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Until lions tell their tale, the story of the hunt will always glorify the hunter
– African Proverb
Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will
– Frederick Douglass
The most pathetic thing is for a slave who doesn't know that he is a slave
– Malcolm X
Every man is rich in excuses to safeguard his prejudices, his instincts, and his opinions.
– Ancient Egypt
Africa's history did not begin in slavery, and despite the peculiarity, horror, and duration of enslavement of Africans, slavery occupies a minor time frame. Some of the most notable civilizations in human history come out of Africa. Africa has been a key continent in the development of the modern and historical world.
What kind of world do we live in when the views of the oppressed are expressed at the convenience of their oppressors?
– Owen 'Alik Shahadah
We are not Africans because we are born in Africa, we are Africans because Africa is born in us.
– Chester Higgins Jr.
Leave no brother or sister behind the enemy line of poverty.
– Harriet Tubman
If we stand tall it is because we stand on the shoulders of many ancestors.
– African Proverb
If we do not stop oppression when it is a seed, it will be very hard to stop when it is a tree.
– ' Alik Shahadah
If the future doesn't come toward you, you have to go fetch it
– Zulu Proverb
It takes more than a horrifying transatlantic voyage chained in the filthy hold of a slave ship to erase someone's culture
– Maya Angelou
It makes no difference what language Africans speak if our first language is not Truth
– Hilary Muhammad (NOI)
Africa before the Transatlantic Slave Trade
However, It is estimated that 40 -100 million people were directly affected by slavery via the Atlantic, Arabian and Trans-Saharan routes. Some historians conclude that the total loss in persons removed, those who died on the arduous march to coastal slave marts and those killed in slave raids, exceeded the 65–75 million inhabitants remaining Africa at the trade's end. But no one knows the exact number: Many died in transport, others died from diseases or indirectly from the social trauma left behind in Africa. Not only was Transatlantic Slavery of demographic significance, in the aggregate population losses but also in the profound changes to settlement patterns, epidemiological exposure and reproductive and social development potential. And prehaps one profound difference between Arab and European systems was that Africa's development potential was being experienced outside of Africa, as opposed to inside Africa.
Evidence is the ongoing untreated stench of global anti-African sentiment which poisons and pollutes African development.
Some say, Africa was a foreign name given to us, if this is true, it was given to us by our contemporaries not our conquerors. However the word has Berber Tunisian origins meaning " A sunny place" - Ifriqiya . Some claim Romans appropriated this word from which it is believed the modern word Africa came about the describe the entire continent. In addition, Africa is a unique name of a place and Africans are simply people who are native to that place. And over the course of history different names such as Habesha and Takruri were used to refer to African people of various regions, Ethiopia and West Africa respectively.
“Black” as an identity ultimately sets Africans outside of their connection to history and culture. Black does not connect us to Kemet, it only goes back 500 Years ago. Hence, “black” people are an “urban” people/culture and “urban” people's history is 5 minutes old. In addition, because it is a term placed on us, we have no bases for its control, and hence they are able to say; “Ancient Egyptians weren't black.” Black has no meaning; except the meaning they place on it, if and when they chose.
Africa , the birthplace of humanity
We now know We now know that far from having no history, it is likely that human history actually began in Africa. The oldest evidence of human existence and that of our immediate ancestors has been found in Africa .In July 2002 further evidence of the existence of early hominids in Africa was found with the discovery of the fossilised remains of what has been called Sahelanthropus tchadensis , thought to be between 6-7 million years old, in Chad. The latest scientific research points to the fact that all human beings are likely to have African ancestors. See Ethiopia
AFRICA'S INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
Africa, in European writings was considered the Dark Continent; it existed on the fringes of European comprehension, however, Europeans were very late in terms of contact with Africa. A vibrant international trade was in existence thousands of years before their arrival. China in the 10th and 11th centuries traded with East Africa which boomed during the Ming Dynasty under the leadership of the Chinese Muslim seafarers Cheng Ho. East African emissaries visited China during this period to pay homage to the Chinese Emperor. Africa's interface with Europe is also very ancient; Islamic Spain was ruled and governed for nearly 800 years by a condominium of African Moors from North and West Africa and Arabs in the 7th century. During this period African leaders such as Yakub Al-Mansur, stood undefeated in his conquest of Andalusia, he sold European prisoners of war to chiefs in his native Africa. 800 years past until the Afrikans and Arabs were expelled in 1492 around the time Cristóbal Colón made his maiden voyage.
DENIAL OF AGENCY
The "social "construction of race in America does not rely on skin color. "African Americans," as Asante notes, " constitute the most heterogeneous group in the United States biologically, but perhaps one of the most homogeneous socially.
Karenga notes that it "is . . . playing Europe's racial game to concede that Egyptians are white or Asian if they don't look like a Eurocentric version of a West African." Furthermore, "Ethiopians and Somalis, perhaps, resemble the ancient Egyptians and ancient Nubians more than any other peoples and they are, even by Eurocentric standards, African." Unless we revive the hoary "Hamitic" Myth."
The question for the discerning student of history is; why do all the conclusions always serve to empower Europeans and disempower Africans. It does not matter if they use archeology or genetics, linguistics or reasoning the conclusions always make a deposit towards the greatness of Europe, and a deduction from the glory of Africa.
The question that should be put to these historians is “What has indigenous Africa contributed to the world?” Because the history of take-away has reduced Africa to nothing, thus implying the old statement “Africa is of no historical significance.” So how are today’s scholars any different from David Hume and Kant? If all their conclusions reduced all the nobility of Africa to given, borrowed or stolen.
However, let not the word "slavery" allow an analogue to what happened on the plantations of Jamaica, Brazil and America. In Africa, There were no fields filled with men and women tolling away to the crack of a whip. There was no place where so-called slaves outnumbering their enslavers. Chattel Slavery did not exist within Africa but serfdom, servitude or vassalship did, as it did in most of Europe and the rest of the world. In addition, this vassalship was scattered and infrequent; it was never the commerce of the land. Most non-free people could amass wealth and upward mobility was very frequent. Some, as in the case of Ali Kolon ascended the ranks to become rulers. Many enslaved people were employed in high government office with virtually no restrictions on their native language, religion etc.
Trade, Cultures and Civilisations in Africa
Egypt of the pharaohs is best known for its great monuments and feats of engineering (such as the Pyramids), but it also made great advances in many other fields too. The Egyptians produced early forms of paper and a written script. They developed the calendar too and made important contributions in various branches of mathematics, such as geometry and algebra, and it seems likely that they understood and perhaps invented the use of zero. They made important contributions in mechanics, philosophy, irrigation and architecture. In medicine, the Egyptians understood the body's dependence on the brain over 1000 years before the Greek scholar Democritus. Some historians now believe that ancient Egypt had an important influence on ancient Greece , and they point to the fact that Greek scholars such as Pythagoras and Archimedes studied in Egypt , and that the work of Aristotle and Plato was largely based on earlier scholarship in Egypt . For example, what is commonly known as Pythagoras' theorem, was known to the ancient Egyptians hundreds of years before Pythagoras' birth.
How Europe learned from Africa
Some of the world's other great civilisations, such as Kush, Aksum , Ghana , Mali , and Great Zimbabwe , also flourished in Africa and some major scientific advances were known in Africa long before they were known in Europe . Towards the middle of the 12 th century, the north African scientist, Al Idrisi, wrote, ‘What results from the opinion of philosophers, learned men and those skilled in observation of the heavenly bodies, is that the world is as round as a sphere, of which the waters are adherent and maintained upon its surface by natural equilibrium.' Africans were certainly involved in trans-oceanic travel long before Europeans and there is some evidence to suggest that Africans crossed the Atlantic and reached the American continent, perhaps even north America , as early as 500 BC. In the 14 th century, the Syrian writer, al-Umari, wrote about the voyage of the Emperor of Mali who crossed the Atlantic with 2000 ships but failed to return. Africans in east and south-eastern Africa also set up great civilisations that established important trading links with the kingdoms and empires of India and China long before Europeans had learned how to navigate the Atlantic ocean . When Europeans first sailed to Africa in the 15 th century, African pilots and navigators shared with them their knowledge of trans-oceanic travel.
It was gold from the great empires of West Africa , Ghana , Mali and Songhay, which provided the means for the economic take off of Europe in the 13 th and 14 th centuries and aroused the interest of Europeans in western Africa . An early historian in the 9 th century wrote ‘the king of Ghana is a great king. In his territory are mines of gold.' When the famous historian of Muslim Spain, al-Bakri wrote about Ghana in the 11 th century, he reported that its king ‘rules an enormous kingdom and has great power' . The king of Ghana was said to have an army of 200,000 men and to rule over an extremely wealthy trading empire. In the 14 th century, the west African empire of Mali was larger than western Europe and reputed to be one of the largest, richest and most powerful states in the world. The Moroccan traveler Ibn Batuta wrote about his very favourable impressions of this empire and said that he found ‘complete and general safety' there.
When the famous emperor of Mali , Mansa Musa visited Cairo in 1324, it was said that he brought so much gold with him that its price fell dramatically and had not recovered its value even 12 years later. The empire of Songhay was known, amongst other things, for the famous university of Sankore based in Timbuctu. Aristotle was studied at Sankore and also subjects such as law, various branches of philosophy, dialectic, grammar, rhetoric and astronomy. In the 16 th century one of its most famous scholars, Ahmed Baba, is said to have written more than 40 major books on subjects such as astronomy, history and theology and he had his own private library that held over 1500 volumes. One of the first reports of Timbuctu to reach Europe was by Leo Africanus. In his book, published in 1550, he says of the town: ‘There you will find many judges, professors and devout men, all handsomely maintained by the king, who holds scholars in much honour. There too they sell many handwritten north African books, and more profit is to be made there from the sale of books than from any other branch of trade.'
African knowledge and that of the ancient world, was transmitted to Europe as a result of the North African or Moorish conquest of the Iberian peninsular in the 8 th century. There were in fact several such conquests including two by the Berber dynasties in the 11 th and 12 th centuries. The Muslim invasion of Europe, and the founding of the state of Cordoba , re-introduced all the learning of the ancient world as well as the various contributions made by Islamic scholars and linked Europe much more closely with north and West Africa . Arabic numerals based on those used in India were introduced and they helped simplify mathematical calculations. Europe was also introduced to the learning of ancient world mainly through translations in Arabic of works in medicine, chemistry, astronomy, mathematics and philosophy. So important was the knowledge found in Muslim Spain, that one Christian monk - Adelard of Bath - disguised himself as a Muslim in order to study at the university at Cordoba . Many historians believe that it was this knowledge, brought to Europe through Muslim Spain, which not only created the conditions for the Renaissance but also for the eventual expansion of Europe overseas in the 15 th century.
European views before the Slave Trade
Before the devastation of the Transatlantic Slave Trade important diplomatic and trading partnerships had developed between the rulers of European countries and those of Africa who saw each other as equals. Some of the earliest European visitors to Africa recognised that many African societies were as advanced or even more advanced than their own.
In the early 16 th century, the Portuguese trader Duarte Barboosa said of the east African city Kilwa: There were many fair houses of stone and mortar, well arranged in streets. Around it were streams and orchards with many channels of sweet water.' Of the inhabitants of Kilwa he reported, ‘They were finely clad in many rich garments of gold and silk, and cotton, and the women as well; also with much gold and silver in chains and bracelets, which they wore on their legs and arms, and many jewelled earring s in their ears.'
A Dutch traveler to the kingdom of Benin in the early 17 th century sent home this report of the capital.
‘It looks very big when you enter it for you go into a great broad street, which, though not paved, seems to be seven or eight times broader than the Warmoes Street in Amsterdam. This street continues for about four miles and has no bend in it. At the gate where I went in on horseback, I saw a big wall, very thick and made of earth, with a deep ditch outside. Outside the gate there is a large suburb. Inside as you go along the main street, you can see other broad streets on either side, and these are also straight. The houses in this town stand in good order, one close to the other and evenly placed beside the next, like our houses in Holland.' Africans and the African continent have made enormous contributions to human history just as other peoples and continents have. It is the development of Eurocentric and racist views in Europe that have denied this fact and sought to negate the history of Africa and its peoples.
The legacy of the African Holocaust has made a profound affect on African academics. As Africans have a profound disinheritance in areas of social-economic, there has also been a destructive disinheritance in areas of academics. We are playing on a chessboard where all the pieces are white. The volumes of publish works by the Hitler's of the African Holocaust is impossible for Africans to gain any foothold and authorities stance in their history. Year after year, the bookshelves are filled with one opinion. The most “popular” Africans are those singing from this music score. Some of the most racist and pejorative material today is taught in schools in an attempt to vindicate the continuation of academic racism.
The self-referencing of the “old boys” like Hume and Kant is valid today because it is old, white, and used many, many times. It is thus impossible for the frustrated African to gain any ground because he/she is in a battle whose parameters are set by foes on a battlefield tipped economically, socially, in favor of the opposition. We often hear “so and so is acknowledged by everyone to be one of the most prominent scholars of …” so and so is always white. Scholarship is a white only seat, academic apartheid with no room for debate. Aspects of academia which are dead and buried, but still in use. Any African academic discussing or having a positive take on Africa that contradicts their assertion is called Afrocentric, as if this form of opinion is a cultural slant loaded with the bias of a pseudo-history. They say with one breath that Eurocentric academics were “men of their time” but still keep saying these people were the definitive guide to Africa. How can you say something is wrong but keep using it as a definitive source? The complete dismantlement (deconstruction) of the academic paradigm of authority needs to be a first step in a pure analysis, and it is for Africans to adopt this approach as bases for articulating and imposing a new identify. And in this we cannot overlook the significance of linguistics as a function of oppression. See Agency
Language and Racism against Africa
To highlight the academic dilemma against Africans it is necessarily to just site one of Europe ’s key historians on slavery. The age of the work and the period it was written in seem to make little impression in universities today, who seem to neglect the social status of Africans in the time these so-called scholarly books were being written in. It also neglects to highlight the mindset of the authors of these works and their contribution to the obscuring and footnoting of African history and African contributions to civilization. Men who would be labeled by a self-determined African today are referenced and cited with little challenge. Despite all the new research and development, this dead racist scholarship is still held high as the authentic source on Africa . Almost as if the more you reference a bad source the more authentic it becomes. The foundation of history of Africa cannot be studied outside of the dynamics of race and racism in the writings of African conquers. This is not to dismiss their entire work, but surely to raise the red flag of sincerity, and subsequently expose the agendas behind these scribbling. J.D. Fage sits high on this throne of Anti-African rhetoric [ii]
“Today, however, some scholars assert that slavery did not have a wholly disastrous effect on those left behind in Africa .” [iii]
Imagine stating that some scholars believed the Jewish Holocaust was not entirely disastrous. We must assume there is again some degree of salvation in the actions of the Europeans who saved Africa from their own continent. It is like saying the Jewish Holocaust was beneficial because some Jews got senior position in the Nazi army, or slavery was good because Africans got free Caribbean cruises. It is funny that if a person states that genocide was good for Jews that person would be either considered mad or a neo-Nazi, however to suggest slavery was good for Africans makes someone an academic.
“At its peak, the Atlantic slave trade took about 90,000 slaves per year out of a total population of around 25 million in just Guinea , where the vast majority originated. This number was significant, yet only a moderate annual growth rate in population was enough to sustain it by replacement. Therefore, the slave trade is unlikely to have caused a decrease in the population of West Africa , though it may have reduced or even halted population growth in some regions.” [iv]
Again, we see the apology and denial of the consequences of enslavement [v] . What this is saying is the harvesting of African people was done sustainable and that it had no demographic consequences on birth rate, it would be worth mentioning that the most viral and healthiest members where been exported overseas so it is inconceivable that it would not affect population demographics not to mention settlement patterns and human social potential.
"The Nok civilization is argued by some to prove that Africa had a civilization prior to the arrival of Europe . "
This kind of tone appears to vindicate Africa but it actually introduces reasonable doubt. Its references again the false notion of a primitive Africa as a half-valid hypothesis for it shows by implication that anything or everything in Africa has to be articulated by juxtaposition. African civilization does not require any proof or revolutionary rethink. This kind of reasoning follows from “he seems very educated for a black” or “you see they are not all savages.” What needs to be done is exposed the motives behind those removing African agency from the annals of world cultural contributions.
“For those left behind in Africa the standard of living increased substantially and the region became divided into highly centralized and powerful nation states, such as Dahomey and the Ashanti Confederacy. It also created a class of very wealthy and highly Europeanized traders who began to send their children to European Universities. [vi]
The contempt in Eurocentrism is so self-evident it almost needs no commentary to identify either intention or fallacies. It is be restated the source of this material comes from a respected seminal academic and authority on Africa . Before Europe , we know the Kanka Musa had gold reserves that made Ancient Mali one of the riches economies in the Ancient world. It is also a fact that Sankore was an African university so notable that Arabs and others came to study there. All of these non-direct facts retort the claims that contact with Europe brought power and education. Also the statement about Europeanized traders is intended by the author as a compliment a kind of accession of the African from savage beast to Europeanized. Fage trips and stabs himself with his own pen and exposes and implements himself as one of the historical agents of academic racism that has distorted the African historical timeline.
Nobody on this planet puts a adjective on their identity, especially when they are a majority, except African people. Black Africa, Dark Continent, Heart of Darkness all articulate the colonial contempt for a continent and its people. But how does one arrive at the term “black Africans,” are there green Africans? Would you speak of “yellow Chinese,” or “brown Indians”? Globally the term " Red Indian" is rejected as deeply pejorative yet "black African" is still used even in South Africa which is used to define the majority of the population against the minority so-called white-Africans. Black African is as ridiculous as "rock stone", rocks are stones so why double up two realities which are often the same?
There is only one reason the term Black African exists and that is to deny nobility from African people. To explain away how Egypt could be nested in Africa but at the same time divorced from the majority of the African people. Therefore the argument "yes it is in Africa, but it is not Black African." It is almost like saying Greece was a European civilization, but not a White European civilization.
If 95% of Africans are “Black” (capital B, if it must be used) then the minority should bear the adjective--not the majority. It is disrespectful to describe Africans with a label based solely on a color, especially when it does not accurately reflect the physical appearance of most Africans. This is made even more offensive when the etymological root of that label (black) is derived from the word Negro, and is used in place of the word African as a racial or cultural identity. In reality we must ask ourselves what is the difference between "Negro" and "Black" save historical association, the words mean the same thing, so we have moved from being Black in Spanish (negro) to Black in English (black). It is strange that despite all the genetic research and advance human anthropology we are still clinging to primitive 18th century post-Darwin model of race, which sole aim was/is to segregate and de-culturalize and enslave.
The concept of a “black Africa ” is a Eurocentric term based upon their ignorant primitive regressive deductions. It is true Arabs and Greeks referred to Africans as "black" but this was not a racial label, and moreover Africans themselves did not self-apply these external labels. Like the Phoenician who were called the "red people," but no Phoenician would have referred to themselves in this way.
ethnically (Tuareg ), politically (African Union, Arab league), Economically (CEN-SAD) or physically (Sudan and Chad).The over emphasis on sand as a defining feature in African history is grossly misleading as cultures, trade, and languages do not stop when they meet geographic deserts. Thus Sub-Africa is another divisive vestige of colonial domination which balkanized Africa assigning everything below the "waist belt" of Africa as negative.
The image is always given that the Africans themselves acquiesce to the process of slavery. But you'll find that in West Africa there was a polity or a political entity that existed that guaranteed security right across West Africa and that was the Songhay Empire. We saw the emergence of Nasser Uddin in the 16th Century. We saw Malik Sy in the 16th Century as well, and men like Abdul Qadeer and Cherno Sulayman Kaba, these men who waged resistance in what is known as Futa Toro and Futa Jalon.
So the Africans did not acquiesce colonialism, nor did they acquiesce towards slavery, they fought at every point and in fact when the slaves were landing in the Western hemisphere in Bahia Brazil you saw the emergence of jihad movements. You saw the emergence of men like Muhammad Sambo who led a two-month jihad in the Louisiana territories in North America. Men like Nat Turner and other men who refused to submit to slavery. The Haitian Revolution as well. Men like Macantow. So The Africans never acquiesce to slavery in fact we can say this year that the whole concept of freedom that the American thirteen colonies had, they got that concept of freedom and liberty from the African resistance movement that took place in the Western Hemisphere."
What did the Slave Master learn from Bahia et al. That it was critical to separate the African (the one who just arrived with a memory of home) from the conditioned slave (the one born into enslavement). Teaching the conditioned slave to hate anything African, anyone who remembers another home is dangerous to the designs of slavery. See African Revolt
2. While some states were quite large, others were quite modest in size and many were tiny, consisting of a capital town of a few thousand people and a dozen villages under its control.
Fact: Before 1820, the number of Africans outstripped the combined total of European immigrants by a ratio of 3, 4, or 5 to 1.
Economics of Slavery
Myth: The Catholic Church did not tolerate the mixture of Catholicism with traditional African religions.
Myth: Before the Civil War, the Southern churches were highly segregated.
Myth: Slave Christianity was essentially a "religion of docility."
Slavery and World History