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BLACK HISTORY SPOTLIGHT: WARRIOR KING SHAKA kASENZANGAKHONA (SHAKA ZULU) β™₯οΈπŸ’›πŸ’š

By:Leon Kwasi Kuntuo-Asare

EARLY LIFE

Shaka KaSenzangakhona, (better-known-as Shaka Zulu), was born in July of 1787 in Mthethwa Paramountcy (sometimes called the Mthethwa Empire). He was the son of Senzangakhona Kajama (who was a chief of the Zulu clan). Because he was viewed by some as an illegitimate son to Sebzangakhona Kajama (because his parents were of the same clan), Shaka spent much of his adolescents in the community of his mother. There he joined an Ibutho Iempi, which was a militia unit, where he would be under the command of Dingiswayo, (king of the Kingdom of Mthethwa).

WARRIOR’s LIFE

As Shaka gained experience in warfare and his knowledge in military strategy grew, Shaka used his new found skills to improve the military system of the Ibutho. Knowing that warfare is also about building alliances, Shaka used the support and influence of the empire of Mthethwa to form necessary alliances with neighboring kingdoms and tribes to combat the powerful Ndwandwe nation (which consisted of a people who spoke the Bantu Nguni language). When possible Shaka preferred to use diplomacy rather than combat to the death, but he wasn’t opposed to ordering political assassinations when required.

THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING

When Shaka’s father,Senzanakhona died in 1816, Shaka’s younger half-brother Sigujana (who was seen by some people as a more legitimate heir),became the new chieftain of the Zulu clan. Dingiswayo, Shaka’s mentor would use this time of slight succession uncertainty to put his prized pupil on the throne. Dingiswayo, would give Shaka a military brigade, which he would use to perform a fairly peaceful and relatively bloodless coup d’etat on the Zulu chiefdom. However, in the military takeover of Zululand, Shaka would have his younger half-brother, Sigujana put to death. As chief of the Zulu clan, Shaka would still remain an important leader in the imperial army of Mthethwa. Shaka’s mentor and emperor of the Mthethwa empire, Dingiswayo would die in battle in 1817, at the hands of Zwide Kalnaga, who was the King of the Ndwandwe (Nxumalo) Kingdom. When the empire of Mthethwa was defeated, it would collapse, Shaka would seize the opportunity to fill the power vacuum, by reuniting and unifying the scattered people of Mthethwa and other regional chiefdoms. In the Zulu-Ndwandwe war (1817-19), Zwide and his army would be defeated. However, Zwide and most of his army would live to fight another battle and it wouldn’t be until 1825 that Shaka and Zwide would meet again on the battlefield, near the village of Pongola. Shaka would be the victor on that day. As Shaka’s reputation and respect in his Zulu tribe grew, he was able to encourage his people (who he transformed to be a Spartan-like people), to conquer rival surrounding tribes, that along with uniting with friendly tribes, he was able to transform the Zulu clan, into the Zulu Kingdom, which was rapidly becoming the Zulu empire

DEATH AND LEGACY

In 1828, sadly Shaka’s ultimate demise would not come at the hands of a rival African king like his mentor Dingiswayo, a soldier or European imperialist, rather he would be assassinated by his family. It is believed that his half-brothers, Dingane and Mhlangana and a third co-conspirator. Most likely it was because Shaka began to be seen by some as a tyrant-like leader with erratic behavior, it also could of been simple jealousy or sibling rivalry (seeing as Shaka also gained the throne by having a sibling killed). His half-brother, Dingane would assume leadership of the Zulu nation, and he would have Shaka loyalist purged from the government of the Zulu empire. Shaka is still seen by many as a legendary African leader within South Africa and in the African diaspora. There have been movies, books and articles made about his life, and there is even an aquatic theme park on Durban Beach named Ushaka Marine World and King Shaka International Airport at La Mercy.

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BLACK HISTORY SPOTLIGHT: PHARAOH NARMER/MENES-FOUNDER OF YHE FIRST DYNASTY OF EGYPT πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡¬!β€οΈπŸ’›πŸ’š

BY:Leon Kwasi Kuntuo-Asare

EARLY LIFE

Pharaoh Narmer (believed by many experts of Egyptology to be the same pharaoh known as Menes). He was a Pharaoh in the early dynastic period of Egypt. He inherited the ancient African crown from protodynastic pharaoh Ka (also known as Sekhen).

UNIFER

He is believed by Egyptologists to of been the founder of the first dynasty of the kingdom of Egypt. He was the first pharaoh of the then newly united kingdom of Egypt, when he united upper and lower Egypt.

Verso of Narmer Palette, which depicts Pharaoh Narmer/Menes unifying Upper and Lower Egypt.

HIS REIGN

It is believed by many Egyptologists and scholars on Egyptian history that his reign began somewhere around 3100 BC. However, some theories say his reign on the throne may of started in 3273 BC or even 2987 BC.

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BLACK HISTORY SPOTLIGHT: SUNNI ALI-The FIRST EMPEROR OF THE SONGHAI EMPIRE β€πŸ–€πŸ’š

By: Leon Kwasi Kuntuo-Asare

EARLY LIFE

Sunni Ali (sometimes spelled Sonni Ali), was born in Ali Kolon. Ali’s regal reign would last about 28 years (1464-1492). Ali was the 15th ruler of the medieval West African Sunni dynasty and the first ruler of the Songhai empire.

THE CONQUEROR

Under the command of emperor Sunni Ali, a plethora of regions and cities were conquered and then fortified, like Timbuktu, and Djenne. The newly captured territories would be subjected to Ali’s repressive policies. Timbuktu had their scholars targeted and in some cases, they were expelled from the city, particularly those scholars associated with the Taureg people (an ethnic Berber people) from the Sankore region. Under his authority a massive naval fleet that traveled through the Niger River was organized. Ali’s fleet was sucessful in winning him territories that formerly belonged to the Mali Empire and the Empire of Ghana.

HIS DEATH

According to some researchers Ali died on November 6, 1492. Some Muslim scholars believed Ali drowned while crossing the Niger River, while others believe that he was killed by his sister’s son, Askia Muhammad Ture. Ali’s son, Sunni Baru would take the throne formerly held by his imperial minded father. However, Baru would be successful challenged for the throne by, Askia, because Baru was not believed to of been a devoted Muslim, therefore not a moral leader of a predominantly Muslim country.

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BLACK HISTORY SPOTLIGHT: BILAL IBN RABAH-THE SON OF AN AFRICAN PRINCESS, WHO BECAME A SLAVE, WHO BECAME A WARRIOR, WHO BECAME ONE OF THE MOST TRUSTED ALLIES OF THE ISLAMIC PROPHET MUHAMMADπŸŒβ€πŸ–€πŸ’š!

By: Leon Kwasi Kuntuo-Asare

EARLY LIFE

Bilal Ibn Rabah was born in the holy city of Mecca (In Saudi Arabia), in the year of 580. According to the Islamic scholars he was the son of an Arab man and an Abyssinian (Ethiopian) woman.His father Rabah was a man in servitude to the Banu Jumah clan, while is mother Hamamah is believed to of been a former princess of Abyssinia, who was captured and put into slavery after The Year Of The Elephant (570-71 CE). Because Bilal was the son of two slaves, he was also a slave, His master was a man named Umayyah Ibn Khalaf, who was a local Arab leader in Mecca at the time. Bilal hard work ethic would gain him a reputation as a good slave, but due to the social and political racism and discrimination towards Black people in Arabian culture during his time, his potential for growth was limited in that society.

CONVERSION TO ISLAM

Soon after Muhammad announced that he was God’s (Allah’s) new prophet,and began preaching the word of Islam, his gospel began to resonate with Bilal, who became one of the earliest people to convert to the Muslim religion. When Bilal’s slave master, Umayyah Ibn Khalaf discovered his conversion, he was incensed and had Bilal tortured and several brutalized, with the goal of Bilal renouncing his new faith; which he never did, no matter how bad he was beaten.

EMANCIPATION

Stories of how Bilal was beaten and whipped because of his devotion to the Islamic religion reached the ears of the prophet Muhammad. After hearing the news of the torture of his new disciple, prophet Muhammad sent his close companion Abu Bakr to negotiate the emancipation of Bilal, which was granted.

BILAL IN MADINA

While in the newly formed Islamic state of Madina, Bilal continued to contribute to the Muslim society. Bilal would be chosen by the prophet Muhammad to be the first Mu’azzin, the man who recites the Adhan (Muslim call to prayer). As Bilal continued his growth in society, he would be appointed by the prophet to be the minister of Bayal-Mal (which roughly translates to the treasury). In this role he would be responsible for distributing funds to help orphans, widows, journeyers and other people who could not properly take care of themselves.

MILITARY LIFE

Bilal took part in the Battle of Badr, which is also known as the Day of Criterion in the Qur’an. The name derives from the Muslims who went to battle on Tuesday, March 13th of 624 CE, near the present-day city of Badr, Al Madinah province in Saudia Arabia. The battle marked the beginning of a six-year war between the prophet Muhammad and his tribe for control of their territory.

AFTER THE PROPHET’S DEATH

After the death of the Islamic prophet, Bilal traveled with several Muslim battlions under the command of Said Ibn Aamir al-Jumah, to Syria.

DEATH AND LEGACY

There is some dispute on rather Bilal died in 17 or even 21 AH of the Muslim calendar. Some believe he died in Damascus at the age of 60, others actually believe he died in Medina. After his death, it is believed that his descendants migrated to his ancestral homeland of Ethiopia, East Africa. The Royal Family of Mali in West Africa also claimed to be his descendants.

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BLACK HISTORY SPOTLIGHT: THE AFRICAN SAMURAI-YASUKE

By: Leon Kwasi Kuntuo-Asare

Origins

Yasuke is believed by some scholars to of come from the Yao people of modern-day Mozambique. Therefore some believe his name Yasuke derived from “Yao-Suke”, suke being a Japanese suffix added to a male name, so Yasuke most likely meant a man of Yao origin. There are varying accounts saying he could of been Ethiopian, or Sudanses, but no one knows for sure.

ARRIVAL IN JAPAN

It is documented that when Yasuke arrived in Japan in 1579, he was in the service of an Italian Jesuit Missionary named, Alessandro Valignano, who was appointed by the society of Jesus (Jesuits), to inspect their missions in East Africa, South and East Asia. For the Japanese who encountered him, it would of been their first time seeing a Black man. The Jesuits later reported when Yauke was taken to Oda Nobunaga, head of the powerful Oda clan (a man some scholars of Japanese history credit as being one of the first unifers of Japan), the Daimyo (feudal lord) thought that Yasuke had been painted with black ink and ordered Yasuke to remove his clothes from the waist up and demanded he scrub his skin to attempt to remove what he assumed was black ink painted on his skin. Reportedly when Nobunaga realized that Yasuke was not wearing ink, but instead was a Black man, he became fascinted with the African, and praised him for his strength and demeanor. It has been written that Nobunaga’s nephew gave Yasuke some money after their first meeting to help him on his journey.

BLACK SAMURAI

On May 1581, Yasuke left for a trip with some other Christians to go to the Echizen province. There they would meet with regional warlords Shibata Katsuie,Hashiba Hidekatsu and Hashiba Hidekatsu. When Yasuke and his fellow Christian missionaries returned to Kyoto (the former capitol of Japan) on May 30, at some point afterwards Yasuke entered into the service of Nobunaga. Nobunaga would also give Yasuke his own residence , a ceremonial katana and would make him his weapons bearer. In the Battle of Tenmokuzan, Nobunaga led his forces (which included Yasuke) into armed conflict and ultimately victory against the Takeda clan. On June 1582, Nobunaga was attacked by the army of Akechi Mitsuhide. Yasuke was present at the time of the attack and he fought with valor against Akechi’s forces, but ultimately Nobunaga forces would be overwhelmed and Nobunaga would be forced to commit seppuku (ritual suicide). After the death of Nobunaga, Yasuke visited Nobunaga’s son and heir apparent Oda Nobutada, who at the time was in the process of rallying forces at Nijo castle. Yasuke fought bravely alongside Nobutada’s forces, but was ulimately captured. When Yasuke was brought to Akechi, the warlord reportedly made racist comments about Yasuke being an animal and not Japanese, therefore he stated that Yasuke shouldn’t be killed, but rather taken to the Christian church in Kyoto. His ultimate fate is unknown and there is no more written about him after this time. Some people believe he may of returned to working for the Catholic Church, or contracted his services to other warlords.

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BLACK HISTORY SPOTLIGHT:KING OSEI TUTU I: THE FATHER OF THE ASANTE EMPIRE

By:Leon Kwasi Kuntuo-Asare

Young King

Osei Tutu I was born in what is modern-day Ghana in 1660. When Osei Tutu I inherited the title of Kumasihene (king of Kumasi). Tutu would use this new influence to get the other Akan city-states to unite against the regional African hegemonic power,who were also an Akan people known as the Denkyira.

GOLDEN STOOL

Osei Tutu I and his traditional African priest Okomfo Anokye motivated many Akan city-states to unite because of a traditional African belief that the Golden Stool came from heaven and held the soul of the new Asante kingdom.

Once unified of what was the newly formed Asante kingdom, of which Osei Tutu I was now the new the Asantehene (Asante king), Tutu and his new forces would go on to defeat the the Denkyira, and then they would use the pincer formation to turn the new kingdom into a West African Empire. This was achieved by welcoming small African kingdoms who were willing to join the Asante confederation and by conquering other West African city-states who refused to submit to the power of the Asante empire. By 1701 the European powers on the coast of Ghana began take notice of the military brillance and growing power of the Asante.

Death OF THE KING

In 1717, Osei Tutu I would be killed in a war of conquest against the Akyem. He was allegedly shot by a sharpshooter who was hiding in the forest. He died crossing the River Pra.

LEGACY

Osei Kofi Tutu I with his loyal priest and advisor, Okomfo Anokye, united several Akan city-states to form the Asante kingdom, which later became the Asante empire.Osei Tutu II, currently sits on the thrown of Asante (Golden Stool), and even though like the Queen of England, his role is more ceremonial than political, the Asantehene is still one of the most powerful, respected and influntial people in Ghana today. The Asante kingdom is alive and well today in the Asante region of Ghana, even thougn it has shrunk in size since the birth of modern-day Ghana, the territory of Asante is still slightly larger than the nation of Israel and it’s influence is felt all over the nation of Ghana and is respected all over the world, especially within the African diaspora.

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BLACK HISTORY 🌍 SPOTLIGHT: MENILEK THE II-THE AFRICAN πŸ‘‘ EMPEROR WHO DEFEATED THE ITALIANS AND PREVENTED EUROPEAN COLONIZATION OF ETHIOPIA

Black History SPOTLIGHT:Ethiopian Emperor Menilek II

By: Leon Kwasi Kuntuo-Asare

Early Life

Menilek II, was born Sahle Mariam on August 17, 1844, in Ankober, Shewa, Ethiopia. His father was a man known as Haile Malakot (also spelled Melekot), he was the king (Negus) of the Shewa region of Ethiopia, which at the time was a semi-independent kingdom within the empire of Ethiopia. It is traditionally believed that his forefathers traced their royal lineage to the Solomonid line of Ethiopian emperors (Ethiopian emperors who claim they can trace their royal roots to Menilek I, the sone of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba), who ruled the Empire of Ethiopia for centuries.

Later In Life

Before his death in 1855, Negus Haile Malakot, named his son (now-called Menilek), as heir to the throne of kingdom of Shewa. However, when Malakot died, Menelik was taken into custody by Emperor Tewodros II, who had just conquered Shewa. Despite the fact that he was technically the prisoner of the Ethiopian emperor, he was treated kind of like a step-son to the Emperor and was even offered the emperor’s daughter (Al Tash Tewodros) as a wife, which he accepted. Around the same time Menilek was taken as a prisoner, his uncle was giving the titles of Shum and Meridazmach (which loosely translates to colonel) in the Shewa area. Menilek’s uncle would rebel against the emperor, and he would be replaced by a non-royal, named Bezabeh, who eventually also rebelled against the emperor’s rule and named himself Negus of Shewa. This outraged the royals of Shewa,and the ones that were imprisoned in the city of Magdala, helped Menelik escape to claim the crown of Shewa. By leaving, he was forced to leave his wife, which infuriated the emperor, who had several nobles and other hostages beaten to death. When Menelik returned to Shewa, Bezabeh attempted to raise an army to fight Menelik, but he was not successful, and the Shewan people stood in full-support of Menelik, who they saw as the rightful king of Shewa. Once back in Shewa, he still refused to lay claim to the throne of the empire of Ethiopia, because he didn’t want to make a power play for the throne,and because he didn’t want to go to war against the man who raised him like a son. In the meantime, Tewodros’ military came into armed conflict in 1866 with the British, which eventually led to Tewodros committing suicide after his defeat. Instead of making a move to take the imperial throne, Menelik decided it was much wiser to grow his powerbase. In his time away, a man named Yohannes IV was crowned emperor of Ethiopia in 1871.

The Man Who Would Become Emperor

On March 10, 1889, emperor Yohannes IV was killed in a war in Sudan, in the Battle of Gallabat. It is claimed that in his last words, he declared his son, Dejazmach Mengesha Yohannes, to be his successor on the throne. Menelik took issue with that and declared himself emperor of Ethiopia. To gain support, he claimed that his male lineage was traced directly to King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, and therefore he was the rightful emperor. In the end the nobles agreed with him and his claim to the crown. On November 3, 1889, Menelik was crowned emperor of Ethiopia. Before Menelik’s reign, Ethiopia had faced generations of war within its own borders, and had large scale slavery, of which Menelik helped to end, when he unified his new empire. Prior to the reign of Menelik II, Ethiopia did not have a permanent capitol, instead it had a traveling encampment, so he founded the capitol city of Addis Ababa. The name for the new city was given by his new wife, Empress Taytu Betul, the name Addis Ababa translates to “new flower”.

Ready For War

After failure to agree to a treaty with Italy, knowing the Italians would invade to try to colonize Ethiopia, Menelik informed the nobility to prepare for war. Italian general Oreste Baratieri, believed that the Ethiopians only had about 30,000 men ready to fight; his racist beliefs also led him to believe that the Black Ethiopians were African barbarians, that would be easily defeated by the White Italians. What the Italians didn’t realize is that the Ethiopians, who had recently purchased weapons from the French, and were better armed and better trained than them. The two armies fought many skirmishes, but on March 1, 1896, the two nations met in Adwa, in a deciding battle, the Ethiopians would ultimately be victorious. The Ethiopians and the Italians would eventually sign a treaty that recognized the sovereignty of the Empire of Ethiopia.

End of His Life

On October 27, 1909, Menelik II, had a massive stroke and was unable to rule and had to abdicate the throne, he would die on December 12, 1913.

Legacy

King Menelik II as King of Ethiopia he preserved the autonomy of the kingdom of Ethiopia when he laid his people to victory against the European colonial imperialist nation of Ethiopia (there making Ethiopia the only Black African nation to successful to prevent being colonialized by the Europeans). He improved the infrastructure of his nation, modernized the political, social, economic system, and he expanded the territory of Ethiopia.

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BLACK HISTORY SPOTLIGHT: TARIQ IBN ZIYAD-THE MOOR WHO CONQUERED SPAIN

By:Leon Kwasi Kuntuo-Asare

EARLY LIFE


Tariq Ibn-Ziyad was a Berber general from where is now Morocco in North West Africa. He was a mawla (which translate to lord or guardian) of Musa Ibn Nusayr, who was the Umayyad governor of Ifriqiya (which consisted of parts of Tunisia,Libya and Algeria) . After Tangier was conquered between 710-711, Musa Ibn Nasayr put Ibn-Ziyad in control of the Tangier area.


The Conquerer


later in 711, Ibn-Ziyad and his army (which consisted of Berbers and new coverts to the Islamic Faith), landed on the Iberian Peninsula (the region of Spain and Portugal). Ibn-Ziyad and his army disembarked at a base of a mountain that would later be known as the Rock of Gibraltar (Gibraltar translates to mountain of Tariq). Tariq Ibn-Ziyad’s army included about 7000 Berber horsemen, additional men sent by Musa Ibn Nusayr, and some locals, who were rivals of the Spanish ruler, Roderic, the Visigothic king in Hispania. On July 19, King Roderic and his men would finally be defeated at the Battle of Guadalete. After the defeat of the visigoth king, Ibn-Ziyad divided his army and they would continue to conquer cities like Cordoba, Granada, Toledo, and Guadalajara, among others. Eventually culminating with Ibn-Ziyad controlling Spain, and making him its de facto ruler, for about a year before Musa Ibn Nasayr arrived.


Later In Life


In 714 Umayyad Caliph Al-Walid the ruler of the Umayyad Caliphate (Islamic state which controlled much of North Africa and the Middle East) ordered Tariq Ibn-Ziyad and Musa Ibn Nasayr to Damascus, Syria, where they would spend the rest of their lives, some say this was because of jealousy and fear of the power that Ibn-Ziyad and Ibn Nasayr had displayed when Ibn-Ziyad conquered Spain with the assistance of Ibn Nasayr.
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BLACK BACKLASH IN CHINA

Black Backlash in ChinaLeon Kwasi Kuntuo-AsareA possible law being implemented in China, apparently brought out the true racist and anti-black feelings of many Chinese people online. The law if passed would make it a little easier for highly-educated and successful people in the science, engineering and technology sectors to gain permanent resident status or get a Green CardRacist and angry Chinese men with an apparent sexual inferiority complex stated:β€œwith men vowing to defend Chinese women from immigrants, notably from Africa,” according to the Economist.Here are some of the tweets that were posted:

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