The author of ‘The West and the Rest of us”, says the lack of seriousness in the teaching of African history in most African schools has become the recipe for the continent’s underdevelopment.
Dr. Chinwerzu says, “You take away history which is the foundation of your consciousness and merge it into social studies with a shallow content. And so you sideline your history and teach the political systems of your conquerors and your enemies.”
He said this on Saturday during the second ancestors’ day celebration by the African Ancestral Wall at the Mmalebna’s Restaurant, New Ningo.
Children took the “conscious” on a guided tour of the wall posted with the portraits of African ancestors, exalting them and reminding the living of what each had contributed to the development of the black race.
He observed that it was important to teach African history properly by ensuring that it was not history told to Africans by colonial masters or Arabs, but by Africans themselves about Africans to help Africans in the world.
He said Africans could know all the history in the world but they must start with their own, otherwise they would not be ready for the world.
“If our schools are not doing that then they are doing something dangerous to us, because you are still disconnected from your past for not teaching your past. The past you don’t know is something you are not connected to,” he stressed.
He observed that Africans were still connected to the slave trade because they did not understand what the slave trade was.
“It was not trade to begin with. If you want to teach the slave trade you must teach it from the perspective of your own people. If you teach from the experience of those who enslaved your people, you will not help them because they wouldn’t know their enemy.”
Dr. Chinwerzu, who was also the author of Decolonizing the African mind, said what happened to Africa was that the conquerors came, destroyed the African societies and systems, made Africans to depend on the colonialists economically, politically and mentally, and that was what had fought against the continent till now.
Mama Marimba Ani, Manager of The Afrikan World and author of” Yurugu”, observed that the African ancestral being was “our being and our strength with a political, spiritual and cultural significance. So it’s more than just knowing about your past in a superfluous way.”
She admonished Africans to teach children about their ancestors as a service to the ancestors, because the ancestors were holding Africans accountable for what they bequeathed to the present African.
She said, the colonialists intentionally disconnected us from “our strength in order to be able to conquer us and so why do we continue to be disconnected because they are no longer here? That’s a mental slavery, and we must teach the young ones out of it.”
She lamented this bizarre situation by saying, “How’s it that they do it. They didn’t say I am enslaving you. They say I am giving you an education and we think they are giving us education. The powerful would never educate the powerless to take away their power. We got to educate ourselves if we want to be a sovereign people.”
The originator of the African Wall concept, Baba Jerry Johnson, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA), informed that they were originally going to schools to teach the children about the African ancestors, but felt the need to build a wall and display the ancestors for the children to see.
Baba Johnson said his vision was to reach every child in Ghana with the message of reconnecting to the history of Africa as a way of reviving the strength in the black man to take charge of his destiny.
He informed that the black man had been taught to have admiration for other cultures other than their own, and that intimidated the African in his bid to bring out the best in them.
He asked Africans to resist all attempts by governments to take away true African history out of the books especially at the basic level because that was calculated to make the African reject himself as a viable competitor in the world.
The ancestral wall concept seeks to bring children from mostly basic schools to study the African culture through the display of portraits of African ancestors on walls to inspire the youth to imbibe African values as they encounter these ancestors.