• Hubert Marlin

Africa is not late, it morphs into a system designed to undermine its progress

Africa is not technologically lagging behind; it does not merely benefit from the progress it has initiated. An assertion which would upset more than one, since humanity is been conditioned and this for aeon to look with pejorative eyes this Africa that bends under the boudoir shots of the western ferrule.

While Africa's contribution to science and technology has not been recognized to date, it is because the conceptions of scientific knowledge have been racialized, as if knowledge and discovery were Somehow strictly related to the color of the skin.

It is essential to go back in time to understand that the technological development which the West now prides itself, taking even the initiative to admonish its victims would never have taken place if Africa had not existed at the outset.

If Africa is lagging behind, it is simply because it has continued to work as a slave. While some have spoken of neocolonialism to explain the torments that the continent is enduring, it would be more appropriate to reframe this term by speaking instead of neo slavery. A worker who is duly remunerated can use his earnings to furnish his life or even to invest his assets in another field, terminate his relations with his employer, and even compete with him later. This is not the case for Africa; which since is in a contract of servitude with the western forces. A contract of servitude which slows down its development considerably. Corruption and the other scourges that are undermining the continent, that are evoked to accuse the victims of the crime are only the result of the policy of spoliation that has undergone the continent and not the reverse.

In a case such as the one of the CFA Franc that is filling press columns right now, if some economists have a myopia in historiology and sociology, and consider that it is possible to develop with the CFA Franc if one manages well the few means that one has, they forget or do not know that the CFA was built under the symbol of spoliation and corruption. First, an unjust system is imposed on the populations. And second forces imposing this system select some key agents that they corrupt to ensure the sustainability of their system. It worked during slavery with corrupt collaborators on both sides of the Atlantic and it’s still working today with the regents who serve the systems of spoliation to sustain their folds that they owe only to the cutting edge of their betrayal. Also it is important to say that history does not repeat itself but it is simply the agents who strives to mark it who have been using the same methods to have the same results.

If England had not bought blast furnace technology from the kingdom of Ghana, or what remained of it in the 18th century, it would not have known the Industrial Revolution under Queen Victoria.

Historical facts are stubborn when one passes them under the bundles of impartial analysis. Also very few people would be inclined to understand that in fact the period of slavery experienced a transfer of technology from Africa to the Americas. Transfer of technology that helped the development of Western nations. It is hard to admit that the Western forces that succeeded in capturing the land in America and the human resources of Africa, were smart enough to avoid doing otherwise. Barbarism does not accommodate intelligence, and it is logical to admit today that the West is better developed only because others under its negative influence could not develop. The West Do not owe its advance to its technological genius but to the agents of the underdevelopment they have been imposing since to the populace of the world. If in 50 years China became the first economy of the world while deprived of mining resources and Was able to count only on its ideology and its great demography. Africa in 10 years can become the greatest power that the world has ever known if it could free itself from the western yoke. Assertions that seem absurd when one refuses to look at the truth in the face, yet it is possible in 5 years for example, to produce a nuclear engineer who can help build a weapon that would protect the continent from the Western raptors.

While the West benefited from the technological advances that began in ancient Egypt, Africa too could recover the current technology and use it wisely. Science is the prerogative of no one, but of all.

Some examples buried in the annals of history prove that some plants that were introduced into America during the slavery period came from Africa. The archaeological archives, oral histories and even the documents of owners of European slave’s ships and merchants, show that, Africans of the diaspora largely cultivated the same plants they were already cultivating in Africa for their own subsistence. In America they created African farms and gardens which became the incubators of their survival in the Americas, thus Africanizing the methods of feeding American farmers societies. In Africa, even though the nationals of the Sahelian countries are often accused of accustoming themselves to rice imported from Asia, very few people know that the first rice species reported in the first European relations were the Oryza glaberrima, which is characterized by flat, compact panicle flowers with a red seed coat. This variety of rice was grown at least since 1500 BC, along the Casamance in Senegambia and in the interior of Niger’s delta. The Oryza Sativa species, with a panicle of pendent flowers, white teguments, and a higher yield, was introduced in the western Sudan and on the coast of Upper Guinea. The Asian species and its hybrids have progressively replaced the native species. However, Asian rice varieties could be successfully introduced because there was already a system of rice farming and milling based in irrigation. (See Slave Route collective volume 12, UNESCO)

The Gullah, these imported slaves from West Africa, who were forcibly established in Georgia and South Carolina in the United States, mastered the art of irrigating crops that benefited white slave masters. The Gullahs helped to introduce indigenous rice from West Africa, to the offshore islands around South Carolina and Georgia, and the Mississippi Valley.

Cola nuts, and particularly Cola nitida, are Indigenous plant from West Africa, it was the basic ingredient of very popular drinks produced in the United States and Europe in the last 20 years of the nineteenth century. The distinctive taste of the cola inspired innumerable beverages of cola type. Wonderful beverages such as colza, cocoa-kola and choco-cola were experimented in Britain in the last decades of the nineteenth century, even though the Wellcome drink called "Forced March Tabloid" was a unique preparation in Its kind which preserved the original taste of the bitter nut. Today, of course, Pepsi Cola and Coca Cola are the most popular. (Cf. Collective Volume 12, The Slave Route, UNESCO).

In the pharmaceutical industry, the contribution of Africa to the cure of diseases is one of the most important and least well-known. Also, a botanical vocabulary of over 700 pages in the Yoruba language, based on scientific knowledge collected by Pierre Verger in Bahia, the island which is known as a bastion of black communities that freed themselves from slavery, is not a small feat. The deported slaves did all they could to preserve their cultural heritage in spite of difficulties related to their condition. If one adds to this collection the botanical knowledge existing in Nigeria, this encyclopedia would be wider. Similarly, the chemical composition of many salts in the central Sahara and the Lake Chad basin was understood in terms of its applications in pharmacology, cooking, tanning, textile dyeing and veterinary care. The distinction between sulfates, carbonates, and chlorides was known, and attempts had been made to isolate these conducted salts in a manner that revealed a level of scientific investigation that could certainly be transferred to the Americas. Both Yoruba botany and scientific knowledge underlying the salts of central Sudan attest to a scientific sophistication that was disseminated within West Africa and then transferred to the Americas and to the African diaspora.

The textile industry also benefited from African know-how, the earliest historical elements of cotton cultivation are closely linked to Africa, cotton has been replicated in America because it was grown already in Africa. Cotton was cultivated and woven in western Sudan and the interior of the Bay of Benin for centuries before being introduced to the Americas, as well as Weaving, indigo dyeing and decorative arts associated with textiles. In addition, raffia palm trees were planted in West and Central Africa to serve not only to produce wine but also for the manufacture of textiles.

Sugar cane was first cultivated in southern Morocco and then in the Mediterranean area before spreading to islands off the Americas and then to the American continent.

(See Slave Route, UNESCO vol.12)

In the field of medicine and surgery in the West the techniques of sterilization, anesthesia, and Caesarean section were imported from Africa. Thus, the medical school created in Salerno received an important contribution in the seventh century thanks to the arrival of Constantine the African, who had brought from Carthage (present-day Tunisia) a great number of ancient texts which Later will be translated into Latin, and will found the basis of modern surgery in the West. Centuries later facing epidemics of death due to non-compliance with basic rules such as hygiene, Western surgeons will draw inspiration from the work of Robert Felkin an English explorer and medical student. During his trip to Uganda in 1879 he attested to the existence of the practice of caesarean section in Uganda. He described this in his book: Notes on Labor in Central Africa. Published in 1884 in the Edinburgh Medical Journal, Volume 20, April 1884, pages 922-930 how Africans were able to perform surgeries. Robert Felkin's scientific collections will be read by Western surgeons who will make it their duty to apply detailed advices inspired by Ugandan surgery.

The formation of European empires and the creation of enormous wealth were the product of the mixing of certain Ingredients.

Virtually free and extremely fertile land, labor and technology, largely of African origin, and the possibility of amassing immense profits by relying on slavery, with slaves who of course were not remunerated , neither for their work nor for their technological knowledge. While Africa was suffering the assault of a western elite eager for profit, the western population was not happier or more affluent than the African population, even if it had a relative peace, since agents of chaos were exported to the West African coast.

Beyond Moorish Spain, which played an important role in the expansion of technological progress in the world and in the West, it is important to stress that technological progress must not Be understood as an abstract fact, that would be innate for some while, others would be doomed to melt away in the meanders of obscurantism and underdevelopment. Obscurantism and underdevelopment that prevail in sub-Saharan Africa are the result of the civilization of incivility that plunged Africa into the abyss of slavery, that continues to retard its technological and socio-economic expansion. Just like during slavery Africa's resources do not belong to africans, and it is therefore normal for Africa to develop only in a conditional way. For, what Africa and African are today, has been systematized for centuries by the Western forces, which have nonetheless had the merit to apply the principle of large-scale theft to become a misleading reference. A false god admired by a world populace of laymen, manipulated and very little inclined to grasp the facts and acts that mark time. The magnificence of the great western metropolises, is only equal to the crime of high theft perpetuated for centuries by the west. To say so, is not anti-western racism but a truth that imposes itself.

Hubert Marlin Jr. Journalist

Source ( Volume 12, The Slave Route, UNESCO )

Paul E. Lovejoy, "Kola in the History of West Africa", African Studies Papers

Judith Carney, Landscapes of Technology Transfer: Rice Cultivation and African Continuities ", Technology and Culture, 37, 1 (1996)


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