Saturday February 21 2009
there on a wall well over 3000 years old, was a picture of this supposedly modern medical instrument.”
So said, there’s been very little dispute that the age of medicine began in Kemet, in Africa, long before it made its journey to the western civilisation. “There’s evidence that these people (the Kemets) were even practising brain surgery back then... without the modern amenities ... and they lived.
Here’s food for thought. Ever noticed that Rx on your prescriptions? It’s an abbreviation for the Latin word meaning recipe; however, its origin comes from Kemet, where the Rx, resembled the hieroglyphic symbol of the “Utchat Eye” (commonly known as the ‘Eye of Horus’/Heru), which, when separated, gives you the world’s first measurement (or fractions) system. When the ‘Eye’ was drawn on the left, it was called the “Eye of Djhuiti”, which, when worn, gave the wearer good health, happiness and protection from harm. “Utchat” means whole or sound of mind or body, which ultimately means, health or freedom from disease.
Another well known medical symbol, the caduceus (the staff with the two snakes around it, and open wings at the top) also finds its origins, back in Kemet and not Greece. In Greek mythology (interestingly enough modelled off of Egyptian mythology), this medical symbol was called the Wand Of Hermes, after the Greek God Hermes. Long before there was Hermes, there was the Nile Valley Netcher Djhuiti, who was also associated with medicine. The symbol is also associated with the Kemet goddess Wadjet, who was known as a goddess of protection.
Thus, one can proudly boast, that in addition to academia, medicine also began in Africa.
Here’s one that the women will definitely appreciate – cosmetics. Contrary to popular belief, make-up did not begin with adding rogue to pale faces in Europe. It began in, yes, Kemet. Originally drawing over and beneath the eyelids with coal to protect their eyes from the rays of the sun, the Kemites realised the practice was not only practical, but one that was seen as beautiful.
Aisha laughs as she notes, that what we think is the origin of make-up, happens to be Afro-people imitating the Europeans, imitating the Afro-people.
This is another one that women will love as well – hair. The concept of wigs is also from Kemet. Often kept hot by their hair, women (and men) would shave their heads bald, then wear wigs, made from human hair!
“When you go into the museum,” Aisha recaps, “you’ll be literally stunned when you see these wigs ... they’re perfectly preserved.”
More than just chains and the cultural suicide of a people, Africa remains one of the greatest continents, the birthplace of the human race, and the rich cultural heritage of the black race.
In April, Kemetologist Ashra Kwesi will return to Antigua for another lecture on this great civilisation, this civilisation is and remains very much a part of our Black heritage.
It is centuries of lies, deliberate misconceptions and the forced, now seemingly inherent, practice of a denied legacy that centres only one element – slavery. It is the passing off and acceptance of myth as history.
Whatever the reason, when most think of the great continent of Africa, the “great” has been reduced to nothing more than a reflection of its geographical mass, and not the “greatness” of a people, of a world.
Whenever most think of Africa, we only see slavery. For a continent, whose heritage stretches forth to way beyond 4000BC, the western civilisation continues to see Egypt as a state exclusive of Africa. Believe it or not, there are many around the world, and even right here in Antigua, who do not know that Egypt is in fact, in Africa.
Still considered the greatest civilisation in history, the enigmatic pyramid, the Temple of Giza, remains, withstanding the passage of time, the last wonder of the ancient world. Where is that pyramid located? In Egypt, in Africa, but the archaeological wonders of Egypt are not the only remnants of this civilisation that remains.
The culture, though attacked by centuries of mythical insertions and misconceptions, still remains ever present in modern life. Ironically, though, our modern life was lived in the BC era, thriving by the Egyptians although Egypt has faced colonisation by several nations, beginning with the Asians in 4000BC, followed by the Roman and Greek empires. In fact, Egypt, and all its more popular names are Greek names. Egypt’s true name is Kemet.
Call me Kemet
Just as “Antigua” was so called in 1492, by its Spanish conquerors, we’ve now reclaimed and fully acknowledge our first identity, our Amerindian identity as “Wadadli”. We have Wadadli beer, Wadadli Day, even Wardadli SoulJahs.
So it was that one of the lasting impacts of the Greek influence on Kemet came the African conversion of many of the names, including this great country that we know as Egypt.
Interestingly enough, although the Asian and European influences began to seep into the continent, in attempts to assert their presence, the Kemet dynasties remained undeniable in their reign. In fact, it was in the fourth dynasty of Khufu, when the Great Pyramid was built and the work was continued by his nephew Khafre, who built the second greatest pyramid, The Sphinx (so named by the Greeks approximately 2000 years after its construction), reflected the facial attributes that could not be ignored as being Black. The broad nose and full mouth of the Sphinx asserted the presence of the black race, and many monuments and statues were carved with the faces of their black pharaohs and rulers.
Interestingly enough, today, all the statues, relics and monuments that preserved the nose and mouths have been disfigured. When Alexander the Great arrived in 332BC, he introduced what we know as the 21-gun salute. Although it is known as a sign of respect and of peace, respect and peace had nothing to do with its birth in Egypt, when Alexander the Great had 21 cannons angled upwards towards the nose and mouth of the Great Sphinx.
Regardless of the change in colonialism by different empires, and even the continued mission to pass off mythology as fact, marring the Kemet culture and spirituality against the western religions and cultures, Kemet remains an undeniable crown in history. It also remains steadfast as an African nation, as a part of the African heritage.
Students of Kemet
It would be difficult for me to tell you when my interest in Egypt was sparked. I know it wasn’t from any Elizabeth Taylor portrayal of Cleopatra, but there was just something enchanting about this nation, that was part of my Afro-heritage.
Imagine my joy, when asking a conscious brother of the Muslim faith about one of my favourite Egyptian symbols – the Eye of Horus (Heru). Although he could not answer my question, I was pointed in the direction of someone he said, who studied Kemetology, and who had been to Egypt several times. Reuniting with a face from my childhood, I felt I’d hit the jackpot when Aisha Ralph answered her phone and expressed and welcome enthusiasm to speak with me about Kemet.
A known model in Antigua years ago, she’s long traded her modelesque ties for those of Kemet. She’s quick to explain the differentiation between Egyptology and Kemetology. While both are defined as the study of Egypt/Kemet, Egyptology focusses more on the misconceptions of the nation, and is slanted towards depreciating and denying the greatness of the nation. Kemetology, on the other hand, strives to understand the culture as it was, and not as the western influence would have it be.
A certified accountant by profession, it was November, 2005 that she’d attend a lecture by Ashra Kwesi, a Kemetologist, who has over 28 years of travel and research experience in the African Nile Valley. Of those years, 14 were spent as an apprentice to the renowned scholar and Kemetologist Dr. Yosef Ben Jochannan in Kemet.
Kwesi’s lecture on “African Origins of Western Free Masonary” sparked Aisha’s interest with his compelling presentation, amazing revelations and captivating slide shows.
“He was saying a lot of things that went against many things that I’d learned growing up ... especially ingrained in a Christian childhood.” She was nonetheless curious to learn more.
The following March, she attended another lecture, this time on “African Origins of Christianity” and his wife’s lecture on “Advertising the Attack on the African Image.”
“This turned everything I knew upside down,” she admits. In July of 2006, Aisha made her first pilgrimage to Kemet with Ashra Kwesi and his wife Merira.
Her life has not been the same since.
“For me,” she explains, “the study of Kemetology is a part of a broader requirement for me. ... Part of knowing myself, mean knowing the history of African women.”
Carved on the Temple of Karnat (known by the ancient Kemites as Ipet-isut are the inscriptions “know thyself”. This was indeed the first university in the world, where students studied for a period of 40 years. Regardless of the notion of ignorance accompanying the African heritage, this temple, this institution of learning gives evidence that education of one’s people was a priority.
In synch with many of the conscious groups in and around Antigua, Aisha also emphasises the importance of knowing one’s heritage. “It’s important in the (study) of one’s heritage... in the study of Kemet, to discover the truth as it relates to us. ... Kemet has a lot to teach us in terms of understanding who we are.”
Remnants of Kemet’s influence
Aisha recalls on one of her visits to Kemet, visiting a temple with paintings of medical instruments, and historical records of surgeries and medicines that were used in the BC era. Recognising some of the instruments as instruments used in modern medicine, what made the experience more profound was the reaction by one of the people on the expedition with her.