Everything starts and ends with Europe
According to popular information; African history began with the arrival of the Portuguese. Before that time, Africa was of no significance. The only names seen in the abolishment movement are William Wilberforce, Granvel Sharp et al. The liberation is a European’s enterprise, the countless revolts and revolutions are a footnote in the annals of history. A few names by sheer power like Nat Turner could not be washed out of history but many fought for liberation over the centuries of enslavement and colonial rule. Failing to see who is writing history, our admitting it and then being part of inheriting Eurocentric agency is denial of self-determination.
African people are not even allowed to choose their own leaders. The African continent today continues to be a nesting bed for Europe’s choices for Africa’s leadership. Heroes like Mary Seacole are not heroes of African people but heroes of Europe. The most treacherous and hateful “blacks” are celebrated outside of Africa’s interest. African heroes are nominated by all white communities during “Black history” month in the UK, so that singers like Alicia Keys gets postered with Marcus Garvey and Malcolm X. Not understanding has never been a restraint for Europe. The error again and again is the acceptance and trust Africa people have seemingly placed on the opinions and values of Europeans. Authorship and authority, if not from Europe, is not valid.
African scholarship is thus alight to a circus show, for the same motives of giving a monkey a suit and a law degree---entertainment. To state an opinion not supported by a European or to speak favorable about Africa is to be an Afrocentric, which in the European vocabulary means a desperate childish pseudo-historian.
One measure of the level of destruction on Africans globally is the mass dis-ownership of culture. From domain names to grocery stores in African dominated communities, it doesn’t matter if you are in New York or Nairobi, Bridgetown or Bamako. The domain Africaunite.com for example, is not owned by Africans. Any single thing that relates to Africa remains in the hands of our former/current oppressors. Maybe we are asleep or late of the starting block to recognize new opportunities and move into our own cultural niches before they become dominated and controlled by others. Almost every major organization rooted in “doing” something for Africans or “saving” Africans is European dominated. And some of us think we are free.
African-Americans are very famous for hip-hop; the world sees the African stamp on this genre. Some individual rappers get rich from it (0.00001%) but who gets wealthy from it (according to Chris Rock)? Who shoots the videos and owns the labels, record shops, the clothes they wear and the cars they drive? The greatest Jazz artist is Norah Jones, the greatest rap artist is Emenim, while the greatest rock ‘n roll artist is Elvis Prestly; the current greatest reggae artist is Sean Paul. The pattern may be eluding us. Black music is now urban music, step-by-step the little agency we had is being eroded away. An independent African run site did a survey “Are we better off today, compared to yesterday?” 70% of the people recognized “we are worst off today but richer.” The glorious efforts in America in the 60’s, under segregations, had more elements of self-determination and agency that today. More business ownership and more importantly a do-for-self attitude, something the honorable Farrakhan has constantly stressed.
Search the internet, and this is just one small example, and look at popular sites to do with African people and see who and what is in control of it.
Language of racism
To highlight the academic dilemma against Africans it is necessarily to just site one of Europe’s key historians on slavery. The age of the work and the period it was written in seem to make little impression in universities today, who seem to neglect the social status of Africans in the time these so-called scholarly books were being written. It also neglects to highlight the mindset of the authors of these works and their contribution to the obscuring and footnoting of African history and African contributions to civilization. Men who would be labeled by a self-determined African today are referenced and cited with little challenge. Despite all the new research and development, this dead racist scholarship is still held high as the authentic source on Africa. The more you reference a bad source, the more authentic it becomes. The foundation of history of Africa cannot be studied outside of the dynamics of race and racism in the writings of African conquers. This is not to dismiss their entire work, but surely to raise the red flag of sincerity, and subsequently expose the agendas behind these scribbling. J.D. Fage sits high on this throne of Anti-African rhetoric:
“Today, however, some scholars assert that slavery did not have a wholly disastrous effect on those left behind in Africa.”
Imagine begging the question and stating that some scholars believed the Jewish Holocaust was not entirely disastrous. We must assume there is again some degree of salvation in the actions of the Europeans who saved Africa from savagery. It is like saying the Jewish Holocaust was beneficial because some Jews got senior positions in the Nazi army, or slavery was good because Africans got free Caribbean cruises.
“At its peak, the Atlantic slave trade took about 90,000 slaves per year out of a total population of around 25 million in just Guinea, where the vast majority originated. This number was significant, yet only a moderate annual growth rate in population was enough to sustain it by replacement. Therefore, the slave trade is unlikely to have caused a decrease in the population of West Africa, though it may have reduced or even halted population growth in some regions.”
Again, we see the apology and denial of the consequences of enslavement. What this is saying is the harvesting of African people was done sustainably and had no demographic consequences on birth rate. It would be worth mentioning that the most viral and healthiest members were exported overseas, so it is inconceivable that it would not affect population demographics not to mention settlement patterns and human social potential.
"The Nok civilization is argued by some to prove that Africa had a civilization prior to the arrival of Europe.”
This kind of tone appears to vindicate Africa but it actually introduces reasonable doubt. Its references again the false notion of a primitive Africa as a half-valid hypothesis for it shows by implication that anything or everything in Africa has to be articulated by juxtaposition. African civilization does not require any proof or revolutionary rethink. This kind of reasoning follows from “he seems very educated for a black” or “you see they are not all savages.” What needs to be done is exposed the motives behind those removing African agency from the annals of world cultural contributions.
“For those left behind in Africa the standard of living increased substantially and the region became divided into highly centralized and powerful nation states, such as Dahomey and the Ashanti Confederacy. It also created a class of very wealthy and highly Europeanized traders who began to send their children to European Universities.
The contempt in Eurocentrism is so self-evident it almost needs no commentary to identify either intention or fallacies. The source of this material comes from a respected seminal academic and authority on Africa. Before Europe, we know the Kanka Musa had gold reserves that made Ancient Mali one of the riches economies in the Ancient world. It is also a fact that Sankore was an African university so notable that Arabs and others came to study there. All of these non-direct facts retort the claims that contact with Europe brought power and education. Also the statement about Europeanized traders is intended by the author as a compliment a kind of accession of the African from savage beast to Europeanized. Fage trips and stabs himself with his own pen and exposes and implements himself as one of the historical agents of academic racism that has distorted the African historical timeline.
To be continued.
By Owen 'Alik Shahadah
Owen 'Alik Shahadah, is an African Cultural writer and a multi-award winning Filmmaker who documents African history and culture. Published with kind permission from African Holocaust
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