For those unfamiliar with Dr Ivan Van Sertima he penned the books They Came Before Columbus. He is also given dap by a number of rappers-most recently Nas who calimed in his song Sly Fox that Van Serimar changed his consciousness
Major African Scholar/Historian Passes-Dr Ivan Van Sertima
By Oscar Ramjeet
Guyanese have excelled and made significant contributions throughout the world, including the Caribbean, and it is very unfortunate that our own Caribbean leaders are now “belittling” them.
|Oscar Ramjeet is an attorney at law who practices extensively throughout the wider Caribbean. He is also a special correspondent for Caribbean Net News. Feedback to: firstname.lastname@example.org|
Several of them have made significant contributions to Barbados. I refer to Sir Kenneth Stoby who served as Chief Justice; Dr Richard Alsopp, distinguished educator, who wrote a Caribbean dictionary; Pat Thompson, outstanding economist and business entrepreneur; Olga Lope Seales; and Ken Corsbie in the cultural field, and dozens of others.
Guyanese have not only contributed to the Caribbean, but the entire world.
I just learned of the passing of Dr Ivan Van Sertima, a former professor of the University of Rutgers and an important son of the soil, who told the United Nations that Columbus did not in fact discover the Americas.
Van Sertima was a Guyanese-British historian, linguist and anthropologist. He was a noted for his Afrocentric theory of pre-Columbian contact between Africa and the Americas.
He went to London in 1959 for university. In addition to producing an array of creative writing, Van Sertima completed undergraduate studies in African languages and literature at the School of Oriental and African Studies of the University of London in 1959, where he graduated with honours. During his studies, he became fluent in Swahili and Hungarian languages.
He worked for several years in Britain as a journalist, doing weekly broadcasts to the Caribbean and Africa. In doing field work in Africa, he compiled a dictionary of Swahili legal terms.
In 1970, he immigrated to the United States, where he entered Rudgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, for graduate work.
Van Sertima taught for 30 years at Rutgers and was Associate Professor of African Studies and Editor of the Journal of African civilization and author of numerous books. He has addressed topics in literature, linguistics, anthropology and history. He has written a number of books in which he argues that the Ancient Egyptians were black.
His 1976 book “They came Before Columbus” was a bestseller and achieved widespread fame for his claims of prehistoric African influences in Central and South America,
In 1987 he appeared before a United States Congressional Committee to challenge giving credit for the discovery of America to Christopher Columbus.
The Guyana Cultural Association New York Inc/Guyana Folk Festival broke the news of the passing of the world famed professor and we all extend our condolences to his widow, Jacqueline, who lives at Highland Park, in New Jersey.