Lost Tribes of Israel in Africa
The Lemba see themselves as Jews or Israelites who moved south into Yemen and then into Africa as traders. They are found throughout Southern Africa, but are primarily in the provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga, as well as the southern regions of Zimbabwe.
You’re not alone if you’ve ever wondered what happened to the Lost Tribes of Israel. Thousands of people in Africa may have a connection to the Israelites. Some of them are Lemba, Masai, Pashtun, and Igbo, and they are all worth investigating. You may be surprised to learn that many of these people have ties to Jewish culture and history.
Researchers have long suspected that the Lemba, one of the lost tribes in Africa, are descended from Jews. Genetic testing of the Lemba has proven their Jewish ancestry. They observe kosher dietary laws and have Jewish priestly Y chromosomes. According to tribal tradition, the Lemba people were originally male immigrants from the Sena tribe. Genetic studies have also shown that the tribe may be related to the ancient Israelites.
Although the Lemba are similar to their African counterparts in physical appearance, their traditions and beliefs are quite different. They practice ritual killing and circumcision, do not eat pork, have a weekly holy day, and place a star of David on gravestones. DNA tests have also confirmed that they are Semitic. Despite their different practices, the Lemba are often mistaken for African Jews.
According to oral tradition, the Lemba migrated to Africa before the Christian era. However, historical, archaeological, and genetic data indicate that they reached the area well before the 6th century CE. While this timeframe seems to be far-fetched, it may well be true. And if true, it would help to give a little more insight into the history of the Jewish people in Africa.
While the Lemba are not Jews, they believe in the Jewish God, Nwali. They identify as God’s chosen people, refraining from eating certain animals and forbidding themselves from mixing forbidden foods. The Lemba have long practiced circumcision and were regarded as masters of the ritual. Lemba burial sites have a Star of David and discourage non-Lemba from marrying them.
There was a time when the Masai were the only human occupants of Nairobi before Europeans introduced a railroad. They were highly suspicious of outsiders and were nomadic. In 1904, German official M. Merker visited the country and studied the Maa language they speak. He collected and compiled various stories about the Masai, including the belief that their ancestors were enslaved people in the land of the Nile and that they had fled through a parted sea.
The Maasai diet is based on six essential foods: fresh milk, meat and eggs, and a small number of fresh vegetables. They do not eat chicken, fish, or wild game, and they do not consume salt. They also drink fresh milk throughout the day. When it comes to clothing, women wear cowhides as they live off the blood of their cattle.
Other members of the lost tribes of Israel have migrated to Israel as immigrants. Eventually, they can become Israeli citizens by converting. In one case, an Indian tribe member from Manipur, near Burma, said he migrated to Israel to fulfill religious commandments. He found a farming job, learned Hebrew and Judaism, and spent his free time studying the religion.
The Pashtuns are one of the largest single tribal groups in the world, and there are over 15 million of them. The tribes are made up of several local sub-tribes, including the Pashtuns. They are related to the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel. The Assyrians took the latter captive in the eighth century BCE. They exiled them to areas around the River Gozan, Halah, Habor, and other cities. Today, the Pashtuns occupy the same geographic area as these ancient Israeli tribes.
The Pashtuns practice the concept of YOVEL, which refers to the Jewish tradition of selling ancestral lands to family members. Although the Israelite tradition was prohibited, it was still practiced by the Pashtuns after their exile. The Pashtuns are the rank and file of the Taliban. Their retaliation against the Americans is known as the Pashtun holy war.
The Pashtuns have meticulously recorded their genealogy in a system called shijra. This tradition was preserved in medieval Persian texts, confirming the Pathan’s claim to be descended from Kish, a king who lived at the time of Mohammed. According to this tradition, Kish was the 37th direct descendent of Shaul Hamelech, the king of Israel’s the Southern Kingdom. Binyamin was exiled to Bavel but remained loyal to Yehud and was later included in the Southern Kingdom.
“The Igbo are descendants of Israelites,” says Arik Puder, the media spokesperson of the non-profit Shavei Israel. “We are looking for them because we are trying to find their descendants and doing this in the Holy Land.”
Igbo were displaced from the Holy Land more than 2,800 years ago, and the Jews of Ethiopia claim to be the descendants of the tribe of Dan. The Pashtuns of Afghanistan claim to be descendants of Saul. There is also an Igbo group in Africa. But whose descendants were they? And what are their connections? The answer may surprise you. There is no single Igbo tribe of Jews, but several thousand people in Israel claim to be descendants of the Igbo.
In the 1960s, the Igbos were leaders in nearly every sector of life, including education, commerce, and the arts. This resulted in resentment among the rest of the population. The lust for revenge, fueled by the Igbos’ renown, pushed the remainder of the population to rebel and seek revenge. The result was a massive wave of anti-Semitic violence.
The Igbo people’s religious beliefs are similar to those of Jews. Both groups circumcise their male children on the eighth day of their birth and marry under the same canopy. The Jewish customs of circumcision and burial share many similarities. Both groups use intermediaries and have thorough family background checks. If the Igbos were descendants of the Jews, the Igbo people would be descendants of Israel.
This book traces the history of the Igbo people and how they came to Nigeria. It provides the missing link to the ancient past of the Igbo people, reuniting them with their ancestors. It also connects the various peoples of Nigeria to their common ancestry. The book is set to be launched on 28 September 2021 in Abuja. Among those expected to attend are former presidents, governors, and federal legislators.
Ilona’s father once reprimanded him for not keeping up with the events in the Middle East. His father, who had been a soldier, had told his son to know everything he could about the people of Israel. The Igbos were known as “the Jews of West Africa” during the ensuing civil war. As a result, the international media referred to them as the “Jews of West Africa.” Even the American Jewish Congress released a report on the Igbos. Israeli Red Cross workers even flew supplies to the Igbos, suggesting that the Israeli government may have provided them with weapons.
A growing body of evidence indicates that the Igbos are descendants of Jews. This theory gained international attention in the 18th century when Christian missionaries discovered that Igbo and Jewish cultures were similar. Basden wrote a book about the similarities between the two cultures and proposed that the word ‘Igbo’ originated from the Hebrew language. The idea that the tribes of Israel were once confined to the Holy Land is implausible, but historians say it is not impossible.
Igbos believe they are descendants of the Jews
The Igbos claim they are descendants of the Jews of biblical times and follow many of the same traditions. Nine out of ten Nigerian Jews are Igbo. They believe they descended from the Hebrew tribe Gad, the leader of one of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel. Their customs are reminiscent of the Jews, including circumcising male infants eight days after birth and viewing menstruating women as pure.
Despite the Igbo people being half Christian and half Muslim, many of these converts to Christianity were already practicing local religions before missionaries arrived. Missionaries claimed that a group of Jews was hiding in Nigeria four centuries ago. In truth, they probably meant to refer to the 30-million-strong Igbo ethnic group traced to the Ten Lost Tribes.
In 2005, Daniel Lis, a Swiss-Israeli Jew, met a young Igbo man named Levi. He remarked that his name sounded Jewish and Levi replied that the Igbos are Jews. Lis, now a social anthropologist at the University of Applied Sciences Bern in Switzerland, conducted an in-depth research study on the Igbo belief that they are descendants of the Jews.
While the Igbos claim to be descendants of the Jews in Africa, their faith in Israel has been dismissed by most scholars as a fringe issue. In fact, more than 14 million people worldwide self-identify as Jews, including groups from Africa. That’s more than the total number of people in major denominations worldwide. That means a large number of Igbos believe they are descendants of the Jews in Africa.