The Black Jews of Africa Part 2: Jews of Nigeria, Senegal and Congo

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The Black Jews Of Africa Pt. 2

Jews Of Nigeria, Senegal and Congo

Moreover,with Israel coming under Greek, Persian and later Roman rule and dependency, renewed waves of Jewish refugees including traders and artisans began to set up more communities in Egypt, Cyrenaica, Nubia and the Punic Empire, notably in Carthage. From Carthage they began to scatter into various historically established, as well as newly emerging Jewish communities south of the Atlas mountains nearer to the modern day Mauritania, Niger, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Cameroon and Congo. Several Jewish nomadic groups also moved across the Sahara from Nubia and the ancient kingdom of Kush towards west Africa.

Various East and West African ethnic nations lay verifiable claim to their Jewish ancestral heritage. The Falashas, the most famous of those Black Jews have been validated. Close to three hundred thousand of those black Falasha Jews live in the modern State of Isreal as practising Jews.

The Lembas of South Africa, another so-called Bantu tribe have a cogent and valid claim to Jewish ancestory and heritage backed by solid genetic evidence i.e. the prevalence of the so-called Cohen modal J haplogroup. The Lembas as a group are indistinguishable from their Bantu neighbours suggesting that most Bantus groups possess this archetypal Jewish genetic haplogroup. It implies that there are potentially more bloodline Jews on the continent of Africa than anywhere else including modern Europe and Israel.

The names of old Jewish communities south of the Atlas mountains (around the regions of modern Niger, Nigeria), many of which existed well into Renaissance times, can be found in documents in synagogue archives in Cairo. See “George E. Lichtblau”

Jewish and Islamic chronicles cite the existence of Jewish rulers of certain Jewish tribal groups and clans (self identifying as Jewish) scattered throughout Mauritania, Senegal, the Western Sudan, Nigeria, and Ghana. See Ismael Diadie Haidara, “Les Juifs a` Timbouctou”, Recueil de sources relatives au commerce juif a Timbouctou au XIXe siecle, Editions Donniya, Bamako, 1999.

According to the Tarikh es Soudan recorded by Abderrahman ben Abdallah es-Sadi (translated by O.Houdas) a Jewish community was formed by a group of Egyptian Jews, who had travelled to the West Africa through Chad. See also: al-Kati M., “Tarikh al-Fattash, 1600”.

Another such community was located near the Niger River by the name of Koukiya led by a ruler known as Dia or Dji, a shortened form of “Dia min al Yaman” or Diallaiman (meaning he who comes from Yemen). According to local traditions, Diallaiman was a member of one of the Ethiopian-Jewish colonies transplanted from Yemen to Ethiopian-Abbysinia in the 6th century C.E. Dialliaman is said to have moved to West Africa along with his brother. They set up the Jewish community in Northern Nigeria which later merged with the famous 7 Hausa States. See Meek C.K., “Northern Nigeria Tribes” Volume 1, Oxford, p.66.

A 9th century Jewish traveller Eldad ben-Mahli (also known as Eldad the Danite) related accounts about the location of some of the lost tribes of the House of Israel. According to this account, the tribe of Dan had migrated from Palestine so as not to take part in the internecine civil wars at the time of Yeroboam’s succession. It was reported that this section was residing in the land of Havila beyond the waters of Ethiopia where there was much gold i.e. West Africa.

It was further reported that three other tribes had joined the tribe of Dan namely Naphtali, Gad, Asher. Those joined up with Dan in the land of Havila in the times of Sennacherib. They had an entire body of scriptures barring Esther and Lamentations. They neither used the Talmud nor the Mishna, but they had a Talmud of their own in which all the laws were cited in the name of Joshua the son of Nun. See Nahum Slouschz, “Travels in North Africa” Philadelphia 1927, p.227.

Ibn Khaldun, who lived in the 13th century, a respected authority on Berber history testified about the Black Jews of Western Sudan with whom he personally interacted. The famous muslim geographer al-Idrisi, born in Ceuta, Spain in the 12th century, wrote extensively about Jewish Negroes in the Western Sudan.

Black Jews were fully integrated and achieved pre-eminence in many West African kingdoms. For instance Jews were believed to have settled in great West African empires such as Songhai, Mali, Ghana and Kanem-Bornu empires. According to numerous accounts of contemporary visitors to the region several rulers, and administrators of the Songhai empire were of Jewish origins until Askia Muhammad came to power in 1492 and decreed that all Jews either convert to Islam or leave the region. See Ismael Diadie Haidara, “Les Juifs a` Timbouctou”, Recueil de sources relatives au commerce juif a Timbouctou au XIXe siecle, Editions Donniya, Bamako, 1999.

The 16th century historian and traveler Leon Africanus, was a Hebrew-speaking Jewish convert to Islam, raised in a Jewish household by Jewish parents of Moroccan descent. Leon Africanus travelled extensively in Africa south of the Sahara where he encountered innumerable Black African Jewish communities. Leon later converted to Catholicism but remained interested in Jewish communities he encountered throughout his travels in West Africa. See Leo Africanus (al-Hassan b. al -Wazzan al-Zayyati), Della discrittione dell’Africa per Giovanni Leoni Africano, Settima Parte, in G.B. Ramusio, Delle navigationi e viaggi. Venice 1550, I, ff.78-81r.

Additional evidence is provided by surviving oral traditions of numerous African ethnic groups, including links to biblical ancestors, names of localities, and ceremonies with affinities to Jewish ritual practices. Moreover, the writings of several modern West African historians indicate that the memories of Jewish roots historical in West Africa continue to survive.

For instance, there are a number of historical records of small Jewish kingdoms and tribal groups known as Beni Israel that were part of the Wolof and Mandinge communities. These existed in Senegal from the early Middle Ages up to the 18th century, when they were forced to convert to Islam. Some of these claimed to be descendants of the tribe of Dan, the traditional tribe of Jewish gold and metal artisans, who are also said to have built the “Golden Calf”.

Black Jews are said to have formed the roots of a powerful craft tradition among the still-renowned Senegalese goldsmiths, jewelers and other metal artisans. The name of an old Senegalese province called “Juddala” is said to attest to the notable impact Jews made in this part of the world. In addition to the Jewish tribal groups in Senegal who claim to be descendants of the tribe of Dan, the Ethiopian Jews also trace their ancestry to the tribe of Dan.

Additionally, Mr. Bubu Hama, a former president of the National Assembly in Niger and a prolific writer on African history has argued in many treatise as well as lecture tours that the Tuaregs had a Jewish queen in early medieval times, and that some Jewish Tuareg clans had preserved their adherence to that faith, in defiance of both Islamic and Christian missionary pressure, until the 18th century. In several of his books Hama cites the genealogies of Jewish rulers of the Tuareg and Hausa kingdoms. See “Lichtblau”.

Some accounts place some West African Jewish community in the Ondo forest of Nigeria, south of Timbouctou. This community maintained a Torah Scroll as late as 1930s, written in Aramaic that had been burnt into parchment with a hot iron instead of ink so it could not be changed. See Gonen Rivaka, “The Quest for the Ten Lost tribes of israel: To the Ends of the Earth”, Jason Aronson Inc., Northville, NJ., 2002 at pages 180-181.

The Igbos of Nigeria, one of the bigger nations that comprise Nigeria lay a strong claim to Jewish ancestry as borne out by their mores, laws, rituals and idioms which have a heavily accented old testament Hebrew flavour.See Ilona R, “The Ibos: Jews of Nigeria,” volume 1, Research Findings Historical Links, Commentaries, Narratives,” 2004, Mega Press Limited, Abuja, Nigeria

Some of the established Jewish communities existed in such still renowned places as Gao, Timbuktu Bamako, Agadez, and Kano. In Timbucktu, the UNESCO still maintains notable archives containing records of the old Jewish community of Mali and the Hausa states of Nigeria.

Jide Uwechia

Aug 15, 2007

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63 thoughts on “The Black Jews of Africa Part 2: Jews of Nigeria, Senegal and Congo”

  1. When we hear any leader in this evil world talks about combating evil ,know for sure that he has no peaceful meansWe know so far in this world violence begat voilence.To all the head of states around this world it is your duty to let the Children Of Israel who resided go out from among you in your respective domain.All Israelitesabroad-the descendants of Jacob the Syrian who left out of Caanan and went into EGYPT Tthe time has come .for the Israel to head home to Umunta Ezeajanah—–the same is Mt Zion.located in the East of River Niger the equatorial areaknown in ancient times as etti offia just as we say Ethopia—This area was referred to as the Central jungle

  2. From 800 to 1808 Jews leaders.Abuyazidu who is called bayajidda.That we should call themHAUSA leaders jews.Ufortunate for them at bening of the ninteenth century these fouten state were force to quite the Jews leaders Hausa tribe.
    This was as a good result of the jihad declearedand fought by the tribe called fulan.
    The Hausa tribe came from Habbsha today is call Ethiopia.please go Eglandn musum you should see a book which the son of Usman Dan fodio said in his book the history of Hausa tribe as i said from the next page.
    He said in his book hausa tribe in Syria more than five thousanth year a go.
    Hausa tribes are good muslim.
    | They came with Prophet musa mosis’ s religion they had chaged it to ISLAMIC.

  3. Thanks for EVEN more evidence….of Judaism…being black and african….any refutation of the legitamacy of black Jews is illogical

  4. It is very simple Africans once inhabited Israel that was then part of Egypt. WHen the Arabs / muslim Persians, Greeks, Romans conquered North Africa africans scattered all over the world mainly migrating cenral and south of africa where they could survive in the midst of their own people. It is true than in many respects those that stole african lands also stole the names in order hide the historical ownership of african heritages. For example Sudan means ‘of blacks’ but blacks were pushed down south beyond Darfu, Egypt is means african yet its inhabitants including Jews were scattered south, jews in israel today are not the original ones, they stole african identity to confuse and claim historical ownership of that land bordering Egypt. In the past there was no man-made fence between Egypt and Israel, it was one country of black african origin like south sudan to south africa today. So original black jews are africans not imposters of today, Israel is a historical african land and we are proud of that fact. My plea is that historical records must be studied not with 2000 years of christianity but 6000 years before Christ was born, there you find true africa in its classical perspective, the world superpower before any one could dream of being such. THe African dehumanisation was cost by this collosal land and cultural disposition, a malady were are reversing in ernest from south to north.Africa’s return to her former glory and the whole world will benefit emesenly and wars will be habits of the past. Peace and true Botho / Ubuntu will be the order of the new dispesantion and our spirits will rejoice as deprivation will a past sin.

  5. To be more explicit, not all Black Africans are Hebrews. Hebrews are people of different skin tones & pigmentation. There are white Hebrews. So as I said (above) that caucasian Jews are imposters I didn’t mean white Yehudim. Yedudim is original Hebrew. The very people that changed the name “Yehudim” to “Jew” & equally don’t like to accommodate other Hebrews because of their skin colour are the ONES I call imposters.

  6. The name Jew does NOT necessarily refer
    to Judah. Jew also referred to the Wisemen
    or the Rabbis. In this regard the name Jew
    is rooted in the word Yudea meaning to KNOW .
    The Yudea(Knowlegable Ones)were originally
    known in Babylon as those who mastered the
    knowledge of the Anakim,being the giants who
    ” Fell ” from the Planet Nibiru( IBIRU=HEBREW).
    As the followers of the Anak they were called
    Enkidu(ENK-IDU). Enki was known as the
    “Hairy-Hunter” . The worshippers of Enki
    customarily placed goat skins on their hands
    and brought goat dish offerings. In the Bible
    Enki is transformed into the mythological
    twin of Jacob named ” Esau ” who is the
    ” Hairy Hunter “. Enki was also known as
    the ” Trickster “. When Jacob placed the goat
    skins on his hands and brought his father
    the goat dish offering he was really worshipping
    Enki. Being disguised as Esau(Enki), Jacob
    becomes one with the “Trickster” Enki. Later
    Jacob bows down to Enki(Esau) 7 times and
    states: “To see your face is to see the face of God”
    The planet Nibiru was known as the RED PLANET
    and is believed by many to have been Mars. The
    followers of the Anakim were also known as the
    RED ones referring to the knowledge of Nibiru.
    This is the real reason why Esau is called the
    RED one. Esau is really Enki and the followers
    of Enki are known as the Enki-Idu or the Idumeans.
    The Idumeans are the JEWS. The So-Called Torah
    of today was written by the ENKI-IDU being the
    Idumeans or Edomites. The modern day Jews do
    NOT take their name from Judah but from the word
    Yudea(IDU) meaning to know. The real name Judah means
    to Praise. The real Judahites were singers who praised
    the Lord. The Book of Samuel states that King David taught
    the Judahites the Song of the Bow as is written in the Book of
    Yashar(Songs). The Judahites served amongst the Levites
    by Praising the Lord through Songs. The real Judahites came
    under the banner of the Levites which was the LION. In Hebrew
    Lawi(Levi) is another way of saying LION. The personal symbol
    of Judah was not the Lion but the Elephant. The Elephant represented
    the Praiser or trumpet blaster. The Lemba tribe maintains the
    ” Elephant of Judah “. Interestingly it was the Buba priest clan of the
    Lemba that tested positive for the Kohen DNA. According to the
    Lemba the name Buba means Judah.

  7. No one tells it like the “ANAJAH Everybody’s Roots” Learn the ” Literal ” meaning of “Words” Check it out ……U may learn something. Here In the “ANAJAH” you have the Igbo word PLUS the English pronunciations AND the “literal meaning” of every word hi-lighted in the passage. I say that “ANAJAH Everybody’s Roots” was written for the scholars. Blessed.

  8. there is no evidence to say you are Jews.Ethiopia is the poor which Jews are used them to stop gun before reach the Jews.No evidence in Ethiopia there are Jews .The evidence which we are under standing is to find someone who created something.there is not good education .

    1. The present day are fake Jews … If there are white folks pretending to be Jews then there are real Jews who ate Black… And that’s a fact

  9. Can some one explain “Nze” culture i.e. what it means in Igbo

    I am curious becoz ” Nze” means me or I in Ganda tongue.

    Nze culture I therefore understand it to mean selfishness


  10. I was in several villages in Senegal in the north, Dakar and the south and in the PEUL-TOUCOULEUR Tribes, the storry of their family descends from father to sons generations away, it?s an oral tradition like in much of Africa.
    They claim very clearly that they are nomads that have descended from the “Horn of Africa”
    They were forced into conversion to Islam in order to survive, but many of the customs resemble jewish sefarad customs.
    It would be interesting to run DNA tests on the Peul-Toucouleurs to see how deep the story really is, but many of the facial features are very resemblant to Ethiopians and other jewish races…..
    In the end, I think we will discover that most of us are jews!

  11. We the Hebrew Israelite Nation should never call our selfs Black Jews or Black Hebrews because when we say Jews then we are not a Nation of People. And when you call your self a hebrew which hebrew are you talking about. The Moabites,Edomites,Ismaelites,Midinites, All these are hebrews but not Hebrew israelites you feel me.

  12. The thing of Color, the thing that divides the world. What else are we talking about here saving the game of status, patron and polity. What is Judaism without AFRICA. The only Chance that Hebrews have to make a case for themselves in the world is those of new facility of the language similarity between Igbo and Hebrew. I shall publish a book next year’s October’ 2012, on ‘Etymology and the Problems of African History’ that will lend additional eyes to this dibble with race and religion, since enough exist to tow the lines of world languages as official guide to better synthesis of world history.

  13. Thanks for all the information. I’m from Jamaica, West Indies and I need to know my roots. I.m from the Ashanti and I believe that the Ashanti are also Hebrew Israelites. I need more information about the Ashanti Priest called Stanley, The Town Crier.

  14. bar yisrael-i come from ivory coast of group kru-bete,there are several signs in my group which prouve that they como to israel.their paternal or family name(yaïr,yahou,yehou,yohouda,gouda,gadou,gadouan,seri,beno.gadi,alia,koré,maka,mahi,yoh,iddo,yedo,abi,abihou,baï,zadi,zekaï,gueder,zion,zehia,madou,barouan,barouh…sabaon,their town issia,tabou,tabbaoth,laouda,guiberoa,kahein da,

  15. other names also babou,alia,nachalé,tohou,bohou,bedi,ouri,oura,oré,maon,yezion,tah,dan,dahon,dano,danon,gadoukou,ogou,oulaï,madi,ozoua,ibo,sehia,gahoudi,saki,lehi,zabaï,zia,zoro,abiali…their clans(gabia,badi,zedi,didia,dakua,bamo,yocollo,pacollo,niabré…guemin),they say that their ancestor were came from to old ethiopia

  16. I have always suspected that we African-americans brought both the Jewish and Christian faiths WITH US from Africa, since we organized our churches during slavery, secretly worshiped and practiced baptisms at night, and never accepted slave traders and slave owners as “Christians.” We also retain many Hebraic/Jewish customs and traditions in black churches which are not found Euro-american churches, such as prayer chanting, saying the Shema and Decalogue, and wearing of white for the first Sunday. Also, we are 60% or more of Igbo descent. If we could get every African in the Diaspora and on the continent genetically tested, there are probably millionsof us African Hebrews/Israelites/Jews!

  17. The first pointer I had regarding the close affinity between (at least some) Yoruba tribes and the ancient Israelites is the creation story. The Hebrew Scriptures make clear that Almighty Yahuwah created everything by, for and through His Word Son Yahu Yahuwah (who later was made flesh and called Yahushua. Yoruba mythological accounts say Oluwa (note the different but quite similar phonetic to Yahuwah, different no doubt cos of language dynamics that follows separation and isolation over hundreds of years) aka Olodumare created all things through His Fellow called Obatala, who also created the other eloaim/gods – the scriptural sons of Elohim who were allotted the seventy nations divided into their boundaries in Gen 10 and referenced by Musa (Moses) in Deut. 32:8, “…When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance, when He separated the sons of Adam, He established the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the sons of Elohim”. Note that the (mis)translations all over the place including KJV read “…according to the number of the children of Israel”, a no-sense rendition!.

    Among other practices shared in common are 8th day circumcision and/or naming a child, impurity laws and separation of menstruating women & ritual washing. After the institution of the priesthood through Moses, inquiries by the laity involves the priests who employed the Urim and Thumim for divine guidance; this is very similar to divination by Ifa priests who employ the “opele”. As well as the practice of polygamy, a brother is also expected to step into a dead kinsman’s role of husband to a young widow.

  18. Jews, or Hebrews, or Israelites, is one same thing. No need to go into semantics here. Before the split between the tribe of Judah and the 10 tribes, there was no specific mention of “Jews” in the Bible. All of the 12 tribes were called Israel, or Hebrews as a generic name. Now, what should be basic knowledge, and there is no mystery about that, is that the term Jew (Yehudi in Hebrew) applied to members of the tribe of Judah first, and then became a generic term for all Israelites since the time of the Biblical Book of Esther. In Esther it already states that the presence of Jews in those days extended “from India to Africa”. So from the Bible itself it was plainly stated that there are Jews in Africa since biblical times. I don’t know why people are still surprised or doubtful about this basic fact. It only shows that they are ignorant of the Bible. Moreover, the book of Esther states that after the miracle ” many of the nations became Jews, for the Fear of the Jews had fallen upon them”, the Fear of the Jews meaning the belief in God. That comes to show us that being a Jew is not exclusively an ethnic quality, it is a faith, which was adopted by many nations at the time. This is very important, if not essential. Hebraism is a culture, a worldview, and not just an ethnicity. God does not mind what your ethnic origin is, it doesnt make you a better person. If you were fortunate enough to receive a good education from your elders and family, good for you. But anyone can choose to lead a good life with good principles, no matter what his ethnic background is. That is the message. Haile Selassie said “Until the colour of a man’s skin is of no more significance than the colour of his eyes”, so all this race division is nothing but Babylon tactics and confusion meant to create the illusion of difference between the children of the Most High. When we start thinking of people like football hooligans think about their favorite teams, we are just being dumbed down. Skin colours and ethnicities are here to help us appreciate the Beauty of Jah Creation, not make us into deciders of who is superior or inferior, seen?

  19. Although Ahaya has a chosen people (the original people of Yisrael) all are welcomed to be grafted in. However, as it is written, those grafted in cannot boast against the natural branches. The Most High mentions that if he cut his chosen people off for their disobedience, he will obviously those of non-chosen stock would be cut off as well.

    The point is that there are people on this planet that will change things into the word Kingdom it is supposed to be. Law of the world will go out from Yisrael. There will be no more war, famine, disease, or any other madness we see today.

    In order for this to happen, the real children of Ahaya must rise, and the current Kingdom must fall. You can easily see that we are almost there. Prophecy is being fulfilled. Once the Meads/Persians are turned around to action against the little horn/modern day Babylon, we will really be on our way in a manner that nobody will be able to deny. The world will turn to us (the chosen). And yes, we will all be in the wilderness (African Countries) again, and Ahaya will show his power and glory to the other nations and to us directly. There will be no question, no doubt about what is going on.

    If you are out there Yisrael, please rise! Find like minded people, get right with the Most High, get baptized, and know thyself! You are special, you are chosen!

    See you all in Zion!

  20. Several years ago I met some Masai brothers from the area that is now called Kenya. They were traveling the US speaking to groups who were willing to listen, some times host and hear about the plight of the Masia people and their suffering under Kenyan government through polities that would take some vast stretches of the traditional lands. Their vital spiritual and historical connection with the land is essential to their survival as a people…”no more land, no more Masai”.
    I had good conversation with one of them who did a lot narrative during just a portion of their presentation when they all sang and danced in the tradition. All right now, to get to my point: The Masai brother told me that when the missionaries arrived and at some point shared with the Masai people the Old Testament/Torah story of Jacob and Issac, the Masai had heard it before because the same exact story is in their oral storytelling tradition going back long before Western Christianity arrived in Africa.

    1. This Maasai you are talking about practice female Circumcision as their tradition.The government in Kenya have always advised againast that but no fruition. Now how is that Jewish.The bantus in Africa are the true Isralites

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