Awake Afrika

My heart bleeds having devoted a little time and resources in finding our true identity.

It is very sad that most of African history is written and known via a Eurocentric lens. But that is partly our fault. We have no interest as a group in history. Some will say, "we should forget about the past and focus on the future," links do not get clicked, books do not get bought, and films on Africa are not watched. Are we busy on Tik Tok.No Kindle Amazon? They cannot sell what doesn't sell. So we have to come up with Afrocentric ideas and platforms to tell our own stories to our generation, whom they have brainwashed to think and see themselves as inferior beings. Be that as it may, the African problem did not start with the conquest and colonization. The African continent was divided between hundreds of different kingdoms/tribes/groups, all fighting each other way before a colonizer set foot south of the Sahara.

The people of the African continent never looked at each other as one homogeneous group; that's why it was so easy for the Europeans to conquer the continent since they were such divided way before outsiders came along, the people who would eventually colonize the continent made friends with the most powerful kingdoms early on, they made these kingdoms rich buying slaves, Ivory, gold, etc. About 12 million Africans were sold to the Europeans by stronger African kingdoms before the African continent was even colonized; these larger kingdoms that ran the slave trade on the African side of things didn't look at the people they were selling as their own people, they were from different kingdoms/tribes/groups. That's just the trans-Atlantic part of it; people had already been selling African slaves via the Trans-Saharan slave trade to North Africa and the middle east for almost a thousand years before the Europeans got involved; most estimations say at least as many African slaves went to North Africa and the middle east as they did to the Americas. 

The Berlin conference didn't happen until the very end after the Trans Atlantic slave trade ended. The Trans-Saharan slave trade started in around 700 AD and didn't end until the mid-1900s; the trans-Atlantic slave trade started around 1500 and ended before the Berlin conference. The history of the African continent is complex; it's the second largest continent and has over a billion people now that come from hundreds of different kingdoms/tribes/ethnic groups; a divided people are easily conquered, and this holds true to the African continent even today, decades after colonization and these different kingdoms/tribes/ethnic groups are still fighting each other in several countries all over the African continent. In this 21st Century, they still look at each other as different; they always have and probably always will, which is truly a shame.

The arguments from the Eurocentric side suggest that our recorded history goes back only as far as the European missionaries who recorded it in their language. This suggests that either we didn't have a written language and everything was oral, or that our method of recording and storing our history was too perishable, like the parchment scrolls on the Bible were recorded on. That's why our own history is viewed mostly from the Eurocentric side. But records are there to show that Africans were not primitive and less educated as believed. Thomas Fuller, an African sold into slavery in 1724 at the age of 14, was sometimes known as the "Virginia Calculator" for his extraordinary ability to solve complex math problems in his head.

Rumors circulated that he was a servant. However, he could not read or write, which was not uncommon among slaves at the time. Some believed that he may have gained his skills with math in his homeland in Africa. His case was often cited by abolitionists of the time as proof that Blacks were in no way mentally inferior to whites. Born in Africa somewhere between present-day Liberia and Benin, Fuller was enslaved and shipped to America in 1724 at the age of 14, eventually becoming the legal property of Presley and Elizabeth Cox of Alexandria, Virginia. 

Both Fuller and the Coxes were illiterate. The Coxes owned 16 slaves and appeared to value Fuller the most; he expressed gratitude for not being sold. Stories of his abilities abounded through the Eastern seaboard. His skill was even used as proof that enslaved Blacks were equal to whites in intelligence, which fueled some pro-abolitionist discussion. When Fuller was about 70 years old, William Hartshorne and Samuel Coates of Pennsylvania were in Alexandria and, having heard of Fuller's powers, sent for him. They asked him two questions that satisfied their curiosity.

First, when they asked him how many seconds there were in a year and a half, he answered in about two minutes, 47,304,000. Second, when they asked how many seconds a man has lived who is 70 years, 17 days, and 12 hours old, he answered in a minute and a half 2,210,500,800. One of the men was working out the problems on paper and informed Fuller that he was wrong because the answer was much smaller. Fuller hastily replied," 'Top, massa, you forget de leap year." When the leap year was added in, the sums matched.

Despite Fuller's perfect answers, it appeared to Hartshorne and Coates that his mental abilities must have once been greater. They wrote: He was gray-headed and exhibited several other marks of the weakness of old age. He had worked hard upon a farm during the whole of his life but had never been intemperate in the use of spirituous liquors. He spoke with great respect of his mistress and mentioned in a particular manner his obligations to her for refusing to sell him, which she had been tempted to by offers of large sums of money from several persons. One of the gentlemen, Mr. Coates, having remarked in his presence that it was a pity he had not an education equal to his genius, said, "No, Massa, it is best I had no learning, for many learned men be great fools. To also rob Africans of this genius, the Eurocentric lens dubbed this fellow an Israeli.

They forget that People living in nature have the highest intelligence. That is where human intelligence comes from. So many plants, so many animals, travel, timing. Everything is dynamic. Nothing we do in the modern world compares to the volume of data that has to be stored and evaluated when battling for survival in the wild. What we consider indicators of intelligence can be learned and adapted in a few generations; the ability is there. And also consider that North and west Africa and the middle east are where everything was invented, even maths. Long before Northerners came out of their caves and saw the light of day, they looted our strong, brave intellectuals and beautiful women. The color of your skin, eyes, and hair should never mean you are inferior in any way. Our skin may be black, but our brains are not black. Under our skin, we all have the same origins. Yet some people just have special gifts; that is what makes the world so different and awesome. It's sad that we have a dark history. Today this may be changed, but darkness is still carrying on in a different method. The time to act is now or never.

© Nwabueze AA

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