Zera Yacob (1599–1692) (also spelled Zar'a Ya'aqob or Zar'a Ya'eqob) was a seventeenth century Ethiopian philosopher. His 1667 treatise, known in the original Ge'ez language as the Hatata, has often been compared by a handful of non-traditional scholars to Descartes' Discours de la methode in (1637). His writing came at a period when African philosophical literature was significantly oral in character. He believed in following one's natural reasoning instead of believing what one is told by others.
Church in Axum
Yacob was born into a farmer's family near Aksum in northern Ethiopia, the former capital of Ethiopia under the ancient kingdom of Aksum. Yacob's name means "The Seed of Jacob" ("Zar" is the Ge'ez word for "seed"). Although his father was poor, he supported Yacob's attendance of traditional schools, where he became acquainted with the Psalms of David and educated in the Coptic Christian faith. He was denounced before Emperor Susenyos (r. 1607-1632), who had turned to the Roman Catholic faith and ordered his subjects to follow his own example.