By Stephen Mensah, A Journalist
Throughout history, African people have made significant contributions to world innovations in a wide range of fields. Despite facing historical and ongoing systemic discrimination and marginalization, African people have shown resilience, creativity and ingenuity in their efforts to overcome obstacles and improve and contribute to development of the world. One notable example of a black innovator is an ophthalmologist, Dr. Patricia Bath, who invented the Laserphaco Probe, which revolutionised cataract surgery.
Another Black innovator is Garrett Morgan, who invented the road traffic signal and gas mask, saving countless lives during wartime and in industrial settings. Chuck Berry, considered the “Father of Rock and Roll,” blended blues, country and R&B to create a new genre of music, while Jesse Owens broke records and racial barriers in sports. Lewis Latimer made important contributions to the development of the telephone and light bulb, improving their durability and efficiency. Black History Month is an important time to celebrate the contributions of Black people to world innovations, acknowledge their struggles and achievements, and highlight their resilience and creativity. In African countries, where the legacy of colonialism and systemic racism still lingers, celebrating Black History Month can raise awareness, inspire future generations and foster a sense of pride and unity.
Ghana, the first African country to gain independence from colonial rule and a leader in the fight against racism and discrimination is an important part of the Black History conversation. It is home to many notable black innovators, including Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, who fought for independence and promoted unity among African countries.
Ghana is also home to PANAFEST, celebrating the contributions of Black people to world innovations and promoting unity among African countries. Ghana’s Year of Return, which is celebrated annually in December, has a direct link to the celebration of Black people during Black History Month.
The Year of Return is a call to Black people around the world to return to their ancestral homeland and reconnect with their roots. It is a celebration of the resilience, creativity, and ingenuity of black people, as well as recognition of the ongoing struggles and triumphs of the Black community. ‘The Year of Return initiative,’ encourages black people to continue to engage with Africa and to invest in the continent’s future. The Year of Return and After the Return initiatives are important steps towards promoting unity, solidarity, and pride among black people around the world and they help to highlight the significant contributions of black people to world innovations, as celebrated during Black History Month in the USA.
It is important to note that the impact of Black people in world innovations should also be reflected in educational training and teaching syllabi, particularly in African countries. By including the contributions of black innovators in various fields, students can learn about the many achievements of black people and feel a sense of pride in their heritage. This can also help to promote a more inclusive and diverse understanding of history and inspire future generations to pursue careers in fields that have historically been under-represented by people of color.
Through education and recognition, we can create a more equitable and just society that celebrates the achievements of all people, regardless of their race or ethnicity. Innovations and inventions should be included more in our educational curricula if Africa is to move from taxation, poverty, lack, diseases, and all the things it suffers from, to inventions of what it needs, industrialisation, independence from mental slavery, and modern colonisation, imposition of ideologies and suppression, aid and donor sponsorships.
Africa can think outside the box and create wealth out of abundant resources. By recognizing and celebrating the achievements of Black innovators, we can inspire future generations and promote unity and solidarity among all people. Let us use this Black History Month to honor a collective legacy and continue to break down barriers and provide opportunities for all.