable.

The growing body of solid scientific knowledge produced and documented in this century has made such clumsy fabrications no longer tenable and worthwhile for discussion.

The fact of the matter is that the "dark continent" a vile product of the European's desire and vicious intention in the modern period "to explain and justify the often exploitive relationships they were forming with the non-white world as the whites rose to global dominance and power position.

In general, the theories and discoveries of the Euro-Western world functioned only to support and strengthened the presumption of European superiority and invincibility. Within this context, it then became vitally important that the Euro-Western world be acknowledged as "the origins of both humankind and civilization." Such is the "manifestation of the evil genius of Europe" and European scholarship.

In his pamphlet titled The African Contribution (1966), John W. Weatherwax, addresses the Afrikan contribution to the early development of humankind as follows:

" The early Afrikans made hooks to catch fish, spears to hunt with, the bola, with which to catch birds and animals, the blow-gun, the hammer, the stone-axe, canoes and paddles, bags and buckles, poles, bows and arrows..

The pre-history of mankind is called the old Stone Age. It may have lasted half a million years. canoes made it possible for men to travel farther from his early home. Over many centuries, canoes went down the Nile (river) and the Congo and up many smaller rivers and streams..

From the blow-gun of ancient Afrika

There followed, in later ages, many devices based on its principles. Some of them are the bellows, bamboo air pumps, the rifle, the pistol, the revolver, the automatic machine gun and even those industrial guns that puff grain..

Afrikan hunters many times cut up game. There still exist, from the old Stone Age, drawings of animal bones, hearts and other organs. The early drawings are a part of man's early beginnings in the field of anatomy."

Indeed, the typical, Euro-centric Western historian, until recently, maintained that the origin of all humankind had been in Asia, specifically the Java area of Southeast Asia. The first modern man to suggest that Afrika is the cradle of civilization and humankind is Charles Darwin in his book titled Descent of Man (1871).

Of course, Darwin had already shaken the scientific world with his theories of evolution and natural selection. His prophecy that "Afrika would be found to be the origin of the human species was rejected out of hand by the scientific community and considered heresy in the social and political world."

Conversely, scholars of the ancient world, uncontaminated by the need and desire to conform to the presumption of European superiority and supremacy, had routinely hypothesized that "Afrika had been the birthplace of man."

Diodorus Siculus, a Euro-Roman writing in the first century B.C., wrote as follows:

" The Ethiopians say that they were the first men that ever were in the world and that to prove this they have clear demonstrat-ions. It is most probable that those who inhabit the South were the first living men that sprang out of the earth. It is rational to conclude that those nearest to the sun should have been the first parents of all living creatures."

For centuries and even today, the Euro-Western world and scholars have mightily resisted the notion that Afrika should be recognized as the birthplace of all humankind. But the evidence is too overwhelming to deny out of existence.

Dr. Clarke surmises that "although much remains to be learned and several academic controversies continue to boil concerning specific details of these early ancestors, the broad outline of early human history has become increasingly clear."'

It includes the following historical truths:

1. "As recently as 600,000 B.C., there were only Afrikans. That is, the only ancestors of humans alive, lived on the Afrikan continent.
2. Between 500,000 - 400,000 B.C., Afrikans began to migrate to other parts of the world.
3. Isolation and environmental differences worked to produce Differing physical characteristics within migrating groups."

There was a period of migration within Afrika and some migrations out of Afrika. This accounts for the presence and appearance of Afrikan physical-type people in widely scattered areas outside the Afrikan continent.

Dr. Clarke suggests that "the reason for these migrations is not known." Organised societies came into being in spite of the migration of people to other lands. "These societies were in the midst of change."

It is very significant to note that "in the early development of man in Afrika, the family was the most important social unit. The survival needs of the family determined the activity and movement of each group."

Another factor to note is that "the women of early Afrika did more to develop farming than the men. The men were often away for long periods of time searching for supplies of food or a new hunting ground."

And during the old Stone Age, "men and women lived a very simple life and continued to utilize the environment around them." They were in-tuned with nature. Tool making and the discovery of fire brought some security to the lives of our early Afrikan ancestors.

What is called the new Stone Age actually started "when man learned to farm. Many families began to stay in one place for a long time because they had enough food to feed themselves. With this new stability, clusters of villages began to grow into what would later be cities."

By the New Stone Age, all of Afrika had benefited from the introduction of iron, new building methods, new methods of animal husbandry and a new use of the land through irrigation. Indeed, "for thousands of years, Afrikans had neither help nor interference from other nations and people."

The fact of the matter is that during all this developmental period, "Europe was not yet a factor in developing cultures and civilizations when these events were unfolding in Afrika." Organised societies had "already started along the banks of a long river later to be called the Nile." This Nile River is 110,000 miles long and is known as "the world's first cultural highway."

It is one of the few rivers on the planet that flows from South to North.

In early world history, "a distinct Afrikan people moved down that highway, settled in the delta area at the end of the river and built a nation that is best known to the world as (Kemet) Egypt."

It must be clearly understood that while the ancient Afrikans were building over one hundred and four Pyramids and other stone monuments in Kemet, the people whom we call Europeans today were languishing in the primitive, barbaric, uncivilized Bronze Age.

This is the history of Afrikan that is the spinal cord of world history. Afrikan-Trinis need to understand that history is power. Proper knowledge of one's history leads to the acquisition of power, while an ahistorical understanding of one's history leads to powerlessness, confusion, self-destruction, self-hate and Divide and Rule.

And this is the sad but true condition of the majority of Afrikan-Trinis today. Physical slavery was abolished effective 1 August 1834 but psychological or mental slavery has been effective since 2 August 1834 and it has been alive and kicking (or winning) ever since with gusto, vibrancy and determination up to today. Maybe Afrikan-Trinis like it so.

This is the plight, condition of the bottomless pit of unconsciousness displayed and lived out by Afrikan-Trinis 24-7-365---a pit that is bricked -in airtight and cemented by cultural, economic, financial, monetary and business-owned nakedness, nothingness and apparent future lessens.

Afrika is our HOME; the Caribbean is our DESTINATION.
Afrika is our HOME; the Caribbean is our DESTINATION.
Afrika is our HOME; the Caribbean is our DESTINATION.

Afrika is our ORIGINALITY; TnT is our NATIONALITY.

Without a proper understanding, interpretation and analysis of one's own history from one's own reference point, this is what a Euro-centric interpretation and understanding of one's history does to a people. A people without a history are an expendable-non-people.

Shem Hotep ("I go in peace").

Dr. Nantambu is an Associate Professor, Dept. of Pan-African Studies, Kent State University, U.S.A.

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