I have had many moments of reflection and celebration through out the year and the culmination of 2014 followed suit, I rang it in with friends and it was simple, elegant, and nourishing. I hope your holiday season was spent in ways that nourished your spirit, as well.
One of the things I celebrated was receiving my ancestral DNA results back from Ancestry.com, in it I was able to discover the regions throughout Western Africa in which my family lineage hails from. To my pleasant surprise Mali was one of the countries listed, along with Ghana, Congo and a few countries in Europe.
When I began to read the descriptions of the different regions Mali excited me, it seemed like a beautiful place with a great mixture of culture and diversity and it was once one of the three great Empires that ruled trans-Saharan trade in gold, salt, and they also traded in slaves. What piqued my interest about Mali was the story of one of its Emperors, Mansa Musa, who is known as the richest man in history. Besides the fact that he was able to amass the level of fortune he did, what drew me in, was seeing his name in my DNA report marked the third time I read or heard about him within the past month.
The first time my friend Aree showed me one of the necklaces she designed with his name inscribed in it, the next time my friend Van posted an article about African History and his name appeared in it with this story (see excerpt below), and Lastly, this past Tuesday as I was reading the description of Mali, from my DNA report.
Accompanied by thousands of richly dressed servants and supporters Musa made generous donations to the poor and to charitable organizations as well as the rulers of the lands his entourage crossed. On his stop in Cairo, Egypt, the Emperor gave out so much gold that he generated a brief decline in its value. Cairo’s gold market recovered over a decade later.
As I walk the path of expanding my ideas of my own limits, having the knowledge of my ancestors and their accomplishment is a powerful tool as it reminds me that I am simply a rehashing of their DNA and what they have done, I can do.
I believe in an effort to know ourselves we must know our past, I highly recommend looking into having your DNA tested. Africanancestry.com is a Black owned business they can narrow your results down to present regions and countries in Africa, also they have ties to African Embassies to help further your connection.
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