In just one minute of this video, from 7:34 to 8:34, John Anthony West casually and jokingly discusses covering up an essential truth about ancient Egypt (Kemet), and how such practices are a given in academic and public circles.
Discussion Question for Comments: Why is such a cover-up taken for granted? Why is ancient Egypt still significant today? And why does an African identity affect that?
All of the known Judeo-Christian & Islamic prophets and messengers were “black”.
I have come to this conclusion after reading the following sources extensively:
Hebrew/Israelite scripture and literature
Christian scripture and literature
Islamic scripture, narrations and literature
Historical portraits and self-portraiture
These sources are unambiguous and unanimous.
Long story short: Abraham, Isaac, Ismail, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, the Israelite prophets, Jesus, and Muhammad were all black.
Short story long, get ready for a long read…
Abraham / Ibrahim
Ibrahim was born in a house of idolaters in the ancient city of Ur, in the Mesopotamian plains of Babylonia (present-day Iraq). The language that was spoken at the time was Akkadian (wikipedia). The empire united all the indigenous Akkadian-speaking Semites and the Sumerian speakers for the first time under one rule.
SUMERIAN ETHNIC TYPE
The earliest civilization of Mesopotamia was that of the Sumerians. They are designated in the Assyrio-Babylonian inscriptions as the black-heads or black-faced people, and they are shown on the monuments as beardless and with shaven heads. This easily distinguishes them from the Semitic Babylonians, who are shown with beards and long hair. From the myths and traditions of the Babylonians we learn that their culture came originally from the south. Sir Henry Rawlinson concluded from this and other evidence that the first civilized inhabitants of Sumer and Akkad were immigrants from the African Ethiopia. John D. Baldwin, the American Orientalist, on the other hand, claims that since ancient Arabia was also known as Ethiopia, they could have just as well come from that country. (Jackson 1939)
Image of Israelites from the time of the Assyrian Empire
Semitic Genetic Marker: The Cohen Haplotype-
Discovered in 1997 by Jewish scientists, this paternal genetic marker (it is found on the Y-chromosome) has a high frequency among the Jewish (Askenazi and Sephardic) priesthood (Cohanim) and is thought to be a signature of ancient Hebrew ancestry. The haplotype (CMH) is indeed part of a haplogroup (Hg J) that originated in Black Arabia or Afrabia ca 30 kya (thousand years ago) and in high frequencies is believed to indicate “Semitism.”
Image of Israelites from the time of the Assyrian Empire
There was a further “discovery” that the “purest” surviving remnant of the Children of Israel identified by CMH tests is the tribe of Black Jews in India, the Bene Israel and the Black Jews of Cochin, who show a genetic affinity not only to Ethiopians and Yemenis, but also to the tribe of Black Jews in South Africa, the Lemba, whose relation to the ancient Hebrews has also been confirmed by the presence of high frequencies of the CMH. (Muhammad 2010)
In describing Abraham’s Semitic ancestry, we have described the appearance of the Semites and Israelites briefly. There is further evidence that they were Black, even though I haven’t found specific personal descriptions for many of them.
There is a very convincing, but also very long, presentation here to read, which analyzes Hebrew and Israelite scriptures to prove that the appearance of this branch of Semites was “black.” I highly recommend reading it, but it’s too long to paste here:
Most of these black gods were regarded as crucified saviors who died to save mankind by being nailed to a cross, or tied to a tree with arms outstretched as if on a cross, or slain violently in some other manner. Of these crucified saviors, the most prominent were Osiris and Horus of Egypt, Krishna of India, Mithra of Persia, Quetazlcoatl of Mexico, Adonis of Babylonia and Attis of Phrygia. Nearly all of these slain savior-gods have the following stories related about them: They are born of a virgin, on or near Dec. 25th (Christmas); their births are heralded by a star; they are born either in a cave or stable; they are slain, commonly by crucifixion; they descend into hell, and rise from the dead at the beginning of Spring (Easter), and finally ascend into heaven. The parallels between the legendary lives of these pagan messiahs and the life of Jesus Christ as recorded in the Bible are so similar that progressive Bible scholars now admit that stories of these heathen Christs have been woven into the life-story of Jesus. (These remarkable parallels are discussed and interpreted in a pamphlet, Christianity Before Christ, by John G. Jackson, New York, 1938.)
Jesus’ hair was short with tight curls
Bible: “…and the hair of his head like pure wool… (Daniel 7.9)”
Early Christian Historians: “At that time also there appeared a certain man of magic power … if it be meet to call him a man, [whose name is Jesus], whom [certain] Greeks call a son of [a] God, but his disciples [call] the true prophet who is supposed to have raised dead persons and to have cured all diseases. Both his nature and his form were human, for he was a man of simple appearance, mature age, black-skinned (melagchrous),… prognathous (lit. ‘with a long face [macroprosopos]), a long nose…with scanty & curly hair, but having a line in the middle of the head after the fashion of the Nazaraeans, with an undeveloped beard. (*Halōsis, ii.174).” (Flavius Josephus)”
Modern Bible Scholars: “While most religious artists have put long hair on Christ,most biblical scholars believe that it was probably short with tight curls…” 
Islamic Prophetic Narrations: “Jesus was a curly-haired man of moderate height.”
Jesus’ hair was also long, and parted at the middle
Early Christian Historians: “with scanty, curly* hair , but having a line in the middle of the head”
Islamic Prophetic Narrations: “I saw in my dream a man of brown color the best one can see amongst brown color and his hair was long that it fell between his shoulders. His hair was lank and water was dribbling from his head and he was placing his hands on the shoulders of two men while circumambulating the Kaba. I asked, ‘Who is this?’ They replied, ‘This is Jesus, son of Mary.’” (Prophet Muhammad)
“No, By Allah, the Prophet did not tell that Jesus was of red complexion but said, “While I was asleep circumambulating the Ka’ba (in my dream), suddenly I saw a man of brown complexion and lank hair walking between two men, and water was dropping from his head. I asked, ‘Who is this?’ The people said, ‘He is the son of Mary.’ Then I looked behind and I saw a red-complexioned, fat, curly-haired man, blind in the right eye which looked like a bulging out grape. I asked, ‘Who is this?’ They replied, ‘He is Ad-Dajjal.’”
* Note the juxtaposition of the Messiah and False Messiah, both important to Islamic and Christian eschatology.
Which kind of hair did he have: Tightly-Curled or Long?
How can the same man have both short, tightly-curled or wooly hair, and also long, lank hair?
The answer is that these are describing different stages of (“dread”)locked hair, specifically those of an African.
Wool & Locked Hair
Wool compares favorably in appearance to (“dread”)locks:
Scanty, Short, and Curly Hair & Short Locked Hair
Only the hair of Sub-Saharan (“black”) Africans, and others like Andamanese Islanders and aboriginal Southeast Asians (“Negritos”, Orang Asli) is (tightly) curled or ‘woolly’ when it is short. It also appears scanty or thin because of the parting of the hair into small knots (also known as ‘peppercorn’ hair texture):
These compare favorably with early depictions of Jesus Christ:
Long Hair that can be Scant & Tightly-Curled while Short
The locked hair of an African (or others with “Negroid”/“Africoid” features) is the only type of hair that can be both short and curly, and long hair. Short locks are initially spread apart (‘scanty’) and tightly-curled, but after growing, their weight causes them to be long and limp (‘lanky’).
Jesus was a Dreadlocked African(-Diasporan)
Thus, the seeming contradiction is solved: Jesus was a (“dread”)locked African(-diasporan). His hair was sparse and tightly curled when short, and long and lank once it had grown into locks. These are descriptions of different stages of his locked hair.
African(-diasporan) males compare favorably with phenotypical features common to Christian and Islamic sources, and also with those unique to each:
Common to both: Brown skinWoolly hairHair that is tightly curled when shortHair that can be parted in the middle when long
Christian only: Prognathous (having a projecting lower jaw or chin- common among many Sub-Saharan Africans)An undeveloped beard (Many Sub-Saharan Africans do not grow full beards)
Islamic only: Shoulder-length air that can drip lots of water
Lastly, the peculiar Islamic description of copious water drops will be addressed in brief. This can’t be a description of long hair of thin strands, because that hair lays flat when wet, and droplet dribble down the back of the person, but could only drop from his or her head if they shook it violently.
Wet Asiatic Hair
Locks on the other hand, absorb copious amounts of water, and can drip visible droplets for quite some time.5
Wet Locked Hair
Muhammad was a member of the tribe of Quraysh. The progenitors of this tribe were Ibrahim/Abraham (see above) and Hajr’s (Hagar’s) son Ismail (Ishmael) and his wife from the Arab tribe Jurhum.
Below we will alternate between narrative of the amalgamation of these individuals and peoples and exposition of their ethnic types according to contemporary and modern historians and geneticists. To illustrate, self-depictions of the relevant groups as well as illustrations consistent with the given descriptions will be included as well.
HAJR’S ETHNIC TYPE
Hajr was the daughter of Egyptian king and second wife of Abraham she was gifted to prophet Abraham from the king of Egypt. (wikipedia)
“It seems certain,” declares Sir E. A. Wallis Budge, “that classical historians and geographers called the whole region from India to Egypt, both countries inclusive, by the name of Ethiopia, and in consequence they regarded all the dark-skinned and black peoples who inhabited it as Ethiopians. Mention is made of Eastern and Western Ethiopians and it is probable that the Easterners were Asiatics and the Westerners Africans.” (History of Ethiopia, Vol. I., Preface, by Sir E. A. Wallis Budge.)
“Not a few writers,” says he, “like the traveler Volney in the 18th century, have expressed the belief that the ancient Egyptians were Negroes, or at any rate strongly Negroid. In recent times even a writer so discriminating as Ripley usually is has given his adhesion to this view.” (The writers referred to here, are Count Volney, the French Orientalist and Professor William Z. Ripley, of Harvard University, an eminent American Anthropologist.)
No people have bequeathed to us so many memorials of its form complexion and physiognomy as the Egyptians. … If we were left to form an opinion on the subject by the description of the Egyptians left by the Greek writers we should conclude that they were, if not Negroes, at least closely akin to the Negro race. That they were much darker in coloring than the neighboring Asiatics; that they had their frizzled either by nature or art; that their lips were thick and projecting, and their limbs slender, rests upon the authority of eye-witnesses who had traveled in the country and who could have had no motive to deceive. … The fullness of the lips seen in the Sphinx of the Pyramids and in the portraits of the kings is characteristic of the Negro. (The Ancient History of the East, pp. 25-26, London, 1881.)
In the Biblical genealogies, Cush (Ethiopia) and Mizraim (Egypt) are brothers, while from the former sprang Nimrod (Babylonia.)
He left with her and their son Ismaa’eel, and they journeyed and journeyed and journeyed on their riding animal through the desert, all the way south to Makka. You have to drive to Makka to appreciate this. It’s in the middle of a desert, not a sand desert, a volcanic field. There’s nothing there but cooled lava, i.e. a bunch of rocks. It is absolutely barren. Then, when they reached where Allaah had told them to reach, Ibraheem dismounted, left his wife and son- can you imagine how hard this would be?- remounted and started to ride away.
“Are you really going to leave me here?”
He says nothing.
“Are you really going to leave me here?”
“Are you really going to leave me here?”
Silence. He doesn’t look back. His horse keeps walking.
“Did Allaah tell you to leave me here?”
“Then we will be fine.”
Hajr, may Allaah have mercy on her, had nothing. She saw nothing. She heard nothing. There was nothing. Just a couple of rocky hills, in the middle of a lava field. But this woman had faith. She put her baby down and ran to the top of a hill to look around.
Nothing. Nothing but faith. She ran down that one, and up the other one. Nothing. Hungry (not that I-skipped-lunch-‘cause-I-was-busy feeling, REAL hunger). Thirst. And nothing. She ran back down and up again. Then back down and up again. Until she had run up those hills seven times.
Then she saw something. The angel Jibreel (a/k/a Gabriel), Allaah’s strong one. He dug with his heel in the ground, and water began to well out. In other narrations it was the writhing of the baby Ismaa’eel which opened this water source.
“Zam! Zam! (Stop! Stop!)” she commanded, fearing the spring of water would run itself onto the ground. She then dug a hole around it, so it would become a well. Had she left it, according to a narration attributed to Muhammad, it would be a river right now.
Soon, the Hud-hud (hoopoe) a bird that flies around a source of water, started circling over their two heads. A tribe of Arabs- Jurhum- took note and followed. They were a noble people, so even thought they could have done away with Hajr and her son, they asked for permission to camp near the miraculous water source. Hajr, a young woman, mother of a suckling child, alone in a wasteland, was fearless. She gave them permission, but denied them any rights to ownership of the well.
Creation of Quraish, Muhammad’s Tribe
The tribe stayed and taught Ismail Arabic (Arabized him). Soon he married one of them. Thus began the tribe of Quraish, started by a Semitic-Sumerian prophet, an Egyptian princess, and the noblest of the Arabs.
Arab Ethnic Type
Medieval Arab genealogists divided Arabs into three groups, including the “Pure Arabs” of South Arabia, descending from Qahtan. The Qahtanites (Qahtanis) are said to have migrated from the land of Yemen following the destruction of the Ma’rib Dam (sadd Ma’rib).
Jurhum (also Banu Jurhum) was a Qahtani tribe in the Arabian peninsula. An old Arab tribe, their historical abode was Yemen before they emigrated to Mecca (wikipedia).
Discussion of the Arab ethnic type as it concerns Prophet Muhammad, therefore, should focus on this branch of pure, originally southern Arabs.
Bertram Thomas, historian and former Prime Minister of Muscat and Oman, reported in his work ‘The Arabs’:
“The original inhabitants of Arabia…were not the familiar Arabs of our time but a very much darker people. A proto-negroid belt of mankind stretched across the ancient world from Africa to Malaya. This belt…(gave) rise to the Hamitic peoples of Africa, to the Dravidian peoples of India, and to an intermediate dark people inhabiting the Arabian peninsula. (Muhammad 2011)
Modern dark-skinned descendants of ancient Arabians like the Qarra and Mahra of Oman told colonial observers they originated in Africa.
Al-Mubarrad (d. 898), the leading figure in the Basran grammatical tradition, claimed: “The Arabs used to take pride in their brown and black complexion (al-sumra wa al-sawād) and they had a distaste for a white and fair complexion (al-ḥumra wa al-shaqra), and they used to say that such was the complexion of the non-Arabs.” (Ibn Abī al-Ḥadīd, Sharḥ nahj al-balāghah, V:56) (Muhammad 2013)
Ibn Mandhor (1232-1311 A.D.) says in his book Lisan El-Arab:
سبوطة الشعر هي الغالبة علـى شعور العجم من الروم والفرس. و جُعودة الشعر هي الغالبة علـى شعور العرب
“Non-kinky hair is the kind of hair that most non-Arabs like the Romans and Persians have while kinky hair is the kind of hair that most Arabs have.”
(l) Yemenite Bronze, Kingdom of Sheba, 715 CE?; (r) modern Arab youth
Now we know that the Quraish were a tribe founded by a Sumerian/Semitic/Egytian man and an Arab woman. Muhammad, may Allah’s peace and Blessings be upon him, was a member of Banu Hashim, a sub-tribe of Quraish known for their strict endogamy (intramarriage within one’s group). While this practice was prevalent amongst all the Quraysh- Al-Azmeh relates an instance of Qurayshi women marrying outsiders as being “unusual” (Azmeh 160)- the Banu Hashim were particularly known for it.
In his 2009 work “Black Arabia and The African Origin of Islam” Dr. Wesley Muhammad quotes Robert F. Spencer as saying: “It is said that the Quraish explained their short stature and dark skin by the fact that they always carefully adhered to endogamy.” (Muhamad 2013)
Therefore, in the ethnic makeup of Prophet Muhammad, the Sumerian, Semitic, Kemetic and pure Arab strains would have been predominate, with outer admixture making up a negligible proportion.
Bonus: The Buddha
According to some Islamic thinkers, the Buddha may be an acknowledged prophet:
The mid-twentieth century scholar, Hamid Abdul Qadir, in hisBuddha the Great: His Life and Philosophy (Arabic: Budha al-Akbar Hayatoh wa Falsaftoh), postulates that the Prophet Dhu’l-Kifl, meaning “the one from Kifl,” mentioned twice in the Quran (Al-Anbiya 85 and Sad 48) as patient and good, refers to Shakyamuni Buddha. Although most scholars identify Dhu’l-Kifl with the Prophet Ezekiel, Qadir explains that “Kifl” is the Arabicized form of Kapila, short for Kapilavastu. Although the truths that Buddha realized under the fig tree are not described as revelation, later great Buddhist masters have received revelations of sacred texts, such as Asanga in fourth century India directly from Maitreya in Tushita, the Heaven Filled with Joy.
In the list of prophets who are specifically mentioned in Islamic sources, there are certain names which do not seem to belong to the prophets of Israel. Many commentators therefore are inclined to believe that they are non-Arab prophets who are included in the list just for the sake of representation of the outer world. For instance, Dhul-Kifl is one name in the list of prophets which is unheard of in the Arab or Semitic references. Some scholars seem to have traced this name to Buddha, who was of Kapeel, which was the capital of a small state situated on the border of India and Nepal. Buddha not only belonged to Kapeel, but was many a time referred to as being ‘Of Kapeel’. This is exactly what is meant by the word ‘Dhul-Kifl’. It should be remembered that the consonant ‘p’ is not present in Arabic, and the nearest one to it is ‘fa’. Hence, Kapeel transliterated into Arabic becomes Kifl.”
Fig Tree is Bodhi Tree of Enlightenment
He also proposes that the Qur’anic mention of the fig tree (At-Tin 1-5) refers to Buddha as well, since he attained to enlightenment at the foot of one. Some scholars accept this theory and, as supportfor this position, point out that the eleventh-century Persian Muslim scholar of Indian history, al-Biruni, referred to Buddha as a Prophet. Others dismiss this last piece of evidence and explain that al-Biruni was merely describing that people in India regarded Buddha as a prophet.
Maitreya means Prophet
Manifestations of Buddha = Coming of Prophets?
Some scholars associate the prophesied future Buddha Maitreya, the Loving or Merciful One, with the Prophet Muhammad as the servant of the Merciful One.
Buddhists as People of the Book
Buddha’s attainment and his teachings of techniques for others to achieve the same are known in Sanskrit as “Dharma,” literally “preventive measures.” They are measures to take and methods to follow in order to avoid causing oneself and others suffering. Starting in the second century BCE, Buddha’s discourses on them that had been transmitted orally up until then were written down in the form of scriptural texts. In present-day Uzbekistan and northern Afghanistan, where the Arabs first encountered Buddhists, the versions of these texts most widely available were in Old Turk and Sogdian translation. In these languages, the word Dharma was translated as nom, a loan word from Greek, meaning “law.”
The Quran taught tolerance for the religions of “people of the Book,” which referred to Christianity and Judaism. When the Arabs encountered Buddhism, then although its followers were not strictly “people of the Book,” nevertheless they were granted the same status and rights as the Christians and Jews under their rule. They were allowed to follow their religion, provided the laypeople among them paid a poll-tax. Thus, the legal concept of “People of the Book” seems to have been widened to include those who followed a set of ethical principles of higher authority.
The Buddha, too, was “black”:
The statues of ancient Buddhas of the East depicted him as having woolly hair-always shown in corn rows or “peppercorn” texture of small tight curls. These statues also clearly show him to be Africoid, with the wide nose, thick lips and frizzy, nappy, hair which are distinctive Negro characteristics. In most ancient temples throughout Asia, he is shown as jet Black. In fact, in most of the ancient temples of Asia and India, statues of the gods and goddesses have Africoid features with woolly hair in the peppercorn style, while some even have dreadlocks. These pictures of Buddha portray him in no uncertain terms as a Negro with kinky, coiled hair, a flat nose and full lips
Note the stretched ears of this modern Masaai man from Kenya and compare to the Buddha’s.
There are absolutely no historical records that portray Buddha as pale-skinned or even ‘yellow’-skinned.
There were two types of Blacks from Africa who created the first civilization of mankind. One was the Nubian, who had broad features and Woolly, Nappy hair, while the other had the aquiline nose with straight hair,(Dravidian) but both were early ddescendants straight out of Black Africa.
Southern Indian Man
Modern Black people of Southern India.
Orissa women from northeast India. Note the similarity in jewellery worn compared to the African women below.
Woodabi woman from West Africa
Ndabele woman from South Africa
Pre-Buddhist South Asian society consisted of four basic groups.
1. Brahmins (priesthood)
2. Kshatriyas (the warrior class)
3. Vaishyas (the merchant class)
4. Sudras / Untouchables / outcastes, the hated ones
� These outcast in India consist of the agricultural labourers who are kept segregated in every village.
� They had to eat the carcasses of dead animals.
� They could only eat from broken plates.
� They had to tie a cup around their necks to catch their spit because it was considered to be contaminating.
� They had to tie a broom to their rear ends to hide their tracks, since crossing such tracks was forbidden and deemed to be polluting.
� They could only enter the other castes’ neighbourhood at night because their shadow was defiling.
� They had to clean corpses and wear the clothes of the dead.
� Their women were relegated to the function of common prostitutes.
The real question should be: Why was there never a prophet/messenger who wasn’t“black”?
As a whole, Black Africa, in the 15th century, before slave trading, was superior to Europe.
Timbuktu ranked with Alexandria, Fez, Seville, Cordova and Constantinople as a great centre of learning. Economically, the textiles of Congo and Guinea were as high quality as those of Europe. Metal works, of copper in particular, of Katanga and Zambia, and iron works of Sierra Leone, were much superior to those they were made to import by force later from Europe. In Zimbabwe, Rhodes mercenaries and traffickers found huge constructions, and mines well exploited. Bronze metal in Benin was better quality than the Portuguese. European superiority was only in terms of gun fire .
Dawn of a New Era
Shortly after the adoption of Islam, Kanem rose to be a state of considerable importance and extended its sway over the tribes of the Eastern Sudan to the borders of Egypt and Nubia; the first Muslim king of Kanem is said to have reigned either towards the close of the 11th or the first half of the 12th century (8).
Ibn Battuta gives a good description of the people of Mali under Islam: ‘The Black people possess some admirable qualities. they are seldom unjust, and have greater abhorrence of injustice than any other people. their sultan shows no mercy to anyone who is guilty of the least act of it. There is complete security in their country. Neither traveller nor inhabitant in it has anything to fear from robbers or men of violence.
They are careful to observe the hours of prayer, and assiduous in attending them in congregations, and in bringing up their children to them. On Fridays, if a man does not go early to the mosque, he cannot find a corner to pray in, on account of the crowd. It is a custom of theirs to send each man his boy [to the mosque] with his prayer-mat; the boy spreads it out for his master in a place befitting him [and remains on it] until he comes to the mosque. Their prayer-mats are made of the leaves of a tree resembling a date-palm, but without fruit (9).
Another of their good qualities is their habit of wearing clean white garments on Fridays. Even if a man has nothing but an old worn shirt, he washes it and cleans it, and wears it to the Friday service. yet another is their zeal for learning the Qur’an by heart (10).’
The positive impact Islam had on African society was observed by later Western writers and travellers. Smith notes how: ‘We hear of whole tribes laying aside their devil worship, or immemorial fetish, and springing at a bound, as it were, from the very lowest to one of the highest forms of religious belief. Christian travellers, with every wish to think otherwise, have remarked that the Black person who accepts Islam acquires at once a sense of the dignity of human nature not commonly found even among those who have been brought to accept Christianity (11).’
Smith adds: ‘Nor as to the effects of Islam when first embraced by a Black tribe, can there, when viewed as a whole, be any reasonable doubt. Polytheism disappears almost instantaneously; sorcery, with it attendant evils, gradually dies away; human sacrifice becomes a thing of the past. The general moral elevations is most marked; the natives begin for the first time in their history to dress, and that neatly. Squalid filth is replaced by some approach to personal cleanliness; hospitality becomes a religious duty; drunkenness, instead of the rule becomes a comparatively rare exception. Though polygamy is allowed by the Koran, it is not common in practice…; chastity is looked upon as one of the highest, and becomes, in fact, on of the commoner virtues. It is idleness henceforth that degrades, and industry that elevates, instead of the reverse. Offences are henceforth measured by a written code instead of the arbitrary caprice of a chieftain-a step, as every one will admit, of vast importance in the progress of a tribe (12).’
The Islamic impact is also on the economic and cultural levels. Muslims proved to be excellent traders and came to dominate the commercial world, helping to foster progress in sciences, philosophy and technology wherever they settled. Merchants from Arabia and the Gulf opened up the eastern coasts of Africa, from the Horn to Madagascar, to international trade (13). The rich trading settlements of Sofala, Kilwa and Mogadishu became Africa’s outlets to the Indian Ocean. Along the coast, from the Horn to Madagascar, the original Muslim civilisation developed around the Muslim trading settlements: the Swahili civilisation (14).
Browne, and Englishman, who undertook extensive travels in Central African in the years 1799 and 1806 (15), remarks that, among the idolaters of Sheibon and other places, the only persons he saw wearing decent clothes, or indeed clothing at all, were Muslims; that it was to the introduction of Islam a century and a half before his time that Darfur owed its settled government and the cultivation of its soil; and that the people of Bergoo were remarkable for their zealous attachment to their religion, and read the Qur’an daily. In this summary we hear of the use of decent clothing, and the arts of reading and agriculture, attributed to Islam (16).
Mungo Park, educated as he was for the Scotch Church, and cruelly persecuted as he was throughout his travels by the ‘Moorish banditi’, Smith notes would not be likely to be a friend of Islam, and many of his remarks show a strong bias against it: his testimony, therefore is all the more valuable. His travels lay almost exclusively among Muslims or semi-Muslim tribes, and he found that the Black people were everywhere summoned to prayer by blasts blown through elephants’ tusks. On reahing the Niger, the main object of his wanderings, he found, to his surprise, that Sego, the capital of Bamharra, was a walled town, containing some 30,000 inhabitants, that the houses were square and very often white-washed, and that there were Muslim mosques in every quarter. ‘The view of this extensive city,’ he writes, ‘the numerous canoes upon the river, the crowded population, and the cultivated state of the surrounding country, formed altogether a prospect of civilisation and magnificence which I little expected to find in the bosom of Africa’ (17).
His impression of the women was most favourable. ‘I do not recollect,’ he says, ‘a single instance of hard-heartedness towards me among the women. In all my wandering and wretchedness I found them uniformly kind and compassionate.’ One of the first lessons in which the Mandingo women instructed their children was the practice of truth. (18)
Mungo Park adds: ‘the beverages of the pagan Negroes are beer and mead, of which they frequently drink to excess. The Muslims amongst them drink nothing but water’ (19).
As to education, Mungo Park found schools and active teachers everywhere (20). In Africa, we are assured, at all hands, that the Muslim population has an almost passionate desire for education. Wherever Muslims are numerous, they establish schools themselves; and there are not a few who travel extraordinary distances to secure the best possible education (21).
The Reverend Edward Blyden, a native Black African and Christian missionary, counters those who attack Islam, and says: ‘If those Christians who are so unmeasured in their denunciations of ‘Mohammedanism’ could travel, as I have travelled, through those countries in the interior of West Africa, and witness, as I have witnessed, the vast contrast between the pagan and ‘Mohammedan’ communities- the habitual listlessness of the one, and the activity and growth, physical and mental, of the other; the capricious and unsettled administration of law, or rather the absence of law, in the one, and the tendency to order and regularity in the other; the increasing prevalence of ardent spririts in the one, and the rigid sobriety and conservative abstemiousness of the other- they would cease to regard the ‘Mussulman’ system as an unmitigated evil in the interior of Africa’ (22).
Western Efforts to Block the Progress of African Civilization
The Western slave trade, which reached its peak in the 18th century, shattered not just Muslim communities, but the whole of African society and economy, and permanently. Garaudy and Howitt explain how this disastrous impact in great detail (23). It is not that African society, as generally held in Western writing, was initially backward, thus clearing the conscience of the slave traders from their responsibility in its backwardness, but rather, as a whole, Black Africa, in the 15th century, before slave trading, Garaudy explains was not inferior to Europe (24). Coming from Goa or Egypt, Islam penetrated as far as Chad, and met in Nigeria and old black civilisation, which was remarkable for its art, possibly tributary to Mediterranean classical influences, which it soon adopted (25). The African states of Ghana, Mali and songhay shared in the great age of Islamic civilisation from the 9th to 16th centuries (26). On his return from his pilgrimage to Makkah in 1324, Mansa Musa brought back with him the Muslim poet and architect Es Saheli, who built the famous mosques and learning academies of Timbuktu and Gao (27). Timbuktu ranked with Alexandria, Fez, Seville, Cordova and Constantinople as a great centre of learning (28). Blyden speaks of the story of the Hejazi jurist who sought employment in Timbuktu, but who, finding too many scholars went on to Fez where he found employment more easily. He quotes with relish many honourable appearances of a black skin in Islamic literature, as an encouragement to African learning (29).
Economically, the textiles of Congo and Guinea were as high quality as those of Europe; Nigerian decorated hides and leather were appreciated in Europe, getting to it via North Africa; and metal works, of copper in particular, of Katanga and Zambia, and iron works of Sierra Leone, were much superior to those they were made to import by force later from Europe (30). The Empire of Ghana was a thriving commercial centre, and its large capital, Kumbi Saleh, was an important centre of trade and scholarship, where Islamic theology and history were studied (31). In Zimbabwe, Rhodes mercenaries and traffickers found huge constructions, and mines well exploited. Bronze metal in Benin was better quality than the Portuguese. European superiority was only in terms of gun fire (32).
It was Western Christendom, and above all the slave trade it inflicted on Africa, which destroyed these progresses of the African continent, and made the prosperity of the slave-trading nations (33). In 1540, only 400 Africans were deported, a figure which rose to nearly 300,000 every year in the 18th century (34). Due to losses during capture, transportation, deaths at the plantations, etc., 100 million Africans perished as a result of the slave trade (65).
This article was an excerpt of al-Djazairi, S.E., A Short History of Islam, The Institute of Islamic History, Manchester: 2006
(1) J.S. Trimingham: the Influence of Islam; op cit; p. 53
(2) Ibid; pp. 62-3
(3) Ibid; p. 67
(4) Ibid; p. 68
(5) Ibid; pp. 68-9
(6) on the day of Judgement each person will be held responsible for his deeds. ‘The fate of every man have We bound upon his neck…, neither shall any laden soul be charged with the burden of another’; sura xvii.13, 15, vi 34 [Qur-aan 17.13, 15; 6.34]
(7) J.S. Trimingham: The Influence of Islam; op cit; p. 57
(8) C. H. Becker: Geschichte des ostlichen Sudan; Der Islam; vol 1; Strassburg; 1910; pp. 162-3
(9) Ibn Battuta: Voyages d’Ibn Battuta, Arabic text accompanied by Fr tr by C. Defremery and B.R. Sanguinetti, preface and notes by Vincent Monteil, I-IV, Paris, 1968, repring of the 1854 ed; vol 4; pp. 421-2
(10) Ibn Battuta: Travels in Asia and Africa; tr and selected by H.A.R. Gibb; George Routledge and Sons Ltd; London, 1929; pp. 329-31
(11) R.B. Smith: Mohammed; op cit; p.38
(12) Ibid; pp. 42-3
(13) D.T. Niane: General History of Africa; op cit; p.2
(14) Ibid; p. 3
(15) See Pinkerton: Voyages; vol xv and xvi
(16) In R.B. Smith; Mohammed; op cit; p. 44
(17) Mungo Park’s Traves; Cap I. Nd fin; in R.B. Smith: Mohammed; op cit; p. 45
(18) In R.B. Smith; Mohammed; op cit; p. 46
(19) Mungo Park; Cap VII; in R.B. Smith: Mohammed; op cit; p. 46
(20) In R.B. Smith: Mohammed; p. 47
(21) Ibid; p. 41
(22) Ibid; pp. 50-1
(23) R. Garaudy: Comment l’Homme; op cit. W Howitt: Colonisation an dChristianity. op cit.
(24) R Garaudy; Comment l’Homme; op cit; p. 271
(25) E Perroy: Le Moyen Age, Presses Universitaires de France, 1956; p. 525
(26) D. M. Traboulay: Columbus and Las Casas; University Press of America, New York, London, 1994. p. 69
(27) Ibid; p. 70
(28) G.O. Cox: African Empires and Civilisations; New York; 1974; p. 161
(39) Blyden in N. Daniel: Islam, Europe and Empire; Edinburgh University Press; 1966; p. 314
(30) R. Garaudy: Comment l’Homme; op. cit; p. 271
(31) D.M. Traboulay: Columbus and Las Casas; op cit; p. 69
(32) R. Garaud: Comment l’Homme; op cit; p. 271
(33) E. Williams: Capitalism and Slavery; North Carolina; 1944. Catherine C. Vidrotitch: Villes Africaines; op cit; at p. 1390. M. Craton: Sinews of Empire: A short history of British slavery; Garden City; NY; Doubleday; 1974
(34) R. Garaudy; Comment l’Homme; op cit; p. 275
There can have been few archaeological discoveries made as a direct result of open-cast metal mining which have given such a revealing and intimate picture of a completely unsuspected yet widespread culture as those made at Nok, which is situated very close indeed to the geographical center of Nigeria.
The discovery was only fully appreciated in 1944, when an exceptionally fine head in Terra cotta was found twenty-five feet deep during tin-mining in the hills close to Jemaa. This was found to bear a striking stylistic resemblance to a small monkey’s head which had been dug up many years before at Nok itself …. The area in which the Nok culture has so far been found, and this we believe may be only a fraction of its actual distribution, has already spread to an area of three hundred miles by one hundred miles lying across the Niger and Benue valleys, mostly north of the confluence ….
[In 1956] we excavated two large cuts, or “paddocks,” in the area reserved for archaeological research at Nok and in the second were successful in finding substantial pieces of trunk wood in situ in the heart of the gray clay, in the youngest deposits in fact which had so far produced figurines. An analysis of these specimens gave the satisfactory date of approximately A.D. 200. Specimens from the gravels below in which figurine material was found gave a date of approximately 900 B.C. … It is now therefore an acceptable hypothesis that the Nok Culture flourished at least during the latter half of the first millennium B.C. and for some centuries into the Christian era. How much later the style persisted it is not yet possible to say, but evidence is now building up to indicating that the art style of the Nok Culture must have survived very much longer ….
There is now every reason to hope that further finds both in the area of the Nok Culture and in more or less dateable deposits in Yorubaland, Benin and elsewhere on the West Coast will confirm the basic homogeneity of so much of West African sculpture and its derivation from a traditional complex going back at least two thousand years, and at the same time will dispose of the widely held hypothesis that the Ife-Benin complex owes its syle and inspiration to origins outside West Africa(B.A.B. Fagg) All the bronzes so far known from Ife (apart from some evidently recent work) are in the naturalistic style, of which far more numerous examples have survived in terra-cotta. A study of the terra-cotta figures reveals stylistic affinities with those of the Nok Culture, already known from a large part of Northern Nigeria, but probably in reality even more widespread. Radio-carbon samples from the type-site suggest that the terra-cotta figures began to be made some time after 900 B.C., probably by a neolithic or early metal-age people; and that the culture may have continued to produce terra-cottas after A.D. 200 …. It looks very much as if the art of Ife developed from that of the Nok….
In Ife there are examples of terra-cottas which are almost certainly post classical, and lead on to the modern Yoruba style. In due time we may hope to find more examples of terra-cottas to illustrate the stages of development from the Nok to the classical Ife style. some of the sites which have produced Nok terra-cottas may be substantially later than the type-site itself,whilst we know that the apogee of the naturalistic style at Ife was not later than the middle of the fourteenth century. The interval between these tow dates represent a crucial phase in the history of most major peoples of Nigeria, to judge by traditions. In the case of the Yoruba, it seems likely that small but influential group of people came into Nigeria during this period and established themselves as rulers over an indigenous iron-using population making Nok terra-cottas ….
Frank Willet informs us that: “As yet there is no direct evidence of who these [newcomers] were, where they came from, when. They seem to have come from the east or the northeast, possibly from Meroe, which collapsed in the early fourth century, or perhaps they came a few centuries later from Zaghawa or from Christian Nubia. The Yoruba migration legends, both those about their origin and those of diffusion within Nigeria, almost certainly refer only to the ruling group. Yoruba Civilization appears therefore to be the result of a small intrusive ruling class, bringing ideas from outside, with a highly artistic indigenous population. T
he resulting social pattern seems to have borne some resemblance to that of the City States of Ancient Greece, but the unique achievement of the Yoruba was to have possessed such an evolved urban civilization without the knowledge of writing.” This ought to be investigated further as to what writing might have been to modern society, so was oral tradition(through the griots and the like) and the drum messaging been the means of writing-pre-writing.
“I got this African chick with Eddie Murphy on her skull She like, “Jigga Man, why you treat me like animal?” I’m like excuse me Ms. Fufu, but when I met your ass you was dead broke and naked, and now you want half”
These lyrics were written and spoken by an African-American, but even in Africa itself, there is this image of naked savages in search of a pale savior, the false history of Africa pushed by colonialists and racists across the globe. Arabized historians, Talmud scholars, the authors of the Bible and many others have used the stereotype of the African too savage to dress, caught midway between (pale) man and beast, to justify slavery and racism.
Well, it’s wrong. Many Africans not only knew how to make clothes, but also wore them, including shoes. Everyone seems to know it but Africans themselves… [READ MORE…]
The 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education decision reversing segregated education, also reversed the educational autonomy gained by African-Americans, and the aftershocks of that are still reverberating across Black minds and communities today.
How School Integration Defused Black Advancement :
Before the 1954 Supreme Court decision in Brown versus the Board of Education of Topeka, which overturned the principle of separate but equal education, African Americans had made significant educational gains following the abolition of slavery. They did this in spite of living with brutal racial oppression and deadly violence.
In an effort to resuscitate their culture and history, education was seen as necessary for the upward mobility of African Americans. Many African American writers, through the publication of slave narratives and scholarly works, wrote amazing bodies of non-fiction work aimed at educating Black people. Many African Americans could be found reading literature by W.E.B. Dubious, Marcus Garvey, Elijah Muhammad, Dr. Carter G. Woodson, Langston Hughes, J.A. Rogers, and a host of other Black writers.
These literary pieces were works of resistance aimed at transforming Black consciousness. Black illiteracy, which was 30 % in 1919, had dropped to less than 7 percent by 1955. Black illiteracy had almost disappeared in the North, and in some areas Black illiteracy was less than White illiteracy, such as in New York. In 1950, Black colleges had 71,000 students. Nearly all were in the South. Five hundred fifty three (553) African Americans had a doctorate degree.
Black owned and operated publishing companies were abundant, and education for critical consciousness was a vital part of this Cultural Revolution.
The intellectual growth of African Americans following slavery was extraordinary; this was clearly made evident by the thousands of applications for patents submitted to the U.S. patent office during the late 1800s through the early 1900s by African Americans.
This was absolutely remarkable so shortly after slavery and while still enduring racial persecution. Although African Americans students were attending poorly funded, desegregated schools, many Black teachers were restoring the damaged psyche of African American students by including literature produced by renowned African American writers and scholars.
This provided the students a body of literature that featured Black heroes and the various contributions of African Americans. These materials informed Black students that they were more than merely the descendants of slaves and the children of sharecroppers.
Moreover, it offered them hope and stimulated the desire for greater aspirations. This literature of resistance transformed Black consciousness and gave Black students a sense of purpose and pride. However, this did not last long, for integrating Black student into schools indifferent to the contributions of Blacks defused the growth of Black consciousness and self efficacy.
Instead, the shackles of mental slavery were reapplied. The version of History taught in school to African Americans where heavily revised to favor the agenda of the ruling white elites while hiding the true brutality of their crimes committed against Black people throughout history and in doing so fostered an unrealistic sense of false patriotism used to manufacture your allegiance to a still racist government. This curriculum deliberately withheld the many black world contributions from the educational development of African American students.
Therefore psychologically retarding the esteem and potential of many African Americans students.
The new educational system failed to provide Black students the same, essential racially affirming curriculum needed to base their capabilities and potentials upon as it so routinely does for its White students-thus cutting off the aspirations of many Black students at the roots.
The integration of public schools indicates the U.S. Government’s imperative to retard Black advancement as Black students were thrust into an educational system that taught them to admire the accomplishment of Whites and to despise Africans as being non-contributors of modern civilization.
For most African Americans their schools are the first place where they learn just how little they’re valued in America. No group of children can adequately academically compete with other students while being educated to respect the accomplishments of every other racial group except themselves.
After the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the federal government sponsored a study that was supposed to examine the differences among school resources allocated to Black and White students. The idea was that, by pinpointing the advantages available to White students, policies could be made that would replicate those opportunities for Black students. However, during the integration of America’s schools, the government failed to produce culturally relevant instruction for Black students as it habitually did for White students.
Instead, Black children were integrated into White schools without accommodative adjustments to the curriculum. The implication was that Blacks had contributed nothing to society. Arguably, in American education, the achievements and contributions of African Americans have been largely neglected and receive less attention in terms of quality, historical scholarship than any other topic.
As a result, Black students are bereft of robust historical information that can serve as a platform for future efforts. Those African American students who doggedly survive their stifling grade school experiences find that their high school situations are even more challenging.
Tragically, many teachers and administrators who experience “difficulty working with these students” often misdiagnose them as having “behavioral or learning disorders” or misuse special education programs to remove these students from the classroom. Many studies across the nation find that Black students are more than twice as likely to be suspended or expelled from school as White students. In schools where corporal punishment was permitted, some past studies found that Black students were five times more likely to be hit by school adults than were Whites and three times more likely to be kicked out or placed in Educable Mentally Retarded or Behavioral Disorder classes.
These Black students are often over-overmedicated with drugs like Ritalin and Prozac and placed into low level classes that further diminish their self esteem and belief in their abilities. It has also been suggested that prescribing drugs during these children’s school years may also send the message that drugs are necessary to cope with social stresses.
In countless books, medical journals, and psychological lectures over the years, White psychiatrists and psychologists have pointed to the adverse affects of low self esteem and depression in children.
This work resulted in a long list of symptoms and behaviors that are consistent with those now associated with African American youth. Such notables as Dr. Nathaniel Branden, author of the Pillars of Self Esteem, have focused on self-esteem. Dr. Branden has spent the past three decades studying the psychology of self-esteem. In various speeches, articles, and books, he has attempted to describe the connection between self-esteem and the many human problems common to society today. He notes that “Self-esteem enhances our ability to build relationships with others, it gives one the basis to make accurate, concrete interpretations of current events, and it encourages a people to inspire in spite of obstacles. It has a powerful influence on your behavior at work and in your personal life.”
Furthermore, a longitudinal prospective study about the adverse affects of depression on children found that it can have far-reaching effects on the functioning and adjustment of children, which often persists, recurs, and continues into adulthood.
Dr. Harter, one of the researchers conducting the 1992 study stated that “Self-esteem and depression are usually observed in cycles; the cycle begins with low self-esteem, which leads to depression, and this can lead to suicide.” There is increased risk particularly among adolescent boys if the depression is accompanied by conduct disorder and alcohol or other substance abuse. Among children and adolescents, depressive disorders confer an increased risk for illness and interpersonal and psychosocial difficulties and may predict more severe illness in adult life.
There is more than ample evidence that children exposed to a great deal of violence in movies, television and video games etc., may become desensitized towards violence and may develop violent aggressive behavior as result of this exposure. Yet, with regard to African American students in America’s racist education system, this idea and epistemology is grossly ignored. Time and time again in many books and articles, White researchers detail long lists of ailments that imply a crisis of low self-esteem consistent with the symptoms displayed by Black students in the education system. Perhaps because they are satisfied with the existing educational curriculum, they are unwilling to acknowledge the link between widespread suffering of Black students and damaged self images and low self esteem. Sadly and almost inconceivably, these researchers adamantly stand by their research except when there is an attempt to use their studies and findings to validate this premise as it relates to Black students. It is outrageous how White researchers can ignore their own premises when applied to Black people. Even in seeing and/or hearing, they do not register or observe any facts that conflict with their innate proclivity for racism.
Oliver Wendell Holmes once remarked that “the eye of a bigot may be compared to the pupil of an eye in that, the more light poured on it, the more it contracts.” I have studied these symptoms of internalized racism among African American students for more than twenty years in various cities across the United States.
I have also conducted countless interviews with African American students often identified as un-teachable, unmotivated, disruptive, and trouble makers. I have heard repeated painful testimonies from Black students besieged with deep internalized feelings of self-doubt and self-hatred. They could not always fully articulate the source of their problem, but they consistently reported that it had something to do with their Blackness and that neither alcohol nor drugs could remove the hurtful feelings.
Many critics of this premise shift the blame saying that the source of the problem lies with the failure of Black parents to teach their children their self-affirming history. However, the parents of these students are victims of the same demoralizing education process. I have heard parents echo many of the students’ deep feelings of inadequacy. Even those who excelled and made their mark in the world found that the Mercedes and the big house still did not alleviate societal wounds. They too are products of the same humiliating education process.
The future of any race is extremely dependent upon the proper nurturing and education of its children. All children, regardless of their race, need an education that tells them who they are and what they have accomplished as a people. Therefore, a failure to rectify the problem assures the destruction of Black America.
This hypothesis is not new. Dr. Carter G. Woodson wrote in “The Mis-education of the Negro,” in 1931, “the thought of the inferiority of the Negro is drilled into him in almost every classroom he enters and in almost every book he studies and by teaching him that his Black face is a curse and that his struggle to change his condition is hopeless is the worse sort of lynching, because it kills his aspiration and dooms him to vagabondage and crime.” Dr. Woodson’s analysis was that one’s information determines one’s attitude, and an attitude determines one’s behavior. Therefore, the seat of trouble was in what African Americans were being taught about themselves.
He concluded that African American youth are not only being “mis-educated” but, actually de-educated — that they are being systematically excluded from the educational curriculum and that their self esteem is being systematically destroyed as a result.
Dr. King’s dreams of becoming a nation in which Black and White students could attend school together was based upon America being a plural society built by contributions from all segments of American society. It is reasonable that this should be reflected in the education curriculum. However, Dr. King’s dream has been totally effaced by the reality of racial bias in the American education system that conceals the significant contributions of Black people.
An educational curriculum of were in which Black students are taught to admire and respect only the achievements of Whites.
Dr. King would never have imagined that desegregation meant that Black students would be denied an educational setting that allows them to compete equally with White students.
Clearly, it was an illusion to believe that African American students could receive an education that allows them to compete equally with White children in a system designed by the people responsible for oppressing them and pronouncing them inferior.
Perhaps what is most tragic is the fact that when these victimized Black students respond accordingly to their negative educational experiences through demonstrating feelings of self-hatred, disaffection of education ,and disruptive behaviors– these responsive behaviors are then used by the dominant White culture to further affirm and perpetuate their own racist notions of White racial superiority over Blacks.
Unfortunately, many African American students never fully recover from the adverse impact of their mortifying educational experience –by the time they complete school or dropout, the damage has already been done and the effects remain with them for their entire lives.
In order to build a stronger Black America, we must ensure that our children are provided with an education that enables them to effectively compete with White students. It should also afford them the same opportunities to succeed in the 21st century, not merely preparation for the available low-level jobs, or even for high-level jobs that may serve no worthwhile purpose beyond individual advancement.
It is time to take interest in our future seriously by achieving quality education for our children. A new reality for African Americans will only be built upon Black society that dares to take control of the education of their own children. White supremacy is literally destroying the minds of African American children and as long as Whites determine what is taught to Black students, they will always lag behind.
As long as Black people rely upon Whites to tell us which of our children are normal, we will never know the genius of our students. African Americans deserve a quality education free from protracted and debilitating battles. They deserve a system that promotes their education and sense of self worth rather than one that discourages them by excluding them; they deserve an educational curriculum that enables them to feel good about themselves, their past, and their potential.
A pluralistic society is one where all people are treated with respect, dignity, equality, and fairness regardless of racial differences. Therefore, African Americans have every right to expect that the content of their education will be true, appropriate, relevant, and complete, and among other things that upon completion of public school, our children will have the general skills to enter the world of employment and to be fully functional members of the society.
Such an education is a right of all children and not merely one elite group. The future of Black America will be only as strong as the opportunities that exist for them to attend these types of schools.
We shape our future by the way that we educate our children. Therefore, there must be an alternative for every child who is in a school that does not serve that child well. The time has come for us to recognize this unfulfilled need of society thus fulfilling the promise of true equality.
Re-blogged with permission from The Black Matrix by Franklin Jones (c) 2006, 2008
The Black Matrix: A Perception Management
It is a common line among hardcore White racists such as White nationalists that Black Africans were Stone Age people who had no metal working, no agriculture and no civilization of any sort by the time the Europeans contacted them.
The movement of agriculture in its full array from North Africans to Sahelian Blacks is shown to be a lie and it may perhaps have even gone the other way.
It’s true that Africa south of the Equator lagged behind, and racists love to go about this, but the truth is that there were no animals to domesticate down there nor were there any plants to domesticate either.
The Sahelian Blacks probably had equivalent intelligence to the Blacks south of the Equator. They were just better positioned to receive animals for husbandry from Southwest Asia, and they had plants that could be domesticated.
Modern Blacks reach the middle Nile by around 4,000 YBP. At 3,000YBP, the Bantus spread from Cameroon all through East, Central andSouthern Africa, bringing agriculture, and iron-making, with them.
The Epic of Sundiata is an epic poem of the Malinke people and tells the story of the hero Sundiata Keita (died 1255), the founder of the Mali Empire. It is the basis of the plot of the famous Disney film series “The Lion King.”