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Africa's Place in the Human Story

On Thursday 17 March, Dr Power gave a Spark Lecture to an audience of Cokethorpe pupils and staff in the Senior Library.

The talk was titled ‘Leadership in Africa – The Distorted Pages of History’, which shed light on the role of Africa and the African diaspora in shaping the human story. The talk took a closer look at some of the topics studied by pupils as part of their History studies and explained that, in many cases, the role of Africa and African people has often been forgotten.


Dr Power began with a short knowledge test, to reveal that the richest person in history was not Bill Gates, but rather, a former emperor of Mali. He then proceeded to dispel a few other commonly-held misconceptions regarding issues such as the discovery of America and the abolition of slavery. The question then posed was; ‘why do we not readily acknowledge the contribution of Africa or African leaders in the 21st Century History curriculum?’. Dr Power then went on to discuss in detail the role of West African slaves in breaking the back of the transatlantic slave trade, examining the reasons for which we do not acknowledge the contribution of slave revolt leaders when we study the abolition movement. He went on to discuss the influence of Pan-Africanism in causing the British government to reappraise Britain’s role in world affairs following the process of decolonisation in Africa, and drew parallels with the upcoming EU referendum.

Dr Power recommends the following books for pupils wishing to look further into this topic:

When We Ruled - Robin Walker 

Before The Slave Trade - Robin Walker 

The African Origin Of Civilsation: Myth or Reality - Cheikh Anta Diop 

The Came Before Columbus - Ivan Van Sertima 

African Towns & Cities Before European Conquest - Richard Hull 

The Ruins Of Empires - C.F Volney 

Ancient Egypt The Light Of The World - Gerald Massey 

The Signs and Symbols Of Primordial Man - Albert Churchward 

Africa and Africans As Seen By The Classical Writers - William Leo Hansberry 

Life In Ancient Egypt - Adolf Erman 

Ancient Egyptian Literature Vol 1-3 - Mariam Lichtheim 

African Philosophy: The Pharaonic Period - Theophile Obenga 

Timbuctoo The Mysterious - Felix Dubois 


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