ACCRA — The central idea of Ma’at lay at the foundation of Kemet’s (Ancient Egypt) view of the world. The Pharaoh as the guarantor of state sovereignty and power was entrusted to maintain and enforce Ma’at. What is Ma’at and how can its ascension to a central role in modern African strategic geopolitical thinking play a role in returning Africa to its traditional powerful role in global power politics?

Ma’at in Kemet represented order, structure and was symbolized by the goddess who bore the name Ma’at and wore a tall ostrich feather on her head. She was called the daughter of Ra or the eye of Ra. Ra was the First Cause, the God-Being that governed the world. Ra coming into being out of the primeval Nun only came into control of cosmic reality, when he set his daughter Ma’at in place of Isfet which represented chaos.

Therefore, the control of cosmic reality is contingent on the ascendancy of Ma’at over Isfet. The Pharaohs are represented on ancient reliefs as presenting statuettes of the goddess Ma’at to the Gods. This was considered a supreme gift. Pharaohs had the all-important duty of making sure that Ma’at held, that it was preserved and that Isfet was kept at bay. The Pharaoh in control of localized cosmic reality had to live by Ma’at and preserve it in that localized cosmic reality which was Kemet.

The preservation of Ma’at was the central governing principle in the Pharaoh’s geopolitical thinking, in protecting the state, ensuring its power and sovereignty, and dealing with foreign powers both friendly and hostile. An example of pharaonic thinking on Ma’at can be seen in part on a monumental inscription of Akhenaten which in part says:

Oath spoken by the King of Upper and Lower Egypt who lives by

Ma’at, the Lord of the Two Lands, Neferkheprure, Sole one of Re; the Son

of Re who lives by Ma’at, the Lord of crowns, Akhenaten, great in his

lifetime, given life forever.

Within the realm, Ma’at was preserved by the Pharaoh while the forces of Isfet were held at bay outside the realm by virtue of the Pharaoh’s power both military and sacred.

Ma’at in one of its manifold aspects can be viewed as a fundamental force of metaphysical reality in the same way that gravity or the weak or strong nuclear force are fundamental forces of physical reality. It is described by the brilliant African historian and Egyptologist Theophilus Obenga, as the totality of all things possessing existence, actuality or essence.

As a fundamental force of metaphysical reality, it is everywhere and permeates the entire metaphysical universe.  The fundamental forces of physical reality create order and structure in that reality and can be harnessed to generate power like in the case of gravity for hydroelectric energy or the nuclear forces for nuclear energy or nuclear weapons. Ma’at in its aspect as a fundamental force creates order and structure in metaphysical reality and can be harnessed to generate metaphysical power – the triumph of the will and the mind that when channeled can generate all the modes of geopolitical power in its scientific, industrial, technological, military and cultural forms.

We will now explore how the fundamental force of Ma’at can be the central driver in African geopolitical thinking and its role in African interactions with the outside world.

Ma’at which is linked to the control of cosmic reality can only fully exist in Africa when there are no neocolonial structures in Africa. The neocolonial structures do not allow Africa to control its own cosmic reality. The presence of foreign military bases like AFRICOM and countless US drone bases represent nodes of Isfet which need to be excised from the body of the continent. Their presence does not allow Ma’at to exist or reign in its totality in Africa.

The reaching of a state of Ma’at in Africa and its satellite nations of the diaspora means having total economic and political sovereignty. Anything less than that indicates that we are in the state of Isfet. The fundamental aim of a new vitalizing elite in Africa should be just like the Pharaohs of Kemet to achieve and maintain Ma’at in Africa. The preservation of this state of Ma’at requires having the military power to keep the forces of Isfet away. Thus, the development of overwhelming military power in all its forms is intrinsically linked to our control of our African cosmic reality and hence to the preservation of Ma’at in the greater African world.

In all of our dealings with the outside world where Isfet reigns as a natural state of affairs, our geopolitical goal should be to limit our interactions with that world to transactional relations which does not entangle us in situations that can negatively affect the state of Ma’at which we aim to preserve in Africa and its historical appendages outside Africa. We should always remember that, geopolitically, we do not have allies in the world but rather geopolitical nodes where our interactions with them can lead to either preserving our state of Ma’at or introducing Isfet into our cosmic reality.

Therefore, the geopolitical thinking of our elite should be governed by the central question, are our interactions with other geopolitical nodes enhancing Ma’at or producing Isfet. Such a fundamental realignment of our geopolitical thinking based on the ancient concept of Ma’at will provide the ideological framework to guide our rise again to the very center of global power. This should be the goal of a new historically conscious African elite.


  1. All our historical sense involves a perception, not only of the pastness of our ancient past, but of its presence; the historical sense here compels our friend Jehuti Nefekare to fashion the wisdom of what African geopolitics should entail today. He writes not only with his own generation in his bones, but with the feeling that the whole of the literature and orature of our ancient past, in Kemet, in Nubia, from Imhotep to Ahmed Baba and Mohammed Bagayogo, and within it the whole of the literature of our respective nations, on this African continent, has a simultaneous existence and composes a simultaneous order with the spirit of our Ancestors. This is what African intellectuals seek, must seek, to restore Ma’at to a dying continent, to a dying world.


  2. Very well articulated. We have people in government, right now in Africa, in Ghana, who the term “geopolitics” evades them. They may have heard it here or there but could be counted upon to give it meaning in any context. Soon, I would also like an essay explaining the meaning and importance of geopolitics so I can email to government officials in Ghana and beyond.

    One day, when we interview presidential “con-didates,” we need to ask them questions about geopolotics such as: What is the role of Ghana in the world? Simple question but I bet anyone a million dollars that not Mahama, not Akuffo-Addo, not Buhari (if he’s awake at all), can answer that simple question with any meaningful theory, doctrine, ideology. It’s a shame I wasn’t born during the times of the Pharaohs. It’s a big fat shame I was actually born during an African epoch where fools and idiots gallivant the continent in the name of western democracy. It’s a shame.

    But thanks for the enlightenment on how and why we must situate a collective geopolitical outlook within the careful framework of Ma’at.

  3. A focused, straightforward doctrine of what should gird a collective African geopolitical strategy – Ma’at! Our culture steeped in the essence of Ma’at is what sets African nations apart from every other. And Dade, what an apt description of candidates for political office in our countries today. “Condidates!” indeed.

  4. If we practiced what our ancestors taught; if we didn’t aid barbarians in the burning down of whole libraries in Timbuktu, and even in Alexandria before it, Africa would still be what it was yesteryear. The problem it seems has been amply discussed by you, Narmer Amenuti and various scribes at Grandmother. The discarding of our writing cultures, our literature, in place of an orature, and which inevitably seem to have resulted in an Oral Culture displaced our sense of an ideology in geopolitics. We couldn’t even tell the difference between strange ideals from ours (Audu Salisu). Today, the president of Ghana cannot tell when the IMF, the World Bank, the US Government, the British Embassy, are colluding to dupe Ghana of her natural resources.

    Meanwhile, only about two hundred years ago an “un-educated” linguist in Asanteman asked meaningful questions to a young keeper of the memories, Bowdich, who had assured King Osei Bonsu that Britain’s motives in trading on the Gold Coast were well-intentioned, “consisting of nothing more than a desire to share the benefits of English civilization.” The Asante King guffawed at the remark and the linguist asked the young keeper of the memories, “Now, how do you wish to persuade me that this is only for so flimsy a motive that you have left this fine and happy England?”

    We live in a country of fools right now. We are governed by supreme idiots. It’s a shame!

  5. To do a kind of rejoinder to your comment, have you realized that since local broadcasters opened numerous radio and tv stations broadcasting in Ga, Hausa, Twi etc, our command of these languages have tremendously increased. Now I can tell you the difference between liberty and freedom, chairman and secretary is in twi, I can tell you what a speaker of parliament is called in twi.

    You have to ask yourself: if I have the command of these languages and I can tell the difference between liberty and freedom in them without having to struggle, then can’t I have comprehensive modern African strategic geopolitical thinking in my own linguistic understanding? Of course I can.

    Development from our own culture’s perspective is not rocket science, it just needs to be practiced. I had to laugh when I heard
    Mahama saying in an interview that he is a social democrat. Two minutes later, when asked why he scrapped a government social democratic welfare type allowance of teachers and introduced a neo conservative type conditions-driven student loan system, he said that meant social justice. I could not stop laughing. I’m sure they think saying stuff like that is the ticket to nirvana.

    In the same newscast, though the poorest of the poor on earth include African Americans, the USAID left them and came to Ghana, and stood in front of Ghana agric minister and said they will bring them android based tablets for agric info processing and the minister and Ghanaian present believed the young USAID dude. Dube what about our simply hygiene and sanitation issues? In fact Ghana stinks, from upper class East Legon through low income areas like Nima, To Aboabo in Kumasi, the whole country stinks and these guys are discussing android based technology for farmers.
    What is wrong with us at all?

  6. That’s an interesting observation Audu Salisu! Colonial alienation of the petty-bourgeoisie takes two interlinked forms: (1) the active (or passive) distancing from the peasantry and (2) the active (or passive) association with what is without. Our elite, especially those that belong to the School of Patrick Awuah feel that the Ghanaian child must rise upwards to meet with or join the rest of the world. Patrick Awuah actually said this! Not that the child must be educated that he might rise to know his values and his own, and enable them to rise to meet their own challenges: challenges different from those of corporate America!

  7. For Ma’at we all must stand to help Mother Afrika win the geopolitical Struggle against the Maangamizi crimes of Genocide/Ecocide and completely emancipate herself from the Isfet quislings of Euro-Amerikkkan Imperialism and their “Condidates” in and beyond Ghana! Excellent article, Jehuti Nefekare, and brilliant as usual commentary from my most favourite beloved Scribes at Gradmother Africa! Yes, Dade Afre Akufu has given us an apt new word for the contrickers: “Condidates” indeed!

  8. I too am waiting for African geopolitics to have a trace of something African so we can call it our own and say it proudly affects our cultures. Someone should ask our condidate leaders if they know what Ma’at is at all? They need to understand that Africa is in need of balance in order to recognize the chaotic forces preventing her from achieving this ultimate goal. Lots to think about here.


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