Friday, April 17, 2009

The Black Headed People of China: Li Min- Zhou Dynast

AfroCentric Cultural Sankofa writes......

This is a very interesting study, on the origins of Blacks in ancient China. The evidence shows, that Black Afrikans who founded the civilization in China were Li-Min "Black Headed People" - by the Zhou dynast- Babylonion called them. Sag-Gig- Ga "bhp".
One of the lengendary chinese emperors Fu- Hsi (son of heaven) was a wooley hair black man who originated in the oracle of the I Ching- or the book of change.
Also be aware of the true origins of martial arts, karate, kick boxing and wrestling originated from. And it's not where we have been lead to believe.

Imhotep also had wall carvings illustrated in his tomb displaying wrestling holds any many other fighting technics. This clearly is proof how far back Kemetic arts goes.
Original people of India were Afrikan. The latin word India comes from the greek word (Indus) which means black.
Afrikans Ethiopians called Dravidians (Afro-Australoids) founded Indus Valley Civilization 3000 yrs B.C. Restoring spiritual sciences that originated in afrika.- yoga, kun dalini and reflexology.
Hero Di-Yuhai - chinese medicine uses the logic of ancient Egyptians (Kemetic) who view the universal process. Where there is no boundaries between ; rest-motion, time-space, mind-matter, sickness and health.
Chinese view reality as a unified field or interwoven pattern of inseperable links to a circular chain called Tao. Whick all emotion , events in nature, sound and climate and energy flows.

After reading, hopefully you can come to a agreement that..... Afrikans are the blueprint and all others are a mere variation of the originals. Thus we are all linked by this connection. It's simple........we are All a product of.....

"AfroCentric Culture By Design".


A recent international study carried out by Shanghai scientists and international academics has confirmed that the Chinese did not originate from Peking Man in northern China, but from Black East Afrikans who migrated through South Asia to China some 100,000 years ago.

The people of that era practiced the Afrikan ritual of single burials, and the skeletal remains from Southern China clearly shown them to be Negroid.

Jin Li of Fudan University in Shanghai along with an international research team comprised of Russians, Indians, Brazilians and researchers from other nations, have found that modern humans evolved from a single Afrikan origin as opposed to the multiple origins theory still accepted by some experts. These findings therefore challenge the theory held that different groups of humans evolved separately at the same time in diverse locations around the world.

School textbooks in China have been teaching that the Chinese race evolved from Peking Man , but Shanghai scientists and international researchers have dismissed this theory after discovering that early human families evolved in East Afrika some 150,000 years ago. This claim is based on the DNA analyses of 100,000 samples collected from around the world, which prove that the 65 branches of the Chinese race share similar DNA mutations with the people of East and Southeast Asia, and have originated in Afrika. Micro-satellites or bits of DNA which are short, repeating pieces of DNA that provide information about the genetic variation among people were examined, and they revealed that all Chinese have a great deal in common genetically.

This recent research nullifies the theory that Peking Man was the ancestor of the Chinese people and also dispels the Chinese myth and beliefs once held by modern Chinese scholars that the Chinese race had descended from the Yellow Emperor, and evolved separately from other the races.

These findings also add more weight to the Afrikan concept that all human life began in Black Afrika from one race, which was the original and aboriginal Black Afrikan race from the tropical regions of Afrika, in particular the Omo region of Ethiopia. Archaeology and forensic tests confirm that China's first two important dynasties, the Xia and the Shang/ Chang, were Black Afrikan, with an Australoid type known as the Madras Indian present in smaller percentages.

The Black Afrikan race is therefore the only original and pure race that exists today; all other so-called races are mere variations of this original Negritic race. Besides, the appearance of other races is a recent occurrence in world history, taking place after the migrations of Blacks from Afrika into Europe and Asia, some 40,000 to 50,000 years ago.

These Black, original, oriental people of China were known in historical literature as Negro, Austroloid or Oceanean by the Europeans, however, not a single shred of evidence concerning the thousands of years of Black occupation in China can be found in any Chinese Museum, - except for a few Chinese documents which report that some major kingdoms there were ruled by Blacks until around 1000-700 BC.
However, these facts are recorded in the Afrikan, East Indian and Black-American history books.

Africoid people from Kush in Afrika began entering China and Central Asia via Iran while other groups reached China by sea. This two migration route of Blacks to China led to the development of the southern Chinese branches of Africoids called Yi, li-man Yueh and Man , while the northern Chinese branches of Africoids were called Kui-shuang (Kushana) or Yueh-chih . Blacks also lived in Turkestand, Mongolia, Transoxiana, the Ili region and Xinjiang Province, in addition to the Yueh Tribes along the north east coastal region.

By the way Afrika has the tallest and shortest people in the world, and the so-called Asian or slanted eye is a trait which came from the Afrikans. This facial type is typical Negritic, with the eyes that seem to slant , representing a common, racial characteristic generally found in West Africa, the Sahara and in South Africa among the Kong-San Bushmen (right) and other Africans.
The Kong-San people are one of the most ancient pure Afrikan groups on earth. The features of the Kong-san (left) include Mongoloid eyes , high cheekbones, small stature, very kinky hair and brown to yellow-brown complexion, but, these Kong-sans and a number of groups in Southern Africa with similar features have not mixed with Asians of any other race, but remain pure African Blacks.

The earliest occupants of Asia were described as small Black pygmies , and Chinese historians also described the Fou Nanese people of China as small and Black . The Ainus , Japan's oldest known inhabitants traditionally refer to a race of Black dwarfs who inhabited Japan long before they did. The Ainus people originated in Black Egypt and are recorded as having made large migrations to the Asian continent, taking with them thousands of years of Afrikan-Egyptian knowledge and influence.

These migrations would explain the existence of man-made pyramids in China and Japan which were built by Afrikans of the Nile Valley, of which the Chinese have no idea as to how they got there. China's pyramids are located near Siang Fu city in the Shensi province. The Japanese pyramids were built during the time of Mu, were made of stones not indigenous to Japan and are often mistaken for hills because of their eroded appearances.

The three major empires (first civilizations) of China were the Xia Dynasty (c.2205-1766 B.C), the Shang/ Yin Dynasty founded by the Yi tribe headed by the Afrikan-Mongolian King T'ang, or Ta (c.1700-1050 B.C), and the Zhou Dynasty , the first dynasty founded by the Mongoloid people in China called Hua (pronounced Who-aa) .

The founders of Xia and Shang came from Afrika via Iran, and according to Prof. Shun-sheng Ling , the earliest documented ruler ship of China known as the Xia and Shang dynasties, were governed by emperors called Xuan Di or Black Emperors , who introduced farming and writing to China. Under their leadership, trade cities and travel developed, and by 3500 B.C., Blacks in China were raising silkworms to make silk.

The fundamental structures of a stylish calligraphy which is still present today was perfected by the Chinese under this Black dynasty, but in addition to writing, the Blacks of the Xia and Shang dynasties introduced bronze working to China and invented the pounded earth architecture associated with early Chinese city-states.

These Black Afrikans also took the art of fighting known today as the martial arts, (Tai Chi, Kung fu, Judo and Tae Kwon Do and so on), developed in the Horn of Afrika into China. (This is a picture of Teguai, the Black martial artist , from china's golden period around 1000 A.D.)
In other words, the martial arts originated in AFRIKA, not Asia, and it was the ancient Kemetics (Black Egyptians) who discovered very early that the movements of animals could be used effectively to develop their fighting skills . They also incorporated the concept that "animal principles" could be isolated within the consciousness and manifested into an unconquerable fighting force.

Inside the tomb of Imhotep are stone wall carvings of warrior scientists displaying a number of wrestling holds, kicking, throwing, punching and other fighting techniques . Also inscribed in the Tombs of many Kemetic (Egyptian) Governors who lived 4,200 years ago, are diagrams of more than 500 pairs of wrestlers and other warriors demonstrating weapons usage including the lance and short sticks. This diagram shows a section of the wrestling and martial arts moves that were sketched into an ancient Egyptian tomb wall of Governors at Mahez or Beni Hasan , some 2800 years before the birth of Christ.

This type of wrestling was copied and practiced by the ancient Greeks and is still practiced in Nubia and West Africa today. These carvings constitute the ancient records and laid the foundation of the world's first martial arts system. Furthermore, these Black Egyptians had developed an understanding of the vital energy of the soul called chi in Chinese, ki in Japanese and ka in the netjer writing of ancient Kemet.

The martial arts practice presently recognized as Chinese started around 500 CE under the influence of a Black Dravidian and Buddhist Priest from India, named Bodhidharma . Also known as Dharuma in the Japanese archives, Bodhidharma founded Zen Buddhism in China and taught the monks at the Shaolin Temple a set of exercises, movements, and breathing techniques which became known as the Shaolin ch'uan fa, temple boxing , or the 18 Hands of Lo Han , which formed the foundation of Chinese Shaolin Kung-fu and Japanese Karate.

Afrikans on the continent still practice their own ancient martial arts styles, and continued practicing even when enslaved in the Western Hemisphere. This tradition continues to thrive in the Black Brazilian martial arts style called Capoeira . “A Samurai, to be brave, must have a little Black blood" .

The first Chinese emperor, the legendary Fu-Hsi , (Son of Heaven) 2953-2838 B.C., was a woolly haired Black man who is said to have originated the oracle of the I Ching, or The Book of Change, which is the oldest most revered system of prophecy and known to have influenced the most eminent philosophers of Chinese medicine and thought.

Ancient Chinese medicine dates back to the Shang Dynasty founded by the Afrikan King T'ang around 1500-1000 B.C. The Shang (Chiang) and the Chou dynasties were credited with bringing together the elements of Chinese medical concepts. The Shang was given the name of Nakhi. Na means Black, Khi means man .

Many of the great principles of Chinese medical science compiled during the Shang period were later developed during the Han Dynasty (168 B.C. to 8 A.D.), which began to fuse Shang medical concepts with views from the philosophical ideas of Confucius (551-479 B.C.). In this way a system was produced which explained all phenomena in relation to the whole, and under this system, everything including the human body and the organs were organized within the system of "Yin" and "Yang," and the "five elements", or what is also known as the five phases theory.

Buy the latest electronic gadgets from China at wholesale prices. DigiCams, Mobile phones, Surveillance equipment,etc.
Chinese medicine uses the logic of the Ancient Egyptians who viewed the universe as process-oriented where no boundaries between rest and motion, time and space, mind and matter, sickness and health exist. The Chinese looked at reality as a unified field or an interwoven pattern of inseparable links in a circular chain called the Tao, from which all things and events in nature such as the seasons, colour, sound, organs, tissue, emotion, climate, matter and energy flowed.

The culture hero Huang Di , whose name was pronounced in old Chinese as Yuhai Huandi or Hu Nak Kunte , shows a link directly out of Afrika. He arrived in China from the west around 2282 BC, and settled along the banks of the Loh River in Shanxi. This transliteration of Huan Di, to Hu Nak Kunte should be of interest to Black people who should recognise that Kunte is a common clan name among the Manding speakers.

These Black Afrikans who founded civilization in China were often called Li Min "Black headed people" by the Zhou dynasts, which is similar to the Sumero-Akkadian / Babylonian term Sag- Gig-Ga also meaning "Black headed people."

Currently, Blacks are very rare in China because of the genocide of blending the races, which may be a racist tool applied there and throughout the world to eliminate the Black skin. (Add a cup of milk to jet Black coffee and see if you can still identify the Blackness.)

This is exactly what took place in Argentina, a nation which had more Blacks than whites during the 1700's, and it also occurred in Mexico and most parts of Latin America, where the Blacks are still severely oppressed. In sections of North Afrika, the Middle East and Southern Europe, the genocide of mixing was successful in eliminating all the Black populations from these regions except in India, where the racist caste system preserved the purest of India's original Black Negros to this day. These include the Black Dalit or Untouchables (Negro-Australoids) who were kept segregated and isolated for thousands of years by the Indo-European invaders who migrated from Central Asia/North-Eastern Europe.

The original or first people of India were also Black Afrikans , in fact, the Latin word India comes from the Greek word Indus (Indos) which means Black . These Black Afrikans, many of whom came from Ethiopia and called Dravidians (afro-Australoids) , founded the great Indus Valley Civilization around 3000 B.C., bringing many spiritual sciences that originated in Afrika like Yoga, Kundalini and Reflexology with them.

Also, being masters of urban planning and architecture, their homes and cities had running water, toilets, and an underground sewage system as seen at the Mohenjo Daro ruins around 2000 B.C. It is also believed that the Ganges, the sacred river of India, was named after an Ethiopian king by that name who conquered Asia up to this river. Buddha , Krishna , (two of the world's best known Black deities outside of the western world) , the great King Asoka and other great Black sages emerged from these successive civilizations.

But in the western world nothing is mentioned that India was once a part of the great Black Ethiopian Empire , but this is verified in the Ethiopian sacred text known as The Kebra Negast which regarded West India as a part of the Ethiopian or Kushite Empire. In biblical times, Afrika included much of what European maps refer to as the Middle East, but it was the European mapmakers who determined that regions on the top of Afrika should be divided, based on distances from Europe to the Near East, Middle East and Far East . The name Afrika was imposed on this great continent by European explorers who have this knack for renaming and degrading everything they come across to suit themselves.

A replica of an ancient Chinese map which included a recognizable outline of Afrika was made public in November 2002 in South Afrika's Parliament. This Map of the Great Ming Empire Da Ming Hun Yi Tu which dates back to 1389, was created decades before the first European voyages to Afrika , but this presents another problem, as European scientists could not explain how the Chinese possessed such a map that was dated decades before Europeans had sailed to Afrika.

The normal response when something surfaces in an area that cannot be linked back to Europe, their scientists will come up with some statement like, "We have our team of experts working on that."

This is a carefully constructed drawback which suggests that everything documented in history is supposed to be measured to and from Europe, - a baby civilization.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Wisdom Texts: Quotes from Ptahotep

Spirit of Sankofa writes........

The more I research the more I learn to honor and respect Egyptian (Kemetic) knowledge. Their unique thought process, their teaching and instruction of many situations concerning political and social matters. Engaging the development of the mind as well as social behavior.Their exquisite wisdom, knowledge as well as the study of the spiritual man.

Here are some words of wisdom (words to live by) , in my opinion even in this time. Wisdom from one of the Govenors and Vizer Ptahotep of ancient Egypt. Here he instructs his son on how to treat different situation of human behavior and good conduct. It is a look into the life and ways that were taught through the eyes of wisdom.

Know Thyself*

Per-Ankh -
House of Life
The Wisdom Texts:

Quotes from the Instructions of Ptahotep
Source: 'The Literature of Ancient Egypt' edited by William Kelly Simpson, New Haven and London, Yale University Press, 1973.

These quotes are used here to give the reader a taste of the popular 'instruction texts' from ancient Egypt, in which advises for good conduct and happy and prosperous living were taught. This is perhaps the most well-known of them but also one of the most difficult one to understand. It dates from the early Middle Kingdom and its earliest manuscript exists on the Prisse Papyrus in Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris.

In his old age the City Governor and Vizier Ptahotep instructs his son:

1. Do no be arrogant because of your knowledge, but confer with the ignorant man as with the learned, for the limit of skills has not been attained, and there is no craftsman who has (fully) acquired his mastery. /Good speech is more hidden than malachite, yet it is found in the possession of women slaves at the millstones.

2. If you find a disputant arguing, one having authority and superior to you, bend down your arms and bow your back; if you disagree with him, he will not side with you. You should make little of the evil speaking by not opposing him in his argument; it means that he will be dubbed an ignoramus when your self-control has matched his prolixity.

3. If you find a disputant arguing, your equal who is on your level, let your virtue be manifest against him in silence when he is speaking ill; great will be the talk on the part of the hearers, and your name will be fair in the opinion of the magistrates.

4./If you find a disputant arguing, a humble man who is not your equal, o not be aggressive against him in proportion as he is humble; let him alone, that he may confute himself. Do not question him in order to relieve your feelings, do not vent yourself against your opponent, for wretched is he who would destroy him who is poor of understanding; men will do what you whish, and you will defeat him by the disapproval of the magistrates.

5. If you are a leader, controlling the destiny of the masses, seek out every good thing, until there is no fault in your governance, /Truth is great, and (its) effectiveness endures; it has not been confounded since the time of Wesir....

6.Do not inspire terror in men, for God also is repelled....

11. Follow your desire as long as you live and do not perform more than is ordered; do not lessen the time of following desire, for the wasting of time is an abomination to the spirit; do not use up / the daytime more than is (neccessary) for the maintenance of your household. When riches are gained, follow desire, for riches will not profit if one is sluggish.

14....As for him whose heart obeys his belly, he puts dislike of himself / in the place of love; his heart is sad and his body unanointed. Joyous are the hearts of those whom God has given, but he who obeys his belly has an enemy.

23. / Do not repeat slander; you should not hear it, for it is the result of hot temper. Repeat (only) a matter seen, not what is heard.

25... One who is serious all day will never have a good time, while one who is frivolous all day will never establish a household.

Read also the words of Amenemope ,

and the words of Anksheshonq

This site is for educational purposes only.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Ancient Kemetic Wall Paintings

Spirit of Sankofa writes......

Kemet's creativity in Art goes back many years. They would paint in caves, stone, rock, among other and temples.
What is really amazing to me is, all this beautiful work that depicted life in Egypt was left as a symbol, evidence of it's existance. As well as the type of people it represented..
There is a link at the end of this pg., click and see the beauty of black in in the form of art painting.

Short History of Egyptian Wall Paintings ~
From Tombs and Temples

Egyptian Painting was the necesssary complement to engraving, a means of making it more expressive and evocative, of endowing the work with magical life. All Egyptian ancient art was coloured . The ordinary people of ancient Egypt painted poor quality wood, pottery or stone; the "great" people commissioned funeral effigies with polychrome effects and iridescent reliefs for their tombs; kings had their burial chambers decorated with remarkable paintings in which they figured alongside the gods and spirits; The walls of the Temples were embellished throughout with gold leaf and painted reliefs; the hieroglyphs on the obelisks were studded with lapislazuli. Furniture too was inlaid or painted. To earthly life and to etnernal life colour was as vital as any other element able to confer existence and mortality.

There were important and strict injunctions to such sacred painting. For instance, women's skin is always painted light or pinkish yellow whereas men skin is red ochre. The only exception was the goddess Hathor who according to the law, had a skin as dark as one of a man.

Backgrounds are white and less freguently yellow. The only break with tradition was in the Amarna period and the years immediatly preceding and following that era of rapid evolution.

Picture 1

From the tomb of Seti I, in the Valley of Kings. Isis is streching out her wings in a protective gesture. XIXth Dynasty.

It took the form of a search for new colours, a freedom in the expression of movement and versimilitude in the representation of forms which had never been attainded before. Even then however, the artist remained bound by the artistic conventions established " in the time of the Gods ".

page 1 of 5

Click link for photos

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Black History Time Capsule: Dr. Percey L. Julian

Spirit of Sankofa writes.....

There are so many of our people that are within the scope of "Voices of Triumph". This brother most definately was a pioneer of chemical synthesis of drugs in medicine. These are the type of examples, these powerful images, that inspire positive re-inforcement in our communities all over the world.

This is a "Black History Time Capsule"

April 11

Dr. Percy Lavon Julian was born on this date in 1899. This African American research chemist was a pioneer in the chemical synthesis of drugs used in medicine.
Born in Montgomery, Alabama, the grandson of a former slave, Julian had limited schooling because Montgomery provided no public education for Blacks after the eighth grade. He entered DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, as a 'sub-freshman' and, though ill-prepared, graduated in 1920 as class valedictorian with Phi Beta Kappa honors. He received a M.S. degree from Harvard three years later and a Ph.D. degree from the University of Vienna in 1931.
Dr. Julian taught chemistry at several universities and conducted research for private industries for many years before founding his own research firm, Julian Laboratories, Inc., in 1953. His first major scientific contribution, in 1935, was the synthesis of physostigmine, the drug used in the treatment of glaucoma.
He also worked on biomedical projects, developing steroids from the soybean and synthesizing progesterone (female hormone), testosterone (male hormone), and cortisone. His work made possible the production of these drugs in large quantities, reducing the cost of treating hormonal deficiencies, arthritis, and other disorders.
Later in his career, Julian developed a soybean protein to be used as a coating for paper and as an ingredient in fire-extinguisher foam. In 1947 the NAACP awarded him its highest honor, the Spingarn medal. Dr. Julian was also elected to the National Academy of Sciences. In 1964, he founded Julian Associates and Julian Research Institute, which he managed for the rest of his life.

African Americans/Voices of Triumph
by Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr.
Copyright 1993, TimeLife Inc.
to become a doctor

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Race and Antiquity:Truly Out Of Africa*

Race in Antiquity: Truly Out of Africa

By Molefi Kete Asante

Africa's influence on ancient Greece, the oldest European civilization, was profound and significant in art, architecture, astronomy, medicine, geometry, mathematics, law, politics, and religion. Yet there has been a furious campaign to discredit African influence and to claim a miraculous birth for Western civilization. A number of books and articles by white and some black conservatives seek to disprove the Egyptian influence on Greece. 

One of the most recent works in this genre is a book by Wellesley professor Mary Lefkowitz, Not Out of Africa. It continues what Martin Bernal calls in Black Athena the Aryanist tradition of attacking African agency in regard to Greece by raising strawpeople arguments and then knocking them over. This is unfortunate but to be expected by an intellectual tradition that supports the dominant mythologies of race in the history of the West by diverting attention to marginal issues in the public domain. 

Afrocentricity seeks to discover African agency in every situation. Who are we? What did we do? Where did we travel? What is our role in geometry? How do we as a people function in this or that contemporary situation? But the Afrocentrist does not advance African particularity as universal. This is its essential difference from Eurocentricity which is advanced in the United States and other places as if the particular experiences of Europeans is universal. This imposition is ethnocentric and often racist. Afrocentricity advances the view that it is possible for a pluralism of cultures to exist without hierarchy but this demands cultural equality and respect. 

Mary Lefkowitz' book has sought to re-assert the idea that Greece did not receive substantial contributions from Kemet, the original name of Egypt, which is the Greek name for the ancient land. Professor Lefkowitz has offered the public a pablum history which ignores or distorts the substantial evidence of African influence on Greece in the ancient writings of Aetius, Strabo, Plato, Homer, Herodotus, Diogenes, Plutarch, and Diodorus Siculus. A reader of Lefkowitz' book must decide if she or he is going to believe those who wrote during the period or someone who writes today. History teaches us that a person is more likely to distort an event the farther away from it she happens to be. If you have a choice, go with the people who saw the ancient Egyptians and wrote about what they saw. 

Conservative white columnists have felt a tremendous need to respond in the most vigorous fashion with their applause to shore up their racial mythologies. And now George Will ( Newsweek , February 12, 1996) and Roger Kimball ( Wall Street Journal , February 14, 1996) have seen fit to bless Professor Mary Lefkowitz' Not Out of Africa as a sort of definitive moment in intellectual history. It is no such moment. It is a racial argument clearly fast back-stepping. As is too often the case these days, however, Lefkowitz received the go-ahead to attack Afrocentricity by writing this book of blacks such as Anthony Appiah and Henry Gates. They have, of course, had a real problem with the Afrocentric idea. 

What this indicates is that we have gone full circle from the Hegelian "Let us forget Africa" to a late 20th century attack on African scholarship by declaring, in the face of the evidence, that major influences on Greece were not out of Africa. And as such it will simply confirm the inability of some scholars to get beyond the imposition of their particularism of Europe. No one can remove the gifts of Europe nor should that ever be the aim of scholarship but Greece cannot impose itself as some universal culture that developed full-blown out of nothing, without the foundations it received from Africa. 

The aim of Professor Lefkowitz is to support the unsupportable idea of a miraculous Greece and thus to enhance a white supremacist myth of the ancient world. Perhaps George Will and Roger Kimball believe that that they have found a savior of the pure white thesis. They are wrong. The thesis cannot be supported with facts although Professor Lefkowitz goes to great length to confuse the picture by concentrating on irrelevancies. 

Professor Mary Lefkowitz' work pales besides the research done by Cornell professor Martin Bernal, Black Athena, the late Cheikh Anta Diop, author of Civilization or Barbarism , and Temple professor Theophile Obenga, author of the important La Philosophie Africaine de la période Pharonique, ( African Philosophy in the Age of the Pharoahs) or the forthcoming work by Professor Maulana Karenga on ancient Egyptian ethics. 

The press fanfare granted Not out of Africa, however, does demonstrate how noise can be confused with music. But what is more worrisome is that it demonstrates a glee, although misinformed, of those who feel some sense of relief that a white scholar has taken on the Afrocentrists, a kind of white hope idea. This stems, as I believe George Will has shown in his essay on the subject, from what is viewed as white salvation from the irrationality of Afrocentrists. It originates in an historical anti-African bias and Roger Kimball nearly gloated that readers would "savor" Lefkowitz' "definitive dissection of Afrocentrism." Contrary to any definitive dissection of Afrocentrism what Professor Lefkowitz offered was a definitive exposure of the principal assumptions of a racial structure of classical knowledge. 

Professor Lefkowitz is conversant with many Greek sources but as she admits this is the first time that she has ventured into these waters. This is unfortunate because she has created a false security among those who believe that Greece sprung like a miracle unborn and untaught. Bringing Frank Snowden in the discussion of the ancient world does not help because Professor Snowden's book Blacks in Antiquity: Ethiopians in the Graeco-Roman Experience is fatally flawed as a Eurocentric interpretation of the African past. His objective was to demonstrate that Africans existed in the imaginations and experience of Greece and Rome. He succeeded in stripping all agency from Africans. The problem is that Ethiopia in the form of Nubia and Kemet (Egypt) existed thousands of years before there was a Greece or Rome. To start a discussion of the ancient world with 800 B.C is certainly poor scholarship. But Professor Lefkowitz reliance on Snowden is the least of her problems. 

The book is badly written and terribly redundant as if she is in a hurry to enlarge a relatively poor argument. How many times can you really say that George G. M. James should not have used the term "stolen legacy" when he claimed that the Africans influenced the Greeks? Professor James certainly had just as much rhetorical justification as Professor Lefkowitz who chose the unsubtle title "Not Out of Africa" probably for the same reason as Professor James called his book Stolen Legacy.  

Ruling classes always seek to promote and to maintain their ruling mythologies. Professor Lefkowitz' passion in trying to walk a tight rope between support of the false mythology of a Greek miracle and the facts of Egyptian influence on the early Greeks is telling. She seeks to minimize the role Egypt played in civilizing Greece by claiming that only in art and architecture was there real influence. This flies in the face of the ancient observers and beneficiaries of the largesse of the Africans. 

Mary Lefkowitz's Not Out of Africa , has demonstrated the tremendous power of a false idea especially when it is advanced in the halls of the Academy. I have come to believe that it is a part of a larger falsification that encompasses the various right-wing ideologies that parade as truth. They are rooted in the same dogma: reason is the gift of the Greeks. The Greeks are Europeans, Europeans are white, white people gave the world reason and philosophy. This is not only a bad idea it is a false idea. It is a bad idea because it preaches a European triumphalism and it is a false idea because the historical record is contrary. Tragically the idea that Europeans have some different intellectual or scientific ability is accepted doctrine and some scholars will go to any length to try to uphold it. Usually, as Lefkowitz does, they commit four fundamental flaws: 

They attack insignificant or trivial issues to obscure the main points.  

Professor Lefkowitz has three main axes to grind in her book. The first is that a student told her that she believed Socrates was black. The second is that the Greek gods came from Africa which she attributes to Martin Bernal, the author of Black Athena , and to Cheikh Anta Diop, the author of The African Origin of Civilization . The third is that freemasonry is the source of George James' claim in his book Stolen Legacy that the Greeks got many of their major ideas from the Egyptians. 

The main point made by Afrocentrists is that Greece owes a substantial debt to Egypt and that Egypt was anterior to Greece and should be considered a major contributor to our current knowledge. I think I can say without a doubt that Afrocentrists do not spend time arguing that either Socrates or Cleopatra were black. I have never seen these ideas written by an Afrocentrist nor have I heard them discussed in any Afrocentric intellectual forums. Professor Lefkowitz provides us with a hearsay incident which she probably reports accurately. It is not an Afrocentric argument. 

I believe that both Bernal and Diop have done admirable jobs making their own cases on the legendary origins of the Greeks and I believe that readers should go to the sources themselves to see whose case, theirs or Professor Lefkowitz', is most plausible. I am convinced from my reading that the relationship between ancient Greece and Africa was closer and more familiar than Greece's relationship to Northern Europe. 

They will make assertion and offer their own interpretations as evidence.  

Professor Lefkowitz makes a statement on page 1 of her book that "In American universities today not everyone knows what extreme Afrocentists are doing in their classrooms. Or even if they do know, they choose not to ask questions." We are off to a bad start. Who are these extreme Afrocentrists? She does not provide us with one example of something that an extreme Afrocentrist is teaching in a classroom. Not one. But already the reader is inclined to believe that something exists where nothing exists. No matter how passionate, assertion is not evidence. What Afrocentrists do teach is that you cannot begin the discussion of world history with the Greeks. Creating clouds of suspicion about scholarly colleagues in order to support a racial mythology developed over the past centuries to accompany European enslavement of Africans, imperialism, and exploitation will not dissipate the fact of Greece's debt to Africa. 

They will undermine writers they previously supported in order to maintain the fiction of a Greek miracle.  

Professor Lefkowitz and others who once considered Herodotus to be the Father of History now find fault with Herodotus because as Afrocentrists read Book Two of Histories we find that Herodotus glorifies the achievements of Egypt in relationship to Greece. But Herodotus is not the only ancient Greek writer to be dismissed by classicists who accept what Bernal rightly calls an Aryan interpretation of the ancient world. 

Aristotle reported that the Egyptians gave the world the study of geometry and mathematics and the Aryanists argue that Aristotle made mistakes in what he observed. Professor Lefkowitz carries the denial of the ancient Greeks to a new level saying essentially that you cannot trust Homer, Diogenes Laertius, Plutarch, or Strabo. Her position is that Strabo, like Herodotus, depended too much on what the Egyptian priests told him. Every Greek who wrote on the overwhelming impact of Egypt(Africa) on Greece (Europe) is discredited or set up to be discredited by the Aryanists. The idea to abandon the Greek authors rests on the belief that these ancient Greek writers cannot be counted upon to support the theories of white supremacy. 

They will announce both sides of an issue are correct, then move to uphold only the side that supports European triumphalism . 

Professor Lefkowitz could have admitted that Egypt during the times of the Pharaohs, whatever interpretation you have of that ancient society, for example, as ornamented with Mystery Schools or simply filled with keepers of mysteries at the temples of Ipet sut, Edfu, Kom Ombo, Philae, Esna, Abydos, and other cities, was the source of much of Greek knowledge. Rather she claims that the only real impact of Egypt on Greece was in art and architecture. This is to state an obvious fact in order to obscure the deeper influences in science, astronomy, geometry, literature, religion, mathematics, law, government, music, medicine, and philosophy. 

Professor Lefkowitz' major points are not only flawed but her reasoning is faulty and cannot be sustained by any inquiry into the Greek or Egyptian languages or into ancient history. She wonders why the Afrocentric perspective is plausible to so many intelligent people. Clearly it is plausible to intelligent people because they do not believe that there was some unique brand of intelligence that struck the Greeks and created a Greek miracle willy-nilly without contact with the civilized world. In most cases knowledge builds upon knowledge. In the case of the ancient Greeks they tell us that they built upon the Egyptians. Should we believe them or should we believe the modern Aryanist interpreters who want to dismiss the ancient Greek observers? 

What are the substantial arguments advance by Afrocentrists, not the hearsay comments of a student or some rhetorical repartee between public debaters? What Afrocentrists articulate (see Asante, Kemet, Afrocentricity and Knowledge . Trenton: Africa World Press, 1990; Theophile Obenga, A Lost Tradition: African Philosophy in World History, Philadelphia: Source, 1995) is that the Greeks were students of the Egyptians. Readers should see the works of Yosef Ben-Jochannon and George G. M. James for themselves rather than rely on the misinterpretations and distortions of others. 

On these facts we stand: 

*Ancient Egyptians were black people. 

*Egyptian civilization precedes Greece by several thousand years 

*The pyramids are completed (2500 BC) long before Homer appears (800 BC) 

*Philosophy originates in Africa and the first Greek philosophers (Thales, Isocrates) studied in Egypt 

* A discussion of the wise, wisdom, (sb) appears on tomb of Antef in 2052 BC 

*Thales of Miletus is not a philosopher until 600 BC 

Among Greek historians and others who wrote about what the Greeks learned from Egypt are Homer, Herodotus, Iamblicus, Aetius, Diodorous Siculus, Diogenes Laertius, Plutarch, and Plato. Who were some of the Greek students of Africans, according to the ancient records? They were Plato, Solon, Lycurgus, Democritus, Anaxamander, Anaxagoras, Herodotus, Homer, Thales, Pythagoras, Eudoxus, and Isocrates and many others. Some of these students even wrote of their studies in Egypt as well. 

There are many other points that are debatable in Lefkowitz' book but I do not have space to discuss all of them in this essay. However, I do want to point out that she is also wrong on the issue of Alexandria. The City of Alexandria built in honor of Alexander of Macedonia was not a new city, the Greeks simply expanded an existing city and changed its name. The ancient Egyptian city of Rhacôtis, which probably had an even older name, was the original African city upon which Alexandria was built much like Kinshasa under the Belgians was expanded and changed to Leopoldville. Triumphalism has a way of insinuating itself into everything and then claiming that it is original. 

In the end I have asked myself, what is Professor Lefkowitz' point, why does she see the need to challenge Bernal, James, Diop, or to question my integrity? She states very clearly that her project is about sustaining the American myth of European triumphalism. In her own words: 

"Any attempt to question the authenticity of ancient Greek civilization is of direct concern even to people who ordinarily have little interest in the remote past. Since the founding of this country, ancient Greece has been intimately connected with the ideals of American democracy."

No one could have given a better reason than that for Professor Lefkowitz' spirited but misguided attempt to defend a falsification of history in the name of attacking Afrocentricity. When all is said and done a more perfect union of this nation can only be based on facts. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Myths, Legends, Beliefs And Traditions Stories of Africa

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A Web Gallery of Contemporary East and South African Paintings

Myths, legends, beliefs and tradional stories from Africa

Jok - concept of the devine
Destiny (Yoruba)
The queen of Ethiopia
to be continued ...

Africa - for us still the unknown continent possesses a several thousands of years old culture. Expressed particularly in myths, legends, fables, in songs and proverbs.
On this page you will find traditional African stories woven around a pantheon of gods and mythical figures but also legends, fables and more general subjects that played a part in African mythology and African life.


Many African peoples regard the earth as a female deity, a mother-goddess who rules all people and is the mother of all creatures. The earth lives and gives birth to ever new generations of beings. She will make the grass grow when heaven gives her rain and if there is no rain, she withdraws into her own depths, waiting for better times to come. Many regions of Africa have to endure a dry season when nothing grows and death reigns. As soon as the new rains, life begins miraculously. Grass sprouts, flowers open and the frogs croak, creeping out of the earth who hid them. Thus the earth conceals life, protects it against desiccation and revives it as soon as better times arrive. Without the gifts of the earth no one lives. Many African peoples believe that the ancestors live in the earth, in houses very similar to the ones they had here, on the surface of the earth. They also own cattle and goats there. Indeed there is a Zulu myth in which people go in search of the milk-lake under the earth, from where the milk is absorbed by the grassroots so that the cows and goats have milk from the earth. Where else could the milk come from? Our own flesh is earth; even the name Adam means 'earth'. All creatures are earth. Fire too, lives in the earth, which sometimes spits it out when in anger. Fire comes out of wood, so it, too, must come from the earth. Wind too, it is believed, comes out of caves in the earth. Thus all four elements come out of the earth. Yet, the earth is seldom worshipped; the libations which are poured down during numerous ceremonies are more addressed to the ancestors than to the earth as a whole. Nevertheless, the earth has a very powerful spirit which rules over our life and death. Sometimes, when she is perturbed, she moves, forests and mountains and all. Unlike man, the animals understand their mother and obey her, although sometimes she will have to punish a disobedient creature.

Jok - concept of the devine

Jok (Nilotic: Kenya, Uganda, Sudan). Jok is one of the most truly African concepts of the divine. It is a word, found with variations in all the Nilotic languages, as Jwok, Juok, Joagh, Joghi or Joogi. lt is not always translated with the same English word, because the dictionary writers had different philosophical ideas themselves, which demonstrates the power of the spirit that we call Jok. Jok is God and the spirits, the gods, the holy ghost, the beings from the other world. It can be vague and precise, good or frightening, beneficent or dangerous, one or a multitude, legion.
If a missionary had chosen the word Jok to denote God in his Bible translation, he would defend the notion that the Nilotes knew the One God. If he had taken another word to mean God, then he might use Jok to mean the 'spirits', or 'gods', or 'devils', thereby embarrassing those missionaries of another denomination who had used Jok to mean 'God'. This might be the origin of the confusion over Jok. This word incorporates all the contradictory ideas of the spiritual beings which in the minds of Europeans must be kept carefully separated. Jok is the unified spirit of God and the gods, personal and impersonal, local and omnipresent.


The Kikuyus are a large tribe. The speak a beautiful Bantu language and have lived on the slopes of Mount Kenya and surrounding districts for a vew long time. The first Kikuyu was called Kikuyu and lived in a village called Kikuyu, which is still there. The word kuyu means 'a fig', and kikuyu is a fig-tree, a fertility symbol in Africa as well as in Asia. Kikuyu had nine daughters, who became the ancestral mothers of the nine major clans of the Kikuyu nation. The Kikuyu word for God is Ngai , which means the Apportioner. Thus during creation, God apportioned his gifts to all the nations of the earth. To the Kikuyus he gave the knowledge of, and the tools for, agriculture, at which the Kikuyus have always excelled. God controls the rain and the thunder, with which he punishes evildoers when necessary. Every person has a spirit, ngoma , which after death becomes a ghost. The ngoma of a murdered man will pursue his murderer until the latter has to come out of hiding and give himself up to the police, which is better than being haunted by a vengeful, persistent spirit. Burial rituals for the elders are executed meticulously, because their spirits are feared; the spirits of lesser members of society are less dangerous. Certain trees are inhabited by spirits which may have to be propitiated with food offerings.
Like Jupiter, Ngai punishes those who do not keep their oath sworn in his name, by striking them with lightning. It seems that the people also believed that a man's character was decided by God, so that his life, too, was predestined. The Kikuyus have a strong feeling of propriety; they will abstain from whatever they feel is untoward. During the 1920s there was a prophet, Thiga wa Wairumbi , who received direct messages from God for his people.


Numerous myths are told in Africa about its biggest animal, the elephant, whose very size makes it unassailable in nature, except by man, who has weapons and magic to kill it. In the African fables the elephant is always the wise chief who impartially settles disputes among the forest creatures. A hunter in Chad found an elephant skin near Lake Chad and hid it. Soon he saw a lovely big girl crying, because she had lost her good 'clothes'. The hunter promised her new clothes and married her. They had many big children, for the son of an elephant cannot be a dwarf. One bad day when the grainstore was empty, his wife found the elephant skin at the bottom, where the hunter had hidden it. She put it on and went back to the bush to live as an elephant again. Her sons became the ancestors of the clan whose totem was the elephant. They do not have to fear elephants.
A myth of the Kamba in Kenya tells us how elephants originated. A very poor man heard of lvonya-Ngia, 'He that feeds the Poor'. He decided to go and find Ivonya-Ngia but it was a long journey. When he finally arrived, he saw uncounted cattle and sheep, and there, amidst green pastures, was the mansion of Ivonya-Ngia, who received the poor man kindly, perceived his need and ordered his men to give him a hundred sheep and a hundred cows. 'No', said the poor man, 'I want no charity, I want the secret of how to become rich.' Ivonya-Ngia reflected for a while, then took a flask of ointment and gave it to the poor man, saying: 'Rub this on your wife's pointed teeth in her upper jaw, wait until they have grown, then sell them.' The poor man carried out the strange instructions, promising his wife that they would become very rich. After some weeks, the canine teeth began to grow and when they had grown into tusks as long as his arm the man persuaded his wife to let him pull them out. He took them to the market and sold them for a flock of goats. After a few weeks the wife's canine teeth had grown again, becoming even longer than the previous pair, but she would not let her husband touch them. Not only her teeth, but her whole body became bigger and heavier, her skin thick and grey. At last she burst out of the door and walked into the forest, where she lived from then on. She gave birth to her son there, who was also an elephant. From time to time her husband visited her in the forest, but she would not be persuaded to come back, although she did have more healthy children, all elephants. It was the origin of elephants and it explains why elephants are as intelligent as people.
In Southern Africa there is told the tale of the girl who grew up so tall and fat that no man wanted her as a wife because she was accused of witchcraft. She was exiled from her village and wandered into the wilderness on her own. There she met an elephant who began speaking to her politely in good Zulu. She agreed to stay with him and he helped her to find wild cucumbers and other fruits of the forest. She gave birth to four human sons, all very tall and strong, who became the ancestors of the Indhlovu clan of paramount chiefs.
In the African fables, the elephant is usually described as too kind and noble, so that he feels pity even for a wicked character and is badly deceived. The Wachaga in Tanzania relate that the elephant was once a human being but was cheated out of all his limbs except his right arm, which now serves as his trunk. He paid for nobility!
The Ashanti of Ghana relate that an elephant is a human chief from the past. When they find a dead elephant in the forest, they give him a proper chief's burial.


In July 1905, rebellion broke out in the area south of Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), against the newly instituted recruitment for compulsory work on the German cotton and sisal plantations . The senior German officer in command, Major Johannes, set out from Dar es Salaam and on 5 August captured Mohoro, where he arrested the two men who were locally regarded as the instigators of the rebellion. They were Zauberer, sorcerers, of the Ikemba tribe and one of them who was known as Bokero, had been selling to his fellow Africans a maji (this word can mean water, sap, juice, any body liquid or vegetable extract) which, he claimed, had been given him by the Snake God to whom he referred as Koleo. (The word koleo literally means 'a pair of tongs', suggesting that this serpent was a python, well known for squeezing its victims to death; the worship of the python is widespread in Africa). Bokero, whose real name was Kinjikitire Ngwale, came from Ngarambi Ruhingo in the Rufiji Valley. He was well known for his magic powers, particularly for his ability to raise the spirits of the dead so that a man could see his own ancestors. Bokero and his colleague were hanged by the Germans. Bokero's last words were that it did not matter, for his dawa had already spread to other parts of the country and with it the spirit of independence. This dawa, the famous maji, was composed of water, matama (sorghum) and perhaps other millet as well as roots and various secret ingredients. It could be sprinkled over a man, or carried on his chest on a string round his neck, in a bottle made from bamboo, or it could be drunk as medicine. In whatever way it was taken, the man who had taken it was supposedly immune to German bullets: they would become muddy, majimaji ( Matschi Matschi ) , before hitting his body, and be harmless. Some women also took it, notably the Jumbess Mkomanira. The rebellion affected almost a quarter of the country and lasted for two years, until the summer of 1907, when the Jumbess Mkomanira was captured and hanged. Over a hundred thousand people died in the war, most of them from starvation. A Swahili poet, Abdul Karim Bin Jamaliddini, wrote an epic on the Majimaji rebellion in Lindi, in which we see the rebellion as a justified rising against the oppressors. It was published in Berlin in 1933, with a translation.

Destiny (Yoruba)

The Yoruba (Nigeria) believe that the success or failure of a man in live depends on the choices he made in heaven before he was born. If a person suddenly becomes rich, they will say that he chose the right future for himself, therefore poor people must be patient because even if they have chosen the right life, it may not have arrived yet. We all need patience. The word ayanmo means 'choice', and kadara means 'divine share for a man'; ipin means 'predestined lot'.
The Yoruba believe that there is a god, Ori, who supervises people's choices in heaven. Literally, ori means 'head' or 'mind', because that is what one chooses before birth. If someone chooses a wise head, i.e. intelligence, wisdom, he will walk easily through life, but if someone chooses a fool's head, he will never succeed anywhere. Ori could be considered as a personal god, a sort of guardian angel who will accompany each of us for life, once chosen. Even the gods have their Ori which directs their personal lives. Both men and gods must consult their sacred divination palm-nuts daily in order to learn what their Ori wishes. In this way, Ori is both an individual and a collective concept, a personal spirit directing each individual's life, and also a god in heaven, who is feared even by Orunmila.
In heaven, there is a curious character called Ajala, a very fallible man whose daily work is fashioning faces (ori) from clay. Sometimes he forgets to bake them properly, so they cannot withstand the long journey to earth prior to the beginning of life; especially in the rainy season the clay might be washed away and there would be a total loss of face!


All traditional African peoples agree that the soul of an individual lives on after death. Some people distinguish more than one spiritual essence living within one person, the life-soul or biospirit which disappears at the moment of definitive death, and the thought-soul which keeps his individual identity even after it is separated from the body. The life-soul can, according to some peoples in Africa and Asia, be separated during a person's life, in times of danger, and be kept hidden in a safe place, so that its owner can be harmed, mortally wounded even, but not killed, as long as his life-soul is safe. When the danger is past, the life-soul can be restored to the body and the person is hale and hearty again. The thought-soul lives on after death, but not for ever, it may gradually die and be forgotten. Souls of little children who died young, those of weak minds and insignificant persons will fade away after some years lingering.
If, however, an individual had a strong personality, a rich and famous man, a mother of many children, a chief, someone who was loved or admired, that soul will live on for many generations. Evil souls, too, may have a long afterlife: witches, sorcerers, the souls with a grudge, who have a score to settle, will wait for their revenge and haunt the living for years.
The oldest concept of the place where the dead continue their existence is the forest. The impenetrable depth of the great forests of Africa is the heartland of the spirits and of all magical beings. Where there are steep rocks, the dead reside in deep, dark caves, where their souls flutter about disguised as bats. Below the surface of rivers and lakes is the habitat of many souls. Many others linger on near the graveyards where they were buried. The good souls of the loved ones who have died, the wise parents' souls still accompany their living children and grandchildren.
The Yoruba (Nigeria) believe that each person has at least three spiritual beings. Firstly there is the spirit, emi, literally 'breath', which resides in the lungs and heart and is fed by the wind through the nostrils, just as the fire is fed through the twin openings in the blacksmith's bellows. This emi is the vital force which makes a man live, that is, breathe, rise up, walk, be aware, be active, work, speak, see, hear and make love. There is also the shadow or shade, ojiji, which follows its owner like a dog. When he dies, it awaits his return in heaven. The third is the eleda 'spirit' or ori 'head', also translated as 'guardian soul'; from time to time it has to be 'fed' by sacrifices. At death these spiritual aspects of a person leave the body and wait for him or her in heaven. An individual is expected to return to his clan as a newborn baby. Babatunde, 'Father returns' is a name which is given to a child when it resembles his father's father; Yetunde 'Mother returns' for a girl. Physical resemblances determine the identity of the baby. Before death, the emi-spirit may visit relatives, clan-members who will thus learn in a dream that their kinsman or -woman is going to die soon. Even in daytime, the cold presence of a dying relative may be felt from far away, as if he were close by. The ghosts of those who died in mid-life may go and live in distant towns and assume a quasi-physical existence there. A man who died early in life might even marry, his wife would not even know that her husband was dead already, a mere ghost. When the final hour arrives, the man dies a second time. After death the guardian soul arrives in heaven and confesses to the Supreme God Olorun what it has done on earth. The good souls will then be sent to the Good Heaven, Orun Rere. The souls of the wicked, those who are guilty of theft, murder or cruelty, poisoning, witchcraft or slander, will be sent to Orun Buburu, the Bad Heaven, as punishment.

The Queen of Ethiopia

In the days of King Solomon, three thousand years ago, there lived in Ethiopia a dynasty of queens, who reigned with great wisdom. One queen, the Malika Habashiya or Abyssinian Queen of old legends, had a dream in which she held a kid in her lap. On waking up she found herself pregnant and in due course she gave birth to a baby daughter. But alas! The child had one goat's foot. When the queen died, Princess Goat's Foot succeeded her, since she had no other children. One day she heard of King Solomon and his great wisdom, so she wrote him a letter announcing her arrival at his court. She was hoping that his great knowledge might enable him to cure her foot but she did not mention that. The King, however, always knew in advance what was going to happen, so, in front of his new palace he had a large pool dug, so that all his visitors had to rinse their feet before arriving. When the Queen of Abyssinia arrived, she had to raise her skirt before wading through the pond, so that the King could see her legs, one normal and one caprine. In the pond was a piece of ironwood which was placed there on the King's orders. When the Queen's cloven foot hit it, she was cured. When she stepped out of the water, she noticed that she had two human feet. She was now a very attractive woman and Solomon fell in love with her. She wanted to go home, having achieved her purpose, but Solomon persuaded her to stay. He proposed marriage, but she refused. However, Solomon knew the answer to that too. He gave some orders to his servants and an hour later the cook served a very spicy meal. That night the Queen felt very thirsty but there was no water in the palace. The pond had been drained and the servants told her that only the King had water, so she had to go and beg Solomon for water in his bedroom.
There is a version of the tale which says that she had agreed to marry King Solomon only if she took something vital from him. She therefore stole into his bedroom like a thief, hoping to find water without waking him. However, Solomon was wide awake like every man in love. As she was drinking from his water jar, she felt his hand holding hers in the dark, while the King's voice asked: 'Is water not vital, my dear Queen?' She had to agree to marry him there and then, but the next day she insisted on going home. Solomon gave her a ring, saying: 'When you have a son, send him to me when he is grown up, and I will give him half my kingdom.' The Queen of Ethiopia took the ring and travelled back by boat along the Red Sea.
In due course she gave birth to a son whom she called David, after his father's father. When he came of age, his mother sent him to King Solomon, with numerous presents. When David entered Solomon's court, he noticed an empty chair next to the King's and sat down on it. Solomon asked him: 'What have you come for, handsome young man?' He replied: 'I am David of Ethiopia I have come to ask you for half of your kingdom, and here is the ring which you gave my mother.' Solomon embraced him when he recognized his ring, and spoke: 'So be it. I will give you Africa, which is half my kingdom.' According to the legend, the King was in his right to do so for God had given him the whole world as his realm. No one knew at that time how big Africa really was.


Mythical hero of the Swahili and Pokomo peoples of eastern Kenya. Historians have endeavoured to place Liongo in the chronology of the history of the Kenya Coast, as early as 1200 or as late as 1600. A large number of Swahili poems are attributed to Liongo, many of them popular wedding songs which are still performed at weddings, accompanied by special dancing, the so-called gungu dances, after the rhythm. Even the myth of Liongo is fragmentary and not a coherent story. Liongo was born in one of seven towns on the Kenya Coast which all claim the honour of being the great poet's cradle. He was exceptionally strong and as tall as a giant. He could not be wounded by any weapon, but when a needle was thrust into his navel, he would die; fortunately only he and his mother, whose name was Mbwasho, knew this. Liongo was King of Ozi and Ungwana in the Tana Delta, and of Shanga on Faza (Pate Island). He was passed over for the succession to the throne of Pate, which went to his cousin Ahmad (Hemedi), probably its first Islamic ruler. It seems that the advent of Islam caused the changeover from matrilinear to patrilinear succession. King (Sultan) Ahmad tried to get rid of Liongo and had him chained and gaoled. By means of a long and self-laudatory song, the refrain of which was sung by the crowds outside the prison, Liongo caused enough noise to file through his shackles without being heard by the guards. As soon as they saw him unchained, they fled, for he was a formidable man. He escaped to the mainland, where he lived with the Watwa, the forest-dwellers. Each episode of this saga is marked with a song, which has been preserved. He learned to perfect his sureness of hand with bow and arrow, so that he later won an archery contest organised by the king to entrap him, and escaped again. Little is known about Liongo's successful battles against the Galla (Wagala), whose king decided to offer him his own daughter in marriage so as to tie the hero to his own family. With her Liongo had a son who later betrayed and killed his father.

Suk (Western Kenya)

The Suk once had a great reputation as fierce warriors, beating even the dreaded Maasai-Samburu in c. 1850. The Suk are the first branch of the Kalenjin family of tribes to leave their original homeland of Mount Elgon's slopes. Originally only hunters, the Suk now herd cattle in Kerio Valley, living in peace with their neighbours if they can.
They believe in God, whom they call Tororut, offering him animal sacrifices. God's son is called Ilat; he has to fetch water for his father in Heaven. When he spills it, it rains on earth (ilat means 'rain'). Tororut's blessing must be invoked at least once a year for the crops and the cattle. An ox is selected by the priest, tusin, to be slaughtered; he rubs its blood on the chests of the participants, all men. In times of drought, famine or epidemic, similar rituals are necessary, to propitiate God. Personal illness is blamed on Oi, the spirit of disease, who may be expelled by emptying the sick man's house, after which the priest casts the evil spirit out, since it has nothing left to lurk behind inside. Tororut has a wife, the Pleiades, and a brother, Asis, the Sun-god. Tororut's wife Seta has three children, Ilat, 'Rai', Arawa, 'Moon', and Topoh, the 'Evening Star'. The appearance of the Pleiades marks the beginning of the planting season.
After death, a man's spirit may travel in the shape of a snake. In the bush, snakes may be killed, but if a snake enters a house, it must be given milk and meat since it is the spirit of an ancestor who can intercede with God on behalf of the living, in order to avert disease and other disasters. After death an old man or woman would be buried in his or her own hut, after which the descendants would move house; this was no hardship, since they were nomads anyway. Death 'infects' a house. The bereaved shave their heads, but when the New Moon appears, mourning ceases.


Africans know they depend on trees for firewood, without which their wives cannot cook their food. In some areas the goats can climb trees to eat the green leaves. The leopard lurks in a leafy tree to fall upon the Lonely traveller at night, and vipers do the same in Uganda. In some trees the bees make their nest where they store honey. Every big tree has a spirit. Some trees house many spirits. Whether a tree is a spirit or is inhabited by a spirit is not an easy question. The people will say: The tree has a spirit, or: in the tree there is a spirit. The spirit has a voice which the careful listener can hear and even understand if he knows the language of the spirits. This voice has to be preserved carefully by the drum maker. The boat-maker too, wants to keep the spirit of the tree in the wood so that it will protect the boatman against drowning in the treacherous rivers, when the tree has become a boat. The appearance changes, the spirit remains. Together in a forest, the trees have a collective spirit, powerful enough to be revered as a god.
Trees can be tricky. With their roots they can trip up the unsuspecting traveller, who will often believe that his enemy bewitched the root to do that. Thorny branches have the same function. In Namibia there is a tree that is believed to eat people: it catches them with its branches, opens its bark and swallows them up. Inside the tree, the victim can be heard singing a goodbye song to their relatives and friends. Only the Woodpecker can save them, for it possesses magic powers. For a fee, it will open the tree with its sharp bill. A man in Zaire was married to a tree. It gave birth to his children, a healthy boy and a girl who were human but knew the spirits of the forest and so became famous herbalists, for it is the doctors who need the trees for their medicines.

Sunbirds (Zimbabwe)

The sunbirds are two golden birds, which were found among the ruins of Zimbabwe about a century ago by one of the first explorers. They were probably discovered in the remains of a building which may have been the sun-temple of the ancient Bantu religion of the Shona people of Zimbabwe. These birds which form a pair, represent, it appears, two swallows, whose high and swift flight is praised by many poets of the old Bantu tradition, and about which the story-tellers relate that they can fly better even than the eagle.
The swallows, as is well known, are migrating birds. They arrive in southern Africa from Europe around the beginning of October, when spring is at its most beautiful and thousands of flowers are blooming. The sun is on its way up. The myth of the Shona people relates that the sunbirds belonged originally to the goddess Dzivaguru, the goddess of the earth, of the darkness of night, and of the rain clouds, of the pools and streams. The rainy season begins usually also in October, or later, when the gods are displeased.
We cannot live without sunshine, nor can we live without rain, yet we cannot have them at the same time, for rain and sunshine do not normally descend together. The great goddess Dzivaguru, whose name seems to mean Great Sun, ruled both heaven and earth in what may have been the oldest form of the Bantu religion, i.e. the religion of the peoples who speak Bantu languages. They have many myths in which the first man and woman on earth lived in darkness because the sun had not yet been discovered. The sun, the primal source of light, has to be captured so that people may have light to live by. The secret of the sun is that its light penetrates even in the darkest room, just as a swallow can fly through a house before anyone can catch it. Nosenga caught the sunbirds in his trap, and so day broke.

Malaika (East Africa)

A good spirit sent from heaven to help people. It can assume human form. The Malaika love people and will work for their benefit. God created them specially so that they might keep people on the straight path by sitting on their right shoulders and whispering in their ears what they should do or not do. The Malaika receive no food, because praying to God is their food. They have been created from the Light, Gods first creation, so they are entirely transparent and cannot even think evil, let alone do it. They always obey God, who will send an angel whenever he wishes to help a human being in distress. Normally angels are invisible, but once God sent the Angel Mikail to defeat a very powerful evil spirit. Mikail appeared in his full heavenly glory which was so dazzling that Karina was defeated by merely seeing him. She looked like an old woman after that encounter. Once Jiburili showed himself in his real form: standing astride the earth, his feet suspended above opposite horizons, he towered above the clouds. The angels are constantly guarding heaven against the attacks of the shaitani by throwing rockets (shihabu) at them, which we see as falling stars. Death too, is a malaika, who serves God by taking the souls of those God has decided must die now. He may also send angels to do battle against his enemies the unbelievers. The malaika wa vita, the Fighting Angels, will drop burning stones on the enemies.