Who Really Are the Savages? : The Pre-King Shaka Bantu/Zulu Means of War

Whenever most people hear the name Zulu they would generally recall the 1986 South K-ShakaAfrican Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) television miniseries Shaka Zulu written by Joshua Sinclair based on his 1985 novel of the same name. In said series the famous South African actor Henry Cele portrayed the military genius Zulu king Shaka kaSenzangakhona (c. 1787 – c. 24 September 1828) also known as Shaka Zulu.

Nevertheless I want to look at a period prior to Shaka rising to the stature of monarch and his implementation of military reforms and innovations. I want to look at how the Bantu engaged in warfare.[1] According to The Washing Of The Spears: The Rise And Fall Of The Zulu Nation by Donald R. Morris at that time the:

“military institutions these people had developed were simple but served their needs. A mild and almost continual warfare was the norm. It was, in the beginning, a casual warfare with limited objectives. Gratuitously aggressive clans were rare, and the rights to grazing lands the major source of tension. A clan defended itself against encroachments on its territory, and it forced weaker neighbors to vacate adjacent territory, but the defeated clan moved and the tension vanished. With the casus belli settled, there were no hard feelings or bitter blood feuds to pass on to subsequent generations” (Morris; 37).

From the offset Morris uses language not generally found when speaking of martial conflict. He employs terms such as “simple”, “mild” and he mentions how the combatting parties had “limited objectives”. He also remarks how once the conflict had come to a close which generally was over real-estate the matter would be concluded. Morris continues on to explain how these battles would be carried out between the contentious clans.

“Most clan conflicts were settled in a frequently prearranged battle. The two clans met at a convenient location, often facing each other over the banks of a small stream, and the women and children assembled on a nearby hillock to shout encouragement and watch the fun. A long preliminary period was devoted to shouted boasts and taunts, and individual warriors ran forward to giya-howling self-praises and dealing death to imaginary foes. The two mobs then edged toward each other, hurling assegais as the range closed. Eventually one side or the other would sense a moral ascendancy and hazard a charge, which usually sufficed to send the enemy bolting. The defeated clan lost cattle and the land, and captives had to be ransomed, but crippling damage was rare and extermination unheard of” (Ibid.; 38).

Morris points to other phenomena that is uncharacteristic of war. He states that the clans met a convenient local with their families in tow. They spent a large amount of time boasting and taunting each other. Then after they hurled spears at each other one group would charge the other sending that clan to flight ending the conflict with no blood being spilled. Now what warzone that you know of was welcoming enough for whole families to venture to in order to spectate? Morris the author referred to it as “fun”. To this writer it appears that the Zulu/Bantu conception of war resembled a contemporary “step-shows” found on the campuses of historically-black fraternities and sororities in the US than any concept of warfare that we are commonly familiar with.[2]

Now before moving forward with my overall point one must also recognize that there was a dark side to the initial Bantu/Zulu style of warfare seen in the worse outcomes of such clashes. When “a clan would be forced off its territory and fail to find new land. It then had little choice but to go marauding, in a desperate attempt to secure a new home by displacing another clan” (Ibid.). If a clan found itself without a said clan would attempt to take over another clan’s territory and if that clan was weak the invading clan would “engage in predawn raids, burning kraals, driving off cattle, and slaughtering its victims as they scrambled, one by one, out of their burning huts” (Ibid.). While not justifying this gruesome act it must be recognized that these occurrences was rare and the people behaved in this fashion at the point of sheer despondency. With that being said I will now proceed to my main point.

zulu-warriersI find it interesting that the dominant or White society has exhausted much time and energy depicting Black people in general as “savages”, “monsters” that are “naturally violent” but for centuries these African peoples had conducted themselves in a relatively humanized fashion prior to the exaltation of King Shaka when conflict arose between two clans or ethnic groups. Also the only reason why their view of war was modified by King Shaka was so that they could defend themselves from the brutality of the White European colonizers that was encroaching on their territories. So in essence the Bantu whose name in its various forms denotes the “people” or “humans” had to give up their humanity to make an attempt to defend themselves from those that claimed to be “civilized”.

 

 

 

 

Works Referenced:

Donald R. Morris. The Washing of the Spears: A History of the Rise of the Zulu Nation under Shaka and Its Fall in the Zulu War of 1879. New York: Da Capo Press, 1998.

 

 

 

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[1] Bantu is used as a general description for the 300–600 ethnic groups in Africa who speak Bantu languages and Zulu being one of them.

[2] Note should be taken that “stepping” finds it origin in military exhibition and close-order drills as well as African foot dancing.

 

 

Who Really Are the Savages? : The Pre-King Shaka Bantu/Zulu Means of War

CHRISTIANITY THE OPPRESSOR’S RELIGION? PART III: The Intelligence of the African Slaves and Their Religion

In the third aspect of this series I will further address the argument that the West African ancestors of contemporary Blacks did not retain their original faith because the White slave masters. To me this narrative communicates that our forebears was not intelligent enough to either outwit their masters when it came to faith. It ultimately questions their level of intelligence and their ability to reason.

To begin this examination of the West African’s intellectual prowess I will look at literacy. We are often taught that our ancestors was illiterate for the most part. That is false because one of the most valuable innovations Muslims brought to the “New World, was literacy. Islam emphasizes literacy, though Muhammad himself could not read or write, and the Qur’an is very explicit about the need to study . . . In West Africa, literacy and the spread of Islam went hand in hand” (Diouf; 23). Also West Africans because of Islam was light years ahead of the Europeans in a number of social areas such as the education of females. “Contrary to the norm in Europe at that time, both parents and girls were taught how to read and write” (Ibid.).

At the very least the first generation of West African slaves was intellectually astute and in many regards they were superior to their captors and owners (at the very least the Islamic West Africans were). At this time it is worthwhile to introduce a few noteworthy examples of how these individuals demonstrated their intellect especially in the religious arena.

Omar_Ibn_SaidWe begin with an African Muslim named Omar Ibn Said who was born in 1770 near modern-day Senegal’s northern border with Mauritania. Omar Ibn Said was an Islamic scholar was later captured and transported to North Carolina in the United States. There he rebelled and escaped from the plantation, later captured and jailed. While imprisoned a jailer saw him writing “strange” characters (Arabic) on the cell wall with coal thus making said jailer recognize that it was something exceptional about Ibn Said. Eventually the governor heard of this exceptional “slave” and his brother purchased Ibn Said. Now this where the story gets interesting and relevant to this present argument.

Omar Ibn Said is then believed to have converted to Christianity, but some signs indicate that this was either a fake conversion . . . or a blending of the two Abrahamic faiths. For instance, several of the Christian texts written by Omar, such as the Lord’s Prayer or the twenty-third Psalm, are all preceded with the Bismillah, the introduction to the suras of the Quran: ‘In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful’ (Westerlund and Svanberg; 423).

Earlier another victim of the slave trade that is of note is Ayuba Suleiman Diallo, also known as Job Ben Solomon (1701–1773) who was born in Bundu, Senegal. Solomon was an exceptional mind from the start. While still a child he “could read and write Arabic easily; by the time he was fifteen this exceptional student had committed the Koran to memory and could copy it by heart” (Wood; 40). Later as a slave he “managed to write at least two William_Hoare_of_Bath_-_Portrait_of_Ayuba_Suleiman_Diallo,_(1701-1773)complete copies of the Quran from memory” (Westerlund and Svanberg; Ibid.).

In due course for many years because of the eventual “forced” exposure to Christianity in the manner of Omar Ibn Said African adherents of Islam passed through a syncretistic stage in certain areas. That is there was a faith in existence among West African slaves and their eventual descendants that was a mixture of Christianity and Islam prior to Christianity becoming the chief faith of Blacks in America.   Thus in some instances conversion was not as forced as many want to claim.

From all of this we see that the Conscious Community’s account of Black people’s relationship with slavery religion in general and Christianity does not present a people that when even under duress they still determined their path and brandished an exceptional intellect.

Works Cited:

David Westerlund and Ingvar Svanberg, eds., Islam Outside the Arab World. Richmond, Surrey: Curzon, 1999.

Peter H. Wood, Strange New Land: Africans in Colonial America (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003), 40

Sylviane A. Diouf, Servants of Allah: African Muslims Enslaved in the Americas, 15th ed. New York: New York University Press, 2013.

CHRISTIANITY THE OPPRESSOR’S RELIGION? PART III: The Intelligence of the African Slaves and Their Religion

CHRISTIANITY THE OPPRESSOR’S RELIGION? Part II: Islam The Part They Don’t Tell You About

learning-quran7In the first part of this series I demonstrated how Christianity had a presence in Africa long before White Supremacy come into existence and long before chattel slavery. But what I want to address in this segment is that many in Conscious Community propagates is that chattel slavery took away the African’s original faith/religion or spirituality. That Christianity was foreign to the African mind along with its concepts and principles. Now to this I have to differ for the reason that what many describe as the sole West African faith i.e. African spirituality did not reign supreme in the fashion they believe. Many in the Christian faith may find my approach problematic but that is not my concern at this time.

Going forward my argument is that what was “forced” on them in many instances was not too far from what they already held to prior to enslavement. According to Sylviane A. Diouf:

When the first Africans were deported to the New World, beginning in 1501, Islam were already well established in West Africa. The religion revealed to the Arabian trader Muhammad between 609 and 632 C.E. had been introduced to North Africa as early as 660. South of the Sahara it had been known since the eighth century through contacts with merchants from the north. Islam in its orthodox Sunni form started to spread, however, after the conversion of the two rulers War Diaby, from Takrur in northern Senegal—which by applying the . . . . Islamic law, became the first West African Muslim state—and Kosoy, from Gao in present-day Mali. Both conversions occurred at the beginning of the eleventh century. Within fifty years, Islam had expanded from the banks of the Senegal River in the west to the shores Lake Chad in the east. (Diouf; 20).

As mentioned the first Africans that was shipped to the so-called New World occurred in the year 1501. But Islam entered the northern part of the African continent in the year 660 and it became a huge facet by the eleventh century. So it can be safely stated that a large segment of our West African ancestors was Muslims. Therefore when they arrived in the new world they was Muslim until forced conversion to Christianity. But was it as difficult as many make it out to be?  How does Muslims view Christianity and how different was it from Islam?

In answering this question the work Islamic Beliefs, Practices, and Cultures, states:

Muslims do not view themselves as the only community to have received revelation from God. In many passages, the Koran affirms that what has been revealed to Muhammad is nothing new, but a confirmation of the same divine message of old. The Koran states that every civilization has had prophets who introduced divine books. In addition to the Koran, these include the Torah (al-Tawrat) of Moses, the Psalms (al-Zabur) of David, and the Gospels (al-Injil) of Jesus (Marshall Cavendish Corporation; 68).

One must take note also that while Islam respects these revelations they do “believe that the Torah, the Psalms, and the Gospels have all been altered in some way, and that only the Koran is the word of God in its purest form” (Ibid.). Yet even in light of this “the Koran honorifically labels Jews and Christians as “Peoples of the Book” and thus Muslims share a special bond with both religions. Jews and Christians are the only groups with which the Koran explicitly permits interfaith marriage” (Ibid.). It would be safe to say that our Islamic ancestors would not see Christianity as being vile and against their religion or spiritual worldview.african_muslim_making_dua_in_desert

Now let it be clear that there was resistance on the part of our ancestors and forced conversion to anything is iniquitous. Also the form of Christianity that was employed was a bastardize form to pacify Blacks and far cry from authentic Christianity. Rather the purpose of this article was to demonstrate that some of the narratives floating around from “Black” sources is antiquated, fantastical and apocryphal in nature. What many claim we lost was not even relevant to the degree that they claim.

Ultimately going back to the grand intangible i.e. African spirituality will not change our situation. Nor will Islam or Christianity unless those things propel is to take action and create tangibles. We do not want to be stuck in the past and we do not want to become static waiting on the future but we want to be active in the present learning from the past and building towards the future.

Works Cited:

Marshall Cavendish Corporation, Islamic Beliefs, Practices, and Cultures, Muslim World. Tarrytown, NY: Marshall Cavendish Reference, 2010.
Sylviane A. Diouf, Servants of Allah: African Muslims Enslaved in the Americas, 15th ed. New York: New York University Press, 2013.

CHRISTIANITY THE OPPRESSOR’S RELIGION? Part II: Islam The Part They Don’t Tell You About

Refining White Supremacy: Second Half of the Thousand Year Reign of White Supremacy

welthauptstadt_germania_by_manzanedo-d68ui7y

We are currently dwelling in the second half of the 1,000 year reign of White Supremacy. While there is nothing written in stone as it where demonstrating that White Supremacy is supposed to reign in for that length of time it seemed appropriate that it be framed that way. After all it is not uncommon for a wicked system to be framed in that fashion after all Nazi Germany dreamed of their 1,000 year Reich or empire. But White Supremacy is far older than any aspirations Nazism had. White Supremacy began in the 1400s and went into full swing in the 1500s, and now we come to the 2000s. White Supremacy has reigned for over 500 years and we have entered the refinement stage.  One of my biggest influences in the area of Black Empowerment in his worked entitled The United Independent Compensatory Code System Concept a textbook/workbook for Thought, Speech and/or Action for Victims of Racism (white supremacy), Dr. Neely Fuller Jr. explains what this refinement period consists of what he writes on page 34 of the work. Dr. Fuller states:

“refinement of” white supremacy means to improve the methods of maintaining White Supremacy.

This means that the White Supremacists (Racists) strive to decrease the necessity for using direct violence and /or the threat of direct violence against non-white people. They, instead, strive to increase the use of deceit as the basic means of causing their victims to “enjoy”, and/or not resist, their subjection to White Supremacy.

The refinement stage of White Supremacy is the “ideal” stage of racial subjugation to those White Supremacists who strive to produce it. They prefer a condition in which their victims willfully support being the subjects of the White Supremacists as they become accustomed to believing that this is the best possible arrangement between white and non-white people.

The White Supremacists (Racists) promote the refinement of White Supremacy by speaking and/or acting in a manner that makes the practice of White Supremacy more acceptable and/or more ‘appealing ‘ to the victims.

[Note: White Supremacy (Racism) is a non-just and incorrect socio-material practice—no matter how it is practiced, and no matter how appealing or acceptable it may be to it’s victims].

The refinement stage of White Supremacy is generally promoted through the systematic use of falsehood and/or ‘flatter’.

Sometimes the flattery takes the form of material objects distributed among the non-white people of the known universe to use as so-called “status” symbols.

The refinement stage of White Supremacy includes speech and/or action by White Supremacists that appears to be against White Supremacy, but in truth, is only the promotion of White Supremacy in a different and/or more deceitful form.

 

So at this time White Supremacy is at a point where they do not have to totally rely on violence other than the occasional reminder to some who is dominant. White Supremacy has become more cerebral in its actions, preferring brains over brawn. They do not need to murder, enslave and rape their way to the top because they have already done so during the initial 500 years. Falsehood and deception is employed more often than it had been in the past. White Supremacy has lulled the majority of the Black Collective to a point where they love their place in the system or they are jockeying for a better position in it.

It is no longer about being the majority of the population for the dominant society because it is estimated that by the year 2042 Whites will lose their majority status. They do not have to be the majority if they have the Black collective programed to go along with the system and actually love it for the material things it temporarily offers.

Now that we know what stage we are in, it is appropriate in closing to ask the critical question that has to be asked.

Will those that are awake take action, waiving the enticements that White Supremacy offers and for a brief moment undergo righteous suffering to ultimately replace White Supremacy with a system of justice erected by the hands of a new Black Community?

Refining White Supremacy: Second Half of the Thousand Year Reign of White Supremacy

Christianity’s Bloody White Reformed Legacy: My Thoughts on President Obama’s 2015 National Prayer Breakfast Speech

Obama Speaks At National Prayer BreakfastEveryone is reacting whether in a positive fashion or negative regarding Remarks by the President at National Prayer Breakfast. There he said:

“Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history.  And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.  In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.  Michelle and I returned from India — an incredible, beautiful country, full of magnificent diversity — but a place where, in past years, religious faiths of all types have, on occasion, been targeted by other peoples of faith, simply due to their heritage and their beliefs—acts of intolerance that would have shocked Gandhiji, the person who helped to liberate that nation.

So this is not unique to one group or one religion.  There is a tendency in us, a sinful tendency that can pervert and distort our faith.  In today’s world, when hate groups have their own Twitter accounts and bigotry can fester in hidden places in cyberspace, it can be even harder to counteract such intolerance. But God compels us to try.  And in this mission, I believe there are a few principles that can guide us, particularly those of us who profess to believe.”

Now out of all that was said above “Conscious” Negroes want to zero in on the aspect where he says “And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.  In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ” to denigrate Christianity once again. What I am going to do here is set the record straight regarding this matter.

Let’s begin by getting the Crusades and the Inquisition out of the way off top, they all was just politics and power plays with religious trappings regardless of which group was involved. Now what I want to do is focus on the actions of “Christianity” after the onset of White Supremacy initiated around the 14-1500s and in the United States of America. It is here where we get the best expression of the ideology and theology behind chattel slavery which eventually led to Jim Crow and other social ills affecting Black people today. My argument is that it was not Christianity proper that justified slavery and Jim Crow “in the name of Christ” but a form of it. This form is called Reformed theology or Calvinism.

refortheoIn essence Reformed theology or Calvinism has a unique way of looking at God and His actions. To them God maximally controls everything. He decides our fates and He micromanages every aspect of creation. When someone suffers it is God, he guides the whole universe. God is even responsible for the actions of the villain of the Bible Satan. One celebrated Reformed theologian said “that foundational to the Christian faith is the affirmation that God is sovereign over evil and over all pain. It will not do to dismiss the problem of pain to the realm of Satan. Satan can do nothing except under the sovereign authority of God. He cannot throw a single fiery dart our way without the sovereign will of our heavenly Father.” Now let’s see how that played out in the context of the country now known as the United States of America.

alexander-h-stephens2On March 21, 1861 the Vice President of the Confederate States of America Alexander Hamilton Stephens gave the “Corner Stone” speech which said:

“Our new government . . . foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth. This truth has been slow in the process of its development, like all other truths in the various departments of science. It has been so even amongst us. Many who hear me, perhaps, can recollect well, that this truth was not generally admitted, even within their day . . . Those at the North, who still cling to these errors, with a zeal above knowledge, we justly denominate fanatics. All fanaticism springs from an aberration of the mind from a defect in reasoning. It is a species of insanity. One of the most striking characteristics of insanity, in many instances, is forming correct conclusions from fancied or erroneous premises; so with the anti-slavery fanatics . . . They assume that the negro is equal, and hence conclude that he is entitled to equal privileges and rights with the white man. If their premises were correct, their conclusions would be logical and just but their premise being wrong, their whole argument fails. I recollect once of having heard a gentleman from one of the northern States, of great power and ability, announce in the House of Representatives, with imposing effect, that we of the South would be compelled, ultimately, to yield upon this subject of slavery, that it was as impossible to war successfully against a principle in politics, as it was in physics or mechanics . . . That we, in maintaining slavery as it exists with us, were warring against . . . a principle founded in nature, the principle of the equality of men. The reply I made to him was, that . . . we should, ultimately, succeed, and that he and his associates, in this crusade against our institutions, would ultimately fail. The truth announced, that it was  . . . he, and those acting with him, who were warring against a principle. They were attempting to make things equal which the Creator had made unequal.”

Besides Stephens seeing anyone that view the Negro as being of equal stature to the White man as being in possession of a form of insanity and that to try to establish a differing principle to the one that Blacks was unequal was effectively “attempting to make things equal which the Creator had made unequal”. Further on he says regarding the Confederate States of America:

“It is the first government ever instituted upon the principles in strict conformity to nature, and the ordination of Providence, in furnishing the materials of human society. Many governments have been founded upon the principle of the subordination and serfdom of certain classes of the same race; such were and are in violation of the laws of nature. Our system commits no such violation of nature’s laws. With us, all of the white race, however high or low, rich or poor, are equal in the eye of the law. Not so with the negro. Subordination is his place. He, by nature, or by the curse against Canaan, is fitted for that condition which he occupies in our system. The architect, in the construction of buildings, lays the foundation with the proper material-the granite; then comes the brick or the marble. The substratum of our society is made of the material fitted by nature for it, and by experience we know that it is best, not only for the superior, but for the inferior race, that it should be so. It is, indeed, in conformity with the ordinance of the Creator. It is not for us to inquire into the wisdom of His ordinances, or to question them. For His own purposes, He has made one race to differ from another, as He has made “one star to differ from another star in glory.” The great objects of humanity are best attained when there is conformity to His laws and decrees, in the formation of governments as well as in all things else. Our confederacy is founded upon principles in strict conformity with these laws. This stone which was rejected by the first builders “is become the chief of the corner” the real “corner-stone” in our new edifice”

The former Vice president unloads a lot in this portion theologically speaking. Off top he obviously felt that the subordination of the White man was wrong yet the suppression of the Negro was natural or normal. He employs strong Reformed theological language. In his understanding all that has took place was “the ordination of Providence”. Providence was another means of saying the “Creator” or God. As mentioned earlier in Reformed thought God is sovereignly in control of every aspect of the physical and immaterial planes of existence.  No one can do a single thing on their own, every action is God. Alexander Hamilton Stephens also appeals to a popular misinterpretation of a biblical passage to justify his White Supremacist rhetoric. To top it off he even applies a text reserved for Jesus to their racist government as if to solidify the fact that their actions was the will of God.

Thus what President Obama said is not further justification for the condemnation of Christianity it just proves that like with all things humans tend to abuse them to justify their ill intentions. The type of Christianity that was employed to create and justify the actions of  White Supremacists is not the Christianity taught in scripture.

Christianity’s Bloody White Reformed Legacy: My Thoughts on President Obama’s 2015 National Prayer Breakfast Speech

Christianity: The Oppressor’s Religion?

On the internet in “Black Consciousness” and “Empowerment” circles it has become popular hbbchto spread myths regarding Christianity. In essence the argument is that the African only became acquainted with Christianity via chattel slavery. That Africans had no contact or association with the Christian faith prior to the Transatlantic Slave trade and that the White oppressor forced conversion under the threat of death. These notions are primarily founded on the teachings and writings of men such as John Henrik Clarke, Yosef Ben-Jochannan and John G. Jackson.

I will be first to admit that a form of Christianity was utilized to sacralize Whiteness and “as an instrument of social control, to produce “obedient and docile” slaves” (Lincoln, 200). But just about anything you can point to has been and will be abused in some fashion throughout history. However for the record the aim of making Africans and their Black descendants compliant was accomplished moreso with things “such as laws, illiteracy, and an omnipresent threat of extermination” (Ibid.). So even if Christianity was not a factor those other tools would have proven quit effective just in the same fashion they appear to work very well at present during a time when Black people have the freedom to choose their own faith, spirituality or none at all. There are many “I am bout it, I’mma bang on a kracka” militants on social media that are not Christians and propagate these anti-Christianity campaigns but is still passive. Outside of social media they fear death, they are generally reliant on the White Supremacist system and couldn’t even bust a grape. Yet I digress.

At this point I will venture and say that the African encountered Christianity prior to the Transatlantic Slave Trade and chattel slavery in the Americas. Africans has a long history with Christianity prior to the existence of America the country. Christianity entered Africa shortly after its initiation in the first century in Jerusalem. One source says:

“Christianity first arrived in North Africa, in the 1st or early 2nd century AD. The Christian communities in North Africa were among the earliest in the world. Legend has it that Christianity was brought from Jerusalem to Alexandria on the Egyptian coast by Mark, one of the four evangelists, in 60 AD. This was around the same time or possibly before Christianity spread to Northern Europe.”

Looking back in time one will see that Jerusalem was located on a trade route and Greece then Rome eventually began to rule that area of the world. All areas under their jurisdiction was connected. There was converts to Judaism from all areas and eventually there was Christian converts from all walks of life. Also there was apostolic (1st century) or FIRST GENERATION missionaries sent to proclaim the Christian gospel. This means that people that may have actually hung out with Jesus, Peter and Paul took Christianity straight to Africa right after it began.

oldcopticOne of the first groups being the group that these Black Conscious types love out of all the Africans (To some no other Africans exist). I am speaking of the inhabitants of Kemet or Egypt. Even prior to the birth of Christianity because of earlier conflicts and subjugation by Egypt there was Jewish settlements in Egypt. The 4th century historian Eusebius of Caesarea  in the 320s wrote “They say that this Mark was the first to have set out to Egypt to preach the gospel, which had already written down for himself, and the first to have organized church in Alexandria itself” (Oden; 208-9). In other words Eusebius related that the guy who wrote the book of Mark that’s in the Bible today set out to formally take Christianity to Africa. Eusebius was not the only one who held to this position, it was deeply held within the context of the historical Christian church prior to him. Egyptian Christians are called Coptic Christians.  The work Coptic Civilization: Two Thousand Years of Christianity in Egypt edited by Gawdat Gabra the Clinical Professor of Coptic Studies at Claremont Graduate University states:

“According to tradition, the Egyptian Church was founded by Mark the Evangelist. A fragmentary letter of Clement of Alexandria (second century) mentioned that Mark wrote his Gospel during Peter’s sojourn in Rome, and after Peter’s martyrdom he came to Alexandria . . . By the end of the second century, extant documentary papyri testify to the presence of Christians in Egypt. Some of these fragments which were found in Middle-Egypt reflect the expansion of Christianity during this time along the Nile valley” (Gabra; 19).

Two other areas that will be briefly mentioned is Ethiopia and Nubia. Ethiopia is indebted to the Coptics because much of “Ethiopia’s Christianity had come from the Egyptian Coptic Church” (Burton 26). One of the oldest church buildings in the world is of Ethiopian origin. Regarding both areas we learn that:

“NUBIA (in present-day SUDAN) and ETHIOPIA became . . . strongholds of Christianity in Africa. Unlike Egypt and the Meghreb, these areas had not been part of the Roman Empire, and thus its imperial politics had little influence on the course of Christianity in these regions. Christianity arrived in Nubia with and monks and traders in the fourth and fifth century . . . a Monophysite form of Christianity became the religion of the kingdoms of Nubia. In the region of modern-day Ethiopia, the leaders of the kingdom of AKSUM converted in the fourth century and likewise adopted Monophysite Christianity” (Gates and Appiah 67).

The above mentioned groups of Africans arrived at their embrace of Christianity through no coercion of any political entities.wp340501d5_06

Switching gears to address the fact that to imply Black folks first encounter with the Judeo-Christian deity was via slavery and they totally lost their original faith is false. While people can claim that early on Black people was forced to a degree to accept a version of Christianity that was not always the case. Many hid their original African deities etc. within the form of Christianity enforced on them. They maintained their indigenous worship within plain sight.

The Historical Dictionary of Shamanism under the heading of Vodou says “Various forms of animist ancestor veneration and possession . . . that originated in West Africa and evolved by integrating elements derived from Christianity in the Caribbean and its diaspora during and after the slavery era” (233). In Brazil prior to “1888, when all forms of slavery were abolished in Brazil, candomblés also referred to sizable jamborees and gatherings celebrated on the enslaved Africans’ free days. They provided opportunities for the faithful to honor African deities cleverly disguised as Catholic saints and were one of the first Hoodoo-Magic-Spell-Boss-Fix-Honey-Jarconcrete examples of African resistance and agency” (Omari-Tunkara; 3).

More could be said but this should suffice for a blog article. At this moment some may wonder who the hell I am and what gives me the right to question these men and their work. Well to answer that I must be frank and say that while I have not put in as much time as they have in attempting to elevate my people’s minds I can say this. I am currently trying not only to elevate the Black mind but I am also trying to elevate them economically in more than just talk. Also academically I have a Bachelor of Science, a Masters of Arts and a full Master’s degree and additional credits valued at a third Master’s degree from a regionally accredited college and university. Also I am currently enrolling in a PhD program at a South African graduate school. I am a published author and business man. I think I am standing on good ground when I say the things I do.

 

 

 

 

Works Cited:

Burton, Michael C. Deep Roots: The African/Black Contribution to Christianity: a Study of the African/Black Personalities of the Bible, African/Black Church Fathers and the Major Contributions of the Early Black Church to Christianity. Bloomington, IN: IUniverse Inc, 2008.

Gates, Henry Louis, and Kwame Anthony Appiah, eds. Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African-American Experience. 2nd ed. Oxford: : Oxford University Press, 2005.

Harvey, Graham, and Robert J. Wallis. Historical Dictionary of Shamanism. Lanham, Md. [u.a.]: Scarecrow Pr, 2007.

Lincoln, Charles E., and Lawrence H. Mamiya. The Black Church in the African American Experience. Durham [u.a.]: Duke Univ. Press, 1991.

Oden, Thomas C. The African Memory of Mark: Reassessing Early Church Tradition. Downers Grove, Ill: IVP Academic, 2011.

Omari-Tunkara, Mikelle Smith. Manipulating the Sacred: Yoruba Art, Ritual, and Resistance in Brazilian Candomblé. Detroit: Wayne State Univ. Press, 2005.

 

Christianity: The Oppressor’s Religion?

Your Son is Not Your Man: Making Others Pay for Your Mistakes

James-Gloria-5x4_DiashowI read an article that was refreshing and a complete contrast to the “My baby gonna buy his momma a house” syndrome that plagues the Black collective. Now what I am about to address is something that could apply to the males in the “family” but more so the “mothers” for they get the most press and they standout in light of the Black collective being a matriarchy in place of the patriarchy it once was.  As you can tell by the title and my preliminary words I am going to address Black “mommas”.

In the Black collective there is an unspoken code regarding how to view mommas. You are to never say anything wrong or negative about them and if you do there is going to be a fight. This applies whether the father is present or not. You can talk about someone’s father all day in most cases but you better not say anything about their momma.

We put these women on pedestals and many times for no good reason just because they participated in a natural biological process called sexual relations and delivered a child. No one questions the circumstances of your conception, or acknowledge the fact that your mother had sex. In the majority of Black men’s minds their mother is the Virgin Mary and they were conceived via some miraculous intervention. When that is farthest from the truth. Even when they witness their mother living a loose lifestyle they block it out and refuse to call a spade a spade. Any type of negative traits inherent in that person does not exist according to them.

This Oedipal fixation within the Black collective is recognized by these women and they use it to their advantage.  They make all these mistakes over and over again with these philandering men and then expect their children—especially one or all of the Black males to take care of them when they become of age. In other words they made many unhealthy and damaging decisions over the years and didn’t pursue anything better for themselves or their progeny and then expect the kids to grow up and get a well-paying job and take care of them.

You see this a lot in situations where the Black male child has an affinity for sports and when they finally make it somewhere in the field you will see the Black male in the media stating how he is going to buy his (single) mother “a house” or some other item(s) that she wasted her life and could not acquire for herself.

Yeah folks will say “Oh she was there for me and raised me when my no good so-and-so father wasn’t around!”, but people tend to ignore the fact that she was the one that CHOSE your no good so-and-so father to begin with. I know there are exceptions to this and various other reasons why a person’s father might not be present but I am speaking of majority of the situations.

No Inheritance

I said all of this to get to my main point. I firmly believe that Black parents should have been performing the same acts of love and concern for their progeny as Whites, Asians and other groups.  Ever since integration Black people have stopped building for the most part thus they did not leave anything for those that followed. No Concept of generational wealth and all that encompasses is present by in large.  Since there is nothing to inherit in the form of a means to generate passive income Black children must strive to educate themselves and identify a way to acquire income but said income is not going towards building their own future. That revenue partially goes towards their “parent” or “parents” who squandered their opportunities to build and leave something behind.

Another Path

rsHowever the story does not die here, there is something that appeared in the media that went under the radar of most in relation to American football cornerback for the Seattle Seahawks of the NFL (National Football League) Richard Sherman. No it is not about Richard Sherman’s volatile relationship with the media nor his activities at the 2015 Super Bowl.

What I am highlighting is something that is diametrically opposed to what we see in the media regarding Black males that attain a spot in professional sports and how their family members react to it or what they expect.

This is about Kevin Sherman the father of Richard Sherman. Even though he has “a son who kevsherrecently signed a $56 million contract with the Seattle Seahawks, Kevin Sherman still wakes up early to do the job he has done for more than two decades.” Yes unlike the many Black mommas that expect their sons to provide for them something a more stable mate would have acquired for them or they would have attained for themselves if they had the initiative to actually build something this man strives to NOT burden his son regardless of how much he makes. In the interview he is quoted as saying:

“It’s something to keep busy, and it’s easy now. If I take a day off, I don’t need to worry about where my money is coming from. I want to get that pension and the medical benefits just so it’s one more thing my son doesn’t have to worry about. I’m always going to be making money. I want to fix it so that even when I’m not working, I’m getting paid.”

Also it is not just his father that has this mentality but his mother as well. Richard Sherman’s mother Beverley, continues to work “with disabled inner-city children.” imagesNow these are genuine parents. They truly love their child, while as far as we know they did not leave him any wealth yet they arranged matters where they are not dependent on their son so he can in turn build and create generational wealth (Hopefully he would take this opportunity to do so).

While many of these Black households are matriarchal and consist of single women that are making ghastly choices and raising men that abandon their women and offspring and no one want to address it there will be more of this mother or goddess worship in Black homes but articles like this shines like a ray of hope and communicates to these women that your son is not your man and he shouldn’t have to pay for your mistakes.

Your Son is Not Your Man: Making Others Pay for Your Mistakes