Analysis

Did Africans Wait For Thousands Of Years To Be Civilised By Europeans?

By Sam Ditshego

EDITOR’S NOTE: Many of our articles have become unaccessible to our readers as a result of a programme we used previously. We will be republishing those we believe are relevant today and are of historical value.

_____________________________________________________________________________Dr Cheikh Anta Diop – One of Africa’s foremost anthropologists, historian, linguist, scientist and Egyptologist, wrote that humanity was born on the African continent and that Homo sapiens or modern man appeared between 200,000 and 150,000 years ago and went to populate the other continents


Whether one believes in creation or evolution, do people ever wonder what the first people on earth thought about life in general? What they thought about procreation, religion, the environment and science? Christians believe, for example, that Adam and Eve were the first people on earth. Evolutionists believe in the evolution of the hominids which are humans and their fossil ancestors. They are, in chronological order, Australopithecus robusta and gracile, Homo habilis, Homo erectus and Homo sapiens.

One of Africa’s foremost anthropologists, historian, linguist, scientist and Egyptologist, Dr Cheikh Anta Diop wrote that humanity was born on the African continent and that Homo sapiens or modern man appeared between 200,000 and 150,000 years ago and went on to populate the other continents.

Western historiography holds that Africa was a backward and uncivilised continent with no history and there are people who still believe in this theory. If it’s true that Africa is the cradle of humanity and the first to be inhabited by human beings, did they wait all these years for Europeans to civilise them about a little over 500 years ago, as some people were made to believe or they went on with their lives and created civilisations?

Ancient Egypt is one of the civilisations created on the continent by Africans. There is Nubia, Ethiopia and many other civilisations in West, East and Southern Africa. The Munhumotapa Empire whose seat of government was in Great Zimbabwe and the adjacent Mapungubwe are palpable evidence of some of these great African civilisations.

By 4025 Before the Common Era (BCE), Africans had already invented the calendar we are using today with minor modification; they invented time and divided the day in 12 equal hours. The Egyptian calendar had 365 and a ¼ days. The four ¼ add up to one making 366 days which explains the idea of a leap year. The Mesopotamian calendar had 13 months, it wasn’t as accurate as the Egyptian calendar. When there was an eclipse in Mesopotamia their king was confused and sent emissaries to Egypt to go and ask what was happening and the Egyptian priests gave an explanation. Yet there are Europeans or whites who think Africans had been waiting all this time for them to “civilise” Africans.

African women invented agriculture more than 17,000 years ago and the first recorded Queens in the world were from Africa. Imhotep is the first recorded Physician in the world not Hippocrates. Imhotep is an African name whose meaning is ‘He who comes in peace’. Ancient Egyptian language is an African language that is genetically, morphologically and syntactically related to the other languages on the African continent such as Wolof spoken in Senegal.

Another Egyptologist, Gerald Massey wrote that the name Africa derived from Af-rui-ka which is birthplace in ancient Egyptian, making Africa the cradle of humanity. Some people think it is a Roman word. Even the word pyramid derives from the ancient Egyptian word ‘per ma’.

In the early 1800’s before the advent of imperialism, Africa was known to be the cradle of civilisation which gave the world religion, philosophy, mathematics, science and the arts. But because of the rise of imperialism, all these changed. In his book Anacalypsis published in 1836, Godfrey Higgins wrote that nations and religions derive from a great black empire. This comes from Godfrey Higgins, a white man. If nations and religions derived from a great black empire then Europeans could not have brought civilisation and Christianity on the African continent. In the African Origin of the Major Western Religions, Yosef ben-Jochannan demonstrates the source of all the major western religions is Africa. If one looks at Wallis EA Budge’s Egyptian Book of the Dead or the Book of Coming Forth by Day, which predates the Bible by 1500 years, it is clear that the Bible was copied from that book. Christians interpreted ancient Egyptian religious texts literally such as, for example, Immaculate Conception when they are allegorical. That is why they fail to explain them convincingly.

Those who are interested in Africa’s medical history should read about the ancient Egyptian genius Imhotep. The medical writings of Imhotep who is known as Egyptian God of Medicine are the oldest medical documents written. His books were stolen from Africa and are presently at Karl Marx University in Leipzig, Germany. The work of Imhotep is attributed to Hippocrates. The Hippocratic Oath itself was authored by Imhotep. The name Imhotep means ‘He who comes in peace’.

It was reported in the Edinburgh Medical Journal, volume 20, April 1884, pages 922-930 that in 1879, a British traveller, R.W. Felkin, witnessed caesarean section performed by Ugandans. The healer used banana wine to semi-intoxicate the woman and to cleanse his hands and her abdomen prior to surgery. He used a midline incision and applied cautery to minimize haemorrhaging. He massaged the uterus to make it contract but did not suture it; the abdominal wound was pinned with iron needles and dressed with a paste prepared from roots. The patient recovered well, and Felkin concluded that this technique was well-developed and had clearly been employed for a long time. Similar reports come from Rwanda, where botanical preparations were also used to anesthetize the patient and promote wound healing.

Almost all the philosophers who gave Greece its fame studied in ancient Egypt. Pythagoras spent not less than twenty years in Egypt studying mathematics. Archimedes and Plato studied in Egypt.  The Greek law giver Solon also studied in ancient Egypt. Egyptologist, linguist and historian Professor Theophile Obenga of Congo says Plato wrote in his book titled Laws that the word philosophy was foreign not Greek.

When the Arabs came to Egypt in the 7th century in the Common Era (CE), all the elements of Egyptian civilisation were already in place. Therefore they have nothing to do with ancient Egyptian civilisation. Moreover, the ancient Egyptian writing is different from the Arabic script and their languages are different. Ancient Egyptian language, as I have already indicated, is African whereas Arabic is an Indo-European language.

Diop explains that throughout the transformations in the African people’s relations with the rest of the world, it became increasingly difficult each day and even inadmissible, for those unaware of his past glory – and for Blacks themselves – to believe that they could have originated the first civilisation which flowered on earth, a civilisation to which humanity owes most of its progress.

Some people may ask, and rightly so, why are Africans in the situation they are today if they originated the first civilisation on earth? Explaining circumstances surrounding slavery and the situation of Africans, Dr Diop wrote that since history had disrupted the African’s former equilibrium with the environment, the Black now found a new equilibrium, differing from the first in the absence of a technique no longer vital to the social, political and moral organisation. With economic resources assured by means that did not require perpetual inventions, the Negro became progressively indifferent to material progress.

Diop said it was under these new conditions that the encounter with Europe took place. The social and moral order was on the same level of perfection. On the other hand, for all the reasons Dr Diop cited, technical development was less stressed than in Europe. Although Africans were the first to discover iron, they had not built cannon; the secret of gunpowder was known only to the Egyptian priests, who used it solely for religious purposes at rites such as the Mysteries of Osiris.

Sam Ditshego is a researcher

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