By Dr. Kwame Nantambu
June 22, 2006
This article seeks to unlock the door to Afrikan-Trinbagonians’ misconception, misuse and bastardization of vital Afrikan concepts/terms.
One : B.C.E. versus A.D.
The general consensus is that B.C.E. means Before Christ, Before the Coming Era and/or Before the Christian Era, while A.D. means Anno Domini, that is, “In the year of the Lord”.
However, in terms of European supremacy and from an Afro-centric perspective, B.C.E. now means Before Contamination of Afrika by Europeans, while A.D. means Age of Domination, Destruction and Death of Afrikans by Europeans.
Guyanese erudite historian and anthropologist Dr. Ivan van Sertima calls this age “the five hundred year curtain” of European global dominance and control.
Two: Ancestors versus Forefathers
Afrikan ancestors built the pyramids and over 104 stone monuments in ancient Kemet (Egypt) in B.C.E.
They are the world’s original, powerful master thinkers and teachers. Afrikan ancestors invented mathematics (including geometry, quadric equations and quadric formulae, logarithms, “combinations of integers with an irrational number and an infinite geometrical progression having many unique properties”), theory of opposites, medicine, female make-up procedure, paper, writing called Medu Netcher, fire, backgammon, wigs, world’s first moral code of ethics by which to live, architecture, cardinal points- North-South-East-West, astronomy/astrology, world’s original Zodiac signs, philosophy, psychology, chemistry, physics, freemasonry, town and country planning (including districts which they called Nomes), world’s first 365 and 1/4 day Stellar calendar, agronomy, domestication of animals, mummification process, and built the world’s first university, the Temple of Waset (later called Luxor) in the XVIIIth Dynasty, 1405-1370 B.C., among other things.
They also invented the concepts of a coffin (which they called Nb Ankh), a system of governance (which they called a dynasty), beauty, library, mirror, bed, folding chair, progressive tax collection system with the use of a Nilometer and the mathematical measurement called Pi. Pi was known as the “Golden Number.”
According to Cheikh Anta Diop in his book titled, ‘The African Origin of Civilization: Myth or Reality’ (1974): ” Universal knowledge runs from the Nile Valley toward the rest of the world, in particular Greece, which served as an intermediary. As a result, no thought, no ideology is foreign to Africa which was the land of their birth.”
Afrikan ancestors’ history represents 99.9% of the history of Afrikan people on this planet. They are the world’s original people with original ideas.
On the other hand, Afrikan forefathers were stolen and brought kicking and screaming, involuntarily by different European powers from Afrika to the Diaspora (Caribbean, South America and American South) in the A.D. era.
They then picked cotton, coffee and cut sugar cane as powerless slaves for powerful European slave masters on plantations in the Diaspora. Their history represents only .01% of the history of Afrikan people on this planet.
In other words, in B.C.E., Afrikans were powerful and Europeans were powerless; in A.D., Afrikans are now powerless and Europeans are powerful.
As such, there should be no confusion between Afrikan ancestors and Afrikan forefathers. These historical Afrikan concepts/terms are neither comparable, substitutable nor interchangeable.
They both represent the totality of Afrikan history on this planet.
Three: Originality versus Nationality
Originality refers to our inherited Afrikanness; it is a gift from Mother Afrika – “the cradle of civilization.”
Nationality is an accident of birth as a direct result of European enslavement or the European slave trade; it represents an indictment from Father Europe.
In other words, the only reason why Afrikans here are Trinbagonians is because their European slave ship landed and unloaded them on the plantations in Trinidad. Their TnT nationality is a mere accident because if their European slave ship had landed and unloaded them on plantations in another Caribbean country then they would have had a different nationality today.
In sum, Afrika is our Home, our Originality; TnT is our Destination, our Nationality. Ergo, the descendents of our Afrikan forefathers are Afrikan-Trinbagonians. The ahistorical, Eurocentric label “Afro-Trinbagonian” does not apply to them.
Afrikan forefathers were brought from the Continent of Afrika. In the history of the world, there has never been a Continent named “Afro.” We are Afrikans first – originally, then we have been transformed into being Trinbagonians, Jamaicans, Brazilians, Cubans, etc. by accident.
As the Afrocentric historian Dr. Marimba Ani correctly admonishes: “You’re not an Afrikan because you’re born in Afrika. You’re an Afrikan because Afrika is born in you. It’s in your genes, your DNA, your entire biological make-up. Whether you like it or not, that’s the way it is. However, if (Afrikan-Trinbagonians) were to embrace this truth with open arms my, my, my what a wonderful thing (that would be).”
Four: Spirituality versus Religion
Spirituality represents a direct connection/ interrelatedness with nature, the cosmos, universe and that spiritual god force, Amun-Ra (“the giver of life” or” Sun-God”) whose birthday was celebrated in ancient Kemet (Egypt) on 25 December in B.C.E.
Spirituality means a way of life and being 24/7/365 and is predicated upon the seven principles of Goddess Ma’at. This ancient Kemetic/Afrikan spiritual belief system embodied the “42 Negative Confessions”, “Admonitions of Ma’at” and/or “Declarations of Innocence.”
It was a way of life that took 1,200 years and 50 generations to develop. In other words, in the B.C. era, when some one dies, the soul/spirit of the deceased confesses as follows: “I have not killed”, “I have not committed adultery”, “I have not stolen” and so on, forty-two times.
However, the reverse is true in the case of religion.
Religion represents the deification of a people’s cultural experiences, politics and political control intent. Religion is all about power and control. Hence, under the Christian/Roman Catholic religion, the Ten Commandments exist to reflect its power and control modus operandi.
These religious Ten Commandments are just a derived, new and improved version of the original, spiritual ancient Kemetic/Afrikan “Negative Confessions.”
More specifically, since he was dealing with illiterate, ignorant people/followers, Moses, the Kemetic/Afrikan high priest, had to change the voluntary confessions into commandments in order to control them.
It must be recalled that Moses was the high priest of the Kemetic Pharaoh Akhenaten; ergo, Moses was well learned in the Negative Confessions. All Moses did was to collapse 42 Confessions into 10 Commandments. And it was very easy for Moses to do so because at that time, there were 10 categories of sins in ancient Kemet.
As a result, the spiritual confessions “I have not killed”, “I have not committed adultery” and “I have not stolen” automatically became religions commandments as follows: “Thou shalt not kill”, “Thou shalt not commit adultery” and “Thou shalt not steal.”
In addition, the concept of monotheism or belief in one God, was invented by Pharaoh Akhenaten. This one God was called Atum.
Thus, all Moses did was to incorporate this ancient Kemetic spiritual belief system as the first commandment in the Christian religion as follows: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”
It must be inserted here that Amun-Ra (the “Sun God”) in the spiritual belief system of ancient Kemet is now known as and/or called the “Sun of God” in religious Christianity. In B.C.E., he was Black; in A.D., he is White.
The fact of the matter is that it is total insanity to associate spirituality with Christianity. Christianity is devoid of any scintilla of spirituality. Roman Catholics are not a spiritual people; they are a religious people “to D bone.”
Five: 15th Century Afrikan Slave Trade versus European Slave Trade
The concept of the Afrikan Slave Trade is ahistorical and Eurocentric, while the European Slave trade is historical and Afrocentric.
The Afrikan Slave Trade not only implies that the idea of this exercise started/originated with Afrikans but also that Afrika and Afrikans benefited from the slave trade. Of course, history totally disproves this.
The fact of the matter is that the Portuguese were the first Europeans to go into Afrika to get gold and slaves in 1441. However, this initial European genocidal onslaught was illegal, unauthorized and unsanctioned.
This most brutal, inhumane onslaught or MAAFA (“great disaster”) or what deceased Afrocentric scholar, Dr. John Henrik Clarke calls “the greatest single crime in the world” became legal, authorized and sanctioned on 8 January, 1455, when the European Christian Pope Nicholas V in his Papal Bull titled “Romanus Pontifex” authorized the Portuguese “to subject to servitude all infidel peoples.”
In other words, the Euro-Christian Pope of the Roman Catholic Church legalized, authorized and sanctioned the European Slave Trade and the enslavement of Afrikan people in the name of God.
Slave ships left European countries (Britain, France, Spain, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands, Portugal) and sailed with European captains in charge to Afrika to get slaves. No slave ships left Afrika with Afrikan captains and slaves on board and sailed to the Diaspora.
Thus, Afrikans did not start/originate this slavery experience although the “great men” of Afrika (tribal chiefs, kings, nobles, subchiefs, headmen) colluded with Europeans to sell their own people into slavery.
Assassinated Guyanese scholar/historian, Dr. Walter Rodney has proven that it was Europe not Afrika who benefited from the slave trade. In his magnum opus, ‘How Europe Underdeveloped Africa’ (1971), Dr. Rodney states quite unequivocally as follows: “The European slave trade and overseas trade in general had what are known as ‘multiplier effects’ on Europe’s development in a very positive sense. This means that the benefits of foreign contacts extended to many areas of European life not directly connected with foreign trade and the whole society was better equipped for its own internal development. The opposite was true of Africa not only in the crucial sphere of technology but also with regard to the size and purpose of each economy in Africa.” (pp.108-109).
The fact of the matter is that Britain (who entered the slave trade in 1562) was the European country that benefited the most from the slave trade because the Industrial Revolution took place in Britain 1750-1850.
The bottom line then, is that “many Africans were taken by Arabs and were sold to Arab buyers. This is known as the ‘Arab Slave Trade’. Therefore, let it be clear that when Europeans shipped Africans to European buyers, it was the ‘European Slave Trade’ from Africa.” (Rodney, p.95).
Shem Hotep (“I go in Peace”).
Dr. Kwame Nantambu is a part-time lecturer at Cipriani College of Labour and Co-operative Studies and University of the West Indies.