GIVING THE GIFT OF LIFE: KWANZAA WITH DR. MOLEFI KETE ASANTE

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The holidays are a time for love, reflection, and the sharing of gifts to show our love and appreciation to those we love and appreciate. Therefore, as we approach the holidays, the best way we can show our love and appreciation to someone special to us is to consider a special gift. And that special gift is a book, which represents knowledge. Make no mistakes about it, after the gift of life, the gift of knowledge is the best gift we can give to someone we love. As a matter of fact, to give knowledge is to give new life to someone as knowledge expands a person’s worldview, intellectual horizon, and quenches our thirst for life. Moreover, knowledge is power and freedom.

For Frederick Douglass, “knowledge makes a man unfit to be a slave” and “once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” However, with chattel slavery and colonialism, our power and freedom were usurped as reading was prohibited. We were forced physically and manipulated psychologically by way of law (Black Codes) and religion (Christianity and Islam) to forget any knowledge of an African cultural heritage and way of life. Thus, “a people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots,” according to the Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey.

In Public Enemy’s “The Night of the Living Base Heads,” Dr. Khalid Muhammad agreed with Garvey by stating: “Have you forgotten, that once we were brought here, we were robbed of our names, robbed of our language, we lost our religion, our culture, our God, and many of us by the way we act, even lost our minds!” Khalid’s bold statement is a replica of the powerful words of Malcolm X when he delivered in one of his greatest speeches, “Message to the Grassroots,” one of his most memorable lines, “I ain't left nothing in Africa,” that's what you say. Why, you left your mind in Africa.”

Throughout the years, Afrocentric scholar, public intellectual, and activist, Dr. Molefi Kete Asante has produced a plethora of scholarly works in hopes that we will not forget our names, language, religion, culture, God, Africa and lose our minds. As the father of Afrocentricity and author of 76 books, Asante has published more books than any other African-American scholar and public intellectual.

In his most recent book, "African Pyramids of Knowledge: Kemet, Afrocentricity and Africology," Asante will take us to a scholarly journey where the intellectual landscape mobilizes Afrocentric ideas by bravely “confronting our historical situation” to boldly “assert a new cultural situation” as illustrated in Africology. In this scholarly journey, Asante delivers a synthesis of philosophy with social theory and history with linguistic to provide a holistic worldview of Africa (Afrocentricity) by way of the pyramids, which symbolize knowledge.

For Asante, the pyramids of ancient Kemet stand as our foundation of knowledge in the form of science, mathematics, astronomy, biology, literature, philosophy, theology, spirituality, architecture, art, etc., In demonstrating the above fact, Asante centers Africa as not only the birthplace of humanity, but as the corner stone of universal knowledge.

Therefore, in "African Pyramids of Knowledge," Asante argues that the setting for world knowledge takes place first on the continent of Africa, specifically in ancient Kemet not in Europe (ancient Greece). Moreover, in African Pyramids of Knowledge, the protagonist is the African multi-genius Imhotep not Socrates, Homer, Hippocrates, Herodotus, or Archimedes.

Imhotep is a polymath who was the architect and engineer of the first step pyramid in Kemet, the pyramid of Pharaoh Djoser. Imhotep is also the father of medicine not Hippocrates. However, one of Imhotep’s contemporaries, Merit Ptah (not to be confused with Merit-Ptah, Ramose’s wife) is considered the mother of medicine given the fact that she is indeed not only the first known female in science, but also the first known physician. Thus, throughout ancient Kemet, Merit Ptah was called “The Chief Physician.”

Yet, in the educational system of the United States, we do not learn about Imhotep or Merit Ptah or Hesy-Ra (a contemporary of Imhotep and Merit Ptah) not only in K-12, but also in higher education. Unfortunately, at U.S. colleges and universities, and in most Black Studies departments/programs, Afrocentricity as a grounded theoretical framework is not considered scholarship or as a valuable contribution to the production of knowledge.

For that reason, Asante presents to us in this timely, well-written, scholarly and highly recommended book that the pyramids in Africa serve as our foundation of knowledge. And the first step to this knowledge is to explore intellectually this particular prescriptive text as it offers a synthesis between the descriptive and corrective underpinnings of universal knowledge. Once you have completed your scholarly tour, Asante’s "African Pyramids of Knowledge" is guaranteed to give you new life by helping you to locate the mind that you lost and left in Africa.

To purchase "African Pyramids of Knowledge" and other books by Molefe Kete Asante, please visit http://www.universalwrite.com/molefi-asante.html.

Patrick Delices is a political analyst/commentator for the Black Star News and the author of “The Digital Economy” in the Journal of International Affairs. Patrick Delices has taught the History of Haiti, Black Politics, Afro-Caribbean Politics I & II, and Afro-Caribbean International Relations at Hunter College and served as a research fellow for the late Pulitzer Prize recipient, Dr. Manning Marable at Columbia University. Patrick Delices can be contacted at pdelices@gmail.com. Please visit his website at www.patrickdelices.com.

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