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Why won't history and Hollywood portray Egypt accurately?

THE FACE OF EGYPT? Actor Gerard Butler at the premiere of 'Gods of Egypt' movie

A RECENT headline in 'The Daily Express' newspaper stated:

“DNA analysis revealed ancient Egyptians were closer to Turkish and Europeans”.

Reading further into the article itself I discovered the DNA samples were taken from around 400 AD, years after invasions by Hyksos, Alexander the Great, and Romans. So while they were correct in saying Europeans were in Egypt, these people were not part of the great kingdoms, to whom the sought-after heritage belonged.

So, why would The Express print such a misleading headline? I’m beginning to suspect for the same reason that Hollywood has released a slew of historically-insulting movies such as Gods of Egypt and The Mummy.

I decided to re-investigate this most divisive of topics.

The only records I could find of pharaohs being DNA tested were instances of well-known figures such as Ramesses II and King Tut, amongst others. Results indicated that their genetic make-up was closest to current inhabitants of tropical west Africa, southern Africa and the Great Lakes. So why was this not headline news?

In the BBC's 1984 documentary Africa, Basil Davidson spoke of how, “Prejudice of the time blinded explorers to the evidence of their own eyes”. So, when an ancient palace pre-dating Kemet (ancient Africa) was discovered by German prospector Karl Mauch in Limpopo Zimbabwe, he attributed it to a lost white civilisation, or, 'Orphia, land of the queen of Sheba'. It was later proved to be African-made, most likely by ancestors of the Shona tribe. This provided a clue as to the source of so much disparity surrounding the issue.


DOCUMENTED: Painting on papyrus of a pectoral of the Solar Eye from the treasures of Tutankhamun (credit: Niankh Sekhmet

There seems real hesitance to acknowledge Egypt as being part of black Africa.

There are in a fact a plethora of findings proving not only that the original Egyptians were black Africans, but that the culture of the Egyptians existed in Africa before the birth of the old kingdom.

The black mummy was found in Libya in 1958, pre-dating Kemet by 5,500 years. This mummified boy astounded scientists who couldn’t believe the sophisticated organ removal and embalming procedures were used by such an early civilisation.

In Black Genesis Robert Buaval spoke of the explorations in sub-Saharan Africa which have revealed that these areas were once lush, filled with wildlife, and inhabited by early man before droughts forced them towards the Nile region and the rain forests. Artefacts found in these areas revealed ancient monarchs and spiritual practices similar to those found in Egypt.

The significance of Egypt’s African heritage is backed by writings of Harkhuf, a noble man who served under pharaohs Merenre and Pepi. He described taking offerings on a journey to Iymar in the Libyan Desert “to meet the ancestors”.

The attempt to separate Egypt from black Africa is based solely on a notion that black Africans were incapable of building civilisations. Modern sensibilities may make such rationale seem niche, but at the time of the excavations this was the prevailing mentality.


EVIDENCE: Wallis Budge's book contained telling evidence

The slave trade heightened the need to present 'the negro' as intellectually inferior and 'uncivilised'. A narrative that the black African was responsible for the world’s most breathtaking monuments and advanced civilisations went against everything being perpetuated.

The tale of this time can be encapsulated through the two leading Egyptologists of the era, Flinders Petrie and Wallis Budge. Petrie was known for his belief in eugenics and right wing values and until his death Flinders sought an Aryan super race in Egypt. Budge said in his 1911 book Osiris and the Egyptian Resurrection:

“There is no doubt", he said, "That the beliefs examined herein are of indigenous origin, Nilotic or Sundani in the broadest signification of the word, and I have endeavoured to explain those which cannot be elucidated in any other way, by the evidence which is afforded by the religions of the modern peoples who live on the great rivers of east, west, and central Africa.

"Now, if we examine the religions of modern African peoples, we find that the beliefs underlying them are almost identical with those Ancient Egyptian ones described above. As they are not derived from the Egyptians, it follows that they are the natural product of the religious mind of the natives of certain parts of Africa, which is the same in all periods."

Budge was also the one who released the famed translated Egyptian Book of the Dead, but it was Petrie’s agenda that attracted the rich investors and he was given the role of training future Egyptologists like Howard Carter.
Religious crusades and settlements also played their part in clouding African history to strengthen their claims for land.

But, enough is known now to give a more historically accurate portrayal of ancient Egypt, so let’s hope Hollywood and mainstream media take note, rather than continue to dismiss any African role in world history as ‘afrocentric’.

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