Akhepran University

WHY EGYPT?

Africans in America occupy a unique position as a people in this country. They are unique because they are the
only ones who have gone through a deliberate process of erasure, an erasure that has stripped from their conscious
awareness a sense of cultural continuity beyond their immediate experience in North America.
This erasure has had a deep and profound effect on the psyche of our people, and continues to have a negative
effect in many varied and diverse ways. As a people, we experience great difficulty in coming together; we have
great difficulty in reaching agreement or coming to a consensus in order to act in the interest of our people. This
difficulty is directly attributable to the erasure principle, which has removed from us the necessary cultural
language that has the power to speak with the voice of a collective wisdom.
The cultural glue, the cultural cement that binds us together as a people that brings us to a level of consciousness
that is immediately connective in the respect, the honor, the treatment, the concern we show and give to each
other as an African people, also remains sadly frayed.
We are a people who are afraid to be Africans because of the erasure principle.

We are afraid to be Africans because of a lack of knowledge of our African ethnic identity. Can the African in
America claim a Yoruba past, can he or she claim an Akan or Hausa lineage? For the majority of us that answer is
no, and in that answer there is a distancing. The erasure principle at work. Can the African in America approach
an indigenous Africa with names we bear like John Smith, Bubba Thomas, or Cynthia Jefferson? The names we
bear speak to the indignity of the erasure we have experienced as a people in America.

The erasure principle has been put in place to leave us disconnected from a cultural nurturing that is essential and
necessary for any people to maintain a certain level of collective psychological health. Working to connect is one
thing, but how do we begin this process?

Do we speak the language of the Yoruba, the Akan, the Hausa? For the majority of us again the answer is no,
again the further distancing, the silence, the silence that speaks with a deep spiritual longing, the silence that

reaches out with a painful searching to reconnect with Africa.

The European speaks his language, he names himself in a tradition that connects him to Europe. (John Smith is
not an American name, it is a European name in America.) He educates his sons and daughters in an intellectual
tradition that he adamantly certifies as European. He includes in his textbooks the heroes that affirm his
intellectual history and intellectual origin – Plato, Socrates, Aristotle – as European, and in every sphere
imaginable he establishes the continuity of identity with his past, a cultural past that gives organic unity to his
ideas.

Why Egypt?

As Africans in America, as Africans on the continent, as a billion Africans on the globe we return to Egypt to give
organic unity to our ideas. Yosef Ben-Jochannan, as a Falasha Jew from Ethiopia, Cheik Anta Diop, as a Muslim
from the tradition of the Mourids of Senegal, John Henrik Clarke, from the African experience in America — all
say the same thing. We must return to Egypt — Kemet — the black land, the black community, the black people.
We must return to Egypt to recognize our thought and spirituality, and in doing so recognize ourselves.

Egypt (Kemet) serves as a symbol of Africans in America because of the erasure principle. The very same erasure that has crippled and warped our psyche and our development over the past four hundred years as Africans in America. This very same principle now drives our thirsty souls to seek and to drink at the well of our ancient ancestors. It is in Egypt, in Kemet, the black land, that we reconnect as a people. Egypt holds for us the most authentic sense of self, and the conscience of our organic unity. Egypt is a spiritual centering for African people, all African people. It is through this spiritual centering that we as a people reconnect with wholeness and with
beauty.