In the early 16th century, rumours of a mysterious fortress with gargantuan walls, abandoned in the African jungle, spread around Europe.
Surrounded by goldmines and sitting on a 900-metre-high hill, the city was thought to represent the summit of a unique African civilisation which had traded with distant Asian countries, including China and Persia.
Though the indigenous African have always know about this civilization they have built, a Portuguese sea captain, Viçente Pegado, was one of the first foreigners to encounter the site, in 1531.
To his surprise, of what he has seen in the African civilized community, he wrote: “Among the goldmines of the inland plains between the Limpopo and Zambezi rivers [is a]fortress built of stones of marvelous size, and there appears to be no mortar joining them … This edifice is almost surrounded by hills, upon which are others resembling it in the fashioning of stone and the absence of mortar, and one of them is a tower more than 12 fathoms high.”
Great Zimbabwe was constructed between the 11th and 14th centuries over 722 hectares in the southern part of modern Zimbabwe. The plan, construction, and governance during its flourishing days were all by the Bantu Speaking who migrated from East to the Southern Part of the Mother Continent.
When European Colonizers took over, they concluded that such an advance development couldn’t have come from the indigenous African people and for many centuries, they attributed it to an unknown foreign group.
It only came in recently (in 2004), that a group of Archaeologists, Historians, and Geographers ended a long lasting study with a conclusion that the Great Zimbabwe civilization was solely built by indigenous Africans without any external or foreign influence.
Indeed, Colonizers colonized not only people and their resources, they also colonized history, civilizations, and thinking/minds. Many of these are still in chains which require our collective efforts to set them free.
Yes, no one can go to, for example, France and say, I want to examine your civilization and determine whether it was built by French, how disrespectful will that sound. But why us?
Rest not until you have no life to stand in for the war of life.
My name is Kwadwo Agyei Yeboah and I love Africa. Connect with me to talk About Africa.