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African History is Human History- Great Empires, Cities and Celebrity Kings And Queens Plus Africans Revolutionaries
Cradle of Humanity
Antiquated Ancient Epochs Seen Anew
African history must be looked at anew and seen in its relationship to world history. There is now sufficient evidence to write about it without prefacing the mistakes and prejudices of the past. It is now possible to look and times in antiquity which would have arisen, and to this day, we are awestruck and have a tough time wrapping our minds on these fabulously historic times.
Tracing and retelling some classical ancient civilization, in some cases, because of the paucity of material, does not stop it being looked at for what it was and still is in human history. There are some writers who have managed to take a snapshot of civilizations, cities and personalities, that this article revisits some of these times, places, faces and cities and puts them in contemporary historical perspective. Knowledge of other cultures and their history is important as to how we treat and respect each other.
The civilization of Egypt lasted longer than any civilization known to man-about 10,000 years. Lord Raglan writes:
"A society is civilized only if it contains scholars and scientists. The scholar consolidates and clarifies the knowledge which has already been acquired, and hands it on the scientist, who, thus provided, proceeds to experiment, and thus to the increase of knowledge. Without the torch of learning, the scientist is reduced to groping in the dark, and without the scientist to use and test the results of his learning, the scholar sinks into pedantry.
"Thus scholarship and science, in the widest sense of these terms, are the warp and woof of civilization. And the scientist, no less than the scholar,is dependent upon the written word; not only must he be able to use learning of the scholar, but must be able to record the results of his own investigations. Since, then, civilization depends upon scholarship and science, and these depend upon writing, civilization can only rise where the art of writing is known."
Antiquated History Today
A case in point is the civilization of the ancient Mesopotamian, who are some times called the Chaldeans. To clear this confusion, before the Chaldeans ruled Mesopotamia, there once flourished the empires of the Sumerians, Akkadians, Babylonians and Assyrians. The Sumerians established the earliest civilization in this region.
They were known as the Assyrian-Babylonians inscriptions and as blackheads or black-faced people, and they are shown on monuments as beardless and with shaven heads, thus distinguishing them from Semitic Babylonians. In about 4000 BC, the Sumerians had achieved a high level of civilization in Southern Babylon.
They practiced out agriculture, and irrigation, designed and erected cities, reared cattle,and invented a system of writing. The Sumerians were clearly formidable builders and none of the cultures of Mesopotamia that followed them were unable to surpass them in various arts and science. If a civilization uses all its natural resources and material culture, it moves itself into future which sets the stage for budding civilizations to attempt to be even better and more developed.
It is well known that the Chaldean star-gazers made use of Sumerian scientific heritage to calculate advanced system of mathematically astronomy Canon Rawlinson tells us that, "They observed the four satellites of Jupiter and strong reason to believe that they were acquainted likewise with the seven satellites of Saturn" - Shortly before 500 BC
The Astronomer Naburiannu calculated the length of the solar year with great precision. His result was 365 days, 6 hours, 5 minutes and 41 seconds. He made the year only 26 minutes and 55 seconds longer. Kidinnhu, the last Chaldean Astronomer, lived around 400 BC, predicted eclipses so accurately that modern astronomers did not surpass him until 75 years ago. Past history is abound with lore of ancient times and how things were like.
Another instance of these Sumerian people and their civilized culture was discussed by Dr. Hall as follows: "The Sumerian culture springs into our view ready made...
"We have no knowledge of the time when the Sumerians were savages; when we first meet them in the fourth millennium BC, they were already a civilized metal-using people, living in great and populous cities, possessing a complicated system of writing, and living under the government of firmly established civil and religious dynasties and hierarchies."
And Dr. Will Durant states that the "first great civilization of India was established by the Asiatic Ethiopians in the Indus valley. They built large cities; the principal ones being Mohenjo Daro, Chanhu Daro and Harappa.'
"Their cities were well built: Mohenjo Daro was two square miles in the area, with regularly laid out on the main side streets, lined with attractive two story brick houses. Bathrooms were common, and they were fitted-out with runaway drains, leading to brick sewers which laid under the streets.
"This culture reached its peak about 3000 BC These people had domesticated cattle, sheep and elephants; they cultivated wheat and cotton, possessed boats and wheeled carts, and were skillful workers in bronze and iron. They even discovered a process of making iron rustproof. There is still standing in India a pillar of stainless steel, and after three thousand years, there is no sign of rust on its surface."
These are some of the historical accounts and achievements about the ancient times and their lifestyles. The early empires and civilization remind us that the times we live in only differ in terms of minor achievements but, back then, progress was the goal to be achieved and developed, and sought to achieve balance, development and prosperity .
It is also important to look at trade and seafaring in the past, and the works of professor Leo Frobenius postulates that there was an ancient Atlantean culture, although he did not believe that there was an island in the ancient culture, but he thought that it was on the West Coast of Africa in the territory between the Niger and the Atlantic ocean and he unearthed ruins of palaces and beautiful statuary. Leo had heard of an ancient royal city and its palace with walls of gold, which had long sunk beneath the waves.
This learned Africanist also speculated that ancient Yorubas had cultural links with the ancient Mayas of Central America. Leo states: "I cannot finnish without devoting a word or two to a certain symptomatic conformity of the Western Atlantic civilization with its higher manifestations in America. Its cognate features are so striking that they cannot be overlooked, and as the region of Atlantic African culture is Yoruba ...
"It seems to be a present question, whether it might not be possible to bring the marvelous Maya monuments, whose dates have been deciphered by our eminent American archeologist into some prehistoric connection with those of the Yoruba." There have been contact with different civilizations in the Americas, and Asia.
Ivan Van Sertima wrote a book called "They Came Before Columbus," about the African presence in Mexico, and his fascinating study of the huge Olmec heads in Mexico and their African facial features. It is important to note that people of antiquity, in Africa, had trade and cultural contact with other peoples all over the world.
Sir Wallis Budge made the statement that: "The Egyptians borrowed their knowledge of the signs of the Zodiac, together with much else, form the Greeks, who had derived a great deal of the astronomical lore from the Babylonians. But Dr. Churchward retorted and said: "This is putting the cart before the horse with a vengeance.
"Why, the knowledge of all this was old in Egypt before the Babylonians even existed or knew anything about it. The Egyptians had worked out all the architecture of the heavens, and their priests had carried the same with them to all parts of the world-not only the northern heavens, but the southern, as well. ... They worked out the South before the North, and the Druids and the Mayas and the Incas Knew it all from the priests of Egypt.
It was the Ancient Egyptians who mapped out the heavens into 12 divisions in the North, 12 divisions in the South, and 12 in the center, making 36 in all, and the twelve signs of the Zodiac." It is notable that learning concretely about the beginnings of history and civilizations about what we take for granted today, and this helps to put life, culture and history in perspective.
History today makes it relevant and is a reminder of how much we need to develop and grow as humans, compared to what has been done before and achieved over time. There emerged many leaders in this movement and development of nations, empires and civilizations.
Every Empire and Civilization has had leaders who originated and pioneered the growth and empowerment of his people. Of these important leaders, we look at Akhenaton(Amenophis IV-The first Messiah and the most Remarkable of the Pharaohs) who lived around 1350 BC, was also known as the 'heretic King". He was Lord Supreme of the then civilized world.
He had the mightiest army in the world, and he preached the gospel of peace and preached it so much that when subject nations rebelled, he did not attack them. He lived centuries before David and wrote some psalms or poems as beautiful as those of the Judean monarch.
1300 years before Christ he preached and lived the gospel of perfect love, brotherhood and truth. 2000 years before Mohammed he taught the doctrine of One God. 300-years before Darwin, he recognized the unity that runs through all living things. Weigall says of his reign: Egypt was at the height of power to which the military skill of Thotmes III, had raised her, when Akhenaton came to the throne.
The Kings of Palestine and Syria were tributaries to the young Pharaoh; the Princess of the sea-coast cities, sent their yearly impost to Thebes, Cyprus, Crete and even the Greek Islands were Egyptianized. Sinai and the Red Sea coast as far as Somaliland were included in the Pharaoh's dominion; and the Africans people of the Sudan were his slaves.
Egypt was indeed the greatest state in the world and Thebes was a Metropolis at which the merchants, the ambassadors,and artisans from various countries met together. Here they could look upon the buildings undreamed of in their own land and could participate in luxuries unknown even in Babylon.
The wealth of Egypt was so enormous that a foreign sovereign who wrote to the Pharaoh asking for Gold, mentioned that it could not be 'considered as anything more valuable than so much dust by an Egyptian'. Gold Vases in vast quantities adorned the tables of the King and his nobles, and hundreds of golden vessels of different kinds were used in the temples.
He saw people worshiping Bulls, Lions, cats and many other gods. The Priests of Amen disseminated these superstitions, suppressed free thought and upheld ignorance. He held on to the power and was the first person to declare that there was One God. His people loved war and conquest, but he banished the worship of all idols and animals.
To him, God was a formless deity. He banished the worship of graven images a thousand years before Moses. He selected the Sun as the Symbol of God. To him, God was unseen and yet ever present. His God, unlike that of Moses, was not a jealous God, but a God of perfect love, a God who was compassionate even toward the chicken that "crieth in the eggshell," a God who gives the man child a mother "to soothe him so that he may not weep,"
His writings do not have an avenging God in them. He erected beautiful temples dedicated to religion, art and music. He taught his poets to write what they felt and artist to paint what they saw. He encouraged respect for women by setting an example, posing affectionately with his wife, Nefertiti(rumored to be his sister).
It was custom in Egypt and India for rulers to marry their own sister to preserve the purity o the royal strain. He loved his religion, also, he loved flowers, gardens, music, good wine and well cooked food. He hated cruelty, he abolished the use of the lash. The art of his times depicts no slaves. Modern Egyptologist say: "The modern world has yet to adequately value or even acquaint itself to the man who in an age so remote and conditions so remote became the worlds first idealist."
This is what Weigall has to say about Akhnaton: "When the world reverberated with the noise of wars, he preached the first doctrine of peace; when the glory of martial power swelled the hearts of his subjects, he deliberately turned his back upon heroics. He was the first man to preach simplicity, honesty, frankness, and sincerity, and he preached it from a throne.
"He was the first humanitarian, the first man in whose heart there was no trace of barbarism. He has given us an example three thousand years ago that might be followed at the present day-an example of what a husband and father should be; of what an honest man should be; of what a poet should feel; of what a preacher should teach; of what a scientist should believe; of what a philosopher should think; of what a scientist should believe."
It was amazing to see how his poems he wrote five centuries earlier, and David's five centuries later would write psalms strikingly resembling those of Akhenaton. He is the first Messiah of the West who is on record to have been the very first in recorded history to have said these word, "The Kingdom of God is within you," predating Christ by millenniums. On his golden casket, these words were engraved:
"I breathe the sweet breath which comes forth from thy mouth: behold Thy beauty everyday. It is my desire that I may hear Thy sweet voice, even the North wind that my limbs may be rejuvenated with life through love of Thee. Give me thy hands holding Thy spirit. That I may receive it and live by it. Call Thou upon my name, and it shall never fail."
Akhenatons' "Hymn to the Sun" is one of the most edifying powers. Here's the first verse:
Thy dawning is beautiful in the horizon of heaven, O living Aton, beginning of life. When thou risest in the Eastern horizon of the heavens. Thou fillest every land with Thy beauty, For Though art beautiful, great, glittering high over the earth, Thy rays they encompass the lands even all thou hast made. Thou art Ra, and Thou has carried them all away captive; Though blindest them by Thy love. Though Thou art afar, Thy rays are on earth; Though Thou art on high,Thy footprints are the day.
Through history we understand the present, and the origin of life, ideas, cities and all that we see today can be better appreciated when we search in antiquity to understand today so's to prepare and fine-tune the future. We will explore more Ancient civilizations, the people, the Kings the societies they created and their impact on contemporary society. History never stays in the past, it lives with and within us in the present, and gives us options what to do about the future
Better known as Ann Zingha, Queen Nzingha was a renowned warrior queen of the Matamba, and she was born in 1852. This was the year when the Portuguese were establishing trade settlements on the African cost and were taking over large swaths of territories as they encroached upon the African land.
Queen Nzhinga as she was growing up, did not sit idly by as the Portuguese built their settlements. Extremely wroth, she was the leader of an army of women warriors, that she had assiduously trained in to a fighting machine that won victories against he Portuguese and defeated them over and over again many times over. In the end she lost because their spears were no match for fire arms.
By the year 1652, her brother woman's now the King of Angola, sent Nzhinga. At her destination, a dwelling was prepared for her befitting her royal rank and she was pleased with that… On entering the viceroy's chamber, she met with and indignant and temperamental Portuguese viceroy of Loanda.
She noticed that the viceroy's chair was magnificent chair of state was made ready for the viceroy, they only had a cushion on the ground for her. The fact that the cushion was made of gold-embroidered velvet and was put in the center of a very handsome and beautiful carpet did not placate her.
Nzhinga felt slighted but that did not ruffle her dignity. Instead, she gave one of her attendants a meaningful look. The woman came over, knelt down on her hands and knees, Queen Ann Nzhingha sat herself down on the woman's back and waited for the viceroy to appear.
The viceroy noted with some calmness at the odd scene of how his visitor was seated, but nonetheless opted to mildly and politely ignore it and began talking business. Queen Nzhingha, in her disadvantaged situation, she did not appear ludicrous, because the spirit in which she acted impressed the Viceroy, and the negotiation were successful.
Ann Nzhingha was not very argumentative, but she refused to form an alliance with the Portuguese, and one of the other terms was that there was to be an annual tribute to the King of Portugal. Nzhingha persuaded the Viceroy that this issue should be eliminated because her releasing one Portuguese prisoner would suffice.
When the meeting was finished and the Viceroy was escorting Nzhingha from the room, he happened to look back, and he saw, to surprise that the attendant she had used as her throne had not moved an inch. On mentioning this to the Queen, she answered: "t is not meet that the ambassadress of a great King should be served with the same seat twice. I have no further use for the woman." The Viceroy was so taken aback that he forgot to thank the queen for this unusual gift.
During her stay in Loanda, Queen Nzhingha became a christian. As to whether she did this out of inner conviction or as a matter of policy, will never be knows; but she was baptized and adopted European customs. After he return to Angola, her brother died and she seized the Throne. She deposed of her nephew, to simplify matters, by strangling him, as is purported.
If then, this was not in the true christian spirit, neither was a similar deed committed by her famous contemporary, Elizabeth of England, who got rid of her rival, Mary Stuart, by having her head chopped off. Drastic methods were in the best tradition of the times. Those who knew the Portuguese never expected them to keep their peace treaty with Nzhingha.
Africans knew them to be tricky customers, who were just like all the Europeans, that when they give you a square inch, they took the whole square mile. The Portuguese did not want Nzhingha on the throne because they were not able to hoodwink or bluff her into paying tribute. So, they decided that it was better to make sure she out very sooner than later, they sent an army against her.
Queen Nzhingha cleverly aligned herself with the Dutch and some local native chiefs, she was able to fight back at the Portuguese for years. He Amazon warriors were terrible in battle and when the Portuguese soldiers saw them coming, they were struck with fear. The Portuguese won again and told her that they will let her stay on the throne if she would agree to pay an annual tribute to them.
Rather than submit to tis extortion, she fled into the bush, and gathering another army, repelled the invaders for the next eighteen years, refusing even to consider any overtures. She observed that the Christian Portuguese's behavior was unbecoming.
Whenever the missionaries tried to win her back to christianity, time and time again, she refused and tightly held-on to no more being a christian and the missionaries attempt was futile. Her sister, who was close to her died and the mellowness of her heart and advancing age, and she was now nearly seventy, softened her heart.
Acting upon the suggestion of the ministers, she declared herself a convert and discouraged and also abolished sacrifice of captives and criminals, and prohibited polygamy, and when her people were offended, she married her courier, even when she was seventy-six by then.
She strictly observed her treaties with the Portuguese but could not be induced, even by her priests, to pay tribute or recognize the overlordship of the Portuguese. One of the chiefs attacked some Portuguese in 1652, she went so far as to make war against him, and when he was captured, had him decapitated and sent his head to the viceroy.
During her last years, she sent emissary to the Pope asking for more missionaries for her kingdom. When the Pope's answer came,Queen Nzhingha appeared in church, amidst great pomp and pageantry, and had it read publicly. There was much celebrating and at a festival attending this occasion, she staged a mock battle in which her women warriors, dressed in full war regalia, were star participants. Ann Nzhingha led them herself, and though she was past eighty, she displayed astonishing agility and skill and was superior to many of her youth followers.
Ann Nzhingha died in 1663 at the age of eighty-one. Her body was shown to her mourning subjects arrayed in royal robes, her hands clasping a bow and arrow. When the time for burial came, she was clothed in the capuchin habit, as she had requested, with a crucifix and rosary in her hand. John Ogilby, an Englishman who lived at that time and wrote a good deal about the native rulers of Africa, said of her:
"She is a cunning and prudent virago so much addicted to the use of arms that she hardly uses other exercise, withal so generously valiant that she never hurt a Portuguese after quarter was given and commanded all her slaves and soldiers the like." After her death, Angola fell completely into the power of the Portuguese, until freed by the MPLA, under Augustino Neto in the 1970s.
Herodotus Talks about the city of Meroe
Unlike Europeans of our own time, the great historians and travelers of Classical Greece had no conception of Egypt's not being part of Africa; they would have thought any such idea absurd. for them, Ancient Egypt largely was the Africa they knew and respected: a part of Africa, as Diodorus recorded, that was initially populated from the far African interior, from the lands they called "Ethiopia": that is, form the lands of the Blacks.
Not surprisingly, then, Herodotus was one of those Greeks who tried to visit the lands "beyond Egypt," the "lands of the blameless Ethiopians." In some wonderfully vivid passages, Herodotus describes how he managed (in about 450 BC) to go as far south, up the Nile, as Elephantine Island beside what is now the tourist town of Aswan.
There he failed to go any further. So he contended himself with information provided by the learned priests of Elephantine. Part of what they told him referred to the city and powerful state of Meroe: of the Kushite Kingdom which had briefly conquered most of Egypt two centuries earlier.
[C. 450 B.C.] "I went as far as Elephantine[Aswan] to see what I could with my own eyes, but for the country still further south, I had to be content with what I was told in answer to my questions. The most I could learn was that beyond Elephantine the country rises steeply; and in that part of the river boats have to be hauled along with ropes — one rope on each side — much as one drags an ox.
If the rope parts, the boat is gone in a moment, carried away by the force of the stream. These conditions last over a four day journey, the river all the time winding greatly, like Meander, and the distance to be covered amounting to twelve schoeni. After this one reaches a level pain, where the river is divided by an island named Tachompso.
South of Elephantine the country is inhabited by Ethiopians [i.e., Nubians, by this time as well as Kushites] who also possess half of Tachompso, the other half being occupied by Egyptians. Beyond the island is a great lake, and round its shores live nomadic clans of Ethiopians. After crossing the lake one comes again to the stream of the Nile, which flows into it.
At this point, one must land and travel along the bank of the river for forty days' , because sharp rocks, some showing above the water and many just awash, make the river impracticable for boats. After forty days' journey on land one takes another boat and in twelve days reaches a big city of the Ethiopians [i.e., the black inhabitants of the Kingdom of Kush].
The Nok Culture:
There have been few archeological discoveries made as a direct result of open-cast metal mining which have given such a revealing and intimate picture of a completely unsuspected yet widespread culture as those made at Nok, which is situated very close indeed to the geographical center of Nigeria.
The discovery was only fully appreciated in 1944, when an exceptionally fine head in Terra cotta was found twenty-five feet deep during tin-mining in the hills close to Jemaa. This was found to bear a striking stylistic resemblance to a small monkey's head which had been dug up many years before at Nok itself ....
The area in which the Nok culture has so far been found, and this we believe may be only a fraction of its actual distribution, has already spread to an area of three hundred miles by one hundred miles lying across the Niger and Benue valleys, mostly north of the confluence ....
[In 1956] we excavated two large cuts, or "paddocks," in the area reserved for archeological research at Nok and in the second were successful in finding substantial pieces of trunk wood in situ in the heart of the gray clay, in the youngest deposits in fact which had so far produced figurines. An analysis of these specimens gave the satisfactory date of approximately AD 200.
Specimens from the graves below in which figurine material was found gave a date of approximately 900B.C. ... It is now therefore an acceptable hypothesis that the Nok Culture flourished at least during the latter half of the first millennium .BC and for some centuries into the Christian era.
How much later the style persisted it is not yet possible to say, but evidence is now building up to indicating that the art style of the Nok Culture must have survived very much longer .... There is now every reason to hope that further finds both in the area of the Nok Culture and in more or less dateable deposits in Yorubaland, Benin and elsewhere on the West Coast will confirm the basic homogeneity of so much of West African sculpture and its derivation from a traditional complex going back at least two thousand years, and at the same time will dispose of the widely held hypothesis that the Ife-Benin complex owes its style and inspiration to origins outside West Africa(B.A.B. Fagg)
All the bronzes so far known from Ife (apart from some evidently recent work) are in the naturalistic style, of which far more numerous examples have survived in terra-cotta. A study of the terra-cotta figures reveals stylistic affinities with those of the Nok Culture, already known from a large part of Northern Nigeria, but probably in reality even more widespread. Radio-carbon samples from the type-site suggest that the terra-cotta figures began to be made some time after 900 BC, probably by a neolithic or early metal-age people; and that the culture may have continued to produce terracotta after AD 200 .... It looks very much as if the art of Ife developed from that of the Nok....
In Ife there are examples of terra-cotta which are almost certainly post classical, and lead on to the modern Yoruba style. In due time we may hope to find more examples of terra-cotta to illustrate the stages of development from the Nok to the classical Ife style. Some of the sites which have produced Nok terra-cotta may be substantially later than the type-site itself,whilst we know that the apogee of the naturalistic style at Ife was not later than the middle of the fourteenth century.
The interval between these tow dates represent a crucial phase in the history of most major peoples of Nigeria, to judge by traditions. In the case of the Yoruba, it seems likely that small but influential group of people came into Nigeria during this period and established themselves as rulers over an indigenous iron-using population making Nok terra-cotta ....
Frank Willet informs us that:
"As yet there is no direct evidence of who these [newcomers] were, where they came from, when. They seem to have come from the East or the Northeast, possibly from Meroe, which collapsed in the early fourth century, or perhaps they came a few centuries later from Zaghawa or from Christian Nubia.
"The Yoruba migration legends, both those about their origin and those of diffusion within Nigeria, almost certainly refer only to the ruling group. Yoruba Civilization appears therefore to be the result of a small intrusive ruling class, bringing ideas from outside, with a highly artistic indigenous population.
"The resulting social pattern seems to have borne some resemblance to that of the City States of Ancient Greece, but the unique achievement of the Yoruba was to have possessed such an evolved urban civilization without the knowledge of writing." This ought to be investigated further as to what writing might have been to modern society, so was oral tradition(through the griots and the like) and the drum messaging been the means of writing-pre-writing."
The Foundations of Ghana
From the third century the Sarakolle(Soninke) kingdom of Wagadu was in full development. The king of Kumbi [its capital] was called Ghana, meaning "War Chief," of Kaya Maghan, meaning "King of Gold"... The king of Wagadu early imposed himself on other kings. The kingdoms of Tekrur [in Senegal], Manding [Mali] and Gao recognized his authority; the Berbers of the town of Aouda-ghost did the same.
The kingdom of Wagadu became a large empire extending from the Atlantic to the Niger. From the seventh century the Arabs penetrated Black Africa, passing either by way of Egypt or north Africa. Attracted by the gold of Wagadu, the Arabs and Berbers came with many caravans of camels to trade in the towns of Wagadu.
Some of these traders settled at Kumbi where they formed a big residential quarter apart from the royal palace. The Arabs were Muslims, but the emperor and people of Wagadu were pagans (D.T. Niane and J. Suret-Canale - translated here by B.D.)
The King of Ghana
... The king of Ghana [is] a great king. In his territory are mins of gold, and under him a number of kingdoms, among them the kingdom of Sugham and the kingdom of Sama. In all this country there is gold. "Yakubi, A.D. 891 - translated by Brill, Leyden, 1883,; by H.R. Palmer (Sir Richmond Palmer, 1928).
Ghana in 1067 A.D.
Ghana is the title of the kings of this people, while the name of their country is Aoukar [Wagadu in surviving traditions, however]. The king governs them at present ... is called Tenkaminen; he came to the throne in A. H. 455 ... Tenkaminen is the master of a large empire and a formidable power ....
The King of Ghana can put two hundred thousand warriors in the field, more than forty-thousand being armed with bow and arrow .... When he gives audience to his people, to listen to their complaints and set them to rights, he sits in a pavilion around which stand ten pages holding shields and gold-mounted sword: and on his right hand are the sons of the princes of his empire, splendidly clad with gold plaited into their hair.
The governor of the city is seated on the ground in front of the king, and all around him are his viziers in the same position. The gate of the chamber is guarded by dogs of an excellent breed, who never leave the king's seat: they wear collars of gold and silver, ornamented with the same metals. The beginning of a royal audience is announced by the beating of a kind of drum which they call deba, made of a long piece of hollowed wood. The people gather when they hear this sound ....
The king of [Ghana] exacts the right of one dinar of gold on each donkey-load of salt that enter his country, and two dinars of gold on each load of salt that goes out. A load of copper carries a duty of five mitqals and a load of merchandise ten mitqals. The best gold in the country comes from Ghiaru, a town situated eighteen days' journey from the capital [Kumbi] in a country that is densely populated by Africans and covered with villages.
All pieces of native gold found in the mines of the empire belong to the sovereign, although he let the public have the gold dust that everybody knows about; without this precaution, gold would become so abundant as practically to lose its value ....
The Africans ... known as Nougharmarta are traders, and carry gold dust from Iresni all over the place .... (Abdullah AbuUbayd Al Bekri, Al-Masalik wa 'I-Mamalik (Cordoba: 1067 - from French translation of MacGuckin de Slane (Paris: 1859), 2 volumes, but reprinted 1965 by Adrien-Maisonneuve, Paris).
The Civilization of Mapububwe
Mpaungubwe: At The Confluence Of Zimbabwe, South Africa and Botswana
For Centuries the rich History of South Africa dating back about 2000 years was hidden from its people. The fact that Bantu speaking peoples of the region had a highly civilized existence hundreds of years before the first Europeans arrived was simply too much for the oppressive government of the day to bear.
The events above unfolded close to the confluence of the Shashi and Limpopo rivers in the Messina district where two hills separated by a valley on the land Greefswald - the one named Bambandyanalo and the other Mapungubwe. In 1932 a man named van Graan (farmer — prospector) discovered that the summit of the Mapungubwe Hill was littered with pottery, upon closer inspection and further digging two kilograms of pure gold foil, along with beads and ornaments was uncovered. The pure gold foil artifacts were each meticulously tacked with tiny golden nails that covered the now perished wooden rhinos and elephants.
The events above unfolded close to the confluence of the Shashi and Limpopo rivers in the Messina district where two hills separated by a valley on the land Greefswald - the one named Bambandyanalo and the other Mapungubwe. In 1932 a man named van Graan (farmer — prospector) discovered that the summit of the Mapungubwe Hill was littered with pottery, upon closer inspection and further digging two kilograms of pure gold foil, along with beads and ornaments was uncovered. The pure gold foil artifacts were each meticulously tacked with tiny golden nails that covered the now perished wooden rhinos and elephants.
The findings not only provided evidence of early gold smelting in southern Africa, but of the extensive wealth and social differentiation of the people of Mapungubwe. At first Van Graan decided to keep quiet, but later the find was reported at the University of Pretoria. Greefswald was bought by the government of the day. Although the University of Pretoria excavated the site ever since 1932 it was kept top secret. The findings provided evidence contrary to the racist ideology of black inferiority that underpinned apartheid.
According to the archaeology department at the University of the Witwatersrand, Mapungubwe represents "the most complex society in southern Africa and is the root of the origins of Zimbabwean culture". It is testimony to a civilization that existed and flourished years before European occupation.
The apartheid regime remained tight-lipped for more than 40 years. The evidence was only made public a few years after the first democratically elected government came into power (1994)
Mapungubwe was home to an advanced culture of people. The civilization thrived as a sophisticated trading center from on 1200 to 1300 AD. It was the center of the largest kingdom in the sub-continent, where a highly sophisticated people traded gold and ivory with China, India and Egypt. The region had a population of more than 5,000 inhabitants.
With the advent of radiocarbon dating in the 1950s, it was discovered that nearby Bambandyanalo had been settled 300 years before Mapangubwe, in about 1000 AD, and that its people had been in continuous occupation for 200 years. Archeologists also uncovered human burials that contained glass beads and copper bracelets along with profusely decorated pottery bowls, pots and beakers. Animal burials consisting of skulls or jawbones also contained copper ornaments, seashells and pottery fragments.
Gold was mined in hematite at Ngwenya, and iron ore and copper at Phalaborwa. Virtually all the copper and tin deposits of the Northern Transvaal were worked, and hundreds of workings remain.
The Moloko Pottery of the Later Iron Age was banded and stamped decorated, with tapered or out-turned rims, and occurs mainly at sites between the Witwatersrand and the Magaliesberg. Phalaborwa pottery shows little change in 400 years and bears simple, cut designs originally produced by Venda speaking people, even up till today.
For more than 800 years later the Iron Age was one of stability in South Africa. People learnt to spin and weave fibers into cloth, to twist and plait ropes, and there was a greater reliance on domestic livestock as a source of meat. Millets, cotton and sorghum were the staple crops, supplemented by maize after contact with Portuguese traders. Trade with the Mozambique coast increased dramatically during the Later Iron Age.
The only question left for all to answer is how come a highly civilized nation that traded in peace and harmony with Arab, Chinese and Indian traders lost everything they had? The answer might be with South African universities that has a rich collection of artifacts?
Recent excavations revealed a court sheltered in a natural amphitheater at the bottom of the hill, with an elite graveyard at the top.
Golden Material Culture Of Mapungubwe
The Truth About Mapungubwe and its relationship to the very Old Civilization of Mzantsi
From my own historical perspective, Mapungubwe was an extension of a culture that was 200,000-plus BC. This is an important statement for there is now material culture in South Africa that proves this point to be true. Zimbabwe was there as an extension of the rock or stone building culture that emanated form South Africa.
We should make this point clear that Mapungubwe was at the confluence of Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe, that in essence, it was a South African Civilization. The Bapedi, Venda, Batswana and so forth, were part of this civilization. This civilization did not just come out thin air. It was part of a much more older civilization that was in operation in Mzantsi long before 200,000 BC. In order to get a much more in-depth and clearer picture, I will refer the readers to my Hubs titled: "From Gondwanaland To Mzantsi: South African Culture, Customs and Practices Writ Large: Re-Morphed Cultural Renaissance Against Dysfunctional Existence"; and "History, Culture, Customs, Traditions and Practices Of The Africans of South Africa: Deconstructing Historical Amnesia; and finally, "Untold Human Origins And African History Of African South Africans".
Now, these three articles deal with an extensive history and so forth of SouthAfrica. I worked hard to show that the civilization of Mapungbwe was of South African Origin. The first tow Hubs I have listed above deal with these aspects of History, culture, customs and so forth into their proper perspective. The final Hub, about From Gondwanaland to Mzantsi is a very serious Hub that traces the Origin of man and modern man and modernity from Mzantsi. It is from this Hub one can glean the fact that I have maintained that the Building of Zimbabwe does not predate that of Mzantsi. It is the other way round: Mzantsi civilization, which is as old as 200,000 BC, predates that of Zimbabwe. I have even given proof of the material culture that is found today in Mzantsi.
What I am saying above is that with the civilization of Mapungubwe and Mzantsi, the Africans of South Africa gave birth to all civilization of Man, including Egypt and modern societies and civilizations. Mapungubwe was the surviving feature and civilization of the one that can be found now in Mzantsi which has been dated to 200.000 BC. This is important because up to now, no one spoke nor knew as a matter of fact. But now we know we can find the Sphinx, Pyramids and other material culture which has been dated to 200.000 BC in south Africa, and this has changed the whole historical paradigm, and the place of the origin of man, and the ideas of science and development: all have now been traced to South Africa, and the Hub on "From Gondwanaland To Mzantsi".. mentioned above, looks much more deeper into this historical fact.
The civilization of Mzantsi survived through the preservation of Mapungubwe, and this has enabled us to see what the earlier civilization I have talked about in the last Hub cited above, as to what it was all about. It is important we begin to look at history not as appearing from nowhere, but has antecedents, precedents that predate contemporary notion and historical historiography as it has been taught to date.
The Hubs I mentioned above bring across to the reader that the civilization of Mapungubwe is of South African African origins, and this can be attested for by the culture, customs, traditions, languages, music and so forth of the Africans of Mzantsi (South Africa).
The Story And History Of Queen Nzinga
Queen Njinga, the life of a Queen, the life of a visionary, the life of Genius, Africa’s greatest daughter. Queen Njinga was born to King Kiluanji and Queen Kangela in 1583 in the Kingdom of Ndongo, and Ndongo is the name of an early modern African state located in what is modern-day Angola. Ndongo was built by the Northern Mbundu people, a Bantu-speaking people inhabiting northern Angola.
“When the white man appeared in the land, the nation would die.” Mossi Prophesy
The Portuguese first arrived at the mouth of the Great Congo River in west Africa in 1488, This was just after 1434 where the Portuguese found that the world was not flat, of course the Kemets, Abu Bakari, The Moors, The Mandiga, already knew that since they had already travelled to different continents.
The Azanian revolution is greater than Nelson Mandela, it was started in 1659(1490, to be more precise), with the khoikhoi wars, to the late 1700 in Cape Frontier Wars, to the 1900 Kings such as Makhado and his constant withstanding of the boers, king Cetshwayo and the battle of Isandlwana and many more, to the 1913 wars of resistance and dispossession by the AmaXhosa under Sandile, Makana, Cungwa, Hintsa, Ngqika, Sirhili, Ndlambe and Maqoma, the Basotho with King Moshoshoe, the Bataung under Moletsane, the Batlokwa under Sekonyela passed to revolutionaries such as John Langalibalele Dube, Mxenge, Victoria Nonyamezeloand Mangaliso Sobukwe.
At the same time the Europeans boers and the British went about psychological warfare, strong campaign to install in our own minds that we are inferior, one of their ways was destroying our history and defining for us who our heroes should be, they engaged on psychological gimmicks that are now deeply embanked/embedded in cultural thought and require no comment, which are the subtle weapons which have been more devastating in conquering the Blacks (Africans) and reducing them to an inferior status than armed might and it is the Knowledge of Great Queens such as Queen Njinga that we can free ourselves from the psychological gimmicks imposed on us by the Arab and European.
In Angola the revolution can be traced back to the 1600 as soon as Ngola Mbandi also known as King Alfonso saw through the intentions of the white settlers, what they really wanted to do was to turn a genius race into slaves. When He died after committing suicide, the fight was taken further by Queen Njinga in a way the Portuguese had never seen before, they had come across Africa’s Greatest Daughter.
Queen Njinga is the greatest Military Tactician in history; her tactics also inspired the Mau Mau in Kenya.
In 1617 the Portuguese governor of Luanda began an aggressive campaign against the Kingdom of Ndongo, his troops invaded the capital and forced King Ngola Mbandi to flee. In 1619 the new Portuguese commander managed to murder over a hundred Chiefs at that point the Pope intervened. The slaughter should be ended and Peace be pursued. The Peace conference was held in Luanda, the black delegation was leaded by the countries ablest and most uncompromising delegate, Queen Njianga, at this point she wasn’t Queen yet but the sister to the King.
But even before the peace conference began, and at the risk of wrecking it, the governor’s Caucasian arrogance could not be restrained. He had decided on a studied insult at the outset by providing chairs in the Conference room only for himself and his councillors, with the idea of Forcing the black Queen to stand humbly before his noble presence.
He remained seated, of course, staring haughtily as she entered the room. She took in the situation at a glance with a contemptuous smile, while her followers moved with a swiftness that seemed to suggest that they had anticipated this stupid behavior by the Portuguese.
They quickly rolled out the beautifully designed royal carpet they had brought Before Njinga, after which one of them went down on all fours and expertly formed himself into a “royal throne” upon which the Queen sat easily without being a strain on her devoted follower. Yet she rose at regular intervals, knowing that other attendants were vying for the honor of thus giving to those whites their first defeat.
Queen Njinga faced the Portuguese governor and spoke as a ruler of the land. And not as a subject of the king of Portugal. She did not recognize the man in the big chair as governor because she did not recognize the existence of Portuguese “colony of Angola.” She only saw before her what her people had seen approaching their shores over a hundred years before –pompously bent on the destruction of the non-white world.
The Ndonga terms for peace were presented as uncompromising demands and it was clear from the beginning that the Portuguese would have fared better with a male, for before any kind of agreement was signed Portugal had to agree:
- To evacuate Kabasa and all nearby fortifications
- The Portuguese were to wage war against the Jaga. (The Jaga or Jagas were terms applied by the Portuguese to invading bands of African warriors east and south of the kingdom of Kongo.)
- All Chiefs who had become vassals of the Portuguese King were to be freed and enabled to return to former tributary status at home.
And in exchange Njinga would return the Portuguese prisoners of war; the treaty was signed in 1622.
The Governor almost immediately went against the treaty and invaded Kongo, Njinga’s brother died the following year in 1623 and Njinga became Queen of Ndongo and her first challenge was keeping the Portuguese savages from enslaving the Mbundu people and her first major move in protecting her people and empire was to send an ultimatum to the Portuguese authorities demanding the immediate execution of the treaty or war be declared.
Njinga’s greatest act, however, probably the one that makes her one of the Greatest leaders in history, was in 1624 when she declared all territory in Angola over which she had control as free country all slaves reaching it from whatever quarter was forever free. She went further since it was clear to her that white power in Africa rested squarely on the use of black troops against black people, she undertook the first and only carefully organized effort to undermine and destroy the effective employment and use of black soldiers by whites.
She had carefully selected groups of her own soldiers to infiltrate the Portuguese black armies, first separating and spreading out individually into Portuguese held territories and allowing themselves to be induced by Portuguese recruiting agents to join their forces.
The quite yet effective work of Queen Njinga’s agents among the black troops of Portugal was one of the most glorious, yet unsung pages in African History. For whole companies rebelled and deserted to the colors of the Black Queen, taking with them much needed guns and ammunition which she had been unable to secure except by swiftly moving surprise attacks on enemy units.
Her army also started to grow as escaping slaves joined her army and she was able to influence scores of vassal or puppet chiefs to rebel against them and join the course of their own race.
The Portuguese tried to divide the state by proclaiming Njinga was not rightfully Queen and one of their vassal chiefs, Aidi Kiluanji the Portuguese declared king.
The Portuguese marshaled all of their forces on land and sea, their special river fleets in particular to crush Njinga but the Queen herself opened offensive, striking first at the Portuguese puppet King and his forces. The Portuguese captured her principle Island stronghold in the Cuanza River in July 1626, thus dividing the forces and, by a swift encircling movement designed to capture the Queen, cut off her main supporting regiments and forced her not only to retreat but to withdraw from her country. It appeared that with Njinga’s flight from Angola Aidi Kiluanji was crowned King Philip I of Ndongo.
Oral Tradition has further has it that the people not only rejected Philip I, but made fun of the very Idea that he considered himself to be king, Their blind faith in their Queen and certainly of her return, according to the same oral tradition was not so blind. Those who overrated the coded drum massages spread the news that all guerrilla attacks which occurred throughout were personally directed by the Queen and that in fact, she was raising a new army of liberation; her loyal chiefs and people in Ndongo were to stand ready.
In November 1627 she crossed the borders back into her country at the head of a strong army made stronger and stronger as her loyal chiefs and wildly cheering people including the fanatically devoted freed men flocked to her standard as she swept forward to receive the Cuanza stronghold held by Phillip I and put him to flight.
The Portuguese continued to be amazed at this display of Black unity and a woman’s leadership. Black unity was now seen as Black Power and that meant an unconquerable people.
Njinga forced the Portuguese to return to their own strongholds on the coast, the Portuguese regrouped and strengthened for an all-out war to destroy Queen Njinga, and this time not to cease until this was done, the reward for Njinga dead or alive was offered, slave troops were offered land and freedom for her capture.
Realizing such an all-out attempt to capture her meant countless thousands of her people would die in her defense, she outwitted the Portuguese again by slipping out of the country, instructing her lieutenants to spread the word everywhere that she had fled the country, mistakenly entered the territory of an enemy and had been killed. To give the story there was generals weeping and mourning throughout Ndongo real weeping and mourning for the masses believed the story to be true and most importantly so did the Portuguese.
Then in 1629 Queen Njinga burst upon from the grave, sweeping all opposition before her, she brought her fierce Jaga allies with her, the Portuguese were completely defeated. She had not only retaken her country but had meanwhile become Queen of Matamba, Njinga was now empress of two countries.
She now redoubled her campaign against slavery and the slave trade by making both Ndongo and Matamba heavens for all who could escape the white savages.
Queen Njinga was further outraged over the success of the Portuguese capturing of both her younger sisters. Thus giving the enemy a most bargaining power yet like in the peace conference she continued to reject all their principal demands, with the result that her sisters to whom she was deeply devoted to remained in captivity for many years.
In Queen Njinga they had a met a giant of the Human race which they found impossible to recognize as such because she appeared on the planet not only as a woman but one with a black skin.
She died peacefully at age 80 in 1663, Some revolutionaries do live long!
You cannot build something Great without loving yourself, black women love yourself or nobody else will.
The religion of the Greatest civilization worshiped the Black woman for they know her Glory, Aset or Isis the Goddess, The One Who Is All Aset (“Aset the All Goddess”), Aset was called the Mother of Life, She was revered by the people of Kemet as the great mother-goddess and represents the maternal spirit in its most intimate form. A temple is dedicated to her on the Island of Philae, near the first cataract. She is revered throughout Egypt. Let us not look at ourselves through the eyes of the oppressors but let us learn from the way our ancestors before western influence on how they defined themselves so we can be able to define ourselves.
Women need to lead the revolution for it is women who suffer most under Neo-Colonialism; It is women who bear the consequences of an oppressed race, especially a mentally enslaved race. “People, there is no true social revolution without the liberation of women. May my eyes never see and my feet never take me to a society where half the people are held in silence. I hear the roar of women’s silence. I sense the rumble of their storm and feel the fury of their revolt.” Thomas Sankara. “I can hear the roar of women’s silence.”
Mothers teach your sons to be gentlemen, so what his father did to hurt you he should not do to another girl. Let not a woman who had a man impregnate you and not take responsibility raise a son who then does that to another woman. The woman spends the most time with the Child; let her influence the child to be a better man. Whatever standards the Black woman sets, the Black man will achieve. Whatever aspirations the Black woman plants in her sons’ hearts, they will achieve them.
One of the reasons Africans are at the state they are today is because we are producing less and less Queen Njinga’s, we are producing less and less Angela Davis’, less and less Queen Nanny’s. And one of the reasons for this can be found in the experiment done by Dr. Mamie Phipps Clark and Dr. Kenneth Clark which showed that from an early age of 5 and even less our children already have an inferiority complex. They already feel that those with a white skin are superior to them, and this reiterated in their schools, in their societies, in the media and by family and friends who have already been fully convinced they are inferior.
In this education systems they are never taught that the black woman is the origin of humanity and Adam and Eve, white greedy queens like Elizabeth are glorified to them and not Njinga, they are told King Solomon is the wisest person that lived not being told that Solomon envied the wisdom of Queen Sheba; they are told historically they have always been cowards not knowing that not many in History have been braver than Zeer Nehande.
Our woman then feel worthless, and lack self-respect, Success is psychological and psychologically we have been taught to see ourselves inferior and less beautiful and until we remove these lies, lies that have affected ours eyes and mind, until we remove this inferiority complex we will remain slaves to those who installed the inferiority complex, we will always be consumers to those that install these lies in us as truths.
Ngola Ann Nzinga of Ndongo
A Short Concise History Of Queen Nzinga
Nzinga was born to Ngola Kiluanji Kia Samba sometime around 1581 in the kingdom of the Ndongo, a Mbundu-speaking people in southeastern Africa. According to tradition, she was named Nzingha because her umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck (the Kimbundu verb kujinga means to twist or turn). It was said to be an indication that the person who had this characteristic would be proud and haughty, and a wise woman told her mother that Nzingha will become queen one day. According to her recollections later in life, she was greatly favored by her father, who allowed her to witness as he governed his kingdom, and who carried her with him to war.
The king had accepted limited slave trading with the Portuguese, but when the Portuguese pushed further into the country and broke boundaries set up by the king, Ndongo went to war against the Portuguese.
King Kiluanji had become a powerful and oppressive ruler, losing the support of his people and his family. In 1618, Nzinga's brother, Mbandi, overthrew and killed Kiluanji, taking the throne for himself. Just as ineffective a leader and cruel as his father, Mbandi ordered the murder of Nzinga's son in an effort to eliminate any threat to his power. The kingdom broke apart as Mbandi fled the capital and Nzinga sought refuge in the nearby state of Matamba.
Nzinga soon had the chance to show her emerging skills as a negotiator. In an effort to restore peace, the Portuguese initiated talks with Ndongo in 1622. Nzinga was sent as Mbandi's representative to negotiate with the Portuguese governor, Corrêa de Souza, based in Luanda. She arrived resplendent in her royal clothes and retinue. A Dutch artist recorded the historical meeting in a sketch.
The story is that only one chair was available at the conference—the governor's chair—a ploy to make Nzinga stand and therefore seem inferior. Nevertheless, Nzinga signaled to one of her maids who fell on her hands and knees to provide a seat for Nzinga. Now facing the governor on his level, Nzinga was able to talk to the Portuguese governor as equals. Outwitted from the start, Treaty negotiations were successful; Nzinga convinced the Portuguese to recognize Ndongo as an independent monarchy, while agreeing to release European captives taken by her brother.
An illustration of the meeting in 1622 between Queen Nzinga of Ndongo and the Portuguese governor in Luanda, from a Dutch engraving of the time
Perhaps as more of a political move than a religious conversion, Nzinga let herself be baptized by the Catholic Church and took the Christian name Dona Anna de Souza, after the name of the governor. Using religion as a political tool, she reasoned that this would open her country to European missionaries and advanced science and technology. In 1623, she was named Governor of Luanda for the Portuguese and held the position until 1626.
Only a year after the treaty was signed, the Portuguese disregarded the terms of the treaty and resumed their slave-gathering activities. Mbandi was proving to be a weak leader. Desperately wanting to defend Ndongo and her people, Nzinga poisoned her brother and succeeded him as queen of the Ndongo kingdom in 1623.
An intelligent and visionary political leader, Nzinga declared all the territory of Angola a free country. She offered refuge to escaped slaves, allied herself with Dutch traders who competed against the Portuguese, and dared to encourage revolt among Africans against the Portuguese. However, when negotiations with a series of Portuguese governors failed, the Portuguese attacked, eventually deposing Nzinga and forcing her to escape to the land of the Matamba.
In 1626, the Portuguese replaced Nzinga with a puppet Ndongo ruler named Philip, who was more likely to comply with European demands. Assessing her strategy, Nzinga formed an alliance with the Imbangala or Jaga group, going so far as to marry their chief. With the Jaga behind her, Nzinga conquered the Matamba people in 1630, established the state of Matamba, and declared herself their queen. Soon though, even the Jaga chief betrayed her by attacking Matamba.
Nzinga organized a resistance army using mercenaries and Africans the Portuguese had trained. Despite being in exile, Nzinga was able to influence her people and command their respect. She hand selected soldiers who pretended to be defectors so they could infiltrate the Portuguese armies. Once inside Portuguese ranks, they attacked. This show of loyalty to Nzinga made black troops under Portuguese domination desert to the queen. Always encouraging rebellion, Nzinga had, by 1635, developed an effective anti-Portuguese coalition that virtually held the Europeans at bay for 30 years. She has been called the greatest military strategist ever to confront the armed forces of Portugal.
Queen Nzinga Mbandi`s sculpture outside the Angola Pavilion
While Nzinga was sending ambassadors to west and central Africa to enlist fighters, she was also pursuing good relations with the Dutch, from 1641 through 1648, to help her stop Portuguese advancement, to control the slave routes, and to reclaim Ndongo. This strange alliance with the Dutch marked the first African-European alliance against another European aggressor. She was not above forming alliances with foreign powers and then pitting them against each other, all for the goal of creating an Angola free of European influence.
A setback occurred in 1648 when Portuguese reinforcements arrived from the colony of Brazil who proved to be a formidable force. The Dutch were expelled from Luanda, leaving Nzinga without her most powerful ally. Unwilling to admit defeat, Nzinga resumed peace talks with the Portuguese for the next six years. Although the Portuguese at this time were contained, it became clear that they would not be removed. Nzinga was forced to recognize Philip as king and Portugal's sovereignty over Ndongo. Nevertheless, Nzinga remained queen of independent Matamba until her death in 1663 at the age of 82.
A Dynamic Ruler
A Dutch ally reported that Queen Nzinga enjoyed fighting and sometimes dressed like a man. She survived the Portuguese by her wits and audacity. Although Nzinga was willing to ally herself to Europeans, she is remembered as an Angolan leader who never accepted Portuguese sovereignty. So influential was she, that during her life, she was responsible for holding back the Portuguese invasion into the interior of southwest Africa; after her death, the Portuguese slave trade was able to flourish in the region.
Artistic impression of Queen Nzingha
Although Nzinga handpicked her sister, Dona Barbara, to succeed her as queen and married her to the general of the army, a succession struggle ensued after Nzinga's death. All of the new rulers failed to thwart the influence of the Portuguese, who regained control of the territory in 1648. It was not until three centuries later in 1974 that a military takeover in Portugal forced the government to withdraw its troops from its African colonies.
Nzinga's rise to power was due to her personal capabilities that overcame the limitations of gender. She displayed practical maneuvers, such as her alliances with the Jaga and Dutch, as well as self-sacrifice during her exiles. Willing to fight for freedom alongside her warriors, Nzinga demonstrated bravery, intelligence, and a relentless drive to bring peace to her people.
President Thomas Sankara
"The weight of the centuries-old traditions of our society has relegated women to the rank of beasts of burden. Women suffer doubly from all the scourges of neocolonial society. First, they experience the same suffering as men. Second, they are subjected too additional suffering by men.
"Our revolution is in the interests of all the oppressed and all those who are exploited in today's society. It is therefore in the interests of women, since the basis of their domination by men lies in the way society's system of political and economic life is organized. By changing the social order that oppresses women, the revolution creates the conditions for their genuine emancipation.
"The women and men of our society are all victims of imperialist oppression and domination. That is why they wage the same struggle. The revolution and women's revolution go together. We do not talk of women's emancipation as an act of charity or because of a surge of human compassion.It is a basic necessity for the triumph of the revolution. "Women hold up the other half of the sky".
"Up until now, women have been excluded from the realm of decision making. The revolution, by entrusting responsibilities to women, is creating conditions for turning lose their fighting initiative. Women will be an integral part of all the battles we still have to wage against the various shackles of 'neocolonial" society and for the construction of a new society.
"They will take part in all levels of organization of the life of the nation as a whole, from conceiving projects to making decisions and implementing them. The final goal of this great undertaking is to build a free and prosperous society in which women will be equal to men in all domains."
The African Peoples Struggle: Principles And Political Practice:
'The Struggle Of The People, By the People, for The People, Through The People'
"There can be no doubt that it is our people who wage our struggle, through their children as militants, leaders, combatants, militia, etc. The fundamental strength is our people, themselves. Our population, or rather the population linked to the work of our party, mobilized and organized by our Party, has from the beginning fed our struggle, borne sacrifices for our struggle, and so has been principal strength for of our struggle. It would have been impossible for us to wage the struggle, in the era of clandestinity, were it not that our people kept us alive among them like fish in water.
"The enemy knows that it is our own people who share in the struggle, and so they make efforts to separate the part of our people who are Party and the part of our people who are population, to draw from us this principal strength in the liberation struggle, namely the support of the mass of the people. We might say that our struggle has more potential for victory, the more we can keep on our side the support of the mass of the people in our land. The Portuguese know this too, and so they are making every effort to take this support from us.
"Our struggle is for our people, because its objective, its purpose, is to satisfy the aspirations, dreams and desires of our people: to lead a decent and worthy life, as all the peoples in the world want, to have peace in order to build progress in their land, to build happiness for their children. We want everything we win in this struggle to belong to our people and we have to do our utmost to form an organization such that even if some want to divert the conquests of the struggle to their own advantage, our people will not let them. This is very important.
"Our people now do really feel that the struggle is theirs. Not only because it is their children who have the weapons in their hands. Not only because it is their children who study and are trained as cadres, nurses, doctors, engineers, technicians, etc. Not only because it is their children who lead. But also because even in the villages, the militiamen or civilian population take up what principally symbolized our struggle: weapons. It is not by chance, or for any other reason, that our party leadership has given weapons, and constantly gives more, to our population.
"It is precisely so that no one should take it into his head that only those who take up arms in the 'people's army' or in the guerrilla forces are effectively struggling for results in this struggle. The more weapons there are for our supporters, the more certainty our population and our people will that the struggle is really tiers, and the fewer illusions there will be in the heads of our combatants and leaders that the struggle is their exclusive concern.
"We are struggling for the progress of our land. We must make all the sacrifices to succeed with progress for our land of Guine and Cape Verde. We must put an end to all injustices, miseries and suffering. We must guarantee for the children born in our land today and tomorrow a certainty that no barrier or wall should be put in their way. They must go forward, according to their capacities, to give their utmost.
"They must constantly improve the lot of our people and our land, serving not only our interests but also those of Africa and of all mankind. That is why from the start our Party set out on the best course for this, namely, organization based on mobilizing our people, mobilizing the population of our land for the struggle against Portuguese colonialism.
"Our Party has trained the children of our land to mobilize the people of our land.
This work was no laughing matter… Many of you here, young lads who are today responsible workers in the Party, cannot imagine how difficult this work was. Moreover, we have organized within the framework of our Party a large proportion of the population of our land. This was the "principal political strength" of our struggle, which provided the potential for our struggle to advance as well as it has advanced. We must train our people, we must train ourselves — leaders and militants of our Party, our combatants who are making the sacrifice today — to defend at all costs the conquests our people are making through their struggle.
"Today the people born in the bush, who yesterday could express no views on their lives and on their destiny, can express their views, can make decisions. They can decide issues in the Party committees and in the people's courts, where the descendants of our land have shown the ability to try errors, crimes and other wrong-doings committed by other descendants of our land. This is further clear evidence that "this struggle is of our people, by our people and for our people"
"But various Party comrades, with high or low responsibilities, and even ordinary combatants have not understood this very well. They have tried to turn the struggle a little to their advantage, after all they are the people, it would seem. The struggle of our people, by our people, but for them. This is one of the most serious mistakes that can be made in a struggle like ours.
"We cannot in the least allow our armed forces, our militants or our responsible workers forget for a single instant that the greatest consideration, respect and dedication is owed to the people of our land, to our population, above all in the liberated areas of our land. "Anyone who is ready to die from some bullet in this war but is able to show lack of respect for our people, the village folk, the population, will die without knowing why he is dying,or dies under a delusion.
"The more we can do in our land to raise the morale of our people, to give them greater courage and greater enthusiasm for the Party, the more it helps the present and the future of our people, helps our Party. Anything that is done to destroy the population's confidence in us, to bully the population, to show lack of consideration for them, to steal their good, to abuse their sons and daughters, is the worst crime that a combatant comrade or a responsible worker can commit.It is damages our Party, and damages the future and present of our land.
"It is better that we should be few in number but incapable of doing any injury to the population of our land than that we should be numerous but include folk capable of causing harm. For anyone among us who turns the population against our Party, to mistrust the Party, to lose confidence in the Party, is the best ally the Portuguese could have.
"You know — and what I am saying is not in my imagination — that there are comrades who behaved badly towards our population. Fortunately the situation has become much better because the Party has been vigilant in this matter.
"So, at each moment of this great struggle we are waging, we must focus on two phases: one, against the colonialist capitalist ruling classes in Portugal and imperialism which want to dominate our land economically and spiritually[meaning ideas from the mind], which might arise against our people's progress on the path of liberty, independence and justice. These demand courageous struggle against imperialist agents. But in addition permanent and determined struggle against those who, even if they are militants, responsible workers or leaders of the Party, do anything which could prejudice our people's march to total conquest of their dignity, their liberty and their progress.
"One other important principle is that of 'Independence in our thought and in our action.'