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african world history

"The way human beings face death is directly related to how they face life. African people, far from being preoccupied with death, embraced life. In fact, African people do not make the arbitrary separation between life and death because in “death” there is life. In ancient Egypt, when one was buried he or she was nb’nh (the Lord of life). Egyptologists continue to wrongly translate this as “sarcophagus” which is a term with a Greek etymology possessing two stems: sarkos, a noun meaning “flesh” and phagein, a verb meaning “to eat.” So for the Greeks, this same process involves the ground eating one’s flesh. This does not even come close to approximating the meaning of nb’nh. For the Greeks, this was a fundamentally material process; for Africans, it was and is fundamentally spiritual. African people do not see death as an interruption of life. Hence, the designation of “afterlife” is somewhat of a misnomer. When a culture views death as eating one’s flesh, it conversely shows that they view life as finite and primarily material and thereby view death as unnatural. Thus you see the pressure placed on the human beings in the West to do everything he/she can on this physical plane of existence in finite time and space because you only have “one life to live.”

Theophile Obenga
“African World History Project”
“The Preliminary Challenge”
Page 42

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