Evidence for the Black African Origin of the Egyptians


Clyde Winters

In this paper we review the archaeological and linguistic evidence which suggest that Black Africans and Egyptians descended from the same biological ancestors, who formerly lived in the Proto-Sahara.



The Egyptians and West Africans formerly lived together in the highland areas of Africa, which Anselin calls "The Fertile African Cresent", until they moved into the Nile delta (the Egyptians) and West Africa (Niger-Congo speakers). These Proto-Saharans were called Ta-Seti and Tehenu by the Egyptians. Farid(1985,p.82) noted that "We can notice that the beginning of the Neolithic stage in Egypt on the edge of the Western Desert corresponds with the expansion of the Saharian Neolithic culture and the growth of its population" (emphasis that of author).

The inhabitants of the Fezzan were round headed black Africans (Jelinek, 1985,p.273). The cultural characteristics of the Fezzanese were analogous to C-Group culture items and the people of Ta-Seti . The C-Group people occupied the Sudan and Fezzan regions between 3700-1300 BC (Jelinek 1985).

The inhabitants of Libya were called Tmhw (Temehus). The Temehus were organized into two groups the Thnw (Tehenu) in the North and the Nhsj (Nehesy) in the South (Diop 1986). A Tehenu personage is depicted on Amratian period pottery (Farid 1985 ,p. 84). The Tehenu wore pointed beard, phallic-sheath and feathers on their head.

The Temehus are called the C-Group people by archaeologists(Jelinek,1985; Quellec, 1985). The central Fezzan was a center of C-Group settlement.

Quellec (1985, p.373) discussed in detail the presence of C-Group culture traits in the Central Fezzan along with their cattle during the middle of the Third millennium BC. The Temehus or C-Group people began to settle Kush around 2200 BC.

The kings of Kush had their capital at Kerma, in Dongola and a sedentary center on Sai Island. The same pottery found at Kerma is also present in Libya especially the Fezzan. There are similarities between Egyptian and Saharan motifs (Farid,1985). It was in the Sahara that we find the first evidence of agriculture, animal domestication and weaving (Farid ,1985, p.82).

This highland region may be the Kemites "Mountain of the Moons " region, the area from which the civilization and goods of Kem, originated. The rock art of the Saharan Highlands support the Egyptian traditions that in ancient times they lived in the Mountains of the Moon. The Predynastic Egyptian mobiliar art and the Saharan rock art share many common themes including, characteristic boats (Farid 1985,p. 82), men with feathers ontheir head (Petrie ,1921,pl. xvlll,fig.74; Raphael, 1947, pl.xxiv, fig.10; Vandier, 1952, p.285, fig. 192), false tail hanging from the waist (Vandier,1952, p.353; Farid, 1985,p.83; Winkler 1938,I, pl.xxlll) and the phallic sheath (Vandier, 1952, p.353; Winkler , 1938,I , pl.xvlll,xx, xxlll). Due to the appearance of aridity in the Mountains of the Moon the Proto-Saharans migrated first into Nubia and thence into Kem.

The Proto-Saharan origin of the Kemites explain the fact that the Kushites were known for maintaining the most ancient traditions of the Kemites as proven when the XXVth Dynasty or Kushite Dynasty ruled ancient Egypt. Farid (1985, p.85) wrote that "To conclude, it seems that among Predynastic foreign relations, the [Proto-]Saharians were the first to have significant contact with the Nile Valley, and even formed a part of the Predynastic population" (emphasis author). The ancestors of the Kemites originally lived in Nubia. The Nubian origin of Egyptian civilization is supported by the discovery of artifacts by archaeologists from the Oriental Institute at Qustul. On a stone incense burner found at Qustul we find a palace facade, a crowned King sitting on a throne in a boat, with a royal standard placed before the King and hovering above him, the falcon god Horus. The white crown on this Qustul king was later worn by the rulers of Upper Egypt " (p.26).

Paleo-African Agro-Pastoral Terms

In the Sahara-Nile complex, people domesticated manyanimals including the pack ass, and a small screw horned goat which was common from Algeria to Nubia. The zebu or humped cattle are found in many parts of Africa.The oldest faunal remains of the Bos Indicus come from Kenya, and date to the first millennium B.C. The recent evidence that Bos Indicus ,humped cattle, may have originated in East Africa suggest that this type of cattle may have first been situated in Africa, and then taken to Asia by the Proto-Saharans. This view is supported by the fact that the advent of the Bos Indicus, cattle in Egypt corresponds to the migration of the C-Group people into the Nile Valley. The C-Group people came from the Fertile African Crescent.


Augustin Holl (1989) has made it clear that pastoralism was the first form of food production developed by post Paleolithic groups in the Sahara. In the western Saharan sites such as Erg In-Sakane region, and the Taoudenni basin of northern Mali, attest to cattle husbandry between 6000 and 5000 B.P. Cattle pastoral people began to settle Dar Tichitt and Karkarchinkat between 5000 and 3500 B.P. There are corresponding terms for cattle in African languages:

Egyptian ng, nag

Azer na

Nuer yang

Soninke na

Baguirmi m-ang, mang

Gourmantihe nua, nue

Gbea m-angu, mangu

Senufo nu

Sar(a) m-ang, mang

Ewe nyi

Wolof nag

Boua nya

Peul nag

Amo na

Angas ning

Baya nday

Susu ninge

Gera ndiya

Serere nak

Tamil naku

Mende nika

Hausa nagge

Burma nak

Jarawa i-nyak

Kagoro nyak

Burak nyek

Bobo nyanga

Duala nyaka

Fang nyar

The correspondence between African terms for cattle support the archaeological evidence for the early domestication of cattle in the Fertile African Crescent. The oldest written evidence from Africa comes from the Egyptian language. The terms for 'cow' in Egyptian are ng and nag. In African many these languages we find either the consonant /n/ before the consonant g/k e.g., n/v________(v)g/k or a nasal consonant /n/ before the vowels -i/y and -a, e.g., n+/ a, n+/i+a= nia or n+y+a +nya.

The Paleo-Africans also domesticated sheep and goats. By 6000 B.C. goat and sheep were domesticated in Tadrart Acacus. Theophile Obenga (1988) has already used linguistic material to highlight the domestication of the goat/sheep.

The Egyptian term for sheep/ram is 0 zr #, 0 sr # . In sheep we find either the

consonant /s/ or /z/ before the consonant /r/ for example s0/#_________r.

This corresponds to many other African terms for sheep/goat as outlined


Egyptian sr, zr

Coptic sro

Kwa siri

Amo zara

Dravidian kuri, korri

Bambara sarha

Sumerian zar, sar

Wolof xar

The linguistic data from the Niger-Congo, Nilo-Saharan, Egyptian and the Mande Superset groups show cognation for the term for cattle/cow and sheep/goats in consonants and vowels as illustrated below:

1. Correspondence of consonants with in roots

Niger-Congo Nilotic Mande Chadic Egyptian

-g/-k g -g/-k -k -g

-s- -s- -z- s/z

-n- -n- n- m- n-

2. Correspondence of vowels within roots

Niger-Congo Nilotic Mande Chadic Egyptian

-i/y i/y i/y y

a/u a a/u a/u a

The camel may have also been domesticated by Africans. As early as the Old Kingdom camel hair cord was used by the Egyptians. Moreover camel figurines are found in Gerzeanartifacts in an archaic Egyptian context. This along with rockdrawings of camels and horses in ancient Nubia, suggests an archaic domestication of these animals by the Paleo-Africans.

In ancient times the horse and ass were used to pull chariots. But as the Sahara began to dry up, due to a lack of abundant water the horse was abandoned as a means of transportation in the Sahara .

In summarize this section, semantic anthropology , is a linguistic approachwhich seeks to discover aspects of man's culture from his language. We have shown in this chapter that the reconstruction of Paleo-African terms can help us make inferences about an ethnic group's culture going backwards in time to an impenetrable past undocumented by written records. The linguistic evidence discussed above, has provided linguistic resemblances that can help the anthropologists make precise inferences about a linguistic group's culture .

Linguistic Evidence

Diop, Obenga and Anselin have indicated that there is cognation between Egyptian and Wolof suffixial pronouns


Egyptian Wolof

1. ni, mi na

2. k nga

2. t /

3. f ef

3. s es

(The /m/, is used with suffixial pronouns in Egyptian.)


1. n nanw

2. tn ngen (yours)

3. sn sen

They also share similar pronouns placed before verbs.

Egyptian Wolof

nek I na^

ntk nanga

nts nes (that one)


1. njwj na

2. njkw nga

njsj nes


Comparison of pronouns

Egyptian Mboshi Hausa Wolof Nubian Swahili

i i ni,na naa anni ni

ink nga kai nga ir ku

f, s / shi, nsa ef, es tar m

sn (3rd Per. pl.)/ su, sun sen

Here we note that the Hausa, Mboshi and Swahili (Bantu

languages), and Wolof languages share similar pronouns. It is

clear from the table above that the Egyptian language shares the

1st and seconf person pronouns with the Bantu languages and

Nubian. We also see that the Wolof 3rd person sing., and pl.

pronouns are analogous to the Egyptian pronouns.

The use of these suffuxial pronouns in Egyptian and Black

African languages is also similar.

Egyptian: i i n i , 'I have come'

Mboshi : i me yaa, "I have come"

Egyptian: mr n f, "he loved"

Wolof : maar on ef, "he loved madly"

Egyptian: mr n s, "she loved"

Wolof : maar on es, "she loved madly"

Egyptian: mr n sn, "they loved"

Wolof : maar on sen, they loved madly"

The Wolof term maar , and the pronouns ef, es, and sen are

discussed by the following authors.

T. Obenga, "Le "Chamito-semitique" n'existe pas", <ANKH,

1 (1992), pp.51-58.

A. Anselin, Pour une morphologie elementaire du negro-

africain". <>

C.A. Diop, <Parente genetique de l'egyptien pharaonique et

des langues negro-africaines. Inititions et etudes africaines,

No.32, IFAN-NEA, 1977

C.A. Diop,

les langues negro-Africanes modernes. Presence Africaine, 1988.

The Egyptian and Wolof languages also share similar kinship


Egyptian Wolof

sen brother sen

snt sister san

sa son sa Baol (son of the Baol)

itf father itef

i3yt 'old female' yaay mother

wtw 'oldest son' watw 'given succesor

st spouce set

maga 'veteran' mag 'aged person'

The Wolof and Egyptians also share institutional terms.

Egyptian Wolof

p3 wr 'the grand' bwr 'the king'

bw-wr 'that which is grand' bwr 'the king'

ndm 'the throne' ndam 'the glory'

dm 'to be grand' damw 'glorified'

pera^a 'Pharoan' fari 'supreme king'

niwt citizen nit

pe capital, King's capital pey

m3't justice mat

There are also cognate Egyptian and Black African terms in other

languages. For example, there are many cognate Egyptian and Bantu terms.


Egyptian Mbochi

kkw darkness koko

ktt to work, cultivate kye

ska numerous, many saa, saka

s man si

sh lake, pond saa

ii to come, arrive yaa

km black kama

ba 'soul' ba 'possessing spirit'

mm 'to remain, to be firm' masna "solidly established'

Afrocentric linguists do not accept the Afrasian or Afro-Asiatic hypothesis. These linguist believe that Egyptian is a Black African language. These linguist recognize that the Egyptians ruled Palestine for thousands of years. As a result, that claim that many Egyptin loan words in Hebrew and Arabic, may be the result of Egyptian loan words borrowed by the Cananites, Hebrews and etc. during this period of Egyptian colonialism.

In many books on Afrasian languages, the proto-terms for

this language are primarially semitocentric. This feature of the

Afro-Asiatic languages have encouraged people to assume that the

alleged Afro-Asiatic languages originated in Arabia. This view is

false, only 20 out of the 230 known semitic languages are spoken

outside of East and North Africa.

A comparison of Egyptian, Afro-Asiatic and Black African

terms clearly demonstrate that Egyptian is closer to BA

languages, than Berber or Semitic.


Hebrew shemesh

Arabic shams

Sidamo arrisoo

Berber tfokt

Hausa rana

Songhay ra

Vai ra

Numu re

Ligbi re



Hebrew sheem

Egyptian rn, lan

Berber ism

Shilluk rin

Pormi rin

Fanti dzin

Ashante din



Arabic h.udz

Ethiopian yaaaz

Berber amez

Egyptian mi

Yoruba mu

Banda mi

Mbochi ma



Hebrew aahab

Arabic hubb

Berber erhi

Egyptian mr

Acoli maaro

Luo mer

Nuer maar

Wolof maar

Nubian ma


Egyptian d3

Vai dom

Wolof da

Hausa da

Yoruba 'o-do


This is prima facie evidence that the Black African languages show

greater similarity between lexical items, than the Afro-Asian , Egyptian



In addition to cognate nouns we also find cognate verbs.

To Be

Egyptian ka

Hausa ka

Fang ke

Mbochi ka

Bambara ka

To Be

Egyptian wnn

Wolof ne

Swahili ni


Egyptian di

Wolof dioh

Bambara di

This comparison of Semitic, Egyptian, Berber and Black

African languages clearly show that Egyptian is more closely

related to BA languages, than to Semitic or Berber. It is the

reality of this regular correspondence between BA and Egyptian

terms which has led linguist like Obenga, Anselin and others to

recognize Egyptian as Black African, rather than Afrasian


The Egyptians often painted monuments painting themselves the same color as the Kushites. Below we have the tomb relief of Rameses III, there are four depictions from left to right Rmt: Egyptian, Nhsyw: Kushite, Tjhnw: Libyan , and "Aamw: Syro-Palestinians. If you look carefully you will notice that the Egyptian and Kushite both have the same color and general physical features.

Rmt Tjhnw Nhsyw "Aamw 

The Egyptians and other Black African people formerly lived

in the Sahara. In the Sahara these people practiced a agro-

pastoral economy in which they raised cattle and cultivated crops

with a hoe.

Because of the common origin of the Egyptians and Black

Africans we have been able to reconstruct many of the Paleo-

African terms for this group. The demonstration of Paleo-African

terms was done to place before the readers of this ng one of the

two major hypothesis in comparative historical linguistics i.e.,

regularity hypothesis. The regularity hypothesis assumes that we

can reconstruct a language because of the regularity of sound

changes in related languages.

The linguistic evidence in established the sound correspondence between Egyptian and Black African languages. It showed that due to similarity in both the form and meaning of Egyptian and Black African languages we can reconstruct the ancestral language spoken by all this group which we call Paleo-African.

Paleo-African terms:

*s' 'man'

*se 'seed'

*ba(r)/pa(r) "hoe'

*nag 'cattle'

*sr 'sheep/goat'

You must test a hypothesis for cognation between languages before you can disconfrim thatm hypothesis. I provided the evidence of cognate Egyptian and Black African terms, along with pronouns. You have not presented any evidence disputing the cognation between these terms, except for a claim that you can't find selected Wolof pronouns. Just becauseyou claim you can't find them does not mean that they do exist.

Many of the Egyptians resemble West Africans here are some examples:


This supports the view that the Egyptians and Black Africans are genetically related. This hypothesis led to the corrolary hypothesis that, the Black Africans and Egyptians spoke similar languages.

Above I tested this hypothesis. It was clear from the test that Egyptian was most closely related to Black African languages, rather than Semitic and Berber. We have presented systematic phonemic, morphemic and syntactical correspondence for the Egyptian and Black African languages. I attempted to compare terms from the cultural vocabulary, especially kinship terms which are rarely borrowed. Using these terms it is impossible to claim that the cognation between these terms is coincidental.

In conclusion, the historical evidence that the Black Africans

and Egyptians formerly lived in the Sahara, provide historical

evidence supporting a genetic relationship between these

languages. Historical evidence also explains the Semitic terms

which appear to resemble Egyptian lexical items.

The Egyptians controlled the Levant for thousands of years.

In addition, the Hebrews are suppose to have been slaves in Egypt

for hundreds of years before they migrated to Israel. The fact

that the Semitic speakers lived in a bilingual environment in the

Levant and Egypt, explains why many Egyptian loan words are found

in Semitic.

These are just a few of the cognate Wolof and Egyptian terms

presented by Diop in <Parente genetique de Egyptien pharaonique

et des langues negro-africaines (1977), and

recherches sur l'egyptien ancien et les langues negro-africaines

modernes (1988). These cognate terms indicate that there is full

correspondence between the cosonants /n/, /p/, /m/, /b/ , /s/,

/f/, /t/ and /d/. We also see regular correspondence between

Egyptian-Wolof; p-b, p -f, i - y, k -g.

The evidence of cognate pronouns, kinship terms, Paleo-

African and institutional words support Diop's view that Egyptian

is closely related to Wolof. As I said in an earlier post Diop

has presented overwhelming evidence confirming the fact the

Egyptians is related to Niger-Congo languages. Evidence which

you have failed to disconfirm.

There is no internal or external evidence supporting the

theory that the Egyptians and Black Africans are not related.

Opposition to the cognation between the Egyptians and Black

Africans, given the absence of linguistic evidence suggest that

these ideas held by Eurocentrists are based on mysticism, their own

personal insights that have no external validation.




Farid,El-Yahky. (1985). "The Sahara and Predynastic Egypt

an Overview".The Journal for the Society for the Study Egyptian Antiquities,

17 (1/2): 58-65. This paper gives a detailed discussion of the affinities

between Egyptian civilization and the Saharan civilizations which we call

Proto-Saharan. The evidence presented in this paper support the Saharan

origin of the Egyptians.

Jelinek,J. (1985). "Tillizahren,the Key Site of the FezzaneseRock Art".

Anthropologie (Brno),23(3):223-275. This paper gives a stimulating account

of the rock art of the Sahara and the important role the C-Group people

played in the creation of this art.

Petrie,W.M.F. (1921). Corpus of Prehistoric Pottery. London. Petrie

provides the first detailed categorization of Egyptian pottery and an

informative account on theorigination of Egypt.

Quellec,J-L le. (1985). "Les Gravures Rupestres Du Fezzan (Libye)".

L'Anthropologie, 89 (3):365-383. This text deals comprehensively with the

dates and spread of specific art themes in the ancient Sahara.

Vandier,J. (1952). Manuel d'archeologie Egyptienne. Paris. This is a

fine examination of the archaeology of Egypt.

Winkler, H.A. (1938). Rock Drawings of Southern Upper

Egypt.London. 2 volumes. This book gives numerous examples of rock art

which point to an Egyptian origin in Nubia.



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The linguistic and anthropological evidence discussed in this paper make it clear that Egyptian civilization was born in the ancient Sahara. It also indicates that the Egyptian language is closely related to languages spoken by Black Africans.

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