We Zambians Created Ancient Egypt
Have you read an article that instantly so profoundly changes your life that you realize you are no longer the same person you were minutes or half an hour before? I will never forget the pivotal moment for the rest of my life. I was standing in front of my class as I was supervising my students who were quietly taking their two hour final examinations. That’s when it happened. I opened my e-mail and scrolled down seeing my friend’s name with whom I rarely communicate. The e-mail said read this article which I have just published. This happened on Friday May 10 from 8:05 to 8:45 hours Eastern Standard American time.
The journal article that Dr. Chisanga Siame had just published was titled: “Katunkumene and Ancient Egypt in Africa” from the Journal of Black Studies of 20 March, 2013. As I was reading it, I realized that it was providing possible definitive proof for the first time that I, my ancestors, we Zambians and Africans were the founders of ancient Egypt. The ancient civilization of Egyptian Kingdoms headed by powerful Pharaohs dominated North Africa and the Middle East for almost two thousand years ago from c 3100 to 1090 B.C. E. This was before Assyrians, Persians, the Babylonian Empire, Greeks, and Romans occupied Egypt. This was also before Christ. The Egyptian civilization was the first to create a large empire, establish writing using hieroglyphs, large scale political economy, the bureaucracy and built the sophisticated massive pyramids. Europeans and their scholars for a long time have denied that any Africans were involved in the Egyptian civilization. Their argument was that if they built the Egyptian civilization, where are those same Africans and their descendants to day?
What excited me the most is that Dr. Siame had cracked the secret code which was hiding right under our noses; our clan names and our Bantu languages which have left our imprints all over North and West Africa, the Middle East and all over Africa up to Cape town on the Southern tip of the African continent. The secret code might be buried all over rural Zambia in our 72 tribes and our languages and clan names which include Lozi, Tonga, Bemba, Nyanja, Chewa, Kaonde, Luchazi, Tumbuka, Namwanga,Luvale and dozens of Zambian languages. Dr. Siame found out that the Bemba term uku tunkumana may have descended from the name Tunka Men the name of the ancient kingdom of Sudan suggesting a connection between the Bemba people and ancient Egypt.
Dr. Chisanga Siame also discovered that his clan Namwanga name of Siame may be traced back to the Kings of ancient Egypt named Pharaoh Siamen who ruled in Egypt from 986-967 B. C. E. As I was reading, I was getting more and more excited. I felt like calling all my relatives, my friends, President Sata and President Kaunda, or Nelson Mandela or any African who could listen. Dr Siame found connections between “the mushabati of the Silozi language of Western Zambia and the word umhlabathi found in Sizulu and SiXhosa” in South Africa (p.265). Both could be traced back to the Egyptian Pharaohs burial practices. He also found out that the use of the prefix “Nya” to denote a woman among the Tumbuka, as is NyaBanda or NyaNkhata, may have come from ancient Egypt when our ancestors lived there.
At this time you may be asking so many questions just I did. How did Dr. Siame come up with this knowledge? Why didn’t this information come from important famous big name scholars with big grants from European universities especially Paris, London, and New York? Isn’t this an internet hoax? The answer is simple but also complicated.
Dr. Chisanga Siame graduated with a political science degree from University of Zambia in 1976. He obtained his Ph. D. in Political Philosophy from Northwestern University. These degrees did not prepare him to do this research. He had to study on his own for many years mastering hieroglyphs, looked at the work of Egyptologists, and especially that he focused deeply on studying philology, and then the morphology, phonology, semantics and syntax of language. All of this may be part of historical linguistics. There is so much information in his short 20 page published article. He had to work very hard for many years on his own in isolation to make these discoveries. He could not get any grant for his research.
The reason why European scholars could not come up with this very significant knowledge is that they were wearing racial lens especially during the Atlantic Slave from the 1600s and up to the period of European colonialism from the 1880s to 1960. Also you need to be deeply embedded in African language, culture, and kinship to understand some of these connections using language. Zambians in the villages of our rural areas among the 72 tribes may still have this vital knowledge which would perhaps have been lost forever had it not been for Dr. Siame. Dr. Siame grew up in Mufulira but was lucky enough that his late parents were still steeped in Namwanga and Bemba culture.
The reason that I knew my life was going to be different after reading this article is that I could not sleep after reading it. I became very emotional because many of my own puzzles and questions in my personal and intellectual life were answered by this article. For example, when I asked Dr. Siame in a personal communication he said that my father’s name Sani, who is now 89 years old, can be traced back to ancient Macedonia (Makidonia) known as Chalkidike (perhaps Salukidike), on the southern coast, was a city called Sani, often spelt Sane. I have to talk to my father to find out how he got his name when he was born in the 1920s.
This article provides answers to me as to why my grandfather who smelted iron founded our village perhaps in the late 1800s in Lundazi. Why my grandfather on my mother’s side was such a confident tall dignified intelligent man in my village. The research suggests that I and my fellow Africans from Southern Somalia, Uganda, the Congo, DRC, Angola, Zambia all the way to South Africa might be the descendants of the Bantu from ancient Egypt about 923 years or about a thousand years ago. The forces that 150,000 years earlier had made us to migrate from Africa to the rest of the world as the first humans or homo sapiens, may have motivated us later to make significant achievements in the Egyptian civilization. Those same physical and social qualities may still flow in all our 7 billion human veins and their genes on the planet today as descendants of Africans; this means Asians, Europeans, North and South Americans, South Pacific Islanders.
Our African Bantu history is deeply buried in our mother Bantu Zambian languages and clan names. My worry is that with so much trivial short article tweeter style information saturating cell phones, the internet, and the globalization frenzy, can this article even be published? Can Dr. Siame’s 20 page article get the attention it deserves from us Zambians, Africans and perhaps the world? Can Dr. Siame find enough money to do more of this precious research? Do we as Zambians and Africans even care about our ancient history today especially if things happened before 1990, 1964, the 1800s or let along thousands of years ago?