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24 September 2014

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Afrikan History - Did You Know?
Not your conventional skyscraper but Afrika was first to get into tall structures

As part of the Afrikan history season Kwame Osei has been investigating the contribution made by the Afrikan people over the centuries.

More facts


Why celebrate Afrikan history?

Black History Month 2005 - Full listings
Famous Africans in Europe

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Famous Afrikans - Nelson Mandela, Malcolm X, Jesse Jackson, Naomi Campbell, Eusebio

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Did you know?
Afrika was home of the world's first skyscraper.
The first stone building ever constructed still stands majestically within the vast complex of temples at Saqqara. It is called the Step Pyramid. It was built over 4,500 years ago for a king of the Third Dynasty of Egypt named Zoser and rises to a height of 197 feet.
Dollar billThe $1 bill features Afrikan symbols on it and demonstrates the high regard the founding fathers of America had in relation to Afrikan symbols.
The reverse of the dollar bill contains a pyramid of 13 courses of stone which represent the union and has a date of 1776 written in roman numerals on its base. Above the pyramid is the eye of providence enclosed in a pyramid. The pyramid and the eye above it (which represent the eye of Heru - the Son of God) clearly establishes the Afrikan connection with the reverse of the dollar bill. The obverse of the dollar bill is strikingly similar to the Afrikan image of Heru. Above the eagle's head are 13 stars which are arranged in the form of Magen David also known as the Seal of Solomon. This ancient Afrikan symbol predates Judaism and represents two pyramids. The two pyramids symbolise the two pillars of Solomon.
Light bulbSeveral inventions by people of Afrikan descent have had a profound impact on human advancement.
Light Bulbs (Louis Latimer), Traffic Lights (Garret Morgan), Electric railway conductors (Granville T Woods), Truck Refrigeration units for Transporting food on LDV's (Frederick Jones), Airplane propeller (James S Adams), Robert Flemming (Guitar), Gas Mask (Garrett Morgan), Blood banks/separation of blood plasma (Dr.Richard Drew), Improved kidney transplants (Samuel L Kountz), Automatic locomotive lubricator (Elijah McCoy)
The world's oldest and best preserved wooden boat which is currently on display in a museum next to the Great Pyramid in Giza is 4,160 yrs old.
This 132-foot gondola shaped vessel weighed an estimated 35 tons and was built entirely of cedarwood. The entire craft was made of 1,224 pieces of wood, which were literally sewn together with ropes strung through slits on the inside of the hull. It was equipped with ten oars for rowing and two others which were attached to the stern and served as rudders.
Nottingham lionThere are many symbols of Afrikan origin in Nottingham. A prime example is the Council House particularly the entrance which is flanked by a lion on each side.
The lion is native to the continent of Afrika and is a symbol of great importance in Afrika, that has had a profound influence on contemporary society. The twin lions that flank the entrance to the council house represents concepts which had their origin in Afrika. The symbolism of the presence of two carved Afrikan lions on either side of the entrance to the council house represents the role of the lions as the "keepers who open and shut the gate" into the worlds yesterday, today and tomorrow. This same concept is symbolised by lions that flank the entrances to libraries, museums, educational establishments and other buildings in and around Nottingham.
ClockThe clock was first developed in Afrika.
A variety of of timekeeping devices were developed in the Nile Valley. The length of the shadow of a tekhen (obelisk) was measured to determine the precise moment of the solstice or equinox. The hours of the day or night were determined by measuring the amount of water remaining in the clepsydra, another timekeeping device. The Shadow clock, also developed in The Nile Valley, is the oldest clock in the world. It was from the introduction of such Afrikan clocks that the 12-hour day reached Europe. The Shadow clock is 3,400 years old. Nearly a thousand years later such clocks were adopted by the Greeks and later the Romans and evolved into the 24-hour clock we know today. The word hour is derived from the Afrikan word Heru who was the God associated with the sun.
The creator of Europe's largest street festival, The Notting Hill Carnival was Claudia Jones (1915-1964).
In 1955 Claudia came to England to work to improve the condition of Afrikan (black) people, women and the working classes. She spoke at anti-racist demonstrations, trade union meetings and anti- apartheid meetings. In 1958 Claudia set up the West Indian Gazette, a newspaper publication which became a voice for Afrikans in Britain, The Caribbean, Asia and Afrika. During the late 1950's there were many racist attacks in the UK in particular Nottingham and Notting Hill, London. Kelso Cochrane from Antigua was an Afrikan man killed solely because of the colour of his skin by racists. Around this time, Notting Hill's Afrikan community was at boiling point. Events led to the Notting Hill riots. As a way to help Afrikan people positively release their tensions, in 1959 a year after the riots, Claudia Jones along with others created the Notting Hill Carnival which has evolved into the multi-cultural event we know today.
More "did you know"
Kwame Osei is an Afrikan Historian and Director of East Midlands African-Caribbean Arts (EMACA).

Click here... for full event listings for Black History Month 2005 in Notttinghamshire
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