Vol IV, Issue 1 (Winter 1996-97): Studying Africa.

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Editorial: Studying Africa

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 Address.

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.

Gloria Emeagwali

Chief Editor

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Student review of Third Annual Conference of Africa Studies

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 philosophical perceptions.

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.

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Africa and the Net

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 http://www.ilhawaii.net:80/~premaq/EAP/web/eap-home.html. 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

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Methodoligical Issues Related To African Studies

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 Atlantic civilization.

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" capabilities.5

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 .7

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, 1950-1953).8

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 of time.

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 the Sahara.

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 1960s.

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 life style.

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 cited.

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 Athena: Arethusa.

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 main text.

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, 1996.

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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 market organizations.

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The Nile Valley Civilizations of Ta-Seti and Kmt:

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.

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Egyptian and Southern African Philosophy:


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.

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The Contribution of Frantz Fanon and Amilcar Cabral to Political Philosophy

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 power structure.

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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African psycho-spiritual traditions and their influence on the ancient and contemporary world

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 Kemetic Egypt.

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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The Regional Editors of AfricaUpdate

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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