Harnessing African science and technology: Part Five…explorers gave accounts of caesarean sections by African doctors

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ONE of the aims of these articles on African science is to demonstrate that science is not the preserve of Western civilisations.
That perception has been deliberately cultivated by colonial education systems that deliberately marginalised African scientific achievements.
All we want is to ensure that our up-coming generations appreciate that Africans are equally capable of outstanding scientific achievements and that history is littered with the glorious achievements of black people in science and technology.
African science is essentially the wisdom of our forefathers which we must jealously guard and pass on from generation to generation.
The generations who have been subjected to Western negative presentation of African science have come to believe that there have been no developments in science and technology on the African continent.
In this article, we present examples of documented evidence of scientific achievements by Africans in Africa.
Some readers will find it hard to believe that Africa made those achievements.
In the area of medicine, we have already stated that African curative medicine is second to none.
Using naturally occurring plant and animal materials as well as soil extracts, (we can) cure most ailments that occur from natural infections.
In the field of immunology, Africans were aware that the body built immunity against disease-causing organisms in the environment.
Babies ingest anything they come across, to the horror of parents, but the baby will be introducing all kinds of what are foreign materials into his/her body.
The baby’s body responds by developing antibodies against all the new substances, including microbes and chemicals, that he/she puts into its mouth.
This way, the baby’s immunity is strengthened.
It is a kind of self-immunisation.
When African people migrated to new lands, many would often succumb to diseases that were completely new to the people.
Africans discovered the science behind the problem: antigen-antibody interaction.
New substances of organisms entering a body (the antigens) can cause disease or illness in the person so infected unless the body contains ‘soldiers’ (antibodies) to fight the invasion. If the ‘soldiers’ are absent, the affected person my die from the infection.
The Africans have a scientific solution to the problem. The head of a family or community relocating to distant lands would go and collect soil and even water samples from the intended resettlement area.
These materials would be soaked in water and each member would drink some of the liquid containing microbes and chemicals from the distant land.
Their bodies would then produce antibodies against these foreign materials.
Upon relocation, the newcomers would not fall sick and die as they would have been inoculated already.
The science of inoculation is thus well-understood by Africans.
Another example is where various medicines are either introduced through razor blade incisions on the body (nyora) or by drinking water in which they have been soaked. The body builds immunity (antibodies) against the antigens in the inoculant medicine.
This is how people who go to African doctors are ‘strengthened’ to prevent being poisoned or injured through ‘magical’ ambushes by their enemies.
The ‘attacks’ are carried out by setting traps that go by various names like: ‘kuteyewa’,‘kupotsewa/chiposo’,‘kutsingwa/chitsinga’ or ‘kuchezewa/muchezo’.
Much of this African medicine is based on antigen (disease causing germ) and ‘antibody’ (the germ-fighting chemicals) in the body reactions.
Medical surgery is another area where African science was highly advanced by the time colonisation came to Africa; early explorers give accounts of how they witnessed caesarean sections carried out by African doctors in Uganda.
Various natural medicines were used as antibiotics and to reduce pain.
Today the ‘educated’ Africans mistakenly believe that surgery is a preserve of Western science; nothing is further from the truth.
If only African leaders and academics can be made to appreciate the rich history of African medical science, we can rediscover and put into practice various medical techniques that sustained African populations throughout history.
I recall an interview for a senior university post when the entire interview panel laughed at me for suggesting the creation of a Centre of Excellence for African Medicine.
“Ah! zvechivanhu! Kuita zven’anga at a university!
“That would be primitive!
“We must move with modern developments!”
Those were some of the comments made by members of the interview panel.
I sat there and thought: “If these are the educated Africans tasked to lead Africa into the next century, God help the blackman.”
I was aware that African medical science is already in existence and all that Africans needed to do was to pick confidence and go for it.
But alas, the educated African elites were rejecting the wisdom of their forefathers in preference for what they had been led to believe was ‘superior’ whiteman’s science!
African architectural science is one of the most sophisticated. Our Great Zimbabwe is but one example.
The pyramids in Egypt and Sudan (Nubia) represent some of the most sophisticated designs that modern computing science can only emulate.
Some of the largest ever man-made structures are found in Africa.
They were built by Africans using highly sophisticated scientific knowledge, some of which is yet to be fully understood.
Even the round African hut is a sophisticated design to prevent violent winds from destroying dwellings.
While a flat wall resists the push of the wind, a round wall allows the wind to pass around without destroying the structure.
If a tender went out for building the large pyramids in Egypt, most engineering firms around the world would not put in a bid!
The engineering science that the African builders used is way beyond the capacity of what we term modern technology!
Africa entered the Iron Age well before Europe did.
Methods of manufacturing steel used by Africans are extremely advanced, representing sophisticated application of science. We should not forget that civilisation started in ancient Egypt, a country of black people!
Engineering, mathematics, astronomy, chemistry and medicine have been applied by Africans for thousands of years, long before whites people emerged from the cold caves of the Caucasian mountains in Europe. There is ample evidence to show that African marine science was very advanced.
Black sailors used their scientific knowledge to sail to the Americas and east to the Pacific thousands of years before the Vasco da Gamas and Columbuses of Western Europe ventured into the Atlantic Ocean.
Recently, objects shaped like a model aeroplane were discovered in some Egyptian tombs of the Pharaohs. Europeans want to believe that black people have no history of aviation.
Surprisingly, when replicas of these models were built and tested for aerodynamic properties, they flew flawlessly.
This indicated that the African people of ancient Egypt had discovered the science of flight and actually built flying machines that we today call aeroplanes.
We shall further explore the scientific heritage of black Africa in the next episode as we seek to show that African science stands tall on the world stage.
Its decline can be traced back to barbarian attacks and colonial subjugation and prejudice.

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