Viewing the world through today’s scan, it is hard to imagine a self reliant and even dominant Africa. Many people find no place in their imagination for the African in a position of superior skill and ability that would suffice for self-reliance in virtually all spheres of life. This perception of the African is well supplied by the crisis of confidence, which is rife amongst Africans themselves, and the accompanying self-doubt.
The connection between the African race and a glorious existence is a faint one. There is not a reportable amount of hope for it on home ground and the related deficit of optimism is as real as the continent’s current challenges. However, past African races had firm grip of their affairs and might be pretty surprised that their descendents are the world’s underdogs of today, were they to witness our world now.
Herodotus, a Greek historian, lived between 484BCE or there about to between 430 and 420BCE. Many scholars consider him the father of history. He remains the leading source of original historical information between 550 and 479 BCE for much of western Asia, Egypt, and Greece, at that time. He was well travelled. In his travels in Egypt he went as far as Aswan. Aswan, a city on the River Nile was a strategic commercial center for Southern Egypt since antiquity.
In his memoirs of Egypt, as he considered the flow of the Nile and wondered whether it originated from melting snow or not, he had this to say “And indeed most of the facts are such as to convince a man (one at least who is capable of reasoning about such matters), that it is not at all likely that it flows from snow. The first and greatest evidence is afforded by the winds, which blow hot from these regions; the second is that the land is rainless always and without frost, whereas after snow has fallen rain must necessarily come within five days, so that if it snowed in those parts rain would fall there; the third evidence is afforded by the people dwelling there, who are of a black colour by reason of the burning heat.”
In several other references, Herodotus continually highlights the Negro character of the ancient Egyptians.
Ancient Egypt, the land of wonders in social organization, architectural science and other exploits, a cradle of civilization, was thus a land of black men and women. This is not news, and is not intended for it. Also the fact that the precision of execution of physical works in ancient Egypt as seen through pyramids and their other works was high grade needs no retelling.
Exploits of ancient Egyptians have not been under much question in modern times. It is their linkage with the melanin bearing black African that has been attacked in the past, though without much success. Senegalese physicist and pan-African historian, Cheikh Anta Diop, in his book, The African Origin of Civilization, highlights such attempts to detach ancient Egypt and the black race along with his thoughtful rebuttals.
About five thousand kilometers from the signature of ancient Egyptian works, southward, are the remains of the ancient Kingdom of Zimbabwe. History carries the record that the ancient Zimbabwe city was built and occupied between the 12th and 15th centuries. At the peak of its power and prosperity in the 13th and 14th centuries, the town was the largest settlement in southern Africa. The builders of Great Zimbabwe were the Karanga, from which descend the Shona people of today’s nation of Zimbabwe. What remains of stone buildings that existed in this place is an awesome spectacle today.
Much later than the times indicated above, in the examples of what existed in Egypt and Zimbabwe, claim was to then be laid to discovering Africa by European s. For example, and allegedly, the European John Speke discovered the source of the River Nile on August 3rd, 1854. The Kingdom of Buganda itself, a walk away from the said source, in present day Central Uganda, dates back to the thirteenth century as a well organized monarchy. Imagine what a native of that time would think after learning that it later became examinable historical content in Ugandan schools that John Speke discovered the source of the Nile.
The world’s oldest educational institution was founded in Fez, present day Morocco in the year 895. Part of its teaching curriculum was well facilitated by the knowledge supply of ancient Egypt.
Professional historians certainly have more interesting stories to tell about all the above, and would even teach me better lessons about it, but without doubt today we live in such a wide contrast to the African past. Our ancestors must be so uncomfortable in their graves, watching all this.
Raymond is a Chartered Risk Analyst and risk management consultant