Africa African Diaspora Decoloniality Education Dineo Kgopongi  

Day 4: Black History Month – Africans the Roots of Humanity

Humanity’s physical entrance is rooted in Africa.

Africans are the first human beings on Earth. All people, cultures and philosophies are rooted in Africa.

Genetic studies reveal that there is a triangular link between the Horn of Africa where Ethiopia is, southern Africa among the Khoe and San people and clusters of BaTwa people who live in pockets of East, Central and West Africa.

It is from this genetic intersection that all other African cultural groups emerge.

It does not matter if these Africans are in the far North, West – all African people and all human beings come from this linkage between Khoe San, Ethiopians and BaTwa people.

What is significant about Africa being the human “cradle of civilisation”?

Africa’s social, scientific and economic development was interrupted by Europe for over 400 years when “slavery” and “colonialism” started.

To justify enslaving Africans and making them servants of the European economy in their own land, European leaders said Africans were uncivilised, uncultured and did not have history.

Cecil Rhodes, a major colonialist and champion of racism even claimed that Europeans are the first people on Earth.

Black History Month teaches us that racism was at the very heart and foundation of European colonialism and expansion throughout the globe.

In order to dominate the darker peoples, who constitute about 9/10ths of the Earth’s population, it was necessary to deny their origins in humanity.

It was also necessary to call the darker skinned people savages, uncivilised and uncultured to expropriate their land, enslave them and make them servants in Ancestral grounds.

We have always known but are now free to discuss the lies of colonialism.

For the southern African context of these untruths, read Mellet’s The Lie of 1652.

These lies are called “epistemic violence“.

Epistemic violence occurs when a group of people oppresses and attempts to silence the knowledge of another.

During colonialism, epistemic violence manifested in Europeans refusing to call us by our names in our African languages.

The names of mountains, rivers, hills and valleys were changed to European names of towns and villages in Europe.

This act was to remove African culture and history; to advance capitalism and the imperial economy.

That is why in South Africa we have places named East London, Berlin and other English labels.

Gariep River renamed Orange River by Voortrekkers in southern Africa

These European names remind us of how our Ancestors were kept out of and ignored in the colonial economy.

Now we know that Western and Global North philosophies are rooted in and are much younger than African philosophies and history.

We must tap into indigenous African knowledge to counter the colonial narrative that African history starts with our encounter with Europeans and then slavery.

Before colonialism and enslavement we were free and had diverse cultures and economies.

It is time to resurrect those cultures, economies and ways of organisation to end inequality that colonialism brought to Africa and the masses of people.

Knowing our shared Black History is the start.