Why people go to universities to study human history is a mystery for me because just about all written history is a pack of lies and the bits which might be true is a bigger pack of misery. Having studied some science it’s satisfying when you can calculate the proper shape of a structure that started as a mere idea or thought. But the study of history seems to consist of reading a vast amount of books of doubtful veracity and then write a book about what you’ve read. This notion was brought home to me when I wrote my book ‘Sink The Birkenhead’ and I had to check out the period 1830-1870 on the East coast of the South African British Colony.

It’s quite easy if you want to read about South African history; the National Library contains thousands of books and, unlike European libraries, hardly a book has been lost or destroyed. In those tomes you can find proof of anything you want to write about, if it is your fancy to picture the British in a sympathetic light as their army went about colonising the Eastern Cape you will find in the National Library all the documentation to corroborate your tale. If you want to show that the same crowd of people were a bunch of mean, self-profiteering sods and the British army as the inventor of concentration camps, so well copied by the Nazis, well, you’ll find the evidence of that as well with a bit more ferreting.

Whatever you fancy, you’ll find some kind of proof of it in those books; big Afrikaner Boere in a benevolent light or dripping with blood; clever black people, masters of their environment or poor starving wretches. Take your pick, you’ll find literary food to hoodwink the party of your desire or to ennoble another shady crowd.

Evidently, in other parts of the world where nations have taken pride in collecting their written pasts the same phenomena of wishful thinking history may be found. In German history there appears to be a peculiarity. I have been assured by German friends who went to school in Germany just after WW2 was finished that no German history was taught about the period 1930–1948. How that is today I do not know.

Well then, so much for the history books but as we live in uncertain times in which complete disruption of our lives may happen at any moment I try to understand our world as much as my brain allows me to stock information and facts.

As humanity on the whole does not change in, for us, a measurable time span I think that the people that are called Cro-magnon and lived about 40 000 years ago in the caves of Europe were about the same as us, similar desires and aspirations but they did not live as a national people controlled by a manmade state. Their hardships must have been considerable, but then, so was their freedom.

You found a cave and with your woman, you made it habitable for the few children that were to be born. Today we work and buy a house with hard-won money. If you want to know who owns your house don’t pay the rates and taxes to a bunch of undeserving people for two months and you’ll find out.

The behaviour of peoples is in direct proportion to their capacity of physical enrichment. The invention of agriculture and cattle raising buggered up our roaming hunting life and from thereon we had to increase our powers of invention to keep alive a growing population. These powers of invention, as manifested by different populations, I want to investigate and I believe this can be done without putting faith into dubious history books.

Right from the start of this enquiry I run into trouble because the first organised people we know something about left us no idea about their origin. I’m talking about these bloody exasperating Egyptians of course. Twelve, ten thousand years ago the Ice Age relented, life became easier for our European hunters and in the Middle East, Iraq and Iran, agriculture made a start. But long before that, in North Africa, a people made their appearance that, after an obscure start, invented and produced artefacts that, even today, no one knows how they were made. Porcelain and glass vases have been found that are the despair of today’s potters and glass blowers. Not a soul or a factory can reproduce anything as perfect. The same thing applies for ancient Egyptian cotton and linen cloth. For the last 5000 years no one has been able to make such cloth as strong and agreeable to wear. Metallurgical objects have been found that no engineer can reproduce today.  Of one thing we can be fairly sure, the unknown people who performed those inventions either disappeared or got watered down like a good wine. The pyramids are merely clumsy macho man-eating devices to remind us of their past mastery in applied science.

For the next thousands of years, as the population grew, we had to dominate and kill and human ingenuity limited itself to the inventions of religions and murderous weapons. The Greeks opened an important chapter in theoretical science; geometry and algebra took off with the result that the diameter of our Earth was calculated quite correctly. It was a pity that the invention of a new religion, Christianity, obliterated this new method of analytical thinking and scientific inventions were smothered for another millennium.

When at last this religious brain washing lost some of its detergent power by the 15th century, European minds recovered from their priest enforced torpor and inventive thinking was given a free reign at last and found its way into North America as well. In other continents of the world inventions were not as successful, either politics, cast systems or religious notions stifled creative scientific thought.

Africa is an exception, it would appear that for the last 10 000 year nothing has been invented on that continent. When 100 000 (?) years ago a bunch of humans started an exodus and left the benign African motherland to colonise the rest of the world it would seem that a great sigh was slaked…’at last… now we can live in peace!’ No one bothered to invent how to write, weapons remained a piece of iron at the end of a stick, even the Bushman’s invention of a bow and arrow was not copied by the Africans who invaded most of the continent. The people North of the Sahara, Reguibat, Touareg and the Tibestians were divided into farmers and robbers; a closed society and when Allah became their patron saint, inventions disappeared into the sand. The Arabs North of the Sahara probably invented some murderous weapons also but when Mohammed inflicted his religious ideas upon them, all liveliness of spirit and brain was snuffed out…que sera…sera…

When the fortune seekers had left Africa, the Cradle of Mankind, this vast continent fell asleep as it were, apparently nothing happened for a hundred thousand (?) years. Some modern Africans pretend that the Egyptian civilisation was the work of black Africans but scientific evidence for that thesis cannot be found.

During the last10 000 years Arab traders infiltrated parts of tropical Africa for the acquisition of slaves, ivory and wild animals. Somehow the population twigged on to animal husbandry and it appears that for the last 8000 years black tribes drifted southwards from tropical regions, sustained food wise by their cattle and crop culture performed by the women.

Of all the inventions that humanity seemed to need in the rest of the world, such as a written language, pottery, boat building, agricultural tools and weapons, none of these discoveries disturbed the African Slumber. Not even a religion was invented but that, to my mind, was a very good non-invention. The African pithecanthropus left more fossil traces behind him than modern Africans since the exodus. Slight evidence exists that suggests that then only 60-100 000 humans remained in the whole of Africa. Possibly this Slumber is also the cause that Africa’s non-human life was not wiped out, in amazing contradiction to what happened in the other continents that were peopled by inventive humans. 

Europe’s influence on Africa was as inevitable as the increase of the human population. From slave taking, more benign ideas became fashionable; notions of human rights became à la mode merely because the increase of physical welfare of Western countries allowed such fancies. These welfare and do-gooding ideas led to the fundamental error that Africans could manage ex colonies like democratic European countries. Democracy is a European invention that is still in its infancy; in fact it doesn’t exist anywhere. In a dictatorial state only the dictator and a few pals grab the boodle but in a democracy the doors are wide open for profit taking on the backs of the liberated taxpayers.

Africans gladly accept inventions like eyeglasses, cars, televisions, planes and such like but they would be out of their minds to govern according to socialist, democratic fancies. The South African constitution has been lauded as one of the best in the world.

I’ll show you!

“Yes!” jubilates the president, “Four thousand party members are going to vote for the president and I only have to buy 2100 of the buggers with my dear tax payers’ money to get elected.”

That’s how a president is democratically elected in an African country of 50 million people. I can assure you that Obama paid a bloody sight more.

Maybe Africans can’t invent a television but no one can invent a better constitution!


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