- Politics and Social Issues
Falsification of African history - Diop and others
Egypt and Black Africa
Falsification of Africa’s history
Many black scholars have documented this falsification since the 1800’s. Cheikh Anta Diop is a modern scholar of comparative studies between Egypt and black Africans. John Henrik Clarke, in a review of one of Cheikh Anta Diop’s book online states that, “In the chapter called, ‘Birth of the Negro Myth,’ Dr. Diop shows how African people, whose civilizations were archaic before Europe was born, were edited out of the “respectful commentary of human history”. Cheikh Anta Diop is known widely for seeking evidence to show that the civilization of ancient Egypt was built by the people referred to today as 'sub-Saharan Africans'). Diop has written a book titled Modern Falsification of History…” Diop lamented that Western historians wrote or rewrote history that put in good light people of European extraction while distorting the history of the rest of the world for a period of five hundred years.
In Kenya, this falsificationist perspective has persisted due partly to the education system that was inherited from the colonialists. Kenyan scholars have done very little to correct them. Prof. Were, (Ogot B. A. 1968) placed the Misri of Kisii and Luhya origins around Lake Rudolf – present day Lake Turkana. It is inconceivable that movement from such a short distance can be called a migration and even get stamped in memory with forklore. Clearly Ogot needed to look harder for the Misri of Kisii and Luhya traditions.
Janson (1997) and Adams (1999) have placed Egypt in the Mediterranean region, away from ‘sub-Saharan Africa.’ Duncan Clarke, in his undated book entitled African Art, (p.24) states that one, Martin Bernal “demonstrated that European scholars of the late nineteenth century sought to systematically downplay the Africanicity of Egypt…” According to the quote, Egypt’s contribution to art and culture was attributed to the Greeks and Romans in a “white Mediterranean Civilization.” Yet Boardman J., (1996, p. 18) a scholar of Greek art acknowledges that it was the other way round. Boardman gives an account of how Pharaoh Psametichos (664-610 BC) invited Greek mercenaries “to serve him against his enemies” an act which culminated in civilian Greeks migrating and doing business in Egypt. (Psametichos was a Pharaoh was in the beginning of the 26th Dynasty of the Saite period). These Greek settlers saw the monumental works of art which were bigger and “unlike their own less ambitious statuettes...” (Boardman J., 1996, p. 77). These Greeks were not only influenced but also challenged to be more ambitious.
Hobley, (1922) a colonial District Commissioner attributed the similarity of the Akamba word for spirits with the Assyrian one as pure chance. He (Hobley, 1922, p.27) found that “Curiously enough, the disembodied spirit was called Edimmu by the ancient Assyrian according to R.C Thompson in “Semitic Magic”. Hobley observed that the Assyrian word Edimmu (whose root is immu) is the same as the Kamba for the same concept. He stated that despite that similarity, there was hardly any evidence to show that the identity was “anything but accidental.” Hobley also noticed similarities of certain Kikuyu and Kamba customs to Egypt and Semitism. He dismissed them as due to ‘parallel development’ because, only the “Ba-Hima or Ba-Huma” (of Rwanda Urundi) are believed by one sir Harry Johnston to be descendants of ancient Egyptian settlers…”
J.G Frazer (Hobley, 1922, p.9) who wrote the forward to Hobley’s book however offers the reader a ray of hope by contradicting Hobley in the same book. Frazier, regarding the Semitic vestiges in the Kikuyu and Akamba supposed that,
“…recent investigations in this part of Africa, particularly with regard to the native veins of iron and gold, tend in the opinion of some competent inquiries to show that East Central Africa, including the region of the great lakes, was an extremely ancient seat of a rudimentary civilisation, the seeds of which may have been carried whether by migration or contact of peoples, to remote parts of Europe and Asia.
To support the view that African civilisations were ancient when Europe was new, Clarke H. J. (1974) in an electronic book entitled Cheikh Anta Diop and the New light on Africa, quotes Ladipo Solanke who wrote four years after Diop’s birth;
By the time Alexander the Great was sweeping the civilized world with conquest …by the time the first Aryan conquerors were learning the rudiments of war and government at the feet of the philosopher Aristotle; and by the time Athens was laying down the foundations of European civilization, the earliest and greatest Ethiopian culture had already flourished and dominated the civilized world for over four centuries and a half. Imperial Ethiopia had conquered Egypt and founded the XXVth Dynasty, and for a century and a half the central seat of civilization in the known world was held by the ancestors of the modern Negro, maintaining and defending it against the Assyrian and Persian Empires of the East. www.nbufront.org
DR. CHEIKH ANTA DIOP: The African Origins Of Humanity
In the western theory of Egyptology, Dynastic Egyptian culture has evolved into a branch of science divorced from black Africa (known as Sub-Saharan Africa). The reality is that Egypt is physically in Africa. This physical presence of Egypt on the African continent makes Egypt’s art and history a part of that of the rest of Africa. Egypt is known by East African Bantus as Misri. Several African ethnic groups vaguely mention Misri as an integral part of Bantu migrations from or into East Africa.
A possibility exists that the Kikuyu had contact with the culture of ancient Egypt. The incidences that highlight this possible contact have been stated in the Herb, Akhenaten and the Kikuyu. This is an attempt to correct the Falsification of Africa’s History that has been ably documented by scholars like Diop, Clarke D., etc.
As part of the falsification, Egypt has been removed from ‘Sub-Saharan Africa’ to down play it’s Africanicity by associating it with the Greeks and Romans in a white civilization. It cannot however be overstated that Egypt is squarely in Africa.
Dr. Diop refers to the Southern African origins of the people later known as Egyptians. Diop gets some support from another group of neglected writers. In his book Egypt, Sir E.A. Wallis Budge says: "The prehistoric native of Egypt, both in the old and in the new Stone Ages, was African and there is every reason for saying that the earliest settlers came from the South...There are many things in the manners and customs and religions of the historic Egyptians that suggests that the original home of their prehistoric ancestors was in a country in the neighborhood of Uganda and Punt." (Some historians believe that the land of Punt was in the area known on modern maps as Somalia. There exists today the breakaway republic of Puntland)
Dr. Diop has the following gems that should set you thinking:
1. "The history of Africa will remain suspended in air and cannot be written correctly until African historians connect it with the history of Egypt."
2. "The African historian who evades the problem of Egypt is neither modest or objective, nor unruffled, he is ignorant, cowardly, and neurotic."
Boardman, J., 1996, Greek Sculpture- Archaic Period, Thames and Hudson, London.
ben-Jochannan, Y., 1971, Africa: Mother of Western Civilization, Alkebu-Lan Books Associates, New York, New York.
Clarke, D., (n.d.) African Art, Saturn Books, London.
Clarke, D., 1998, African Hats and Jewellery, Chartwell Books, London.
Hobley, C.W., 1922, Bantu Beliefs and Magic, H.F&G Witherby, London
Janson, H. W., 1997, 5th edition, History of Art, Thames and Hudson, New York.
Lambert, H. E., 1956, Kikuyu Social and political Institution , International African institute – Oxford University Press, London.
Ogot, B.A., editor, 1974, Zamani, a Survey of East African History, East African Publishing House, Nairobi.
Ogot, B.A., editor, 1976, Kenya Before 1900, Eight Regional Studies, East African Publishing House, Nairobi.
Clarke, John Henrik, 1974, Cheikh Anta Diop and the New light on Africa.
Winters, C. A.(2006 c), The structure of Africalogical social science Revolutions: The case of ancient Afrocentric Historical Studies.
- http://www.kemetway.com/guide.html -This site has several titles by Cheikh Anta Diop and others on the topic covered in this hub.