President Museveni has said that Africa is the origin of man, four and a half million years ago. All human beings only lived in Africa until about 100,000 years ago.
The president was Monday presenting a paper on Africa’s economic and political integration delivered at the 32nd Ordinary Summit of the African Union Heads of State in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
He said the last ice-age ended 11,700 years ago. Before that, people could not live in many parts of the North of the Globe.
“Therefore, the European Stock (Europeans, Americans, Canadians, Australians), the Asians, the Arabs etc., are all former Africans.”
He said they lost the melanin (the black pigmentation in the skin) in their skins on account of their living in the cold climates, with little sunshine, where melanin is not required.
Africa is the pioneer of civilization. The Egyptian civilization which started around 5200 years ago, around 3000 BC, is one of the earliest civilizations of the human race, Museveni explained.
The three great religions of the modern world were succored by Africa in one way or another. These are Christianity, Judaism and Islam.
He said Baby Jesus was hidden in Egypt when King Herod started killing all the infants. This is found in the Book of Matthew 2:13-14 in the Bible. Before that, in the year 1567BC, the Jews had been saved from starvation when one of the children of Jacob, Joseph, who had been sold into slavery by his brothers, took them into Egypt where there was plenty. This is found in the Book of Genesis Chapter 42 verses 1-10, in the Bible.
“Yet, this Africa of many firsts in the history of the human race, has faced calamity after calamity in the last 500 years. These calamities have included: the slave trade, colonialism, genocide in some cases, neo-colonialism and marginalization. Why has this been so?”
Africa, which had achieved many firsts for the human race, had some internal weaknesses which made it difficult for its people to respond to the threats that emerged after 1453 AD.
This was the year the Ottoman Turks, people coming out of Central Asia, captured Constantinople, the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire.
By so doing, they blocked the over-land silk route which had been pioneered by Marco Polo in the years 1271 to 1368.
Since Marco Polo, silk and spices were coming through this route. Now, that route was closed and Western Europe was cut off from the products of the East, that they had come to treasure.
A frantic search for a sea route to the East by the Europeans started, led by Portugal. Better ships were, eventually, built and the Portuguese got to Sierra Leone in the year 1460.
By 1498, Vasco Da Gama went around the Southern tip of Africa and, on Christmas day, landed at Natal, hence the name of that place up to now, coming from the Latin word, natalis (Natal).
A few years earlier, in 1492, Christopher Columbus, working for the newly United Kingdom of Spain (Castille and Aragon United in the year 1479), had reached a whole new continent, America, whose off-shore Islands, the Caribbeans, he mistook to be the Islands of the East, hence the eventual name of the West Indies.
Therefore, on account of the pressure created by the Turks on the Europeans, the Europeans had burst out of their homelands and started accessing the lands of Africa, America and Asia through the Atlantic and the Indian Oceans.
Museveni said this is when the weaknesses of Africa and the Americas came to the fore. The indigenous populations of the Americas could not withstand the afflictions of the European invasion and many of them perished; they were exterminated and their lands were taken over by the immigrants from Europe.
Hence, the Europeans became the Americans. Those who did not perish, were marginalized.
“Since the Africans do not die easily, they survived the 500 years of foreign invasions but having gone through many privations: slave trade, colonialism, in some cases genocide, etc.”
“Why couldn’t Africa defeat these invasions? Indeed by 1900, the whole of Africa had been defeated except for Ethiopia which defeated the Italian invaders in the battle of Adua in 1896.”
According to his analysis, it was not because of lack of courage or the will to resist. It was, mainly, on account of political balkanization.
The Europeans tried to swallow China; but it was too big to swallow. They tried to swallow Japan; it was too big to swallow. They tried to swallow Ethiopia; but it was too big to swallow. The African Kingdoms and Chiefdoms were swallowable when confronted by the more organized groups from outside.
The gradual defeat of Africa from 1400-1900, caused serious distortions which are captured in a number of studies we have made.
Apart from slave trade and other haemorrhages inflicted on the African societies, there was also the gradual destruction of the artisan classes (the black smiths, the carpenters, the copper-smiths, the medicine men, etc.) and replacing their products with the imported ones.
Even with the primitive societies, they always produced their own food, their own clothes, their own weapons (spears, bows and arrows, etc.) and means for their own shelter (housing materials).
It may only be the Africans of the colonial and neo-colonial era that depend on the food, clothes, weapons and building materials of others. All this was a consequence of the distortions emanating from colonialism.
Nevertheless, by a combination of factors, the African countries regained their independence, starting with Egypt in 1922, Sudan in 1956 and Ghana in 1957.