The African Origin of Civilization Myth or Reality
by Cheikh Anta Diop
In Chapter Seven,
Arguments have been made by western scholars and such to whiten the history of Egypt from antiquity to modern times. Many attempts have been made to give Nile Valley civilizations a white beginning. Whereas scholars may lie is where tradition and ancestry prevails. Ancient Black Africa have retained many similar customs throughout the continent. One of them is the retention of matriarchy as a way of life. Only on the African continent are people matriarchal in everyday life.
The author indicates that western civilizations and societies have been patriarchal and patrilineal. As, ''in Greece, succession was simply patrilineal, as in Rome.'' (Diop., page 142). A huge contrast from Black Africa in antiquity. Whereas it was the matriarchal line that was revered. ''The absence of queens in Greek, Roman, or Persian history, '' (Diop., page 143) has been noted by many scholars. European civilizations followed a patriarchal line of power and transfer. It was men that held the civilizations together, they were the brains, foundation and so on. This, later on, caused an imbalance in European society were women felt oppressed and lead to the formation of western feminism.
In contrast in the Nile Valley civilization reigned a Black Queen in a period where western white women weren't seen as equal to their men.
''They encountered the fierce, unyielding resistance of a Queen whose determined struggle symbolized the national pride of a people who, until then, had commanded others. This was Queen Candace, of the Meroitic Sudan. She impressed all Antiquity by her stand at the head of her troops against the Roman armies of Augustus Caesar. '' (Diop., page 143)
Queen Candace is known globally for her bravery as the story continues,
''the loss of an eye in battle only redoubled her courage; her fearlessness and scorn of death even doubled the admiration of a chauvinist like Strabo: ''This queen had courage above her sex.'' (Diop., page 143). Strabo came from a western society where women didn't hold the same status and weren't allowed to do anything beyond childbearing and domestic work. Queen Candance, is a norm to her region of the world. What she did was not unique but it was expected of women.
The modern-day practice of dowry or bride price is the continuation of the matriarchal foundation of African life from antiquity. ''In Africa, since the woman holds a privileged position, thanks to matriarchy, it is she who receives a guaranteed in form of a dowry in an alliance called marriage.'' (Diop., page 143). In African tradition a man must prove is stability through showcasing his wealth and ability to provide for the wife and her future children. Western media, scholars and so on have twisted this truth and made it seem that it was a slave market where women were being bought and sold. Yes, men indeed abuse this noble tradition but they are not the foundation of it.
''What proves that she's not bought like a slave, is that she is not riveted to the conjugal home by the dowry; if the husband is really at fault, the marriage can be broken within a few hours to his disadvantage.'' (Diop., page 143). In African cultures, it is the man that loses out socially and financially if he mistreats his wife and home. African women for many centuries have enjoyed this protection and provision and continue to do so in modern times. But colonization and penetration of the African mind have altered our sacred customs. Many things have become mutated and misunderstood because of the condition of the African people as a result of the aftermath of slavery, colonization, theft and so on.
In conclusion, ''this essential idea of genius, culture, and race, today all Negroes can legitimately trace their culture to ancient Egypt and build a modern culture on that foundation.'' (Diop., page 140). It is important that people of Africa and their global descendants regain a sense of self-worth and a strong identity. Because, ''these temples, these forests of columns, these pyramids, these colossi, these bas-reliefs, mathematics, medicine, and all the science, are indeed the work of his ancestors and that he has a right and a duty to claim this heritage.'' (Diop., page 140).
Nyabuoy Gatbel is a South Sudanese Canadian currently living in Calgary, AB. She was born in Ethiopia in 1993 and moved to Canada as a refugee in 2002. She's currently a undergraduate student at the University of Calgary. Besides her studies she's a social entreprenuer focusing on the, ''Paarman Centre project,'' a fashion model, writer and author of the book, ''The Fire Within poetry in Thok Nath and English.''