ARTICLE WAINAO N°49 -THE BEST KEPT SECRET
28th January 1974: The theses of Cheikh Anta Diop and THEOPHILE OBENGA, attesting to the black African origin of the ancient Egyptians, have, on many points, been validated during the Cairo conference organized by UNESCO.
Cheikh Anta Diop (was a Senegale ehistorian, anthropologist, physicist, and politician who studied the human race's origins and pre-colonial African culture. Though Diop is sometimes referred to as an Afrocentrist, Diop's work has posed important questions about the cultural bias inherent in scientific research.
He was Born in Thieytou, Diourbel Region, French Senegal, Diop was born to an aristocratic Muslim Lebu family in Senegal He obtained the colonial equivalent of the metropolitan French baccalauréat in Senegal before moving to Paris to study for a degree. In 1946, at the age of 23, Diop went to Paris to study. He gained his first degree (licence) in philosophy in 1948, then enrolled in the Faculty of Sciences, receiving two diplomas in chemistry in 1950.
he taught physics and chemistry in two Paris lycees as an assistant master, before moving to the College de France. In 1957 he registered his new thesis title "Comparative study of political and social systems of Europe and Africa, from Antiquity to the formation of modern states." The new topics did not relate to ancient Egypt but were concerned with the forms of organisation of African and European societies and how they evolved.
He obtained his doctorate in 1960. According to Diop's own account, his education in Paris included History, Egyptology, Physics, Linguistics, Anthropology, Economics, and Sociology. In his 1954 thesis, Diop argued that ancient Egypt had been populated by Black people. He specified that he used the terms "negro", "black", "white" and "race" as "immediate givens" in the Bergsonian sense, and went on to suggest operational definitions of these terms. He said that the Egyptian language and culture had later been spread to West Africa. When he published many of his ideas as the book Nations nègres et culture (Negro Nations and Culture), it made him one of the most controversial historians of his time. This groundbreaking work led to disturb a lot of established historians, because he challenged them with his findings and ideas about the history and origins of Africa. In his works, he seemed to have made it his goal in life to tell Africa’s history from an African perspective, while doing this scientifically. Dr. Diop smashed a lot of Eurocentric ideas about the origins of Africa and its people.
Dr. Diop’s aim was to prove not only that ancient Egyptians were descendants of black Africans—that Egypt was a black society—but also to show that Egypt’s cultural achievements of society were before and directly influenced by the cultures of Greece and Rome, and consequently, modern Western civilization. This claim was backed up by anthropological evidence and has since then been met with a lot of controversy from Eurocentric scholars such as Robert S. Collins (University of California, Santa Barbara) whom view Diop’s work as “revisionist”.
Nevertheless there are countless European and American scholars such as Sir E.A. Wallis Budge whom confirmed Diop’s work. He has been able to show that, for the last five hundred years, European and American Historians wrote or rewrote history glorifying the people of European extraction and distorted the history of the rest of the world. That’s what makes Diop’s work a challenge to read. Everything you used to know about history is being questioned, but in the end, Diop’s work offers valuable, and very much needed information. It creates the debate in the scientific world , adn the most famous took place in Egypt.
On January, 28 1974 started the Cairo Egyptology Conference . is within the framework of the drafting of the General History of Africa, that at Professor DIOP’s initiative, in Cairo, from January 28 to February 3, 1974, an international symposium on the settlement of ancient Egypt and on the decipherment of Meroitic writing, which brought together the most eminent Egyptologists from all over the world. It allowed all scholars and specialists to defend their theses for three days, and invited them, in the words of the UN organizers: "to clarify, to establish facts and to support proofs with scientific rigor, to approach these questions in all serenity and with the constant concern for scientific truth, having the real scientific attitude of the one who doubts, who does not know, who is wrong or who doubts ". Two main theses clashed: that of a Negro Egypt since its origins, and cradle of humanity defended by Cheikh Anta Diop and Theophilus Obenga, and that of an ancient Egypt white or mixed race, defended by most other scholars present."
Famous Cairo Egyptology Conference marks the definitive triumph of the thesis of the great scholar Cheikh Anta Diop on ancient Egypt, the African Negro precedence of Egyptian civilization and its predominance over civilization Greco-Roman on which the West based its superiority complex on the rest of the world.
The general conclusions of this conference let no place for the doubt and show the clear domination of the theses supported by Professors Cheikh Anta Diop and Obenga over those of the others present: "The very thorough preparation of the communications of the professors Cheikh Anta Diop and Obenga did not have despite the clarifications contained in the preparatory working document sent by UNESCO, a counterpart that is always equal. There was a real imbalance in the discussions. ". Among the recommendations of this conference, we can cite the following points which undoubtedly mark the triumph of the main theses defended by Cheikh Anta Diop since his reference book Nations Negroes and Culture published in 1954:
- "To establish all the possible correlations between the African languages and the ancient Egyptian", "Faced with the impossibility of genetically linking the Egyptian, Semitic and Berber";
- "The Egyptian could not be isolated from his African context and Semitic did not account for his birth";
- The term Kamet ie Black / Black, was definitively accepted to designate the Egyptians. Term that they themselves used to designate themselves.
It is also interesting to note that it was at this symposium that the use of the biblical term Cham, devoid of any scientific basis, was rejected.
The many books Diop published in French were all dedicated to African self-empowerment and the reconstruction of a colonially-fragmented identity. The works done by Anta Diop, makes the case that both mankind and civilization started with black people. It argues that Ancient Egypt was largely Black African in race and culture during the first 2,000 years of its civilization.
Cheikh anta DIOP has the university of Dakar named after him...in fact every university in Africa should do the same !
To know more about the subject:
Ezeanya-Esiobu, Chika. "The Resurrection of Cheik Anta Diop". Pambazuka News. Retrieved 24 Nov 2016.
Cheikh, Anta Diop, The Cultural Unity of Negro Africa (Paris: Présence Africaine, 1963), English translation: The Cultural Unity of Black Africa: The Domains of Patriarchy and of Matriarchy in Classical Antiquity (London: Karnak House: 1989)
^ F. J. Yurco, "Were the ancient Egyptians black or white?", Biblical Archaeology Review (Vol 15, no. 5, 1989)
Diop, Cheikh Anta (1989). The African Origin of Civilization: Myth Or Reality. Chicago Review Press. p. PT57. ISBN 1613747365. Retrieved 29 March 2018.
^ Obenga, Théophile (1992), "Le 'chamito-sémitique' n'existe pas", Ankh, N° 1
Obenga, Théophile.Diop, Cheik Anta. (1977), Parenté génétique de l'egyptien pharaonique et des langues négro-africaines.
(1970–1972), Égyptien ancien et négro-africain,
Nations nègres et Culture, Paris, Présence Africaine, 1954, 1964, 1979.
The Cultural Unity of Black Africa, Translation of L'Unité culturelle de l'Afrique noire, Présence
Africaine, 1962 — Chicago, Third World Press, 1974, 1978 — London, Karnak House, 1990.