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Moors in Spain

When Black Men Ruled the World: 8 Things The Moors Brought to Europe


African studies and the importance of learning our history and heritage

Lucas Amuri

March 02, 2015

I left Legon 40 years ago and have been asking students whether they found this course (African Studies) useful and/or interesting but most said no.


After a working life and being exposed to the world, with 63 countries visited, I have come to understand the rationale of the course and how to make it interesting.

The rational is that we cannot really develop if our development is not anchored in our own heritage i.e history, culture, values etc etc. I learned from an educator that the word for this is 'nostrification' or as one local politician would put it 'domestication'. Apparently the Germans and Japanese did same. Now how would Africans do this?


I believe it is by getting to know their history from antiquity if not from 1,750,000 years ago when Zijanthropus Boisie was discovered in East-Central Africa (the Biblical garden Eden) but at least from 10,000 or 6000 BC with the latter date being almost when Pharaonic Egypt or Kimit, as they themselves called it, started and records were kept.


The idea is to find out what made our ancestors able to create the best civilization known to man at the time and how to reclaim those values for our development henceforth.


 The way to make the course more interesting is to show how for almost every subject around today, the ancient Africans contributed something to the way it is being taught at present  -  from the ancient Egyptian Mystery System or science to educational system.


 Another way is to mention iconic world figures and landmarks and show their African origins.


For example most of us read Aesop's tales but how many know who Aesop was. We assume he was Greek but that is not the case. That was the name the ancient Greeks gave to him when he went to spend a few months with them, told them the stories which they recorded and passed on.


Aesop was actually an Ethiopian called Lochman.


Graduating doctors swear the Hippocratic oath in which mention is made of Aescalapius and one could ask how many Africans know who this is? There again it could be assumed he was Greek but in fact he was an African ( ancient Egyptian multi-genius) called Imhotep who was considered the God of medicine and even Hippocrates considered the father or medicine deferred to him.


One more example from ancient Egypt is the Christian religion and Bible which seems to have lots of elements from the Osirian drama, the Book of the Dead, the Coffin text etc. The Ten Commandments look like a distillation of the 147 negative
confessions of the ancient Egyptians.


Another example, who is Gibraltar named after ? It is General Tarikh Ziyad, the Moor or African who led the Moorish (Africans + Arab) troops to conquer Spain in 711 AD and occupied it for 774 years. Djabal Tarikh or Rock of Tarikh leads to Gibraltar. It is during the occupation of Spain by Africans or Moors that much of the knowledge of the ancient Egyptian civilization which had been translated into Greek and Arabic was now translated into Latin for onward transmission to the rest of Europe.


Going eastward. one might ask who the Ganges river is named after? It is after an Ethiopian General who led troops into conquering that part of India at the time. Etc, etc. one can go on and on about the African presence in world history from ancient times through to the modern era.


Lucas Amuri

March 02, 2015


Publisher's note: 

The article was prompted by a student at University of Ghana who wrote to the writer the following:

"My name is Caleb amprofi.. a student of the university of Ghana.. African studies is a very interesting required course over here. Basically during first three weeks we all learn the same thing.. gender and development and afterwards we are divided.. we study what we choose individually.. I chose African art it's philosophy and criticism.. it was very difficult.. we were taught very unusual things and things that don't really matter .. I personally forced myself to learn just because of the exam. Ancient artifacts.. how to identify them amongst others. It was interesting but not really useful. Thank you


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