The Emergence of African Avatars and the Secret of Fatima
Few Americans are aware of the spectacular religious activity that has been thundering, with incalculable exuberance, through the hearts of millions of Africans in our just-passed century. Men and women have been seeing vision after vision, sign after sign, and wonder after wonder. There are national holidays commemorating miracles -- not from centuries ago by some old saint whose paint has long since peeled, but within the last few decades, witnessed by thousands of ordinary citizens still walking among us.
Although few in the U.S. are aware of all this, religious scholars whom I have contacted as independent sources have been recording the activity with intense fascination. Relatively little is known, and scholars are quite eager to learn more. They may be gathering information that could eventually form a "new" New Testament. It may well be that we are viewing the beginnings of a new civilization formed around a new Christ, which, like the occasion that started our present one 20 centuries ago, remains relatively unknown in the world until some time after the events that then inspire so many millions for centuries to come.
I am told, in fact, that I am the 8th American to have learned about the subject of this essay, which is about a man named Simeon Toko, who died in 1984. Simeon Toko appeared before people in an apparitional body and in dream states while he was physically alive, and continues to do the same among certain selected people 17 years after his natural death. At least one witness says he, personally, killed Simeon Toko -- quite professionally, as a hired killer -- and saw him alive again a few days later. Others still living at this writing say they saw Toko physically slaughtered, and watched him bring himself back to life before their astonished eyes. There is a very large body of testimony, of which only a little has yet been recorded or written down by eyewitnesses.
Much of the media news from Africa in the past 80 years has been presented as political rebellion and tribal warmongering, or as a battle between "good" civilized countries versus "evil" communists over the souls of Africans who are still considered uncivilized and superstitious and too immature, to be left to themselves... what with all those raw materials and diamonds yet needing dug up. This is the general bias of newsreporting from Africa as I remember it since my own childhood. It's not much different now. We tend to think of the African peoples in a distortion somewhere between a bouquet of jokes about banana republics and a vague, distant horror of unexplainable war and slaughter.
It is odd that Africa is considered a land of raw natural resources, presumed for centuries to be there largely for the benefit of civilized foreigners, who have had only to educate and "civilize" a species of simple people to work the mines and derricks for them.
It is very odd, considering that Africa is home to the most ancient of continuous Western civilizations, Ethiopia; for that matter Africa is home
to the most ancient human bones yet chipped out of an earthly grave. Scientists
are lately calling Africa the home of the human race.
Back in the late nineteenth century, British Museum curator E.A. Wallis Budge began translating the papyrii and wall-writings of ancient Egyptian temples. In order to come to some kind of understanding of those writings, Budge found himself compelled to compare the practices described in ancient language with those practiced by "natives," meaning black African peoples, of his time. He was also aware of the similarities of language between the ancient and current tongues.
As "savage" as they supposedly were, many Africans had in fact preserved practices known to and used successfully by their own ancestors, the ancient Egyptians. It is unarguable, looking at the fantastic ancient artisanry alone,
that many pharoahs were black, and so too was a great deal of Egypt's ancient
population, if not initially populated by black peoples entirely.
If by our own accounts African Egypt lasted at least 3,000 years (11,000 according to Herodotus' HISTORIES), we must admit that the wisdom and practice preserved in ancient writings was at the very least partly responsible for the second longest-lived civilization in historical record.
If that is so, then we can surmise that the Africans who moved deeper into their lands to escape the warlike upstart Greeks and Romans, continued those practices for their own benefit. These "savages" lived generally peaceful, productive, imaginative and joyful lives. It is certainly also said that this was how the ancient Egyptians lived. History will show that the migrating central Africans lived the same way, at least until the mercenary and slave raids by Europeans began in the 15th century C.E.
If a civilization can be defined by its coded wisdom, not merely by its pottery or technology, then we can surmise that the Egyptian civilization didn't die out so much as move away with the Africans who founded settlements elsewhere on the continent. The successive overrunners of the ancient African civilization -- now given the greek name "Egypt," not Kemet, as the Egyptians themselves called their land -- have to this day failed to match the accomplishments of its founders. No one as yet knows how to build a massive pyramid set exactly to coordinates aligned with the sun and stars; engineers still marvel daily over their construction. That is only the most famous of many mysteries of ancient Egyptian architectonics. Certainly no one knows how to make a country thrive for thousands of years, even through times of unimaginable trouble. The story that the great buildings of Egypt were built by slave labor, Cecil B. DeMille style, is simply untrue.
It is also untrue that any part of Africa ever was a "dark continent," to be "discovered" by Portuguese boatmen -- as though it were somehow unattached to any ancient glories, populated only by semi-humans, and full of natural riches they themselves could not appreciate.
Anyone who might argue that this depiction of these ancient peoples is not the portrayal that white-skinned European races promoted does not know history. A single example: Americans in the nineteenth century created a law that permitted an African slave the dubious honor of counting as "three-fifths of a man;" in other words, men and women with dark skin were considered less than human in United States law. White slavemasters had obtained at least a little human recognition for their black male slaves, to use them as partial voting blocs in local elections for self-serving reasons.
In the book that this essay will introduce to the United States for the first time, it is pointed out by documentation that the first slave traders who came to Africa in the fifteenth century C.E. found an advanced society dominated by a monotheism with a powerful code of ethics. They did not find half-naked people in grass skirts with bones through their noses. They did not find rows of fat little stone fertility goddesses and voodoo fetishes. They found an intelligent, friendly, dignified peoples who had created beautiful avenues and pleasant buildings and well-regulated agricultural fields and fine clothing. They found a people who practiced the old Mosaic code, essentially (students of Mosaic law will note how much of it resembles Egyptian codes). They found a people whose language, linguists have shown, contains scores of words found in biblical hebrew and later in European languages. They may well have found what really ever happened to the so-called lost tribes of the kingdom of Israel.
Except that the subsequent four centuries have proved out the following statement to a deplorable degree, we could otherwise be incredulous at a surmisal of the main difference between the "discoverers" of central Africa and the people they divided and traded like objects and cattle over the ensuing generations: the difference between the civilized dark-skinned peoples and their conquerors is measurable in intensity of greed and a will to murder to fulfill greed's endlessly wearisome demands. This behavior has not ended in modern times. Slavery still exists in Africa, for instance.
Even at this writing, centuries now after the first slashes into the belly of the African land and peoples, predominantly white-skinned countries still allow predominantly white-skinned corporations to assist insane warlords in killing each other, helping with helicopters and technology, simply to keep company profits going. So reported Global Pacific News not long ago.
There is no question that the peoples of Africa, millions and millions of descendants of the ancient Ethiopians and Egyptians among them, have been methodically dehumanized for centuries. No peoples have met with such enormous psychological and material destruction in recorded human history. If they can said to be blamed for allowing any of it, then their fault could only lie in a willingness to trust fellow men who came preaching religious principles.
The damage that Christian missionaries have done to the psychology of human kindness in Africa over the centuries is untold. Examples would take a litany too long to fit all the walls of any ancient temple. But here are two: missionaries routinely accompanied soldiers who came to steal lands and loot for their home European country. The procedure went as follows: the missionary would stand and read aloud an edict in Latin to whatever villagers had gathered. The edict, completely incomprehensible to the villagers, ordered that each of them must at that moment convert to Christianity or be killed or enslaved. After it was read, the guns and swords went to work. The soldiers felt justified in their murders through the benediction and authority of the Roman church. Through varying interpretations of the works of church fathers, the Roman church developed a system of permissible murder and looting, and it was used routinely.
The missionaries would then go to work on the remaining peoples: the children were taught that their parents' intelligent, peaceful beliefs were "from the devil," and that they were to accept poverty "for the good of their souls;" whereas the conquerers were supposedly blessed by God with superior might and wealth, and so must be obeyed.
Not long ago, Pope John-Paul II issued a public statement apologizing for the behavior of the Roman Church during the Inquisition, centuries ago. Over a period of about four hundred years, Church authorities in Europe humiliated, ostracized, tortured and murdered about a half million fellow Europeans over "matters of faith." As these atrocities in the name of God mostly occurred centuries ago, the apology seemed a little late in coming.
However, no apology seems to have yet been offered for the estimated one hundred million Africans who were categorically enslaved, tortured, and murdered into submission for the four hundred years that the Roman Church itself assisted this activity, quite officially, benefitting from it materially and politically.
One would wonder also why there is as yet no apology forthcoming from the Vatican for its role in intent to murder one Simon Kimbangu. This did not happen so long ago that the descendants have long been unaware of the wrong done and the property confiscated, as is mostly the case with the Inquisition.
There are thousands of Africans still alive who remember Simon Kimbangu very well. Kimbangu's name is celebrated throughout the great expanses of central Africa, and this fame continues to increase. He stands as far more than a mere national hero. A short history of his life can be found in the Encyclopedia Brittanica. He and his followers are also the subject of more detailed scholarly research. Simon Kimbangu was a prophet. Left to rot and tortures in a prison, he died there in October 1951 after 30 years.
There are Africans alive at this writing who were brought back from the dead by Simon Kimbangu, and there are people still living who watched him do it. The claim is that Simon Kimbangu healed the sick, made the lame walk, returned sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf, and even brought an infant dead three days back to life. Kimbangu performed these miraculous deeds over a period of five months, from May, 1921, through September 12, 1921. Scholars do not dispute that this man performed these miracles. There is simply too much testimony about it.
On September 10, 1921, Simon Kimbangu gave a speech. He announced that the colonial authorities were about to arrest him and "impose a long period of silence on my body." He announced that one day a "Great King" of tremendous spiritual, scientific, and political power would arise, and that he himself would return as a representative. Before this event, a certain book would be written that would prepare the people of Kongo (not "Congo") for this event. This book would resisted, but slowly, it would come to be accepted.
Two days later, Simon Kimbangu was arrested by colonial authorities -- on his forty-second birthday, September 12, 1921 -- and curtly sentenced to death. The authorities for the Roman Church had recommended his execution, and so had various other Christian missions. According to noted scholar Dr. Allan Anderson, the Baptist mission alone protested the execution of this man whose apparent crime was to have daily stood in a village for five months and healed, consoled, and revitalized people. The joy and the amazement of the gathering crowds had left the prophet open to supposed charges of sedition by jealous missionaries. Punishment for alleged sedition was death.
Just as Kimbangu had predicted two days before his arrest, he was instead given an indefinite prison term, a "long silence of his body." Each morning he was taken from his tiny cell and put bodily into a tank of cold salt water for lengthy periods in an attempt to hasten his death. His prediction that his body would be tortured and humiliated came true.
He had also predicted that day that Africa would be "thrown into
terrible period of unspeakable persecutions." For the next 40 years, Africans were indeed put through a terrible period of unspeakable religious persecutions. Hundreds of thousands were imprisoned, deported, separated from their families, subject to atrocious tortures, and simply persecuted for new religious beliefs.
These new religious beliefs, triggered by the few words of an African man who performed miracles among his own people for "only a little while," sent out great psychological rays of hope to a continent of peoples who had long become accustomed to misery and poverty under centuries of colonial abuse and intentionally oppressive religious instruction. These powerful beliefs are still in development and will reach around the world even in their beginning stages. The appearance of the book this essay introduces marks one of many such beginnings.
Tom Dark is a professional editor, writer, and music producer and leads a small worldwide dream experiment group.