THE JOURNEY OF MANKIND by Onyeji Nnaji
Thinking of the exodus of the Negro ancestors, it should be noted that it was based on two varying factors. These two factors encouraged two forms of movements with respect to their different times. The first factor was occasioned by rivals and misconception among the Negro ancestors. This first factor did not encourage migration to a distant land; instead the migration was within the Negro homeland. The second factor was the need to find a place to settle; it was for comfort. This factor promoted distant migrations of the Negro ancestors. Thinking about the different time for the two forms of migration, it is pertinent to note that the first migration/movement took effect before the flood, while the second movement took place in the post deluge. Details of the first movement are discussed in chapter three of Reminiscence.
The first phase of this exodus was discovered as one of the factors that led to the destruction of the world of old. Misunderstanding broke up between Oduduwa the Yoruba father and Nri his elder brother over a reclaim of staff of authority. As the problem prevailed, it led to what ancient historians referred to as “War of the gods”. The Yoruba oral tradition made this known in the following way,
Obatala and Oduduwa quarelled and all the other Gods took sides. In the end, Olorun settled the dispute by giving Obatala the power to create mankind. Oduduwa was allowed to rule the land that he had created. Oduduwa became the first Yoruba king, ruler of the ancient city of Ile-Ife, the place where he was first believed to have climbed down from the sky.
While the fight continued among the gods, God had to settle it by returning the staff to the rightful bearer, while Odudunwa who could not bear the shame of his action left the city and settled in the western part of the land. Nri could not bear the unexpected action by his brother. Out of annoyance, he placed a curse on him thus, as a helpless follow depends on people for survival, you will prosper only through what you acquired from others. Therefore, he called his linage Yoru-Baa, translated as beg-and-prosper. From that day till date, the Yoruba life had been that way. They are never reliable and every of the citizens see Igbo as his fatal enemy.
The punishment did not end with Odudunwa (otherwise called Oduduwa), it also included the architect of the incidence, Idu. Oduduwa left alongside his cohort, Idu. Idu settled in the middle between east and west, while Oduduwa lived in the west. Idu was the father of the present day Edo (Benin City) and others that descended from them. This was the genesis of the spread of the African nations in the ancient time. Idu went to the mid-west and established his kingdom of Oba which was his position in the Eridu City (Reminiscence, ).
These were the oldest emigration recorded about the exodus of the Negro ancestors before the flood.
The second phase of the exodus of the Nero ancestors took effect after the Noah’s flood. In Reminiscence, the detail account of the flood survivors was given. The struggle to survive in the new world was the major reason that spurred the need to move to places which later resulted in the discovering of new lands. The first set of ancestors to leave the east was the Obantu, otherwise known as the Bantu in the later time. This group was so called because of their traditional culture as the people who paint their faces with ashes and mire as they travel to protect themselves from dangerous animals and monsters. Obantu in Igbo reflect this meaning: a people who paint their face with ashes. And from the Igbo story view, Efic was among the first set of Bantu to leave Igbo land. After their departure, the Efic region became the outpost for the rest of the Bantu travellers out of the east. The Wikipedia map of the Bantu movement as shown below agrees with this line of narrative.
The earliest Bantu were originally pygmies from the generation of Umudiala; otherwise referred to as the Igbo heartland. The Benin belonged to this ancestry. They were naturally gifted to the knowledge of herbal prescription and medication. Found with little artistic knowhow compared to the Awka who were scribes, the Umudiala were generally and naturally gifted to stone work. It is therefore no surprise when the earliest dated stone works of the Negro race were found in Ikom and much more in Okigwe, for the territory of the Umudiala extended to the Cross-River region in the days before the flood. They were hunters and gatherers like the rest of the survivors of the flood.
The first movement of the Efic Bantu opens the way for the emigration of other Bantu group within and outside the southern part of the present Nigeria. Their settlement in Osak Edet led to the founding of the present Cameroon. The subsequent movement and settlement of the Bantu travellers are indicated in the map shown above. Some of the popular Bantu group includes the Tivs, of Niger-Benue and Cameroon, with almost 10 million people; the Shona of Zimbabwe with 14.2 million people; the Luba of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with over 13.5 million people; the Zulu of South Africa, with over 10 million people; the Sukuma of Tanzania, with around eight million people; and the Kikuyu of Kenya, with over six million people.
Bantu group everywhere in Africa has sustained the root word of their grouping as an aboriginal identity. In every Bantu settlement the adoption of the key word Ntu has been remarkable. The Oriental historians made us to know the presence of this aboriginal lexicon among the Bantu settlement as follow.
The word Bantu, and its variations, mean “people” or “humans”. The root in Proto-Bantu is reconstructed as -ntu. Versions of the word Bantu (that is, the root plus the class noun class prefix ba-) occur in all Bantu languages:
Forexample,as watu inwahili; bantu in Kikongo; batu in Lingala; bato in Kiluba; bantu in Duala;abanto in Gusii; andũ in Kamba and Kikuyu; abantu in Kirundi, Zulu, Xhosa, Runyakitara, and Ganda; wandru in Shingazidja; abantru in Mpondo; bãtfu in Phuthi;bantfu in Swati; banu in Lala; vanhu in Shona and Tsonga; batho in Sesotho, Tswana and NorthernSotho; antu in Meru; andu in Embu; vandu insome Luhyadialects; vhathu in Venda; and mbaityo in Tiv (Wikipedia, Bantu People).
It should be no surprise when we hear that the global mother tongue as traced by Ruhlen Merritt in The Origin of Language; Mark Pagel in Every Human Language Evolved from Single Prehistoric African Mother Tongue and Onyeji Nnaji in Evolution of Human Tongues emanated from the Niger-Congo Kwa group of language, or particularly the Igbo language; since it is of research evidence that the Bantu of Congo were originally Igbo. One remarkable identity of every Bantu hunter and warrior in the ancient time is the facial scarification of ash or charcoal.
Another important group was the Osan; a set of survivors who lived in the bush like monsters. This set of Negroes followed the north via the Sahara plane and founded the cities of their present day descendants. Popular among this set of travellers was the Anu race which was discovered to have founded Egypt of old. Earliest of the Anu race were the Kambaata who founded Ethiopia and subsequently Nubia. Detail of these is discussed in the succeeding chapters. These were the earliest hunters and gatherers who left the Inner Africa. Other emigrants however joined the trend later to create their own impact on the later Negro communities. For as Nnaji noted,
The civilization of the cavemen was the earliest civilization of the Black race few months after the great deluge. Unlike the Sumer civilization, the cavemen did not have a consolidated lifestyle where everybody was made to have one same beginning as the base for the civilization which, supposedly, should have involved everybody with the dark skin. It was rather caught in distinct form depending on the time each people found themselves on the plane ground. For the water (flood) did not dry up everywhere at the same time. Each people started their civilization immediately it was discovered that the flood had dried up at their own part (Reminiscence).