The African Contribution to Technology and Science
by Yosef ben-Jochannan (1986)
(A lecture delivered for the Minority Ethnic Unit of the Greater London Council, London, England, March 6–8, 1986. It was addressed mainly to the African community in London consisting of African people from the Caribbean and African people from Africa.)
I will first express my appreciation for you having me here, and ask that you meticulously follow my comments, because as you know I’m known to be controversial, and that’s an understatement. I’m controversial not because something is wrong with my documentation, but because I challenge Western hegemony.
Africa, as the label of my talk, cannot be spoken of in terms of Adam and Eve, because long before they had an Adam and Eve there was an Africa and African people, with concepts that predated Abraham. All of the pyramids of Africa, not only those in Egypt, but those in Sudan, and the two in northern Ethiopia (which the British and the Berlin Conference removed and put into southern Sudan), where built thousands of years before there was an Adam and Eve mentioned anywhere on the planet. When you get to the birth of Abraham, at the same time when the Africans along the Nile are already in their thirteenth dynastic period, there is no Adam and Eve, because the Hebrews gave you the concept of Adam and Eve. Most of you believe that it has something to do with facts, rather than theocracy.
To speak of Africa you would have to revise your concept of the Virgin Mary and understand that it’s nothing but a copy of Isis, and her husband God Osiris. You will also have to go to the Nile Valley to the temples there and see that this is thousands of years before Westminster Abbey, and, of course the Vatican in Rome. You can go all over the Nile Valley and elsewhere, and I use the Nile Valley, particularly, in that the oldest records of man are still there in terms of monuments. Of course, there are a lot stolen from Africa here in London, and in Berlin or other such places.
Your ancestors gave to the world the calendar in 10,000 B.C.E. (Before the common “Christian” Era). That is 8,000 years before Adam and Eve. Your ancestors revised that dating system because of their understanding of the astronomical calculations. It is the science of astronomy that gives the ability to read calendars. Thus 10,000 B.C.E. saw the first calendar. The term is self explanatory, the solar calendar showing the relationship of the moon and the sun, etc. that gives us the basis of the present calendar, with 364 days corrected each year, instead of 365 days corrected each fourth year. And I will say again that there wasn’t a single European society in existence at that time. The first European writer, Homer, had not been born yet. And when Homer was born and finally became literate because of the teachings the Africans gave him, he too started to corroborate the evidence your ancestors had by stating that even the gods of Europe, Greece, in particular, which was then called Pyrrhus, came from Ethiopia.
I’m sure that those of you who have been to college, if not here in England somewhere else, know that I’m quoting from two works of Homer, the Iliad and the Odyssey, which brought Europe and England into civilization. The African we must talk about is the African that caused people to understand science, medicine, law, engineering, etc. It is common at the universities here to deal with science as if the art of medicine came from a Greek named Hippocrates. We don’t have Hippocrates until about 333 B.C.E. Yet we don’t need any record other than Hippocrates himself to know that what is being taught at the universities here are lies.
One has to realize that Hippocrates himself, in what is called the Hippocratic Oath, wrote that he had a god named Escalipius, the Greek name for the God Imhotep. Imhotep had died 2500 years before the birth of Hippocrates. Imhotep is the first known multigenius other than the one you call Michelangelo. We don’t have Michelangelo until 1609 and he is not known until he does the work of Pope Julius II, who commissioned Michelangelo to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Michelangelo used his cousin and other relatives as models for some of the biblical characters that he painted. The basis of engineering was created by Imhotep. He created the first stone structure; that building still stands in a place called Sakkara, about less than an hour north-west of what is today called Cairo. And here you will see the Grand Lodge of Djoser at Sakkara. That modern structure was built in the Third Dynasty, since Djoser was the third pharaoh of the Third Dynasty. Imhotep was the man who gave us the little quip, “eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we shall die.”
The FIRST WORLD western university was the University of Jenne of Timbuktu. But as we continue, we realize that in the universities here you use paper to write on, and if it was not for paper the means of communication would not be as it is today. But in Egypt, Sudan and other such places, and I will remind you that Egypt is still in Africa, the Africans reached such a height in engineering that we even turned the Nile in an s-turn to cut down the flow when the inundation period came. That brings us to 2200 B.C. That means at least 1400 years before the first European wrote anything.
Africa, Mother Africa, as I prefer to call her, understanding that the Greeks called her Africa in about 500–400 B.C. I’m talking about the time when the first Greeks who had gone to Pyrrus, who had come into Egypt by way of Leba (now called Libya) and established their little villages in a little enclave, they then called Africa long before the continent was partitioned by the colonialists. I am speaking about 11.3 or 11.5 million square miles of land, where first the concept of a God and Goddess Nut is shown as the mother of the sky. Symbolically, the God Geb, the god of the earth, lived in a little chapel in the center of Hathor. The African woman is giving birth even to the sun, in the morning through her vagina and receiving the sun back in the evening through her mouth. This shows the whole rotation of the world, long before the world had a beginning and an end. These Africans along the Nile were to do more of this. They were to give us a God Osiris, where people went yearly to pay pilgrimage long before there was a wailing wall in Palestine or a myth of a Jesus born in Bethlehem, which changed at the Nicene Conference of Bishops, ordered by Constantine and removed from a cave in Ethiopia to a manger in Bethlehem.
It is Africa that gave birth to Hadzart Bilal ibn Rahab, who taught Mohammed ibn Abdullah, who was illiterate in his own language, not able to read and write. In spite of what your belief system may be, Hadzart Bilal ibn Rahab became the head of the Moslem embassies under Mohammed ibn Abdullah, Omar the Great, and Abu Bakr. I think that we need to know history before we can quote texts in religious scriptures.
There was a myth of Africa as the home of a people who ate each other and missionaries. I wish we did eat the missionaries, it’s never too late! We’ve got to understand that this Africa we are speaking about even established Europe’s greatest universities and first, the University of Salamanca in Spain. The Africa we are speaking about produced the ancestors of the present Queen of England, George III, the German king who spoke no English. We forget that Elizabeth’s grandparents and ancestors are related to George III, who was the son of Alexander the Medici, the cardinal of Rome who later became Pope, and an Ethiopian woman by the name of Martha. So I have to say, don’t worry too much about it because Elizabeth belongs to the family. The Africa, which you may not know, happened to give birth to Zinjanthropus Boisei by the Africans of Kenya. The Leakey family, Louis and Mary, dated him to 1.7 million years old. Adam is about 4000–5000 years. The Africa you do not know gave birth also to Lucy in Ethiopia dated 3.2 million years old, they are both in Kenyan and Ethiopian museums. And some of us are still ashamed to be Africans! Some of us pay money to have our nose reshaped, our hair fried and boiled and all sorts of things, because we don’t know this Africa; we know the Africa of the slave trade with John Hawkins from London and the other little songs.
Yes, that is the phase of Africa. Surely, slavery is a phase of lives past, but slavery is a tiny little bit from 640 A.D. with the Arabs, 1506 A.D. with the Europeans to now as against what I’m talking about; it is minuscule by comparison, because if I wished to go back to Africa, not only when we were performing astronomy, engineering in establishing the pyramids and so forth, but when we gave to the world the fundamental moral concept. “I have not killed man or woman.” This is a response to the admonishing of the Goddess Maat. You notice that every time we talk about justice and rights we have as African woman representing the scale of justice. The response to the admonishing which would have stated, “You shall not speak ill of your mother and your father; you shall not kill man or woman; you shall not hide a light under a bushel,” sounds familiar to you because they said some guy named Moses discovered them thousands of years later on Mount Sinai.
Yet they said Moses was born in Goshen. This is the Goshen in Egypt according to the Torah or the Old Testament in the Book of Exodus. Moses had to be trained, and if he was born and lived there (for between age one to eighty-five years of age), according to your Bible, then he must have read this, because he was taught in the Grand Lodge. If he went to the lodge at age seven as a young boy, then he did not come out until he was forty-seven, because it took forty years of training to make a priest in all of the disciplines. So then, Moses came as nothing but a copy of the Egyptian priests and Teachings of The Egyptian Mysteries System.
These same Africans went on to give us the concept of the monotheistic deity. Thus it was that Amenhotep IV, who changed his name to Akhenaton, who gave us the concept of a solitary god by the name of Aten. Akhenaton died long before the birth of Moses. Is it possible for you to come to England, go to kindergarten here, go to elementary school, college, do post-doctoral work and never hear of the English national anthem, the Magna Carta, or Queen Anne’s stature? Is it possible, just as it was for Moses to be born in Egypt, a soul brother, because his first wife was Deborah, according to the Bible, and had never heard of Akhenaton.
And it is said that when Moses was running away from the Pharaoh for committing murder (before he got the rod of Mount Sinai), and his brother Aaron was charged for stealing from the Pharaoh’s treasury, he met Deborah. It would seem to be that Deborah said, “That Egyptian,” pointing to Moses; there was nothing in Moses to tell that he was Jewish; he was not wearing any special clothes; he looked like any other soul brother you can find in London, the Caribbean, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Ghana, the South Pacific. And then you say you are the minority! You are members of the third world. I am not a member of the third world, I am a member of the first world.
When one of the first of the so-called philosophers came to Egypt, we see him before 640 B.C.E. When he was supposed to have released his philosophical thinking, he is in Egypt. From Socrates down to Aristotle, the so-called post-Socratian philosopher, every one of them spent several years in Egypt and of course the only one who couldn’t come since he was the creation of Plato’s mind, was Socrates. And even he (Socrates) was supposed to have taken the hemlock for teaching African philosophy: “Socrates is an evil doer” was part of the charge against him. Plato had to run (and all the others) for teaching this philosophy. Would you have to run from England for teaching English history? Neither would the Greek government persecute the Greek philosophers for teaching Greek philosophy. It was somebody’s Philosophy they were teaching, and where did they go to school to know whose philosophy?
It is not until the Persians in 525 B.C.E. allowed them in, and it was not until 323 B.C.E. at the death of Alexander, the son of Philip of Macedonia, that Aristotle was allowed by General Soter (who changed his name to Ptolemy I) to have Tusak to bring those works down, that the Greeks had access to Egyptian works. Those who could study in Egypt for themselves did so, while some were sent over to Greece where they established what they called the Peripatetic schools in what later was called Alexandria, out of African materials.
Is that the Africa you know? It couldn’t be, otherwise you couldn’t be praising your masters; you would be going back to your educational past and be your own master, at least if not physically, mentally. It is difficult, because colonialism brings to us a kind of history written by the conqueror for the conquered to read and enjoy. When the conquered looks around and finds that even God speaks from the heart of the conqueror, the conquered then becomes suspicious of God. What is God’s interest in all of this? It is not the African who said in the Songs of Solomon, Chapter 1, Verses 1–9, and when you get to 8 and 9, it says, “Ye daughters of Canaan look not upon me because I am black, because I’m beautiful. My mother put me in the vineyard, but my sister, she kept indoors.” That is why the Queen of Sheba turned black. I thought it was because her mother and father were black! But even in the Bible you find lies, racism and all that. As if we didn’t have Bibles. We have “The Book of the Dead” which was changed right here in London from its original name in 1895 at the British Museum. It was called “The Book of Coming Forth By Day and Night.” We have the “Book of the Divines,” “The Book of Judgment,” “The Heart of Judgment,” and other such works, that preceded the Old Testament and the Jewish Kabala by thousands of years.
The Africans gave us the concept against murder. When the Shipwats at the Temple of Philos, a Greek word, which means Angelica, by the way, of the Goddess Auset, which the Greeks called Isis, and her son Heru, who the Greeks called Horus, and all the gods viewed the murder of Osiris by his brother Seth. A murder that preceded the Cain and Abel murder by thousands of years, beginning on the island of Angelica, continuing at the Temple of the God Horus, continuing further and you see the Virgin Birth and Immaculate Conception. It is here long before you see it in lifestyle, and you can see in life-size the drama that preceded Greece, showing Horus killing his uncle for the revenge of killing his father, showing his uncle symbolically as a hippopotamus.
This continued to the Temple of Osiris in Abydos, where pictures of the Virgin Birth, the Resurrection, showing Osiris’ penis perpendicular to his body, being symbolic to the resurrection. When you go there you will see it all over the place. Those of you who have been to Egypt know that life is shown as the penis coming out of Peta’s naval, representative of the extension of the umbilical cord, which is the extension of life, the source of life.
The Africa that I have spoken of, you need to know, and no one can keep you a slave after you know it. In America there is a saying that “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” It is said on television all the time by people who call themselves “The United Negro College Fund.” You can only waste your mind on that one, and by using the term “negro” it indicates they’ve got no minds, because I have been looking for a negro, and I haven’t found one in umpteen years. Because I’m not a Portuguese, I don’t create negroes nor Negroland. I’m an African, and that word we need to deal with as having come from the Greeks. I guess some say it has got good connotations. So I beg of you to always carry a mirror, whether you are a man or a woman, to look at yourself daily. Then you’ve got to have a good feeling about that face you’ve got, the texture of hair you’ve got, and all the fine features you’ve got. I don’t know about you, brothers, but when I look at the face of that African woman, I see heaven!
Buy books by Dr. Yosef Ben-Jochannan