African History, History

Starting Point of African History

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“The greatest crime you can commit is to teach a child that their history begins with invasion, enslavement and colonization.”–RunokoRashidi

Africa history started several millions of years ago when life first appear in embryonic form in the continent of Africa. Before there was any other history there was African history, the history of other races started with African history and not the other way round.

Any researcher or scholar interested in telling African history should not dare start in slavery or colonialism, slavery and colonialism without doubt occupy very short time frame in African history.

African history did not start in slavery and colonialism as most are made to believe which explain why people of African descent shy away or ignore African history, and contented themselves with war-ridden history of the west. Ironically some people of African descent went as far as praising slavery and colonialism as saviour of African people and bringer of civilization to the continent of Africa, only if they knew what we were and what we would have become if the genocidal events of slavery and colonialism had not occurred.

There are some myths of massive hysteria built around African history and consistently propagated by Historians of bad faith which render African history vulnerable to distortions and manipulations of all kind. Part of these myths of massive hysteria surrounding African history is that Africa had no history or African history started with the catastrophic activities of Arab and European ‘explorers’ in Africa thereby abdicating Africa of any historical past and achievement.

It is customary to come across the following quote in regards to African history.

“Perhaps in the future, there will be some African history to teach. But, at present there is none: there is only the history of the Europeans in Africa. The rest is darkness….” Hugh Trevor-Roper

To make matters worst Africa was demarcated into North Africa often portrayed as extension of somewhere because of the great cultural achievements identified with the civilizations of North Africa (an attitude long entrenched in European system), and “Sub-Saharan” Africa erroneously referred to as flip side of enlightenment. But research into bygone era of “Sub-Saharan” Africa showed that “Sub-Saharan” Africa was anything but backward as some would have us believe.

To further reiterate, African History did not start in slavery or colonialism. And slavery is not synonymous with Africa. No scholar in the world has the exact date as to when slavery started in human civilization, slavery certainly did not begin with Trans-Atlantic or Trans-Saharan slave trade. As a matter of fact (domestic) slavery in other parts of the world especially in Europe was inhuman compare to that of Africa which partly explains why their history is war-ridden (from one slave revolt to other).

“The end of the Middle Ages and the whole of the Renaissance in Europe were characterized by a degree of slavery as intense as and more detestable than what Africa had known. This will become clearer by what is to follow. It is customary to consider slavery as specifically African phenomenon, but we have just seen that until the end of the aforementioned period white men were in the habit of reducing their own fellow to slavery. The serf of the Middle Ages was a totally in thrall as the African slave (Fustel de Coulanges referred to him as the rustic slave).

So this institution was characteristics of all mankind, regardless of color. It is erroneous to believe that European slavery, especially in modern times, was but an exceptional and fragmentary social phenomenon. After its contact with Africa sixteenth-Century Europe progressively lost the custom of internal slavery and, taking advantage of its superiority in arms, substituted Black slavery.”

(C.A. Diop. Pg.164. Pre-colonial Black Africa).

Thousands of years of African History and mind-blowing achievement prior to slavery cannot be jettison or neglected, they must be told unapologetically with objectivity of the highest order.

For any researcher seeking to unlock the door to the intelligence and understanding of Africa Society and its uniqueness, holistic and scientific approach is then indispensable as documents available for the study of African History permit to do so.

“For us the return to Egypt in every domain is the necessary condition to
reconcile African civilization with history…Egypt will play the same role
in the rethinking and renewing of African culture that ancient Greece and
Rome play in the culture of the West.” -Cheikh Anta Diop

African History from Nubia (ancient Ethiopia) to Kemet (Egypt) down to Phoenicia, Ethiopia (Abyssinia), Zimbabwe, Empires of Western and Central Sudan, Oyo, Ashanti and other African civilizations are yet to be explored to their maximum as plenty of doors to the intelligence and knowledge of African history are waiting to be unlocked.

Nubia and Kemet (Egypt) are classical African civilizations not to be isolated from the rest of Africa. Isolating them from the rest Africa is sterile just like disconnecting rest of Africa from them is counterproductive to say the least. This should not be mistaken for “fixation” on ancient Nubia and Kemet(Egypt) as some have erroneously suggested in the past. It’s about holistic approach to African History in order of chronological sequence and to establish and strengthen the unalterable link that exist between them.

“African history is the greatest story that has barely been told. The successful telling of that story is imperative for us. For nobody can tell the story of African people better than African people themselves!”–RunokoRashidi

 

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2 thoughts on “Starting Point of African History”

  1. The greatest crime you can commit is to teach a child that their history begins with invasion, enslavement and colonization.”–RunokoRashidi

    That’s a great quote by Runoko. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting him twice at a lecture. I also got to sit down and have lunch with him. He is a true scholar and it was a honor to meet him in person.

    I love this passage as well:
    Any researcher or scholar interested in telling African history should dare not start in slavery or colonialism, slavery and colonialism without doubt occupy very short time frame in African history.

    African history did not start in slavery and colonialism as most are made to believe which explain why people of African descent shy away or ignore African history and contented themselves with war-ridden history of the west. Ironically some went as far as praising slavery and colonialism only if they knew what we were and what we would have become if the genocidal events of slavery and colonialism had not occurred.

    There are some myths of massive hysteria built around African history and consistently propagated by Historians of bad faith which render African history vulnerable to distortions and manipulations of all kind. Part of these myths of massive hysteria surrounding African history is that Africa had no history or African history started with the catastrophic activities of Arab and European ‘explorers’ in Africa thereby abdicating Africa of any historical past and achievement.

    That really sums it up well!

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