The Narrative of a Genome

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She couldn’t relax. Our distant mother let’s call her Lebila, her DNA haplogroup was L3b1a. She was so in demand that traces of her are found all over the world except Antartica. She may have been quite beautiful, long graceful arms and legs, dark skin, kinky curls with bright eyes that glimmered like a dark night alive with fireflies, when she smiled. We may never know.

Whether she was an adult when she reached these shores or a child not yet in adolescence remains a mystery. All that is known is that she was very much in demand for either her labor or her love. She was never allowed to  relax. Over sixty thousand years ago her mother left the Great Rift Valley in Eastern Africa,  let’s call her Leyva, her DNA haplogroup was  L3b and she was born in either Ethiopia or Addis Ababa. Her 4x great grandmother an L2-6 mutated from an L1-6  and this recombination likely occurred once in every three-thousand  years.

Leyva may have been captured in the Arabian slave  trade somewhere near the Horn of Africa, a peninsula which extends like an outstretched  arm into the Arabian Sea. The Arab slave trade which began in the mid-seventh century still survives today in Mauritania  and Sudan. Once  captured she was probably taken to the slave markets of Zanzibar and sold by a Berber or an Arab  merchant to a Sultan of Islam to be his  domestic servant,  or his private dancer, or concubine. She could have been trained in domestic activities, learning to keep house, if a virgin, she would have brought a  high  price.

Her daughters haplogroup M and N  let’s call them Mayling and Nairobi, either left  Africa and inhabited the  rest of the world moving  first to North Africa or South  Asia, but her sisters migrated west. Our mother Lebila,  amongst  them either in a migratory  flow  seeking arable land to farm, or as a captive of an Arab slavemaster, or fleeing Arab subjugation and colonialism.

Somehow, our mother Lebila found her way to the West  Coast of Africa South of the Sahara. She and our ascendants may have settled near Lake Chad a large shallow body of water which is all that  remains  of a  former  Sea. She lived in Cameroon  one of  the four countries surrounding  Lake Chad  which includes Niger, Nigeria, and Chad, and she may  have spoken Kwa a bantu language. She may have  spoken several bantu languages fluently such as  Yoruba, Hausa,  Igbo, Kanuri, Ibibio and Fulfulde.

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