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Ancient Egyptian Wisdom ... Daily Practice

Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Tribute to Dr. Ivan Van Sertima (1.26.1935 - 5.25.2009)

He was born in a small village;
He arrived to these shores from Guyana;
He practiced Ma'at for his people;
He satisfied Ausar with his many works;
He went to great lengths to investigate our story and brought the knowledge to the people;
He seized the right moment, and had great stature among us;
He judged between individuals in a suitable manner;
He vindicated the name of the downtrodden.
He gave knowledge of self to those whose names were stolen from them;
He respected his ancestral father and honored his ancestral mother;
He raised their children.
We say this of our beloved teacher, scholar, and brother.
His name is Dr. Ivan Van Sertima

Adapted from the Inscription of Nefer-Seshem-Ra

I must admit that although I know Dr. Ivan Van Setima led a wonderful and shinning life, I was still greatly saddened by his passing. I recently rediscovered his brilliance over the last month. I've been watching videos of his speeches from 1983 to 1994. While I've studied African history for over 20 years, I still found much of the information he shared new and exciting. I was also amazed that these early lectures contained so many well placed references from dozens of divergent fields including linguistics, anthropology, art history, ancient history, and comparative literature. I will definitely begin re-reading his books and journals.

Dr. Van Sertima was extremely important to my intellectual development and burgeoning self-awareness. Attending a predominantly white high school in the late 1980's, I was looked at as an oddity by most of faculty members and subjected to racist epithets by many of the students. I was routinely called nigger, jungle bunny, spear-chucker, and a number of other insults. At first I tried to blend in, and then I fought back. I need to understand why they feared or hated me. I began my quest for knowledge with books like The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Before the Mayflower, and of course Van Sertima's They Came Before Columbus: The African Presence in Early America. His scholarly but accessible work prodded me to continue my study of the legacy of African people. It reaffirmed me, strengthened me, educated me, and made proud. I only met Dr. Van Sertima once, but he was my intellectual father. I will miss him, although I am sure he has gone to Amenta to reunite with the souls of our ancestors. We are made stronger by his passing. Shem em Hetep (Go forward in Peace)!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanx for this post, did not know anything about this great man until now!