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AFRICAN CIVILIZATION REVISITED - Basil Davidson on African History and Eurocentrism [B-CAIMAN-RadioTV]

[ Basil Davidson und Robert Buijtenhuijs, Leiden, 1997 ]

AFRICAN CIVILIZATION REVISITED - Basil Davidson on African History and Eurocentrism

Sprache: Englisch

„To a television series about history of the Africans which I lately had the good fortune to be able to present to a wide public in many countries, more than thirty countries I am told, there were of course some protest and objections. Surprisingly, however, these were fewere than I had expected. Mostly they came from persons of evindently fixed opinions who clearly knew little or nothing of the subject of the programmes, and who made up for their astonishment at being shown that Africans have a history of their own by accusing me of bias, exageration or sentimental frailty. A few were from white South Africans in this Country or former Rhodesian settlers, foreseeably couched in the kind of gutter language one has lerned to expect from such quareters. And several were from otherwise sympathetic viewers who had oddly convinced themselves that black history could be written only by a black historian. One of thes even went so far, although politely, as to suggest that the series in question should have been presented by my late friend and kollegue Cheikh Anta Diop, who was certainly a notable historian but who spoke no English.

None of the these objections has seemed to me warrant serious argument, but was another, far more solidly based in European culture, which undoubtedly does warrant such argument and in which, as I think, one can find some of the crucial origins of established or intellectuel denial of Value to the cultures of Afrika. This Objection, heard from a number of viewers in Europe and North America, was against a central theme in the series. This theme portraiyed Egypt of the Pharaohs, Ancient Egypt before conquest by the Arabs in the seventh century AD, as a country of black origins and population whose original ancestors had come from the lands of the great interior, and whose links with inner Africa remained potent and continuous. To affirm this, of course, is to offend nearly all established historiographical orthodoxy. The Ancient Egyptians, by that orthodoxy, were not only not black – in whatever pigmentational variant of non-white that nature may have provided – but they were also not Africans. To say otherwise must be so mistaken, one has gathered, as to be patently absurd.“ -- Prof. Basil Davidson, In: Race and Class, XXIX, 2, 1987. Vgl. Egypt Revisited, Ivan Van Sertima, Transaction Publishers, 2002, S. 39