The African origin of civilization

Myth or Reality by Cheikh Anta Diop, a review.

I promised to do this at the earliest opportunity and so here we are. For the purposes of this review, we will not dwell on whether the Egyptians were a “black White people”, a “reddish brown white” or whatever other shade of white you can think of. All we will mention here that they depicted their god, Osiris, as black.

Diop argues that the only place or rather to the only people that circumcision/ excision made any sense were those of ancient Egypt. He argues, to these ancients, just as their gods were hermaphrodite, babies too were. So by removing a small part from the male or female organ, these children became male or female. Before circumcision, they were all like gods.

He says the evidence available to us shows the Egyptians were to pray to their gods at minimum 7 times a day. In this respect, the Mohammedians only sought to reduce the burden of the people by making the minimum number of prayer times 5.

He argues because of their settled lifestyle as a result of abundant food supplies along the Nile valley, they had the luxury to worship gods. He also argues these societies were matriarchal. And that patriarchy started with the nomads, that is, almostย everyone else except the Egyptians.

From his works, one can arrive at the conclusion that the Bible/ Torah is legend based on the stories the Jews had heard laced with creative imagination.

It’s an easy to read book. Well written. He has attempted to provide documentary support for his many claims from Egyptian frescoes to statements from those who interacted with Ancient Egypt such as Herodotus. It’s a book I would recommend to anyone.


In a day or two I will write a review of The African Origin of Civilization: Myth or Reality. While you wait for that, in referring to a seminal work, Race et Intelligence, he writes, quoting Jacquard

determining intelligence with IQ is as ridiculous as confusing rectal temperature with health. The real problem is to understand why some people pose this question. Their true aim is to justify social inequalities by means of alleged natural inequalities.

Diop,Cheikh Anta. Civilization or Barbarism, pg65



on gods

In the beginning man created god. No. Diop didn’t write that. But he alludes to it in this passage

Because of the requirements of agricultural life, concepts such as matriarchy and totemism, the most perfect social organization and monotheistic religion were born. These engendered others; thus, circumcision resulted from monotheism; in fact, it was really the notion of a god, Amon, uncreated creator of all that exists, that led to the androgynous concept. Since Amon was not created and since he is the origin of all creation, there was a time when he was alone. To the archaic mentality, he must have contained within himself all the male and female principles necessary for procreation. That is why Aomn, the Negro god par excellence of the “Anglo-Egyptian” Sudan (Nubia) and all the rest of Black Africa, was to appear in Sudanese mythology as androgynous. Belief in this hermaphroditic ontology would produce circumcision and excision in the Black world.

[..]By contrast, the ferocity of nature in the Eurasian steppes, the barrenness of those regions, the overall circumstances of material conditions, were to create instincts necessary for survival in such an environment. Here, Nature left no illusion of kindliness; it was implacable and permitted no negligence; man must obtain his bread by the sweat of his brow. Above all, in the course of a long painful existence, he must learn to rely on himself alone, on his own possibilities. He could not indulge in the luxury of believing in a beneficent God who would shower down abundant means of gaining livelihood; instead he would conjure up deities maleficent and cruel, jealous and spiteful; Zeus, Yahweh, among others.[emphasis mine]

And elsewhere he writes about the human origins, he says

Although scientifically attractive, the hypothesis that man existed everywhere at the same time will remain inadmissible so long as we fail to find fossilized man in America, a continent not submerged during the fourth quaternary when man appeared and on which we have all the climatic zones from the South Pole to the North Pole

African origin of civilization

Myth or reality

After the brief interlude, we are back to Africa. There are still some commenters who have stuck to the line Africans as a whole are not intelligent. They insist this deficiency explains the problems facing Africa. As far as I can tell the source of this information is Rushton, a guy a friend of mine would do well to dip himself in a barrel full of acid. Enough of that for the moment.

I am on a journey. A journey through time. My interest is the history of the Luo/ Lwoo. I will look at what has been written on the contribution of Africans to civilization. I don’t think I will post a lot in between. 

I will be reading Dr. Diop about whom it was written by Immanuel Wallenstein thus

Perhaps the most ambitious attempt to reconstruct African history has been the numerous writings of Cheik Anta Diop. Diop has a theory that there is a basic global division of peoples into two kinds: the southerners(or negro-Africans) and the Aryans(a category covering all Caucasians, including Semites, Mongoloids, and American Indians). Each grouping has a cultural outlook based on response to climate, the difference between them being that the Aryans have had a harsher climate.

The Aryans have developed patriarchal systems characterized by the suppression of women and a propensity for war. Also associated with such societies are materialist religion, sin and guilt, xenophobia, the tragic drama, the city state, individualism, and pessimism. Southerners on the other hand are matriarchal. The women are free and the people peaceful; there is a Dionysian approach to life, religious idealism, and no concept of sin. With a matriarchal society come xenophilia, the tale as a literary form, the territorial state, social collectivism and optimism.

According to Diop’s theory, the ancient Egyptians, who were negroes, are the ancestors of the southerners. This bold hypothesis, which is not presented without supporting data, has the interesting effect of inverting Western cultural assumptions. For, Diop argues, if the ancient Egyptians were negroes, then European civilization is but a derivation of African achievement.

I think it will be an interesting read. Keep it here, don’t touch that button ๐ŸŽผ

on Africa

Many of my friends might have found my last post offensive. I could have lost a few friends because of it. Some could be asking why I allowed a racist bigot to comment on it. I have little to no patience for bigots. I find it strange the lengths people can go to bolster their bigotry.

In almost a daily basis, I read about Africa this or that by some empty heads who would not know where Africa sits on the world map and it is tiring. And even when the reporting is done by Africans, it still leaves much to be desired.

This is one such article.

But I like this comment. It expresses my sentiments in a way I couldn’t articulate them

Considering Africa’s history and that many countries are a collection of dozens or hundreds of nation states, democracy in Africa will always be far more complex than it is in the much more homogeneous Western societies. African countries dominate the top positions in Greenberg’s Lingusitic Diversity Index.

Just like Africa’s true geographical size is misunderstood due to the Mercator projection, I don’t think many people in the West appreciate just how complex African countries are. And Western media (perhaps due to lack of time and space) condense African stories to very simplistic narratives that don’t fully capture wider realities.

Most European countries for instance are largely mono-cultural (other cultures are present but there is usually one overwhelmingly dominating culture and language). Compare the mono-lingual European countries with e.g. Nigeria with more than 500 languages, Congo with more than 200+, Tanzania with 100+ etc. Many European countries would struggle to manage the complex levers that running some African countries involves.

Look at France. It is supposed to be an advanced democracy but is clearly struggling with just 10% of its population being a different culture from the majority. Some of the laws being passed in France like the ban on the burkini would see acres of ‘Freedom and democracy is dead in Africa!’ headlines in the Economist and other mainstream Western publications if they were to be announced by an African government.

What about Belgium? Just a puny two-language problem sees it struggling to keep its panties on. Now multiply that 2-language division by 250 for Nigeria, 100 for DR Congo, 50 for Tanzania, 40 for Ghana, 35 [68 correction by Mak] for Kenya etc. America is still straining to treat its minorities as equal human beings decades after the civil rights movement.

I like that African countries such as Botswana have shown that simply taking Western democracy as is without local customization is foolish and unsustainable (its actually at the root of many democracy problems in Africa). With its steady progress, Botswana has shown that for democracy to succeed in Africa, it must be blended with local realities and accommodate existing traditional leadership structures.

It’s only idiots and bigots who would thing Africans are not doing anything to improve their countries. It is only idiots with a limited knowledge of history who do not that the policies of the Brenton Woods institutions, skewed trade and continued raping of our resources by the west and aid among other things keep Africa on its knees.

No African country even purports to advise the west on how to run their countries. Isn’t it time for Africa to be left to find it’s own solutions to governance. Africa is a large continent. It is diverse. And it is complex.

And finally if your response to this is going to be Africans are not intelligent, I am having none of it. I will delete your comment.