Further dissection of the law of representation ,Journey to Ancient African Science

16 Jun, 2024 - 00:06 0 Views
Further dissection of the law of representation ,Journey to Ancient African Science Cultural Heritage with Pathisa Nyathi

THERE are times when I feel some deep sense of obligation to defend African communities and their maligned past. I do acknowledge that too many of us know too little by way of Africa’s past in particular with regard to Ancient African Science (AAS). This has led some people to think Africa knew next to nothing and our best minds have been captured.

Little is known regarding African science, technology, alchemy, astronomy, physics and other academic fields. Have we not seen human sculptures in Kemet (now Egypt) whose flat noses have been knocked off? It was not Africans who committed the heinous acts. The question is why were the acts committed in the first place? There were people who left the African cradle of humanity and came back later only to marvel at the civilisations that African nations such as Kemet had created.

Racism had the better of some of these. They could not countenance an inferior racial group coming up with architectural feats such as the pyramids of Kemet and the colossal Sphinx at the Pyramid of Giza. They could not figure out how stones as colossal as those that were brought down hundreds of kilometres from the north to the construction sites closer to the Nile Delta were transported.

How, in the absence of cranes, were the heavy, more than 30-tonne stones lifted more than 30 metres high? The sizes and finesse point to the more rudimentary structures as having their origins further to the south in Sudan (Kush/Nubia). The applicable science with its laws and principles was not known. Really, Africans, putting up such technological feats? No, it could not have been Africans.

Meanwhile, an art form by way of human sculptures was telling a different story. The shape of the noses was flat and pointed to the work of indigenous people, the Africans. In any case, the pyramids did not originate in Egypt. Their origins, as alluded to above, were traceable to Kush, also referred to as Nubia which was indisputably an African-run kingdom. However, the human sculptures laughed derisively at those who doubted the origins of the pyramids. The evidence was knocked off. That evidence took the form of flat noses for the builders of the edifices of rare engineering feats.

What was not realised was that Africa left evidence of what she did in several forms, including writing that today passes as art. The sculptures had heads and the heads were not bare. There was hair that was not combed. The major hairstyles back then were cornrows and what we refer to as dreads. Both hairstyles featured hair that was woolly and flowing down but not to the same extent as Western hair.

Spirituality and its roles and purposes were not recognised as an important phenomenon in the transmission of records from the past. Spirituality was a form of documentation, archiving and one that facilitated transmission of knowledge from past generations to future ones. These days there are increasing numbers of people who are featuring these ancient hairstyles.

One day, I am hoping to write a book or a section of a book that will deal with pre-colonial hairstyles and hair itself in terms of beliefs pertaining to hair from an Afro-centric perspective. We do have several cases in Africa where kings married off their daughters to other kings that they intended to overpower and subjugate. Their daughters were surreptitiously tasked to get some hair from their husbands and take it back to their fathers. Do we not come across similar stories in the Bible? Did Delilah not cut off some hair from Samson who then lost his magical power?

Spirituality and energy have been underestimated in terms of their efficacy. The two, in my view, are two sides of the same coin. If energy is the face, spirituality is the obverse side and the two are comparable. Energy is indestructible and so is spirit. It can be transformed from one form or state to another. In the absence of energy, what can take place around and in us?

While in Zambia, I engaged in conversations regarding energy and spirituality. I have observed how my literary and simultaneously cognitive journey over the decades has been transforming through numerous stages. The current stage pertains to energy and its link to spirituality. At least we agreed that energy and spirit are related.

I enquired from two young artists if they were aware of anything beyond energy and spirit. I saw them engage heavy intellectual gears. They scratched their heads and failed to come up with a package to assist me identify states that were higher than greater heights beyond energy and spirituality. In the beginning, was energy and spirit… and they were without form. In order to give them form, things and materials were provided and through them, both energy and spirits acquired form.

Are we not at the end of the detour that we took? We seem to have landed within the witchy airfield. We are back to Ancient African Science (AAS), the science that is capable of lifting stones that weigh more than 30 tonnes. It is a science that is capable, through the force of a single finger, to push the massive doors in the burial chambers of pyramids where corpses of the Pharaohs lay after their souls headed towards some distant stars as pointed to by the channels emanating from the chambers.

More of this shall, hopefully, follow later when the Egyptian Book of the Dead is perused. Preliminary scrutiny of the writings contained in the Book of the Dead shows similarities between what took place in Egypt and the rest of Africa within the cultural and cognitive spheres. This is as expected. Africa perceived the Duality of Being. A human being comprises the physical or material component and the immaterial or spiritual one.

At death, the two divorce. The spirit or soul takes on a journey of zero physical distance to the spiritual realm where life in another form continues eternally. The physical or material body remains in the material realm where it belongs. The ephemeral reside in the ephemeral realm while the eternal reside eternally in the eternal realm.

Proof of such ideas is expressed through similar cultural practices. As we often say, thought, worldview, beliefs and cosmology provide the pillars that support cultural practices including the built environment and the artefacts. The adage that we coined goes like this, “communities build as they believe.”

Seeing as we are back to our going theme of AAS, we may just recap what we were dealing with in the last article so that we lay some solid foundation for further related work. We were unpacking the law of representation whose essence is that a bit of the whole, regardless of proportion to the whole, represents the whole and in practical terms, it is the whole.

Western science certainly posits the same in terms of DNA as the identity carrier or uniqueness and individuality. This idea is at the heart of AAS. When the whole is inaccessible, a bit of it will suffice. It is not quantity that counts, but the unique identity as defined in the DNA molecules.

As it became apparent from the last article, in human terms, an iota that represents the whole will take many examples such as one’s hair, blood, urine, body fluids, nails (toe and finger), mucus, faecal matter, urine, saliva inter alia. My hair is I. My urine is I. My sweat is I.

Practitioners may not know the underlying science. All they know is how to execute the art and the craft in the same manner as the relationship between science and technology. We have, in the past, given examples of women in Matobo District working on the project titled “My Beautiful Home: Comba Indlu Ngobuciko. Over the years, since 2014, the artistic renditions observed on hut walls have improved tremendously. However, it would be futile to expect the women to explain and interpret the decorative motifs that they have executed.

In their case, they inherited the visual art forms and traditions without interpretation. They have all along been transmitting the symbol/icons and their designs minus meaning, relevance to broader thought, cosmology and worldview. That their art traditions were geometric is unknown as they do not know the inspiration behind the works that they eloquently express. That for them is unimportant.

It is the same with AAS. Practitioners are not theorists. Wizards and witches will defy the force of gravity without even knowing about its existence, let alone its nature. They are, therefore, in a way negating what they do not know. All that, they know is how to carry out their witchy businesses. Theory or the underlying science is irrelevant. They know what to do to undergo transformation. They know the ingredients to put together and become lighter and exit the material world. They know how, but do not know why in terms of theory, principles and applicable rules. This is technology and techniques without underpinning, underlying and informing science.

Agnes Dumisani Mizere was just about to tell me something. Unfortunately, her journey ended at Dete. She disembarked from the bus together with her assistant. She had, just before disembarking, held my hand to scan the lines on my palm. She held my hand to read the stories that the configuration of palm lines. These differ from person to person and thus are representative of a whole person and her identity and signature. No wonder, thumbprints were used as identities for individuals before the advent of photographic images.

The emphasis here is that this kind of singular identity is representative and encapsulates the Law of Representation. In the next article, we shall expand on this theme and delve into its application. Theory and practice go hand in glove. The gifted traditional scientists will capitalise on this identity when affixed to the soil of a similar surface.

The uniquely patterned ley line configurations for different individuals result in the uniqueness that wizards and witches may capitalise on. An individual is his/her palm ley lines. My fingerprints or footprints make unique patterns or genetic templates as it were. “I” get represented on the soil surface, the equivalent of a stamp pad. I have been transferred to the surface of the soil where my foot stepped. My footprints are mine alone, different and unique.

When I walk on bare soil, I am rhythmically transferring myself onto the smooth and bare soil surface. A traditional African scientist, with the requisite technology, will collect the soil that is now “ME,” an extension of “ME” at the microscopic level. This is true of footprints and fingerprints. All that scientists will do is summon energies from their spirits to create some ritual package that bears instructions with regard to the intended outcomes/results, the identity of a target, and the direction to be taken to access the intended victim.


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