By Godini G. Darah
THIS lectures offers us an opportunity to examine the cardinal position of the education in the growth and development of societies and nations. The lecture will review and give highlights of cradle, the institutional structures and systems of education in the Black Africa, the Nile Valley civilisations of Egypt, Nubia, Ethiopia and other cultural regions of the African continent. We shall examine development of education and knowledge across the millennia and the world. In the course of this synoptic review we shall allude to the origins and evolution of humanity in Black African sites of eastern Africa and how our Black African ancestor instructed, tutored and guided the rest of humanity to learn, copy, adapt, and steal the original ideas and systems to improve on and spread the knowledge, science, technology that all human societies have enjoyed and benefited from in the past ten or so thousand years.
In the lecture I propose to argue that the processes or systems of knowledge acquisition or education, informal or formal, had their origins in Black Africa of antiquity. I shall underscore the point that what is defined by education in this context refers to the systems and methods of observing the natural environment, understanding its principles, analyzing them to design ideas, methodologies, technics, and instruments used in exploring and exploiting the resources of nature to meet the challenges of living in a given society.
All these varied methods of mastering the principles and gifts of nature and transforming them for productivity can be summarised as gaining or acquiring experience. All human beings, indeed, all animate creatures or objects systematically acquire experience. The totality of accumulated experience or knowledge and its application to create ideas, systems of thought, institutions, and artistic or aesthetic forms is referred as culture. At least this is the sense emphasized in the Cultural Policy for Nigeria (1988). When the development of culture attains high levels of advancement, excellence and efficiency, the resultant situation is characterized as civilisation. In this discussion we shall look at elements of African culture and their evolution to the sublime forms that are universally recognised as African civilisations such as those of Egypt, Nubia, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Mali, Nok, Benin, Igbo Ukwu, Ife, Oyo, Ijebu, Urhobo, Isoko, Itsekiri, Ijaw, Ndokwa, Ilaje, Igala, Idoma, Junkun, Gbagyi, Kanuri, Bachama, Ibibio, Ikwere, Efik, etc.
Our survey will cover the source, type, and character of formal education in Nigeria from its European roots in the 19th century. This will form the backcloth against which to evaluate its relevance to contemporary national challenges of development. Our discussion of the Ibru Initiative and its prospectus for the future the Michael and Cecilia Ibru University will benefit from the survey. But Nigerians and their country, Nigeria, are not abstract ideas or ghosts that fell from cyberspace. The peoples that make up the country are integral parts of a long and complex cosmic, evolutionary, cultural, socio-economic processes covering billions and millions of years. Therefore, I seek your indulgence to refer to some epochs and experiences in the ancient and prolonged transition and transformations.
Origins of the Universe or Cosmos (Akpososo) and Humanity:
Physicists and other scientists have explained the beginnings of the Universe, otherwise known as the Cosmos. According to these sources, the Universe evolved from what is regarded as the “Big Bang”, and automatic explosion of gas and matter that occurred about 13 billion years ago. Some authorities argue that the effects of the explosion are still occurring such as the incidents of earthquakes, eclipses, sudden floods or tsunamis, etc. The products of the Big Bang include the stars, the Sun (which is also a star in cyber science), the Moon, comets, Earth and other planets. In addition to the Earth there were eight other planets in old geography books, namely, Mars, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. New studies have revealed that there are 23 planets in space. The Sun is the energy that controls all the planets; they rotate round it at different speeds and time frames.
The Earth is the third planet from the Sun. The distance from the Earth to the Sun is about 150 million km and it takes about eight seconds for light from the Sun to reach Earth is about 385,000 km from Earth. The Earth goes round the Sun every 24 hours. Along the Equator belt where Nigeria is situated, the Earth travels round the Sun at an average speed of 1,600 km per hour; in the North and South Poles, the speed is about 900 km per hour. The Moon is the twin companion of the Earth; it is the magnet force of the Moon that holds the Earth in balance so that it does not spin out of control and disconnect from its axle. The power of the Moon or lunar energy regulates currents in the Oceans and flow and ebb tides in rivers and waterways. In many waterways in Urhobo area and the Niger Delta belt, each tide circle takes about six hours.
The Moon exercises more influence on the Earth than most people are aware of. The Moon has been humanity’s first free “electricity” The Moon’s 28-day circle constitutes a month in many traditional calendars. The growth of the human feotus is measure in nine months (moons). A mature female human experiences renewal of ovaries (menstruation) once a year until menopause is reached is attained. Before electricity and other artificial lights were became available from the 19th century, the Moon was the only source of free illumination at night. As a religious or ideological symbol, the Moon features in the flags of about 30 nations, particularly those that subscribe to the Islamic faith.
The Galaxies of Stars in Dome of the Heavens:
Perhaps the most wondrous aspects of the Cosmos are the galaxies of stars that dominate the luminous dome of the heavens; the Sun, as we have observed, is just one of them. There are trillions and trillions of stars “up above the world so high/Like a diamond in the sky” as the British Romantic poet, William Blake wrote in the 19th century. The size of an average star is hundreds of times larger than Planet Earth. Astronomers claim that there numerous galaxies of stars in the Cosmos. The area of the Cosmos known as the Milky Way, for instance, contains several trillions of stars. Stars are so distant that light from some of them would take hundreds of years to reach the Earth. No equipment or vessel invented by humans has been able to reach a single star in the heavens. Humans reached the Moon on July 20, 1969 (the American astronauts Neil Armstrong and his colleague, Albright) On a bright night the naked human eye can see about 2,000 stars at once; equipment-aided eyes can visualise about 6,000 at a time. Like biological creatures, a star gets born and dies with age; a dead star falls off its orbit, leaving a black hole in space. The magnificence and splendour of stars probably explains why people who excel in various endeavours are referred to as stars.
The business of space travel in the past one hundred years or so has revealed more perplexing discoveries about the Cosmos. Yuri Gagarin, the Soviet astronaut, made the maiden human journey to space on April 12, 1961. Numerous space voyages has been undertaken since then; there is even an International Space Station in orbit operated by several nations. In August, 1977, the United States of America sent two space ships, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2, into orbit for more galactic and interstellar probe of distant and remote regions of the Cosmos. The space ships have been in orbit for about forty-five years; they have been relaying images to Earth continually. The Internet search engine, Googol, reports that the space vessels have travelled the distance of about 25 billion km in about forty years; yet they have not reached the “end” of the Cosmos.
These facts should be of interest to those of us believers in “end-time” warnings and imminent coming of Jesus Christ. Maybe, we comfort ourselves when we sing lustily Jim Reeves’s song that “this world is not my home/I am just passing though”. Perhaps the unmanned crafts of various nations traversing space will one day encounter the “heavenly home” referred to in this lyric. The Moon, Mars and other cyber regions have been reached by space vessels or cameras. Yet neither life nor angels have been seen. The images of heavenly creatures and divine principalities that crowd our minds are testimonies to the limitless power of the imagination made more powerful through the process of good and sound education.
Life Exists only on Planet Earth:
Evolutionary studies have proved that only our Earth sustains life or living things because of the existence of oxygen. In all the space voyages conducted to the Moon and other cyber settings in the past several decades, no life has been discovered elsewhere. About 20 km away from the Earth’s atmosphere, there is no oxygen at all. That is why space travellers carry oxygen cylinders with them. What is described as the earliest forms of life began about four billion years; creations like reptiles, lizards, crocodiles, crabs, shrimps, periwinkle etc. developed about 400 million years ago. The species of reptiles known as dinosaur died off about 25 million years ago. Human beings, the latest to evolve entered the scheme about 4.6 million years ago.
According to anthropologists like Louis B. Leakey, Cheikh Anta Diop and other experts on human science, the first sites where this evolutionary miracle occurred were the Eastern African spaces of Odulvai Gorge in Northern Tanzania and Omo River Valley of Ethiopia, all near the Great Lakes Region. At these sites human beings went through the stages of homo erectus (standing erect), homo habilis (too-making humans) to homo sapiens (intelligent humans). The illustration of what is believed to be our first ancestor is published at page 42 of the book, Cultural Atlas of Africa, edited by Jocelyn Murray, Oxford: Adromedia Limited, 1998).
Africa’s foremost Egyptologist, Professor Cheikh Anta Diop of Senegal did detailed studies of the anthropological aspects of the evolutionary account of human origins. His two major books on the subject are The African Origin of Civilization: Myth or Reality (1974) and Civilization or Barbarism: An Authentic Anthropology (1991). In Civilization or Barbarism, Diop lays out the basic facts in the opening paragraph of Chapter 1, with the title, “Race and History: Origin of Humanity and Racial Differentiation” In Diop’s words:
The research conducted in humanistic paleontology, particularly by Dr. Louis Leakey, has helped to place the birthplace of Humanity in East Africa’s Great Lakes region, around the Omo Valley. Two ramifications that have not been sufficiently emphasized until now have come to light as a result of this research.
- Humankind born around the Great Lakes region, almost on the Equator, is necessarily pigmented and Black; the Gloger Law calls for warm-blooded animals to be pigmented in hot and humid climate.
- All the other races derive from the Black race by a more or less direct filiation, and the other continents were populated from Africa at the homo erectus and homo sapiens stages, 150,000 years ago. The old theories that used to state that Blacks came from somewhere are now invalid. (Civilization or Barbarism, P. 11).
Professor Diop explains further how the first Black Africans migrated and spread to other lands that now constitute the five continents of the world:
The first Black who went out to populate the rest of the world exited Africa through the Strait of Gibraltar, the Isthmus of Suez, and maybe through Sicily and Southern Italy…the first inhabitant of Europe was a migrating Black: the Grimaldi Man. If one sases one’s judgement on morphology, the first White appears only around 20,000 years ago: the Cro-Magnun Man. He is probably the result of a mutation from the Grimaldi Negroid due to an existence of 20,000 years in the excessively cold climate of Europe at the end of the last glaciation…Thus, humanity was born in Africa and differentiated itself into several races in Europe, where the climate was sufficiently cold at the end of the Wurmian glaciation.”
(Civilization or Barbarism, Pp. 11-13)
However, Diop warns against the use of these scientific facts for racial and primordial purposes because he knows that all humans are offspring of the same original family, skin colour differences and variations notwithstanding:
If the human being had been born in Europe, it would have been first white and then it would have negrofied (darkened) under the Equator, with the appearance of the formation of melanin at the level of the epidemis, protecting the organism against ultraviolet rays.
Therefore, this is not a value judgement; there is not particular glory about the cradle of humanity being in Africa, because it is just an accident. If the physical conditions had been otherwise, the origin of humanity would have been different. (Civilization or Barbarism, Pp. 15-16).
Other Races, Other Skin Colours:
How do we account for skin colour differentiation of Arabs, Jews, Chinese, and Japanese? Professor Diop offers an explanation at page 65 of Civilization or Barbarism as follows:
All Semites (Arab and Jews) as well as the quasi-totality of Latin Americans, are mixed breeds of Blacks and Whites. All prejudice aside, this interbreeding can still be detected in the eyes, lips, nails, and hair of most Jews. The Yellows, the Japanese in particular, are also crossbreeds, and Their own specialists today are acknowledging this important fact.
In his study (2011) Professor Martin Meredith of Oxford University traces the multidisciplinary research that confirms the Black African homeland of humanity. According to him,
In more recent times, a host of other scientists – molecular biologists, biochemists, geneticists, palaeoclimatologists, geochronologists, – have played an increasingly influential role in this giant detective saga. The focus of attention has broadened to include the search for the origins of modern humans as well as human ancestors. New controversies have erupted. Rival schools of thought have fought each other as tenaciously as in the past.
The results of the quest have been momentous. Scientists have identified more than twenty species of extinct humans. They have firmly established Africa as the birthplace not only of humankind but also of modern humans. They have revealed how early technology, language ability and artistic endeavor all originated in Africa; and they have shown how small groups of Africans, possessing new skills, spread out from Africa in an exodus 60,000 years ago to populate the rest of the world.
(Born in Africa: The Quest for the Origins of Human Life; London and New York: Simon & Schuster, 2011, P. xiv)
There is supplementary evidence in non-Afrocentric studies that supports the views reviewed in above. For example, the Australian historian, Professor Geoffrey Blainey, describes the Black African cradle of humanity in his book A Very Short History of the World (2004) as follows:
They lived in Africa, and two million years ago, they were few. They were almost human beings, though they tended to be smaller than their descendants who now inhabit the world. They walked upright; they were also skilled climbers…
Two million years ago these human beings – known as hominids –lived mainly in the lands now called Kenya, Tanzania, and Ethiopia. If Africa is divided into three horizontal zones, the human race occupied the middle or tropical zone…
They already had a long history, though they had no memory or record f it. We talk today of the vast span of time since the building of the pyramids in Egypt, but that span was merely a wink compared to the long history which the human race had already experienced. One early record has been uncovered in Tanzania. Two adults and a child were walking on top volcanic ash softened by recent rain. Their footprints then were baked by the sun and slowly covered by layers of earth. The footprints,
definitely human, are at least 3,600,000 years old. Even that is young in the history of the living world. The last of the dinosaurs were extinguished about 64,000,000 years ago. (ibid., Pp. 3 – 4).
The Brain: The Powerhouse of Humanity and Knowledge:
We have drawn attention to the evolutionary account the origin and constitution of the Universe or Cosmos. The emergence of life and the human species has ben explained. But before proceeding to highlight aspects of Black African culture relating to education and development, I wish to describe some characteristics of human beings that differentiate them from other animals in the chain of life. Perhaps, the most significant characteristic is the human brain, the engine of thought, inventions and creative ingenuity. Professor Sagan whom we had already referred to has interesting details of the human brain. According to him,
Like all our organs, the brain has evolved, increasing in complexity and information content, over millions of years. Its structure reflects all the stages through which it has passed. The brain evolved from the inside out. Deep inside is the oldest part, the brainstem, which conducts the basic biological functions, including the rhythms of life – heartbeat and respiration. According to a provocative insight by Paul MacLean, the higher functions of the brain in three successive stages. Capping the brainstem is the R-Complex, the seat of aggression, ritual, territoriality and social hierarchy, which evolved millions of years ago in our reptilian ancestors. Deep inside the skull of every one of us there is something like the brain of a crocodile. Surrounding the R-Complex is the limbic system or mammalian brain, which evolved tens of millions of years ago in ancestors who were mammals but not yet primates. It is a major source of our moods and emotions, of our concern and care for the young.
And finally, on the outside, living in an uneasy truce with the more primitive brain beneath, is the cerebral cortex, which evolved millions of years ago in our primate ancestors. The cerebral cortex, where matter is transformed into consciousness, is the point of embarkation for our cosmic voyages. Comprising more than two-thirds of the brain mass, it is the realm of both intuition and critical analysis. It is here that we have ideas and inspirations, here that we read and write, here that we do mathematics and compose music. The cortex regulates our conscious lives. It is the distinction of our species, the seat of our humanity. Civilization is a product of the cerebral cortex. (Cosmos: The Story of our Cosmic Evolution, Science and Civilization, 1995, P. 303).
The Brain as Library:
The necessity to continuously fire, nourish, refine, increase, recreate and renew the brain through education is underscored by Sagan’s additional anatomy of the human brain:
The information content of the human brain expressed in bits is probably comparable to the total number of connections among the neurons – about a hundred trillion…If written out in English, say, that information would fill some twenty million volumes, as many as in the world’s largest libraries. The equivalent of twenty million books is inside the head of every one of us. The brain is a very big place in a very small space. Most of the books in the brain are in the cerebral cortex. Down in the basement are functions our remote ancestors mainly depended on – aggression, child-rearing, fear, sex, the willingness to follow leaders blindly. Of the higher brain functions, some – reading, writing, speaking – seem to be localized in particular places in the cerebral cortex. Memories, on the other hand, are stored redundantly in many locales. If such a thing as telepathy existed, one of its glories would be the opportunity for each of us to read the books in the cerebral cortices of our loved ones. But there is no compelling evidence for telepathy, and the communication of such information remains the task of artists and writers.
(ibid., P. 305)
Interlude: History, the Ultimate Educator:
The significance of the 13 billion years or so of cosmic evolution and civilizations rendered in brief in the foregoing sections is supported by the views of two African thinkers on the place of history in the development of consciousness and national identity. The two African thinkers are Professor John Henrik Clarke, the African American historian, and Chief Ogute Ottan, the Urhobo musical maestro.
In the words of Professor Clarke,
As a teacher of the subject I have taught that history is a clock that people use to tell their political and cultural time of day. It is also a compass that people use to find themselves on the map of human geography. History tells a people where they have been and what they have been, where they are and what they are. More important, an understanding of history tells a people where they still must go and what they still must be. (African People in World History, 1993, P. 11).
In the opinion of Chief Ogute Ottan rendered in a musical medium,
Wo rien ete wo phrun rhe he
Ete wo ra ya choro wa ro
Ye ughwru wo he phan
If you don’t know where you are coming from
And you forget where you are going
That confirms that you have lost your way
(From The Song: “Parable of the Eagle and Okekele Bird”)
It is instructive to observe that both Professor Clarke and Chief Ogute Ottan were born about the same time in the second decade of the 20th century, one in the United States of America and the other in Nigeria, West Africa. They are both members of the Black African intelligentsia that gained consciousness in the milieu of European colonialism and racism.
Education and Science in Ancient Black Africa:
Having attempted a poor synoptic narration of the origins of the Universe (Akpososo) and Humanity (Ihwo r’Akpo), we may now describe the genesis and development of education and scientific knowledge, again, starting from Black Africa. The summary is derived from studies by historians and anthropologists such as Cheikh Anta Diop (1974, 1991), George G. M. James (1954), John A. Wilson (1954), Will Durant (1954), John Henrik Clarke (1993), Innocent Onyewuenyi (1993), J. A. Rogers (1996), and J. D. Fage (2002).
All historical accounts are agreed that Black Africans were the first in human history to undertake systematic studies of the stars, planets, and other heavenly bodies. The findings from their painstaking inquiries and documentation provided the basic ideas and formulae for the construction of theories, laws, philosophies, rituals, theology, and images of divine forces, gods, energy, physics, chemical properties, motion, and interaction of heavenly and terrestrial bodies and objects, visible or invisible. It has been established that about 7,000 years ago, Black Egyptian astrologers and astronomers knew that the star we now know as the Sun was at the centre of the Universe (heliocentric theory in physics). This is evident in ancient Egyptian cosmogony that made the Sun the primary object of veneration and worship. In that era the Sun-god was called Ra, the auto-generic, self-made supreme creator of life and all that it contains. An enduring legacy of this ancient system of education and scientific investigation is the 365-day annual calendar now in use. The 365-day annual calendar was invented in 4,236 B. C. that is, over 6,000 years ago. Only minor adjustments have been made to it to accommodate the Leap Year every four years.
Black Egyptian astronomical science, cosmogony and theology were also the foundation of other religions that now enjoy world-wide following. For example, the Hebrew/Jewish religion of Judaism that constitutes the bulk of the narratives in the Old Testament of the Christian Bible reflects its indebtedness to the Black African religion of Osiris or Osiriaca. Even the texts of the New Testament have their philosophical and idiomatic roots in the Old Testament; as Jesus himself always advised, he did not come to supplant but to improve on existing Jewish religious and moral charters. Besides, as we shall see later, Jesus was a diligent and respectful student of Black Egyptian education in philosophy, medicine, healing, and egalitarian humanism. Christianity and Islam are derived from integrated African and Judaic thought and rituals. These global religious orders are revised and adapted versions of the Egyptian Ra as the Godhead. Diop explains how Egyptian cosmogony was documented in pyramid texts dating to 2,600 B. C., an era when, in his own words, the Greeks and most of Europe “did not yet exist in history and when Chinese and Hindu philosophies were meaningless.” He elaborates on the matter as follows:
Ra is the first God, the first demiurge of history who create through the word. All other gods in history came after him, and there exists a demonstrable historical relation between Ra’s word, the ka or universal reason that is present in the word of the revealed religions.
(Civilization or Barbarism, P. 311).
The notions of post-mortem trial, resurrection and residency in heavenly paradise are all adaptations of the Osiriaca system. Again, Diop is our authoritative source:
Osiris is the god who three thousand years before Christ dies and rises from the dead to save men. He is humanity’s god of redemption. He ascends to heaven to sit at the right hand of his father, the great god, Ra. He is the son of God. In The Book of the Dead, it is said fifteen hundred years before Christ: “This is the flesh of Osiris”. Dionysus, Osiris’s replica in the northern Mediterranean will say five hundred years Before Christ: “Drink, this is my blood, eat, this is my flesh”
(Civilization or Barbarism, P. 312).
The rituals of death and post-mortem trial are discussed by Diop in the same book. According to him,
The religion of Osiris is the first, in the history of humanity, to invent the notions of paradise and hell. Two thousand years before Moses and three thousand years before Christ, Osiris, the personification of the Good, was already presiding over the judgement of the dead in the world beyond the grave, wearing on his head the Atew or Atef. If the dead person during his terrestrial life satisfied the sufficient moral criteria that are too many to enumerate here, he gained the Auru or Aar, a garden protected with an iron wall with several gates and a river and a river running through it. (ibid., P. 331).
There is the likelihood that Jesus, on whose work and memory Christianity was established, may have benefited from these ancient philosophies and ideas during his preparation for his evangelical mission. Professor George G. M. James of British Guyana alludes to this link in his book, Stolen Legacy (1954) thus:
All the great religious leaders from Moses to Christ were Initiates of the Egyptian Mysteries. This is an inference from the nature of the Egyptian Mysteries and prevailing custom.
(a) The Egyptian Mystery System was the One Holy Catholic Religion
of the remotest antiquity.
(b) It was one and only Masonic Order of Antiquity, and as such,
(c) It built the Grand Lodge of Luxor in Egypt and encompassed the
whole ancient world with its branch lodges.
(d) It was the first university of history and it made knowledge a secret, so that all those who desired to become Priests and Teachers and to obtain their training from the Mystery System, either locally at the branch lodge or by travelling to Egypt. We know that Moses became an Egyptian Priest, a Hierogrammat, and that Christ after attending the lodge at Mount Carmel (Palestine) went to Egypt for Final Initiation, which took place in the Great Pyramid of Cheops (Khuffu). Other religious leaders obtained their preparation from lodges most convenient to them. (Stolen Legacy, P. 178).
With specific reference to organised system of education, it has been established that it all started in Black Africa Egypt. Only a very short summary can be attempted here. There were several departments of academic excellence in the Egyptian Mystery System, the forerunner of modern Universities. The Humanities and sciences were integrated in the curriculum of the institutions, as they should be. Order, discipline, depth, intensity, and rigour were hallmarks of the educational system. High premium was given to research, documentation, analysis, theoretical formulation, science, technology and practical work. The High Priest of the various temples were analogous to professors in modern tertiary institutions. The American historian, Professor will Durant gives an insight into the organization and management of public institutions. According to him, pupils in state-run institutions and academies were issued mandates such as “Give thy heart to learning and love her like a mother…for there is nothing so precious as learning”. Durant says of the era that “to be a soldier was a misfortune and to till the earth was weariness; only learning guaranteed happiness and fulfilment”. He adds that pupils were instructed “to turn the heart to books during the day time and to read during the night.”
Cheikh Anta Diop whose studies we have referred to explains that education was recognised as the touchstone of development. He observes that the Egyptian academic institutions and temples were known as “Houses of Life”, they were the centres for storage and transmission of knowledge. According to Diop, the temples were the places “scholars lived who specialised in different disciplines as well as directors of workshops in charge of writing or recopying papyruses.” (Civilization or Barbarism, P. 284). Professor Will Durant (1954) says that,
The scholars of Egypt were mostly priests, enjoying far from the turmoil of life, the comfort and security of the temples, and it was these priests who, despite all their superstition, laid the foundation of Egyptian science.
At the very outset of Egyptian recorded history we find mathematics highly developed; the design and construction of the Pyramids involved a precision of measurement impossible without considerable mathematical lore. The dependence of Egyptian life upon fluctuations of the Nile led to careful records and calculations of the rise and recession of the river; surveyors and scribes were continuously remeasuring the land whose boundaries had been obliterated by the inundation, and the measuring of the land was evidently the origin of geometry. Nearly all the ancients in agreed in ascribing the invention of this science to the Egyptians. (The Story of Civilization Part I: Our Oriental Heritage, Simon & Schuster, 1954, P. 179).
To recall, the academic courses developed were those of mathematics, astronomy, architecture, agriculture, medicine, music, oratory, philosophy, and religious theology. Egyptian mechanical engineering reached its peak during the centuries of the construction of architectural monuments known in history as Pyramids; it took the average of twenty years to complete one. These structures, towering to heights of multi-storied buildings or skyscrapers, are regarded as wonders of the ancient world; many of them have survived intact for over 4,000 years. There are still 180 Pyramids in Egypt as well as Northern and Southern Sudan (the ancient land of Nubia).
Brief descriptions of some other breakthroughs recorded in the Egyptian Mystery System will amplify the point about the scholarly quality of education. We have alluded to the complex symbolic communication known as Mathematics; the first branch of it was Geometry, being the science for measuring agricultural lands along the banks of the River Niger, the mainstay of ancient Egypt, its colonies, and consumers in the Middle East and parts of Europe. Geometry served the enormous work of the construction industry. The other branches were Algebra for calculating weights and volumes and Arithmetic followed later to handle figures related to commerce. Black Egyptian ingenuity in the mathematical sciences gained widespread recognition and attracted foreign students from all the then known world. Among the first Greek students who benefited from this system were Thales; he spent about sixteen years as a student in Egypt. Thales was the tutor of Pythagoras who was advised to seek advanced knowledge in the home institutions in Egypt. Against the custom of the Greeks, Pythagoras had to undergo the rites of circumcision to qualify for admission into the appropriate temples of instruction. Pythagoras spent twenty-two years studying mathematics in Egypt. In our secondary school mathematics courses we encounter Pythagoras theorem, but were aware that our Black African geniuses tutored and mentored him.
The World’s First Multi-Genius:
He was a physician, healer, architect, scientist, political adviser, philosopher, and poet. Imhotep was the official physician to Pharaoh Zoser (ca. 3150 B. C.). He founded a school of architecture, and built the first stone house in history. Imhotep designed the oldest Egyptian structure that has survived for over 4,000 years – the Step-Pyramid of Sakkara, a terraced structure which, in Durant’s view, “for centuries set the style in tombs; and apparently it was he who designed the funerary temple of Zoser, with its lovely lotus columns and its limestone paneled Walls. (ibid., P. 147). Many authorities acknowledge Imhotep’s exceptional brilliance and accomplishments in numerous professional fields. His fame in medicine had more widespread influence than architecture. Some sources describe him as the first physician of history who cured physical and mental sickness and who was so well thought of in his day that he was worshipped as a god in Africa, Asia and Europe for about 3,000 years after his death.
Nigeria’s Professor Innocent Onyewuenyi (1993) says that “Imhotep lived two thousand years before the Greek doctor Hippocrates who is called the father of medicine”. John Henrik Clarke thinks Imhotep was one of the greatest personalities of the ancient world, adding that “he was one of the many wise Africans who at the dawn of history gave the world those ideas of enlightenment and wisdom that made what we now call civilization possible. Imhotep was the world’s first multigenius.” (“Commentaries and Notes to References” World’s Great Men of Color, Vol. I, 1996, P. 29). J. a. Rogers is more effusive in his portrait, saying “No individual of the ancient world has left a deeper impression on history than Imhotep…Even early Christians worshipped him as the Prince of Peace…He preached cheerfulness and urged content. His proverbs, embodying a philosophy of life, caught popular fancy and were handed down from generation to generation. One of his best known sayings is: ‘Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we shall die’. Imhotep diagnosed and treated more than 200 diseases, among them 15 diseases of the abdomen, 11 of bladder, 10 of the rectum, 29 of the eyes, and 18 of the skin.” (World’s Great Men of Color, Vol. I, 1996, P. 38).
Prototypes of Modern Universities:
The quality of education offered in the Egyptian Mystery System is attested to by James as follows:
The Egyptian Mystery System, like the modern university, was centre of organized culture, and candidates entered it as the leading source of ancient culture…the Egyptian Mystery System had three grades of students (1) The Mortals, i.e., probationary student who were being instructed, but who had not yet experienced the inner vision (2) The Intelligences, i.e., those who had attained the inner vision and had received mind or nous and (3) The Creators or Sons of Light, who had become identified with or united with the Light (i.e., true spiritual consciousness).
W. Marsham Adams, in the ‘Book of the Masters’, has described those grades as the equivalents of Initiation, Illumination, and Perfection. For years they underwent disciplinary intellectual exercises, and bodily asceticism with intervals of test and ordeals to determine their fitness to proceed to the more serious, solemn and awful process of actual Initiation. (Stolen Legacy, Pp. 27 – 28)
In contrast to the experience of students in Nigerian universities, with inadequate facilities and frequent strike interruptions, the Egyptian Mystery System was more thorough and balanced in content and methods. The combination of liberal arts and sciences is evident in this passage in which Professor James examines the process:
Their education consisted not only in the cultivation of the ten virtues, which were made a condition to eternal happiness, but also of the Seven Liberal Arts which were intended to liberate the soul. There was also admission to the Greater Mysteries, where an esoteric philosophy was taught to those who had demonstrated their proficiency…Grammar, Rhetoric, and Logic were disciplines of moral nature by means of which the irrational tendencies of a human being were purged away, and he was trained to become a living witness of the Divine Logos. Geometry and Arithmetic were sciences of transcendental space and numbering, the comprehension of which provided the key, not only the problems of one’s being, but also to those physical ones, which are so baffling today, owing to our use of inductive methods. Astronomy dealt with the knowledge and distribution of latent forces in man, and the destiny of individuals, races, and nations. Music (for harmony) meant the living practice of philosophy, i.e., the adjustment of human life into harmony with God, when he would hear and participate in the music of the spheres. It was therapeutic, and was used by the Egyptian Priests in the cure of diseases. Such was the Egyptian theory of salvation, through which the individual was trained to become godlike while on earth, and at the same time qualified for everlasting happiness. This was accomplished through the efforts of the individual, through cultivation of the Arts and Sciences on the one hand, a life of virtue on the other. There was no mediator between man and his salvation, as we find in Christian theory. (Stolen Legacy, P. 28).
It is pertinent to emphasise that Egyptian Mystery System symbolised the ideal of a university structure. The construction of a temple or campus of the Mystery School reflected the divinity and sacredness of the educational process; each temple was supposed to be a microcosm or image of the temple of the Universe or of the starry vault of the cosmos. George G. M. James has an illustrative image:
Wide roads led to the temples for the convenience of processions, while the immediate entrance was lined with statues, consisting of sphinxes and other animals. The front wall formed two tower-like buildings called pylons, before which stood two granite obelisks. Immediately behind the pylons came a large court where the congregation assembled and watched the sacrifices. Immediately next to the hall of the congregation, came the hall of priests, and immediately following the hall of the priests came the final chamber, called the Adytum, that is, the Holy of Holies, which was entered only by the High Priest. This was the place of the shrine and the abode of God. Each temple was a reproduction of the world. The ceilings were painted to represent the sky and the stars, while the floor was green and blue like the meadows. Ceremonial cleanliness was at all times imperative, and people before entering the temple must carefully purify themselves in a nearby steam… (Stolen Legacy, Pp. 32 – 33, emphasis added).
It is noteworthy how traditional African values and morality principles permeated the physical structures and academic courses in Egyptian Mystery System. This order of elegance, spiritual sobriety and sublimity has survived in academic institutions into modern times. Professor Onyewuenyi underlines the point more poignantly:
These values were adopted by the Greek scholars who were educated in Egypt under the priests of the Mystery System. This evidenced by Plato’s recommendations for the education of the philosopher-king; his ‘Divided Line’ and Allegory of the Cave. Today higher institutions of learning in Europe and America cling to these African values in drawing up their curriculum. The three levels of man’s experience towards perfection are adopted as fundamental principles in practically all the religions and secret societies such as the Knights of Columbus of the Roman Catholic Church, the Freemasons, Elks, and others in Europe and America. It is interesting to note that the pyramid and the eye, ancient Egyptian symbols, are still to be seen on the Great Seal of the United States of America and the dollar bill (The African Origin of Greek Philosophy: An Exercise in Afrocentricism, 1993, Pp.55 – 56).
Continuity and Renewal in Black African Educational Systems:
The Black African civilizations of Egypt lasted for about 3,000 years, from the reign of the first Pharaoh, Menes, in 3,100 B.C. to that of the last Pharaoh (Queen) Cleopatra in about 49 B. C. when the Roman Emperor, General Julius Caesar, conquered Egypt. In all the period covered 26 Dynasties. Some of the highpoints of the Black Egyptian educational and intellectual systems have been given in the sections above. Each of the dynasties recorded epic phases during which men and women of excellence and ingenuity were in charge. The Egyptian Mystery System operated a code of secrecy in the documentation and transmission of knowledge. This explains why many of the outstanding inventors and scholars are not know by name. Yet the anonymity of the originators, creators, and inventors of the great, revolutionary ideas has not obliterated their significance in transforming humanity. As we round off the concise narrative of the contribution of these ancestors to education and development of their society and the world at large, it is worthwhile to mention some of them.
The extraordinary feats of Imhotep in multiple fields has been noted. He is immortalised as the “God of Medicine, Prince of Peace, and the first Christ”. Imhotep is also venerated as sage, scribe, chief lector priest, architect, astronomer, and magician. His medical temple practised surgery, including that of the bone, and knew the principle of body blood pressure 4,000 years before it entered the medical lore of Europe. In his epoch, Egyptian medical science invented the science of embalming and mummification of dead bodies which are still in use today. Above all, Imhotep’s philosophy of a simple, humble, and humane life marks him out as the ‘first Christ’ and egalitarian humanist.
Pharaoh (Queen) Hatshepsut, the first female to occupy the throne of a major power, established records of good governance and innovation. To combat her rival brothers to the throne, she sometimes sported beards to disguise her identity. Hatshepsut is credited for erecting some of the best structures for arts, sculpture, aesthetics, scholarship, and religious worship. She pioneered the exploration of foreign lands; her ships to Punt (modern day Somalia) returned laden with goods and special animals for the royal zoo in the capital.
Pharaoh Thutmose III stamped his memory on Egyptian and world history by being the first major builder of an empire. In his reign (1504 – 1450) the empire was extended to all the known ancient world or what is now the Middle East and the eastern Mediterranean region. He ruled over 110 Egyptian colonies. Thutmose III’s centralized system of government has served as model for the world for about 3,000 years. He inaugurated the practice of documenting official records on the walls of the Pyramids, using the hieroglyphic writing system of writing invented by Black Egyptians.
Pharaoh Akhenaton or Akhnaton or Ikhnaton (1375 – 1358) revolutionalised religious worship by introducing the theology of monotheism, the worship of single god. When he did this the Jewish exiles were still living in Egypt and they replicated the monotheistic ideology to construct their Judaism after return to their Hebrew homeland about 1,200 B. C. About 3500 years on, humanity and adherents of world regions are indebted to Akhenaton for enjoying the advantages of centralized religious organisations. Pharaoh Akhenaton did more; he abolished class privileges and thereby inaugurated the political regime of equality, welfare, and justice for all regardless of circumstances of birth. He refused to wage wars against rebelling colonies, emphasizing mutual co-existence, and thus rendering military generals and their cohorts idle and redundant, reducing their access to looted wealth and the political and bureaucratic influence associated with such professional castes in societies.
Pharaoh Akhenaton also set another record by the first great monarch to practice monogamy in marital or conjugal affairs. His wife, Nefertiti, bore seven children, all female. The couple, naturally, yearned to have, a male child and heir to the throne. But in keeping with his moral philosophy of exemplary conduct, Akhenaton defied all pressures to take another wife. Instead he is remembered as the first monarch of mighty Egypt to pose with his family for artists to draw and visiting leisure and recreation centres accompanied by his family members. Historians have credited him with the record of neutralizing the discriminating ideas of patriarchal sexism; in addition to collaborating with his pretty wife to design the policies and instruments of egalitarian humanism.
Akhenaton changed the Egyptian capital from Thebes to a new city called Amarna in order to have space to exhibit and experiment the new policies of humane and egalitarian management. His effort in this regard preceded the building of new capitals such as those of Islamic Egypt (Cairo), Brazil (Brazilia), Tanzania (Arusha), and Nigeria (Abuja). The radical reforms attributed to Akhenaton are referred collectively as “Amarna Revolution” about 2,500 years before the French Revolution of 1789 that coined the slogan of “equality, fraternity or death”, the adumbration of a socialist jeremiad by Karl Marx and Frederich Engels in the mid-19th century, or the socialist revolutions in Russia (1917), China (1949) and Cuba (1959). Pharaoh Akhenaton was a pathfinder in humanity’s long and bloody quest for democratic freedom and equality. Sometimes known as the “heretic king”, Akhenaton became Pharaoh at 17, reigned for 17 years, and died at 34. But his humanizing influence and fame have outlived him for about 3,000 years.
We are familiar with the heroic and sagacious career of Moses, the distortions in the Bible notwithstanding. He was a priest and an acclaimed scholar of multiple disciplines. The authors of Modern World History: Patterns of Interaction (2001) describe him as follows:
Moses is considered by many to be the greatest figure in Jewish history. He was a diplomat, a law maker, a political organizer, and a military leader, as well as a judge and religious leader. The Hebrew Scriptures record that Moses led the Hebrews out of slavery in Egypt, perhaps between 1300 and 1200 B. C.
The Philosophy of Knowledge Is Power:
It is clear from the narrative thus far that our Black ancestors of the ancient world introduced the idea of “knowledge is Power” that has guided humanity through the millennia. For about 3,000 years the civilizations of the Nile Valley applied this principle in the management of society. The regimes of the Egyptian pharaohs bear testimony to this dictum. Not all of the 26 dynasties excelled in the implementation of this philosophy of development; however, it obvious from the annals of the regimes everyone that succeeded did so because of the premium it placed on the systematic acquisition of scientific knowledge to handle the challenges of development it faced. The military and ideological power of Egypt began to wane after about 2,500 years largely due to factors of internal divisions and the rise of rival kingdoms and nations. From the seventh century B. C. former Egyptian dependences began to assert themselves. The Assyrians, for example, were able to launch attacks on the Egyptian Empire. Even in this period of turbulence engendered by external aggression the core governance principles of “knowledge is power” were not completely abandoned because a solid foundation had been laid during the golden age of the Egyptians.
The most devastating external aggression came in 332 B,C, when the army of Alexander the Great from Macedonia conquered Egypt. The prime purpose of the conquest was to loot and acquire the natural and intellectual treasures of the Egyptians as was the custom in the times of yore. A massive transfer of Egyptian intellectual property occurred during the Alexandrian and successive Greek regimes. The main agent that coordinated the systematic transfer of the intellectual resources to Greece was Aristotle (…..). He was the private tutor to Prince Alexander before he became the maximum ruler of Macedonia. Aristotle himself had been a part of the Greek literati who benefited from the knowledge civilization of Egypt. Others were Plato, Thales, Socrates, and Homer who is credited with the authorship of the oral epics of The Iliad and Odyssey that have charmed the world for nearly twenty-five centuries. The literary and artistic traditions of ancient Egypt had served as aesthetic models for Greece, Middle East, and Mediterranean societies for centuries.
As Professor John Henrik Clarke remarks, the glory and grandeur of ancient Egypt had dazzled and awed the then known world for many years. Knowing that there were treasures of intellectual wealth to be gained in the mission, Alexander asked his tutor to accompany him on the military campaign. Following Alexander’s victory in 332 B. C., Aristotle was appointed the rector of the Royal Library that housed the works of science, astronomy, philosophy, medicine, architecture, agriculture, literature, and sundry subjects and inventions. Aristotle also headed the University into which the Library was turned later. Aristotle closed his philosophy school in Athens and asked the students to join him in the tedious task of copying Egyptian texts into the Greek language. It is reported that Egyptian professors and experts in the various disciplines were compelled under duress to explain formulae, concepts, and manual instructions for the translators. Aristotle benefited maximally from this theft of intellectual resources; as studies by George James and Innocent Onyewuenyi illustrate, Aristotle became beatified in later years with the authorship of about 1,000 hand-written books, an impossible feat for someone who lived for just 62 years!
A new Royal Library was established in Alexandria, the new Egyptian capital. The Library and other institutions served as the conduit for the transmission of Egyptian knowledge systems now bearing the imprimatur of Greek scholars and thinkers. In about 322 A, D. General Alexander died of suspected malaria fever during one of his military campaigns in Asia. His empire was inherited by associates; Egypt fell under the regime of Ptolemy, anther Greek General. Greek became the official language of educational instruction and documentation. As had happened over several decades of previous external invasions, Egyptian society under the Greeks witnessed the influx of peoples from other lands, a process that led to the emergence of people of mixed blood. This process continued to the time of the conquest by the Romans about 49 B.C. Even with Roman rule, Greek remained the lingua franca, stretching to the first few decades of the Christian era. The early versions of the Bible were rendered in Greek language.
The Greek and Roman Empires Inherited the Egyptian Heritage of Knowledge:
Although the military and political influence of Egypt waned due to the series of invasions and conquests, her traditions of knowledge-driven development continued to hold sway centuries after. Professor Clarke remarks on the currency of the Black African systems over Europe into the era of the European renaissance in the late 15th century:
Europeans have always been in contact with Africa, that is, Northern Africa. Ne names of Esop, Memnon of Terence and Cleopatra are the names of Africans who have featured in the legend and literature, the arts and history of Greece and Rome. Indeed, the land of Africa was a land of wonders for ancient Greeks and Romans; and this to such an extent that among them it was a proverb that out of Africa is always something new. The concept of “darkest Africa” refers to the comparative ignorance of Europeans over the last four centuries…
(“Introduction”, J. A. Rogers, Great Men of Color, Vol. 1, 1996, P. x).
The Roman Empire admired and appropriated the accomplishments of Greek culture which was heavily influenced by Black African culture as we have shown. The flow of cultural exchanges by the early Christian era is described by Professor Blainey:
Perhaps the most powerful influence exerted by Hellenistic civilization was on the Roman Empire. The Romans, especially after 200 B.C., happily imitated much that was Greek. They admired the literature, theatre, food, politics, visual arts, oratory and much of the style and culture that had first flourished and taken shape in Athens. This process of imitation has been likened to the worldwide imitation of America in popular culture today. (A Very Short History of the World, P. 92)
The Roman Empire was in control of the Mediterranean, Egypt, and what now the Middle East region at the time Jesus was born; we recall the saga of the Roman governor, Herod, who ordered the killing of new-born babies, a murderous order that would have consumed infant Jesus if his mother, Mary, had not escaped to Egypt for safety. Mary took the decision because she had Black Egyptian roots. Jesus undertook his three-year evangelical mission in the midst of repressive Roman colonial laws and restrictions. His arrest, trial, and eventual hanging were presided over by Pontius Pilate, another Roman governor of Judea. Attention had been drawn to the historic point that Jesus underwent University education in a Palestine campus of an Egyptian Mystery System and, at about age 30, went through the Convocation rituals at the magnificent Pyramid of Khuffu.
Africa: The First Hospitable Host of the Church:
The mission of Jesus, the depth and profundity of his ideas at a youthful age, his humility, egalitarian ethos, sagacious pedagogy and erudition, as well as the tragic manner of his death helped to promote his influence in the establishment of the early Church. Some saw in him a potential incarnate of black Egyptian multi-genius Imhotep 3,000 years earlier. All these factors worked in favour of the founders of the Church. Peter, son of Jonah from Bethseada, Galilee, was the first Pope in 42 A.D., that is, nine years after the death of Jesus. Peter set up the papacy in Rome, Italy. But the Roman authorities were hostile to the Church, fearing it as a rival to their imperial power. Roman emperors persecuted Christian converts, killing hundreds and feeding them to carnivorous beasts in amphitheatres in Europe and the Mediterranean coastline. Many of the persecuted Christians ran to safety in Egypt and Tunisia where they were well received. At that time, all of North Africa was peopled by Black Africans; the Arab invaders of Islam came, massacred and dominated the region about 500 years later in the 7thcentury A.D. The Black Africans also identified with the Church because it was associated with Jesus, their grandson. John Henrik Clarke has useful details:
Among the first to hear and embrace the Christian religion were those living in North Africa. Jesus Christ had spent some of his early hears in Egypt to escape the murderous design of Herod, the Roman governor. This event was well remembered and later helped to gain acceptance for the Church. (“Introduction”, World’s Great Men of Color, Volume II, P. 3).
Pharaoh Ramses II: Valiant Warrior and Father of 150 Children:
The chronology of the 26 Egyptian dynasties has eleven Pharaohs who bore the title “Ramses”; there are two n the 19th dynasty and nine in the 20th. Of the eleven rulers history has been more favourable to Ramses II because he achieved extraordinary feats in an era when ancient Egypt was already on the decline as a global power. Ramses II attempted to recreate the golden age associated with the likes of Thutmose III, and in this regard he succeeded substantially. We are reviewing only aspects of his reign that pertain to the advancement of knowledge and civilization and the holistic atmosphere conducive to attaining same. About fifty years separate the regimes of Akhenaton the radical reformer and that of Ramses II. Humaneness and compassion burned in the heart of Akhenaton and, acting against the grain of the times, he neglected the use of military supremacy to contain rebellion of vassal states. They took advantage of his pacific inclination to wreck damage on the unity and stability of the Egyptian Empire. Ramses II undertook to rebuilt and recover the country. In the opinion of Wilson, one innovative administrative step his dynasty took was to “…place the working capital of Egypt at a Delta site, Tanis.
For the international concerns of Egypt and for the rewinning of the empire, a capital near Asia and the Mediterranean was needed. Thebes remained a religious and seasonal capital” (1951, P. 239). Ramses II launched an attack against the Hittites at Kadesh, it was a difficult campaign but he survived it; the outcome was celebrated loudly, “…claiming that ‘he had repelled all lands through terror or him, while the strength of his majesty had protected his army, so that all foreign countries were giving praise to his goodly countenance’” (ibid., P. 245). Historical accounting through visual arts was promoted as the reports of the wars were proclaimed on walls of pyramids in Karnak, Luxor, western Thebes, Abydos, Abu Simbel, and other temples in the Delta. Ramses II took the initiative to negotiate peace with the Hittites, it was signed in 1280 B. C. With the “good peace and brotherhood” the Pharaoh was hailed as “the bull of rulers, who has made his frontier where he wished in every land”. Ramses II also took an expedition to Nubia to recover gold mines with a view to replenishing the treasury. Furthermore, the king appeared to have utilized his handsomeness to set a record of having 150 children, 10ons and 50 daughters. It is known that his offspring ruled Egypt for about 400 years after his death.
The saga of the Ethiopian Queen Makeda of Sheba has been a popular legend through the centuries, made so mainly through the religious literature of the Bible and the Koran. Recall, too, one of the many romantic love poems inspired by her in the Song of Solomon section of the Old Testament of the Bible, viz. “I am black but comely, /O ye daughters of Jerusalem”. J. A. Rogers introduces her portrait with the ecstatic tone of “out of the mists of three thousand years emerges this beautiful love story of a black queen who, attracted by the name of the Judean monarch, made a long journey to see him with a gorgeous escort and the richest gift on record”. The conjugal liaison between Queen Makeda and King Solomon created a dynastic lineage between Black Africa and Israel; that lineage is known as Ethiopian Jews. One of the Ethiopian-Jew damsels was crowned Miss Israel a couple of years ago. Their heritage contributes to the epic narrative of African peoples have shaped and remade the world in humanistic ways. It is true that King David, Solomon’s father, was a renowned poet as evident in the Psalms credited to him, However, in the context of the theme of education and development, Queen Makeda is significant primarily because her royal personality of dignity and feminine attributes inspired King Solomon to excel as a poet of romantic verse.
Queen Cleopatra: Learned Multi-linguist, Intellectual, and Dynastic Lover.
Pharaoh Ramses II: Father of 150 Children:
Egyptian Geniuses of Literary and Artistic Masterpieces:
Historians and anthropologists like J. H. Breasted (British), Will Durant and John A. Wilson (American) as well as Cheikh Anta Diop (Senegalese) have exciting insights on the conception, design and building of temples and pyramids devoted to the sublime aesthetics of literature, poetry and visual arts. As I observed in regard to these masterpieces,
The grandeur and splendor of these solid structures exemplify divinely inspired imagination. Diop refers to the documents of Egyptian literature prior to the reign of Pharaoh Akhenaton… Sadly, the bulk of these materials was destroyed after the collapse of Akhenaton’s radical reforms. The eminent British historian, J. H. Breasted says that the narratives songs (epics) and legends were recorded in written literature after the 18th Dynasty of Thutmose III (1504 – 1450)…
(“The Humanities and the Redemption of Africa”, Faculty of Arts Lecture, University of Lagos, March, 2017, P. 35).
In his book, The Culture of Ancient Egypt (1951) John Wilson attempts a comprehensive chronicle of about 3,000 years of literary texts from the Fourth to the Sixth Dynasty (2700 – 2200 B. C.). According to Wilson’s account,
There were certain literary modes and genres which were characteristic of single periods and disappeared when their popularity had faded. Such were the didactic stories of scepticism and social challenge in the First Intermediate Period and the early Middle Kingdom and the dashing and eupectic autobiographies in the tombs of the early Empires…
Egypt provided no strictly secular products, no literature of idle entertainment, and no art for art’s sake. Art and literature had an applied purpose, and that purpose was indissolubly related to religion. All phases of life carried a strong coloration of the sacred, from the beginnings down to the first important secularization under the Empire. Every work of art, in line or word, fitted somewhere into the prevailing religiosity of the age. Even stories which we might read for enjoyment, like the ‘Tale of Shipwrecked Sailor’, have a strong mythological pattern and were didactic in stressing the centrality of Egypt within the universe… (ibid., P. 79).
A Synopsis of Education and Development in Nigeria: By Way of a Concluding Encore:
Understandably, owing to the peculiar regional focus of the lecture I have used mainly Black African heroic figures and personages to illustrate the saga of intellectual, scholarly, creative, and governance accomplishments. In truth, all great men and women of all continents, nations and climes as well as “racial” colours – black, white, brown, yellow, mixed, mulatto, “bleached”, transmuted – , all educators, scholars, scientists, inventors, innovators, space astronauts and voyagers to other planets and cyberspace, to Nobel Laureates, writers, poets, storytellers, historians, journalists and editors, translators, creative and visual artists, musicians, singers, dancers, acrobats, wrestlers and stars of all sports and recreation, film and cinematic stars, lovers, magicians, fashion and beauty models and professionals of all trades and labours, mothers and fathers, iconic monarchs and royalties, respected and adored presidents, heads of state, administrators, diplomats, generals, peace makers, revolutionary rebels and heretics, investors, capitalists, socialists, Marxists and communists, popes and pontiffs, bishopric authorities, general overseers, priests and pastors, philanthropists, humanitarian donors and workers, environmental, ecological and climate change activists, and all the seven billion congregation of humanity, we are, after all, children of the same Black African Gardens of Eden around the Great Lakes regions of East Africa from whence we migrated to populate, procreate and transform all continents of the world, our world, our earthly paradise.
In the enchanting and memorable name of Olorogun Michael Ijirhevbe Ibru, the Global Investor, Philanthropist and Prince of Peace, let us renew our universal concourse with our angelic spokespersons, namely,
- African Revolutionary Nationalist and Prophet of Education for All – Alhaji Adegoke Adelabu of Nigeria thus:
- Revolutionary Egyptologist and Anthropologist – Professor Cheikh Anta Diop of Senegal as follows: and
- Humanitarian Physicist and Space Scientist – Carl Sagan of the United States of America in an ultimate summons:
* Darah is a humanist, teacher and professor of English and Literature