Thursday, July 26, 2012

The African Tradition of Man and Woman

The African Tradition of Man and Woman

Mawu-Lisa Female and Male God
In the African world, and African religions, the woman is viewed and treated as an equal. There was a god and a goddess. There was a king and a queen. They felt, and rightly so, that you could not have one without the other.

The Egyptian oral tradition even stated that you cannot have man without woman. You cannot have a world full of humans without man and woman.

The Supreme gods of the Ewe of Ghana are Mawu-Lisa.  They are twins.   Mawu, the female is represented by the moon, while Lisa the male is represented by the sun.  As husband and wife , Mawu-Lisa had seven pairs of twins which became the major gods of the Ewe.  What is of major interest to us is the red wooden statue with large breasts and a crescent  in one hand found among the Ewe. This image of Mawu is the only known image of the Supreme Being in Africa.

The Akan of Ghana have a similar view  of God.  The  Ashanti  for example, have sometimes thought of Nyame the SUPREME BEING as both male and female.  The female principle is symbolized by the moon which created human beings with water.  The male principle is symbolized by the sun.  The sun shot life-giving fire into the human veins and made human beings live.  Generally however, the women is seen as the MOTHER of humankind, from whom all people originated.

The Akposso [of Togo] tell  that when God made human beings, he first made woman on the earth and bore her the first child, the first human being.  The main idea here, says Mbiti, is to link human life directly with God through the woman.  The woman herself is created by God and in turn becomes the instrument of human life

It is not until the introduction of Europeans, that we get a rather skewed view of Africa. They, the Europeans, wrote all of the histories, memoirs and recollections of Africa from a male-centric point of view, with a male-centric concentration. Meaning, they only talked about the African kings they spoke with.

The white man's mind cannot even conceive of a female being equal to a male. This is one of the reasons they thought Africans were so strange.

They only referred to the African male hunters. In fact, when the native american slave trade proved to be fruitful and African gold value dropped dramatically, and they started trading in African slavery, 75% of all slaves were men. They also tortured and "re-educated" Africans to try and stamp out this notion of equality among the gender.

Even so, Black tradition has always been to honor the African female as much as the male. Even during slavery and after.

We need to return back to our African traditions. There can be no man without woman. There can be no god without goddess. There can be no king without queen. This is how our population needs to be "re-educated". Our men need to be sat down and told that the white world despises its women, but the Black world does not. We need to be taught how to distinguish between our different traditions from theirs.

Time and again Black men have said to Black women, here in America, that the "women's movement" is not necessary in the Black community. Admittedly there are some Black men who are caught up in the stupidity of a white-centric view of the gender, but they can be re-educated, and they are not the normal Black man.

We need to resolve that we need to educate each other in our history. It is far richer than the European tradition.


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