Researched and Written
Mfuniselwa Bhengu

The paper seeks to trace and prove that Abantu/AbeNguni/AmaZulu originated from ancient Egypt, and that they migrated with all their wares to, firstly, Eastern Africa and then to Southern Africa, and that their culture, epistemology, ontology and languages are of ancient Egyptian origin, and that during their process of exodus very few changes on these took place.

However, secondly, ancient Egypt’s African affinity is important to recognize in part because it (along with the other native African civilizations of course) helps refute the white supremacist contention that Africans cannot construct civilization without European help, as Mandela has explained in his autobiography. It facilitates the combating of anti-Black racism, and simultaneously promotes African renaissance project. Therefore, we must not misrepresent it as a non-African.

Thirdly, but more principally, the paper argues that Abantu/AbeNguni/AmaZulu originated from the Great Lakes region of Africa and migrated to ancient Egypt, and from there they migrated towards the East Africa, Central and West Africa, and finally, some of them under the leadership of uMnguni, went towards the present Southern Africa, and finally reached the present South Africa, and KwaZulu province.

In his autobiography, The Long Walk to Freedom (1994), the former South African President Nelson Mandela recounts that he had fantasized about visiting the ruins of ancient Egypt, which he calls “the cradle of African civilization”. To quote Mandela’s statement on why this was so significant to him:
This was not amateur archaeological interest; it is important for African nationalists to be armed with evidence to dispute the fictitious claims of whites that Africans are without a civilized past that compares with that of the West. In a single morning, I discovered that Egyptians created great works of art and architecture when whites were still living in caves.

As much as ancient Egypt may have helped fuel the fire of Mandela’s passion to liberate South Africans from the oppression of apartheid, few non-black people even recognize that it was an African civilization to begin with.

Before we begin to explore whether or not the ancient Egyptians were Africans/Abantu, let us look at how ancient Egypt itself was constructed.

The Construction of the Ancient Egypt
In his essay entitled the ‘Nile Genesis: An Introduction to the Opus of Gerald Massey Charles S. Finch III (2006), paying tribute to Massey forcefully, argues that the world’s cultures were Kamite in origin.

With respect to the aboriginal Britons, the Celts, Massey carefully dissected their language, religion, and customs to detail their Kamite origins. Along these lines, Massey was echoing the work of the British investigators Godfrey Higgins, author of Anacalypsis, and Duncan McRitchie, author of Ancient and Moderns Britons, who also wrote extensively about the pre-historic Black presence in the British Isles. Massey reproduced an extensive comparative glossary showing the common identity of hundreds of Egyptian and Celtic-British words. His derivation of the English word ‘mother’ is instructive: Our word Mother is not derived from the Sanskrit Ma, to fashion, but from the Egyptian name of the mother as Mut. Mut means mother, the Emaner, the mouth…Mut the chamber, place, womb…AR (e.g.) is the child, or the likeness, the type of a fulfilled period, the thing made. Thus MUT-AR is the place, the gestator, the founder and emaner of the child.

In the second volume, Massey conducted a searching examination of the Hebrew legends of the Old Testament and in revealing their Afro-Egyptian or Kamite origins, inaugurated a seismic shift in Hebraic and Old Testament studies. Of especial importance is the remarkable chapter The Egyptian Origin of the Jews Traced from the Monuments. His research convinced him that the Five Books of Moses represented Egyptian astronomical allegories that had been literalized, historicized, and humanized. The Book of Exodus especially seemed to abound with Kamite astronomical types that were reconfigured to form Hebrew ‘history.’ As Massey writes: The Hebrew Books of the Genesis, Exodus, Numbers Joshua, and Judges are invaluable as a virgin mine of mythology; they are of utmost importance as an aid in recovering the primeval types of Egyptian thought…For the Hebrews, who collected and preserved so much, have explained nothing. There is evidence enough to prove that the types are Egyptian and the people brought them out of Egypt must have been more or less Egyptian in race, and of a religion that was Egyptian of the earliest and oldest kind.

Undoubtedly there is some very slight historic nucleus in the Hebrew narrative, but it has been so mixed with myth that it is far easier to recover the celestial allegory with the aids of its correlatives than it is to restore the human history.

Massey proceeded to show the connection between the Egyptian astro-mythical types and all the important Old Testament patriarchs. However, there really was an exodus from Egypt; in fact, there were at least two (possibly three) alluded to in historical testimony, but, according to Massey, none of them had anything to do with a foreign race of shepherds enslaved for more than 400 years in Egypt then led out of it by a messianic prophet. The latter years of Egypt’s 18th dynasty (14th century BC) witnessed unprecedented religious ferment as indicated by the so-called ‘Amarna Heresy,’ launched by Amenhotep IV, better known as Akhenaton. This period of religious upheaval saw the patriarchal status quo represented by Amon-Ra shaken to its foundation by the upsurge of the Sethian solar deity Aton – the sole and exclusive god – championed first by Queen Tiye, wife of Amenhotep III, then more vigorously by her son Akhenaton. Though solar, by virtue of his Sethian character, Aton represented the ancient Mother-and-Son religious system dating back to pre-dynastic times. In the end, the Atonian religion was overthrown and Amon-Ra restored, leading in the ensuing 120 years to one, possibly two, exodes out of Egypt by religious dissenters who had retained their allegiance to Mother-worship.

Massey connects Moses to the Egyptian lion-god Ma-Shu, though another possible etymology is derivable from Mu (‘pool’) Sha (‘reeds’) for Mu-Sha, ‘pool of reeds,’ the place where the infant Moses was found. The name Moses is not Hebrew in origin and pharaoh’s daughter is made to say that she gives the foundling infant this name because ‘I drew him from the water. The Egyptian word sah means ‘to draw from,’ so that Mu-Sah, an additional etymology, would mean ‘to draw from the (pool of) water’. The only identifiable historical figure in Massey’s view that can be linked to the Biblical Moses is Osarsiph, an Egyptian priest of Ra mentioned by the Jewish apologist Josephus in his polemic against the Egyptian historian Apion entitled Against Apion. Osarsiph, according to this report (which Josephus recounts but vehemently repudiates), became a dissenter from the established priestly religion and organized a large group of disaffected people in Egypt, inciting them to rebellion then subsequently leading them out of Egypt into Canaan. Apion claimed (after Josephus) that Osarsiph the Egyptian subsequently changed his name to Moses. Sigmund Freud in Moses and Monotheism, though himself Jewish and having read Josephus’ Against Apion, clearly takes the side of Apion by asserting that Moses must have been an Egyptian priest who took the part of the downtrodden in Egypt, led them into Sinai, taught them the worship of one god, and gave them their laws. The date of the Exodus remains a contentious issue though the weight of opinion favors the reign of Mereneptah (1230 – 1215 BC) as the time period for this seminal event. If so, Osarsiph would have lived 100 years after Akhenaton, the king who instituted the brief period of pharaonic monotheism in Egypt under the aegis of Aton. That being said, Massey forcefully set forth the argument that the Hebrews, originally the worshippers of the divine Mother and Son who later renounced them for the all-exclusive Father, brought their religion and language out of Africa, their original home.

Massey categorically dismissed the assertions of the Aryanist German Egyptologists Bunsen and Brugsch postulating an Asian origin for Egyptian civilization. Massey asked, in refutation of the Asian theory, why did the Egyptians themselves look southward to Africa as their birthplace and refer to it as Ta-neter, ‘the land of the gods?’ Moreover, numerous Egyptian customs were unmistakably African in character, from the practice of tracing ancestry through the maternal line to the ceremonial dying of bodies with red ochre. Massey even derived an Egyptian etymology for the Roman word Africa from the Egyptian af-rui-ka which literally means ‘to turn toward the opening of the Ka.’ The Ka is the energetic double of every person and ‘opening of the Ka’ refers to a womb or birthplace. Africa would be, for the Egyptians, ‘the birthplace.’ Parenthetically, it is worth noting that another Egyptian name for the African lands south of Egypt was Ta-Kenset, which means ‘placenta land.’ In any event, the issue for Massey was plain and the common ethno-cultural identity of Egypt and the rest of Africa provided the framework for his study into human beginnings (Charles S. Finch III, 2006).

On several occasions Herodotus, who was an eyewitness on all what was happening in ancient Egypt, insists on the Negro character of the Egyptians and even uses this for indirect demonstrations, and he observed that:
“It is certain that the natives of the country are black…” {The History of Herodotus, translated by George Rawlinson. New York. Tudor, 1928, p. 8

Despite their physical and genetic variability, we have some justification for grouping all the different kinds of African people into one distinct ethnicity. They were Mbuti Pygmies, Nilotes, Bantus, and Ethiopians (Cavalli-Sforza, L.L., 1988). These groups were divided into
(1) Western Bantu;
(2) Central Bantu;
(3) Highland Bantu, and
(4) Southern Tanzania Bantu*.

As reflected below, it is reported that this cluster formed part of the ancient Egyptians. This cluster included peoples who are physically different from one another. All of these variable people are more closely related to one another, and this supports the classification of Africans into one ethnicity.

With this out of the way, the question is: How do we determine whether or not AmaZulu were part of the ancient Egyptians that fell within this African cluster?

The race of and origins of the ancient Egyptians have been a source of considerable debate. Scholars in the late and early 20th centuries rejected any considerations of the Egyptians as black Africans by defining the Egyptians either as non-Africans or as members of a separate brown (as opposed to a black) race, or a mixture of lighter-skinned peoples with black Africans. Afrocentric scholars have countered this Eurocentric and often racist perspective by characterizing the Egyptians as black and African.

The Bible, which is the living word of God and an authoritative source of historical record indicates that the ancient Egypt ancestry originated in the Southern part of Egypt which is next to Nubian and Cush (Ethiopia) to which even today in modern Egypt the farther south you travel the darker the population becomes (see Ezekiel 29:14). In general, the inhabitants of Upper Egypt and Nubia had the greatest biological affinity to people of the Sahara and more southerly areas.

The peopling of ancient Egypt is well illustrated by the internationally well-renown Senegalese scholar, Professor Cheik A. Diop, in his essay entitled annex to Chapter 1: Report of the symposium on The Peopling of Ancient Egypt and the Deciphering of the Meroitic Script. To date no scholar, factually or scientifically, has proven him wrong. He forcefully argued the following:
* that Egypt was an African country,
* that Egypt’s civilization can be understood properly only by reference to its southern links and origins,
* that humanity evolved first from Africa,
* that Africa was well-grounded in sciences and philosophy long before Greece,
* that Greeks, in comparison to Egyptians were children,
* that all the major world religions, including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam can be traced back to the religious systems and/or philosophies of Ancient Egypt,
* that there is a classical, solid basis for an African philosophy.

In ancient times, the whole of Egypt was a province of Ethiopia (the new name for Abyssinia), like the Republic of Sudan, was ruled by African race who maintained that they were a privileged class society based upon colour. To them, all black-skinned Africans are “Bantu”. To these they felt superior. Both the Sudan and the new Ethiopia had adopted the “Brotherhood Front” (see Walker, 2006), hence the ‘Bonaabakhulu baseKhem Brotherhood of Man’ (see Bhengu, 2014).

Methodologies Employed by the Anthropologists
The method traditionally favored by physical anthropologists for determining human population relationships from skeletal remains is craniometry, the measurement of skulls’ dimensions and facial features. The more similar certain populations’ craniometric measurements are, the more closely related the populations are considered. Generally speaking, the highest quality craniometric studies use comprehensive lists of variables covering the entire skull instead of fixating on a small number of features.

As early as 1923, the white anatomist Sir Grafton Elliot Smith reported that the thousands of Egyptian mummies he examined at Cairo’s Egyptian Museum frequently had features such as “poorly developed” brows, bulging occiputs, small but relatively broad noses, and slight projections of the jaws, all common African characteristics. Slightly over a decade later, Barnard (1935) observed that most Egyptian crania resembled those of Sudanese. Nutter (1958), Keita (1990), and Godde (2009), and too many other anatomists, archeologists, anthropologists, historians, too many to mention here, have all replicated this result of Sudanese/Nubian affinity for ancient Egyptians.

Possibly the oldest evidence for a sedentary civilization along the Nile River has been excavated not in Egypt proper but in central Sudan near the modern capital of Khartoum. This culture, dubbed the Khartoum Mesolithic, is considered to have constructed permanent or at least semi-permanent settlements because it left behind the oldest pottery ever found in Africa, dating as far back as 8200 BC.

According to Thompson (2001), South African Bantu peoples (e.g. Xhosa, Zulu, Basotho, and Tswana) considered cattle their most prized possessions, and some even had vast vocabularies with at least fifty-seven words describing cow markings alone. One Basotho proverb says that “cattle are the bank of a Mosotho”. Comparable cattle-herding economies are found among Nilotic peoples such as the Dinka and Nuer of South Sudan and the Maasai and Samburu of Kenya. Ehret (1996) traces this popularity of cattle among Africans to prehistoric Sudanese herders who first domesticated the animals between 10,000 and 6000 B.C.

It is interesting to note that the popularity of cattle among Africans date to prehistoric Sudanese, and that they were the first to domesticate them, because this fits in very well with the popularity of cattle among AbeNguni/AmaZulu. Secondly, one must take into account the fact that the ancestors of Mnguni were among the ancient Sudanese/Nubians in the Upper ancient Egypt or Southern Egypt.

Bantus and their Source
Abantu (or ‘Bantu’ as it was used by colonialists) is the Zulu word for people. It is the plural of the word ‘umuntu’, meaning ‘person’, and is based on the stem ‘–ntu’ plus the plural prefix ‘aba’.

It is a term used in two ways in archaeology, history and anthropology: (1) it named a major linguistic group in Africa, and more locally, to identify the sizeable group of Nguni language spoken by many Africans in sub-Saharan Africa, and (2) it identifies those Bantu-speakers who spoke that group of closely related languages which linguists divide into four categories: Nguni, Sotho-Tswana, Venda and Tsonga-speakers.

According to Sir Wallis A. Budge, as mentioned somewhere in this article, the most highly respected “Papyrus of Hunefer” found in Egypt and the Nile River and amongst the indigenous Africans’, “Book of the Coming Forth by Day and Night” kept on reporting that that the ancient Egyptians clearly stated that: “We came from the beginning of the Nile where the God Hapi dwells, at the foothills of the Mountain of the Moon. (Kilimanjaro – between Kenya and Tanzania, or Rwenzori in Uganda”. This area is around the Great Lakes region and Central Africa.

Among the African cluster mentioned above, the author is particularly interested in the group called ‘Bantus’ or Abantu in IsiNguni. The word ‘Bantu’, according to Bleek (1862, A Comparative Grammar of South African Languages), means ‘people’ in many Bantu languages, along with similar sounding cognates. In this book he hypothesized that a vast number of languages located across central, southern, eastern, and western Africa shared so many characteristics that they must be part of a single language group. Perhaps the most salient was the organization of many parts of speech in concordance with a set of noun categories, by means of inflected prefixes. Thus in isiZulu, a paradigmatic case for Bleek, the noun root -ntu is found in nouns such as umuntu (person), abantu (people), ubuntu, etc.

The Bantu-speaking people consists of more than 100 million Negriod people who live in southern and central Africa, ranging from Nigeria and Uganda to South Africa, and who speak about 700 languages, including many dialects. The consist of the following ethnic groups: Luhya, Baganda of Uganda, Zimbabweans of Zimbabwe, Nyarwanda of Rwanda, Rundi of Burundi, Kikuyu of Kenya, Nigerians, and AmaZulu of Zulu Kingdom, AmaXhosa, from KwaXhosa, the Ndebeles from Ndebele, Swazis from Swaziland, Basotho from Sotho, the BaPedi from Pedi, Vendas from kwaVenda, Tanzanians, Mozambicans, Congoleses, Zambians, Malawians, Tsongas, Akamba, Meru, Embu, Taita, Giryama, Chagga, Yao, Segeju, Zaramo in Tanzania, as well as many other smaller groups, etc. All these Bantus claim a southerly migration from Egypt after having left the Great Lakes and Central Africa.

The words Abantu, Vanhu, Basotho, etc., are in plurals. They all mean black people collectively. The words Kintu, Kuntu, Muntu, Munhu, Buntu and Hunhu also mean black people and their culture collectively. The name Egypt is used by Europeans for Kemet. It is a corruption of Hi-ka-pta, the name of one of the temples at Memphis in Kemet or KMT, which is a corruption of Hi-ka-pta, which means Temple-of-the-Ka-of-Ptah. Hikapta became Aiguptos in Greek. It was Anglicized to Egypt by the English (see Browder, 1992).

As Finch (1995), quoted by Dr Chivaura of Zimbabwe, points out that: The peopling of the Nile Valley from the Africa’s Great Lakes region must have occurred over and again in waves. The population wave from the Great Lakes directly ancestral to the to the historical Nile Valley peoples, probably began to settle north of the second cataract no later than 15, 000 years ago. This settlement did not preempt later migrations, of course the people of Africa are indeed one.

The principles their ancestors produced can be found in The Book of Coming Forth by Day, so-called The Egyptian Book of the Dead by Europeans. James Wasserman’s The Egyptian Book of the Dead: The Book of Going Forth by Day (1994) is an example.

The KiSwahili-Bantu Research Unit (2008) reports in its article ‘The Bantu in Ancient Egypt’ that for the first time ever the set of hieroglyphics leaves an indelible print which traces the existence of the Bantu people during ancient out the word ‘Batu’ in keeping with the current original word ‘Bantu’. The origin of the Bantu people is a controversial issue and has been deeply debated. Alfred M’Imanyara, a Kenyan scholar, in his book ‘Restatement of Bantu Origin and Meru History’ provides the evidence for a southerly migration from Egypt of the Bantu people. The evidence is also based on linguistic, historical scientific and cultural studies done by Cheik Anta Diop.

Akwa Antony Appiah et al in Afrikana (1999), also argue that linguistic patterns suggest that from they migrated along two distinct routes beginning around 1000 B.C.E. One group Western Bantu Group. The Eastern Group Bantu Group expanded to the east and southeast….By the time the Eastern Bantu reached Urewe in the Great Lakes Region during the last millennium B.C.E., words for iron working were widespread. From Urewe the Eastern Bantu spread rapidly to the south and farther to the east, reaching the east coast by the second century B.C.E 1999; 176 – 178)

According to Dom Pedro V (1912), in his work “The Quantum Vision of Simon Kimbangu”, argues that the African brotherhood (Bonaabakhulu Abasekhemu) is considered the oldest and predate any traceable lineage of every other religious tradition on earth today. It goes back to approximately 3, 900 B.C.E. The next closest tradition in terms of age would be Vedic tradition, which based on the Rig Veda, could be traced back to about 1500 BCE, and even the Vedic tradition would appear also to owe some of its spiritual science to Kamit. The earliest written parts of the Bible would have been written around 1000 B.C.E, based on a tradition dating back to about 2000 B.C.E. Moses lived about 1300 B.C.E. during AKHENATEN time. The Bonabakhulu Abasekhemu Brotherhood of the Zulu, South Africa traces its origin to a priest of Isis during the reign of Pharaoh Khufu of the 3rd dynasty (3,900 B.C.E.) and builder of the Great Pyramid of Giza.

The Ethiopians were the first of all men. They did not come from outside into their land as immigrants from abroad, but were natives of it and so justly bear the name of “autochthones” (i.e. sprung from the soil itself: sons and daughters of the soil) is connected by practically all men; furthermore, that those who dwell beneath the noon-day sun were, in all likelihood, the first to be generated by the earth, is clear to all. It is clear then, that the region which was near the sun was the first to bring forth living creatures (Walker, 2006). From this we can deduce that it is, then true that Africans came out of the reeds (Bona abavela emHlangeni. Hence the Zulus, salute their king ‘Wena woHlanga’).

Ancient Egypt​
Ancient Egypt was divided into Lower Egypt and Upper Egypt, and out of all the cluster groups that migrated from the Great Lakes region and Central Africa, they mostly occupied the Upper Egypt (Southern Egypt) rather than north Egypt. It is here where one finds the concentration of the Nubians or popularly known as Sudanese. It is here where the Bantus and other groups lived, including the ancestors of Mnguni. This does not mean that northern Egypt was not occupied by these Africans. For example, Cairo, the present city of present Egypt, was within the boundaries of the Upper Egypt.

Referring to Imhotep, as an African ancestor, Bauval (2013) says the earliest migration into Egypt was from the southwest by black-skinned peoples, from the Sahara carrying the rudiments and ingredients of civilization – domesticated cattle, sophisticated religious ceremonies, astronomy, and even perhaps an early primitive form of stone building and large-stone sculpting. These newcomers entered the Nile Valley in the 4th millennium B.C. and as the evidence strongly suggests, kick-started what modern scholars call Egyptian civilization.

These migrations included Nubian and Nilotic expansions from the Upper Nile; Bantu expansions from West Africa and Southern Africa.

To the south of KeMeT (near present-day Sudan and South Sudan), Nubian culture (formerly Kemetian colonies), established the newly independent Kingdom of Kush. Also, near the Upper Nile, neighboring Nilotic speaking cultures (including relatives of present-day Maasai, Alur, and Luo), later embarked on a series of long term migrations towards the African Great Lakes, eventually reaching parts of present day Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania by the 18th Century C.E.

In the interior of Africa another major expansion was beginning around the time of Ramses III. Bantu migrations that spread from West Africa (possibly originating near present-day Cameroon and Nigeria), eventually reached the African Great Lakes region and Southern Africa over the course of three thousand years.

The Bantu migration was one of the most important events in pre-history and reshaped the cultural landscape of Africa. Today, Bantu languages include Swahilli (spoken largely in East Africa), Zulu and Xhosa (spoken in present-day South Africa). These diverse Bantu speaking cultures are thought to have descended from a mixture of early West African migrants and indigenous populations of East Africa and Southern Africa.

It can, then, be safely concluded that the AbeNguni came out of this group and they were led by Mnguni. Secondly, it can be concluded that the ancestors of Mnguni were part of this group – a mixture of Bantus who came from ancient Upper Egypt (Sudan/Nubia), Great Lakes, Central and West Africa.

Migration from Ancient Egypt to East, Central, West and Southern Africa
The reasons for emphasizing the indigenous Southern African origin of the ancient Egyptians, is because of the message based upon an historical message taken from the most highly respected “Papyrus of Hunefer” found in Egypt and the Nile River and amongst the indigenous Africans’, “Book of the Coming Forth by Day and Night”. In it, the Egyptians clearly state: “We came from the beginning of the Nile where the God Hapi dwells, at the foothills of the Mountain of the Moon, i.e. Kilimanjaro – between Kenya and Tanzania, or Rwenzori in Uganda. This is in the Great Lakes region.

According to Asar Imhotep of Mocha-Versity Institute of Philosophy and Research (September 6, 2009), citing the late Jordan Ngubane’s work, Conflict of Minds (1979), the story of the migration of AmaZulu (plural) proves that the Bantu people were an aboriginal African people of the Upper Nile – Sudanic and Nubian origins. When the Nguni-Bantu migrated from the Sudan into what is now South Africa and Natal, the populations began to increase in a pocketed area between the Indian Ocean and the Mountains of Drakensberg.

A nomarch during the second half of the 15th century by the name of Malandela nursed the ambition that one day he might have a son who would lead his people to the heavens (Zulu) and restore order in Natal. Sometime later one of his wives gave birth to a son. Malandela was convinced that it was going to be that son who restored order in KwaZulu. To ensure that the boy lived and achieved as expected, Malandela gave him the name Zulu. It must be understood that in African societies a person is given a name that is in association with his or her destiny. A person is required to live up to their name in a literal sense. It is this philosophy and social custom that translated into experience for King Malandela in regards to the naming of his son Zulu ka Malandela Zulu. The son, Zulu, was supposed to take his people beyond the heavens and establish a new order.

In ancient Egypt a person is born with their name of destiny (birth name) and to keep record of who he/she belonged to, they would attach the name of the father (his name of destiny) to the son’s name. So the Pharaohs would claim descent from the God Ra and is why you would see in the name “sa Ra” to denote “son of Ra.” Here the Egyptian sa corresponds to the Bantu ka (sa = ka) as they both mean son or child. In KiKongo the ka is rendered kia and can be seen in the name of our esteemed scholar from the Kongo Dr. Kimbwadende kia Bunseki Fu-Kiau. Here this name is very telling for Kimbwadende is his initiation name. Kia Bunseki lets us know he is the son of Bunseki. Bunseki is not his name, it is his father’s. So hopefully, we can better understand the Zulu naming convention in relation to the name Zulu ka Malandela (Imhotep, 2009)

Ancient Egypt and Sudan (Walker, 2006) were once the most densely populated parts of Africa. People living elsewhere in Africa are in fact partly of distant Nile Valley origins. Al-Masudi, as quoted by Walker (2006), the highly regarded Arab geographer of the tenth century AD, wrote of a great migration of Africans, possibly from the region of Kush, and said ‘when the descendants of Noah spread across the earth, the sons of Kush, the son of Canaan, travelled toward the west and crossed the Nile. There they separated: Some of them, the Nubians and the Beja and Zanj, turned to the rightward, between the east and the west; but the others, very numerous, marched toward the setting sun’…

This suggests that many peoples in western and eastern Africa are in fact migrants of Kushite origins. The Negroid Kushites were spread over a vast area of central Sahara and northern Sahil from Fezzan to Nubia. They facilitated the diffusion of Nubian culture into central Africa and influenced the history of the regions since they founded, or at least provided dynasties for, Kanem and certain Hausa states (Walker, 2006).

Reasons for Migration
The most cogent reasons for such massive exodus from Sahara to the rest of the world was, firstly, drought. People found themselves in famine due to drought, which killed even their cattle. They could not live in area that was killing their cattle, since cattle was part of their lives, just it is the case even today.

Secondly, it was the fall of the Old Kingdom during the First Intermediate Period, which was plagued by wars. During this period nomarchs organized raids on other regions to plunder food. Peasants were forced to arm themselves. Everything was plundered, destroyed. The entire Egypt was attacked by many foeign forces, such as the Roman Empire, the Arabs, etc. The middle classes, by contra, lived in the relative safety of their walled residences (Gumede, 1990, Walker, 2006, Bhengu, 2014). But all this happened when the majority of the population had migrated, in waves, from ancient Egypt towards various directions.

Eventually, the ancient Egypt was suppressed and colonized. Today it is ruled, controlled and owned by Arabs. Sudan (Nubia) today is divided into north and south Sudan. Indigenous people who remained behind are no longer in control, except perhaps in South Sudan.

Migration Towards Southern Africa: AbeNguni [The Ngoni People]
According to Dr M.V. Gumede (Traditional Healers, 1990), as the deserts encroached, the animals died and left only white skeletons dotted on the landscape. The people had to move on for their survival. The Sahara civilization was already very advanced in 2500 B.C. when it probably reached its peak (Bryant, 1963). This means by the time the African exodus took place, Africans left behind a very advanced African civilization.

When the Sahara dried up, continued Dr Gumede (1990), the Africans packed their wares in canoes and papyrus boats ‘behla ngesilulu’ (this is the Zulu term for these boats). Canoes were carved from a large tree trunk or built of reeds, or made of ox-hide.

What is a Nguni?
Nguni is the collective name for a major group of Bantu-speaking peoples belonging to the Negroid racial group of Africa who lived at an area between the Drankesberg and the Indian Ocean and along a broad belt from Swaziland through Natal southwards into the Transkei and Ciskei. The Northern Ngunis comprise the Swazi, Zulu, and Ndebele peoples of the Highveld; on the Southern Ngunis include the Xhosa, Thembu, Bomvana, Mpondo and Mpondomise (Howcroft, P. unpublished South African Encyclopedia)

Our preserved historical knowledge informs us that our primeval father, uMnguni, and his people came down the river Nile from Upper Africa using canoes and boats (Behla ngesilulu phakathi kwamaNgisi namaQadasi) to Southern Africa around or between 16th – 17th century. It is reported that Mnguni had 4 (four) descendants: UXhosa, USwazi, UNdebele, and Luzumane. UXhosa became the founder of AmaXhosa; uSwazi became the founder of AmaSwazi; uNdebele became the founder of the AmaNdebele; and Luzumane, the direct ancestor of Zulu. The Zulu Kingdom was named after Zulu.

Research reveals that the Nguni group is divided into the Zunda and the Tekela sub-groups. The Zulu and Xhosa are the two largest written languages from the Zunda group of which a third written language, while Zimbabwean Ndebele is found in Zimbabwe. Under the Tekela sub-group fall Swazi (isiSwati), Northern Transvaal Ndebele (isiNdebele), and the Bhaca of the Transkei; the difference between the two groups rests, among other things, on the use of the ‘z’ sound by the Zunda, and the use of the ‘t’ sound in its stead by the Tekela, e.g. Zulu is the written language of the Northern Nguni of KwaZulu-Natal, the eastern Free State and southern Gauteng and southern Mpumalanga provinces. The Manala and Ndzundza Ndebele speak a Zulu dialect that is also influenced by Northern Sotho. The Nguni languages contain characteristic ‘click sounds’. Their hlonipha (respect) terms, especially, contain many clicks signifying derivation from intermarriage with San and Khoi women.

It is important that we know who were his ancestors, and where they originated from. There are unsubstantiated reports that UMnguni’s ancestor was NTU, but it is not clear nor stated in any credible literature or material where did Ntu come from. Further to this confusion, there are no elderly people in one’s range that elaborate on this. All what is provided is that Mnguni was part of the Bantu group that migrated from Great Lakes and Central Africa to ancient Egypt and lived in the Upper Egypt as Nubians/Sudans. This group eventually migrated towards the southern and eastern parts of the continent, and eventually headed towards Southern Africa.

Briant (1963) reports that this group, which became known as AbeNguni, separated from each other, and they took different directions. Some went towards the Indian Ocean, some went towards the west, etc. For example, the Xhosas, under the leadership of uXhosa, went towards the mouth of uMzimvubu river.

One of Malandela’s sons was called Zulu which means Heaven. Zulu’s wives travelled with him towards the Drankesberg Mountains, and from there they moved towards a fresh area south of the Mkhumbane River. Eventually the whole area became known as KwaZulu or Place of Heaven.

IsiZulu Language
Imhotep (2009), a well-renowned linguist with a specialisation in ancient Egyptian language, says by examining this convention in the Zulu (and other African languages)

‘I assume that the initial H in HRW is actually closer to an SH sound. When I listen to Zulu speakers talk, some words that have an H in it is pronounced with a SH sound. For instance, the Zulu word UKUHLANGANA which means “meeting” is pronounced UKU-SHLAN-GAN. The final A is not pronounced or is not really audible to the foreign speaker when said in conversational speed. It reminds me of French in a way. We see this happen in another Zulu word KAHLE which means “well” (as in to be well or I hear well). KAHLE is pronounced GA-SHE (with a G as in GEKO) when spoken. What seems to be at play is that when the H is preceded by a vowel, the H becomes SH. We see this convention in other Bantu languages as well. For example, in the Luhya dialect of Maragoli, the word ‘Abaluhya’ or ‘Avaluhya’ is pronounced as ABA-ROO-SHIA, which means “the people of the North,” “the people of the higher place,” or simply “northerners.” Their oral history states that they came from Misri (Egypt) and migrated to what is now called Kenya’.

This convention isn’t always the case however. For instance, the Zulu word UKUKHULUMA is pronounced UKU-KHU-LUM: again the final A is faint. It seems that the H retains its sound when preceded by a hard consonant. We see this at play in the Zulu word UKHONA meaning “is there.” The H retains its sound value (as in the word chord). When the H is preceded by another H, the H sounds like an English H. So the Zulu transposition of the English word HOTEL is EHHOTELA (EH-HO-TELA). When you say ZASEHOTEL (at the hotel) however, the H sound is not pronounced like SH but as a regular H (Imhotep, 2009).

According to Ngubane (1979) the word Sudic comes from Su, a variant of Nu, which is the root word for person in most Sub-Saharan African languages. In terms of origin, the rootword is related to Nu, the ancient Egyptian word for primordial substance. The ancients believed that people evolved from primordial substance through a creator-god. The person was “created” so that he should “appear in glory” on earth.

In the migrations up and down the continent, the differently placed Africans developed variants of nu and gave it the following forms: du, nho, -ni, ntfu, -ntu, -now, -nwu, -so, -su, -tho, -thu, and –tu. This consensus of nu produced the following nouns for ‘person’ among peoples in widely different parts of Africa, as follows:

Language ​​​​Word for Person
Hausa (Nigeria)​​​ mtum
Ibo​​​​​ nmadu
Yoruba​​​​​ eniya
Swazi​​​​​​ muntfu
Sotho​​​​​​ motho
Xhosa ​​​​​ umntu
Zulu​​​​​​ umuntu
Swahili utu

In Zulu umuntu means ‘the person’. If we break down the word into its components, we have: The article u- meaning the.

The Xhosas, continues Ngubane (1979) still refer to black humanity as umzi ka Ntu like the other Nguni communities, and the ancient Zulus believed that the cosmic order was an infinity; that such it was a unity, and that the environment in which the person really existed. If the primordial substance was infinite, there could not be anything which existed outside of it; all phenomenon, he and his environment were therefore inseperable, complementary.

This relationship gave rise to the following derivatives from Ntu:
Ulutho: The nameless something; a substance,
Uluntu: The vital force,
Umuntu: The personification of Ntu; the person
Isintu:​ Humanity
Ubuntu: The art of being human; virtue – a very shallow definition of Ubuntu.

The above shows how we can speak of nu- or ntu- oriented cultures, which together form the unity known as African civilization.

Ubuntu Philosophy and its Connection to Ancient Egypt
Since Egyptian antiquity is to African culture, therefore, we have to connect Ubuntu to ancient Egypt. According to Walter Scott, who was an editor of the Hermetica, those Greek writings which contain religious and/or philosophical teachings ascribed to Hermes Trismegistus’ of ancient Egypt, had this to say regarding what the ancient Egyptians call ‘Maat’, and what the AbeNguni/AmaZulu call ‘Ubuntu’:

The divine mind (Ubuntu) is wholly of like nature with eternity. It is motionless in itself, but though stable, is yet self-moving; it is holy, and incorruptible, and everlasting, and has all attributes yet higher, if higher there be, that can be assigned to the eternal life of the supreme God, that life which stands fast in absolute reality. It is wholly filled with all things imperceptible to sense, and with all-embracing knowledge; it is, so to speak, consubstantial with God.

The source of Ubuntu principles are the principles of Maat, not vice versa, and the literature is rich in this, that the ancient Bantus/Zulus inherited all their cultural, philosophical and linguistic principles and values of Ubuntu from ancient Egypt (see Diop’s writings; Obenga’s writings; Molefi Kete Asante’s works; Ngubane, Khoza; Ramose; etc.)

The 42 constitutive rules of Maat, reveals very close similarities with the constitutive rules of Ubuntu, and we believe this is not an accident if one takes into consideration the linguistic relationships of African languages, particularly that of KMT. The ancient Kemets believed that the cosmic mind is all kinds of knowledge of sensible things. The (merely) human mind is dependent on the retentiveness of man’s memory, that is, on his remembrance of all his past experiences. The divine mind, according to the Bible, descends in the scale of being as far as man, but no farther; for the supreme God willed that the divine mind should be only within a being, lest it should be put to shame by mingling with the lower animals.

Umuntu (man), in an African ontology, is endowed with the divine attributes: intellect, wisdom, justice, rationale, creativity, compassion, love, etc. that make him to be distinctly different from other created beings. He is instantly conferred with power of dominion over all creatures. Umuntu, therefore, consists of the: spirit, soul and body. This is a three-fold principle of Muntu (man). This is the universal level of Ubntu.

The Africans’ concept of “God-the-Creator” tallies with the ancient Egyptian (Pharaonic) Thought. This is not surprising – considering that “Pharaonic philosophy constitutes the first moment in contemporary Africa’s long philosophical tradition” (Obenga, 1989: 319). The philosophical concepts that crystallised in the Northern tip of Africa (Kemet/Egypt) were energized from the African Heartland.

Clearly, the Creator-God, Ntu, is at the centre of all works of creation, whether they are stars, the moon, the sun, the atom, human beings, etc. He has eternal abode and existence in his creation; and can thus be defined as an infinite, dynamic Life-Force, that has the capability and power of creation, innovation and transformation of Matter into whatever it wills to create.

It is this concept of internalization and universalization of “NTU” that makes us to understand the commonness of the beginning that all creatures share. It enables us to comprehend God’s existence and abode in human beings in his “Image and likeness”. His presence in us forms the basis for a divine “humanness” (Ubuntu) in all members of the human race.

The internalization and universalization of -NTU-, therefore, is very important, for example, you if think about the construction of the following Nguni words: Isi-Ntu; Ki-Ntu; Ku-Ntu; Umzi ka-Ntu; Umu-Ntu; Ubu-Ntu; Ulu-Ntu; Ha-Ntu; Aba–Ntu, Etc

The concept, Creator-God, (Ntu) enables Africans to trace and understand the origin of the philosophical concept of Ubuntu, which is an element that is present in all human beings. Therefore, u-Ntu + u-Mu = uBu-Ntu. The word Muntu simply means “God-Man”, whose abstract noun is uBuntu. This element is found within all members of the human race, but more pronounced in the Bantus.

Mudimbe (1981), as he quotes Kagame, says Bantu ontology in its reality and significance expresses itself through the complementarity and connection existing between these four categories, all of them created from the same root, Ntu, which refers to being but also, simultaneously, to the idea of force. Kagame insists that the Bantu equivalent of to be is strictly and only a copula. It does not express the notion of existence and therefore cannot translate the Cartesian cognito. It is by enunciating muntu, kintu, etc., that I am signifying an essence or something in which the notion of existence is not necessarily present.

When essence (Ntu) is perfected by the degree of existing, it becomes part of the existing. The existing cannot be used as a synonym of being there, since in Bantu languages, the verb to be cannot signify to exist. The opposite of the existing is nothing. In analyzing the cultural elements, one must conclude that the nothing exists and it is the entity which is at the basis of the multiple. One being is distinct from another, because there is the nothing between them (Kagame, 1971:601 – 603).

Mulago (1965), as quoted by Mudimbe (1981) specifies the fact that ntu cannot simple be translated into being. Ntu and being are not coextensive insofar as the ntu categories only subsume created beings and not the original source of God. Ntu is the fundamental and referential basic being-force which dynamically manifests itself in all existing beings, differentiating them but also linking them in an ontological hierarchy:

The being is fundamentally one and all the existing beings are ontologically attached together. Above, transcendent, is God, Nyamuzinda, the beginning and end of all being; Imana, source of all life, of all happiness. Between God and members of the family and the old national heroes, all the armies of disincarnated souls. Below humans are all the other beings, who, basically, are only means placed at human’s disposition to develop her or his ntu, being, life. (Mulago, 1965: 155).

In sum, the Ntu is somehow a sign of a universal similitude. Its presence in beings brings them to life and attests to both their individual value and to the measure of their integration in the dialectic of vital energy. Ntu is both a uniting and a differentiating vital norm which explains the powers of vital inequality in terms of difference between beings. It is a sign that God, father of all beings has put a stamp on the universe, thus making it transparent in a hierarchy of sympathy.

In an African setting everything is knitted together, and I will now deal with the Bantu/Zulu religion.

The Bantu/AbeNguni/Zulu Religion and its Connection to Ancient Egypt
Perhaps it is better to start from the beginning, so that there is a better understanding of what exactly are we talking about here, and to do I will ride again on the shoulders of Massey’s rich research on ancient Egypt, as reflected by Finch III (2006).

It is important to note that the Christian crucified figure, argues Massey, was always depicted as a lamb until the 7th century. Here, the Savior, the Lamb, harkens back to the Age of Aries, the Ram, the Zodiacal ruler from 2,277 BC to 119 BC, when the sun rose at the spring equinox with the constellation Aries sitting on the eastern horizon. Though Jesus Christ incarnated as the avatar of the Age of Pisces, the Two Fishes, that began 119 BC, the imagery of the previous Aries Ram Age maintained itself in the reference to the Christ as ‘the Lamb of God.’ Christ as a crucified man was a relatively late figure in Christian iconography. In the Appendix to Ancient Egypt, Massey listed more than 200 direct parallels between the Jesus legend and the cycle of Osiris/Horus. The earthly Jesus is congruent to Horus; Jesus the Christ corresponds to Osiris, the resurrected god.

There were a number of Christian and quasi-Christian cults struggling for survival in the early centuries AD. In Massey’s view, the Gnostics especially represented a type of Christianity in which the Egyptian originals were consciously preserved and did not center around the false human history of a mythical savior. The Gnostic Christ was a type of the Deified Man that lies dormant in every human soul and the attainment to which was the aim of Egyptian soul science whose guide map was the Book of the Dead, more properly called the Book of the Coming Forth by Day. Outside the Gospels, there is no authentic reference to the man Jesus and his supposed history as portrayed by the Gospels by any contemporary commentator until the 2nd century. The Theosophical scholar GRS Mead, a learned authority in the field of Christian origins, wrote: It has always been an unfailing source of astonishment to the historical investigator of Christian beginnings, that there is not one single word from the pen of any Pagan writer of the first century of our era, which can in any fashion be referred to the marvelous story recounted by the Gospel writers. The very existence of Jesus seems to be unknown (Italics added).

According to Mead, a man named Yahushua (Joshua) Ben Pandera (Jesus is Greek for Yahushua) did live more than century before the Gospel Jesus was supposed to have been born. Yahushua was an Essene sage who was raised among the Therapeuts (‘healers’) of Egypt where he became a master of healing and ‘wonderworking.’ Sometime around 73 BC, he traveled through Palestine, healing, teaching, and performing myriad ‘wonders.’ Because of his ‘magical’ practices, he was arrested, tried, and hanged by Jewish magistrates in the city of Lydda on the eve of Passover in 70 BC. If there was a historical Jesus, Yahushua Ben Pandera was him. Beginning late in the 2nd century BC, there arose a heightened and widespread anticipation of the appearance of a ‘world savior,’ and it seems that the life and work of Yahushua the Essene provided the germ around which the vast soteriology (‘savior mythology’) of the ancient world, specifically that of Egypt, coalesced. The system of the Essenes – called Therapeuts in Egypt – prefigured Christianity that evolved directly from it (Finch III, 2006).

In his book Ancient Egypt (2006) Simmon Cox argues that many historians have pointed out the similarity between the Osirian myth and that of the books of the New Testament. The story of the suffering of Osiris in human form, God’s (Geb’s) own son, who is resurrected (if only for a short time), bears a striking similarity to the Gospels. Itwould therefore seem that the central themes of the stories of Jesus Christ were already present in Egyptian religion over 2,000 years of before Jesus was born (Simmon Cox, 2006: 174)

The worship of Isis and Serapis – a form of Osiris – was lifted bodily out of Egypt and transplanted to Rome where, for nearly four centuries the cult, particularly that of Isis, rivaled those of Jupiter and Mithra. Isis was especially popular in her aspect of Mother with Child, i.e., Isis with the Infant Horus, and both she and Horus were consistently depicted with black coloring and Ethiopic features. Surviving Roman frescoes in Pompeii represent her priests as Ethiopian and Roman legions carried her image and worship to the farthest reaches of barbarian Europe. When late in the 5th century Christianity began to penetrate these regions, wherever the missionaries found the image complex of Isis holding the Child Horus, they turned it into the Black Madonna and Child. More than 1500 years after Christianization, these sacred sites of the Black Madonna and Child remain the holiest shrines of Catholic Europe.

Just like the ancient Egyptian religion, So, the African traditional religion is an off spring of the ancient Egyptian religion. It has become a collective system of profound thought, lived rather than deliberated upon, clearly see the superiority over the solitary labor of a licensed thinker amid a literate civilization. This silent philosophy can be described by means of a rigorous application of five major scholastic grids: formal logic, ontology, theodicy, cosmology, and ethics (Kagame, 1971). We say God is essence because HE is Ntu. He is the Supreme Being since He does not belong to the category of beings and on the other hand the qualifier Supreme places him above beings in the same line on Ntu. We call him the Preexisting One, an attribute that fits the Existing Eternal (Kagame, 1971). AbeNguni/AmaZulu call Him uMvelinqangi.

We are dealing with an African ‘implicit philosophy’ that is dynamic – dynamic because the subject lives in accordance to a cosmic dynamism. Ntu is the fundamental and referential basic being-force which dynamically manifests itself in all existing beings, differentiating them but also linking them in an ontological hierarchy. The being is fundamentally one all the existing beings are ontologically attached. Above, transcendant, is God, the beginning and end of all beings; source of all life, of all happiness. Between God and humans are intermediaries, all the ascendants, the ancestors, the dead members of the family and the old national heroes, all the armies of disincarnated souls. Below humans are all the other beings, who basically, are only means placed at human’s disposition to develop her or his ntu, being, life (Mulago 1965, in Mudibe, 1994).

An African (Mbiti, 1989) does not have to look for God outside, above or beyond his own creation. He sees and feels ‘ntu’s finger and presence and the indivisible unity between the Creator, man and other created beings (nature). Hence we say: ‘I’m one with the nature’. This concept, Creator-God, (ntu) enables us to trace and understand the origin of the philosophical concept of Ubuntu, which is an element that is present in all human beings. Therefore, u-ntu + umu-ntu = ubu-ntu. The word muntu simply means “God-Man”, whose abstract noun is Ubuntu. God + Man = Supreme Goodness (ubuntu). This element, the Supreme Goodness, is found within all members of the human race.

God, continues Mbiti, is the great kings above all kings and cannot be compared in majesty. He is above all majesties and divinities. He dwells everywhere. Thus He is omnipotent because He is able to do all things and nothing can be done nor created apart from Him. He is behind all achievements. He alone can speak and accomplish his words. Therefore, there is no room for failure. He is Absolute, all wise Omniscient, all seeing, and all Knowing. He knows all things and so no secrets are hid from Him.

In the private and public life of the African religious rites, beliefs, and rituals are considered an integral part of life. Life then is never complete unless it is seen always in its entirety. Religious beliefs are found in everyday life and no distinction is made between the sacred and the secular. The sacred and the secular are merged in the total persona for the individual African. Life is not divided into compartments or divisions. Thus there are no special times for worship, for everyday and every hour is worship time.

In connecting African traditional region to ancient Egypt, it seems proper to ride on the broad shoulders of Ahmed Osman (Christianity: An Ancient Egyptian Religion, 1934) work, for he connects the two beautifully.

To begin with, Osman (1934) contends that the roots of Christian belief spring not from Judaea but from ancient Egypt. He compares the chronology of the Old Testament and its factual content with ancient Egyptian records to show that the major characters of the Hebrew scriptures – including Solomon, David, Moses, and Joshua–are based on Egyptian historical figures. He further suggests that not only were these personalities and the stories associated with them cultivated on the banks of the Nile, but the major tenets of Christian belief – the One God, the Trinity, the hierarchy of heaven, life after death, and the virgin birth – are all Egyptian in origin.

With the help of modern archaeological findings, Osman (1934) shows that Christianity survived as an Egyptian mystery cult until the fourth century A.D., when the Romans embarked on a mission of suppression and persecution. In A.D. 391 the Roman-appointed Bishop Theophilus who led a mob into the Serapeum quarter of Alexandria and burned the Alexandrian library, destroying all records of the true Egyptian roots of Christianity. The Romans’ version of Christianity, manufactured to maintain political power, claimed that Christianity originated in Judaea. Osman restores Egypt to its rightful place in the history of Christianity.

God is in the centre of African religions. God here is not necessarily the Christian God. Every human person strives to be godly for in God everything is perfect. Life during living is spent in satisfying the laws of nature, respecting the social mores and the divine ones as well; and the honouring elders, respecting and worshipping the spirits and the gods. Life after death is spent in promoting the health and future of the progeny still left on earth.

Traditional African religion is vital, basic, mysterious, and magical, and at the same time it knows how to exist and co-exist. It knows how to survive in the midst of religious adversity. Godliness is a state postulated in philosophy, or postulated by religious imperialists, but absent in reality. Before the arrival of the missionaries the African society embraced its own system of morality, view of man and world-view as reflected in the culture’s code of behaviour and framework of moral evaluation. By contrast the missionary activists introduced into Africa a framework of thinking and scale of values, which reflected an ethos and milieu distinctive to the spirit and experience of the West.

This is the religion (traditional African religion) that St Augustine referred to when he wrote: ‘That which is called the Christian religion existed amongst the ancients and never did not exist, from the beginning of the human race until Christ came in the flesh, at which time the true religion, which already existed, began to be called Christianity’

There are records to prove that there was one institution in the ancient world, which was universal, and whose method of instruction, and content of its theology, was expressed by symbol and myth. This is the institution of the Ancient Mysteries, which was found in all parts of the world. All religious cults have their roots in the ancient Mysteries whose origin and foundations are traced to the teachings and doctrines of Hermes Trismegistos – an African Ethiopian sage.

The present version of Christianity, as practiced in our contemporary age, demands not ‘knowledge’ but ‘faith’. ‘It is this that demarcates the fundamental difference, between the Church and the old Osirian religion as well as the early form of Christianity known as ‘Gnosticism’ (Bauval, 1999).

Africans had or owned religions before the advent of Christianity (orthodox or reformed) and Islam. Christianity has brought us blinkered bigots. As far as we are concerned, everybody has his shrine guardian, every family has a shrine, every clan or tribe has its major shrine.

When we speak of African Traditional Religion, we mean the indigenous religious beliefs and practices of the Africans. It is the religion which resulted from the sustaining faith held by the forebears of the present Africans, and which is being practised today in various forms and various shades and intensities by a very large number of Africans, including individuals who claim to be Muslims or Christians.

We need to explain the word ‘traditional’, and in this I am relying on Awolalu (1976), who in his article ‘What is African Traditional Religion?’ in Studies in Comparative Religion, Vol. 10, No. 2. (Spring, 1976) (, argues that this word means indigenous, that which is aboriginal or foundational, handed down from generation to generation, upheld and practised by Africans today. This is a heritage from the past, but treated not as a thing of the past but as that which connects the past with the present and the present with eternity. This is not a “fossil” religion, a thing of the past or a dead religion. It is a religion that is practized by living men and women.

Awolalu (1976) argues that eminent African scholars, like Professor E. Bolaji Idown and Professor John Mbiti, have emphasized the fact that the world of the Africans is a theocratic one, ruled and governed by the decree of the Supreme Being.

The Supreme Being is given different names by different groups of people. When we examine the names, we gain a greater insight into the peoples’ concept of God, as they are descriptive of His character and attributes. For example, among the Yoruba, He is called Olodumare. By meaning and connotation, this name signifies that the Supreme Being is unique, that His majesty is superlative, that He is unchanging and ever reliable. He is also called Olorun (the owner of Heaven). Eleda (the Creator) by the same people. The Edo call Him Osanobuwa, and this means “God who is the Source and Sustainer of the World”. The Ibo call Him Chükwu, that is the Great Chi or the Great Source of life and of being. The Nupe call Him Soko, the Great One; He who dwells in Heaven; and they also designate him Tso-Ci meaning the Owner of us, the One to whom we belong. The Ewe-speaking people speak of Him as Nana Buluku (Ancient of Days), and this suggests His eternity. In Ghana, He is called Onyame, the Great and Shining One who is high and above all. The AmaZulu call him UMvelinqangi, amaXhosa call him UTixo, etc, etc.

Awolalu (1976) argues, again, that African Traditional Religion cannot easily be studied by non-Africans. The best interpreter of African Religion is the African with a disciplined mind and the requisite technical tools. And we agree with Professor Idowu that the purpose of the study should be to discover what Africans actually know, actually believe, and actually think about Deity and the supersensible world. There is a whole world of difference between this and what any investigators, at home or from abroad, prescribe through preconceived notions that Africans should know, believe and think. It is also to find out how their beliefs have inspired their worldviews and moulded cultures in general.

Lastly, the ancient Egyptian Maat concept gave birth to Africa’s Ubuntu concept. According to Dr Mathole Motshekga of Kara Heritage Institute, in his paper entitled The History of the African Renaissance and its possible influence on Modern Society – an Abstract Version, delivered at the Seminar held at the Goethe Institute in Johannesburg, on 29-31 October 1999: 23) says: The ancient Ethiopian founders of ancient Egypt introduced a theosophy (i.e. Divine wisdom) and sciences, which came to be attributed to the ancient Ethiopian (or black African) sage – Harama or (Thoth-Hemes). In other words the Hermetic philosophy and sciences, which were taught in dynastic Egypt came from Khem or ancient Ethiopia.

But who is Thoth Hermes?. He was an Ethiopian (black African) sage. Hermes Trismegistus, who the Greeks called Hermenubis or Thoth-Hermes, and was known to the Romans as Mercurius, while the Arabs and Jews called him Idris and Enoch who is the “Father of World Religions” wrote thousands of books, which are found in his collected work called “Corpus Hermeticum” which was found in his tomb by archaeologists. Forty (42) of these books later became a compulsory study for all those who entered the Order for priesthood. That was in the year 10 490 BC. Hermes developed what is now called the Hermetic Philosophy and Science. He is described as the “The Greatest Great and “Master of Masters”. As indicated below, of importance is that it was Hermes, through his book, the Corpus Hermeticum, who explained and revealed the source, meaning and nature of Maat/Ubuntu. Motshekga (1999) says Thoth-Hermes taught the world about what he called the “Supreme Goodness” (/Ma’at/Ubuntu), and he emphasized that the “quality and dignity of the human personality” which is the concept of Maa’t/uBuntu, is essential for the “balance” in the human society or universe. He also developed the “Three-fold Principle” (Triad) i.e. God + Man + Supreme Goodness (uBuntu), which is keeping the balance and the inclusiveness of the whole universe (1999; 46)

On the other hand, whilst Hermes referred to Ma’at/Ubuntu as the ‘Divine Mind’, Pythagoras referred to it as the ‘Divine Breath’ which unites men with gods at one extreme and with brute creation at the other. It was this Divine Breath that is the unifier of the Cosmos.

In his great work, Robert Bauval, the (Secret Chamber, 1999: 94-95) argues that the ancient texts proclaim that: Great is the Ma’at, enduring is its effectiveness, for it has not been changed since the Time of Orisis (i.e. the First Time…). Ma’at was the personification of law, order, rule, truth, right, righteousness, canon, justice, straightness, integrity, uprightness and of the highest conception of physical and moral law known to the Egyptians (my emphasis).

Perhaps (for Bauval, 1999) the best way to perceive Ma’at is for it to be the combination of all these ethics, which are encapsulated in the principle of ‘Divine Truth’. Ma’at is the ‘code of practice’ of the gods to which a human being must adhere in his earthly existence in order to progress towards a god-like state. Ma’at is that divine microchip within our hearts that tells us what is right or wrong, and guides us through life in accordance with the Divine Will.

In the Bible, for example, a similar concept and system of cosmic order and divine law is encapsulated in the Ten Commandments given to Moses on Mount Sinai. They are supposedly the righteous tenets that an individual must abide by in order to gain approval from God and, eventually, access to heavenly immortality.

The AmaZulu, who strongly believe in traditional African religion, refer to this as umthetho wesintu (the law of nature). It is, also, logical to argue here that the traditional African religion is based on the principles and values of the old Osirian religion as well as the early form of Christianity known as ‘Gnosticism – not the contemporary form of Christianity.

It is clear from the above, that an African traditional religion is knitted together with African philosophy, for our ancient African philosophers wouldn’t allow a compartmentalized life. In short, there is no vacuum in an African life.

The Relevance of Decalogues (Ten Commandments)
There is a very serious biblical question which is ever asked: “Who wrote the Decalogues?. Nobody has come up with a satisfying answer so far.

As with almost every other belief about the Bible, religious conservatives, liberals, historians, secularists, etc. have very different beliefs about the author(s) of the Pentateuch — the first five books of the Hebrew Scripture (a.k.a. Old Testament). In particular, they have different beliefs about the source and authorship of the Decalogue.

There are three basic beliefs about the origin of the Decalogue as follows:
(1) They were written and/or dictated by God at Mount Sinai, circa 1450 BCE.
(2) They were written by three Hebrew authors (or groups of authors) between 922 and 622 B.C.E. based upon ancient Hebrew myths and legends.
(3) Their original source was in Pagan documents written by Hittites or Egyptians which were plagiarized and added to by ancient Hebrew writers.

Part of the ancient Egyptian religion’s Book of the Dead (a.k.a. the Papyrus of Ani) bears an amazing resemblance to the Ten Commandments. They involve prohibition of adultery, murder, theft, lying, cursing God, false witness, abandonment of parents. 8 Since the Book of the Dead predates the date attributed to the Jewish Exodus from Egypt, and since the Ten Commandments postdate the Exodus, it would appear that the Book was the source of the Decalogue rather than the opposite. Of course, the similarities between the two might have been coincidental. If an ethical person of any era and any religion were asked to compose a minimal set of moral behaviors, they might well come up with a similar selection of commands. More details.

Thus, many religious liberals and secularists assume that the Hebrew Scripture’s Ten Commandments were based on documents written by the Hittites, Egyptians, or some similar neighboring Pagan group.”

Interestingly, if the Ten Commandments bear resemblance to the Egyptian Book of the Dead, which serves as an ancient Egyptian ‘bible’, yet there is a nexus between the Ten Commandments and the traditional African religion, it is then suffice to argue that there is one source of the Decalogue. But what is important to the researcher is the resemblance of the African traditional religion to the Papyrus of Ani.

According to The Emperor Diocletian, A.D. 302, in The Closing of the Western Mind by Charles Freeman, the ancient Egyptian view was that

The immortal gods in their providence have so designed things that good and true principles have been established by the wisdom and deliberations of eminent, wise and upright men. It is wrong to oppose these principles, or desert the ancient religion for some new one, for it is the height of criminality to try and revise doctrines that were settled once and for all by the ancients, and whose position is fixed and acknowledged.

A careful reading of the Ten Commandments reveals a clear nexus between the principles and values of Maat/Ubuntu and Ten Commandments. Unfortunately one cannot go through each of these in details. For example, commandments 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 are very relevant in terms of their emphasis on the need for good neighbourliness, and the reader is invited to do a comparative analysis on these principles and commandments. There is always an emphasis in the community that one needs to stay in harmony with one’s neighbor – perhaps due to the connectedness often found in Nguni communities, particularly in rural areas.

The principles of Maat, the principles of Ubuntu and Ten Commandments have so much in common that one cannot help not to believe the argument that says Christianity is nothing else but the duplication of the Osirian religion, which was founded on the natural laws. The religion of the pagans is an epitome of the traditional African religion

Throughout this research, there is a clear evidence of a black prehistoric people that developed a high knowledge of astronomy and methods of cattle domestication and breeding, and began a cult with complex rituals related to the stars and seasonal rhythms of the rainfalls in the open Sahara. These people also developed the social sophistication and knowledge to move huge stones, shape or sculpt them. The evidence is overwhelming that they sprang up from the reeds at the mouth of the Nile Valley (Great Lakes), at the very time and place of the origin of the pharaonic civilization. An intellectual and spiritual bridge was thus created whereby the knowledge acquired by these prehistoric black-African forefathers could legitimately be transmitted into the Nile Valley.

With all the evidence and clues that one has investigated in this article, one has reached a point where we must, at least for now, pause and unanimously say ‘all Africans, be they on the mother continent or in the West among the diaspora of African Americans and Afro-Europeans, should be proud of such illustrious ancestors. And that, indeed, AbeNguni/AmaZulu came from ancient Upper Egypt, with all their wares, cultures, traditions and customs.

One must admit that a of good information is lost in oral history, yet there are so few still living persons with such information, and even if they are still living, they are not well known or readily available.

This project is a humble contribution to the question of traditional, black African epistemology and ontology, particularly the Abantu/AbeNguni/AmaZulu, and a proof of their relevance with regard to the civilization which Africa is in the process of forging, which cannot be solid and viable except in proportion as it remains faithful to ancestral traditions and as it manages to be judicious in its contact with the civilizations of other peoples.


About MJ Bhengu

Independent researcher on culture, economics, society and Indigenous knowledge systems. Author and independent publisher. Former Member of the South African Parliament for 18 years
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  1. onecoolchica says:

    In a single morning, I discovered that Egyptians created great works of art and architecture when whites were still living in caves….(Nelson Mandela). What a wonderful and enlightening quotation. Thank you so much for sharing this blog.

  2. Israel Ntaganzwa says:

    The word “Bantu” is a colonial European creation,which should be completely discarded,like Hamitic,Nilotic,Bush men,and such others.Before colonialism there was no group,tribe or any other social,political or organization with the name “BANTU.” .If you look at the sub Saharan map of Africa 3000 years ago,there were hunters/gatherers in the southern part of Africa,hunters in the forest of the Congo and the agropastoralists in what is today Kenya,Uganda,Tanzania,Rwanda and Burundi.There is enough archeological evidence to prove this.But as for Bantu, it is a real mystery. For instance by 1900 the population of Rwanda,one of the ancient agropastoralists who settled in Rwanda from the Masailand in Kenya and Tanzania,exceeded that of Angola,Mozambique or Botswana.The population of Rwanda and Burundi in 1900 equaled that of the entire Tanzania at that time! Where did Bantu really come from? Your guess is as good as mine.

    Israel Ntaganzwa,
    New York, USA

    • Khalimshe Zulu says:

      when we say say BANTU,,, it simply means the people of NTU….u trace this term in praise singing of ancestors during ceremonies and in knowledge passed down along family lines. It is a common thing among the Bantu to recite ones ancestory, perhaps to find common ground with new acquaintances. Whites got access o the term by engaging the natives about their origins and time and again NTU was a common denominator and thus a simple means of classification.

    • MJ Bhengu says:

      Hi Israel. So you reckon we must discard the term ‘Bantu’, I guess, therefore,we also have to discard the word ‘muntu’. Is that correct? If you want to do that you will have to disassociate your self with the suffix ‘NTU’. BA + NTU makes ‘Bantu’ which is in a plural form. MU+NTU = Muntu is an singular form. Basically, the word muntu does not refer to Africans only but refers to entire human race = a human being. Ancient European anthropologists did not know how to refer to us and they simple labelled us as Bantus, as if they are not Bantus. Europeans are also Bantus. Africans are Bantus. Spaniards are Bantus, etc, short, we are all children of NTU – the Creator God.

      My recent book ‘AmaZulu: Ancient Egyptian Origin’, which is selling like a hot cake deals with all these issues. Who so ever wants it can order it from me.


    • gakondo says:

      There is strong evidence from Sumerian texts suggesting that Bantu speaking people occupied what is now Iran and Iraq before the “supposed” Deluge

      • gakondo says:

        In fact Shona and Luhya mythology cites of an ancient exodus of Bantu people from Mesopotamia to Kenya and Zimbabwe led by a Falcon.Do some research on the Zimbabwean mythological legend Chaminuka you will know what I am saying.

  3. gakondo says:

    This is very good. uMnguni also sounds like umbiguni which is a Swahili word for Heaven.Zulu also means heaven in kinyarwanda.I see that you struggled a bit on confirming on the origin of term Ntu.My research pins it to several widely concluded concepts on sources of origin of life.From the primordial waters of Nu to several ancient gods with at least letters nu,ntu,,mn in their names or as their names.To me i think Mntu simply means godlike of god just like if one was animal like we would say mnyama or mntu nsoro. Keep up the great work Brother.

    • MJ Bhengu says:

      Thank you my brother. I will get in touch with you soon

      • Khalimshe Zulu says:

        i am curious about the mythology of Egyptian bed of reeds and the concept of abantu bohlamnga (the people of the reeds)….. literature i have read equates this bed of reeds to be what has been plagarised as the garden of eden for racial ends.

      • MJ Bhengu says:

        Thank you so much for your comments. I really support your definition of the term Bantu. It did not come from Europeans but they got it from us, for indeed we are the children of NTU. Ntu is an ancestry of all humankind and all human race. My recent book ‘AMAZULU: Ancient Egyptian Origin’, which is selling like a hot cake, all your answers are in that book. If you want to order it, say so because I will give your details on how to order it.

    • MJ Bhengu says:

      Gakondo, where have you gone to? I miss your voice. Your description of NTU is perfect. That’s how I know it. In my recent book ‘AMAZULU: Ancient Egyptian Origin’, which is selling very well, I have dealt with this in depth. If you want to order it, please say so.

      • gakondo says:

        Mr.MJ Bhengu Congratulations on the release of your Book!! Mine is still in the works.Please give us the link where we can order it or any info how we can obtain it I would like to support you and also curious to read it. I am sure its very revealing as per your blog energy.I have been busy but I will soon be back sharing new contents.Peace brother! And keep the spirit.

      • MJ Bhengu says:

        Hi Gakondo

        I don’t have a link yet. Can you teach me how to create it please. Consultants will charge me arm and a leg. You can order it from me. It costs, in terms of the rands, only R400,00.

        The process is that you deposit money into my account and then you give a clear and authentic postal address. I have been posting them to most overseas countries and in Africa.

        Have you read the recent book by Asar Imhotep, an African American. It is entitled ‘Aaluja: Rescue, Reinterpretation & the Restoration of Major Ancient Egyptian Themes, Vol. 1’. Try to get it is very inspiring. My problem is that I never did hieroglyphics, and this guy is so good in African languages. He is a linguist.

        I am looking for a professional photographer web page developer. As a self publisher I need to market both my written work and published work.

        Be blessed my brother

        MJ Bhengu

  4. Zola Dube says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your work! I am interested in knowing more about how this knowledge can be translated to actionable usage; shared with young people at home.

  5. iZulu says:

    Thank you so much for the work you are doing. I am pursuing the same asa contemporary Zulu Artisan & under my org the Isintu Foundation at It is so critical that the youth of Southern Africa in particular and Africa at large get hold of this knowledge.

  6. iZulu says:

    Thank you so much for the work you are doing. I am pusuing the same as a contemporary Zulu Artisan & through Isintu ( It is critical that this knowledge be shared, especially among African youth in Southern Africa in particular and African youth at large – as gakongo on Nov 30th informs, the vast majority of Africans are linked to the Nguni/Ngoni/Abantu great civilizations. This is what Nkosi Shaka’s mission was about (“Wena weNyama” ancient kmt salutation); oral history has never lied to us.

  7. Zizi says:

    To extend the conversation:

    The connection to “Ntu” and God needs a lot of strength and more evidence. For example no Nguni literature oral or written mentions Ntu or any of his (its) acts and deeds. Nguni people have many words for God but none contain Ntu. The creation myths and religious practices don’t mention Ntu either. Unless some secret priestly society used “Ntu” in secret and private apart from the general public.

    Are there recorded migration stories from Egypt, and East Africa that add more weight to the migration of the Nguni from upper egypt to lower egypt? At best the Dlamini speak of Mbo, which can be estimated to East Africa. More evidence points to a Uganda Great Lakes area connection of amaNguni. Even if the Ancient Egyptians came from Uganda, the source of the Nile, the presence of amaNguni in Uganda area doesn’t prove they were part of the migration to Upper Egypt.

    If we could find ancient documents, written texts, names of Nguni/Bantu origin in Egypt, or any archaeological evidence of pottery, metal making, prints, colors designs of Bantu in Upper Egypt dated to the time of the Ancient Egyptians one may conclude a better Bantu connection to A.E. For example the Sudanese are known to have lived and ruled Egypt because the historical texts and archaeological artifacts show that. Compared to such evidence, the Nguni-Egypt link is weak.

    Thank you for the article.

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