Africa is one continent that produces a lot of bad news, from poor leadership to starvation to slavery in Libya. This continent rarely has any good news to share and be proud of. But this article is a reminder of our once great continent and what gigantic inventions that we once produced in the past and that the rest of the world now uses.
Remember this list when someone tries to make you feel ashamed of your black heritage. it is your heritage, even Michael Jackson could not change that with all his skin bleaching.
Here we go:
Many treatments used in modern medicine were first employed in Africa centuries ago before they were performed in Europe. Examples include: vaccination, autopsies, broken bone setting, bullet removal, brain surgery, skin grafting, filling of dental cavities, installation of false teeth, what is now known as Caesarean sections, anaesthesia and tissue cauterisation. You got that right? Man, caesarean section!
2. Architecture and Engineering
Everyone knows about the pyramids. Those wonderful behemoths of architecture! The largest and most famous of which are the Great Pyramid of Giza. And also the Great Sphinx of Giza. The pyramids are still a mystery to the world of academia because they can’t understand how these great buildings were built. Some even resort to saying that the architects of the buildings must have been aliens! But the evidence is clear that black people built these beautiful masterpieces.
Africa is the source of the oldest known possible mathematical object. The artefact is the Lebombo bone, which was discovered in the Lebombo Mountains of Swaziland and dated to approximately 35,000 B.C. It has also been found that ancient Egyptians had textbooks about math that included division and multiplication of fractions and geometric formulas to calculate the area and volume of shapes. That’s right!
When talking about seafaring we always talk about European nations with famous explorers like Christoper Colombus, while forgetting that these explorers were not the first on those waters. Evidence suggests that ancient Africans sailed to South America and Asia hundreds of years before the Europeans, debunking the propaganda that Europeans were the first to sail to the Americas. Many ancient societies in Africa built different types of boats, from small vessels to large ships that could carry up to 80 tons.
5. Mining of Minerals
Yep, even though the scramble for Africa was just a mineral grab by the colonialists, there were actually Africans who used to mine minerals. Shocking I know! After all the garbage we are fed that we were uncivilised! The oldest known mine in the archaeological record is the “Lion Cave” in Swaziland, which radiocarbon dating shows to be about 43,000 years old. The ancient Egyptians mined a mineral called malachite. Also the ancient gold mines of Nubia were among the largest in the world.
6. Metallurgy and Tools
Metallurgy is a fancy word for saying what a blacksmith does. Forming and forging metallic ore into shapes and sixes as desired. Many advances in metal-work and tool-making were first made across ancient Africa. These included steam engines, metal chisels and saws, copper and iron tools and weapons, nails, glue, carbon steel and bronze weapons and art. In places like Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda, the advances in metallurgy and tool-making surpassed those in Europe.
Astronomy is the study of the skies by my simple reasoning. Ancient African cultures birthed discoveries in astronomy. Many of these are foundations on which we still rely, and some were so advanced that their mode of discovery still cannot be understood. The Dogon people of Mali amassed a wealth of detailed astronomical observations. They knew of Saturn’s rings, Jupiter’s moons, the spiral structure of the Milky Way and the orbit of the Sirius star system. How could they know all these things without the wonderful observational tools we have today? One wonders?…Alien?
When we talk about art we talk about it mostly from a Euro-centric point of view. Names like Leonardo Da Vinci, Picasso are synonymous with great art. While African art is relegated to niche categories. BUT… The oldest known art objects in the world — a series of tiny, drilled snail shells about 75,000 years old — were discovered in a South African cave.
Philosophy is another area where as Africans we get short-shrift. There is no recognition of great African thinkers even though we have also produced some of the earliest texts in this area. One of the earliest works of political philosophy was the Maxims of Ptah-Hotep, which were taught to Egyptian schoolboys for centuries. Ancient Egyptian philosophers made extremely important contributions to Hellenistic philosophy, Christian philosophy and Islamic philosophy.
That is it for this list, even though there are other areas where Africans had a head-start including in religion and speech. This list is not exhaustive but it is a start in reclaiming heritage lost as Africans. One that we should be proud of and should guard zealously.