Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Does Africa underestimate the wealth of her own wisdom?

“That Asia is the source whence all philosophy sprang is a universally accepted belief; and that Europe is the custodian and preserver of the knowledge originated in the elder continent will likewise be generally maintained. Few ever considered that Africa also was one of the home of a learning as profound as any Asia can show; and few, if any, will believe that such learning remains alive to-day among the inhabitants of the Dark Continent. Yet that such is the truth” – Patrick Bowen.
I will rightly concur with Patrick Bowen’s assertion of Africa. I think Africa underestimates the worth of her own wisdom, and it is best she face the facts of her shortcomings as it is said that “if you wish to move mountains tomorrow, you must start by lifting stones today”.
Africa it’s said “is the cradle of mankind, the origin of the world’s religion and civilization”. I wonder, where did we lost our way?
History will assert to the fact that Africa has been and is a focal point of the world’s history as there would be a blank space, worthy of notes of the achievements if Africa is relegated in the world history as is being practiced by the colonialists.
A civilization is any complex society characterized by urban development, social stratification, symbolic communication forms (typically writing system), and a perceive separation from and domination over the natural environment by cultural elite. Historically the earliest emergence of civilization is generally associated with the final stages of Neolithic Revolution from around 10,000BC with civilizations developing 6,500 years ago, this area has been identified as having “inspired some of the most important developments in human history including the invention of the wheel, the development of cursive script, mathematics, astronomy, and agriculture”. How can we ignore all these facts and embrace at every whim the auspices of the west as if we doubt our own powers of developing better solutions to ours and the world’s problems?
Eminent and evident pre-colonial states and societies in Africa include the kingdom of Nri, Nok Culture, Mali Empire, Songhai Empire, Benin Empire, Ashanti Empire, Ghana Empire, Mossi Kingdom, Mutapa Empire, Kingdom of Mapungubwe, Kingdom of Sine, Kingdom of Sennar, Kingdom of Saloum, Kingdom of Baol, Kingdom of Zimbabwe, Kingdom of Kongo, Empire of Kaaby, Ancient Carthage, Numidia, Muretania, the Aksumite Empire, the Ajuran sultanate and the adal sultanate, there amidst there were some of the notable states of Africa each striving with its own political, religious structure and surviving and sustaining her people until the invasion of the colonialist who forced their belief on the children of Alkebu-lan. They never cared to learn our own wisdom and teachings before destroying and building upon our legacy. Where we so weak as to allow all these external influences?
Religiously, I can categorically say an African child knows these; that man has a body; that within that body is a soul; and within the soul is that which the common man will call the universal spirit. We knew and taught that after death the human soul moves on, we know that there is one God and other gods are mostly claimed to miseries, lesser gods or his manifestations. We know that the soul becomes one with that from where it comes, so instead of being himself, apart, he is truly one with all and all is one with him. That is what Africa taught us.
A special feature by Charles Finch, M.D chairman, Dept. of international Medicine, The Morehouse school of Medicine. “It has become increasingly clear that traditional African cultures and civilization knew and accomplished more than has been traditionally assumed. Even after we’ve ‘restored’ ancient Egypt - a civilization that was the fountain head of science - to its true and natural place on African soil as an African creation, there is yet a profound reluctance to admit that Africa contributed anything of substance to the world science”.
Charles Finch, in his article hoped to show that traditional African physicians evolved effectively even sophisticated, diagnostic and therapeutic modalities in medicine which belie the notion that Africa was without a medical science. As will be shown in this article that has been a wrong notion or perception of Africa. In the odyssey, Homer says, “in medical knowledge, Egypt leaves the rest of the world blind.” Suffice it to say that much of the training and instructions of the healing priests must have been orally transmitted, as it has in the rest of Africa, this which history is showing us is rather unfortunate for us because this means hasn’t proved a successful way of preserving this legacies. The Edwin Smith Papers describes maneuvers for reviewing dislocated jaws and shoulders. 
Trephination, the fore runner of neurosurgery, was practiced in Africa, which involved boring a hole through the skull to the outer covering of the brain. This is done to treat epilepsy, or to relieve chronic headaches. This all goes to show how Africa was advancing and setting precedence in making the world a better place, until the invaders thwarted and undermine her handiwork, calling themselves “conquerors in a conquest”. Africa was not left out in having conquerors of its own. Amenhotep IV, better known as “Akhenaton” is in some respects the most remarkable of the pharaohs and of all leaders in the world ever.
Akhenaton is considered the founder of the first monotheistic religion. He ruled from approximate 1352- 1356 B.C coming into power after his father, Amenhotep 111, died. Akhenaton’s reign left a profound effect on Egypt and the entire world of his day. Thirteen hundred years before Christ, he preached and lived the gospel of perfect love, brotherhood and truth. Two thousand years before Muhammad, he taught the doctrine of the “one God”. Three thousand years before Darwin, he sensed the unity that run through all living things. The account of Akhenaton is not complete without the strength of his beautiful wife Nefertiti. What is known is that the relationship between Akhenaton and Nefertiti was one of history’s first well known love stories. At the prompting of Akhenaton and Nefertiti sculptors and artists began to recreate life in its natural state, instead of the rigid and lifeless forms of early art.
Another notable leader perhaps not popular to our generation but was a great leader in his days is Taharqa, who is probably one of the most famous rulers of Napatan Kush, reigning from 690 to 664 B.C. At 16, this great Nubian king led his armies against the invading Assyrians in defense of his ally, Israel. This action earned him a place in the Bible (Isaiah 37:9, 2 kings 19:9).
In his book, “world’s great men of color,” J.A. Rogers, gives this description: “out of the mists of 3,000 years, emerges this beautiful story of an African queen who, attracted by the fame of a Judean monarch, made a long journey to see him.” Makeda and King Solomon were equally impressed with each other. The Queen of Sheba is said to have undertaken a long and difficult journey to Jerusalem to learn from the wisdom of the great king Solomon. Now I wonder, if the African Queen was not powerful, not a lover of wisdom and wise too, would King Solomon be impressed by her? Enough to grant her such accord as was written in the bible and in the books of history?
In the history of world conquerors, the name of King Hannibal stands out as one of the greatest  military leader and strategist of all time. He used and mastered African war elephants and conquered major portions of Spain and France, and all of Italy, except for Rome. 
                                  King Musa
King Mansa Musa 1 (Emperor Musa) ruled Mali Empire and was estimated to have been worth $400 billion in today’s currency, which makes him one of the richest man, leader to ever walk this earth. The emperor was a master business man and economist, and gained his worth through Mali’s supply of gold, salt and ivory, the main commodities for most part of the world during this time. Musa maintained a huge army that kept peace and policed the trade routes for his businesses.
Africa has the world’s oldest record of human technological achievement: the oldest stone tools in the world have been found in eastern Africa, and later evidence for tool production by our hominine ancestors has been found across sub- Sahara Africa. The history of science and technology in Africa since then has, however, received relatively little attention compared to other regions of the world, despite notable African developments in mathematics, metallurgy, architecture and other fields.
The oldest abstract art in the world is a shell necklace dated to 82,000 years ago from the cave of pigeons in Taforatt, eastern Morocco. The second oldest abstract art and oldest rock art is found at Blombos cave in South Africa, dated to 77,000 years ago.
I think that there should be a call for a historical rethinking about the significance, prevalence, and application of technological novelty in Africa. I have always believed that the so called ordinary people have something up their sleeves, because every man have the capacity to modify his environment for his betterment. During this course of ransacking Alkebu-lan and the scramble of Africa, transcends and long-lived workspaces were tempered, destroyed with no thoughts for piety or respect, under imperialism, her living was criminalized. Traditions and Cultures, morals and customs, norms of an age old people were criminalized, and when you criminalize that practice, you destabilize the place where the knowledge exist.
· The Ancient Wisdom in Africa
Theosophy, vol. 82, No. 8, June 1994.
· The Destination
· The Overlooked History of African Technology -Peter Dezikes