They came before Columbus – Dr Ivan Van Sertima – video

They came before Columbus – Dr Ivan Van Sertima

Lecture given by Dr Ivan Van Sertima discussing African history.
Recorded in 1986 at Camden Town Hall, London. Caribbean Cultural International & Karnak House.  If you like this you may also be interested in the related video “Afrikans in Science”

Ivan Gladstone Van Sertima (26 January 1935 – 25 May 2009) was a historian, linguist and anthropologist at Rutgers University in the United States. He was noted for his controversial theory of pre-Columbian contact between Africa and the Americas.      

Dr. Van Sertima was born in Kitty Village, Guyana, when Guyana was still a British colony; he remained a British citizen. He completed primary and secondary school in Guyana, and started writing poetry. He attended the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London from 1959. In addition to producing an array of creative writing, Van Sertima completed his undergraduate studies in African languages and literature at SOAS in 1969, where he graduated with honors. During his studies he learned Swahili and Hungarian.

He worked for several years in Great Britain as a journalist, doing weekly broadcasts to the Caribbean and Africa. In doing field work in Africa, he compiled a dictionary of Swahili legal terms. In 1970 Van Sertima immigrated to the United States, where he entered Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey for graduate work.

He began his teaching career at Rutgers University as an instructor in 1972. In 1977 he completed his master’s degree. He was Associate Professor of African Studies in the Department of Africana Studies. As editor of the Journal of African Civilizations and author of numerous books, he has addressed topics in literature, linguistics, anthropology and history. He wrote several books in which he argued that the kings of the 25th Dynasty of Egypt were Nubians.

His 1976 book, They Came Before Columbus, was a bestseller and achieved widespread fame for his claims of prehistoric African influences in Central and South America. It was criticized by academic specialists.

Dr. Van Sertima also treated the topic of African scientific contributions in his essay for the volume African Renaissance, published in 1999. This was a record of the conference held in Johannesburg, South Africa in September 1998 on the theme of the African Renaissance. His article was entitled The Lost Sciences of Africa: An Overview. In it he presents early African advances in metallurgy, astronomy, mathematics, architecture, engineering, agriculture, navigation, medicine and writing. He claimed that higher learning, in Africa as elsewhere, was the preserve of elites in the centres of civilizations, rendering them very vulnerable in the event (as happened in Africa) of the destruction of those centers.

On July 7, 1987 Van Sertima appeared before a United States Congressional committee in opposition to describing Christopher Columbus’s initial contact with America as a discovery, saying “You cannot really conceive of how insulting it is to Native Americans . . . to be told they were discovered.

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  • Wentworth Lionel Carrega  On 02/19/2013 at 9:54 pm

    As a graduate student in the 1970’s I became very intimate with Prof. Van Sertima’s work, and attended numerous lectures by him and Dr. Bren. He remained a very controversial figure, as was Prof. Jefferies, both of whom exposed and presented their work with indisputable facts to confront myths of the African. This was done so that the “young bloods” of this generation will come to grips with the facts of the Africans contributions to the new world, and in particular ,Africa’s influence in the Catholic church from the first Pope’s use of Latin in the church.

  • blackhistory938  On 02/04/2018 at 6:58 pm

    Reblogged this on Black History & Culture.

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