What does it mean to have an African-centered worldview? For those who understand themselves as descendants of African ancestors, it means looking at history and the world through our own eyes, those of our own and those of our ancestors who preceded us. We must imagine the world as they did, and think about things from their perspective, as we are the direct beneficiaries of all they did and became.
We may have evolved into our current form over millions, really billions, really trillions of years, but we matured as a people in Africa about 200,000 years ago. Those eras of African history are only known to the most well-studied of indigenous African scholars and the archaeologists. Rarely do those two groups convene, so there’s little chance to map out the when and where of all those legendary tales of a time before history was written down.
We literally came OUT the womb of the Earth, straight through the folds of an area they know call the Rift Valley, which had recently opened up in anticipation of our arrival. Yes, just like a baby being born! This is the story of how modern Homo sapiens came to be! The first Suez Canal was our “birth canal”!
After expanding and migrating across all of Africa, modern-day Johannesburg was the furthest habitable region we’d ventured into. Of course, back then, Johannesburg looked more like the Nabi homeland in Avatar than what it is today! Beyond that, our “north pole” was in Antarctica.
Make sense? Over 200,000 years ago, South Africa was the “head” of Mother Africa, and our worldview then would today be considered upside-down! But because there’s no “correct” way to point the poles of the Earth in a visual representation, you can get a map with the Earth the “original way” or “upside down.” Looking at it that way can make this all make sense.
What’s clear, thanks to genetics, is that most of the world’s ancestors left Africa as a human family around 100,000 years ago. With the Rift Valley as the starting point, our ancestors left their motherland, crossing the Red Sea, through the 150,000 year old “Nubian Complex” civilization that spanned from the Nile Valley into southern Arabia.
From there, these brave and ingenious Black people moved steadily towards the rising sun, following the coastlines of southern Asia, building great settlements along southern Arabia, India, China, Southeast Asia, Australia and the Pacific Isles, before arriving as the first humans in the Americas. In our view, we were traveling West, because our North was South!
So on our migrations “out of Africa,” our understanding of our journeys into Ice Age Europe would be that of a “descent” into a desperate Netherworld. If any of our wise navigators knew of the barren extremes of Antarctica, they’d likely consider Neanderthal-infested Europe and Central Asia as “no man’s land.” That is, at least until we were ready to descend all the way into that underworld during the amazing “Grimaldi” era that Ras Kass rapped about! We had some things to do in Europe, and we intended to come down there and clean up shop! But that’s a story for another time!