Our African ancestors called their women goddesses and queens, not bitches and ho's

Publié le par hort

 http://www.cwo. com/~lucumi/ runoko.html

THE AFRICAN WOMAN AS HEROINE: GREAT BLACK WOMEN IN HISTORY

By RUNOKO RASHIDI
May 9, 2008

DEDICATED TO AFRICAN WOMEN AROUND THE PLANET!

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INTRODUCTION: THE GLORY AND MAJESTY OF AFRICAN WOMEN

For many thousands of years the African woman has been  worshipped, revered and idolized by individuals, families and nations--not only in Africa but around the world.
Ancient records show her as queen, goddess, scholar, diplomat, scientist, icon, prophet and freedom fighting warrior exalted with and sometimes above her father, husband and brothers. The African woman has administered great and mighty nations, led determined and capable armies into battle and founded splendid and enduring royal dynasties. Indeed, no other human of any racial or ethnic type has been so widely venerated as has the African woman. This brief essay, therefore, is intended as a secure African man's historical recognition, tribute and salute to the prominence, grandeur and majesty of African women.

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KMT: BLACK LAND OF ANCIENT AFRICA

Of all the countries of ancient times it is Kmt (Ancient Egypt) that stands out above all others. Kmt was indeed the heart and soul of early Africa. When we examine Kemetic civilization we note what is perhaps the proudest achievement in the whole of human annals. It is therefore proper that we look first at the role and stature of African women in Kmt in the Valley of Nile.

First things first--Kmt was African; not only her origins, but from the very beginning and through the great part of the pharaonic period African people endowed with dark complexions, full lips, broad noses and tightly curled hair were overwhelmingly dominant in both the general population and the ruling elite. Ancient Kmt was Africa par excellence.

It has been noted that the most significant single fact to keep in mind when discussing the topic of women and leadership in ancient Kmt is that there was basic equality between men and women. Women of the ancient Kemetic royal families enjoyed considerable influence and freedom of movement, and occupied positions of great power and authority. There is not a single recorded incident of sexual assault or domestic abuse against an African woman in the entire history of Kmt. Kemetic women inherited and willed fortunes, wrote love poems, introduced legislation at the courts of law and commanded the respect of king and commoner alike.

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YOUR MAJESTY: GREAT QUEENS OF KMT (ANCIENT EGYPT)

Queen Ahmose-Nefertari, participated actively in the expulsion from Kmt of the Hyksos--Kmt' s first invaders and occupiers. Ahmose-Nefertari was born royal heiress and became one of Africa's most brilliant queens. After the twenty-five year reign of Ahmose I, Nefertari governed jointly with her son Amenhotep I. The veneration of Ahmose-Nefertari continued for more than six-hundred years after her death. To her memory was attached a special priesthood, who recited in her honor a prayer only used in addressing the gods.

Ahmose-Nefertari was given considerable authority in the cult of the King of the Gods when she was made "God's Wife of Amen," a position that held a chief role as a priestess in the national religious center, and was provided with goods and property legally documented and published for all to see on a monumental stela set up in the Temple of Amen at Karnak.
Her royal titles included the exceptional "Female Chieftain of Upper and Lower Kmt."

Makare Hatshepsut's twenty-one year reign occurred near the zenith of Kmt's second golden age. This was an era marked by great internal stability and international prestige.
One of the Hatshepsut's proudest achievements was a highly successful expedition to the African land of Punt--regarded by the Kamites as "God's land." Hatshepsut's royal titles included: "King of the North and South, Son of the Sun, The Heru of Gold, Bestower of Years, Goddess of Risings, Conqueror of all Lands, Lady of both Lands, Vivifier of Years, Chief Spouse of Amen, the Mighty One."

Queen Tiye was the beloved wife of Nebmare Amenhotep III, and the mother of Akhenaten and Tutankhamen. Tiye is one of the most interesting figures in history Amenhotep and Tiye married while quite young and  shared one of the great love affairs of the ages. That  she was of great ability and powerful influence is proved by association with her husband in all of his ceremonial records. She was such an integral part of Kamite affairs that on more than one occasion foreign sovereigns appealed to her directly in matters of international significance. The surviving portraits of Tiye show her with distinct African features.

Queen Nefertari was "The Beautiful Companion" of Ramses II. Her two major titles were "King's Great Wife and "Mistress of the Two Lands." After her death, Nefertari was worshipped as a divine Osirian, or a soul which has become deified. Under the attributes of Asr (Osiris), Kmt's lorder of the dead, she was adored as a goddess. Queen Nefertari's body was housed in a 5,200 square foot tomb decorated with vivid wall paintings--the most splendid in the Valley of the Queens--"The Place of Beauty." Her tomb paintings and inscriptions depict Nefertari as a woman of great charm and exquisite taste, adorned with magnificent jewelry and wearing fashionable gowns.

Queen Istnofret, another distinguished African woman, was a contemporary of Nefertari, and was elevated to the position of Great Royal Wife upon Nefertari's death. Queen Istnofret was the mother of Prince Ramses (Senior King's Son). Prince Khaemwaset (one of the most brilliant men of the Ramesside era) and Prince Merneptah--who eventually succeeded his father as King. Queen Istnofret died in approximately year 24 of Ramses II's reign.

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FREEDOM FIGHTERS AND RESISTANCE LEADERS

Although it was was extremely prominent, Kmt (Ancient Egypt) was only one of many great African nations where women held high positions. Makeda, for example, the semi-legendary Queen of Sheba (Saba), is thought to have lived during the tenth century B.C.E. This woman had all the qualities of an exceptional monarch, and appears to have ruled over a wealthy domain encompassing parts of both Africa and Arabia. She is called Makeda in the Ethiopian text known as the Kebra Negast, Bilqis in the Koran, and the Queen of Sheba in the Bible. The three of these documents provide a relatively clear picture of a highly developed state distinguished by the pronounced overall status of women. Makeda was not an isolated phenomenon. Many times, in fact, do we hear of important women in African and Arabian history; the documents they are mentioned in providing no commentary on husbands, consorts or male relatives.
Either their deeds or inheritance, perhaps both, enabled them to stand out quite singularly.

Dahia al-Kahina of Mauritania was especially active in the North African resistance to the Arab invasions that occurred at the end of the seventh century.  About 690 she assumed personal command of the African forces, and under her aggressive leadership the Arabs were briefly forced to retreat. The Arab invaders of Africa were relentless, however, and as the African plight deteriorated, the dauntless Kahina ordered a scorched earth policy. The effects of the devastation can still be seen in the North African countryside.  According to tradition, Kahina eventually took her own life rather than admit defeat to the Arabs. With her death ended a magnificent attempt to preserve Africa for the Africans.

Queen Nzingha, also known as Ann Nzingha, was overlord of portions of both Angola and Zaire. She has been called the "greatest military strategist that ever confronted the armed forces of Portugal." Nzingha's military campaigns kept the Portuguese in Africa at bay for more than four decades. Her objective was nothing less than the complete and total destruction of the African slave trade. Nzingha sent ambassadors throughout West and Central Africa with the intent of enlisting a huge coalition of African armies to eject the Portuguese. Queen Nzingha died fighting for her people in 1663 at the ripe old age of eighty-one.  Africa has known no greater patriot.

In summary, and in the words of Dr. John Henrik Clarke, "The first accomplishment of the African woman, in partnership with the man, was the creation of a functioning family unit. This major step in human development laid the foundations of the organization of all subsequent societies and institutions. In Africa the woman's `place' was not only with her family. She often ruled nations with unquestioned authority."


What's in a Name? Goddesses Have Always Been Worshipped

By Rasna Warah
The Nation,

Nairobi

5 May 2008

Last weeek, PCEA moderator David Githii banned the use of the word "harambee" - the national rallying cry popularised by Mzee Jomo Kenyatta - from his congregation' s vocabulary and urged the rest of Kenyans to do the same. Apparently, the pastor believes that because the word originated from an invocation to the Hindu goddess "Ambee", it is having a negative spiritual effect on the country's mostly Christian population.

According to folklore, in the days when the Uganda Railway was being built between 1896 and 1902, Hindu labourers would shout the words "Har Ambee" (much like the Catholic invocation Hail Mary) when pulling heavy loads together.
This act of "pulling together" is what gave the words new meaning in post-independence Kenya when Kenyatta would urge Kenyans to unite for the development of the country. During this time, the word harambee was also used to fund-raise for several community-based projects around the country.

If the pastor had objected to the very concept of harambee, which got horribly twisted in the Moi era when it was used to extort money from people and was the vehicle through which many corrupt deeds were committed, I might have understood, but to say that the word itself carries negative connotations, is, to say the least, far-fetched.

Until I heard it from the Rev Githii, I had no idea that Ambee was a Hindu goddess.
My main source of information on this Hindu deity was, ironically, a Christian online magazine that suggested that Kenya was disaster-prone because it worshipped a Hindu goddess, and that the USA was a superpower because the words "In God We Trust" appear on the US dollar!

The pastor has thus inadvertently revived a goddess that has mostly been forgotten by the people who once worshipped her.
While it is true that Ambee is a Hindu goddess, the word harambee (as pronounced, spelt and understood in Kenya) does not exist in the Hindu vocabulary.

Harambee may be rooted in Hindu mythology, but it is a word that has been adapted and adopted as a uniquely Kenyan slogan. It is as African as the Kiswahili word binadamu (which means "human being"), which originated from the biblical Adam.
Besides, history shows that goddess worship has been prevalent in most societies around the world, including Africa, since pre-history. In most cultures that worshipped a female deity, goddesses were not only emblems of fertility and motherhood, but also symbols of the inter-connectedness of life and death.

IN THE HELLENISTIC WORLD, THE goddess Isis was described as "the mother of the universe". The Ibo in Nigeria believed that the cotton tree contained the earth goddess. In Cuba, Catholic female deities (such as the Virgin Mary) are worshipped alongside Yoruba goddesses, among them Ochun, the goddess of love.


Goddesses were invoked to nurture communities and protect them from evil or disaster. The Hindu goddess, Durga, for instance, is seen as the vanquisher of evil. The female warrior goddess was revered in societies undergoing calamity. But men have always sought to diminish the power of goddesses so that they could assert patriarchal monotheism on people. It has been claimed, for instance, that the Roman Empire was on the verge of evolving into a goddess-focused society until the advent of male-centred religions such as Mithraism and Christianity.

When the Hebrews invaded the promised land of Canaan some time before 1200 BC, they found a thriving, fertile region occupied by Semitic people whose myths and religious practices were similar to those of Sumeria and Babylon. In the biblical book of Joshua, the invasion is described as a holy war against the false gods (and goddesses) of the Canaanites. Chief among these were the "Mother of the Gods" Asherah, her daughter Astarte, and her son Baal. The father god, El, escaped the persecution of the Israelites largely because he was assimilated to their own god, Yahweh-Elohim

The Hebrew prophets waged a bitter battle against the Canaanite goddesses by blaming them for every disaster that befell them. Astarte, for instance, came to be referred to as Ashtoreth - a combination of her name and the Hebrew word for "shame". Later, Christian theologians resumed their attack on Astarte by demonising her and by defining the practice of offering her food or drink as an act of "devil worship".

The idea that females have divine power is apparently so threatening to most religions that they have sought to vilify female deities. I am inclined to believe that organised monotheistic religions have a deep fear of the power of women - and it is this fear that has driven male-centred interpretations of religious teachings. This could explain why many women healers in Europe and the United States were labelled "witches" and burnt alive in the fifteenth, sixteenth and seventeenth centuries

 

Before there were gods, there were goddesses.




Further
reading


The role of Women in Nubia

http://wysinger.homestead.com/nubianwomen.html (Hort's comment: Nubian civilization predates, not follows Egyptian civilization)

 

 

Publié dans classical africa

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