In the Service of our Ancestors and African Love,
Listen Seeker, I come in peace,
“In the end, this champion of debate learned only one thing. As a debate requires one to listen to one’s “opponent,” an African can not win a debate against a White person. Because once you listen to a White person, and process what that White person says, it’s certain that you have already lost.” — Onitaset Kumat, Fable: The Debate Winner
An African can not win out of Africa. The United Nations has its hand in the current invasion of Haiti, the assassination of Patrice Lumumba, the ongoing Genocide of Africans in America and countless other crimes against African people. Still, in 1978, Cheikh Anta Diop and Theophile Obenga embarrassed several Europeans in an intellectual debate on the unquestionably Black African “Ancient Egyptians.” Or did they?
Two brilliant scholars of the African Race meticulously research a most obvious fact of African History, present their arguments to fools of the European and Asian Races, then walk away with recognition as victors; yet, it remains a rare youth who believes the Ancient Egyptians look differently from the Arabs in the bodegas of their neighborhoods. What was won?
While an interesting paper in light of modern ignorance, it’s a sad testament that herein lies Diop’s monument. An academic through and through, his gift is squandered here, an interesting paper which had a negligible 40-year effect.
Special thanks goes to the person who transcribed this document; unfortunately, none of the mdw ntr (hieroglyphics) or special characters were transcribed. See the transcription here: 40541599-The-Origins-of-the-Egyptians-by-Cheikh-Anta-Diop
Part 1 is interesting. Part 2 is very interesting. This is Part 2.
“The Egyptians had only one term to designate themselves: kmt=the negroes (literally).”
ORIGIN OF THE ANCIENT EGYPTIANS (Cont,)
by Cheikh Anta Diop
The Egyptians as They Saw Themselves
It is no waste of time to get the views of those principally concerned. How did the ancient Egyptians see themselves? Into which ethnic category did they put themselves? What did they call themselves? The
language and literature left to us by the Egyptians of the Pharaonic epoch supply explicit answers to these questions which the scholars cannot refrain from minimizing, twisting or ‘interpreting.’
The Egyptians had only one term to designate themselves: [hieroglyphics]=kmt=the negroes (literally).44 This is the strongest term existing in the Pharaonic tongue to indicate blackness; it is
accordingly written with a hieroglyph representing a length of wood charred at the end and not crocodile scales.45 This word is the etymological origin of the well-known root Kamit which has proliferated in modern anthropological literature. The biblical root kam is probably derived from it
and it has therefore been necessary to distort the facts to enable this root today to mean ‘white’ in Egyptological terms whereas, in the Pharaonic mother tongue which gave it birth, it meant ‘coal black.’
In the Egyptian language, a word of assembly is formed from an adjective or a noun by putting it in the feminine singular. ‘kmt’ from the adjective [hieroglyphics] =km=black; it therefore means strictly negroes or at the very least black men. The term is a collective noun which thus described the whole people of Pharaonic Egypt as a black people.
In other words, on the purely grammatical plane, if one wishes to indicate negroes in the Pharaonic tongue, one cannot use any other word than the very one which the Egyptians used of themselves. Furthermore, the language offers us another term, [hieroglyphics] kmtjw=the negroes, the black men
(literally)=the Egyptians, as opposed to ‘foreigners’ which comes from the same root km and which the Egyptians also used to describe themselves as a people as distinguished from all foreign peoples.46 These are the only adjectives of nationality used by the Egyptians to designate themselves and both mean ‘negro’ or ‘black’ in the Pharonic language. Scholars hardly ever mention them or when they do it is to translate them by euphemisms such as the ‘Egyptians’ while remaining completely silent about their etymological sense.47 They prefer the expression [hieroglyphics] Rmt kmt=the men of the country of the black men or the men of the black country.
In Egyptian, words are normally followed by a determinative which indicates their exact sense, and for this particuar expression Egyptologists suggest that [heiroglyphics] km=black and that the colour qualifies the determinative which follows it and which signifies ‘country’. Accordingly, they claim, the translation should be ‘the black earth’ from the colour of the loam, or the ‘black country’, and not ‘the country of the black men’ as we should be inclined to render it today with black Africa and white Africa
in mind. Perhaps so, but if we apply this rule rigorously to [hieroglyphics] =kmit, we are forced to ‘concede that here the adjective “black” qualifies the determinative which signifies the whole people of Egypt shown by the two symbols for “man” and “woman” and the three strokes below them which
indicate the plural’. Thus, if it is possible to voice a doubt as regards the expression [hieroglyphics] =Kme, it is not possible to do so in the case of the two adjectives of nationality [hieroglyphics] kmt and
kmtjw unless one is picking one’s arguments completely at random.
It is a remarkable circumstance that the ancient Egyptians should never have had the idea of applying these qualificatives to the Nubians and other populations of Africa to distinguish them from themselves; any more than a Roman at the apogee of the empire could use a ‘colour’ adjective to distinguish himself from the Germani on the other bank of the Danube, of the same stock but still in the prehistoric age of development.
In either case both sides were of the same world in terms of physical anthropology, and accordingly the distinguishing terms used related to level of civilization or moral sense. For the civilized Romans, the
Germans, of the same stock, were barbarians. The Egyptians used the expression [hieroglyphics] =na-has to designate the Nubians; and nahas48 is the name of a people, with no colour connotation in Egyptian. it is a deliberate mistranslation to render it as negro as is done in almost all present-day publications.
The Divine Epithets
Finally, black or negro is the divine epithet invariably used for the chief beneficent gods of Egypt, whereas all the malevolent spirits are qualified as desret=red; we also know that to Africans this form
applies to the white nations; it is practically certain that this held good for Egypt too but I want in this chapter to keep to the least debatable facts.
The surnames of the gods are these:
[hieroglyphics] =kmwr=the ‘Great Negro’ for Osiris49
[hieroglyphics] =km=the black + the name of the god50
[hieroglyphics] =kmt=the black + the name of the goddess51
The km (black) [hieroglyphics] qualificative is applied to Hathor, Apis, Min, Thoth, etc52 [hieroglyphics] set kmt=the black woman=Isis53 On the other hand ‘seth’, the sterile desert, is qualified by the term
desret=red. 54 The wild animals which Horus fought to create civilization are qualified as desret=red, especially the hippopotamus.55 Similarly the maleficent beings wiped out by Thoth are Des= [hieroglyphics] =desrtjw=thr red ones; this term is the grammatical converse of Kmtjw and its construction follows the same rule for the formation of ‘nisbes’.
Witness of the Bible
The Bible tells us. ‘ . . .the sons of Ham [were] Cush, and Mizraim [i.e. Egypt], and Phut, and Canaan. And the sons of Cush; Seba, and Havilah, and Sabtah, and Raamah, and Sabtechah.56 Generally speaking all Semitic tradition (Jewish and Arab) classes ancient Egypt with the countries of the blacks.
The importance of these depositions cannot be ignored, for these are peoples (the Jews) which lived side by side with the ancient Egyptians and sometimes in symbiosis with them and have nothing to gain by presenting a false ethnic picture of them. Nor is the notion of an erroneous interpretation of the
facts any more tenable.57
Among the innumerable identical cultural traits recorded in Egypt and in present-day black Africa, it is proposed to refer only to circumcision and totemism.
According to the extract from Herodotus quoted earlier, circumcision is of African origin. Archaeology has confirmed the judgment of the Father of History for Elliott-Smith was able to determine from the
examination of well-preserved mummies that circumcision was the rule among the Egyptians as
long ago as the protohistoric era,58 i.e. earlier than -4000.
Egyptian totemism retained its vitality down to the Roman period59 and Plutarch also mentions it. The researches of Amelineau6,60 Loret, Moret and Adolphe Reinach have clearly demonstrated the existence of an Egyptian totemic system, in refutation of the champions of the zoolatric thesis.
If we reduce the notion of the totem to that of a fetish, usually representing an animal
of a species with which the tribe believes it has special ties formally renewed at fixed intervals, and which is carried into battle like a standard; if we accept this minimal but adequate definition of a totem,
it can be said that there was no country where totemism had a more brilliant reign than in Egypt and certainly nowhere where it could be better studied.61
Walaf,62 a Senegalese language spoken in the extreme west of Africa on the Atlantic Ocean, is perhaps as close to ancient Egyptian as Coptic. An exhaustive study of this question has recently been carried
out.63 In this chapter enough is presented to show that the kinship between ancient Egyptian and the languages of Africa is not hypothetical but a demonstrable fact which it is impossible for modern scholarship to thrust aside.
As we shall see, the kinship is genealogical in nature.
Egyptian Coptic Walaf
=kef=to grasp, (Saidique dialect) kef=seize a prey, to take a strip keh=to tame 65 (of something)64
PRESENT PRESENT PRESENT
kef i keh kef na kef ek keh ek
kef nga kef et keh ere kef na
kef ef kef ef kef es keh es kef ef na
kef n keh en kef nanu kef ton keh etetu
kef ngen kef sen keh ey kef nanu
PAST PAST PAST
kef ni keh nei kef (on) na
kef (o) nek keh nek kef (on) nga
kef (o) net keh nere kef (on) na
kef (o) nef keh nef kef (on) ef na
kef (o) nes keh nes kef (on) es
kef (o) nen keh nen kef (on) nanu
kef (o) n ten keh netsten kef (on) ngen
kef (o) n sen67 keh ney68 kef (on) nanu
(symbol) =feh=go away feh=rush off
We have the following correspondences between the verb
with identity of similarity of meaning: all the Egyptian verb
forms, except for two, are also recorded in Walaf.
[symbol] =mer=love mar=lick (symbol)
Egyptian and Walaf Demonstratives
There are the following phonetic correspondents between Egyptian and Walaf demonstratives;
[This section was omitted because of the difficulty of reproducing the symbols on the Internet]
These phonetic correspondences are not ascriable either to elementary affinity or to the general laws of the human mind for they are regular correspondences on outstanding points extending through an
entire system, that of the demonstratives in the two languages and that of the verbal languages. It is through the application of such laws that it was possible to demonstrate the existence of the Indo-European linguistic family.
The comparison could be carried to show that the majority of the phonemes remain unchanged between the two languages. The few changes which are of great interest are the following:
[This section was omitted because of the difficulty of reproducing the symbols on the Internet]
It is still early to talk with precision of the vocalic accompaniment of the Egyptian phonemes. But the way is open for the rediscovery of the vocalics of ancient Egyptian from comparative studies with the languages of Africa.
The structure of African royalty, with the king put to death, either really or symbolically, after a reign which varied in length but was in the region of eight years, recalls the ceremony of the Pharaoh’s
regeneration through the Sed feast. Also reminiscent of Egypt are the circumcision rites
mentioned earlier and the totemism, cosmogonies, architecture, musical instruments, etc., of Africa.71 Egyptian antiquity is to African culture what Graceo-Roman antiquity is to Western culture. The building
up of a corpus of African humanities should be based on this fact.
It will be understood how difficult it is to write such a chapter in a work of this kind, where euphemism and compromise are the rule. In an attempt to avoid sacrificing scientific truth, therefore, we made a point of suggesting three preliminaries to the preparation of this volume, all of which were agreed to at the plenary session held in 1971. 72 The first two led to the holding of the Cairo Symposium from 28 January to 3 February 1974. 73 In this connection I should like to refer to certain passages in the report of that symposium. Professor Vercoutter, who had been commissioned by Unesco to write the introductory report, acknowledged after a thorough discussion that the conventional idea that the Egyptian population was equally divided between blacks, whites and half-castes could not be upheld..
‘Professor Vercoutter agreed that no attempt should be made to estimate percentages, which meant nothing, as it was impossible to establish them without reliable statistical data’. On the subject of Egyptian culture: ‘Professor Vercoutter remarked that, in his view, Egypt was African in its way of
writing, in its cullture and in its way of thinking’.
Professor Lecant, for his part, ‘recognized the same African character in the Egyptian temperament and way of thinking’.
In regard to linguistics, it is stated in the report that ‘this item, in contrast to those previously discussed, revealed a large measure of agreement among the participants. The outline by Professor Diop and the report by Professor Obenga were regarded as being very constructive’.
Similarly, the symposium rejected the idea that Pharaonic Egyptian was a Semitic language. ‘Turning to wider issues, Professor Sauneron drew attention to the interest of the method suggested by Professor
Obenga following Professor Diop. Egyptian remained a stable language for a period of at least 4500 years. Egypt was situated at the point of convergence of outside influences and it was to be expected that borrowing had been made from foreign languages, but the Semitic roots numbered only a few hundred as compared with a total of several thousand words. The Egyptian language could not be isolated from its African context and its origin could not be fully explained in terms of Semitic, it was thus quite normal to expect to find related languages in Africa’.
The genetic, that is, non-accidental relationship between Egyptian and the African languages was recognized: ‘Professor Sauneron noted that the method which had been used was of considerable interest, since it could not be purely fortuitous that there was a similarity between the third
person singular suffixed pronouns in Ancient Egyptian and in Wolof, he hoped that an attempt would be made to reconstitute a palaeo-African language, using present-day languages as a starting point’.
In the general conclusion to the report it was stated that: ‘Although the preparatory working paper sent out by Unesco gave particulars of what was desired, not all participants had prepared communications
comparable with the painstakingly researched contributions of Professors Cheikh Anta Diop and Obenga. There was consequently a real lack of balance in the discussions’.
A new page of African historiography was accordingly written in Cairo. The symposium recommended that further studies be made on the concept of race. Such studies have since been carried out, but they have not contributed anything new to the historical discussion. They tell us that molecular biology and genetics recognize the existence of populations alone, the concept of race being no longer meaningful. Yet whenever there is any question of the transmission of a hereditary taint, the concept of race in
the most classic sense of the term comes into its own again, for genetics tells us that ‘sickle-cell anaemia occurs only in negroes’. The truth is that all these ‘anthropologists’ have already in their own
minds drawn the conclusions deriving from the triumph of the monogenetic theory of mankind
without venturing to put them into explicit terms, for if mankind originated in Africa, it was necessarily negroid becoming white through mutation and adaptation at the end of the last glaciation in Europe in the Upper Palaeolithic; and is not more understandable why the Grimaldian negroids first occupied Europe for 10,000 years before Cro-Magnon Manthe prototype of the white race-appeared (around -2,000).
The idealogical standpoint is also evident in apparently objective studies. In history and in social relations, it is the phenotype, that is, the individual or the people as that individual or people is
perceived, which is the dominant factor, as opposed to the genotype. For presentday genetics, a
Zulu with the ‘same’ genotype as Vorster is not impossible. Does this mean that the history we are witnessing will put the two phenotypes, that is, the two individuals, on the same footing in all their national and social activities? Certainly not — the opposition will remain not social but ethnic.
This study makes it necessary to rewrite world history from a more scientific standpoint, taking into account the Negro-African component which was for a long time preponderant. It means that it is now
possible to build up a corpus of Negro-African humanities resting on a sound historical basis instead of being suspended in mid-air. Finally, if it is true that only truth is revolutionary, it may be added that only rapprochement brought about on a basis of truth can endure. The cause of human progress is not well served by casting a veil over the fact.
The rediscovery of the true past of the African peoples should not be a divisive factor but should contribute to uniting them, each and all, binding them together from the north to the south of the continent so as to enable them to carry out together a new historical mission for the greater good of
mankind; and that is in keeping with the ideal of Unesco.
“Footnotes to: ORIGIN OF THE ANCIENT EGYPTIANS”—————————————————————————ORIGIN OF THE ANCIENT EGYPTIANS (Cont,)
by Cheikh Anta Diop
1. Proceedings of the Seventh Pan-African Congress of PreHistory and Quaternary Studies, December 1971
2. M.F.A. Montagu, 1960, p. 390.
3. The study of this race’s pigmentation can be carried farther by the method described; actually Elliott-Smith often found patches of skin on the bodies and the mummification methods which cause skin deterioration were not yet in use. 1
4. D.P. de Pedrals, p.6.
5. Geographie, classe de 5, 1950.
6. In his ‘Lutte des races” (1883) L. Gumplovicz asserts that the diverse classes making up a people always represent different races, of which one has established its domination over the others by conquest. G. deLapounge in an article published in 1897 postulated no less than a dozen ‘fundamental
laws of anthropo-sociology’ of which the following are typical; his ‘law of distribution of wealth’ posits that, in countries of mixed European-Alpine populations, wealth is greater in inverse proportions to the
cephalic index; the ‘law of urban indices’ given prominence by Ammon in connexion with his
research on Badener conscripts asserted that town dwellers exhibit greater dolichocephaly than the people in the adjacent countryside; the ‘law of stratification’ was formulated in the following terms: ‘the
cephalic index decreases and the proportion of dolichocephalics rises the higher the social class, in each locality’. In his Selections sociales’ the same writer had no hesitation in asserting that ‘the dominant class in the feudal epoch belongs almost exclusively to the variety “Homo Europaeus” so that it
is not pure chance which has kept the poor at the foot of the social ladder but their congenital inferiority’.
We thus see that German racism was inventing nothing new, when Alfred Rosenberg asserted that the French Revolution must be deemed a revolt of the brachycephalics of the Alpine stock against the
dolichocephalics of the Nordic race.’ (A. Cuvillier, p. 155)
7. W.M.F. Petrie, 1939, Fig. 1.
8. ibid., p. 69.
9. ibid., p. 68.
10. E. Amelineau, 1908, p. 174.
11. Pl. 1.2.
12. Pl. 1.3.
13. W.M.F. Petrie, 1939, p.67.
14. Pl. 1.11.
15. Pl. 1.5.
16. pl. 1.8.
17. Pl. 1.7 I know that ‘Indo-European’ is usually said to be a language, not a race, but I prefer this term to ‘Aryan’ wherever its use causes no confusion.
18. Pl. 1.2.
19. Pl. 1.13.
20. R.A. Nicolaus, p. 11.
21. T.J. Pettigrew, 1834, pp. 70-71.
22. C.A. Diop, 1977.
23. M.E. Fontant, pp. 44-5 (see reproduction: T).
24. M.F.A. Montagu, p. 337.
25. In the fifth century before our era, at the time when Herodotus visited Egypt, a black-skinned people, the Colchians, were still living in Colchis on the Armenian shore of the Black Sea, East of the ancient port of Trebizond, surrounded by white-skinned nations.
The scholars of antiquity wondered about this people’s origins and Herodotus in “Euterpe’, the second book of his history on Egypt, tries to prove that the Colchians were Egyptians, whence the arguments we quote. Herodotus, on the strength of commemorative stelae, erected by Sesostris in conquered
countries, asserts that this monarch had got as far as Thrace and Seythia, where stelae would seem to have been still standing in his day (Book II, 103).
26. Herodotus, Book II, 104. As with many peoples in black Africa, Egyptian women underwent excision of the clitoris: ef. Strabo, Geography, Book XVII, Ch. I.
27. Herodotus, Book II, 57.
28. Seneca, Questions of Nature, Book IV, 17.
29. Herodotus, Book II, 22.
30. Aristotle, Physiognomy, 6.
31. Lucian, Navigations, paras 2-3.
32. Apollodoros, Book II, ‘The Family of Inachus’, paras 3 and 4.
33. Aeschylus, The Suppliants, vv. 719-20. See also v. 745.
34. Strabo, Geography, Book I, ch. 3, para. 10.
35. My italics.
36. Diodorus, Universal History, Book III. The antiquity of the Ethiopian civilization is attested by the most ancient and most venerable Greek writer, Homer, in both the Lliad and the Odessey: ‘Jupiter
followed today by all the gods receives the sacrifices of the Ethiopians’ (Iliad, I, 422).
‘Yesterday to visit holy Ethiopia Jupiter betook himself to the ocean shore'(lliad, I, 423).
37. Diogenes Laertius, Book VII,i.
38. The Egyptian notables liked to have a Syrian or Cretan female slave in their harems.
39. Ammianus Marcellinus, Book XXII, para 16 (23).
40. Pirate gangs who worked from small ships called Camare.
41. Ammianus Marcellinus, Book XXII, para. 8 (24).
42. M.C.F. Volney, Voyages en Syrie et en Egypte, Paris, 1787, Vol. I, pp. 74-7.
43. J.J. Champollion-Figeac, 1839, pp. 26-7.
44. This important discovery was made, on the African side, by Sossou Nsougan, who was to compile this part of the present chapter. For the sense of the word see Worterbuch der Aegyptischen Sprache, Vol 5, 1971, pp. 122 and 127.
45. ibid., p. 122.
46. ibid., p. 128.
47. R.O. Faulkner, 1962, p. 286.
48. Worterbuch der agyptischen Sprache, p. 128.
49. ibid. p. 124.
50. ibid., p. 125.
51. ibid., p. 123.
52. It should be noted that set-kem=black wife in Walaf.
53. Worterbuch der agyptischen Sprache, p. 492.
54. ibid., p. 493.
55. Desret= blood in Egyptian; deret=blood in Walaf; ibid., p. 494.
56. Genesis, 10:6-7.
57. C.A. Diop, 1955, pp. 33ff.
58. E. Massoulard, 1949, p. 386.
59. Juvenal, Satire XV, vv. 1-14.
60. E. Amelineau, op. cit.
61. A. Recnach, 1913, p. 17.
62 Often spelt Wolof.
63. C.A. diop, 1977.
64. R. Lambert, 1925, p. 129.
65. A. Mallon, pp. 207-34.
66. A. de Buck, 1952.
68. A. Mallon, pp. 207-34.
69. By extension=love intensely (hence the verb mar-maral) after the fashion of a female animal licking the cub which she has just borne. This sense does not conflict with the other notion which the determinative may convey of a man raising hand to mouth.
70. See below for the explanation of this important law.
71. See C.A. Diop, 1967.
72. See final Report of the First Plenary Session of the International Scientific Committee for the Drafting of a general History of Africa, UNESCO, 30 March-8 April 1974.
73. Symposium of ‘The peopling of ancient Egypt and the deciphering of the Meriotic script’. Cf. Studies and Documents No. I UNESCO, 1978.