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African Identity and Culture: Who We Are

By Dr Mathole Motshekga

Great nations, past and present rooted their nationhood in their heritage whether real or imagined. The heritage of a people is their roots. A nation is like a tree. It cannot grow and sustain itself without roots. That’s why primal or ancient African communities venerated trees such as the Baobab, sycamore or fig tree.

They also claimed that they evolved from the trunk of the tree or the lotus flower. The Baobab tree for instance was known as the Tree of the Great Aunt (a reference to the moon (maia or the planet Venus (Nehanda or Masase) as the universal mother of all humanity.  Both the moon and the Venus are emanations of the Sun (Ra). The Sun was therefore regarded as the King (Faro) or God of light.  The Sun (Ra) was regarded as the physical manifestation as the God of light. The spiritual aspects of human beings were regarded as rays of the spiritual Sun (Kara) known as God.

The primal African culture was therefore called the regal culture and their belief system as Karaism – the religion of light.  Thus primal African named their continent Afura or Afaro.  The root of the name Afuraka (Greek Africa).  The African cradle land was also called Punt (or Buntu) i.e. land of the cosmic spirit), also known as Kumara or Tamara (i.e. the land of the universal virgin mother).  The virgin mother of goddess was symbolised by either the moon (ma or maia) or the planet Venus (Masase or Mara).  Hence, the primal African societies were matriarchal not patriarchal societies.

The aforegoing explanation of the roots of African culture shows that the African cultures show that the African lineage could be traced back to the Solar (Kara) system.  No wonder that the primal African people were called the people (or the children) of the sun (Bakara or Bakhalaka). This African identity survives in names like Ukara (island in Lake Victoria), Accra (Akkara), Sakara (Egypt), Sankara (Guinea) etc. This means that Africans who want to rediscover their origins; lineage and true identity do not need to go back to the histories or genealogies of other nations.

The primal African Holy scripture known as the Pert em Heru (i.e. The Book of the Divine Light) traces the cradle of all humanity to Afura (Hebrew Ophir), Punt (or Tamera) in the Great African Lakes. Modern sciences have confirmed this. The traditional myths of human origins have been exploded. There should be no need for Africans to doubt their divine origins and their equal status in the community of nations.

The primal African religion was also rooted in the solar (Kara) or astral (Saba) systems. Thus the primal African religion was known as Karaism or Sabaism (i.e. the Religion of Light). The Light has always been regarded as the physical manifestation of the Great Spirit that is called God. Thus Africans always regarded God as a spiritual, not a human being. Sheik Anta Diop has also shown beyond any shadow of doubt that all indigenous Africans including ancient Ethiopian and Egyptians originated in and dispersed from the Area of the African Great Lakes.  Anta Diop also pointed out that African history would not be complete until the history of Egypt is linked to the history of the rest of the whole Africa. The name Egypt (Hakaptah), like Ethiopia (Atape) were named after the primal God Tapa (or Pata) popularly known as Ptah. The statue of this God was found in the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankmun (cer 1332 BCE).

The Great African Rift (Lupata) Valley (and several other places) were named after God Ptah. These places include: Napata the ancient Ethiopian Capital), Kaptah (Greek Coptos i.e. Southern Egypt), Nabta plaza and Naptha (now Kordofan) in the Sudan, heartland of ancient Ethiopia. If this knowledge was not suppressed and outlawed as paganism, Africans would not have adopted alien gods and lineages.

Other sources claim that the true origin of indigenous African people is not known. Some call them Hamites, Negroes, Bantu or Afro-Asians. This uncertainty results from the fact that the African self-definition was suppressed and outlawed. Indigenous African are not descendants of Ham, the cursed son of Noah. Noah was an Asian while Africans are not Asians, but people of African stock. Indigenous Africans have a distinctive lineage and identity.

The Biblical Ham was a human while the African Han was spiritual being. He was the son or word (Zambe or Nyambe) of God Ptah. In short, he was known as Hamptah or Champtah.  In ancient Ethiopia and Egypt God Ham (or Cham) was popularly known as Khem or Chem. Lord Chem was also known as Charaoh (Greek Chirho).  This means, therefore, that indigenous Africans traced back their origins to God Ptah or his word Khem or Zambe.  No wonder that the dynastic rulers of Zimbabwe and the Congo etc, like those of ancient Ethiopia and Egypt associated themselves with the four Holy Beasts (Kheru) before the throne of the Word (Hamptah) or Spiritual Sun (Charaoh) of God Ptah.  These four Holy Beasts are:

  • Man (Mundu or FaHam)
  • Lion (Mwanamutapa/Momphta)
  • Eagle (Mutapa/Omphta)
  • Bull or Lamb (Amani/Amun)

These four Holy Beasts (kheru) are the children of Charaoh or Hamptah and grandchildres of God Ptah. The ancestors of African people left from Punt or Tamers after a flood that destroyed their settlement killing many of their people.  Lord Khem (or Ham), also known as ThauThau-Harama (Greek Thoth-Hermes), led the survivors to North East Africa (Khem or Ta Shema).  The founders of ancient Ethiopia and Egypt were immigrants from Khem. Hence, ancient Egypt (Hakaptah) was known as Kheme(t). The ancient Egyptians, like all other indigenous Africans were called Khemites or Hamites.

The African sage Khem or Thoth-Hermes was a prophet, astronomer, alchemist and sacred magician.  He taught ancient Africans sacred sciences, especially astronomy and astrology which regulate the relationship with God, nature and humanity.

African cosmology

Indigenous African people did not argue about the existence or non-existence of God.  They received and passed on a revelation of God and nature from Lord Khem or Thoth-Hermes.  Their knowledge is embodied in the Books of Thoth, also known as the Hermetic literature.  The following exposition of African cosmology comes from the Hermetic literature and my own intuition.

Ancient Africans called God the One (Ptah) who came out of Nothingness (Nahas) and manifested himself as the Ennead (i.e. nine spiritual principles) without diminishing itself.  Thus the One and its nine emanations made up the Decade (1+9=10) that came out of Nothingness. This Decade (Amani) was the creative energy of God that manifested itself as the Universal Virgin Mother (Mara, Saba or Kore). This Virgin was the Mother of the solar (Kara) principle that manifested itself as the arcane (Arkana) principle.

The Universal Virgin Mother and the arcane principle are symbolised by the Black Cow and calf.  This calf is also symbolised by the tau () cross or five pointed star. This calf was also known as the God of Light. The God of Lights is a triune God made up of the Heavenly Father, Mother and Child.  These three gods are symbolised by the three stars of the Orion (Urhana) belt.  These gods are One in three and Three in One. They are the gods who are symbolised by the solar monogram. The Bull of Heaven and its four children (Kheru) and located at the centre of the Universe or galaxy that is surrounded by the seven cows of Heaven.  These cows are represented by the Seven Pleiades or Circumpolar (Khelemela/Menrah) stars.  The Bull and Seven Cows of Heaven represent the cosmic principles which constitute the wheel of life and the centre of the universe.

The wheel of Life created the twelve divisions of heaven and twelve gods presiding over them.  The Seven Pleiades of Circumpolar stars links the Bull of Heaven (i.e. God of Light) with the twelve Houses of the Zodiac and their presiding gods.  The Zodiac is, in turn, linked to the earth and humanity by the seven outer planets (the “kabiri”).

The human spirits emanated from the God of Light and descends into the twelve houses of the Zodiac through the Seven Pleiades or Circumpolar Stars where they are embodied by the souls. These souls (containing the spirits) then descend into the material (i.e. human) bodies through the Seven Outer planets which give the souls their material body. Thus the human personality consists of the spirit (m), soul (u) and body (ntu), in sum, Muntu. The name Muntu has the following variations:

M + u + ntu = Muntu

M + u + nthu = munthu

M + u + thu = muthu

M + o + tho = Motho

M + o + to = Moto

M + u + tu = Mtu

M + u + nhu = Munhu

Mind + thought + word = Higher Being

Spirit + Soul + body = Higher Being

The intrinsic quality of the Higher Being is called Ubuntu, Botho or Vunhu.

It is abundantly clear from the aforegoing that the human being is a divine spark or ray of Light from the God of Light. She or he emanated from the God of Light and descended into the twelve houses of the Zodiac where she or he received a soul.  This soul descends into the physical bodies through the seven outer planets which give it its material body. In short, the human personality has a divine origin. It does not descend from the baboon.

Human souls (including human spirits) derived from the God of Light (Iao or Jah Abakara) and descend into their physical bodies through the seven outer planets. The path of the soul from the God of Light to the physical body consists of fourteen rungs are made up by the seven Pleiades Stars and seven outer planets (7+7=14).

The incarnate (or embodied) souls come from God and are governed by God. It means therefore, that during their sojourn in the human body souls must abide by moral laws (i.e. dictates of the conscience) implanted in them on their descent from the God of Light through the ladder of creation.

On its descent from the God of Light to the physical body the soul received moral laws from each of the 14 rungs of the Ladder of Heaven. All together the moral laws embodied in the human conscience are 42 (3x14) in number. This means that human societies do not need Holy Scriptures, priests and bishops to become moral beings by nature. But our material being desires make us forgetful of the fact that we are spiritual first and secondly material beings. Holy Scriptures and priests only remind us of what we know. Some preachers of the word that is inherent in each one of us have turned this moral responsibility into family or national business. That is why we have a proliferation of religious institutions.

 The author is the former ANC chief whip in parliament and writes on African philosophy, heritage and religion


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