People

Samuel Ajayi Crowther: from slave to Polyglot & first African Anglican Bishop

The word “polyglot” comes from Greek. “Poly” means “many” and “glot” means tongue. Greek was the first European language to use vowels. It is an Afroasiatic language written right to left originally like Hebrew. Almost every word that starts “ph” in English comes from Greek, along with 12% of all English words – 150,000 words. There are 600,000 words in English, 120,000 words in Yoruba, and no-one has ever counted the number of words in Latin or Greek. Within six years of banning the slave trade, a former slave had the opportunity to produce a bible fully translated into Yoruba, a guide to grammar for Nupe, Igbo and Yoruba, a Yoruba version of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, receive a Doctor of Divinity from Oxford between 1861 and 1881, to become a polyglot, and become the first Anglican African bishop.

Dihya, Queen of the Berbers: the Wars against the Rashidun caliphate

The ancient indigenous people of North Africa, West of Egypt were of many tribes, and they were commonly referred to as the Berbers. Their lands were invaded several times, yet they managed to maintain their languages and their culture along with considerable military power. Among the invaders and conquerors of North Africa were the Phoenicians, …

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Kingdom of Buganda: Uganda’s 1000 year old Kingdom

A fallacy about African history is often repeated that political institutions were introduced by either Europeans or Arabs. With one 1,000 year old kingdom still in existence, we demonstrate that African stories are available to turn into documentaries, education and entertainment material from the Kingdom of Buganda.

5m Africans, Carribeans and Asians who fought in WW1 and WW2: Spotlight on Force Publique

“In 1914, the Germans and their allies went to war not just with Britain, but with the whole of the British Empire. Over 3 million soldiers and labourers from across the Empire and Commonwealth served alongside the British Army in the First World War. ” National Army Museum. How did the Force Publique help the Allies?

Gisèle Rabesahala: Visionary and A Human Rights Lawyer

Have you watched “Madagascar”, the cartoon? Seen the inhabitants? Seen it as the island of Lemurs? Have you ever bit the bullet and spent £3,000 for white beaches, fresh fish from the Indian Ocean and a private villa with concierge? When you think Madagascar, do you think “luxury holiday”, think “lemurs” or think Gisèle Rabesahala? Who is Gisèle Rabesahala?

Federation of Kwararafa (13th – 18th Century)

Africa is full of surprises. Most people visit Africa for safari parks and taking pictures of lovely animals from Range Rovers. But what if you could take a trip into the mind like inception – a journey through time and space. What if you could journey into your imagination and visit a sophisticated African state with no king, no concerns of external threats, a self-sufficient domestic economy, no economy dependent on slavery? Such a state existed.

Mamluk Sultanate (1250-1517 CE): Never let a Megalomaniac get in the way of beautiful architecture

Some civilisations sacrificed a work-life balance, art and architectural brilliance to focus on winning wars. One African dynasty found time to fight the Mongol empire and build insane works of beautiful architecture at the same time. “Mamluk” comes from the Arabic “owned” or slave. The Mamluk sultanate was created by slave soldiers and administrators that took over Egypt from the Ayyubid dynasty.

5m Africans, Carribeans and Asians who fought in WW1 and WW2: Spotlight on the German West Africa Askari (Schutztruppe)

Should Afro-Europeans wear the poppy? This question used to challenge me. Learning GCSE History (a UK secondary school grade), I heard about what sparked World War 1 and the lessons the government wanted the next generation to learn. “Those who don’t know their history are doomed to repeat it” George Santayana (16 December 1863 in Madrid, Spain – 26 September 1952 in Rome, Italy). And there! my interest in the past was sparked. I read. Interested in movies, along the way, I watched various films like Sergeant York, Dam Busters, Where Eagles Dare and sat through Lawrence of Arabia twice. In all this I grew to respect the past generation of Brits for their grit and sacrifice but I was never made to feel that “people who look like me” contributed anything to Britain’s survival or prosperity. Now, I know otherwise. Now, I know that it was a World War in the first place because Africa didn’t have self-rule on both sides of the war.

Wangari Maathai: A Professor, An Environmentalist and An Inspiration

Imagine seeing vividly lush forests and fields of green being brought down for the sake of erecting buildings that would take the money from the community’s pockets and put it into the investors and businessmen’s bulking wallets. That would make you feel outrageous wouldn’t it? That’s not the real question though, the question is; will …

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5m Africans, Carribeans and Asians who fought in WW1 and WW2: Spotlight on the Senegalese Riflemen (Tirailleurs Sénégalais)

All through the First and Second World Wars, multitudes of African fighters battled with regards to European interests, while being consigned to frontier status and gaining almost no ground toward picking up freedom of their own. The Senegalese Tirailleurs are among the numerous indigenous people groups who served in the French armed forces amid the World Wars. By 1918, France had enrolled somewhere in the range of 192,000 Tirailleurs Sénégalais all through French West Africa and 134,000 of them got involved in combat roles – some in the European theatre.

The Rashidun Caliphate: international spread of Islam

Over the span of thirty years, an empire emerged and grew supporting the rising religion at the time, Islam. This period witnessed a spectacular expansion of territory and religion during the Rashidun Caliphate which translates to “The Rightly-Guided Successors” under the leadership of four caliphs covering an area of 6,400,000 km2 and including a population of 21,400,000.

The Kingdom of Kerma (2500-1500 BC)

The Kingdom of Kerma was an ancient civilization that existed between 2500 BC and 1500 BC, with its capital at the city of Kerma. It was located in the heart of Sudanese Nubia and is the first provable sub Saharan kingdom to have existed. The Kingdom of Kerma is thought to have existed without a …

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5m Africans, Carribeans and Asians who fought in WW1 and WW2: Spotlight on King’s African Rifles

The King’s African Rifles, abbreviated as KAR, was a Colonial Regiment of Britain which served from 1902 to 1960s. It was a multi-battalion regiment which worked in East Africa for a more extended period. Britain had without any doubt many possessions in East Africa, and till the independence of British East African colonies, the King’s African Rifles worked up to the mark.

The Hausa States: The Pre-Islamic Confederacy

THE HAUSA ETHNICITY The Hausa people are one of the largest ethnic group in Africa. The old Hausa ethnic locations before the Fulani jihad were known collectively as Hausa Bakwai and Hausa Banza, where “Bakwai” was a term used for the original seven Legitimate(Bakwai) Hausa states: Biram, Daura, Gobir, Rano, Katsina, Zaria (Zazzau), and Kano. …

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The Fatimid Caliphate: Contributions to Arts and Sciences

The Fatimid caliphate was an Islamic kingdom that stretched over North Africa from 909 AD to 1171 AD. The caliphate promulgated the Seveners (or Ismāʿīlism) branch of Shia Islam and its geography spread from the Red Sea (to the East) to the Atlantic Ocean (to the West). It covered a total area of 4,100,000 square …

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Njinga Mbandi (1581–1663): Queen, Intelligent, Tactician, Negotiator, Warrior, Thorn to Portugal

  The start of the Transatlantic slave trade was during the 15th century when the Portuguese began kidnapping people from Africa’s west coast and transported them to America and Europe. For almost a century, Portugal was rising and growing as an empire, an empire that was built on the use of slaves captured from Africa …

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Kingdom of Medri Bahri: 400 years of David v. Goliaths victories against Ottomans

The Kingdom of Medri Bahri was a semi unified state situated in the Horn of Africa (modern day Eritrea). It was established in the early 12th century and rose to prominence in the 13th century, through trade and its impressive defensive army. It survived multiple serious invasion attempts by formidable enemies, including the powerful Ottomans, …

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Makuria: Humanity’s Longest Observed Peace Treaty, The Baqt

Makuria was successor state to the Nubian kingdom. The kingdom of Makuria comprised of​ a region along the Nile River; encompassing the area between today’s Aswan in southern Egypt and Khartoum in central Sudan. The kingdom ​existed between 500 AD to the middle of the 14th century and had its capital as Dongola which was …

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