The Amahle Society for Africana Heritage and Culture’s mission is to unite communities of African descent through dialogue and cultural exchange. We understand that people of African descent are not monolithic and believe that Africana unity will come from mutual respect and understanding. We strive to provide opportunities for growth and understanding as individuals and as a collective people.
The ASAHC promotes the dignity and self-worth of people of African descent regardless of creed, ethnicity or nationality. We believe that all communities of African descent should have a voice and an opportunity to contribute to the tapestry that is Pan-African culture-at-large.
WHY AFRICANA ?
Africana Studies, Black Studies or Africology is the multidisciplinary study of the histories, politics and cultures of peoples of African origin in both Africa and the African diaspora. It is to be distinguished from African Studies, as its focus combines Africa and the African diaspora
A quote from The Black Studies Reader: "Africana Studies is the multidisciplinary analysis of the lives and thought of people of African ancestry on the African continent and throughout the world. It embraces Africa, Afro-America, and the Caribbean, but does not confine itself to those three geographical areas. Africana Studies examines people of African ancestry wherever they may be found—for example, in Central and South America, Asia, and the Pacific Islands."
An excerpt from Defining and Studying the Modern African Diaspora by Colin Palmer, September 1998.
"The study of the African diaspora, as mentioned at the outset, represents a growth industry today. But, there is no single diasporic movement or monolithic diasporic community to be studied. For the limited purposes of this discussion, I identify five major African diasporic streams that occurred at different times and for different reasons. The first African diaspora was a consequence of the great movement within and outside of Africa that began about 100,000 years ago. This early movement, the contours of which are still quite controversial, constitutes a necessary starting point for any study of the dispersal and settlement of African peoples. To study early humankind is, in effect, to study this diaspora. Some scholars may argue, with considerable merit, that this early African exodus is so different in character from later movements and settlements that it should not be seen as constituting a phase of the diasporic process. This issue ought to be a subject for a healthy and vigorous debate among our colleagues and students.
The second major diasporic stream began about 3000 B.C.E. with the movement of the Bantu-speaking peoples from the region that is now the contemporary nations of Nigeria and Cameroon to other parts of the African continent and to the Indian Ocean. The third major stream, which I characterize loosely as a trading diaspora, involved the movement of traders, merchants, slaves, soldiers, and others to parts of Europe, the Middle East, and Asia beginning around the fifth century B.C.E. Its pace was markedly uneven, and its texture and energy varied. Thus the brisk slave trade conducted by the Muslims to the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries starting after the seventh century was not a new development but its scope and intensity were certainly unprecedented. This prolonged third diasporic stream resulted in the creation of communities of various sizes composed of peoples of African descent in India, Portugal, Spain, the Italian city-states, and elsewhere in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia long before Christopher Columbus undertook his voyages across the Atlantic. In his important study of blacks in classical antiquity, for example, Frank Snowden notes that while the "exact number of Ethiopians who entered the Greco-Roman world as a result of military, diplomatic, and commercial activity is difficult to determine . . . all the evidence suggests a sizable Ethiopian element, especially in the population of the Roman world." In the parlance of the time, the term "Ethiopian" was a synonym for black Africans. The aforementioned three diasporic streams form what I shall call the premodern African diaspora.
The fourth major African diasporic stream, and the one that is most widely studied today, is associated with the Atlantic trade in African slaves. This trade, which began in earnest in the 15th century, may have delivered as many as 200,000 Africans to various European societies and 11 to 12 million to the Americas over time. The fifth major stream began during the 19th century particularly after slavery's demise in the Americas and continues to our own times. It is characterized by the movement of Africans and peoples of African descent among, and their resettlement in, various societies. These latter two diasporic streams, along with several substreams and the communities that emerged, constitute the modern African diaspora. Unlike the premodern diaspora, "racial" oppression and resistance to it are two of its most salient features.
The five major diasporic streams (or four if the first is excluded) that I have identified do not constitute the only significant movements of peoples of African descent within or outside of the African continent. Scholars, depending on their perspectives, should identify other major streams or substreams, such as that resulting from the desiccation of the Sahara between 2500 B.C.E. and 2300 B.C.E., or the movement of peoples from East Africa to the Middle East and Asia during the era of the Atlantic slave trade and after. They should make sure, however, that these streams are not conflated in terms of their timing, scope, and nature. It should be stressed that it is these diasporic streams--or movements of specific peoples to several societies--together with the communities that they constructed, that form a diaspora. The construction of a diaspora, then, is an organic process involving movement from an ancestral land, settlement in new lands, and sometimes renewed movement and resettlement elsewhere. The various stages of this process are interrelated, yet discrete."
—Colin A. Palmer is distinguished professor of history at the Graduate School and University Center of the City University of New York.
Black people of the Proto-historic African diaspora; This includes Australasians, Melanesians, Negritos, Papuans and some Asians such as the Great Andaman, Jarawa and Onge.
Black people of the modern and pre-modern African diaspora as a result of the Arab, Atlantic, Barbary, and Ottoman slave trades; This includes but is not limited to black people of Arabia, Abkhazia, the Caribbean, Latin America, South America, North America, India, Iran, Iraq and Turkey.
Black People of the self-determined African diaspora; This includes those African people who chose of their own will to move to other parts of the world such as Afro-Russians and others wherever they may be.
Black People of the African continent
Ms. Simone Small, Founding Director ASAHC
Mr. Rudi Quammie Williams, former Director of Culture, City of Barrie, Canada & Founding Director of the Reelworld Film Festival
HRM Olori Chanel Akanbi, Empress of Iwo Empire, Oshun State, Nigeria
Mr. Leslie Gittens, Senior Business Development Officer, Invest Barbados
Ms. Natacha Nsabimana, Ph.D. in social cultural anthropology, Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Chicago
SANKOFA. IKAMVA. UMOJA.
SANKOFA : Twi for “Go back and get it”
IKAMVA : isiXhosa for “Future”
UMOJA : Swahili for “Unity”
We hope that our programmes and initiatives will help people of African descent look to their heritage and bring forth all traditions, lessons and memories that will assist in creating a bright and united future.