analysisBy Motsoko Pheko
To restore Afrikan power, Africans must reassert themselves. We have riches of all kinds. We must control our raw materials. We must acquire technology to process these raw materials in Africa and export them as finished goods. We must break free from exploitative relationships with the West'.
Before our country was invaded by colonialists from Europe three African seers foretold of their coming and warned about certain things that our ancestors were to avoid in dealing with them. These seers were Ntsikana, Mmantsopa and King Somhlolo. This African King warned that there was 'the coming of strange people whose hair resembles bushy ends of an ox-tail. They had the colour of red maize. They spoke an unknown language. They knew not the customs of the African people.'
When I went to school my primary teacher taught me that in English, a thing that is the colour of milk or snow is white. Later I was told that the people whose colour King Somhlolo had described as 'the colour of red maize' were now called 'white people.' I have always puzzled about this because I think the description King Somhlolo gave is correct. Personally, I have never come across 'white people.' I do not know why these are called 'white people.' They are not the colour of milk or snow that my English teacher taught me is white.
Then I hear people talking about the 'West' and 'Western Civilisation.' I agree there might be Western Europe, even though I think this should be North because it is in North of Africa. It is not in West of Africa. I have also a problem when Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United States of America, Tasmania, etc are regarded as part of this 'West' even though they are in the opposite direction of Western Europe. I suppose even The Falklands, which the Argentine government calls Malvinas, is part of this mysterious 'West.' Am I missing something here? Are some people playing games with Africa? Is this 'West' geographical, political or ideological?
Why are these people all calling themselves "White"? Are they really "White?" Why do they claim a colour that contradicts their external appearance? And why do many of them generally look down on a black colour in particular?
I see that in courts and at university graduation ceremonies these 'red maize' people wear black gowns. Their ministers of religion, too, wear black clothes. Their 'white' farmers prefer black soil to non-black soils. Of course, the black soil is naturally more fertile than non-black soils. I am told that the English Queen is driven in royal state cars that are black in colour. In fact, even at Heathrow Airport in London most taxicabs have a black colour.
But many of these self-appointed 'white' people seem to have a big problem with the black colour if it is in human beings. They have therefore caused much suffering to black people through slavery, colonialism and racism. This mysterious 'white' colour needs scientific research. It has created many problems in this world, particularly for people of other colours. Where are our Khoi people? Where are the San people? Where are the aborigines of Australia? Where are the indigenous people of America, Canada and New Zealand?
Why are black people of so-called 'New South Africa' who constitute 80 percent of the population allocated only 13 percent of resources in the land of their ancestors?
I am concerned that even the Saviour of the world Jesus Christ has been given a 'white' colour. This contradicts the Bible itself in Matthew 1:1-17, Luke 3:23-38. In the Book of Songs 1:5-6 King Solomon the son of David with Bathsheba, a black woman, proclaimed, 'I am Black and handsome.'
Jesus as a human being on this planet was not 'white.' The Jewish historian, Flavious Josephus who lived in the first century AD described Jesus as 'a man of plain looks, extremely learned and full of vigour with a dark skin.' Jesus was not 'white.'
There are no 'white' people in this world, if in English milk and snow truly represent white colour. In any case even the real white colour is not superior to other colours. It is only different from them.
In this introduction I have already inferred to Afrikan power in a Eurocentric world. Some of the questions that I must now answer are: Was there Afrikan power before colonialism or European slave trade? Is there such power now? If there is none, how must African people bring this power back? Can Afrikan power exist without the Africentric view of the world?
In my view, after these many centuries of European slavery, colonialism and racism that have poisoned the thinking of so many Africans, we cannot discuss Afrikan power in a Eurocentric world without looking at the long history of Africa and the utterances of those who think that Eurocentricity is the sole view of the world. They accept no other worldview.
Let me begin with what some proponents of Eurocentricity have said. Hugh Trevor-Roper, a professor of history at Oxford University wrote that 'Undergraduates, seduced by the changing breath of journalistic fashion, demand that they be taught the history of black Africa. Perhaps in future, there will be some African history to teach... at present there is none or very little. There is only the history of Europeans in Africa. The rest is darkness....and darkness is not a subject for history.'
The English professor added that 'Studying the history of Africa would be to amuse ourselves with unrewarding gyrations of barbarous tribes in beautiful but irrelevant corners of the globe.' ('The Rise Of Christian Europe', Hugh Trevor-Roper page 1. Brace and World, 1965)
Corroborating this Eurocentric falsification of history, Philip Mitchell, a British colonial governor in Kenya boasted: 'The forty three-years I have spent in Africa - forty of them in public service - cover a large part of the history of Sub-Saharan Africa, for it can hardly be said to extend further back than about 1870.' ('Africa and the West in Historical Perspective', Philip Mitchell - AFRICA TODAY, Edited by G.C. Haines, Page 3. Green Press New York)
It has been dark times for Afrikan power in the Eurocentric world even from those who professed to honour God and serve Him. A Swiss missionary, Henri Junad, proclaimed: 'The Blacks...despite all that has been written on the fundamental axiom of the absolute equality of mankind, are an inferior race, made to serve....Christianity alone will make out of the Black a servant satisfied with his lot, for it alone will make a free and voluntary submission to the plans of the Divine Providence....Everyone is deeply concerned that the Negro should accept the position assigned to him by physical and intellectual faculties.
'Without the arms of the natives the gold mines of Johannesburg which have built up the prosperity of South Africa would cease to exist from one day to the next for it is the native arms which accomplish the entire manual labour in the extracting of gold. The white man's role is that of organiser, the master, under whose watch must work the million arms of the native population.' ('Introduction To African Civilisation', John G. Jackson. Page 311, Coro Publishing Group Edition 1977)
The Afrikan power was destroyed by the European gun, slave trade, colonialism and racism. Through the Berlin Treaty of 26 February 1885 African resources and labour were used to develop Europe and its satellites. To enthrone once again the Africentric view of the world, Africans must look at the history of Africa anew. Many scholars have ventilated on this position. We must assimilate their warnings and wisdom. A well-read scholar, Patrick Henry, has said: 'I know of no other way to foresee the future than the study of the past.' Our own most prominent Pan-Africanist scholar in our country, Dr. Muziwakhe Lembede, has written: 'One who wants to create a future must not forget the past.'
Why? A noted researcher on Africa, Amadou-Mahtar M'bow, who wrote the preface to the
'UNESCO General History of Africa' has drawn attention to the fact that: 'The history of Africa needs re-writing....Up until now it has been masked, faked, distorted by 'force of circumstances'; for example, through ignorance or self-interest. Crushed by centuries of oppression, Africa has seen generations of travellers, missionaries, colonial governors and scholars of all kinds give out Africa's image as one of nothing but poverty, barbarism...and chaos. This image has been projected in justification of both present and future....All evils that affect Africa today...are the result of countless forces that transmitted this faked history.'
Perhaps Africa's renowned political martyr, Patrice Lumumba, had in mind this subject when as he was about to be barbarously killed and his body burned in a petrol drum with the connivance of the forces of Eurocentricity; he said, 'History will one day have its say. It will not be a history written from the United Nations, Washington, Paris and Brussels...but the history taught in countries that have got rid themselves of colonialism and its puppets. Africa will write its own history. It shall be full of glory and dignity.'
WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO INSTALL AFRIKAN POWER IN A EUROCENTRIC WORLD?
We, Africans, shall have to hunger for knowledge. We need to know who we were before the slave trade, colonialism and racism. What did our forebears achieve? The first and indisputable fact that we must know is that the first human civilisation on this planet was created by black people - Africans. The first renaissance in this world was African Renaissance. My book 'African Renaissance Saved Christianity' deals with this matter.
There are some European people and their cousins who claim that they came to Africa to 'civilise' Africans! How do you 'civilise' people through slavery, colonialism and racism? Some people called Africa the 'Dark Continent.' How come the 'Dark Continent' saved Moses' life under Pharaoh Seti I? This was through this Pharaoh's daughter Princess Thermuthis. It is Africa that educated Moses in the highest institutions of learning; made a leader out of him and gave him his wife Zipporah, a daughter of an African priest. Her name means beautiful.
How come that the 'Dark Continent' gave refuge to Jesus Christ when Herod conspired to kill him? How come the 'Dark Continent' gave Moslems asylum at the beginning of their religion when they were persecuted for their beliefs? How come that the fundamentals of the Christian faith were laid by African theologians such as Tertullian and Augustine? Augustine is reputed to have spoken Latin, the 'English' of those days 'in an African accent?'
There is archaeological evidence that Africans mined minerals such as gold, iron and copper 200,000 years before European colonial forces invaded and underdeveloped Africa. These mines existed in African countries such as Zimbabwe, Nubia, Kush, Egypt, Azania and Mozambique. The Azanian Civilisation itself stretched from East Africa to the country colonialists called 'South Africa' on the 20 September 1909. As late as 1626 AD, the 'Indian Ocean' was called the Azanian Sea. The Atlantic Ocean was known as the Ethiopian Sea.
Pliny the Elder, a Roman writer, philosopher, naturalist as well as a naval army commander of the Roman Empire mentioned the Azanian Sea as early as 60 AD. Right here in Azania in the 1930s, archaeological excavations revealed skeletal remains of what were called 'ancient Azanians' in Mapungubwe. These people were also referred to as the descendants of Kush.
A French missionary, the Rev. E. Casalis, has described King Moshoeshoe when he met him at his Thaba Bosiu Headquarters in 1833: 'Suddenly, a personage attired in the most fantastic fashion appeared....The King bent on me, a look at once majestic and benevolent...full of intelligence....I felt at once that I had to do with a superior man trained to think, to command others, above all himself....He wore on his right arm a bracelet of ivory...an emblem of power and copper rings on his wrists.'
Is this the image of an uncivilised African head of a pre-colonial state? On the contrary, it was this African King of the Basotho who accused the European invaders of his country of barbarism. Writing to Boshof, a colonial leader of the Boer Trekkers who had in 1858 invaded part of his country, which the invaders later called 'Orange Free State,' King Moshoeshoe said: 'No....The captains of your commandos are no Christians, for I shall never believe that Christianity consists in carrying away women and children into captivity; and in shooting down old and sick people.'
When provoked by colonial aggressors to war in 1838, King Dingane of the Zulus spared the lives of European missionaries. They were doing religious work in his country. These included the Rev. Francis Owen. This was despite the King's order, 'Bulalani abathakathi!' (Kill the wizards!)
Let us now look at the statements and findings of European archaeologists on pre-colonial Africa. The pyramids are found in various parts of Africa such as Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt. The Great Egyptian Pyramid of Pharaoh Khufu at Giza was built in 2560 BC. It was classified as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Writing about these pyramids, Dr Leander S Keyser, an American scholar proclaimed, 'Before the people of the earth are able to duplicate the Great Pyramids, they will have to rediscover the lost arts of hardening copper, overcoming gravitation, navigating the air, etc. Also perfect mathematics, measuring apparatus sufficiently correct at least to survey or measure the same objects twice with the same results.'
The American scholar added, 'Even with our boasted present-day enlightenment and progress, we must admit that some of the wonderful 'lost arts' of the ancient civilisation have never been recovered. We have not found the architectural secrets of erection of the Pyramids in Egypt.'
It was not a figment of his imagination when that highly learned French Egyptologist, CF Volney, told the Western world in 1787 that '...a race of black men who are today our slaves and object of our contempt is the same one to whom we owe our arts, sciences and even the very language.' Volney added, 'The Egyptians (Black people) were the first people to attain the physical and moral science necessary to civilise life.'
For his part, Sir EA Wallis Budge, who was keeper of Egyptian and Assyrian Antiquities of the British Museum, has in his book, 'EGYPT', written: 'The prehistoric native Egypt both in old and new Stone Ages was African and there is every reason for saying the earliest inhabitants came from the South.'
There is substantial evidence for this, when it is remembered that the original name of Egypt was Mizraim or Kemet - meaning blackman's country. It is the Greeks who called Mizraim, Egypt, which in Greek also means the country of black people.
In his book, The Histories, The Father of European History, Herodotus, wrote in 450 BC that, 'The Egyptians, the Ethiopians, the Nubians and Colchians have thick lips, broad noses, woolly hair and they are burnt of skin (black).'
Affirming this view, Karl Lepsius, a German scholar who saw the evidence of this fact at the grave of Pharaoh Rameses III wrote that, 'Where we expected to see an Egyptian (being a 'white man'), we are presented with an authentic black.'
ON 'GREEK PHILOSOPHY'
Africa (ancient Egypt) civilised Greece and Greece civilised Western Europe. A number of Greek scholars were educated in ancient Egypt. When they returned to Greece the Greek government considered the philosophical ideas they learned from Africa a threat to the security of Greece. It persecuted them.
The first casualty of this persecution was Anaxagora. He was imprisoned and later exiled. The next victim was Socrates. The Greek government executed him. It exiled Plato and Aristotle. It got Pythagoras, the Greek student who studied mathematics in ancient Egypt for 21 years, expelled from Italy. It took many centuries for the Greeks to assimilate civilisation from Africa which later privileged Greece to become the 'cradle of Western Civilisation.' Yet, today teachings learnt by Greeks from Africa are called 'Greek Philosophy.'
In 1893, however, E. Reclus, author of The Earth And Its Inhabitants told the world that,'...Arithmetic, Architecture, Geometry, Astronomy, all the arts and nearly all today's industries and sciences were known by ancient Egyptians while the Greeks lived in caves. The pattern of our European thinking originated from Africa.'
Dr. Pixley Isaka ka Seme was from Azania. He was aware of the civilising role of Africa when on 5 April 1906, he delivered his speech, I Am an African, at Columbia University in America. He said, 'I would ask you not to compare Africa to Europe or any other continent. I make the request not from fear that comparison might bring humiliation upon Africa....Come with me to the ancient capital of Egypt in Thebes, the city of one hundred gates. The grandeur of its venerable ruins and the gigantic proportions of its architecture reduce, to insignificance, the boasted monuments of other nations. The pyramids of ancient Egypt are structures to which the world presents nothing comparable. The mighty monuments seem to look with disdain on every other work of human art and vie with nature itself. All the glory of Egypt belongs to Africa and her people.'
Yes, we are the descendants of builders of great kingdoms and creators of glorious civilisations based on UBUNTU - HUMANENESS. Our ancestors were genius inventors not for the destruction of the world, physically, morally and spiritually but for the development of man - the masterpiece of God's creation.
Africans built Memphis, the capital city of ancient Egypt, in 3100 BC. Greeks built Athens in 1200 BC. The Romans built Rome in 1000 BC. Africans invented writing. It was Hieroglyphics before 3000 BC. Hieratic alphabet shortly after this. Demotic writing was developed about 600 BC. The Kushite script was used in 300 B.C. Other African scripts were Merotic, Coptic, Amharic, Sabean, G'eez scripts, Nsibidi of Nigeria, Mende of Mali, etc.
To restore Afrikan power in a Eurocentric world, Africans must reassert themselves. We have riches of all kinds. We must control our raw materials. We must acquire technology to process these raw materials in Africa and export them as finished goods. We must exchange our raw material resources for high technology not for cash or so-called foreign investment or trade. We must banish dispossession and replace it with repossession. We must reassert ourselves. Those who claim to give us 'financial aid' get their riches in Africa. The Marikana Massacre of African miners in our country on 16 August 2012 who still dig our platinum for our dispossessors is a wakeup call.
We have to find our way forward. We have been trapped in the wilderness of Eurocentricity for far too long. We are not thinking as our ancestors did. We are not as brave as our ancestors. Our minds are colonised. We must decolonise our minds. Only decolonised minds can be an intellectual and spiritual engine to propel us to success and prosperity.
We must design a system of education that is tailored to the needs of our country. That education must equip our country with all kinds of skills and professions our country and continent need. No government will ever create jobs if it does not have a diversified quality education. It is skills that create jobs, not the other way round. A school system that produces students who cannot find public or self-employment is a failed education system. All institutions of learning that offer education that is irrelevant to the needs of our country or continent must be closed down. Our country and continent is full of minerals of all kinds and oil. How many geologists and men and women of science, technology,
agriculture and economics have we trained? Instead this mineral wealth is being exploited by neo-colonial forces and enriching their own countries, at the expense of Africa's underdevelopment and technological stagnation.
We must not allow our minds to be perpetually controlled and used against our own African interests. When the neo-colonial forces control your mind, they do not need to worry about your actions. They do not have to tell you not to stand here or there. You will find your place of servitude and inferiority yourself. They do not have to ask you to enter their houses through the back door. You will go through the back door without being told. If there is no back door, you will make one for yourself. That is how people with a slave mentality are trained and operate.
Until our minds are liberated and we accept our full human dignity and essential humanity, we shall do very little for ourselves, for our country, for our continent and for humanity. Our forefathers produced great and numerous civilisations and kingdoms whose artefacts are still filling the museums of Western Europe in captivity. There are one hundred thousand African artefacts from ancient Egypt alone in the Berlin Museum. Ghana's golden stool, the symbol of the Asante people, was ransacked from Africa. State coronation swords from Ethiopia were removed from Africa. Two thousand works of art in bronze, ivory, bead and wood were removed from the King of Benin. The Eurocentric forces want to hide the achievements of African civilisations from the descendants of African people, so that the falsehood of a so-called 'Dark Continent' can be perpetuated.
Afrikan power in a Eurocentric world is the key to our true mental decolonisation. Without the Africentric view of the world, Africans will remain mimics of cultural imperialism and victims of Eurocentric domination that serve non-African interests.