This track explores the ramifications of Darwin’s one, almost throwaway, comment on human evolution in the Origin of Species: “Light will be thrown on the origin of Man and his history”. Darwin in his later work correctly identified Africa as the birthplace of humanity. We explore this concept, highlighting the progress that has been made in uncovering potential human ancestors in Africa and the shameful neglect of our mother continent. We also explore the coincidental identification of Africa—and Ethiopia in particular—as both the Rastafarian spiritual homeland and, by modern science, as our biological and evolutionary homeland.
“Light will be thrown on the origin of Man and his history! Light will be thrown on the origin of Man and his history!”
Translations of this phrase then follow in three African languages: Twi, Xhosa and Ga (readings and translations by African scientists Maphasa A TIoti (“ KK”) and Kweku Bedu-Addo).
“Light will be thrown on the origin of Man and his history!”
“Africa!” “Ethiopia!” (repeated throughout)
"There is all Africa and her prodigies in us; we are that bold and adventurous piece of nature, which he that studies, wisely learns in a compendium, what others labour at in a divided piece and endless volume".
From Religio Medici by Sir Thomas Browne (1605-1682), English Physician and Philosopher”
“Africa a everyman ‘ome”
Africa is every man’s home
“Africa a de mudder a humanity”
Africa is the mother of humanity
“Africa where man come from”
“African, Asian, European, dem all Ethiopian, you know!”
African, Asian, European, they are all Ethiopian, you know!
“I and I ancestors walk outta Africa 70 thousand year ago”
Our/my ancestor(s)walked out of Africa 70,000 years ago
“I and I ancestor walk outta Ethiopia”
Our/my ancestor(s)walked out of Ethiopia
Next follows a list of species belonging to or close to the ancestral line leading to humans, all discovered since Darwin’s time, together with the sites where the relevant fossils were first discovered or are most abundant.
“Africa a we maddah! Cho! Look how dem treat we mudder!”
Africa is our mother! [Cho is a Jamaican expletive expressing extreme disgust or contempt, which is hard to translate into standard English] Look how they treat our mother.
“War, famine, disease, corruption!”
“Bury the debt, not the dead!”
“Fight malaria, AIDS and tuberculosis”
“Fair trade not arms trade!”
"Fight fi (for) democracy and human rights."
"Like Selassie-I say, until the colour of a man’s skin is of no more importance than the colour of his eyes."
Selassie-I is a Rasta term for Haile Selassie, a word play on the numeral I and the word I (sacred to Rastafarians); this quotation is from a speech that Haile Selassie gave to the UN in 1968, later turned into the song “War” by Bob Marley.
Mr Prime minister, Mr. President, Mr Chancellor
You have fi do more fi Africa!
You have to do more for Africa!
Unu have fi do more fi Africa!
You(plural) have to do more for Africa!
A rare glimpse of the second person plural in Jamaican Creole (unu), marking a distinction lacking in standard English.
Images of casts of skulls of fossil hominds courtesy of Susannah Thorpe. Sadly we were not able to get images of all the species we mention. Satellite images of Ethiopia and Africa from NASA; images of Ethiopian priests, of Tigrayan tribesman, of African American woman from Wiki Commons. Image of skulls on table illustrates the Rwandan genocide. Other images illustrate themes of famine, malaria (micrograph of parasites shown), AIDS (map of distribution of HIV seropositivity shown). Images from Live 8 protests and concert.