The Danger of Afro-Centricity among Ndi Igbo
Rabbi Yehudah “Tochukwu” ben Shomeyr
Before the white man, explorer, slave trader or missionary came to the West African shores Ndi Igbo has never questioned their origins or heritage. Former slave Oaudah Equiano in his biography expounded on this fact as he gives detailed account of Igbo culture prior to the coming of the white men and how it relates to that of the Children of Israel. The explorers and slave traders, even in their limited knowledge of Scripture could clearly see by their initial contact with the Igbo, that they mirrored the life of Israel in the Wilderness. It was clear to Anglican Missionary, G.T. Basden and his ministerial associates that the Igbo were likely a lost tribe of Israel and it was best to keep this knowledge under their hats so as to better convert and assimilate the Igbo into Christianity. They felt is they confirmed their Hebraic identity to them that they may lose them to Judaism. And so the introduction of forbidden foods and false claims that their GOD and their ancestors were pagan deities slowly began to turn the Igbo away from their Hebraic culture to a westernized Christian one.
In many volumes produced by Igbo-Hebrew scholars, as well as other researchers; such works as:
· Finding Gad: The Quest for the Lost Tribe of Gad – Rabbi Yehudah “Tochukwu” ben Shomeyr
· Omenana: As in Israel, So in Igboland – Rabbi Yehudah “Tochukwu” ben Shomeyr
· Our Roots: Igbo Israel Heritage – Caliben I.O. Michael
· Ibo Exodus – Prof. O. Alaezi
· The Igbos: Jews in Africa – Remy Ilona
· The Igbo and Israel – Remy Ilona
· Igbo Jews and the Kingdom of God – Evang. David A. Iheanacho
· Igbo History – Victor M.C. Eyisi
· Biblical Evidence: Confirming the Hebrew Origins of the Igbo People – Uchechukwu Ikeanyibe
· The Quest for the Origins of the Igbo People - Uchechukwu Ikeanyibe
· The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano – Olaudah Equiano
· Hebrewism of West Africa – Joseph J. Williams
· From Babylon to Timbuktu – Rudolph R. Windsor
It has been well established in these books the various evidences such as; Biblical, Historical, Archeological, Cultural, Scientific and Linguistic evidence connecting the Igbo Tribe of Nigeria to Gad as well as other of the 12 Tribes of Israel.
However, in recent years there have come pseudo-scholars, even among the black, afro-centric community, desiring to do no less than what the white explorers, slave traders and missionaries have done; to deny and hide the true Identity of Ndi Igbo and bring them back under the paganism that caused them to be expelled from the land by the white men in the first place (Deut. 28). Ironically under the guise enlightenment through educational institutions built from the foundations of colonialism that they cry out so much against, they themselves, and causing those they teach, to buy into the racial prejudice and falsehood that all Jews are white and have a colonial mindset and agenda to mentally and spiritual subjugate the Igbo people. Afro-centric pseudo scholars’ attempts to further expand the abyss of the racial divide between whites and blacks as well as bring the Igbo and other African peoples spiritually and mentally back under the dark ages of paganism in some sort of imaginary, diluted, repackaged, post-modern, neo-pagan, Afro-centric golden age that never existed, nor ever will exist.
Afro-Centricity also endangers not only the Igbo but all the unique African tribes and peoples, which in reality, their uniqueness and diversity is a beauty and a strength, but is seen as wedges and divides. Ironically this comes from the colonial western mindset. Who wants to live in a cookie-cutter world? Who wants to live in a world where all rainbows are simply different shades of grey? Why can we not have unity and still be uniquely who we were created and called to be? It is possible. Focus on the commonalities while appreciating the differences while at the same time on points of disagreement; disagree, agreeably in brotherly love.
I loved watching those boring filmstrips in Social Studies and History class. I like watching the History, Discovery, and the Travel Channel today. I love to discover and experience new cultures and new things. In college I enjoyed being involved in being paired up with students from other countries; I loved picking the brains of MK’s (Missionary Kids).
The events that occurred at the Tower of Babel gave us our diverse cultures, people groups and languages, all of which are unfortunately rapidly disappearing. At Babel, so today, man desire is to unite the peoples of the world in a self-absorbed, materialistic, hedonistic society.
What a sad time to be an anthropologist, for diversity in culture is fast becoming an endangered species of sorts. The world is more becoming “westernized”. In the late 60’s and early 70’s one could visit any given country and still see people in their traditional dress, you could still see people wearing wooden shoes in Holland.
I recently seen a report on CBS about how the traditional dress of the Japanese woman is almost a relic of the past, only being worn at weddings and special events. How Japanese women actually have to enroll in a class that teaches how one properly puts on a wears the regalia of the Japanese woman.
With the advent of the internet global culture is becoming less diverse. From third world countries, to the Orient, to even the Middle East, T-shirts, blue jeans and tennis shoes are fast becoming the norm. No more robes and dashikis, they are fast becoming fossils, museum pieces. With westernization today’s youth of the world is losing the richness of their culture in language, dress, customs, etc. All of which is steathfully geared to condition the peoples of the earth to accept a Babel-like one world government.
I’m all for peace, unity and tolerance, but not at the cost of assimilation of a people and their unique culture.
It’s a shame that the Native American culture and ways are quickly dying along with the revered elders and only sepia tone photos from the 1800’s remain; a classic case of assimilation. We all know what happened in WWII when Hitler wanted everyone to think like him and live like him and look like him and believe like him. The Persian King Cyrus had the right idea. Though he conquered many peoples he allowed them to keep their cultural uniqueness and religion.
God loves diversity; just look how diverse the whole of creation is.