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The CLR James Journal

Volume 25, Issue 1/2, Fall 2019

Bettina Bergo
Pages 39-58

The Afrocentric ‘Copernican Revolution’
Reading Marimba Ani’s Yurugu in Light of Cheikh Anta Diop’s Nations nègres et culture

This article summarizes the Afro-centric ‘Copernican Revolution’ of Cheikh Anta Diop between 1960 and 1974, the dates on which he defended his thesis on the African identity of Egypt (Kemet and Nubia) and argued his thesis, with Théophile Obenga, before the UNESCO Cairo Conference on the “General History of Africa.” I discuss both the unhappy reception, by European Egyptologists and others, of Diop’s ground-breaking, multidisciplinary research, as well as its gradual spread, among others, to Diasporic thinkers. One such thinker, Marimba Ani (who expressly acknowledges her debt to Diop’s revolutionary demonstrations) took a further step by rethinking, in Africanist terms, the philosophical bases underlying the unfolding of what she probatively shows is the European (or western) Asili (Kiswahili for an overarching way of living or cultural source), as exemplified in its patterns of thought and affective-ideological patterns. I attempt to show, here, how Ani inherits and prolongs Diop’s “Copernican” displacement.

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