Historical Innovations throughout the African Continent


In the month of February, we will be celebrating black history and the contributions black innovators have made throughout history. Our basis for anything technological has always been highlighted in history as a westernized or foreign concept from Greek philosophy, Roman Empire, progressive Chinese infrastructure and American gunmanship. I get the sense that a lot of African technology has been overlooked and the rich history behind it.
When we look at the history of innovations, it’s unlikely to come across black innovators who have made a great impact on technology today and as a people and youth, this is something that needs to be widely celebrated. As of late, South Africa has been in the spotlight in terms of the quality of education that is produced as well as the lack of focus in the area of mathematics and science, however the world has such a Eurocentric view of mathematics, overlooking the fact that the most complex mathematical systems originate and end in Egypt.
Two of the most historical mathematical instruments were discovered on the border of Uganda and Zaire and the Democratic Republic of Congo. These two instruments were used as a method of counting and measuring. The Lebombo Bone (35 000BC) has 29 distinct markings on it, which could have been used to count a menstrual cycle or lunar cycle. According to an article written by the Taneter foundation; “use of baboon bones as mathematical devices has been continuous throughout all of Africa, suggesting Africans always held it sacred and associated it with the moon, math and science.”
The Ishango Bone (20 000BC) is also the world’s oldest evidence of advanced mathematics, which is a baboon fibula, found in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The markings on the bone are separated in clusters, when you count the clusters are all odd numbers, with the left column containing all prime numbers between 10 and 20, and the right column containing added and subtracted numbers, when both columns are calculated they add up to 60.
Timbuktu has been widely popularised as the origin of the world oldest universities and in the last few years 700, 000 scripts have been rediscovered, which attest to the continuous knowledge of advanced mathematics and science in Africa.
All these historical findings just go to show further proof that as a continent we have contributed greatly to the advancement of math and science, but unfortunately, our journey to achieving this even greater strides in the field of Math and Science was untimely interrupted with the colonization of African States. Today as Africans we need to take pride in our history and look forward creating more innovations that will advance our continent and the world.