Re-thinking the Travel History in and Around Africa: A Case of Ancient Egyptian Explorations


In need for land and trade resources, the ancient Egyptian kingdom explored the interior and coastal Africa leading to the cultural contact between Egyptian and other African cultures. However, the authenticity and evidential validity of these expeditions have been questioned by the scholars leading to the conflict of reality and myth. These assertions dwarfed the position of these explorations in African travel history. Also, their absence and the overwhelming presence of European explorations in and around Africa enabled Europe to claim Western supremacy over the genre as well as the continent. These identity politics haves informed and constructed African self-knowledge and African identity for the world. In the postcolonial world, where decolonisation is a central attraction of the academia, the exigency for re-stating the African travel history and literature appears significant. This notion will help in reconsidering the authenticity of ancient relationship between Egypt and Black Africa; also it will restore a sense of pride and satisfaction among Africans in African culture, history and beliefs. This paper tends to test the hypothesis that Africans were the first to explore the interior and coastal Africa based on archaeological evidence. The study, after establishing the relationship between the genre and identity, deals with the role played by the genre in the transition of history to myth. Finally, the paper puts together certain archaeological, documented and practical evidence to validate, or at least move some steps forward towards authentication of the claims of the first circumnavigation of Africa.

Keywords: Travel history, Egyptology, Africa, African identity, ancient Egypt