WEST PALM BEACH – “Don’t believe me,” Ashra Kwesi said to the listening audience. “Because believe in Webster’s Dictionary is right under the word belie, and belie means to misinterpret and distort.”
Kwesi, a kemetic archeologist, repeated this phrase various times throughout his lecture last weekend at the Improv in West Palm Beach.
He is known for studying under the famous Dr. Yosef ben Jochannan, also known as “Dr. Ben,” an Egyptologist who researched the story of the African people.
Through his April 26 lecture, called “The Resurrection of the Sacred Knowledge,” Kwesi instructed listeners on the African origins of the Christian faith.
He attempted to prove that the root of Christianity is within African-based religions in Egypt, to which he referred as “the fallopian tube of the Nile,” giving birth to all other cultures.
The Kepera Communiversity, a community organization, sponsored the event along with the Urban League of Palm Beach County Young Professionals. The groups sought to bring out members of the community and educate them with what they called “uncommon knowledge.”
These lessons are not taught in school or found in history books, said Graylen Houston, president of the Urban League.
Houston arranged for Kwesi’s lecture, and even paid for Kwesi’s flight and hotel room out of his own pocket.
Houston emphasized that the “communiversity’’ is on its way to becoming a not-for-profit organization and he does not do this for the profit, but for the benefit of the community.
He defines the lectures sponsored by the communiversity in an order of themes: healthy, wealthy and wise.
“People need to see this to make us think,” Houston said following the talk. “This is paramount in the black community, the information is not one of exclusion but one of knowing ourselves and communicating with our children a sense of who they are.”
He continued: “When I was growing up, I didn’t always have a sense of who I was as a black person, and my parents would look at movements like
Marcus Garvey and Malcolm X’s as that ‘black stuff.’ This really opened up a whole world of information for me.”
Houston promoted the event with a flyer that said, “Black History did not start with the civil rights movement and slavery,” explaining that it goes further than most African-Americans could even imagine.
“Most history books start with slavery in a short sentence and don’t tell you even how long it lasted,” he said. “Before you know it, it’s over and the civil rights movement has started and then it ends with where we are today. It’s important to give our children a sense of who they are early on and help them understand.”
Kwesi’s lecture included a power point presentation with information from a variety of experiences he said were based on “26 years of historical expeditions in Africa, through Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya and Ghana.”
The lecture gave insight into lessons of the ancients found on temples throughout Egypt, or Kemet, as it is known in native Egyptian.
Kwesi tied various ancient Egyptian symbols and practices directly to Christian tradition, showing, in his words, the “plagiarism and desecration of African symbols by the Europeans.”
He said the original symbols of Christianity and the basis for the Christian faith lie within Egyptian and Kemetic tradition, which looks to the Egyptian deities of old, all of which were jet black, he said.
But when Europeans saw this, he said, they stole the divinity from the African people, and idolized and deified a white God.
Kwesi took questions following his lecture and gave his perspective on the condition of African-Americans.
He described what it would be like to have the first black president in Barack Obama in front of an audience with many members who wore Obama 08’ T-shirts.
“We’ve been oppressed so much as a people, we’re hoping one man will get us out of it,” he said, raising his voice passionately. “We need to think about this a bit more and put our demands to him on the table. What are our issues? He won’t address it if we don’t ask.”
Cynthia Collins of Fort Lauderdale listened in on the lecture, and had heard Kwesi speak before when she was in college.
She enjoyed the information he provided, she said, specifically because he encouraged listeners to find out the truth for themselves.
“I like that he has his documentation, but clearly tells you to go research it and not just take his word for it,” Collins said.
Photo by Khary Bruyning. Ashra Kwesi