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Origins of African Democracy and Spirituality

Africans created a unique democratic and spiritual system that was before the conquest and colonization of Africa.


I recently finished reading “The Destruction of Black Civilization: Great Issues of a Race from 4300 B.C. to 2000 A.D.” by Chancellor Williams.


This book opened my eyes to the rich history of African people, and why certain situations kept Africa from reaching its full potential. For instance, negative influences from foreign religions and invasions were forced upon the continent, the lack of unity and stability among the Africans, internal disputes within different African tribes, the Arab slave trade of Africans within the continent, and the European transatlantic slave trade where Africans were forced to leave Africa for the Caribbean Islands, South America, and North America.


All these factors contributed to Africa’s downfall, and the transatlantic slave trade was the beginning of the dark age era for Africans.



Chapter VI: The African Constitution: Birth of Democracy


Chapter six was one of my favorite chapters because Williams gave great insight of how Africans saw themselves, and how their complex democratic and spiritual system functioned. In early Africa, lineage was the most effective force for unity and stability. Everybody was a lawyer because everybody knew the customary laws.


Age Grade: The specific organizational structure of how the society functioned.

  • Age Grade I: Children up to age 12

  • Age Grade II: Teenagers from 13 to 18

  • Age Grade III: Adults 19 to 28

  • Age Grade IV: Adults 29 to 40

  • Age Grade V: 40 and above



Each grade had its own social, economic, and political role within society. Seniority was given to each grade by age, intelligence, and wisdom. Wisdom was supposed to match one’s age because those who experienced more life than others should know more about the world. This was how chiefs and kings were selected within different tribes, kingdoms, and empires.


These practices took place throughout all of Africa, and the chief or king became the mouthpiece for the society. His job was to carry out the will of the people. There were no rulers in Africa, unlike the kings from Asian and European countries who saw themselves as rulers. African kings understood they didn’t own the land, because it was God’s gift to mankind. The African king was simply an overseer of the land, and he made sure the land was fairly distributed amongst all the families.



Fundamental Rights of African People


It was interesting to find out Individual rights never came before the community. There were many laws that the Africans lived by, but the few that caught my attention could be used in the United States today.


For example, every member of the community had the right of appeal from a lower to higher court. Fines for offenses against an individual went to the victim, not the court. Also, part of the money from the loser was returned to him as a desire to renew friendship.


All money, including gifts, taxes, and other donations to the king belonged to the people. During times of relief and aid, the king would help individuals in times of need. “Royalty” in African terms means “Royal Worth,” which means highest in character, wisdom, sense of justice, and courage.


In warfare, the objective was not to kill the enemy, but to overcome them with fear through loud cries, and their marked faces. Although killing was unavoidable, it was kept to a minimum. While in enemy territory, Africans had the right to protection and treatment as a guest within the village, town, or city.


The human rights within a community included rights to have a home, and the right to earn money for themselves or for their family. The land was free of charge because Africans believed everybody deserved the opportunity to make a living, which is the right to live.


All Africans had the right to family or community care in cases of sickness or accidents, and the right to special aid from the Chief if a family couldn’t fix the problem themselves.


The right of a man, even a slave can rise to the highest position within the community if he has the ability and presents high moral characteristics.


Lastly, African religion, which is African spirituality came from the actual way of living and thinking by the Africans. The Chief or High Priest presented prayers to all the community’s ancestors in heaven.


Africans have always been spiritual people, but in early Africa, they infused their spiritual system within their democratic system.



“When the missionaries came to Africa, they had the Bible and we had the land. They said, ‘Let us pray.’ We closed our eyes. When we opened them, we had the Bible and they had the land.”


- Bishop Desmond Tutu



During the 18th and 19th centuries, the Africans captured for the transatlantic slave trade were prisoners of war because they never saw themselves as slaves in the New World. They believed their spiritual system would protected them while revolting against their oppressors. The colonists later enforced laws that prevented the African’s right to practice their spirituality.



My African Ancestors Have Always Been with Me



As I’ve gotten older over the years, I’ve noticed that I’ve become more spiritual than religious. Once I read chapter six, everything came full circle for me. I believe I’ve always been a spiritual person, but I didn’t know how to activate or receive it from my ancestors because there has been a spiritual disconnection from African-Americans and Africa.


I believe God and my ancestors from Africa and North America were helping me defeat cancer twice as a teenager and helped me adjust to a new way of living when I became a hip amputee at 17-years-old.


While creating “CalmandStrong,” I remember being depressed because I resigned from my first job due to my physical disability. One day, I was in my dark apartment, and I created the foundation that eventually became CalmandStrong.


My goal is to inspire teenagers and young adults with my story of being a two-time cancer survivor and hip amputee. I compare my experiences and realities with cancer and becoming a hip amputee to the digital world of the inFAMOUS videogame franchise and superhero Cole MacGrath.


I believe my spiritualty was at its highest when I created CalmandStrong, because everything came together organically.



Preserving African History


It’s unfortunate that I can’t trace my family lineage back to which African ethnic group, tribe, or community I originally came from in Africa before European conquest and colonization. I appreciate scholars and authors like Chancellor Williams who were willing preserve the historical memory of Africans.


I realize the deep and complex system of spirituality rooted in democracy has always been inside me. I regularly seek my ancestor’s guidance to help me navigate through this physical realm, because I’ll be thanking them for their wisdom when we finally meet in the spiritual realm.


“I dreamed that we could visit old Kemet (Egypt), your history is too complex and rigid for some Western critics. They want the whole subject diminished, but Africa’s the origin of all the world’s religions.”

- Nas and Damian Marley, Africa Must Wake Up, Distant Relatives



To check out Nas and Damian Marley featuring K’Nann “Africa Must Wake Up,” click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGTWK7rbmks


To check out “The Destruction of Black Civilization: Great Issues of a Race from 4300 B.C. to 2000 A.D.” by Chancellor Williams on Amazon, click here: https://amzn.to/2D79NRG






Disclaimer:


I don’t own any content from “The Destruction of Black Civilization: Great Issues of a Race from 4300 B.C. to 2000 A.D.” by Chancellor Williams. No Copyright Intended. All Rights go to Chancellor Williams.


I don’t own any content from the inFAMOUS images. All image content is copyright to their respective owners. No Copyright Intended.



I do not own any content displayed from inFAMOUS (2009). The image displayed were captured and lifted from my personal playthrough of the original inFAMOUS video game.



All Rights go to Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE), developed by Sucker Punch Productions.


I don’t own any image content from depositphotos.com. No Copyright Intended. All Rights go to depositphotos.com.


I don’t own any content from Goldie20, retrieved from Nairaland.com. No Copyright Intended. All Rights go to Goldie20, Nairaland.com.


I don’t own any content from Nas and Damian Marley’s song “Africa Must Wake Up.” No Copyright Intended. All Rights go to Nas and Damian Marley. Africa Must Wake Up courtesy of Kanan Ghost from YouTube.com.


Africa image. Depositphotos. vektör Afrika harita. September 18, 2018. https://tr.depositphotos.com/116333886/stock-illustration-vector-africa-map.html


Goldie20. Nigerian Forum. Nairaland Forum. September 18, 2018. https://www.nairaland.com/1323700/african-history-spirituality


Jones, N, Marley, D. Warsame, K. Africa Must Wake Up. Distant Relatives. Kanan Ghost, YouTube, 27 Apr. 2010, 20 Sept. 2018. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGTWK7rbmks


Williams, C. The Destruction of Black Civilization: Great Issues of a Race from 4300 B.C. to 2000 A.D. Amazon. September 18, 2018. https://amzn.to/2D79NRG

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