Kenya’s Heritage Persists- In spite of our Scientists

As this, and all the media reports say,

This is apparently the oldest known burial site in Africa, being over 78,000 years old. There is some inordinate excitement over the fact that this was a ‘deliberately’ dug hole where the child was laid to rest in some ‘funerary rites’. This begs the question; why the surprise and excitement? Are these Europeans thinking that civilization began in Europe and that we learnt to inter our dead from them? Why on earth is it a surprise that African people have caringly buried a child? This is what many scholars describe as the terra nullius mentality that still makes European people presume to ‘discover’ things that involve precolonial African societies. When will desecration of graves in Africa, South America and the rest of the Global South be regarded as barbarism, rather than ‘science’? Were any of the local people asked about cultural implications of unearthing a grave before they proceeded? No, of course not, this is “science”! According to the foreign researchers, this find “Highlights the emergence of both complex social behaviour among Homo sapiens, and cultural differences across populations of modern humans in Africa” Yes, in plain English, it shows that African Homo sapiens were civilized. Earth-shaking stuff. The only more vexing thing is the insipid and spineless local scientists who accompany these charlatans as “watu wa mkono” (to my non-swahili speaking friends, those are basically logistic assistants). As is always the case with “discoveries” in Africa, the key task of the ‘watu wa mkono’ is to facilitate the removal of the heritage from situ and facilitate its shipment out of the country. In this case, the bones were taken to Spain, A throwback to the brutal colonial days when everything of value or interest found in Africa was spirited off to Europe. Artifacts, humans, heads of humans, monuments, etc. Many countries are in the middle of repatriating their heritage, but its no surprise that Kenya is still shipping out heritage. I’m not impressed. Before anyone boasts to me about our ‘scientists’ finding a 78,000 year old grave, let them find us a 64 year old grave that is a crucial piece of our heritage somewhere in Kamiti. We even know the name of the person whose bones are there. Our heritage is, and should always be what WE say it is. Not what outsiders find exciting about us. Only then will we have an identity as a Nation.