- Editorial: Studying Africa by Dr.
Gloria Emeagwali, Chief Editor
- Dr. Carmeta Harper, CCSU Student, Student
Review of Third Conference of Africa Studies
- Dr. Haines Brown, History Dept., C.C.S.U., Africa
and the Net
- Dr. Fitzroy A. Baptiste, Methodological
Issues Related to African Studies
- San Kwadjovie, Novisi Group, CA, The
Nile Valley Civilizations of Ta-Seti and Kmt.
- Chrispen Matsika, Amherst, MA, Egyptian
and Southern African Philosophy : Interconnections
- Dr. Tunde Zack-Williams, Social Studies, Preston UK,
The Contribution of Frantz Fanon and Amilcar Cabral
to Political Philosophy
- Dr. Edward Bruce Bynum, Amherst, MA,
African psycho-spiritual traditions and their influence on the ancient
and contemporary world
- The Regional Editors of Africa update.
The Third Annual Conference o African Studies, CCSU,
took place on November 2nd 1996. Members of the African Studies Committee
express their appreciation to all participants, including: Dr. Jerry
Domatob, Long Island University; Dr. Tunde Zack-Williams of Central
Lancashire University, Preston, UK; Dr. Bola Dauda, Edge Hill University
College, UK; Dr. Edward Bruce Bynum, University Health Center, Amherst;
Chrispen Matsika, Amherst; Dr. Eudora Chikwendu of SUNY; and Professor
Samad Matias, Director of Women Studies, CUNY.
The former Director of Women's Studies, Indiana, gave
the Keynote Address on aspects of African Civilization, the theme of
the conference. It was a great honor to have on the Ancient Africa panel
the world famous egyptologist, Dr. Yosef ben-Jochannan, who along with
Chrispen Matsika and San Kwadjovie explored aspects of Northeast African
development. Matsika argued that there were discernible links between
Bantu philosophy and Ancient Egyptian thought and called on scholars
to include this issue in their research agenda.
Dr. Renee White of the Department of Sociology focused
on perceptions of the AIDS crisis in Africa; and Dr. Warren Perry examined
some of the findings related to the African Burial Ground project. Both
are members of the African Studies Comniittee, CCSU.
We take this opportunity to thank Dr. Haines Brown of
the History Department; Dr. Andrew Moemeka of Communication; Dr. Peter
Osei of the Biology Department, Professor Sherinatu Faftmwa- Ndibe,
Art Department, and Dr. Walton Brown-Foster of Political Science for
serving as chair persons.
The redefinition of concepts and the constant evaluation
of orthodox and eurocentric perceptions of African society and culture
constitute major challenges in studying Africa. Twisted logic, inappropriate
terminology, double standards of assessment, deliberate distortion of
information, trivialization and insensitivity, the abuse of statistics,
arrogance and mean-spiritedness are some of the features which have
bedevilled African Studies for the last fifty years.
Dr. Fitzroy Baptiste of AfroAsian Studies, University
of the West Indies; Professor Anthony Chavez, Trinity College; and Dr.
Bola Dauda, Edge HUI University College, addressed some of these issues
in their presentations, and by doing so complemented Ify Iweriebor's
reconceptualisation of African feminism and Ogundipe-Leslie's Keynote
In this issue we include some of the abstracts from the
conference and excerpts from Baptiste on methodological issues associated
with studying Africa. Thanks to the video-taping expertise of Dr. Evelyn
Newman-Phillips, the Secretary of the African Studies Committee, and
the Director of the Media Center, CCSU, Dr. Roy Temple, conference tapes
are now available at nominal cost. We hope to host the Fourth Annual
Conference on November lst 1997.
Return to table of Contents
by Carmeta Harper, CCSU Student, Hist 375
The Third Annual Conference of African Studies took place
in Founder's Hall on November 2nd, 1996. The conference brought together
over twenty speakers from as far as California and the United Kingdom.
The focus of the conference was on African civilization, and was in
all respects interesting, provocative, informative and enlightening.
The objective was to bring about a new level of consciousness of the
positive role Africa has made towards world civilization.
Some of the topical issues discussed were: methodological
issues related to African civilization, ancient Egyptian and Southern
African philosophy and the African burial ground project by our own
professor, Dr. Warren Perry of CCSU.
Dr. Bola Dauda from the United Kingdom told his audience
that before studying Africa one has to know what he or she was talking
about. His main point was that opportunities in Africa are too large
to be ignored. Africa has 56 nations and became colonized by the English,
French, and Portuguese and other colonial powers. It has well over 500
million people. It has a universal culture. In concluding, he strongly
emphasized that people needed to go beyond what they read in books or
newspapers when they were talking about Africa.
Dr. Fitzroy Baptiste pointed out that history has never
been free of racism and traced the course of racist writing from the
colonial era to the present. I learned from Chrispen Matsika, of Amherst,
that Ancient Egypt and the Bantu of the South seemed to have similar
San Kwadjovie from California spoke on the Nile civilization
of Ta-Seti and Kemet. Some points were that Ta-Seti gave birth to Kemet
and Kemet and Ta-Seti had a close relationship. They shared the same
society, empires, and had the same ambitions. They both held their beliefs
and their six orders of priestly society.
Dr. Yosef Ben Yochannan, Egyptologist, commented on the
philosophic views of the presentation. He stressed that facts are important
and should be proven with evidence. He made reference to the Two Nile
Valleys. Ethiopia was associated with the Blue Nile, and Uganda with
the White Nile.
The keynote speaker for the day was Professor Molara
Ogundipe Leslie. Her main focus was African civilization and African
women in the 20th century. In her speech she said it became very political
and problematic whenever Africans tried to empower themselves. She brought
out the importance of African languages and emphasized how proud Africans
should be to speak them.
CCSU's Dr. Warren Perry's discussion of the African Burial
Ground Project captured my attention in a way that I was left thinking
- Should I go dig up my parents grave to see what I would find? It was
amazing to see some of the artifacts. It also amazed me to see how they
interpreted these bones and the origin of these individuals. Some artifacts
found were dolls, and archaeologists were able to relate them to dolls
from the Congo.
Several women panelists spoke on the importance of women
in the society and their contributions. For example, women have been
involved in peacemaking. Women teach genealogy. Women participated in
politics and the military.
In concluding, the Third Annual African Conference was
very informative and arousing. It gave me better knowledge of African
culture. It was very rewarding in the sense that many issues brought
up helped to dispel the myth and negative connotations about African
History. I look forward to the 4th Annual African Conference. My day
was well spent.
Return to table of Contents
by Haines Brown, C.C.S.U.
I would like to bring to your attention a website that
reports on progress fulfilling W.E. DuBois' dream of an Encyclopaedia
Africana. Publication began in 1962 in Accra,
Ghana, and continues today under the direction of Grace Bansa, Secretariat
to the Encyclopædia Africana Project (EAP). The website URL is
Another version of the EA is currently being published at Harvard, but
it does not honor DuBois' wish for African scholars.
On another note: The on-line edition of the Côte
d'Ivoire daily, Le Jour, is available at: http://www.africaonline.co.ci/AfricaOnline/infos/lejour.html
Return to table of Contents
by Dr. Fitzroy A. Baptiste
Afro-Asian Studies, UWI
A few years ago, when I was teaching Black Diaspora at
Howard University in Washington,
D. C., The New York Times, inter alia, carried
the story of sharp exchanges between two professors of City University
of New York concerning the question of the place of Africa and the African
Diaspora in world history.
Since then, the matter has escalated into a virtual battle
in sections of academia in the United States between, on the one hand,
those termed "Politically Correct" or "P.C.," who
wish to change the commodity of social knowledge to be consumed, away
from what is held to be the grand prejudice that the intellectual tradition
of Western Europe and the North Atlantic occupies; and those, on the
other hand, who resist any such change.
Newsweek of December 24, 1990, featured
the pros and cons of the debate, in an issue entitled "Thought
Police." Both it and Time addressed the issue during 1991.
Mary Lefowitz' intervention in the debate in Not out of Africa
as well as the highly publicised internet conference sponsored by Harper
Collins, May 1996, are more recent manifestations of the debate.
The New York Times Book Review of February
23, 1992, carried an article entitled "Whose History is Bunk?,"
by Frank Kermode. The article in question was a review of recent publications
on the pros and cons of multicultural studies generally and of Afrocentric
studies particularly in the United States.
What we have been witnessing in the United States more
recently is the latest round in a battle of over one hundred years.
In this paper, I wish to set out before you my own view of the evolution
of this battle: as formulated in twenty-five years of University teaching
in Britain, the West Indies and the United States.
Though the seeds of the matter pre-date the 19th century,
there is some merit in the point that that century saw a certain defining
of the turf of today's battle.1As Professor Martin
Bernal has shown in his study, Black Athena: The Afroasiatic
Roots of Classical Civilization: Volume I: The Fabrication of
Ancient Greece, well into the late 18th and early 19th centuries,
the majoritarian view in Academia across the North Atlantic was that
"black" or "African" ¨ Egypt was the principal
source of inspiration for Graeco-Roman civilization and, thence, for
Western/North Atlantic civilization itself.
However, before the 19th century had finished, the old
commodity of social knowledge had been remoulded to produce a new commodity
for consumption: namely that "Aryan" or "White/ Caucasian"
Greece and, through Greece, Rome, were the well-springs of Western/North
Beginning in the University of Gottingen in Germany in
the 1860s and 1870s, through strategic appointments to the then new
Chair in Egyptology, of which the Classics tended to be a part, and
diffusing, thence, to other Universities in Western Europe and in North
America, the so-called "Aryan model" of the primacy of Western/North
Atlantic civilization via Ancient Greece in world history was erected
within fifty years or so after the 1860s-
Why all of the preceding? The "fact" of African
enslavement in the New World, in the United States as well as in Cuba
and Brazil until the Industrial Revolution; and of the "New Imperialism"
of North Atlantic countries in the continents of Africa and Asia during
the late 19th and early 20th centuries - these "facts" and
more gave rise to an ideology of "scientific racism." According
to that ideology, "whites" or "Caucasians" were
superior to all "others," especially "blacks."4
In turn, Scientific Racism weevilled its way into old
and new academic disciplines: history, archaeology and philosophy (old);
and the classics, physical anthropology, linguistics, and craniometry
(new). Craniometry was the science of the measurement of the dimensions
of the cranium, from which were drawn a priori "conclusions"
about the "intelligence" of "races" and, ab deductio,
of their "civilizational" or "non-civilizational"
Not all of the intellectual luminaries of the North Atlantic
world of the era under discussion agreed with the conventional scientific
racism. Darwin was a dissenter. Paradoxically, however, Darwin's views
on natural selection, on survival of the fittest, and on movement or
progression as "laws" governing the evolution of "species"
were latched onto by proponents of scientific racism to reinforce their
new paradigm of world civilizational history.
Hence, the most "primitive" of cultures in
Africa were capable of "movement," of "development"
to a higher level after all, it was said. However, such "movement"
could be mediated or managed only by "higher," western "civilizations."
Thus was born social Darwinism, and the notion of the "white man's
burden" in the imperial/colonial venture in Africa, Asia and the
Caribbean and, within the United States.
Today, the whole affair sounds bizarre. But it did occur,
and for sound instrumental reasons, as the intellectual bootstrap for
western/North Atlantic political, military, scientific-technological
and economic dominance of the global system, inclusive of Africa and
of Africans in the diaspora.
It should be noted that scientific racism was not just
anti-black. It was anti-Semitic or anti-Jew. The same virus that inflicted
immeasurable psychological damage on Africans in the continent and in
the diaspora of the New World and elsewhere contributed to the anti-Semitism
of Nazi Germany, as well as the fascism of Western Europe of the inter-war
period (1918-1939); to the Second World War (1939-1945); and to the
Holocaust.6 Had Hitler and his "Aryan,"
"super-race" triumphed in that global conflict, the next target
for the Holocaust would have been "blacks," without a doubt
This brings me to the next stage of the evolution of
North Atlantic perspectives concerning the past of Africa and of Africans
"at home" and abroad. The Second World War had not yet ended
when Britain took the decision to re-shape the conventional Hegelian
paradigm about the non-place or peripheral place of Africa and Africans
in world civilizational history. As Professor John Flint has shown in
an unpublished paper entitled "African Historiography - a Subjective
View" (Center for African Studies, Dalhousie University, Halifax,
Nova Scotia, September 17, 1981), two factors shaped the British decision
for a "New Deal" for African historiography.
Firstly, it was the result of a reaction to the destructive
racism of Nazism, a causative factor of the Second World War. Secondly,
Britain had decided to move her colonies in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean
to self-government after the war in stages in part fulfillment of the
Anglo-American Atlantic Charter of August 1941, later enshrined in The
Charter of the new United Nations Organization. Hence, as B. Ogot later
put it in an article, "Towards a History of Kenya," in the
Kenya Historical Review, vol. 4, 1976: "Political independence
could only have meaning if it was accompanied by historical independence."
The remoulding of the body of social knowledge concerning
the history of Africa under the Sahara was the work of a "think-tank"
in the British Colonial Office, headed by Lord Hailey. He had emerged
by then as a prolific writer on the "African Condition" with
books such as An African Survey (London, 1938), and Native
Administration in the British African Territories (5 volumes: London,
That "think-tank" influenced the decision of
the British Government to set up new university colleges in Nigeria
(Ibadan); the Gold Coast, later Ghana (Legon); East Africa (Makerere);
and in Jamaica, British West Indies (Mona) in the immediate post-1945
period. Those university colleges were affiliated initially to the "mother"
University of London in Britain. In turn, the mandate of the British
Professors in the new university colleges in Africa, et al.,
was to spot bright "native" academic raw material, and to
guide such into post-graduate training in British home universities
- with the ultimate objective of handing over to them in the course
This exercise in "academic engineering" was
a vital component of political-constitutional engineering or decolonization.
It was well on the way by the decade of the 1960s. By then, the British
pattern of "engineering" the rewriting of the history under
the Sahara had diffused to the universities in the United States and
in Canada, especially the so- called mainstream ones.
However, the British-American professors of History in
the new university colleges in sub- Saharan Africa, socialized in the
conventional Hegelianism and scientific racism of their societies, proceeded
generally to impose a neo-Hegelian/ neo-scientific race interpretation
on the historical commodity concerning sub-Saharan Africa. Hausa, Yoruba,
Mande and Akan civilizations in West Africa, as well as Bantu civilization
in East, Central and South Africa, for example, were said to have been
the work of "Hamite/Semite" incomers. The "Hamitic Hypothesis,"
first applied to the interpretation of the history of Ancient Egypt
and of the Nile Valley, became an all-embracing tool for explaining
away any notable civilizational achievements of Black Africa South of
Not surprisingly, an intellectual challenge to this neo-Hegelianism
concerning Africa's history came from African-born and African-descended
academics in the universities in Africa, the Caribbean, and in North
America. The challenge coincided with new political developments in
Africa and in the wider African diasporic world.
The 1960s was the decade of political- constitutional
independence for Britain's colonies in Sub-Saharan Africa and in the
Caribbean. With this conjuncture, many of the foster university colleges
in those areas acceded to academic independence from the "mother"
universities in Britain. As a by-product of this process, local scholars
emerged to head the departments of history, archaeology, etc., in the
institutions that had been set up by the British professors in their
respective countries or areas. They also began to re-examine the inherited
and "engineered" body of social knowledge, with its explicit
or implicit Hegelianism and scientific racism.
African scholars in the universities in the French-speaking
parts of sub-Saharan Africa began to do the same re-examining, as their
countries attained legal independence from a reluctant France by the
In the United States, the Civil Rights Movement, led
by Martin Luther King and others, was at a flush of activism. Inevitably,
there was an impact on the universities in the United States, especially
the mainstream ones. The impact took the form of successful demands
by African-Americans for the establishment of Black Studies and, later,
African-American Studies programmes in the mainstream universities.
Herein, we must see the making of the thrust that is
today called Afrocentricity, multiculturalism, and political correctness
(P C). They add up to an intellectual challenge by a mainly non-white
constituency here and elsewhere to what is seen, rightly in my view,
as a North Atlantic-engineered paradigm of the history of world civilization
- from the classical period to present times.
The challenge is fiercest in the field of Egyptology.
Among the challengers are ben Jochanan, Ivan van Sertima, Chancellor
Williams and the late Cheik Anta Diop. Diop, who died in February 1985,
presented the case for the African primary role in the founding of the
civilization of Ancient Egypt and of the Nile Valley, its Africanicity,
and the contribution of Nile Valley civilizations to world history to
a point that rubbed Western and modern Egyptian scholars badly: for
example, his books, The African Origin of Civilization: Myth or Reality
(1974) and The Cultural Unity of Black Africa (1978).9
To understand Diop, however, one has to comprehend the
vicious cultural imperialism which the French applied in their Empire.
In particular, that cultural imperialism set out to deny any worth to
Africa and to anything African. This policy continued into the post-World
War II period when, as we saw, the British were at least pretending
to remould the history of "Black" Africa and, by extension,
the diaspora as part of their decolonization exercise. Not so the French.
The French emerged from World War II with no plans for the decolonization
of their colonies in Africa, Asia and the Antilles. Witness the imperious
statement of General Charles de Gaulle, concerning the objective of
the Brazzaville Conference of 1944 that was summoned to discuss the
post-war relationship between France and her Empire:
The ends of the civilizing work accomplished by France
in the colonies excluded any idea of autonomy, all possibility of evolution
outside the French bloc of the Empire: the eventual constitution, even
in the future, of self-government in the colonies was denied .10
Some democratization, some decentralization in the colonies
"Yes," but the process would not, de Gaulle stated bluntly,
be carried to the point where it would threaten the indivisibility of
France and her empire and, thereby, end France's "mission civilisatrice".
Arising from the above, the French "mission civilisatrice"
in colonial education in Africa in the era of decolonization remained
the one that had been articulated in 1917 by Jules Brévié,
Governor-General of French West Africa (AOF):
The colonial duty and the political and economic necessities
impose on our educational program a double task: first, to form local
cadres who were destined to become our auxiliary assistants in all areas
and to insure the ascension of an elite carefully selected; second,
to educate masses, in order to make us closer and to transform their
On the political level, we need to make it known to the
natives our efforts and our intentions to tie them to their milieu,
to the French life. On the economic level, we must prepare the producers
and consumers of tomorrow.11
One of Brévié's successor in the post of
Governor-General, Ernest Roume, set out the goals of a reform of the
colonial educational policy of 1924 in French West Africa as follows:
All the teaching of history and geography must tend to
show that France is a wealthy, powerful nation capable of making herself
respected but at the same time great by the ability of her sentiments,
generosity and which has never backed down in front of sacrifices of
men and money to deliver peoples enslaved or to provide savage populations
with peace and civilization benefits. (Johnson, Wesley G,. 1985: 351)12
The post-World War II curriculum in the elitist-structured
educational system of French West Africa - four percent of the educable
population in 1947, rising to ten percent in 1957 - "abounded in
whimsical and prejudiced statements about Africa." African heroes
of national resistance movements against the French such as Al Hajj
Umar, Samori Touré and Béhanzin were depicted in the curriculum
as agents of chaos and decadence. Simultaneously, the curriculum extolled
the virtuous role of so-called "representatives of the white race.".
Equally, the emphases in the curriculum in history, geography, literature
and philosophy were on the study of French and Western heroes in history;
of French and European soils in geography; and of French and Western
value-systems, based on Judaeo-Christianity.
This perspective was enshrined in the formative university-level
programmes in the humanities, law, economics and the sciences that were
inaugurated in Dakar, Senegal in 1950, under the supervision of the
"mother" universities of Paris and Bordeaux. It was consolidated
in 1957, when the University of Dakar was established formally.
Accordingly, at a time when the British were attempting
a neo-Hegelian re-interpretation of the history of sub-Saharan history,
the French remained stuck to the old Hegelian interpretation.
That state of affairs traumatized Africans, as well as
Antilleans, that had been socialized into French "assimilation."
The trauma exploded in the title of the book, Black Skin, White Mask,
by the Antillean writer, Frantz Fanon. Fanon resolved the trauma intellectually
by becoming the advocate of the use of force to destroy the colonial
system that had inflicted this psychological violence on colonials in
the French Empire and, by extension, in other Colonial Empires.
In like manner, Cheik Anta Diop and the Présence
Africaine school of African culture-history and of Negritude lashed
out against the intellectual/psychological violence of the French- imposed
Hegelian framework of African history.
However, as Henry Bernstein and Jacques Depelchin have
countered, Duignan and Gann, and others like them, fail to see that
they have been and continue to be guilty of the same sins they attribute
to the new school of African history and, by extension, of African-American
history, namely a priori notions and value-judgements of the primacy
of Western/North Atlantic civilization in "The Burden of Empire"
in non-white societies.12
Ali Mazrui, himself a player in the Afrocentric, counter-ideological
interpretation of the history, explains better than Duignan and Gann
what has been happening when he wrote :
The problem of subjectivism is not peculiar to current
history, by any means. Historians can be very partisan when looking
at episodes far from their own times . . . In the case of counter-objectivism
(in African history), what is happening is a subjective historical response
by one side to combat distortion perpetrated by another society.13
1 See, for example, Laura A.
Lewis, "Discourses of Differences in Colonial Mexico: Africans
and Indians in Comparative Perspective," paper presented at the
Workshop of the Social Science Research Council (U.S.A.) entitled The
World the Diaspora Makes: Social Science and the Reinvention of Africa,
Ann Arbor, Michigan, June 5-7, 1992: pp. 1-42, plus addendum of works
2 For Bernal's view on why his
book was titled Black Athena and not African Athena, see
his essay "Black Athena and the APA" in The Challenge of Black
3 Martin Bernal, Black Athena:
The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization: Volume I:The Fabrication
of Ancient Greece, 1785-1985. Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick,
New Jersey, 1987.
4 Philip D. Curtin, The Image
of Africa: British Ideas and Action, 1780-1850, University of Wisconsin
Press, Madison, 1964, pp. 28-57 and 363-389.
5 Christine Bolt, Victorian
Attitudes to Race, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London and University
of Toronto Press, Toronto, 1971, pg. 15f.
6 Léon Poliakov, (trans.
from the French MS by Edmund Howard), The Aryan Myth: A History of
Racist and Nationalist Ideas in Europe. Chatto and Windus Heinemann
(for Sussex University Press). (The Columbus Centre Series), 1971.
7 John E. Flint, "Nazism
- The Highest Stage of Imperialism: Germany's Plans for the Repartition
of Africa, 1940". Department of History, Dalhousie University,
Halifax, Nova Scotia, April 13, 1976. pp. 1-36.
8 See Flint's paper cited in
9Victor Oguejiofor Okafor, "Diop
and the African Origin of Civilization", Journal of Black Studies,
v. 22 #2, (December) 1991, pp. 252-268.
10 Quoted in Prosser Gifford
and William Roger Louis (eds.): The Transfer of Power in Africa:
Decolonization 1940-1960. Yale University Press, New Haven and London,
1982, pg. 89.
11 G. Wesley Johnson (ed.) Double
Impact: France and Africa in the Age of Imperialism, Greenwood Press,
Westport, Connecticut, 1985: essay #19, pg. 351. A. Y. Yansané,
"The Impact of France on Education in West Africa", pp. 345-362.
See also essay #18 by David E. Gardiner, "The French Impact on
Education in Africa, 1817-1960", pp. 333-344.
12 Ibid., pp. 351. Duignan
and Gann as quoted in Henry Bernstein and Jacques Delpechin, "The
Object of African History: A Materialist Perspective", Part II:
History in Africa, v. 6, 1979, pp. 17-43. For Part I of this
article, see History in Africa, v. 5, 1978, pp. 1-19.
13 Ali. A. Mazrui, "Subjectivism
and the Study of Current History: Political, Psychological and Methodological
Problems", in The Methodology of Contemporary African History,
Report and Papers of the Meeting of Experts organized by UNESCO at Ougadougou,
Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso), May 17-22, 1979, UNESCO, Paris, 1984,
pp. 27- 45. See also J.M Blaut's , The Colonizer's Model of the World,
Return to table of Contents
Dr. Charles Mate-Kole and Dr. Evelyn Phillips of the
ASC will lead a teacm of ten students to Ghana on March 20-29, 1997.
They will visit numerous historical sites and observe female- headed
Return to table of Contents
Visions of Eternity and Imperatives for Renewal
by San Kwadjovie
Novisi Group, California
The Nile Valley civilizations of Ta-Seti and Kmt are
beacons of African civilizations and cultures. They represent without
any doubt the apex of African history, our visions of eternity. This
article explores these two great Nile Valley civilizations with a special
focus on the creative leaderships represented by their priesthoods.
Make no mistake: politics played a part in the grandeur of Ta-Seti and
Kmt. However, the people who set the tone, the people with the creativity,
the people who set the direction of these cultures and guided and enlightened
the politicians were the priests. This article offers a study of the
clergies of Ta-Seti and Kmt.
Return to table of Contents
by Chrispen Matsika, Amherst, MA
This paper is based on E. A. Wallis Budge's account of
the Ancient Egyptian world view as expressed in the cult of Osiris.
It is a comparison of Budge's description of the Egyptian's religious
beliefs and practices in "Osiris and the Egyptian Resurrection"
and Southern African philosophy especially as expressed in the beliefs
and practices of the Bantu.
It is not my task to establish whether the Bantu came
from Egypt or whether the Egyptians came from Southern Africa. I however
have noted certain similarities in my research and readings which suggest
a close link between these two societies in Africa.
Both the ancient Egyptians and the Bantu believed in
a hierarchical universe of a supreme being - God, with the same attributes
of creator, almighty, all knowing, etc. Under him are the gods and ancestral
spirits. Human beings are the link between the world of the material
objects and that of the unseen. Human purpose seems to be that of establishing
relationships. Sound positive relationships are paramount to the continued
balance of the ontological order. The belief that the essence of existence
is spirit or the idea helps in the task of establishing relationships.
Animals, plants and other objects can therefore be the dwellings of
gods or ancestors. Thus, objects can be symbols of spirits.
Both the Egyptians the Bantu believed in a continuity
of existence in the realms of the living and the dead. Death was simply
the process of passing from one realm to the other. These worlds were
continued with each other. So if one dies, one will be what one is in
this world. As kings and chiefs need servants here, they will certainly
need them in the other world. So, both societies had this strong belief
in immortality which lead to the mummification of their kings and chiefs.
In parts of southern Africa, especially in Zimbabwe, one can still see
these mummies in caves today.
The cult of Osiris is very much similar to the cults
of Mwari in Zimbabwe and Mlimo or Modimo in South Africa. All these
cults were supported by priests who were the link between the god and
the people. The idea of communicating with the spirit world through
sacrifice, song and dance is well established in both societies. It
is in keeping with this view of continuity of existence between the
dead and the living, human beings and God. It also shows the role human
beings have to play in the ontological balance. If people did not give
sacrifices and pay homage to the spirit world, then the resulting imbalance
may cause some calamities in the world.
It is my position in this paper that the similarities
between the ancient Egyptians and the Bantu of Southern Africa in terms
of their philosophical outlook are not simply coincidental or accidental.
Further research needs to be carried out in this area.
Return to table of Contents
by Dr. Tunde Zack-Williams, Social Studies
University of Central Lancashire, Preston UK
This paper looks at the contributions of both Frantz
Fanon and Amilcar Cabral to the theory
of the African revolution. Attention is drawn to the
commonalties in both their theories, as well as different perceptions
in the work of both writers. The paper points to the influence of Marxism
in both their analyses, yet attention is drawn to the fact that the
exigencies of revolutionary praxis impelled both writers to re-work
Lenin's theory to explicate the impact of colonial and imperialist exploitation
in Africa, as well as locating social groups which constitute either
the motive force, or target of the revolution.
The paper is divided into five sections:
1) An introduction, which sets the context of the papers,
2) An analysis of the necessity of violence in the decolonisation struggle;
an analysis of the colonial social structure which led in the case of
Fanon to what could be called a "Marxist heresy.". Such an
analysis is invaluable if martyrdom is to be avoid and successful struggle
waged, by locating groups that are least incorporated into the colonial
I argue that the differences in perception of the potential
revolutionary force is the result of the nature of colonial exploitation.
In Fanon's Algeria, exploitation is based on land alienation which tends
to radicalized peasants. In Cabral's Bissau, Portuguese ultra-colonial
exploitation expressed itself not through land alientation, but via
the price mechanism, or what Arrighi Emmanuel has called imperialism
of free trade. 3) The role of the revolutionary party which acts as
the vanguard of the revolution is analyzed, and contrasted with the
foco theory of Latin America. 4) Their analysis of post-colonial revolutionary
party is also analyzed, linking it with their analysis of the imperative
in the transformation of colonial society. 5) Finally, there is a conclusion
which brings together the discussion in the paper.
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By Dr Edward Bruce Bynum
University of Massachusetts Health Services,
Amherst, Mass 01003
Since the time of early Homo Sapiens, i.e., the Neanderthal,
members of the hominid line have demonstrated some concern for the spiritual
dimension of their existence.This is seen in their elaborate rituals
and and an increased concern with the burial of the dead. The first
systematic written records we have of a coherent philosophy and spiritual
vision arise with the first known civilization of our own species, Homo
Sapiens Sapiens, which are the Nile Valley civilizations of Nubia and
From the latter came the science of mummification , the
Necropolis, the Pyramid texts and the great papyrus of ANI or the so-called
book of the Dead.These are all within the cult of Osiris which brought
a series of revolutionary new ideas into the consciousness of humankind
at least 3500 years before the birth of Christ.
In this civilization can be found the fundamental ideas
and conceptual roots of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. But beyond
this can be seen many of the primordial intuitions and insights that
underpin the mystical paradigms of the I-Ching, the divination system
of IFA, the sacred Kaballa and the powerful psychospiritual tradition
and technology of the kundalini phenomenon. This brief presentation
will provide an historical and theoretical overview of these seminal
and truly cross-cultural developments.
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Zenebworke Bissrat served for several years
as Senior Management Expert at the Ethiopian Management Institute, Addis
Ababa. She is at present associated with the CMRS, Ethiopian Catholic
Church, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Maimouna Diallo is an economist and also
a consultant to the United Nations Development Program. She resides
in the Côte d'Ivoire, West Africa.
Julius Ihonvbere is a Professor of Government
at the University of Texas, Austin. Among his books are Nigeria,
the Politics of Adjustment and Democracy (New Brunswick: Transaction,
1993) and The Political Economy of Crisis and Underdevelopment in
Africa (Lagos: Jad Press, 1989).
Paulus Gerdes is the Rector of Mozambique's
Universidade Pedagogico, Maputo, Mozambique. He has extensive publications
on African mathematics and is the Chair of the Commission on the History
of Mathematics in Africa.
Mosebjane Malatsi is a Senior Policy Analyst
at the Development Bank of Southern Africa, based in Johannesburg. He
is a leading member of the Pan-African Congress.
Alfred Zack-Williams is from Sierra Leone.
He teaches in the Department of Historical and Critical Studies at the
University of Central Lancaster, UK. He is also a member of the Editorial
Board of the Review of African Political Economy (ROAPE), United Kingdom.
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