The Real African|| By Dumani Mandela
There is a spirit of a new African, which is emerging on the continent. This new African has a sense of space and time that are not limited by colonialism, slavery or apartheid in their definition of self.
This new African is firmly based on a new reality of Africa, which is slowly beginning to emerge in the Africa Rising era of this new millennium. This new African is emerging on the basis that Africa can develop for itself using its largely unwritten and undocumented history to forge a new path to the future. This new African believes that, we as Africans come from an era of great African kings and queens of a society and legacy that was born 3000 years before Christ.
We were accomplished mathematicians, scientists and philosophers before the common era of man. Although it is a difficult proposition to suggest that people of African descent have had their renaissance before in Ancient Northern Sudan in an area called Nubia and in Egypt, Africans must reawaken the spirit of that historical renaissance for this new millennium.
The African Renaissance concept was first articulated by Cheikh Anta Diop in a series of essays beginning in 1946, which are collected in his book Towards the African Renaissance: Essays in Culture and Development, 1946-1960. This concept has been further popularized by former South African President Thabo Mbeki during his term of office, heralding the beginning of The African Renaissance, and it continues to be a key part of the post-apartheid intellectual agenda.
The African Reinascance according to history is an event that has already happened before in Nubia (Northern Sudan), and we Africans can give rise to it yet again in this new millennium. According to the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, the Nubians were advanced in mathematics, philosophy and astrology.
Nubia was home to some of Africa’s earliest kingdoms. Known for rich deposits of gold, Nubia was also the gateway through which luxury products like incense, ivory, and ebony traveled from their source in sub-Saharan Africa to the civilizations of Egypt and the Mediterranean. Archers of exceptional skill provided the military strength for Nubian rulers. Kings of Nubia ultimately conquered and ruled Egypt for about a century.
Nubia is a region along the Nile river, located in what is today northern Sudan, and southern Egypt. It was one of the earliest civilizations of ancient Northeastern Africa, with a history that can be traced from at least 2000 B.C. onward (through Nubian monuments and artifacts, as well as written records from Egypt and Rome), and was home to one of the African empires.
Monuments still stand—in modern Egypt and Sudan—at the sites where Nubian rulers built cities, temples, and royal pyramids.
There were a number of large Nubian kingdoms throughout the Postclassical Era, the last of which collapsed in 1504, when Nubia became divided between Egypt and the Sennar sultanate, resulting in the Arabization of much of the Nubian population.
Nubia was again united within Ottoman Egypt in the 19th century, and within the Kingdom of Egypt from 1899 to 1956. The name Nubia is derived from that of the Noba people, nomads who settled the area in the 4th century following the collapse of the kingdom of Meroë.
The Noba spoke a Nilo-Saharan language, ancestral to Old Nubian. Old Nubian was mostly used in religious texts dating from the 8th and 15th centuries AD. Before the 4th century, and throughout classical antiquity, Nubia was known as Kush, or, in Classical Greek usage, included under the name Ethiopia (Aithiopia).
In the book Afrikology ‘philosophy and wholeness an epistemology’ by Dani W. Nabudere, he assesses the influence of the ancient Nubian communities influence of ancient Egyptian culture and philosophy and indigenous knowledge systems. It is a worthwhile read for any one in their youth seeking to extend the their communal history and body of knowledge on being an African.
In it Nabudere searches for a deeper understanding of indigenous African knowledge systems as they relate to African practices, and argues for their contemporary use in our times. Rather than stop with the task of proving the primacy of the Egyptian and Nubian past and its numerous cultural and scientific achievements, Nabudere is strenuously attempting to connect that illustrious past with the African present.
The African narrative within the book Afrikology is told in a way that highlights the intellectual contributions of historical Africa to modern philosophical and religious thought.
There is a new search now more than ever for the African story with African images especially for the youth. We have had many liberation movements in Africa to liberate the African from social, economic and political systems that sought to subjugate the African soul and mind.
In the new millennium, have gone through a twentieth century marked by the overwhelming belief on a global scale that the African must be an equal participant in the global order. We are now left with the task of redefining the African story and also its origins within a global system.
The new African faces a dilemma of education verses economic development of nation states with many African states believing they must choose one or the other in order to thrive.
With nation states like Kenya where there is free universal primary education the choice has been made that the two must be harmonious with one another. There is the belief that through indigenous education a new story of Africa can be told, where the market participants of the nation will derive equal value from indigenous education, and also their right to share in a common mutual heritage for all in their nations.
As noted by Kingsley Chiedu Moghalu in his book Emerging Africa; “ Channeling the continents energy based on unity of belief about origins and destinations will create transformation. A close look at the civilizations and industrialized economies of the West and Asia will confirm this proposition”. Africa is on a new journey of self-discovery and growth that will redefine what the African contribution is to the global world order. Africa is beginning to understand its place in the annals of history and is re writing its own story and re defining its own new trajectory.
The questions that we Africans must answer are that; what is our common and mutual heritage? How can we also leverage the experiences of our ancestors dating back to ancient Egypt to foster the kind of societies that we would like to develop in the upcoming millennia? What is the emerging African story and how can we inculcate the learning’s of the past to our children and our children’s children? Also how do we re-tune the way in which we educate our youth so that it will motivate a newfound sense of Africanism within them?
In the article from Media online called: Letting Africans speak, telling African stories the author Joanna Write states: “The key to reporting on the continent, is telling the story “without letting one’s own assumptions take over. African audiences are changing. Viewers are more sophisticated. The old ways of telling a story can no longer be sustained.”
Indeed African audiences are getting more and more complex in a digital world where access to information is becoming easier, and technology is increasing the ability to communicate globally across boarders with the click of a button.
The evolution in the African story is not simply a technology driven evolution, but it is in the evolution of African identity through a new continental consciousness. The evolution of African identity is driving the new consciousness of the continent and Africans are negotiating their place within a globalized world with a more evolved African world – view.
It is the development of the African worldview that is driving locally based innovations on the continent and fostering a new African renaissance in the development paradigm. This is leading to the indigenization of African markets across sectors termed as Africapitalism.
The indigenization of markets on the continent is fostering new and innovative approaches to development, which are also evolving the African narrative for the betterment of the future of Africa for future generations. With the image of Africa is changing, so is the psychology of African people across the continent.
There is a newfound sense of optimism that the continent can go through another African renaissance based on the African ideals of Ubuntu – (I am a person through other people and when I dehumanize you I dehumanize myself). It is this universal spirit of Ubuntu that is changing how African people relate to markets and themselves as being market participants with African universal values of humanity.
Throughout the continent of Africa there is the slow rise of the new conscious African that is deeply steeped in their values and culture. The new African is beginning to re weave the narrative of a glorious African past into the current continental ambitions of its people.
Although the rise of the new African is slow and tedious, their values are slowly becoming part of the continental consciousness in pushing the continent towards a renewal which some like, Cheick Anta Diop and Thabo Mbeki have referred to as the African Renascence.
It might take us as a continent several more generations to reach the continental goals that have been enshrined into a document like NEPAD (new Africa plan for development), but we must begin to acknowledge the slow rise of the new African.