Our History books teach us that in 1487, the Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias became the first European to reach the southernmost point of Africa, but new compelling evidence reveals that it was actually the Chinese who arrived on African shores 60 odd years before the Portuguese.
This is a subject that has always intrigued me. I’ve often wondered why certain Black tribes in Africa are not entirely black, but have light-brown skin tones, and other features that closely resemble the Chinese people. It has always been noticeable that many Cape Coloureds, Khoi-san people, and even certain peoples of the Xhosa nation (Nelson Mandela’s tribe) possess features that resemble the Mongoloid races.
When I stumbled upon the publications and research which is currently being conducted by Gavin Menzies, and learned how the early European explorers, including Columbus, navigated the waters of our planet to places they had not discovered yet, using detailed maps that had already been drawn by the Chinese, I was astonished. His remarkable research also proved how the Chinese had influenced the early European civilisations of Greece and Rome, and that it was the transfer of Chinese intellectual knowledge during that time in history that actually sparked off the Renaissance.
I noticed that the writings of Gavin Menzies contained several references pointing to the fact that Africans were influenced by the Chinese long before Europeans arrived, and long before the colonial powers took charge of affairs on the African continent. I then proceeded to Wikipedia to see what was published there under the name ‘Gavin Menzies’ and was perplexed when I read that his thesis has been discounted as "nonsense" by professional historians. I was left feeling slightly dumbfounded and confused, and decided to delve a little into the latest research which focused on the mitochondrial DNA of the Khoi-San people. All I could find was that the Khoi-San have retained closer genetic lineages to the earliest humans. They are thus considered the world's oldest living race, which differentiated 90,000 to 150,000 years ago.
The Wikipedia article concerning Gavin Menzies and his research does not motivate why his research is considered as “nonsense”, nor does it say what part of his research is considered as such. In fact, the entire article is a bit dubious, and is worded in a fashion that clearly aims to destroy the reputation of Gavin Menzies.
Nevertheless, many of the people who have contributed to the research project of Gavin Menzies are learned professionals, Furthermore, and on the subject of Africa, other authors such as Laurens Van Der Post, in The lost world of the Kalahari, 1958, also describes how the Bushmen in Africa are the descendants of Chinese people. His book is now available as an eBook at Kalahari.net.
The earliest Dutch settlers who arrived in South Africa called the Namaqua people ‘The Chinese Hottentots.’
(See further linguistic evidence below)
Before I list further evidence of early Chinese influence in Africa, allow me to quote an extract from the book ‘1421 The Year China Discovered the World’, by Gavin Menzies:
"...On the 8th of March, 1421, the largest fleet the world had ever seen sailed from its base in China. The ships, huge junks nearly five hundred feet long and built from the finest teak, were under the command of Emperor Zhu Di's loyal eunuch admirals. Their mission was 'to proceed all the way to the end of the earth to collect tribute from the barbarians beyond the seas' and unite the whole world in Confucian harmony.….”
The evidence of early Chinese influence in Africa:
Professor Raymond Dart in the March 1925 issue of "Nature" referred to San rock paintings of what appeared to be figures with Chinese hats. These paintings were found in the far south on the banks of the Kei River north of East London. He was severely criticised and ridiculed by his contemporaries and successors, even as late as in the 1990's for having believed that the Chinese dared to venture into the dangerous currents south of Zanzibar.
Professor Raymond Dart, who is best known for his discovery in 1924 of a fossil classified as Australopithecus africanus, relates a remarkable story in his 1959 book, ‘Adventures with the Missing Link’, about African houses in the Karoo (the dry inland plateau of South Africa) that have their walls decorated in Chinese style with Chinese characters. Locals in the area maintain that it was a custom passed down through generations.
Raymond Dart’s ‘Adventures with the Missing Link’ also mentions discoveries of gold charms or statuettes of obvious Chinese origin at archaeological sites in Africa, but he offers no explanation for them.
On the website of Gavin Menzies, Professor Alex Duffey points out that in the Mapungubwe collection, housed at the University of Pretoria, there are also shards of Chinese ceramics which prove that these artefacts must have found their way into the interior to the settlements of the early African kingdoms before European colonization. Further to this, skeletons of Mongoloid people were found in Whitcher's cave, situated about 6 miles from the coast between Port Elisabeth and Mossel Bay, near to where the Dart San drawings were found.
Professor Robin Pingree tells how south of Mobasa is the small island known as “Wasini.” Apparently this in Swahili, means 'people of the China tribe'. There are old Chinese tombs on Wasini, and he reports also coming across an item described as a small 500 year old stone coffin of Chinese origin (for a child) in Gedi, north of Mombasa.
There is a rock engraving from Driekopseiland on the Vaal River which seems to be of a Chinese figure with turned-up shoes and a pagoda hat.
Xai-Xai, the capital of Gaza in Mozambique could be translated to mean zhai zhi – villages/ stronghold with fence or perhaps a person’s name – to be verified (Shao Jia Hui)
Chang Ane River facing Madagascar can be translated into Chinese to mean perpetual peace – to be verified (Shao Jia Hui)
Words from the local Kenyan dialect (Kalenjin) also used in Fiji. People from Fiji speak of having come from Tanganyika. Also, Chinese pottery was often found in the ruins at Jeddah on the Kenyan coast. Could high-country slaves have been ship-wrecked in a Chinese vessel in the Fijian islands? (Keith Livingstone)
The people of Pate Island off Kenya claim to be Chinese origin and call themselves “WoShangGa” people. (Wo (or Wa) = I / me (first person pronoun in putonghua, Minnan dialect and many other dialects) Shang = upper (Cantonese, Hakka, putonghua) Ga = home (Cantonese, Hakka, southern dialects)) They call themselves ShangGa people meaning they are from the north – (Siu-Leung Lee, PhD)
Links between China and the Shona people of Zimbabwe?
A reader on the website of Gavin Menzies heard a learned Shona man speak on his travels to China, and he asserted that the Shona people's ancestors were in fact the Chinese. He based his theory on linguistic and cultural similarities between the two: from memory he cited the word for 'elephant' - 'nzou' in Shona - as being an exact match phonetically. Great Zimbabwe, an enormous maze of stone ruins, is believed to be the medieval trading centre of Southern Africa. Chinese artefacts have been discovered here, and it has been claimed that gold mined in the area was traded for rice and other agricultural product. Suddenly and inexplicably, in about 1450, the empire collapsed and split into several tribes that moved north towards better agricultural land - a result of China closing its borders to trade several years earlier and abandoning its mining 'colony'?
Another reader reports visiting a desert community of Arabs on the way to Al Um Quran, Mauritania, where he came across a Chinese craftsman. On enquiry the carpenter said that he was a native of the area, and that his ancestry was Chinese. The man was well versed with local culture and behaviour.
There are numerous accounts of Chinese porcelain found on the Transkei Wild Coast. Fragments of Chinese celadon porcelain were also found at Mapungubwe, dated to about AD1250.
The extinct Quagga
The extinct Quagga (aka Kwagga) or "Cape Horse", an apparent mutation of the Burchell's or Plains zebra. The last surviving Quagga was shot by hunters in the 19th Century although some skins and biological material have been preserved in various museums across the world including the Iziko Museum in Cape Town. This controversial zebra sub-species has been the subject of intense debate and an ongoing programme of selective breeding from extant zebra populations in an effort to re-create the Quagga and the interesting colour aberration that has come to characterise this so-called zebra sub-species. Given the assumed presence of Chinese horses among the livestock on the fleets, and the possibility of exploratory trips into the Cape hinterland early in the 15th Century by Chinese explorers, it may be possible to hypothesise that a few horses could have escaped and bred with the zebra population As such this might easily account for the small but obvious populations of atypically coloured zebras described by early European explorers into Southern Africa.
Distinctive Chinese Artwork
The Fang / Bapounou "Mukundji" tribal masks from the Punu region of Gabon (NgunieéNyanga). They show narrow faced, elongated features, a pursed mouth, red or black narrow long nose, slit eyes and arched eyebrows. The faces are white painted and the black hair is in a remarkable chignon style, either single or double on top of the head. The faces are very "Chinese" looking – (Walter H. Ziegler)
One of the masks in a collection from Liberia comes from a tribe called "The Chen" or "The Chien" Tribe. Its eyes are slanted totally differently to any other mask from the country. Could the Chien have come from China, survivors of shipwrecks like the Pate islanders and the “Chinese Hottentots”? – (Ulf Eriksson)
What happened to the huge Chinese fleets, and why did their explorations suddenly come to an end?
Around 1443 AD, the comet, named Mahuika for the Maori God of Fire, hit the ocean on the New Zealand continental shelf. The impact caused a tsunami with 400 mile-an-hour winds and gigantic waves, more than six hundred feet high. The tsunami destroyed huge Chinese fleets in New Zealand, South and East Australia, in the Indian Ocean, along the east coast of South Africa, and along the Pacific coasts of North and South America. It was a catastrophe from which China never recovered. There were to be no more great voyages. China withdrew from the world stage to mourn her losses. The great adventure was over. Source
Related Post on this Blog:
Unravelling the mystery of South Africa' ancient stone structures.
At the time of posting this article I was largely influenced by the writings of Gavin Menzies, whose work (or most of it) has now been thoroughly and entirely discredited by historians. Despite this fact though, the article is still a worthwhile read, as there is most definitely strong evidence of an ancient Asian influence in southern Africa, whether it be Indian or Chinese. Please see the new follow-up posting on this issue, titled: The Suppressed History of South Africa’s Ancient Dravidian Goldminers - dated 25 January 2013.