Archive for history

Poetic Politics?

Posted in Awareness, CULTURE, HISTORY, Mother Africa, North America with tags , , , , , , on October 7, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

Lyndall Beddy, a South African columnist with News Time, recently wrote an article in what she calls Poetic Politics. I could not get through the whole article before knowing I needed to respond. She wrote,

“European Colonial Doctors, not Indigenous Healers, cured Africa’s diseases: leprosy, yellow fever, bilharzia [sic], malaria, sleeping sickness et al . . . in most of Africa the faith of the people was in cannibalism (body part medicine), witchcraft and spirits. And far from understanding animals, they were afraid of most of them. My own char is too afraid still of frogs or spiders to go near them and I have to evict them from the house.”

Well, that was her opinion, and this is mine . . .

Let’s start with  actual facts. These diseases are collectively known as tropical diseases. They were so named because they thrive in warm climates. They also thrive in communities that are victims of poverty and malnutrition. Malnutrition is a result of poverty. Malnutrition leads to medical disorders and leaves you vulnerable to more diseases. Before colonists came to Africa, communities (villages)  were not victim of poverty. Do not forget Africa was a rich continent and this is what drew the colonist.

Beddy also wrote,

“As I have explained, black American descendents of slaves made up a culture and history of an Africa that was perfect until the nasty whites went to Africa and captured blacks as slaves from this perfect world (which, by the way, was monogamous in the Kwanza Cult version)”.

Kwanza is not a cult. As you should know (since you call yourself an amateur historian), Kwanza is a celebration. It originated in Africa and was adopted in America by members of the African Diaspora in an effort to regain ties with our heritage. As an amateur historian did you not know that slavery robbed the American born members of the African Diaspora of knowledge of our ancestry?

Beddy also wrote,

“The truth is that whites had no resistance to malaria, and did not even enter the interior of Africa until a cure had been found for malaria . . . It was white doctors, during the European colonial period, who found the cures for the many illnesses of Africa, often at considerable risk to their own lives.”

Beddy, the truth is, the colonists were not forcibly taken to Africa in chains. They willfully entered Africa, at their own risk, for their own benefit. I am sure they could barely wait to enter Africa’s interior and “discover” more riches.

Beddy says she is an anti-racist activist, yet she said,

“. . .  in most of Africa the faith of the people was in cannibalism (body part medicine), witchcraft and spirits. And far from understanding animals, they were afraid of most of them. My own char is too afraid still of frogs or spiders to go near them . . .”

In fact, a good lesson to learn in being an activist against racism is not to make racist statements. Have you worshipped with people who practice their traditional or indigenous faith enough to “understand” their faith? Is it not the “spirit” of Jesus that is the cornerstone of the Christian faith? Do you understand “frogs and spiders?”

Religions of the Africans Forced into Slavery

Posted in HISTORY, Mother Africa, North America with tags , , , on May 2, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

What was the religion of the Africans that were abducted or sold into slavery? In the U.S., Slaves were forced to reject the religion of their home and learn Christianity. In South, Central, and Latin Americas they were able retain or blend their traditional religion with Christianity.  What religions were they forced to reject?

Religions of the enslaved Africans of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade depended on the region of Africa where the abduction happened.  Africa is a land of diversity with many ethnic groups, cultures, languages, and religions. During the slave trade there were high numbers of indigenous or traditional religions. Others had converted to Islam which was brought to Africa by Arab and Indian traders. I could not find clear records of the religion in each region at the time.

Abduction Regions & Their Religions:

  • Windward Coast (Ivory Coast) – Akan and Muslim
  • Gold Coast (Ghana) – Traditional
  • Bright of Benin (Nigeria) – Traditional
  • Sierra Leone – Traditional and Muslim
  • Central and Southeastern Africa (Cameroon – N. Angola) – Bantu religion
  • West Central – Orishas, Akan, and Ifa
  • Senegambia –  Muslim

Traditional religions included: Akan, Ifa, Orisha, La Reglas de Congo, and Mami Wata.

Christianity, like Islam, was first introduced to Northern Africa. From Egypt it worked its way southward. Catholic missionaries brought Christianity to African.  There were Africans that learned the teachings of Jesus first hand.

Cuban History of Slavery

Posted in HISTORY, Latin America with tags , , on April 24, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

The Cuban population has an estimated 63 to 70 percent African heritage. When Christopher Columbus made his “discovery” Cuba was thought to be part of North America. In 1513, four Africans were brought to Cuba as slaves. From 1517 to 1726 kidnapped Africans were brought to Cuba in large numbers for the purpose of slavery.  Mainly, the enslaved Africans were free laborers in the gold mines.

In 1526, slaves were granted the right to purchase their freedom under the Cedula real (royal writ). The first slave uprising took place in 1533 at the Jobabo mines. Four slaves fought and killed Spanish soldiers at the mines. The slaves’ heads were removed and put on display to ease colonists’ fears and discourage more revolts.

It did not stop the rebellion. In 1538, slaves teamed with French pirates and burned the city of Havana. In 1682, Blacks were not allowed asylum in the Church, nor were they allowed to sing funeral masses. The struggle between the Spanish crown, Christian colonists, and the African slaves continued. In 1687, Cuban priest were ordered by the Papal (Pope), to covert African beliefs to the Catholic faith.

In support of the successful sugar production, in 1789, King Charles III issued a codex for slaves to “toil” in Cuban fields from the age of 17 to the age of 60. Slaves were to be fed, clothe, and instructed in Catholicism.

In 1806, Africans founded an organization to promote African identify and religion. Matanzas AfroCuban cabildo members bought the freedom of other slaves.

Slave revolts continued until 1832.  At that time there were over 287,000 slaves in Cuba.

Textbooks in Cultural War

Posted in Awareness, NEWS, North America with tags , , , on March 11, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

The Texas State Board of Education is considering modifying the curriculum of its students. Parents, politicians, and others are at odds at what will be included. Textbook publishers set the standards for all textbooks based on Texas requirements since Texas is the largest customer in the world, thus making this an issue for all parents. Parents are battling for issues that they feel should be included in the social studies and history books. Some say they are trying to change history.  Others say it is time to change what has been included in history. All agree that what is included will have an effect on how the nation’s youth thinks and learns.

Take a look at the proposed changes. Proposals and Amendments

Do feel these changes are right, wrong, not enough, or what? Do you see important figures and facts in history included? Or is it the same things rearranged with one or two differences?

Would you like to see other changes made? If so, get involved. Email a board member and express your opinions or call and leave a message at 512-463-9007.

Remember this does not just affect the curriculum for Texas students, but it effects the curriculum for students nationwide.

Photo by Bizness Givin 101

Did You Know . . .

Posted in Awareness, CULTURE, HISTORY, South America with tags , , , on March 9, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

I write a HubPages, hub, I call Did you know . . . On there I highlight parts of African American history that has been left out of classroom American history books. This is something else that has been “conspicuously absent from view.”

Did you know that . . . Brazil has the largest population of African descendants in the Western Hemisphere? Brazil’s population of 60 million African descendants, are only second to the real thing of Nigeria’s population of 115 million Africans.

Brazil was one of the destinations of ships carrying African captives. Here it was Portuguese colonizers invading the native Brazilian population. Brazil’s history includes its own “melting pot” party line. Race and racism is not defined the same as in the United States. Many people define themselves with descriptions based on color such as Light Tan, Yellow-Brown, Black, and White. Among those who refer to themselves as white, are those who have enough African ancestry to be called Black in the United States (roughly 80 million). Census in Brazil has over 100 categories of color.

African descendants in Brazil, although are huge in numbers, take a low profile in the nation. Stars like Pele, World Cup soccer champion, Gilberto Gil, musician, and samba dancers of the Carnival celebration are front and center in the national profile. Political and commercial profiles (including television and print ads) of the country are missing of the African descent population. This is something that makes you say umm.