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Honors

Mother Africa and the San People

The National Geographic has collected the DNA of millions of volunteers around the world to map the history of humans using the genes to define our journey.   Geneticists used these genes to map where we came from and how we got to the places we live today. To paint the human family tree. This what they found:

 

Every human on earth originated with the San people from Niger, just north of South Africa. We are all children of Africa, and descendants of the San. They are collective mother, father, grandparent and cousin to us all. To us all.

 

There are thousands of creation stories. I like this one because when I look in the eyes of the San people (photographed as part of the National Geographic Project), I am intensely proud of being related to them. Their eyes seem to hold an undiluted wisdom that held to the home we all left 50,000 years ago.

 

And it turns out I’ve been playing a musical instrument from this very area for the last 35 years, and I believe the Kalimba/Mbira music that I listen to and play today is a bridge to these ancient beginnings.

 

Please note this doesn’t mean I’m right, or even have the confidence that science as we know it in 2013 will carry the day for the next 50,000 years. Genetics is to me, however, a kind of written record.

 

Australian Aboriginal Artist Greg Inibia Goobye Singh, challenged Spencer Wells:

 

“You mentioned with DNA testing that you’ve got now will trace us back to Africa. I don’t believe that. [Wells, “Why Not?”] Because if our stories aren’t correct, if they are a myth, the way that you guys might believe they are - - and we know they’re not. Why isn’t it possible that the Africans actually come from us . . . We branched out from here.”

 

[Wells] It’s complicated to explain. In a way, what I’d like you to think about the DNA stories we are telling, is that they are that - - they are DNA stories. That’s our version as Europeans [sic] of how the world was populated, and where we all trace back to. That’s our songline. We used “science” to tell us about that because we don’t have this sense of direct continuity, our ancestors didn’t pass down as stories. We’ve lost them and we have to go out and find them. And we use “science,” which is a European way of looking at the world to do that. You guys don’t need that. You’ve got your own stories.”

 

Greg Inibia Goobye Singh – “We don’t need that. We know where we come from, we know about creation. We know we come from here. We didn’t come from nowhere else.”


Quoted from the National Geographic's "The Journey of Man" narrated by Spencer Wells of the Genomics Project.