Home LITERATURE AFRICA – The eminent African-American historian, Runoko Rashidi, is no longer

AFRICA – The eminent African-American historian, Runoko Rashidi, is no longer


Beninese pan-Africanist Dieudonné Gnammankou, a famous history researcher, paid a vibrant tribute to him in a text published on his facebook page on Tuesday 3 August.

The world of history is in mourning. The famous African-American historian, Runoko Rashidi, died on Tuesday 3 August during a trip to Egypt. Renowned for his knowledge and research on the greatness of classical African civilizations, their presence in pre-Columbian America and ancient Asia, the author of “Millennial History of Africans in Asia” has worked for decades to restore the past of blacks. He made his mission on earth the unity of Africans and especially of Africans of the Americas. He was also known for his admiration for the African woman he wanted to see rise to the highest. Runoko Rashidi, the man who has visited many countries on the planet, died at the age of 67 during a trip with his students to Egypt. Beninese pan-Africanist Dieudonné Gnammankou, a famous history researcher, paid a vibrant tribute to him in a text published on his facebook page on Tuesday 3 August. Ze-africanews lets you discover this beautiful testimony of a passionate history of the African continent.

Dear friends and history buffs, the announcement of the departure to the Ancestors of the famous historian Runoko Rashidi shocked me this afternoon, August 3, 2021. I will paraphrase the fon tradition by saying that I am inconsolable and in shock since I learned that my fofo Runoko Rashidi went to the land of the Aïnou/Ayinou, the founding Ancestors of the land of Kemi (Kemet) came from Ta Nehesi (Nubia).

At the age of 67 and without warning, one of the last great Giants of writing and popularization of world African history became an Ancestor by leaving this world during his annual trip to Egypt with his students.

A terrible loss for his family and his last daughter, Assata-Garvey, but also for the world African historian community of which he was one of the brightest stars in the image of Sopedet (Sirius).

Trained at the school of the great historian Ivan van Seritima ( *They came before Columbus*, *Journal of African Civilizations*, etc.) and other great African historians in the United States, he was the greatest advocate and promoter of African influence in the world. Prolific author, no less than 22 books, I am the editor of five in London and two in Paris, Brother Runoko as he liked to call him, was an African par excellence, who loved his continent. We could even appoint him posthumously, the King of African soft power. He loved Africans and their great achievements in world history.

Then president of Senegal, Abdoulaye Wade, was so impressed by the contents of his first book that I had published in France in 2005, *Histoire millénaire des Africains en Asie*, republished by DAGAN Éditions in 2012 under the title, *A hundred thousand years of African presence in Asia*, he invited him as guest star at the Fesman 2010, World Festival of Negro Arts in Dakar. An excellent speaker straight out of the temples of Upper Egypt, Brother Runoko knew how to transmit his encyclopedic knowledge to the general public without the slightest elitism with his charisma and his devastating humour. President Wade was thrilled. He took the microphone to explain the importance of Runoko Rashidi’s work on major African contributions to Asian countries.

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Brother Runoko was the tireless ambassador of the oppressed black peoples of Papua New Guinea, whose leader, Benny Wenda, had been invited to the Fesman. The Dalits, India’s oppressed black minority, have lost their best international ambassador!

On May 12, 2005, I had the honour of meeting Brother Runoko in person in Miami at Florida International University at a major symposium organized by Carole Boyce Davis.Preparatory Symposium of the African Diaspora Encyclopedia. I was very happy to see him in the flesh and he too because he had read my two books on General Hannibal and the Russian poet Pushkin. To me he was a giant of the global black world.
Runoko loved Pushkin. He also loved Dumas.

We sympathized and in December I was the editor of his first book translated into French by a young Rwandan translator Maurice Akingeneye. For this occasion, I had brought him to Toulouse for the colloquium of the MAT, Maison de l’Afrique à Toulouse, on *Les Africains et leurs descendants en Europe avant le XXe siècle*. Then in Paris where the big hall of the Ecole des Mines was packed to the brim. More than 300 books signed that day… It was my christening as a publisher.We’ve been together ever since.

Brother Runoko came to see me in Porto Novo in January 2019, making Benin a Runoko Tour destination in Africa. He wanted to see the Akanga Center. He loved me very much and loved my books. He did me the great honour of putting in his List of the 100 most important black books of the 20th century my book, *Pushkin and the Black World*, published in 1999 by Présence Africaine!

In 2012 I published his second book in French translated by Zawadi Sagna, *Réflexions et voyages sur les traces de l’Afrique dans le monde*. I also published five more of his books in my London-based publishing house, Books of Africa.

In 2014, he came to the History and Renaissance Day that the Dumas-Pushkin Center of which I am the president had organized in Achères in the Paris region.

Brother Runoko had promised to return to Benin. He was a great man who deserved to have a statue and a Center in an African city.

Alcali Dieudonné Gnammankou


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