When our history reveals to us the richness of African thought
Although this is disturbing information for those who claim to have the exclusivity of “Human Rights”, the first true declaration of universal right to humanity in history comes from Africa, from Mali exactly with the charter of Kouroukan Foura or Donsolu Kalikan (hunters’ oath). It dates from the 13th century (Common era), officially proclaimed during the advent of Sunjata Keita, founder of the Mali Empire in 1236. His successor will be the famous Mansa Musa, the richest person who has ever existed in the story. In 2009, the United Nations listed it as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity. Here is the text:
The Manden was founded on understanding and love, freedom and fraternity. This means that there can be no ethnic or racial discrimination in Manden. This was the meaning of our fight. Therefore, the children of Sanenè and Kòntròn make, to the address of the twelve parts of the world and in the name of the entire Manden, the following proclamation:
All [human] life is life.
It is true that one life comes into existence before another life.
But a life is no more “old”, more respectable, than another life.
Just as one life is not superior to another life.
All life being a life,
Any wrong done to a life requires reparation,
Let no one attack his neighbor gratuitously,
Let no one harm his neighbour,
Let no one martyr his fellow man.
Let each watch over his neighbour,
Let everyone venerate his parents,
Let everyone educate their children properly,
Let everyone “maintain” in other words provide for the needs of the members of his family.
Let everyone watch over the country of his fathers.
By country or homeland,
We must also and above all listen to men;
Because any country, any land that would see men disappear from its surface would immediately become nostalgic [would experience sadness and desolation].
Hunger is not a good thing;
Slavery is not a good thing;
There is no worse calamity than these things
In this world.
As long as we hold the quiver and the bow,
Hunger will no longer kill anyone in Manden,
If by chance famine were to occur;
War will never again destroy a village in Manden
To take slaves there;
That is to say that no one will now place the bit in the mouth
of his fellow
To go and sell it,
No one will be beaten either,
A fortiori put to death,
because he is the son of a slave.
The essence of slavery is extinguished this day,
“from one wall to another” of the Manden;
The raid is banned from this day in Manden;
The torments born of these horrors are over from this day in Manden.
What an ordeal is torment!
Especially when the oppressed has no recourse.
What degradation is slavery!
The slave enjoys no consideration,
Nowhere in the world.
the people of old tell us:
man as an individual,
Made of bone and flesh,
Of marrow and nerves
Of skin and hair covering it,
Feeds on food and drink;
But his “soul”, his spirit lives on three things:
See who he wants to see,
Say what he wants to say,
And do what he feels like doing;
If one of these things were to fail the soul,
She would suffer
And would surely wither away.
Accordingly, the hunters declare:
Everyone now has their own person,
Everyone is free in their actions,
In respect of the “prohibitions”, of the laws of the Fatherland,
Such is the oath of the Manden,
For ears around the world.
Source: Youssouf Tata Cissé, based on an account by Fa-Djimba Kanté