Of African Gender Roles and the Five Elements

In the Service of our Ancestors and African Love,
Listen Seeker, I come in peace,

“Man, know thyself … and thou shalt know the gods.” — African Proverb

The African Man and Woman are complements. This Knowledge has been handed down from times immemorial. Yet it’s rarely understood what the two complete. We can say they complete parenting yet all males and females complete parenting. The African is more than half-a-parent, the African has been endowed by the Creator with a unique and omnipotent make-up. The African is much more than half-a-parent and it is Gender Roles which enlighten to what degree the amazing African Man and Woman differ in their splendor! It will take an analysis of five elements to gain this Wisdom. Yet assuredly it bears repeating, for African people Knowledge of Self is Knowledge of Creation.

The time to donate to the African Blood Siblings is upon you. In order for Men to be Men and Women to be Women, African Gender Roles must be understood. The African Blood Siblings invites you into understanding and empowering us as we empower our people toward Prosperous, Independent African Communities at Home and Abroad. Please donate. The revenue generated assists in research and maintenance costs. Wisdom Teaching is necessary work if we ever hope to gain African Power again.

Of African Gender Roles and the Five Elements
By Onitaset Kumat

It is the interaction of five elements which describe all phenomena in Nature. For instance, outside of my window is a fence encasing a flower garden. That garden took its energy from the Sun (FIRE), it breathe the carbon dioxide from the sky (AIR), it fed itself fat from the soil (EARTH) and it quenched its thirst for life with rain (WATER). It can be said these five elements describe the garden’s flowers or fence, but one must say there are FIVE–not four–elements. For in the case of the garden, what instructs it to take the energy from the Sun, breathe the carbon dioxide, feed itself on soil or quench its thirst with raindrops? DNA of course. But what coats DNA, every gene and every living thing? And what controls all of our mental and physical activities to the point where iron was transformed into a fence around my garden? NWN[1] A.K.A. MELANIN[2]. And that there are five elements, where NWN is the Original, and we as Africans are not only the Original of Humanity but the most Melanated (externally and internally), it stands to reason that the Five Elements can instruct our people on our Role in Life. So it does. We are, like, and as, NWN, Creators and Healer-Protectors. Yet to discern the extent that Man’s role differs from Woman’s role requires a deeper understanding of the Five Elements, of which Man and Woman’s claim are partially exclusive.

It needs to be stated that “Gender is in everything; everything has its Masculine and Feminine Principles; Gender manifests on all planes.”[3] That said of the four latter elements, each has a gender. The Bambara of Mali relate “Air and fire are male; earth and water, female.”[4] This is consistent with other African thought where oftentimes Air (or Heaven, Sky) and Fire (or Sun) are Masculine or associated with Male deities; and Water (or River, Rain) and Earth (or Land) are Feminine or associated with Female deities. NWN, the first element, is balanced in gender, neither more masculine nor more feminine. When Imhotep asks Tehuti (or Hermes) whether the Creator is of both sexes, Tehuti ponders for a moment and answers, “Not only God [the Creator], Asclepius [Imhotep], but all things ensouled and soulless, for it is impossible for any of the things that are to be infertile. Take away fertility from all things that now exist, and it will be impossible for them to be forever.” NWN (as Melanin), the Original, lasts forever (is of both sexes), is omnipresent (surrounding everything) and omniscient (controlling everything).

The Ancient Nile Valley’s “Diagram of Opposites.” Click for Yosef A.A. ben-Jochannan’s explanation.
We can understand the Original element by understanding the latter four. A resource from the Ancient Nile Valley is the Diagram of Opposites where despite that Fire and Water or Air and Earth are opposites, the elements which are not opposites have shared qualities, for instance Fire and Earth are Dry, Earth and Water are Cold, Water and Air are Wet and Air and Fire are Hot. Similarly Dryness and Wetness are opposites and Hotness and Coldness are opposites. The Original Element, NWN, is at once all of these qualities. These qualities however can be described in depth and this will be useful in understanding Gender Roles particularly as Hotness and Coldness are the qualities of Male and Female respectively.

Dryness is a quality of impermeability. It is a barrier. Barriers repel and resist. When it comes to life, Fire and Earth are more impermeable than Water or Air. Life approaches Dryness as an obstacle. It’s for this reason that Dryness is a Protector.

Coldness is a quality of rest. It is a settlement. Settlements contract and remain. When it comes to life, Earth and Water are more settled than Air or Fire. Life approaches Coldness as a Settler. It’s for this reason that Coldness is a Settler.

Wetness is a quality of permeability. It is a channel. Channels sustain and cleanse. When it comes to life, Water and Air are more permeable than Fire or Earth. Life approaches Wetness as an aid. It’s for this reason that Wetness is a Healer.

Hotness is a quality of motion. It is a migration. Migrations expand and collide. When it comes to life, Air and Fire are more migratory than Earth or Water. Life approaches Hotness as a Migrator. It’s for this reason that Hotness is a Migrator.

These five elements and four qualities correspond to the life cycle of African people. The “Five Major Initation Rites in African Culture:” Rite of Birth, Adulthood, Marriage, Elderhood, and Ancestorship ritualize an African’s transformation from one element to another or the African’s embodiment of that element. For instance, the Rite of Birth welcomes the reproduction of the NWN. Until Initiation a child, male or female, embodies the NWN. Then the NWN initiates Puberty (through hormones) and the Rite of Adulthood facilitates the male child’s Fire Spirit and the female child’s Water Spirit. When Male and Female marry, the Rite of Marriage once more embraces the immortality and attributes of the NWN. As this couple matures together, the Fire Spirit becomes a Fire and Air Spirit; the Water Spirit becomes a Water and Earth Spirit. This is represented by the Rite of Elderhood. In the death of an Elder is the Rite of Ancestorship where the Elder returns to the NWN and both returns through the Rite of Birth and consults us through our communications with the NWN (thus immortality and prayer are solely for Africans[5].)

So what is an elemental spirit? Part of why NWN is so permanent is because it is a healer-protector. The NWN heals and protects life, hence why in times of African Power, Africans normally lived pass 120 years[6]. Today this life expectancy is evident in the adage “Black don’t crack.” Yet none of the elements are themselves “Healer-Protectors.” Fire and Earth are Protectors and Air and Water are Healers. In addition, Fire and Water are the Primary and Innate Elements of Men and Women respectively; whereas Air and Earth are the Secondary and Developed Elements of Men and Women respectively. This means Men are Primary Protectors and Secondary Healers and Women are Primary Healers and Secondary Protectors; further meaning Men and Women always Complement one another as NWN (Healer-Protectors.) Hence the garden analogy and its origin in the African Proverb, “There is to be protection of the women. Women are the flowers of the garden, men are the fence around them.”

In a Community, this Gender Balance also makes for a Harmonious Society. Chancellor Williams’ description of the Age-Grades in Africa inform how Younger Men and Women would be organized to Protect and Heal their Communities, then in Elderhood Men and Women are more indistinguishable. Chancellor Williams’ scholarship related the dividing age from child to teenager and from adult to elder as around 14 and 42[7]. Though it varies, between 14 and 42 are the menstrual years of African Women. In some African cultures pre-menstrual women are referred to as “boys” and post-menstrual women are referred to as “Men.”[8] This isn’t out of a patriarchal view of “Man as normal” inasmuch as it’s a recognition that menstrual blood is an opportunity for life and Woman is the life giver. In addition, African Cultures from the time of the Ancient’s and thereafter raised “the Earth Mother” to the highest authority. This is exemplified in Akan Culture today as well as the Ancient Nile Valley’s, where in the contendings of Heru and Set for the throne of KMT, Ra asked Tehuti to ask Neit who should be the new King[9] as to say when Elders (Male and Female) can not find consensus, the Great Mother is consulted for the final decision.

In the Family, on matters of the home, the Matriarch, when present, has the final say. The proverb goes, “When you teach a boy, you teach a person; but when you teach a girl, you educate a nation.” This is why it’s fundamental for Men and Women to be grounded in the NWN and informed in their Roles. In Nature, the first three Cardinal colors–Red, Orange and Yellow–are Masculine and the last three–Blue, Indigo and Violet–are Feminine. This is seen especially in multi-colored animals where male and female have different color schemes (birds for instance). The Masculine colors are called “Bright Colors” and the Feminine are called “Earth Colors” (which is consistent with Femininity) yet it’s just as easily distinguished as “Fire Colors” and “Water Colors.”

Today, Men must be like Fire and Air and Women must be like Water and Earth. Men must be Organized to Protect their Communities (Fire) and Repair their Homes (Air); Women must be Organized to Heal their Communities (Water) and Secure their Homes (Earth). The African Blood Siblings is one of the Organizations to Organize Africans whom embrace their Roles in the NWN. Men, Women and Money is necessary. Make a donation and a commitment to the ABS. Our Knowledge, Wisdom and Love will benefit the Race.


[1] NWN or Nun is the Ancient Nile Valley’s name for primordial matter. It’s often described as ‘darkness.’ In “The Science of Struggle” Knobeco summarized the creation story of KMT as “out of the Nwn–a primordial liquid-matter–awoke the Creator. The Creator then thought of a Universe and spoke it into existence.” I (Onitaset Kumat) then called the NWN ‘the uncreated’ to say it has the unlimited potential of creation. While it’s hard to speak for the Ancients, I am convinced Melanin is NWN. Hence the proverb, “Man, know thyself … and thou shalt know the gods.”

[2] Melanin is often only known for darkening the skin. That’s classic European misdirection. Melanin is external and internal, and it grants Sociological, Ecological, Psychological and Ideological benefits. “[Melanin is] the chemical key to life. The more Melanin you have the more civilized you are. The more Melanin you have the more psychic you are. The more Melanin you have the more information your brain can store. The more Melanin you have the faster the nerve transmissions are. The more Melanin you have the more sound you absorb in your ear so you hear the full range of sound–no other Race can do that. The more Melanin you have the more color you can absorb in your eyes that’s why your eyes are brown. You actually see the full color. You see this color where White folks see a paler tan ’cause the more Melanin you have the more you can see what God has meant for you to see. The more Melanin you have in your taste buds the more you can taste the full flavor of the food. No other Race can taste an apple like you can because they can’t absorb the full flavor ’cause you need Melanin to absorb the full flavor of food. That’s why we combine food differently from other Races because we actually can taste the food. That’s because of the high amount of Melanin we have which we sometimes take for granted. Melanin is the chemical key to life. There is nothing else to study in science but Melanin.” — Llaila Afrika

[3] The Kybalion – an anonymously published summary of Hermitic Philosophy which outlines the seven universal principles or Axioms of Tehuti. “Hermes” is the Greek translation of “Thoth” or “Tehuti.” Wayne Chandler discusses the axioms in “Ancient Future.” Preview the book here: http://books.google.com/books/about/Ancient_Future.html?id=hGNw2yphixoC
Purchase here: http://www.blackclassicbooks.com/servlet/Detail?no=42 (Black Bookstore)
And check out an exegesis on the Kybalion here: http://www.sacred-texts.com/eso/kyb/

[4] “Within the creative vibration (yereyereti) was spirit (miri); within spirit, action (wali); within action, the advent of things (nati); and in the advent of things was the departure of things (tali). These four terms also define the four basic elements of creation: air, earth, fire and water, respectively. Air and fire are male; earth and water, female.” — Germaine Dieterlen discussing explanations given her by Bambara informants on the Universe’s creation in Essai sur la religion bambara (1951) [p. 10] as quoted by Theophile Obenga in African Philosophy (2004) [p.58]

[5] The Gikuyu description of Humaniy’s Origin details how Urungu (Melanin) must be had by a Man in order for him to withstand Ngai (the Creator’s) entrance. “He forbade his daughter Wanjiru never to offer sacrifices to Ngai on that Mountain, because when Ngai Manifests Himself, a very powerful bolt of energy hits the Mountain and no woman or any man without urungu (melanin) would come out safely. ” http://www.yamumbi.com/the-companionship

[6] It should be self-evident that drug-use corrupts NWN (Melanin). NWN transforms in the pineal gland into hormones like seratonin and melatonin; hormones which make one more “serious” or “mellow,” respectively. Drugs like caffeine, nicotine, codine, alcohol, vinegar, cocaine, morphine, kwk corrupt the pineal gland and the transformation of the NWN. This corruption explains why drug-use can counter the effects of NWN as not only a Creator but a Healer-Protector. Under European Power African drug-use is commonplace. “The Secrets of African Longevity” relates how proper diet facilitates NWN thus prolonging African life well pass one-hundred-years.

[7] I put numbers divisible by 7 as some relate age 7 as “The Age of Reason,” 14 as “The Age of Puberty” and 21 as “The Age of Maturation.” Whereas age 40 was reasoned as Elderhood by Chancellor Williams, age 42 can also signify “The Age of Elderhood.” Read his age grades here: https://africanbloodsiblings.wordpress.com/2012/06/14/excerpt-on-age-grades-in-africa-and-the-african-blood-siblings/

[8] “… Menstruation and Pregnancy

As the Lowiili phrase it at the menopause a woman ‘turns into a man’ (Goody 1962:56,201: Goody 1967:52). She can no longer perform the main task of women, bearing children and so is in a sense of sexual. As Goody states, “Authority ritual and otherwise is normally vested in men; within the general
category of women, it is those past menopause who most nearly approach the male”…”

— Notes on Cultural Aspects of Menstruation in Ghana, by Christine Oppong http://archive.lib.msu.edu/DMC/African%20Journals/pdfs/Institue%20of%20African%20Studies%20Research%20Review/1973v9n2/asrv009002005.pdf

Though for a more full discussion please read “Instruction 35 Ptah-Hetep Sexual Taboo from the very brilliant scholars at Odwirafo: http://www.odwirafo.com/Instruction_35_Ptah-Hetep_Sexual_Taboo.pdf

[9] Read more on the Contendings here: http://www.odwirafo.com/Set_and_Anat-The_Dating_of_The_Contendings_of_Heru_and_Set-dissexuality-homosexuality_was_Never_Accepted_in_Kamit.pdf

7 thoughts on “Of African Gender Roles and the Five Elements

  1. Gwiz. appreciate another uplifting instalment. Have just been examining Reneathia Tate who looked into how european (fragmented) idea distort our African (whole) gender concepts …

    1. Peace King,

      I only know of her from “Pieces of a Puzzle: the one thing Black females will not talk about.” The book explores African fools who believe Yurugu can love them.

      1. GWiz. Save this number
        He is a national booksupplier so if you generate enough interest, he can get a large amount at distrubute them at sensible prices. Just tell him you got his number from me

  2. @omalone1

    Thank you so much, I will save the number just in case I do manage to attract enough interest… through my drama that is! But for now I only need one copy.

    As you can see from Amazon, Yurugu in the UK is not too pleased about this book… a new copy costs £99.27 while in the US a new copy costs just $25.00. Yurugu-UK knows that if they hike up the price to a ridiculous amount, it will put us off buying it… and so it is imperative for us to set up our own international bookstores so that our books are not priced out of our reach.

  3. Wow, I was reading my class notes on Chinese Medicine and wanted to understand the relationship with Air. Without it we have 30 seconds to live, so I wanted to figure out the significance of the breath.
    Your article moved me and opened my eyes and my mind. I’m truly blessed to be a Melinated woman.
    Thank you!!!

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