Moors’ proud legacy lives

AFRICAN WONDER: The Djingereiber Mosque in Mali, in the area known in ancient times as Timbuktu
AFRICAN WONDER: The Djingereiber Mosque in Mali, in the area known in ancient times as Timbuktu

IN RESPONSE to “Questioning the Nation’s Past” (The Herald April 15), the fact of the matter is that the colonialists never gave us a chance to find out how it could have been if they had never colonised in the first place.

They did arrive and we have what we have, as mentioned and according to Les Reynard. But not all that they brought was ever invented by them in the first place.

What Reynard fails to mention is that colonisation also brought in the distortion of history, and the omission of certain events.

This was to promote and preserve an agenda of the day, which was white supremacy and imperialism.

The colonists were full of hatred for blacks, for the fact that it was Africans that ignited the hunger for knowledge.

We are not taught at school about Great Zimbabwe, Mapungubwe in Limpopo or the Ghanaian civilisation, or where trade between Africa, Middle East and China happened according to archeological finds.

The architecture of stone structures was magnificent, a metropolis which the colonisers would later argue perhaps some ancient whites might have once visited.

This is mainly because, according to them, nothing wonderful can ever happen or can be done by Africans. The mountain churches of Lalibela show the ingenuity of African architecture.

Christianity came to Africa with St Mark in Alexandria and also St Matthew, who stayed for years in Ethiopia. But colonisation brought to the colonies the doctrines from St James and St Peter. I am by the way a Christian. It is also a matter of fact that there are black Jewish communities in Limpopo and Judaism to them was ancient not brought by colonisation.

When white people mention that they brought civilisation to Africa, as we were savages and barbarians, it does not bode well with me.

They also brought in borders, when they carved up Africa.

The by-product is that we Africans are divided and not brotherly to one another.

The greatest wonder and fact is that the Moors (black North Africans) entered Europe through what we now know as Spain, in the 8th century. They had just converted to the newest religion called Islam, which promoted the hunger for culture, knowledge and enlightenment.

The period in Europe was what we know in history as the Dark Ages. The Moors describe how they encountered whites as savages, barbarians, who burned and destroyed ancient books (even the Bible), arts, monuments and Greek teachings and that they did not like to bathe.

The Moors brought into what is today Spain and Portugal culture, enlightenment, art, architecture, Greek philosophy, mathematics (algebra and calculus) and navigation.

They introduced the compass to Europe. Universities were started there and it became the centre for learning.

Royal courts were said to have been copied from them. They were the true perfect gentlemen. They opened up trade routes from China to Europe. They were the catalysts for the European Renaissance.

It is said that the universities of Paris and Oxford were formed after the visits of the Moors, who ruled Europe for 700 years.

The Moors were pushed out of Europe by the very thing they brought in from China, the gun powder which would later become the might of the colonisers.

It is no wonder that the Portuguese and Spaniards were the first to start the so-called voyages of discovery with skills, knowledge and devices brought in by the Moors.

History was all of sudden wiped out by those who wanted to promote their agenda. It is not mentioned anywhere that blacks once ruled Europe (only one British documentary was broadcast).

We need to know and understand that many civilisations across the world have contributed immensely to how we are today in terms of influences, not one people.

Africa is rising again. It has endured much for centuries. But multinationals are setting up shop and it will become the best economy in the world surpassing all those that dominated in past centuries. When one power fades another arises that is how nature is.

We should not pick and choose history but must try and tolerate each other and know that no one creed is superior to another. We should challenge each other to embark on a journey to go and learn history as the history that we think we know is not the whole truth.

Let us build our country together and be accountable, understanding and proactive not condescending to people different to us.

-Nqaba Sneli, New Brighton

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