The Bantu in Ancient Egypt

The Bantu in Ancient Egypt

BATU glyph


Sudanic country: Situation Unknown

For the first time ever the set of hieroglyphics above leaves an indelible print which traces back the existence of the Bantu people during ancient times in the Sudan and Egypt. The following variations in pronunciation of the word  'Bantu' give an insight on how the word may have been pronounced in different Bantu languages. The list of the various pronunciations was provided by Israel Ntangazwa. Some of the variations in pronunciation are new to me.





The hieroglyphics BATU glyph spells out the word 'BATU' in keeping with the current original word 'BANTU'. The maps shown below trace the possible migrations of the Bantu people. The origin of the Bantu people is a controversial issue and has been deeply debated.

Below is an account which questions present day ideas about the origins of the Bantu people. In his book on the 'Restatement Of  Bantu Origin and Meru History' the Kenyan scholar Alfred M M'Imanyara provides the evidence for a southerly migration from Egypt of the Bantu people.


The Niger-Congo hypothesis developed by Joseph Greenberg on Bantu languages state that the Bantu originated in West Africa, the Cameroon, and migrated across the the Congo basin into Southern and East Africa.

Guthrie on the other hand did not commit himself but said that the Bantu dispersal lies within an elliptical area towards the centre, in the woodland region of Katanga.

The Niger-Congo hypothesis needs to be re-examined further as one has to take into account oral traditions from groups of present day Kenyan Bantu elders who recall a southerly migration from Egypt.

The following sources of accounts of migrations of some of the Bantu speakers in Kenya are taken from:

i) Kenya an official handbook
ii) Story of Africa from earliest times, Book one, A.J Willis  
iii) Longman GHC, E.S Atieno Odhimbo, John N. B. N. I Were

Almost all the Bantu people living in Kenya speak of a migration from up North. The people of Marachi location are known to have come from Elgon although other clans of the same group came from Egypt. They came in canoes on the River Nile as far as Juja, Uganda and later moved eastward into lake Victoria. They changed course until Asembo and separated with the Luo who walked along the lake shore but the rest crossed into South Nyanza. They then turned northwards and reached Butere and then moved on to Luanda and to Ekhomo. The Luo people were behind them right from Egypt.

The people of Samia location came from Egypt on foot. The Abakhekhe clan too originated from Egypt on foot. The Abachoni clan originally came from Egypt on foot. The people of Bukusu originally came from Egypt in canoes.

Possible migration routes of Bantu from Central Sudan

possible BaNtu migration out of Egypt

The following article is from Wikipidia and lists some Bantu people who came from Egypt:

The Luhya oral literature of origin, suggest a migration into their present-day locations from the north. Virtually all sub-ethnic groups claim to have migrated first south from Misri, or Egypt. In one of the Luhya dialect the word 'Abaluhya' means 'the people of the North', or 'Northerns'

Other sources report that the following Bantu people, the Luhya, Baganda, Nyarwanda, Rundi of Burindi, Kikuyu, and the Zulu all claim a southerly migration from Egypt. Moreover there are many groups of Bantu speakers from Tanzania, Mozambique, Congo, Zambia, Malawi, South Africa, who testify a southerly migration from Egypt. There are even groups of people from West Africa who migrated from Egypt into their present day location.

Apart from the oral traditions provided by Bantu elders, the evidence is also based on linguistic, historical, scientific and cultural studies done by Cheikh Anta Diop.

The following maps are taken from Alfred M M'Imanyara 'The Restatement of Bantu Origin and Meru History' published by Longman Kenya, ISBN 9966 49 832 x

According to Alfred M M'Imanyra the following maps show the homeland of the original Bantu people in Egypt. This careful information has been derived from traditional sources provided by Bantu elders in the course of his research. I would like to support Alfred M M'Imanyara's work by sharing with him the important discovery of the of hieroglyphics above which mentions a Sudanic town of unknown situation. Clearly the town would have to be named after the people inhabiting the town, the'BANTU' or the 'BATU', the people. 

Original homeland of the Bantu up to 1500 A.D
Dark shading: Possible ultimate origin of the Bantu
Cross shading: Area of Bantu expansion into Egypt

Bantu Batu original homeland

Bantu Migration Routes from Cush and the Island of Meroe

Bantu Batu Migrations, Routes from Kush

Migration of the Bantu

Bantu Migrations

Note: The settlements of the Bantu in West Africa may have been a result of two streams of Bantu emigrants: one from the Congo basin and the other directly from the Nile valley.

Researched by FERG SOMO © June 2008


The Restatement Of Bantu Origin and Meru History. Alfred M M'Imanyara Longman Kenya
UNESCO General History Of Africa, Vol1,2
Egypt Before The Pharaohs. Michael A Hoffman
The Peopling Of Africa. James L Newman
Ancient Egypt and Black Africa. Dr Theophile Obenga
Civilisation or Barbarism. Cheikh Anta Diop
The Children Of Woot. A history of the Kuba People. Jan Vansina
Indaba My Children. Vusama Zulu Credo Mutwa
Languages Of Africa. Joseph H. Greenberg