OPINION: What Africa had before colonisation

By Philani A Nyoni |

Timbuktu, home to the world’s oldest university, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Photo credit: AFP

When Europeans arrived in Africa they found it upon themselves to bring us commerce and civilization. However, Africa had its own forms of commerce, science, art and other measures of civilisation long before the arrival of the colonisers

When Europeans arrived in Africa, like everyone who comes from elsewhere into new terrain they had something to say about the way we lived. To them coming from icy climates which required them to wear clothes, our loinskins, (although we had cotton weavers) grass and thatch huts were a pitiful sight of primitiveness. They found it upon themselves to bring us their three Cs: Commerce, Civilization and Christianity. The first two we had in different forms to the capitalist nations where ‘the men with no knees’ hailed. The last was the most harmful because in the words of Pathisa Nyathi, ‘Christianity is a proselytising religion’, it asks you to denounce who you are and assume a new identity. They baptised us in the name of foreign gods and saints. The way colonisation was branded it posed to the weaker minds, as an elevation to the state mankind existed in then.

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