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Nile and Lucy: a cradle of humanity and world civilization

By Wuhibegezer Ferede
Tigrai Onlne - January 22, 2014

Extract from Wuhibegezer F and Dereje Tekelemariam, Ethiopia: The Rise of African Sleeping Giant, 2014

The Horn of Africa was also the womb of some of Africa’s oldest civilizations like Black Egypt, Meroe and Aksum that had left rich legacies to the continent and the world at large. Egypt has often been mentioned as a unique cultural entity and the parent of the continent’s history for ages.[1] Moreover, the types of economic, social, and technological influences that may have flowed north or south wards was virtually impossible to untangle. However, much recent archaeological evidences such as the finding at Kerma [2]in the northern Sudan suggests the pedigree of Egyptian civilization from south.[3] Haggai plains the intercultural dialogues for enrichment, misconceptions and conflicts among the Egyptians, Sudanese and Ethiopians instead of identifying the primal center.[4]

According to Clarke, the parent of the Egyptian civilization came from the southern part of the Nile valley civilization. The primacy of the south in hosting the first organized society and as well  the establishment of a mining complex which is older than even the appearance of  Egypt itself  are some of the basic evidences he mentioned to substantiate his argument.[1]  Hence, this eminent scholar has shattered the fundamentals precepts of the Nilotic Theory or the hyper African paradigm that posits Egypt as parent of the cultural and historical achievement of the peoples of the continent. This finding is also supported by the US based researcher, Drusilla Dunjee Houston.[2]  Quoting the work of Diodorus Siculus, she explained that ‘Ptolemaic writers said that Egypt was formed of the mud carried down, from Ethiopia, that Ethiopians were the first men that ever lived, the only truly autochthonous race and the first to institute the worship of the gods and the rites of sacrifice. Egypt itself was a colony of Ethiopia.’[3]

The idea of having single root of human culture is highly contested and usually refuted by scholars who advance the idea of historical particularism. However, the assertion is countered by Universalists. Who claims about single root of humanity as of the creation narrative of the Bible.[4]Moreover, scientific investigations highlighted that life origin in Aqua. In this regard, Ethiopia is source of Nile which is assumed as primal center of hydrolysis. This assumption and the various pre-historic paloe-anthropology and archeological findings such as Lucy could lead us to deduce that Ethiopia as Cradle of humanity and its concomitant achievement. Though local  eminent  scholars such  as  Getachew Haile, Loert Tsegaye Gebre Medhin,  Teshale  Tibebu,

Milikias Paulos and  Bahru Zewude identified the  epistemological  plunder committed  by the west  in reference  to the preeminence of  the  Orientalists Semiticist intellectual tradition in  the  history of Ethiopia. Though they defend, the normative expansions of this tradition yet their contribution towards the identification of Ethiopia as primal incubating center of the Nile valley civilization is complicated with the divergent self-identification of the people in geographic entity called Ethiopia. This prognosis doesn’t mean that works of the eminent scholars such Hail Michael and Loert Tsegaye Gebre Medhin is naïve as the works of some of their contemporaries who failed in the trap of thea counterproductive task of ethnicization and reproduction of the racist Euro-centric history at subsidiary level through further alienation of the subject from its history. Hence, mentioning the works Hail Michael and Loret Tsegay is worthy for consolidating the arguments of Noorbergen, Clark, Hooson and de-ethinicizing the works of their contemporaries. Hail Michael eloquently argued about the primacy of the Nile valley civilization.

In the future, the decoding of the mysterious Meroitic writing could also enable us better understand about the direction of the flow of history and culture along the river. However, it’s very simple logic to talk about the primacy of the Southern/Upper Nile valley civilization over, the downstream civilization of Black Egypt having in mind the notion that ‘water is mother of all things.’ Therefore, the authors suggest the mother of Nile, Ethiopia as the parent of Black Egypt for it was the creation of its creation, the Nile. However, the contemporary Egyptologists and some Universalist might brand us as someone who is contracted with neo-neurotic need of inventing an ethno-centric civilization pedigree.


[2]Houston, 1926


[4]R. Noor Bergen; Secrets of the Lost Races: The most controversial view of the past , 1977: 10-30

[1]Beshir,1984:3; Shavit, 2000:79 &81

[2]Haggai Erlich and Israel Gershoni, 2000:316


[4]Haggai Erlich and Israel Gershoni, 2000:305

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