Enlightenment

I was walking through the halls of the university and saw a flyer for a Yoga class with the tag line, “find inner peace”. For Africans, is it rational to seek inner peace without also disrupting the condition of isft that envelops us since the personal and social are entwined?

Jacob Carruthers stated that “The Niswt’s overall function, like that of Wosir, is the establishment of Maat in Tawi, i.e., to establish conditions where enlightenment will prevail over ignorance.”

I maintain that the establishment of Maat is also our charge. To establish Maat in the world is the true basis of enlightenment.
Referenced terms

isft is a Kemetic word that can be translated as wrong-doing or disorder.

niswt is the title of the ruler of Kemet. Pharaoh is a foreign term.

wosir is the divinity that the Greeks called Osiris.

tawi was the national name of Kemet. It referred to the united two lands. tawi literally translates as “two lands”.

Ideology

Many claim that ideology enables us to better see. This is only partially true. Ideology draws our attention to particular things or ideas in such a way that it also blinds. Thus one must resist the seduction of ideological myopia and its reduction of reality to absolutisms.

Q&A: Ancient Egypt in African history

A person posed the following question: Since most of our ancestry derives from West Africa, why does African history always focus on Ancient Egypt?
My response: I don’t think that African history only focuses on Egypt (Kemet), however the focus on Egypt among African Americans goes back to the 19th Century, wherein its grand legacy was seen as a means of redeeming the false notion that Africa was devoid of history and that Africans had never created a great civilization. If we were to survey the historiography of 19th and mid-20th Century African American intellectuals, we do see a significant focus on Egypt, but there were also a fair number of intellectuals writing about other, later civilizations; consider for instance Du Bois’s groundbreaking texts The Negro and Black Folks Then and Now, as well as Carter G. Woodson’s The African Background Outlined. All of these texts offer a fairly balanced treatment of Black history.

To be sure, there are critiques to be made of a “lop-sided” focus on Egypt, particularly if such a study does not alleviate our often impoverished knowledge of the rest of Africa. Many argue that as Diasporan Africans, we should be more acquainted with the history of West and Central Africa. I agree with this, but also add that it is important to understand African history as a continuum that spans from ancient Egypt and Nubia to the present day.

Language resources

Akan

Abibitumi: http://abibitumi.com

LearnAkan.com: https://www.learnakan.com/

Textbooks from the National African Language Resource Center: https://nalrc.indiana.edu/resources/books-media/lets-speak.html

Video Lessons: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-vyAPawT20CKpp9H-xjFlg?fbclid=IwAR079pHmTkHwrogp1k6rfyhwO46RpcAXel3vR7Se5YsK7lW_DgO396zfBgk

 

Fulani/Fula/Pulaar/Pular

Fulani-English/English-Fulani Dictionary and Phrasebook: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0781813840/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?smid=A1JKVWH22E85VP&psc=1

Pulaar-English Dictionary: https://www.amazon.com/Pulaar-English-English-Pulaar-Standard-Dictionary-Hippocrene/dp/0781804795/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1532305251&sr=8-1&keywords=pulaar

Textbooks from the National African Language Resource Center: https://nalrc.indiana.edu/resources/books-media/lets-speak.html

A free Fula textbook: https://www.livelingua.com/fsi/Fsi-FulaBasicCourse-StudentText.pdf

A free Pular textbook: http://www.ibamba.net/pular/manual.pdf

 

Hausa

Teach Yourself Hausa: http://www.teachyourselfhausa.com/

Textbooks from the National African Language Resource Center: https://nalrc.indiana.edu/resources/books-media/lets-speak.html

English-Hausa Dictionary: https://yalebooks.yale.edu/book/9780300047028/english-hausa-dictionary?fbclid=IwAR29l1Yo2Ph0kj9_wqI9PXsQ342GmEYzATLW9TaPlJCTpC6RUG1ygRS2Ir4

Hausa-English Dictionary: https://yalebooks.yale.edu/book/9780300122466/hausa-english-dictionary?fbclid=IwAR2TlgJZvIMoR8EfzRH6gQgXUsZBJkyYDq3yc0h9Ka5WSUdqc3bIUK5SuvE

Hippocrene Hausa-English Dictionary: https://books.google.com/books?id=sJZkAAAAMAAJ&dq&fbclid=IwAR2EL0RM1xkuq6TFLbZm-GHNgiErv_WYhPy1bbhxeWR9nueE1ddAk2zyXwU

 

Igbo

An Igbo phrasebook: https://wikitravel.org/en/Igbo_phrasebook?fbclid=IwAR0MHHBL3Vm2oPOk4OsVmb37swXj3Yi2gKCyjgKE8aRN6XLtTXXzUwnwUrQ

Textbooks from the National African Language Resource Center: https://nalrc.indiana.edu/resources/books-media/lets-speak.html

Various resources: http://www.omniglot.com/writing/igbo.htm?fbclid=IwAR36vUepU2488lBWsNHCDi6MU6PyGPvp_j2q_0kQyeD1p1k7VtETJKNy1Kw

 

Kiswahili

Abibitumi: http://abibitumi.com

The Swahili Institute of Chicago: http://swahiliinstitute.org/

A free textbook from Kansas University: http://www2.ku.edu/~kiswahili/pdfs/all.pdf?fbclid=IwAR2ptAPg3yhurmaJkN4L84kP_dcOQYUZ9DzRtxApcnIy4OMzvVcg2vXPJBI

Textbooks from the National African Language Resource Center: https://nalrc.indiana.edu/resources/books-media/lets-speak.html

Various resources: https://allnet.uiowa.edu/swahili-language-and-culture-resources?fbclid=IwAR2Me1ONaBvwCiIOScXVJvFzH5lVE3VXCXqZfnmgevee-8cQsVWaA_eayKs

 

mdw nTr (Medu Netcher)

Abibitumi: http://abibitumi.com

The Kemetic Institute of Chicago: http://www.ki-chicago.org/

Sebat Rkhty Amen’s school: http://www.meduneter.com/

Mfundishi Jhwtyms’s mdw nTr classes: http://www.mfundishijhutymsmdwntchr.com

Middle Egyptian by James Allen: https://www.cambridge.org/hk/academic/subjects/languages-linguistics/arabic-and-middle-eastern-language-and-linguistics/middle-egyptian-introduction-language-and-culture-hieroglyphs-3rd-edition?format=PB&isbn=9781107663282

 

Wolof

Abibitumi: http://abibitumi.com

Textbooks from the National African Language Resource Center: https://nalrc.indiana.edu/resources/books-media/lets-speak.html

Various resources: https://allnet.uiowa.edu/wolof-language-and-culture-resources?fbclid=IwAR3G1fxjMwpfP4A091PtpkMpcjd5jEjh3-OkiVlULwtN2vcRKGg2VZnYJk4

Video lessons: https://www.youtube.com/user/Moustaphasarr?fbclid=IwAR3Sqq0N4VWvJCqA3mb_lSVCPWZTTbR7NNLbgviEjCqaFPkcl-P4zOAHlVA

 

Yorùbá

Abibitumi: http://abibitumi.com

A free textbook from the University of Texas at Austin: http://www.coerll.utexas.edu/yemi/index.php?fbclid=IwAR0aL7UAS3N3Mzh0viMJvY0s7xPjbAa37d3aQkyxWoMVgzieMzDuo51eyb8

A pronunciation guide: https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Yoruba/Pronunciation?fbclid=IwAR0KtmJvprYAMB0nTHrYLxAxP3pIxdjjCV4E4G4o_-oim1AmCSG5m7F9TUQ

Textbooks from the National African Language Resource Center: https://nalrc.indiana.edu/resources/books-media/lets-speak.html

Various resources: https://allnet.uiowa.edu/yoruba-language-and-culture-resources?fbclid=IwAR1QjAGBnV62aI2TrA9E_aF1yQsLdiVwTDS7HBvqbllPL3-QGP_2zgFjzOM

 

Ọṣun, Aset, and the divinity of motherhood in African thought

Years ago I read Oyèrónkẹ́ Oyèwùmí’s work on gender in Yorùbá society. I found her work exceedingly interesting.

I was struck by the indigenous conceptualization of Ọṣun (Oshun) as “Oore yeye”, the “generous mother”. I found this quite interesting given that Ọṣun also represents (among other things water and harmonious relations). This made me think about the Kemetic concept of nwn (nun), which is primordial water, as well as ast (Aset), and to a lesser degree mAat (Maat). While I don’t think that Ọṣun is the Yorùbá “equivalent” of these Kemetic concepts (the search for conceptual equivalencies across cultures betrays a number of problematic assumptions about cultural universalism, but more on that at another time), it is interesting that both societies represented these ideas in the form of women.

The critical role of women as the vessels of new life was not lost on the architects of these ancient civilizations. The reproductive and educational roles of women were not just physical or instructional, what we might term “instrumental functions”. In the Yorùbá imagination women were reflective of the conduit of life, the stream of human consciousness from time immemorial to the present, the maintenance of ethical and nurturing relations, and the deep feelings of love that sustain them. Thus the role of rivers, lakes, and streams in sustaining food production systems paralleled the roles of mothers as sustainers of humanity.

This echoes the role of Aset, who was not only the mother of Hr (Heru), but also represented the archetype of human motherhood. Again, this was not simply an instrumental or functional role, but was one that expressed the role of women as carriers of future possibility. In this case Aset carried Heru, who delivered the country from the rule of his uncle stX (Set). Heru represented the triumph of right or righteousness over might. Aset therefor represented the possibility of renewal, redemption from injustice, reclamation of truth, and the forward flow of human society. Again, these are similar concepts. Though they differ in critical ways, they reveal a great deal about the ontology of gender in at least two indigenous African civilizations.