Africa as the Cradle of Man and his Civilization
Africa has been regarded as the cradle of mankind and a place where ancient civilization was recorded long before the advancement of the human culture. Dr. Leakey, who is credited for discovering the oldest set of human bones in his excavations to unravel the origin of mankind, concluded that Africa is the place of origin to the human family. This was after he discovered the famous Lucy in his paleontological works. In addition to this, Mendel who was an expert in genes argued that the dark genes are dominant over the light genes which are recessive. To him, this meant that the African people are the most original and the ones responsible for the human race (Diop & Clarke, Para 1). This paper will provide an overview of the origin of mankind as supported by evidence from Africa and the contributions of the African culture and its astonishing accomplishments in contributing to the world civilization as it is today.
Africa as the cradle of mankind:
Africa has been regarded as the cradle of the human race based on the archaeological evidence uncovered by the paleontologists. It is believed that the Africans were the very first people to occupy the planet before migrating to other different parts of the world. Based on studies of the DNA, it is evident that the Africans are the most original people and that all the other human ancestry can trace their birth place back to Africa. Some fanatics have argued that was it not for the migratory nature of the early African man, the rest of the planet could have been characterized by the absence of human life (Rashidi, Para 1).
For a long time, Africa was overlooked in search for the cradle of mankind and Asia was thought to be the origin of mankind. This misconception can be attributed to two main reasons, one of which points to the diversity in composition of Asian population thought to be complete with the blacks, whites and yellow ethnic groups being represented. The other reason was the discovery of the Homo erectus in Asia when paleontological excavations were not rampant in Africa. The Homo erectus have however been found to be the first hominid to leave Africa, the place of their birth where they had lived approximately 1.6 million years ago. It is only about 500,000 years ago that the Homo erectus migrated to Asia having domesticated the fire and discovered rudimentary methods of transporting food and water. The Homo erectus is thought to have arrived in Europe about 400,000 years ago (Rashidi, Para 3).
In addition to Homo erectus, the Great Lakes region of East and Central Africa has been credited for having produced the first modern human populations. The Homo sapien as the hominid became known has been regarded as the earliest fossils of anatomically modern man. These fossils were discovered in Africa at Omo in Ethiopia, Border Cave in South Africa, and at Klasies River in South Africa and are believed to have existed at about 100,000 years ago. This has prompted the argument that the first modern man evolved in Africa (Jackson; John, Clarke & Rashidi p 6).
Africa as the origin of world civilization:
The Upper Nile Valley of Africa has been credited for giving rise to the world’s oldest monarchy well known as the Ta-Seti in Ethiopia. Egypt has been regarded as the greatest nation of antiquity and the Pharaoh system famously known as the ancient Kemetic civilization is thought to be the proudest and the loftiest accomplishments ever to have been witnessed in human annals (Rashidi, Para, Para 7). The great ancient civilizations in Africa had significant contributions to the world as it is today. These civilizations consisted of knowledge and wisdom that was so influential that it produced some of the leading wonders of the world and also laid down the foundations of the society as it is today. The African civilizations produced great Kings and Kingdoms like Akhenaton and the Egyptian kingdom of the Pharaohs. Akhenaton has gone down the history books as one of the world’s social reformer. He was a wonderful administrator and was even outlawed warfare as part of his administrative policies. He is said to have been so God fearing and spiritual that he would not even dare hurt a flower (Diop & Clarke, Para 5).
The contributions of the Egyptian civilization were numerous starting with the famous Pharaonic Kingdom that reached its peak in the New Kingdom era before declining after the Romans conquered Egypt in 31st BC. The success of the Egyptian civilization laid in the ability to utilize the Nile River for agricultural activities prompted by the discovery of shadoof method of irrigation. They also developed an early form of writing and had a wonderful system of administration that enhanced trade development and strengthened the Kingdom. The Egyptians also left a lasting mark in architecture and arts as evidenced by the amazing pyramids. Egypt can therefore be argued to be one of the earliest abodes of learning and civilization.
Other ancient civilizations in Africa could be found in Ethiopia in the City of Meroe. Meroe has been described as a wonderful city with “walls and stupendous gates, its gorgeous chariots and alert footmen, its inventive genius and ripe scholarship, made it the cradle of civilization and the mother of all,” (Clegg II, Para 9). It is from these ancient civilizations that the world borrowed a lot in the establishment of a civil society. The Homeric mythology has been thought to have borrowed much from the Negro hieroglyphics of Ethiopia, the Egyptians also borrowed from the Negros. The Greeks went to school in Egypt and the Romans adopted the Greek laws and war science. The west learnt from the Romans on how to build and plant, establish and maintain a government. Therefore, the civilization can be argued to have originated in Africa and subsequently spread to other parts of the world (William, p 22).
Africa occupies a very important position in the history of mankind that can not be ignored. Despite the negligence of the continent in world affairs as it is today, we need to appreciate the fact that we owe our existence to this continent. Based on the evidence, one can authoritatively argue that Africa forms the basis upon which human civilization began. The presence of archaeological evidence regarding the existence of the earliest hominids on this continent leaves no doubt about the origin of the human race. The evidence has been backed by the DNA tests to remove any queries to those who could still be in doubt about the originality of their homeland. Africa therefore is the cradle of man and his civilization.
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