Runoko Rashidi; The man on a global journey in search of the African presence

October 19, 2019 at 06:00 pm | Culture

Michael Eli Dokosi

Michael Eli Dokosi | Staff Writer

October 19, 2019 at 06:00 pm | Culture

Historian Runoko Rashidi via Facebook

From photographing African artifacts in museums to organising global tours, Runoko Rashidi makes a case for African civilizations.

Following the transition of Afrocentric scholars and historians; Dr. Ivan Van Sertima, John Clarke, Chancellor Williams and Ben-Jochannan, there were fears that the African scholarly voice will be lost.

Thankfully, however, Runoko Rashidi had learned at the feet of Dr. Sertima. He had the drive and passion to research on African presence in various parts of the world.

Runoko Rashidi via Facebook

Rashidi’s aim was to influence the narrative about the continent while reuniting Africans, especially those in the diaspora.

A researcher who documents collections of African artifacts globally, Rashidi visited nearly every notable museum including the Turin Museum in Italy, the Egyptian Museum in Turin and the Gulbenkian Museum in Portugal. His Facebook page is a key source of knowledge deployment where he displays photographs and videos captured in the museums. As an authority on Kemet, the African civilisation of Egypt, he has journeyed extensively documenting the major Nile valley collections of the world.

Following in the footsteps of the greats before him, Rashidi continues to share his insights and research works to add to the knowledge pool. He’s featured in 100 radio broadcasts and more than 50 television programs in addition to featuring in newspaper articles.

Rashidi has also made presentations at more than 110 colleges and universities across the world. Over the last decade, he has been busy telling the African story at churches, community centers, public and private schools, libraries and book stores.

Rashidi has lectured also in England, France, Guyana, India, Japan, Namibia, the Netherlands, Russia, Thailand, Trinidad Australia, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Costa Rica, Curacao, Egypt, Venezuela and Zimbabwe. 

The American historian, researcher, essayist, author and public lecturer in March 1999, coordinated a historic tour to India called Looking at India through African Eyes. A Fiji tour followed in July 2000 as did an Australia one and several others to show the world the African presence across various land masses including the Pacific, Europe and the Americas.

Rashidi is the author of Introduction to the Study of African Classical Civilizations (published by Karnak House in London in 1993) as well as a major pamphlet titled the Global African Community: The African Presence in Asia, Australia and the South Pacific (published by the Institute of Independent Education in 1994). In 1995, he completed editing Unchained African Voices, a collection of poetry and prose by Death Row inmates at California’s San Quentin maximum-security prison.

Rashidi’s Journal of African Civilization essays include: “African Goddesses: Mothers of Civilization,” “Ancient and Modern Britons,” “The African Presence in Prehistoric America,” “A Tribute to Dr. Chancellor James Williams,” “Ramses the Great: The Life and Times of a Bold Black Egyptian King,” “The Moors in Antiquity,” “The Royal Ships of the Pharaohs,” and the “Nile Valley Presence in Asian Antiquity.”

He is also well known for his book Global Journeys in Search of the African Presence; it’s a travelogue chronicling his daily encounters with people of different countries and cultural practices that separate and unite Blacks around the word.

Rashidi worked with notable African scholars such as Dr. Chancellor James Williams, Dr. Charles B. Copher, Dr. Edward Vivian Scobie, Dr. Asa G. Hilliard III, Charles S. Finch, M.D., Dr. John Henrik Clarke, John G. Jackson, Yosef ben-Jochannan, Dr. James E. Brunson, Legrand H. Clegg II, and Dr. Jan Carew.  

As a scholar, Rashidi has been called the world’s leading authority on the African presence in Asia. Since 1986, he has worked actively with the Dalits (India’s Black Untouchables). In 1999, he led a group of 17 African-Americans to India, and became the first ever non-Indian recipient of the prestigious Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Memorial Award. Rashidi was born in 1954.

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