Taking us beyond the ordinary history
Lovemore Ranga Mataire The Reader
The Roots of the Bantu by Aeneas Chigwedere (1998) is no ordinary history book for it seeks to debunk many long held beliefs about the origins of the African and how he came to be on the African continent. While I do not agree entirely with some of the generalised assertions in the book, I nevertheless feel that it is a must-read text as it offers a refreshing illumination on the origins of the black race.
While the general historical narrative about the origins of man is linked to Olduvai Gorge where oldest remains of man where found, Chigwedere questions the authenticity of this archaeological evidence as belonging to the African.
“There is no evidence of Negro people anywhere on the word archaeological map before 15 000 BC. By about 10 000 BC, the Negro starts to show a hazy shadowy only in the Nile Valley. Five thousand years before then, a foreigner had immigrated into the Horn of East Africa from across the Red Sea,” Chigwedere boldly states.
He postulates that the new Black race barely visible around 10 000 BC, can only have come into existence as a result of intermarriage between the Indigenous Africans, the Pygmies and the immigrants from across the Red Sea. Chigwedere says historical research and analysis all point to the existence of two other new races were already in existence in Africa by 10 000 BC and these races or tribes were the San and the Khoi Khoi or the Bushmen and Hottentots.
The author dismisses earlier historical assertions that relied more on linguistic analysis on the basis that the assertions are narrow as there is nowhere in the world where the discovery of the history of a major ethnic group, not a whole race, depended on one source.
“If there were no Negro people anywhere on the continent of Africa or in the world in 20 000 BC or 15 000 BC, the Negro race could not have come into existence directly from evolution but from birth. It could only have been born by the human races that physically existed in Africa.”
In other words, the author argues that there was only one race inhabiting the continent of Africa around 15 000 BC and the race was that of Pygmy. The Black race, he says is a hybrid race from the contacts that the Pygmy race had with some immigrants that came from North East Africa to the rest of Africa.
In order for one to have a better understanding of the origins of the Black race, one has to have a better appreciation of the culture, which is not easy for foreign scholars to comprehend and interpret what was archaeologically discovered.
Chigwedere urges the African scholar to start treating ancient Egypt history as his ancestral history. Egypt as illustrated by the author is both geographically and biologically part of African continent.
The basis for tracing Bantu origins is to link through concrete evidence that Egyptian civilisation is not Arabic civilisation but African and all human species found on the continent are not independent of Egypt. He disputes the assertion of treating ancient Egypt as “on the African continent but not of Africa,” as a historical misnomer as Egypt is not a foreign plantation.
Quoting various ancient scholars, Chigwedere says it is no longer a contestable fact that the masters of the Egyptian civilisation were black people.
Chigwedere further illustrates his assertions on the origins of the Bantu by several pictorial evidence excavated from various ancient sources, which makes it handy for students of history and anyone seeking a clear understanding of the origins of the Bantu.
It is an inspiring book and certainly a great source of pride even beyond our borders.
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