There are many white people or people of European extraction in South Africa at this time and age who believe that when Europeans arrived on the African continent, Africans were not yet civilized, they were barbarians, savages and describes them in many derogatory names and adjectives.
For instance yesterday (19 May) a nasty comment on the web page of the Business Day posted by a person who goes by the username Echoindia was removed after I had complained to The Editor. I complained to The Editor because my response to Echoindia was removed immediately after I had posted it. Immediately after posting my comment there was a message saying, “your comment awaits moderation” but the filth that Echoindia spewed on the Business Day web page was there for more than two days without being moderated or removed. It was not for the first time that my comments were removed immediately after I had posted them.
Echoindia, and, I hope it’s not an Indian person, but I wouldn’t be surprised if s/he were, wrote, inter alia, that “Africa was a savage land where tribes attacked each other, burned down kraals, raped the women, murdered the men, stole the cattle and took children into slavery. Disease was rife, life expectancy was extremely short. Colonialism brought peace and stability to most African countries. Large scale commercial farming was introduced which ended the years of farming.”
He also wrote about a system of governance which was introduced by Europeans that made Africans bypass their “chiefs” and about the inefficiency of Africa’s governance system etc. Others like this jackass have posted comments in various media outlets including the Business Day to the effect that had it not been for the likes of Jan Van Riebeeck, Cecil John Rhodes, Paul Kruger and other settlers there wouldn’t have been civilization and Christianity. Others say we wouldn’t have seen a wheel if Europeans had not come to Africa.
On the 17th April, Business Day published my article with the headline, “European heritage symbolizes the oppression of African” which drew about fifty five negative responses except two by Africans. The good thing about this reaction is that it goes to prove that I hit them where it hurts most.
Were Africans uncivilized and is Africa a savage land? In his book Anacalypsis, published before 1836, Godfrey Higgins wrote that nations and religions derive from a great black empire. This does not come from me but from Godfrey Higgins, a white man. This book can be googled in the internet. If nations and religions derived from a great black empire then Europeans could not have brought civilisation and Christianity on the African continent. Europeans did not even invent the wheel. There were chariots on the African continent many years ago. So Africans did not begin to see the wheel from white people.
What about medicine? When Africans used herbs to cure diseases, Europeans were using faecal treatment, see “Early Modern Matter of Faecal Medicine”. While Barry applied Western surgical techniques, nineteenth-century travelers in Africa reported instances of indigenous people successfully carrying out the procedure with their own medical practices. It has been reported in the Edinburgh Medical Journal, volume 20, April 1884, pages 922-930 that in 1879, a British traveller, R.W. Felkin, witnessed cesarean section performed by Ugandans. According to the report, 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 hemorrhaging. 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.
Some white people claim Africans “walked naked” when they arrived on the continent which is a fanciful idea. If Africans wore clothes that did not conform to the European way of dressing, because of the hot weather, that cannot be described as walking naked. In the 1980’s and 1990’s I lived in Canada and in summer women there bask in the sun clad only in their bikinis and bras. Are they naked and uncivilized? Young men walk half naked with their tops removed.
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. On religion they should read Christianity Before Christ by John G Jackson and African Origin of the Major Western Religions by Yosef Ben-Jocannan. Another useful book is Stolen Legacy by George G James. I also recommend Dr Cheikh Anta Diop’s books like Civilisation or Barbarism, African Origin of Civilization: Myth or Reality and Pre-Colonial Black Africa to mention just a few.
Were diseases rife in Africa? Syphilis and gonorrhea were brought by Europeans, the same way they took smallpox to North America which decimated the native America population. Life expectancy couldn’t have been short when Africans were eating natural food which was healthy compared to the junk Europeans are churning in Africa. Monsanto and DuPont are producing genetically modified foodstuffs that they poison the world with especially the developing world.
Could African communities have been worse than the European tribes such as the Barbarians and the Spartans who engaged in the most savage wars to the extent that the Barbarians wiped out the Spartans? The words barbarian and tribe originated in Europe. The word tribe refers to uncivilised people. We had no tribes and barbarians on the African continent. The San and the Khoi were hunted like game and shot on sight. Now the descendants of the perpetrators claim that “the Bantus took the land of the Khoisan”. In the US, Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, the Pacific island, Greenland Europeans killed indigenous populations and they are the last to talk about wars on the African continent. In the Caribbean, the Europeans wiped indigenous populations and the last person who belonged to the Betheoks died in 1800’s. What about their tribal wars of 1914 – 1918 and 1939 – 1945?
These white guys write without realizing the extent and magnitude of their neurosis. How can colonialism bring peace and stability? Aime Cesaire said no one colonizes innocently. I propose not to engage on this clumsy point any further.
On raping of women, we know what Europeans did in the Western Cape of which the Coloured population is palpable evidence. Rape in Africa was frowned upon and punishment was severe. Livestock theft was also punishable and the cases were heard at the King’s court. In the 1800’s, Europeans stole about 40,000 cattle belonging to the Barolong of King Montshiwa and in turn accused the Barolong people of stealing 40,000 of their cattle. They burned down kraals and acted as freebooters. Whites are guilty of the same crimes that they accused Africans of having committed. They sold Africans to European slave owners and now accuse us of taking children into slavery. How did Africans end up in the Americas? They were taken as slaves by the ruling classes of Europe with the connivance of the Vatican.
On another note, African women started agriculture more than 17,000 years ago and the taming of animals began at about the same time. Europeans could not have originated civilization when they lived in inhospitable climes for thousands of years when Africans enjoyed their sunny continent which was wrongly called the “Dark Continent” by those who knew no better. What a misnomer!
By Sam Ditshego