African people

EFFECTS OF COLONIALISM ON AFRICA

Programme Director, Comrades, Brothers and Sisters, The effects of colonialism past and present are visible all over Africa. It is not an overstatement when Edem Kodjo, author of AFRICA TOMORROW describes the condition of African as “torn away from his past, propelled into a universe fashioned from outside that suppresses his values, and dumbfounded by a cultural invasion that marginalises him. The African… is today the deformed image of others.” On this year’s anniversary of Africa Liberation Day, African people all over Africa and wherever they may be on this planet, must reflect deeply on their history as it relates to their present life conditions and to their future. History is a clock that tells a people their historical time of the day. History is the compass that wise people use to locate themselves on the map of the world. A peoples’ history tells them who they are. What they have been, where they have been, where they are now, but most importantly, where they still must go. True African History is a powerful weapon against colonial history that has been used for mental enslavement and colonisation of the African people.

Programme Director, Africa is the Mother of Humanity. Africa is the cradle of the first human civilisation. The First Renaissance on this planet was the African Renaissance. Africa was “the first world” economically and technologically NOT the “third world” of paupers robbed of their lands and riches. Our ancestors built the pyramids which even in this 21st century no one can reproduce. Egyptian civilisation was a Black civilisation. The pharaohs were Black people. That is why that great African Egyptologist, Prof. Cheikh Anta Diop has written: “The history of Black Africa will remain suspended in the air and will not be written correctly until African historians dare connect it with the history of Egypt. The African historian, who evades this, is neither modest nor objective or unruffled; he is ignorant, cowardly and neurotic.” The Zimbabwe Buildings that Africans built have been attributed to “foreigners” who vanished into thin air and cannot be found! The stubborn historical fact, however, is that these magnificent buildings were designed by Zimbabweans.

The Azanian civilisation which stretched from Eastern Africa to our country is a historical fact. The people of Azania whose country colonialists called “South Africa” through the British imperialist Union of South Africa Act 1909; mined gold and copper in Mapungubwe as early as the 9th century. That was centuries before Jan van Riebeeck arrived in Azania on 6th April 1652. He and the other settlers brought no land here on their ships. Our ancestors fed them and housed them. They knew not the intentions of these pale strangers.

The Rev. J.H. Soga was contemporary of Enoch Sontonga, the composer of Nkosi Sikelela iAfrika. He has made reference to how Africans in what is called South Africa today came to be called “Bantu” instead of their old name Azanians. Soga explained in 1928 that the name Bantu was of modern application. It arose when Dr. Bleek a scholar of Azanian languages used the word “Bantu” as a comprehensive term for all the dialects of the inhabitants who formed a large section of the people of Southern Africa. He had no intention of applying this term to the people themselves. (THE SOUTH EASTERN BANTU pages 2, 6 and 11 WITS UNIVERITY PRESS, KRAUS REPRINT MILLWOOD, NEW YORK 1982).

AFRICAN HISTORY: PAN AFRICANISM PAST PRESENT AND THE FUTURE

It is an honour for me to speak at this important institution of high learning on AFRICAN HISTORY: PAN AFRICANISM PAST PRESENT AND FUTURE on this 49th anniversary of Africa Liberation Day May 25.I would like to appreciate the presence of so many students in the African Diaspora and other lovers of Africa I see here. I wish all of you success in your acquisition of education which you must use for yourselves and in the service of Africa’s people where ever they are located on this planet. We are living in perilous but exciting times. Let us play our role with determination and distinction.

The African Union has recognized the importance of the African Diaspora in the re-building of Africa’s walls that were broken through the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade, colonialism and European racism. Indeed, a new history is in the making. This is good news for all lovers of Africa and justice- loving people of the world who stood with Africa during her darkest times.

We have a great and unique continent. We must serve it to the best of our ability. Africa is endowed with enormous riches, beauty, culture and a fascinating history that has been swept under the carpet for a long time in order to facilitate Africa’s economic exploitation and domination. Africa is a Continent we should be very proud to serve under all circumstances.

Africa built Memphis, the ancient capital city of ancient Egypt in 31OO B.C. Greeks built Athens in 12OO B.C. The Romans built Rome in 1OOO B.C. Africa invented writing. It was Hieroglyphics in 3OOO B.C. Hieratic writing shortly after this. Demotic writing was developed about 6OO B.C. The Kushite script was used in 3OO B.C. Other scripts were Merotic, Coptic, Amharic, Sabean, Gee’z, Nsibidi of Nigeria, Mende of Mali and writings such as the Twi alphabet of Twi people of Ghana.

In November 1999, some scholars at Yale University such as Prof. John Damell discussed the origin of writing in the world. They found no reason to dispute the fact that the location was Africa.

Edem Kodjo, author of AFRICA TOMORROW, a profound researcher on Africa has written, “It is here in Africa that history began. Far from being a gratuitous assertion, this statement is undeniable scientific fact for which one finds corroboration when one roves the world in search of the remains of ancient civilisations….Africa remains the privileged source of the early intense human activity.”

Ancient historians such as Herodotus, Diodorus and others have established that Africa is the cradle of the first human civilisation. Sir E.A. Wallis Budge was a keeper of Egyptian and Assyrian Antiquities at the British Museum. In his book EGYPT he has written, “The prehistoric native Egyptians both in the old and new age stone were Black, and there is every reason for saying that the earliest inhabitants came from the South.”

These people built the pyramids not only in ancient Egypt, but in other parts of Africa such as Nubia and Ethiopia. An American scholar, Louis P. McCarty has stated that “Before the people of the earth can duplicate the Great Pyramids they will have to rediscover the lost arts of perfectly hardening copper, overcoming gravitation, navigating the air etc Also perfect Mathematics.”

Africa has been a victim of foreign aggression and destruction. Among these can be mentioned the Hykssos, the Vandals and the architects of the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade and colonialism. Scholars such as Prof. Charles H. Hapgood affirm that the Library of Khart-Haddas, later called Carthage by the Romans was burnt down by them. They destroyed half a million books.

The ancient Zimbabwe Buildings demonstrate the advanced technology that was involved in their construction. The Zimbabweans built these magnificent structures with solid granite stones. The walls were five metres thick and ten metres high. The stones were placed on top of one another without mud or cement.

At Mapungubwe in a country called South Africa today, archaeologists have found numerous gold ornaments on the banks of the Limpopo River dating to the 14th century. Niel Parson, a noted researcher on Southern Africa has recorded that Clay pottery in the shape of a human head was found at Mashishini (colonially called Lydenburg) in Eastern Transvaal. It is carbon dated 5th and 6th century A.D.

The earliest date for copper mining south of the Limpopo River was 7th century A.D. A Portuguese sailor, Vasco da Gama arrived there in 1488. He called Limpopo River “Copper River” because African rulers and their wives in this part of Africa wore copper neck-rings, bracelets and anklets. Time does not allow me to speak of the advanced medical science of the Khoi and San people that colonialists called “Hottentots” and “Bushmen.” The Basotho, the Zulus and Xhosas, to mention them as examples, never killed children, women and old people in war. European missionaries’ lives such as that of the Rev. Francis Owen even under King Dingane of the Zulus were spared. The Zulu King’s order “Kill the wizards” did not include European missionaries who were doing religious work. Africans never had the brutal system of taking other people’s lands and expropriating their riches for themselves.

There are European people and their cousins who say that they went to Africa to “civilise” Africans! How do you “civilise” people through slavery, colonialism and racism? Some of these people called Africa the “Dark Continent.” How come the Dark Continent saved Moses’ life, educated him and gave him Zipporah, an African woman for his wife? How come that the Dark Continent gave refuge to Jesus Christ? How come that the Dark Continent gave protection to Moslems at the beginning of this religion when they were persecuted? How come that the fundamentals of the Christian religion were laid by African theologians such as Tertullian and Augustine? Augustine is reputed to have spoken Latin, the “English” of those days in an African accent!

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