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. His writings have influenced black people around the world with regards to their racial identity, culture and heritage, and his work continues to inspire scholars.
Here are a selection of 8 excerpts from Diop’s writing.
1. “European languages must not be considered diamonds displayed under a glass ball, dazzling us with their brilliance”
2. “The ancestors of the Blacks, who today live mainly in Black Africa, were the first to invent mathematics, astronomy, the calendar, sciences in general, arts, religion, agriculture, social organisation, medicine, writing, technique, architecture”
3. “Ancient Egypt was a Negro civilisation. The history of Black Africa will remain suspended in the air and cannot be written correctly until African historians dare to connect it with the history of Egypt. The African historian who evades the problem of Egypt is neither modest nor objective nor unruffled. He is ignorant, cowardly and neurotic. The ancient Egyptians were Negroes. The moral fruit of their civilisation is to be counted among the assets of the Black world.” Taken from The African Origin of Civilisation.
4. “In practice it is possible to determine directly the skin colour and hence the ethnic affiliations of the ancient Egyptians by microscopic analysis in the laboratory; I doubt if the sagacity of the researchers who have studied the question has overlooked the possibility”.
5. “Thus imperialism, like the prehistoric hunter, first killed the being spiritually and culturally, before trying to eliminate it physically. The negation of the history and intellectual accomplishments of Black Africans was cultural, mental murder, which preceded and paved the way for their genocide here and there in the world” – Civilization or Barbarism: An Authentic Anthropology.
6. “When we say that the ancestors of the Blacks, who today live mainly in Black Africa, were the first to invent mathematics, astronomy, the calendar, sciences in general, arts, religion, agriculture, social organization, medicine, writing, technique, architecture; that they were the first to erect buildings out of 6 million tons of stone (the Great Pyramid) as architects and engineers–not simply as unskilled laborers; that they built the immense temple of Karnak, that forest of columns with its famed hypostyle hall large enough to hold Notre-Dame and its towers; that they sculpted the first colossal statues (Colossi of Memnon, etc.)–when we say all that we are merely expressing the plain unvarnished truth that no one today can refute by arguments worthy of the name.” ― Cheikh Anta Diop, The African Origin of Civilization: Myth or Reality
7. “To overcome the tremendous obstacles in the way of the economic unification of Africa, decisive political actions are required in the first place. Political unification is a prerequisite. The rational organization of African economies cannot precede the political organization of Africa. The elaboration of a rational formula of economic organization must come after the creation of a federal political entity. It is only within the framework of such a geo-political entity that a rational economic development and cooperation can be inserted. The inverse leads to the type of results we have witnessed over the years.” ― Cheikh Anta Diop, Black Africa: The Economic and Cultural Basis for a Federated State
8. “Until now (1960, date of the first edition), the history of Black Africa has always been written with dates as dry as laundry lists, and no one has almost ever tried to find the key that unlocks the door to the intelligence, the understanding of African society”. – Preface: Precolonial Black Africa