Imagine an accomplished grandparent that is now a pensioner. Pensioners have to hope that all the funds they saved in earlier years is enough to fight inflation and devaluations of currency, if such a risk where to exist. Once any man or woman reaches the age of 65, the risk of diabetes increases to seven times the occurrence in ages 35 to 44. Other risks that increase include heart disease, strokes, cancers and dementia.
Symptoms of dementia include memory loss, difficulty performing familiar tasks, problems with language, disorientation to time and place, poor or decreased judgement, problems with keeping track of things, misplacing things, changes in mood or behaviour, changes in personality and loss of initiative.
If I were a grandparent and I had dementia, would my kids remember me? Would they visit me? Would they tell their children, my grandchildren, and their children’s children, my great grand kids, who their grand parent was? Where he or she was born? Lived, worked, contributed? Would they show my pictures or share my memoirs to compare the challenges I had to go through with the challenges they have to go through?
Did you know that the civilisations in the continent Africa are old and few people can read the countless writings we have from ancient and pre-history? Humanity as a whole has tried to forget.
Fortunately, Africa is not a grandparent with all sorts of medical problems.
Although the heritage of Africa is extremely old and public memory has indeed faded, 1.8 million years ago, an unidentified hominin, possibly Australopithecus afarensis or Kenyanthropus platyops, created stone tools, ushering in the stone age.
Contributions to Industry
Many industries followed: fishing with harpoons (80,000 BC), mining (42,000 BC), fishing with hook and line (20,000 BC), Eastern African Microlithic culture (16,000-11,500 BC), Albany culture (16,000 to 7,000 BC), Lupemban culture (19,000 to 7,000 BC), Mushabian culture (12,000 BCE), Natufian culture (11,000 to 10,000 BC), Capsian industry (9,000 to 8,000 BC), grindstones (8,500 BC), porridge and pottery making (8,500 to 8,000 BC), the bow, basic arrows and poison arrows (8,500 BC), weaving and boat building (6,000 BC), and the use of donkeys for beasts of burden (4,000 BC).
Food supply and urbanisation
Pre-historic Africans independently developed large scale agriculture. An example is Engaruka, an Iron Age archaeological site in northern Tanzania, known for the ruins of a complex irrigation system. Stone channels were used to dike, dam, and level surrounding river waters. Some of these channels were several kilometers long, channelling and feeding individual plots of land totaling approximately 5,000 acres (20 sq. km.). Source: Hull, Richard W. (1976). African Cities and Towns Before the European Conquest. New York : Norton. ISBN 978-0-393-05581-8.
Such agricultural techniques led to the development of cities, social stratification, job specialisation, elites and ultimately the development of the first nations, uniting due to natural disasters and against external threats. Cultivation of wild plants and animal raising were invented independently in Africa during 19,000 to 8,500 BC.
Much of the horrific violence that happened in recent history, during the last 5 centuries, wasn’t possible before 8,500 BC, because the technology for sustaining large nations were still under development and emerging from Africa.
Languages, art and writing
Evidence from taxonomic linguistics points to Africa inventing many languages, proto-writing and writing. Africa hosts the oldest Rock and Cave art. Africa produced the papyri: the choice of writing medium for later civilisations such as the Greeks, the Romans and Byzantium. Africa was producing poetry, social commentaries, civil service exam crib sheets in the Rhind papyrus, spells, prayers, and medical procedure manuals before linear A or B emerged in Crete. Africans also wrote on leaves, mountain faces (Wadi Hammamat), in tombs, in temples, on stele in Africa and on stele in the Middle East (to boast of successful campaigns and creating vassal states).
Writing systems include Hieroglyphics, Demotic, Hieratic, Coptic, Meroitic, Old Nubian, Tifinagh, Geez, Ethiopic, Nsibidi, Phoenician, Punic, Wadaad, Ajami, Wolofal, Kebra Nagast, Gicandi symbols, Adinkra, Cosmographic systems by the Dogon, Amharic, Vai, Bamum, N’Ko, Akagu, and various syllabary.
Between 900 BCE and 300 BCE, Africa developed democratic systems in the regions of Sudan (Meroe), Tunisia (the Carthaginian empire at the time), in Kenya (among the Kalenji), and in Ethiopia (among the Oromo).
If it’s the first female ruler of a state, Africa produced Nitokris.
If it’s the second female ruler of a state, Africa produced Sobekneferu (sometimes written “Neferusobek”), who reigned as pharaoh of Egypt.
If it’s the third female ruler of a state, Africa produced Hatshepsut.
Hatshepsut (Maatkare) was a powerful political person in Egypt even before she assumed the title of Pharaoh. She had a peaceful reign promoting trade and the arts. Her beautiful temple at Deir el-Bahri still stands west of Thebes.
If it’s architecture, Hatshepsut commissioned Djeser-Djeseru.
Prior to the Suffragette movement which only aimed to get white women equal voting rights, British Africans deported to Freetown Sierra Leone were the first to allow women (irrespective of skin colour) to vote for politicians and stand for public office in the modern era.
Mathematics, Medicine, and Sciences
The African contribution to science and applied mathematics has left a valuable legacy in the fields of physics, chemistry, zoology, geology, medicine, pharmacology, geometry and applied mathematics. In fact, they gave to humanity a large store of experience in each of these fields, some of which were combined for various historical works left to us today. Few people know that the solar calendar, lunar calendar and Sothic calendars were produced by Africa, along with the identification before our era of over 1,000 stars.
At a time two thousands years before the emergence of the Seven Sages of Greece, Africa was producing items such as the Smith Papyrus, a treatise providing surgical instructions for 48 types of different medical cases with notes using language such as “Instructions concerning [such and such a case]”.
Thinking Differently About Africa
When you think Africa do you think inventors and scientists?
Do you think safari parks? Lions, rhinos, hippos, elephants, giraffes, and tribal men jumping while holding walking sticks or spares?
If that’s you, this isn’t that kind of site!
Here, thinkafrica means:
- Think cutting-edge;
- Think creative;
- Think can-do;
- Think to contribute
- Know our impressive past; and
- See a bright future.
Here, you can learn what the other 130 trillion indexed pages on the Internet don’t think is important, but if you are African, (or Indian or Chinese) on a very low income, you can do things like raise your income from $1000 per year to $11,000 if you are motivated and interested in finding out how.
- Have done impressive things
- Can do impressive things
- Will achieve impressive things
To recast Africans as who they really are, a motley collection of peoples who have advanced mankind’s knowledge, the sciences, philosophy, technology and the arts, not a stereotype based on four centuries of hate, we draw attention to 1,000 independent achievements by Africa and Africans from 1.8 million years ago to 1800.
To demonstrate the modern day creativity of young Africans, we draw attention to 300 companies in Africa to watch.
To demonstrate the modern day industry of young Africans, we draw attention to 200 things Africans are doing to combat low wages, devalued currencies, and high unemployment economic environments.