I don't remember meeting any particular people from any nation from Africa until I went to college-UMM. Before I begin, I want to inform you that Africa is not a "country", but a "continent". Many of my African brothers and sisters gets very uptight about this. Anyways, as I write this today (9.28.03), I can trace as far back in Middle-Junior High School when I began to learn about this continent. My teacher had us write to the well known past-current American Civil Rights leader, Jessie Jackson, on our concern of the independence of South Africa. This particular nation has changed since it was finally awarded it's independence.
At UMM, I began to distinct the uniqueness of each African nation as I began to meet an international student from various parts. As of today, I'm still learning....After college, I had the privilege to attend an African/African-American conference called Impact (my personal story) in Atlanta, Georgia. I noticed a slight difference of the African American culture there compared to the Midwest.
Western Imperialism and Africa As Seen in an Eye of Both Worlds
By: Miracle Obeta
Political Science Major
University of Minnesota-Morris
Thursday, September 29th 2005
Africa is the second largest continent on the face of the
with the most amount of natural resources, and houses a population of
over 900 million people. It is home to 52 diverse and culturally
countries with well over 752 languages. Born in Nigeria, a country
on the West Coast of Africa, I was exposed to and nurtured in the
richness of Africa for the first twelve years of my life. My family
immigrated to the United States in 1998. Since then, I have educated
in the history of America and critically analyzed the racial history,
conflicts, and relations of this nation. Through the course of my
education, I was greatly astonished by the linkage of African history
that of the Western World since 3000BC to 2004AD, and how much of what
currently occurring in the Continent correlate with events of the
world from the times of the Greeks to the colonial days.
Prior to Africa being known for its political and economic instability, Africa was home to one of the greatest ancient civilizations and kingdoms. Starting with the Egyptians, the great pharaohs of Egypt both Black and Semitic in origin, possessed economic and military power that was unmatched by no other civilization of its time for over 900 years until it was sacked by the Persian empire in the year 712BC and by Alexander the Great of the Greek empire in 525BC. Following the Egyptians was the Timbuktu civilization that took roots in Northwestern Africa and established an economic power that was equivalent to that of the Greeks. Apart from being a powerful economic and political ground, Timbuktu later became a breathing ground for Islam in Africa after it was conquered by the Persian empire. The Persians introduced Islam forcefully to the African civilization, and the teachings of Islam was slowly introduced to other great African civilizations such as Kush, Axum, The Almoravids, Kanem Bornu, The Forest Kingdoms, and the Swahili Kingdoms in later times. The Modern day Zimbabwean based ancient civilization best known as “Great Zimbabwe/The Mwenemutapa Empire was the only great African civilization that was not invaded by the teachings of Islam partly because they were too far from the Islamic influenced Northwest Africa. The Hausa Kingdom mentioned above took roots in the modern day Nigeria and Benin. Nigeria is currently a nation in which half of its population are Islamic and the other half Christian. The Hausa people in Nigeria account for most of the Islamic population.
Nonetheless, when most Americans think of Africa, they vision a continent full of political instability and economic woes. As an African who happens to be raised in a western nation (the U.S), I have noted that such visions from the American people comes as a result of the Western medias’s portrayal of the continent. This helped me explain why as a young African arriving in the U.S during the late 20th century, my first encounter with racism and prejudice did not come from a White person, but an ignorant American of my own race. The Media’s role in the portrayal of Africa is greatly influenced by the globally historic Atlantic Slave Trade that took place from 1440AD to 1870AD in which well over one hundred million Africans were enslaved and dispersed throughout the world by the Dutch, Portugal, Spain, France, Holland, Great Britain, British North America, U.S, and many other Western Nations. Following the Slave Trade came nearly two hundred years of colonialism in which all of Western Europe forcefully established colonies in the African Continent. Africa was exploited, oppressed, ethnically divided, and psychologically enslaved from the late 19th century to the late 20th when Africans began to gain independence from the Western World through rebellion in most cases. Some of those ethnic division was finally exemplified in the recent ethnic killings between the Hutus and Tutsis of Rwanda, Zaire, and Burundi in which the Belgiums played a big part of. Most African nations gained their independence in the year 1964. Out of all the African nations, Ethiopia was the only country that was not colonized by Western Europe. Although the Italians succeeded in separating the modern day Eritrea from the mainland Ethiopia, they never succeeded in colonizing the nation. In essence, while African Americans were being oppressed and psychologically enslaved by the White population in America, all of Africa was being exploited, oppressed, and psychologically enslaved by the rest of Western Europe.
After the end of colonialism in Africa, the Western media became a key player in helping to maintain separation of Africans living on the mainland from those enslaved in Western Europe and North America both psychologically and physically. One of the ways in which the Western Media went about doing so was to depict the African continent in the manner that it does today. To understand this concept, one must close his or her eyes and picture a commercial, movie, documentary, or scientific study exploring one’s favorite place to vacation. Now imagine if that concept is reversed, and whomever is in control of those commercials, movies, documentaries, or scientific studies does not want you to travel, vacation, feel culturally, racially, historically connected to that place, he or she will portray that place as being the worst place that one can ever be. The mainstream media only approaches regions of Africa with a crisis driven eye that gives people, specifically, African Americans in this country an unfairly biased, stereotypical, and often false visions of the African nations. This concept has and continues to be practiced by the Western media and Africans in the Western world continue to be psychologically victimized.
As much as this evilness angered me and continues to anger me, it’s more frustrating when your fellow classmates discover an article on Amazon.com that claims that some men in Africa are known to breast feed and find it to be the most solid fact ever presented and fail to challenge the legitimacy of the claim. Worst enough, you have your professor teaching the class that some men in Africa do breast feed, and in many cases that the HIV virus evolved from Chimpanzees in Africa while clearly this is not true. Africans have been living with Chimpanzees and other exotic animals for as long as Africa has been in existence, and no animal has been known to produce a viruses in human history. It does not occur to them that this theory might be part of the media’s role in its long history of degrading the African continent in the worst way possible. This is another issue that can be discussed, but if one is still convinced that Chimpanzees are the source of the virus, one should ask his or her self why is it that the first case of the virus took place in the U.S and how did it reach the African continent to later infect millions? Why is it that the U.S media never explores the origins of the virus? Why is it that the aids was first known as a gay disease in the U.S? Why is it that African Americans in the U.S have the highest rate of Hiv infections when clearly, every immigrant that wishes to enter the U.S is tested in his or her homeland and in the U.S for any possible illness? Why is it that the U.S government provides 6 Billion dollars to Africa every year to fight aids? To be friendly? Right. What other country had the capability of creating a virus of this magnitude during the 1970s? Where does the term “biological weapon” evolve from? Africa? The truth about the origins of the virus lays in America’s backyard, but as we know, “the facts will never be questioned or challenged because the U.S public is never deceived by the U.S government and media about an issue, and just because it’s published or thought in class it must be true.”
African Heritage Bible, w/ African Biblical roots
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AFRICA DAY OF PRAYER 2003
SATURDAY OCTOBER 18
CENTENNIAL UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
1524 W. COUNTY ROAD C2
(OFF SNELLING AVE)
2:00 P.M. - 6:00 P.M.
In the midst of many difficult challenges facing Africa, God's promises remain true: "If my people who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sins, and heal their land".
FOR INFORMATION CONTACT SAM OGBONNAYA, PRESIDENT OF AFRICAN CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP, TWIN CITIES AT SamOgbonnaya@aol.com