Does God speak of Africa in the Bible? What does the inspired word of our Creator reveal about the origins of the African people and their future? Are there secular and neutral sources that confirm biblical statements about this?
For a long time, the history of Black Africa has been biased. It has been manipulated just to make the consciences of the black peoples fall asleep in order to better dominate them. Detractors have gone further in their attempt to subjugate the African black race by using a biblical story…
Many people and countries are mentioned in the Bible. A large number of them are in the Middle East and around the Mediterranean because this is where most of the stories reported in the Bible – in Jerusalem, Asia Minor (present-day Turkey), Greece in Italy, the Arabian Peninsula, Libya, Egypt, and Ethiopia.
How far can we trace the origins of African ethnic groups in history and in the Bible?
For centuries, African history has been presented exclusively from a Western point of view, regardless of the traditions and oral culture of Africans themselves. About the oral tradition, we have often heard the proverb: “An old man who dies is a library that burns. ”
The origin of this sentence is uncertain, but it could be the reformulation of a sentence uttered by the Malian writer and ethnologist Amadou Hampaté Bâ, during a speech made at UNESCO on September 22, 1960. ” In trying to make his audience understand that Africa had other riches and testimonies of its past than stone monuments, Bâ was going to compare the situation of its region of origin with the conception of the Western preservation of the knowledge of Africa. time, based on the preservation of books. It is from there that this comparison between the old African man and the library would emerge “(dicocitations.lemonde.fr). Bâ declared that day:
” There can be no question of books or written records to save insects, but it will be a gigantic oral monument to save from destruction by death, the death of the traditionalists who are the only depositories. They are unfortunately in decline of their days. They have not everywhere prepared a normal succession. Indeed, our sociology, our history, our pharmacopeia, our science of hunting, and fishing, our agriculture, our meteorological science, all this is preserved in memories of men, men subject to death and dying every day. For me, I consider the death of each of these traditionalists as the burning of an unexploited cultural fund “(ibid.).
At the instigation of Bâ and other researchers, the oral tradition has finally begun to be recognized as one of the cultural preservation elements among others. Of course, oral tradition alone is not enough to establish a truth, but it can become an essential element when it is confirmed by written sources, by archeology, ethnology, art, linguistics, and others tools used by historians. By using the oral tradition as an additional and complementary tool, knowledge of African culture has made a great leap forward since the middle of the 20th century.
The Choice of Sources
In his reference book Histoire de l’Afrique published in 1978, Joseph Ki-Zerbo (1922-2006), a Burkinabe historian and historian, wrote: “We do not deny the influences received by Africa when they are scientifically proven […] But, we say that we are fed up with racist history in any form … Most of these errors are obviously the result of the prejudices of their authors. They are also the result of the neo-colonialist situation in which the States in which too many researchers work is still plunged “(Histoire de l’Afrique, Hatier Publishing, page 13).
In this article, we have deliberately chosen to let Africans – scientists, historians or academics – speak for themselves about their own culture, their country, and their origins. We have also selected authors recognized to be globally neutral and balanced in their approach, leaving purely and simply partisans, polemics or identity.
In order to best treat this subject in a limited space, we will only quote the conclusions of these researchers on the origins of Black Africa, but the sources quoted will allow you to deepen the subject if you wish.
The Countries of Cush and Mizraim
At a UNESCO symposium on the settlement of ancient Egypt in January-February 1974, two groups of researchers opposed the skin color of the inhabitants of ancient Egypt.
Ki-Zerbo synthesizes this subject by suggesting that “the old Negroid settlement of North Africa seems to have gradually been replaced by Negro-Mediterranean and then by the Mediterranean” (Histoire de l’Africa, page 76). But at the end of the conference, all came to the conclusion that “[Ancient] Egypt was African in its writing, in its culture and in its way of thinking. Professor Leclant recognized this same African character in the temperament and way of thinking of the Egyptians “(The settlement of ancient Egypt and the decipherment of Meroitic writing, UNESCO, page 87).
The numerous migrations in Egypt complicate the task of ethnologists and historians. Yet, despite all the controversies and discussions on this subject, Egypt returns tirelessly to the heart of the discussions as soon as we tackle the subject of the origins of Black Africa.
What do we know about ancient Egypt? As we mentioned earlier, the history of Africa is partly based on oral tradition. As such, all peoples and countries of the world have a part of an oral tradition that often brings precise information about their origins: the names of places or peoples. What about Egypt?
” In the south of Egypt, on the Middle Nile, between the 8th century BC and the 4th after, flourished the civilization of the Meroitic Empire: it is the Kush of Egyptian and Biblical texts, the Ethiopia of classical authors, Nubia and the north of present-day Sudan […] On a fundamentally African background have developed the influences of Pharaonic Egypt ” (ibid., Page 107).
We see that southern Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan share common origins. This is certain information, which is neither controversial nor controversial. Historians and linguists also agree on the names for these areas and the meaning of these names.
Ki-Zerbo also wrote about Egypt: ” To the south of the first cataract [of the Nile] stretched a country called Kush by the Greeks, named after one of the descendants of Ham, son of Noah, likewise that the ancient name of Egypt, Misr, was that of another son of Ham. It meant the deep kinship of the populations of these two countries. Indeed, Kush was populated in much the same way as Egypt ” (History of Africa, page 67).
As Ki-Zerbo mentions, the Bible tells us that Noah had three sons: “Shem, Ham, and Japheth” (Genesis 6:10). Later, Ham had four sons: Cush (Kush), Mizraim (Misr), Puth, and Canaan (Genesis 10: 6).
If we let the texts interpret themselves, is it not clear that Nubia (Ethiopia and Sudan) and Egypt are descending respectively from Cush and Mizraim? Geographical and ethnic names (based on oral and written tradition), linguistics, the conclusions of many historians and the Bible agree on this point.
When we talk about ancient Egypt, it is important not to focus on the north of present-day Egypt (Cairo, Alexandria, Port Said), but to consider the whole of the Nile Valley, ranging from the Mediterranean Sea in present-day Sudan.
We must also remember that for millennia “highways”, or highways, were seas, rivers, rivers, and streams. As such, tributaries of the Nile (the Blue Nile and White Nile) cross Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, and Rwanda, while skirting Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
When you place the Nile and its two tributaries on a map, you realize that it represents an area of influence covering almost the entire north-east third of Africa, from the Mediterranean Sea to the equator. Does this mean that the people of Black Africa are descending from Egypt?
After the flood, only eight people lived on Earth (Noah, Shem, Ham, Japheth, and their respective wives) and the ark landed on the Ararat mountains (Genesis 8: 4) – on the present border between Turkey, the Armenia and Iran. Did the descendants of Cham flourish on the Mediterranean rim before migrating to Egypt and southern Africa? Or did a small group from the descendants of Cham emigrate to the Nile Valley before growing and “going back” to Egypt? Honestly, we lack archaeological and historical evidence to validate one hypothesis over the other.
Moreover, speaking of this channel of communication (the Nile Valley), Ki-Zerbo does not focus on who is “down” or “back”. On the other hand, it emphasizes the “cultural kinships” between the inhabitants of sub-Saharan Africa and those of ancient Egypt. He writes: “The current Negro-African civilization is closer to Egyptian civilization than any other known civilization” (ibid., P. 81).
He then mentions many cultural similarities between the ancient black Egyptians and the Kongo, Dogon, Bantu, Mende, Bozo, Benin, Zimbabwean or Mossi (see pages 82-83), before asking the question: “Are there mere coincidences? It seems like no. Finally, he again points out that he does not seek to know who has anteriority, but rather to prove that the peoples of Black Africa and ancient Egypt share a common culture and origins.
“In short, seen from Black Africa, the civilization of ancient Egypt, so strange to Western and modern thought, seems almost familiar. It bears the faded but striking stamp of a very distant fraternity at the dawn of human time “(ibid., P. 83).
Curse of Ham or Canaan?
Throughout history, many Westerners have used a biblical episode to justify slavery and the mistreatment of Africans.
In Genesis 9: 21-27, we read that Noah drank too much wine and got drunk. Then, “Ham, father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father and brought him out to his two brothers … When Noah awoke from his wine, he heard what his youngest son had done to him. And he said Cursed be Canaan! “(Verses 22-25).
This passage insists twice on the role of Canaan, identified as the son of Ham. But in the phrase “his younger son,” the pronoun “his” refers to Cham, not to Noah! How can we be sure? For Cham was not the “younger son” of Noah (the word used means “youngest” in the original Hebrew – see H6996, Strong French Concordance).
The Bible often mentions “Shem, Ham, and Japheth,” but that does not mean that they were born in that order. For example, the Bible mentions “Jacob and Esau” (Joshua 24: 4, Hebrews 11:20), while Esau was the eldest (Genesis 25: 25-26).
In the case of the sons of Noah, the genealogy detailed in Genesis 10 reveals the order in which these three brothers were born. First Japheth (verse 2), then Cham (verse 6) and finally Sem (verse 21). This last verse confirms this order by stating that Sem was “elder Japheth’s brother”.
The youngest son of Noah was Shem, while Canaan was the youngest son of Ham (Genesis 10: 6). It was Canaan, the “youngest son” of Ham, who committed a reprehensible act against his grandfather. As for Ham, he saw the nakedness of his father and what his son Canaan had done to Noah, but Ham was not the one who had offended Noah.
What did Canaan do to deserve such a curse? The “nakedness” of Noah in Genesis 9 is translated from the Hebrew ‘ervah which means “genitals, nudity of a thing, indecency, improper appearance” (H6172, Strong). Thus, the Bible clearly indicates that Canaan committed a sexual act against his grandfather Noah without his consent.
When Noah regained consciousness and learned what his grandson had done to him, he said, “Cursed be Canaan! let him be the slave of the slaves of his brothers! “(Verse 25).
Note that this curse relates specifically to Canaan, one of the four sons of Ham (Genesis 10: 6), not all of the descendants of Ham. Throughout history and to this day, the Canaan region has never been to Africa, but to the Near East between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan.
As we have seen, the Nile Valley, which shares the origins of the peoples of Black Africa, was populated by the descendants of Cush and Mizraim who were not under the curse of Canaan.
We have read previously that these three men still had a brother, Puth (or Phout). What do we know about it?
The Roman historian Flavius Josephus (1st century AD) wrote that he “founded Libya and named the Phoutian inhabitants … [name].” But this country has changed its name; the one he has today comes from one of the sons of Mestraïm, Libys “(Antiquités judaïques, book 1, Leroux editions, page 21, translation Julien Weill).
During the Hellenistic period (330 to 31 BC), ancient Libya designated the whole of the Maghreb (Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya) and most of the Sahara. According to epochs and geographical divisions, the inhabitants of all or part of this region were also known under the names of Berbers, Moors or Numidians. Later, the Romans generalized the name Africa to the north of the continent – it seems that this name comes from a tribe once settled between Tunisia and Algeria.
From Obscure Centuries to the Great Centuries
Some historians call the first centuries of our era “the dark ages” of Black Africa. During this period, the mixing of populations and large migrations took place south of the Sahara.
For nearly six centuries, these cultural movements and exchanges laid the foundation for the emergence of more powerful and better-organized societies. This period paved the way for moving from “clans to empires” (History of Africa, page 85).
The Empire of Ghana
Ghana was the first black empire known with enough precision. In 970 AD BC, the explorer and Arab geographer Ibn Hawkal did not hesitate to say of the emperor of Ghana: “It is the richest of the world because of the gold. A century earlier, writer Yakoubi already reported: “The king of Ghana is a great king. In his territory are gold mines, and he has under his rule a great number of kingdoms “(ibid., Pages 106-108).
In the 11th century, Ghana had an army of 200,000 men, including 40,000 archers and an imposing cavalry, but the empire was weakened following the Arab attacks. The decline of Ghana and the departure to the south of many peoples resistant to Islam marked the formation of the Wolof kingdoms. Several empires will emerge across the continent in the following centuries.
From the 12th to the 16th century, “Black Africa will experience a simultaneous expansion of all its regions from the economic, political and cultural point of view. These four centuries really deserve to be called the great era of Black Africa “(ibid., Page 129).
During these “great centuries”, many societies on the African continent “lived in unison with the rest of the world, albeit with much less technical means because of the multiple geographical and economic barriers … Black Africa was ripe. , from that time to serve as a valuable interlocutor to any partner in the international context. Alas … “(ibid., Pages 175, 177).
From Colonization to Independence
For the next four centuries, the English, the French, the Belgians, the Portuguese, and the Germans literally plundered Africa’s material resources (raw materials, agriculture, diamonds, precious metals) and human resources (slavery). Ki-Zerbo wrote about the invasion of the continent that Africa was snatched from Africans (see page 401).
Such a situation could only lead to the rebellion of oppressed African populations, nationalistic sentiments and the desire to regain lost independence. One of the first steps in this fight was the abolition of slavery. Later, the independence process began with Liberia in 1847 and ended with Zimbabwe in 1980.
This period left deep physical and moral wounds among the population. Thus, the current borders inherited from colonization do not respond to historical or ethnic boundaries, but to economic and territorial objectives – and they are now a source of conflict. As Simon-Pierre Ombga-Mbida, a diplomat in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, points out, the management of these conflicts involves “financial constraints related to peacekeeping operations or peace support [which] are always dictated by Africa’s multiple partners and are generally far removed from the own or direct interests of Africans “(African Wars and Peace, Diplomacy, Occasional Paper No. 15, p. 26).
In Africa and elsewhere, human history is made of domination, submission, and oppression. Instead of living in harmony, people fight and fight each other. The world is in permanent conflict because Satan “deceives all the earth” (Revelation 12: 9).
Note/Source: This article was taken from the September-October 2017 review, World of Tomorrow.