Don’t abandon your culture – Professor James Small

by Kofi Ayim

Ghanaians have been admonished to not abandon their culture for someone else’s. Professor James Small gave this advice at the 10th Anniversary Dinner Dance Celebrations of Akyem Association of New Jersey on September 23 at the Ramada Plaza Hotel, Newark Airport. Speaking on the theme “Divine Cultures of Africa: Is it Worth Practicing in Contemporary World?” Professor Small said Ghana is endowed with a deep-seated and rich culture, and it would be a blow to posterity if it were allowed to fall into oblivion. He quickly added that as much as culture is dynamic, the basic tenets that uniquely identify and describe a given people must not be allowed to waste away. “Whose history and culture ar you creating if you do not utilize your own?” he asked rhetorically. He observed that the faith that we know as Christianity came out of the cultures and traditions of Africa and that the oldest Church in Europe – the Catholic Church – is about 1,000 years younger than the Church in Ethiopia, and the Protestant Church, 1,500 younger that the Church in Ethiopia. “What this means,” he continued, “is that Africa gave Europe Christianity that they in turn wrapped it around their culture and practice it. In the same vein, Africans could have wrapped their Christian beliefs around their culture and practiced it. “Don’t lose it,” he preached.

In an elaborate and powerful PowerPoint presentation, he used archaeological materials such as statues and paintings from 1200 BC and earlier to demonstrate the “Africanness” and unique physical characteristics of ancient Black people in Egypt that are still extant in Africa. Professor Small pointed out that the oldest civilization in the world, which the West has been attempting to claim for several hundred years, have been proven to belong to Africa. He cited the so-called dreadlock hairstyle that was utilized in ancient Egypt and manifested in some contemporary African ethnicities such as the priesthood of Akan. He insinuated that the dreadlocks, singularly prevalent among Black people, are proof-positive of African ancient ancestry to Egypt.

“Egypt is in Africa and that’s where God put it,” he emphasized. He debunked the modern notion that Hippocrates is the father of medicine, when Greeks who trained in medicine in Egypt swore the Oath of Medicine to the ancient Egyptian black genius Imhotep, long before Hippocrates was born. Imhotep was later divinized and worshipped in both Egypt and Greek as the God of Medicine. Professor Small further used Egyptian mythology and modern science to explain creation and enactments of ancient Egypt and its parallel in the Christian Bible. “The Bible is yours, you just don’t know it,” he propounded. He also laughed off the assertion by the West that Africans used to live in trees and caves, when in fact paintings by the Portuguese of Nigeria in the 1700s portrayed multi-storey buildings in Yoruba land. He decried the misinterpretation of African anthropomorphic representations of ideas, concepts, principles, and the correlation between qualities of humans and nature as gods. “We need to get our concepts right,” he philosophized.

He asserted that the contributions of ancient black people have either been intentionally hidden or downplayed by those who have a vested interest in casting black people as naturally unproductive. “Even in the contemporary world, Ghanaians and other Africans continue to contribute to the world’s civilization, including the creation of the internet and space exploration.” Ancient Egyptians, according to the former CUNY professor, called other Blacks outside Egypt the Yam people.

Two former Presidents of Akyem Association of New Jersey, Messrs. Richard Antwi Boasiako and Stephen Kwame Oduro, were honored, while retired members of the eleven-year-old association were recognized. Representatives of Akyem Association from New York, Georgia, Massachusetts and other states were present at the event. Professor Samuel Amoako, Ghana’s Consul General in New York, was the Guest of Honor of the capacity-filled event. The host was Kofi Ayim.

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Posted by on Oct 18 2017. Filed under top stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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