Debunking the myth of African savage
Representation of what lots of people think is a savage and of what people think is a civilized person

Debunking the myth of African savage: How did the term “wild Africa”, which causes so many of our brothers and sisters who are our cousins ​​in villages and communities as desert and solitary be regarded as savages, as opposed to the city in which people live obviously Will be civilized more by people from villages and communities?

First, it is important to remember that early European explorers, when they arrived in Africa, did not find wildlife in Africa or a bunch of uncivilized populations.

The German archaeologist Leo Frobenius (1973-1938), who made 12 trips to West Africa between 1904 and 1935, gives us a brief overview, an overview of what Africa was when Europeans arrived. , according to the stories and illustrations of Africa of the first Researcher:

“When they (European sailors) arrived in the Gulf of Guinea and landed in Vaida, the officers were very surprised to find well-maintained streets on a long stretch by two types of trees : they crossed a village with beautiful landscapes. exaggerated and lived by men, and women in bright, personal levels! More to the south, in the Kingdom of Congo, a hot crowd, all dressed in silk and velvet, large states, well organized and in their details powerful kings and ONE rich company! The same applies to countries on the east coast as Mozambique. ”

Upon their arrival, European researchers found people with similarities, customs, customs, behavior, spirit, etc., of their former civilized people who were “civilized to the bone”!

The stories of foreign researchers, who have gone on to explore Africa, are very important in considering the interior location. Frobenius summarizes it here in the same book:

“The discovery of the Portugis seafront from the sixteenth to the 18th centuries is evidence that sub-Saharan Africa still has a history of matching and civilizing efficient systems.”

City of Loango, in Kongo, as seen by the Europeans when they arrived.
City of Loango, in Kongo, as seen by the Europeans when they arrived.

So, how did the notion of ‘savage Africans’ appeared?

The notion of ‘savage Africans’ appeared in the beginning of the European slave trade, for in order to justify the attacks and the inhuman treatments inflicted to Blacks, it was necessary to make them inferior.

This way Leo Frobenius still tells us in his book, that : ‘The European CONQUISTADORES – conquerors – destroyed this flood – of the African civilizations – as they were progressing (…) the enslavement of Blacks never was a resting business. It demanded to be justified. Then the Negro became a semi-animal, merchandise… the idea of the ‘savage Negro’ is the invention of Europeans which has, in consequence, dominated Europe until earlier this century.’

Leo Frobenius tells us then that it was the European conquistadores who after having attacked and managing to destroy great number of African civilizations, invented the ‘savage non-civilized African’ notion, in order to justify slavery.

The first reason of the invention of the notion of savage African by the Europeans is the justification of slavery.

During the slavery period, there were lots of resistances in Africa and in the West Indies. The Europeans also called savage the Africans or Blacks they did not manage to ‘civilize’, it is to say Blacks who, in spite of all the threats and tortures they suffered, refused the European civilization – conversion to Christianity, forced adoption of customs and usages of Europeans – and continued to practice their African rites in secrecy.

It was the same thing during colonization. The savage term has been used to justify colonization – civilizing mission. In fact, during the colonization, there were also several resistances. This way, the Africans who have resisted the colonization and the penetration of the Europeans in Africa for a long time, and who refused the European civilization – conversion to Christianity, forced adoption of the customs and usages of Europeans – , who have fundamentally refused to abandon their cultures, their traditions, their spirituality, etc., were qualified of ‘underdeveloped savages’ because they refused colonization.

This way, the places where Africans managed, in spite of colonization, to save their way of life, customs, cultures inherited by ancestors became villages with populations who were considered as ‘non-civilized’ by the Europeans.

The second reason why the Europeans invented the notion of ‘African savages’ is to appoint African peoples who have done everything to save their authenticity and who have resisted them.

These are stereotypes that Blacks living in the cities have integrated and they have for a long time considered as savages the people who live in the villages, considering themselves as civilized – because they have accepted the European way of life.

What is then an African savage according to those who invented this term?

A savage is somebody who doesn’t have the same civilization or culture as the Europeans – reason why Europeans want to civilize -, and who fundamentally refuse the Western culture when it is imposed – by slavery, colonization – in order to save their authenticity.

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