Senegal’s Museum of Black Civilizations A Step in the Right Direction

Published on 5th December 2018

The opening of the Senegal-based Museum of Black Civilizations is welcome news. Spread over an area of 14,000 m2 with a capacity of 18,000 pieces of art, the museum is expected to conserve cultural values of the black people and present Africa to the world. The idea about the Museum was mooted by Senegal’s late president Leopold Sedar Senghor in 1966; its foundation stone laid in 2011 by President Abdoulaye Wade, and the project set rolling by Macky Sall in 2013.

The museum will disapprove Hegel, a German 19th century philosopher who said that “Africa is no historical part of the world.” It will also censure David Hume, a Scottish philosopher who said that “there scarcely ever was a civilized nation of that (black) complexion, nor even any individual, eminent in action, speculation, ingenious manufacture, arts and science among them.”

Why is Africa being dismissed from history? Why is little mention of African achievements done? A great deal is written about Dr. David Livingstone. What about Chuma and Susi who nursed him, cooked for him, carried his luggage? Just two words: “faithful servants” and an addition: “they wept when he died.” Is this fair? Much is said about Alexander Graham Bell who invented the telephone but little about Lewis Latimer, an African who did all its vital moving parts? Elijah McCoy’s drip coupling for lubrication was stolen. This forced people buying similar tools to ask, “Did you steal it directly or indirectly from McCoy, or is it the real McCoy?”

There is growing evidence that Pythagoras, Archimedes, Aristotle, Plato and Hippocrates all borrowed their philosophy and practices heavily from Africa. Africa instructed people in science, medicine, law, engineering, writing and religion among others.

Why is this Knowledge about Africa suppressed? The so called ‘advanced civilizations’ can’t stand the fact that they borrowed heavily from Africa. It is feared that if Africans come to grips with their glorious part, they will resolve to recapture it. It is with this in mind that Africa hopes that the Museum of Black Civilizations in Dakar, will help Africa recapture its old glory.

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