In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth, the land, the sea, all creatures great and small. In the beginning the continent of Africa existed along with other continents where humans were born , lived and died. There is a silent vacuum in the history of the continent, leading us to have misconceptions of the past. One of those misconceptions was that there was very little “civilization” on the continent, especially when compared to European counterparts who ‘discovered’ Africa.
Truth is Africa was home to commercial empires and complex urban societies, each, like other civilizations around the world each had its own rise and eventual demise. Well known were the Egyptian and Ethiopian empires, lesser known others such as the Mali empire that housed the world’s first ever University in the 12th century. Or the Songhai empire in West Africa that had sophisticated trading routes for Gold and salt between AD 1000 – 1591.
And while the West Africans traded their way to fame and fortune, the Swahili Sultans of of the coastal areas of modern day Tanzania had a chain of vibrant well organized city states filled with stone houses, wore fine silks and would trade with merchants as far afield as China and India. It seemed anyone that came from outside the continent left with vast arrays of raw material, which even back then established the land as one from which all who visit want something from.
And then came the mother of all trades that would wreck ultimate havoc on the continent; the transatlantic slave trade. When European explorers landed on the continent they would take reports back to the West of a land so vast, so rich, so full of things to ‘discover’. Of course it started small, slowly, but when it was all over 20 million people would have been captured from the continent to advance the West over 400 long years. So then the great inequality between nations would be established. 20 million. Thats 20 million less people to develop the continent, 20 million people in the prime of their lives not available to continue the development of the continent. But then I’m getting ahead of myself, there is after all still part 3.
And so in the beginning, long before you and I were born, there remains a tale untold. Stories as silent as time itself. The history that never was, potential unrealized, rudely interrupted making way for one of the great tragedies of all time.