crossCulture is conceived as the main symbol of the human condition; it might be defined as a collective subconscious, described by the beliefs, behavior, language, and entire way of life of a particular group of people at a particular time. Culture includes customs and ceremonies;  and  also  works  of art,  inventions,  technology,  and traditions.

 

By cultural cosmology, we understand the study of the culture as a whole; this includes theory about its genesis and evolution and in addition its general structure and future. It includes the collectively held subconscious ideas about what comprises normal and natural reality ( Johan Galtung, Peace by Peaceful means 1996; page 211). Therefore, to better understand the different facets of cultural violence in Africa it is important to explore the cultural cosmology of Africa. That will allow us to understand the sources of early, traditional or contemporary violence in African societies.

 

Johan Galtung (10) described the six major cosmologies of civilization as:

 

* Occident I and Occident II, which are a mixture of the three Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Occident I is modern and in expansion, whereas Occident II is medieval and in contraction.

 

* Indic (Hindu)

* Buddhic (Buddhist)

* Sinic (Chinese)

* Nipponic (Japanese)

 

Our concern it is to demonstrate the link or influences of the previous cosmological classification on the African Cosmology. Africa is composed of 51 independent countries today, and it is inhabited by two major groups: The “Caucasoid“, in North Africa, Egypt and Sudan, with brown eyes, light olive skin, and high- bridged narrow noses. The “Black”, in the rest of Africa are subdivided into numerous tribes and races. The Pygmies in tropical central  Africa  are  one  of  the  shortest  people  in  the  world.  In tropical Africa alone, some 1,000 different languages are spoken. In each language group there are different tribes and religious denominations. Arabic is predominant in northern Africa. Berber is also spoken in northern Africa. Bantu languages are spoken throughout central and eastern Africa. Sudanic is spoken in the large grassland  region south of the Sahara. Hausa is spoken in western Africa and many countries, after their independence, kept as official languages one of the European languages: French, English, Portuguese, Spanish, German, Dutch (e.g. Afrikaans, derived from German)....

 

Egyptian cosmology as a primary African Cosmology:

 

The African cosmologies are linked to ancient Egypt. The diverse ethnic elements and alien influences of the macro-cultural aspects make it too complex to classify a unified African cosmology.

 

Considering the movement of evolution in the African cosmogony, the eternal created matter passes from one stage to another until it becomes conscious of itself. In this way, the first consciousness springs up from Nous in Egyptian thoughts. The Greek word Nous means God.   The Egyptian demiurge Ra, who brings creation to completion, created four divine couples:

 

Geb and Nut unite with Ra to create the earth and skies

Shou and Tetnout unite with Ra to create the air and space

Osiris and Isis unite with Ra who also unit with Ra to create human beings, called Adam and Eve

Seth and Neth unite with Ra to create Evil.

 

We can conclude that with the conception of Ra, an idealistic or spiritual  element  appeared  in  Egyptian  cosmogony.  Later,  this idealistic element influenced the Greek philosophers and became the basis of Greek idealism. Ra is the first God; he has neither father nor mother, He is autogenus, and not engendered.

 

Most people ignore the fact that ancient Nubia was the site of an early  advanced  black  African  civilization  that  rivaled  ancient Egypt in wealth, power, and cultural development. For nearly one century, N Nubian kings ruled over Egypt as pharaohs. (Mellom

1970)  In  1520  B.C.,  the  Egyptian  pharaohs  took  over,  and Egyptian  culture  increasingly   influenced  Nubia.  In  the  11th century B.C., Nubia regained its independence and a new Nubian kingdom, based in Jebel Barkal in Napata, adopted an Egyptian model of the monarchy, including royal brother-sister marriages. In

742 B.C. Pianshi, king of Napata, conquered Egypt and founded the 25th Dynasty, which ruled Egypt for nearly a century. Soon after the conquest, the Nubian capital shifted to Meroë. The Meroë kingdom developed its own form of writing as well as an iron- based industry.

 

Negroid Cosmology

 

In  the  black  African   cosmogony,   the  idea  of  vital  force” dominates ideas. We understand that the vital force can be found in person or spirits; in persons, spirits, kings, chiefs, and mysterious persons that continue the perpetuation of God’s work. Besides the current cohabitation of the Occident I and II, imposed by colonialism, there is a minor aspect of the traditional religion that still persists and in most cases, has been incorporated in those other religions: Animism.

 

Animism derives from the Latin word anima meaning breath or soul. its origin could be dated to the Paleolithic age. On it earlier belief, it suggested that a soul every object, even inanimate has a soul. In anthropology, animism is considered as to be the original human religion, being defined simply as belief in the existence of spiritual beings. African primitive religions are based on nature worship, and may have in common three types of occultism: Divination, witchcraft (magic) and spiritism, with the “sacrifice of animals, and sometimes of humans, to calm the gods-demons; and reverence for the “ancestors. Often, the head of the tribe, or the

Mwami or Pharaoh, is the god.

 

As in the Zulu example, in Africa there are generally two kinds of diviners: The isangoma is a medium who can make contact with the ancestors. And the isanus, is a diviner capable of smelling outsorceresses and other evil-doers. The herbalists, inyanga yokewlapha, still have the task today of administering medicines made from plants and animals.

 

The Muslims in the North, and the Christians in the South of the Sahara Desert, have changed most of African religion, but it is estimated that more than 40% of Africans still practice “animism“, often in syncretism with their new Christian or Muslim religions. The “Maraboutism (11) in west-Africa is proof of the influence of the traditional  on imported  religion. We can observe that the forces of Christianity and Islam are often seen as clashing. In Africa, these two religions competed for the soul of a continent, and they have enhanced the beginning of globalization with all its consequences on the African style of life. The movement can be observed as a transposition  of the Occident  I and II cosmologies  (12) on the African cosmology. Therefore, contemporary Africa is divided into four major alien cosmologies: Occident I and Occident II, Islam separately and Animism.


 

 

 

 Contemporary Africa

 

 

Tab.a.3.1. Four implanted cosmologies

 

occident I

occident II

African- Islam

Animism

 

 

 

Autochthones: Proto-Bantu and Bantu

Nilo-hamitic

Sudano- Nilotic-Arab

Traditional in general

Major part of the Sub-Saharan Africa

In the horn of Africa: Ethiopia, and Eritrea, Egyptian Coptic Church

The Horn of Africa: Somalia, Sudan, Djibouti are the Principal poles.

 

West Africa (Neo- Sudanese States): Mali, Ghana, Nigeria…

 

North of

Africa

A relic of the ancient traditional African religion. Expressed under different rites according to geo-political influences. Therefore, it can be traditional or

be mixed with new religions such as Islam, Christianity and others.

 

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Tab 3.2 African imposed religion, source exploring Africa (Michigan

Universisty, African Study Departement)

 

 

a.4. Four  cosmologies expressed in seven spaces

 

Human creations are first thoughts before they become physical. The creations of communities with a structural organization such as cities within an administration with achievements such as art, sciences  and  technologies—  things  that  make  a  civilization  must  spring  from  thought.  In  Johan  Gultan’s  TRANSCEND method, cosmology is to a civilization what the personality is to a person (13).Thus a socio-cultural code which is a set of structural rules for survival and success that a particular group of people has developed;  it provides an individual  with roles, telling Her/him who to be, how to act, what is correct to say and to whom.

The hybridization  of African  culture has affected  the local and

cultural values both negatively and positively, especially because of the added alien technology, economy, and supremacy of colonization.

 

To  compare   the  Indic   or  Buddhist   ways   with   the  African cosmology is to find some similarities in the meaning of visions about life and the environment. African cosmology has contributed to the origin  of what has been described  in Galtung’s  book as Occident  I  and  Occident  II,  a  mixture  of the  three  Abrahamic religions:  Judaism,  Christianity  and  Islam.  It  is  widely  agreed among secular historians that the first absolute monotheist in recorded history was an African Pharaoh Akhenaton of Egypt of the 18th Dynasty (1379-1362 BCE).

 

If monotheism  is considered  as a concept,  the most  globalized religious doctrine, the most influential monotheistic religions have been Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Africa played a part in the origins of all these three religions. All of them started with Semitic peoples.  Scholars do not know whether Semitic peoples originate in Africa or in Asia? Today, Semitic languages are on both sides of the Red Sea. Amharic and Tigrinya are among the “Black Semitic languages.

 

Is  it  possible  that  Moses  was  an  Egyptian  and  therefore  an African?   Writers and thinkers like Sigmund Freud have argued that  Moses,  founding  father  of Judaism,  was  an  Egyptian.  Did Jesus Christ find asylum in ancient Egypt when King Herod threatened  his  family  with  death?  The  Gospel  according  to Matthew tells us so (Mathew Chapter 2, Verses 13 to 23). Did the first Arabicized Muslims find asylum in Ethiopia after the Hijra?

 

Western technology and economic structure were introduced with the help of a completed External religion (Christianity) that has contributed most to the alienation and the loss of identity and the division of Africans. This is because the subversion resulting from hybridisation  has created  a “murderous  identity. Those external influences have affected African societies, creating and hybridising their culture and providing a new type of horrifying and hopeless cultural violence. Violence in the name of ethnicity or beliefs in Africa and the Third World is a direct result of Humiliation (See In the Name of Identity: Violence and the Need to Belong, By Amin Maalouf, 1996). If we want to address the problem of ethnically or religiously motivated violence, we must work to counter the conditions under which people are humiliated or denigrated for being part of an ethnic, religious or national group.

 

 

 

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Thanks

A Suivree…..

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