Atheists In Kenya (AIK)

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Decolonizing the African Mind

By Ojijo Pascal

A one paragraph, two sentence, four line and forty-four word letter was delivered to the vice chancellor of Makerere University (Uganda), who is also a member of Uganda Academy of Sciences, asking his office to convene a forum to debate the de-colonization, and de-enslaving of the African mind. No notification of receipt, nor response, has been forthcoming, but again, non is expected. Maybe, some civil society organisation, political science department, or a university student organisation, will hold a conference on the same somewhere in the Sahara. Probably, they won’t.

The author of the letter wrote that slavery was not the greatest wrong done to the African; neither was colonialism. Rather, the African was, is, and will, for the foreseeable future, be his greatest enemy, aided by his inability to imagine and institutionalize a cultural system for his advancement in life.

The letter was informed by the hypotheses that since the Asian was also enslaved, and brought as far as far as Afrikaaner controlled Dutch south Africa to work the fields, the African has no reason to be where he is when his brother, the Asian is blooming and bouncing in economic progress. Also enslaved was the American “red” Indian, who instead of complicitly becoming a worker, was as uncooperative, and was driven from his land, only for the African to be brought to work on the same land. Indeed, also enslaved were Europeans, Arabs and Hispanics. But it seems the African culture did not, and still does not allow him to disentangle himself from slavery, and build his own institutions for social, political, economic and intellectual advancement.

The letter was further influenced by the truism that Africans were not the only colonized peoples. The Irish were the first to be colonized, as were the Asians, Arabs, European lands, and yes, Hispanics, and American Indians. However, in the ladder of progress, Africans are below, downtrodden, and helpless. It seems the African culture, the complete lifestyle of the African, from birth to death, has not imagined, created, or grown an education, social, political and or economic system that can turn around the Africanindependent lands to progressive, not consuming, and productive human ecosystems.

The author of the short letter, sought to ask for an intellectual engagement of the intelligentsia, to formulate theories of the greatness of the African mind, backed by scientific evidence, of which the writing civilization of Egypt is one; the building civilization of Zimbabwe is one; and the healing civilization of Mali is another. Of course, this will not happen since the African intellectual must be paid to think, to write, and to debate, by donor countries. The author even gave an example of his proposal to a donor funded youth leaders think tank, which was funded by a European country, and subsequent denial of all policy alternatives which gave as examples socialist Cuba, China, or Russia. And who does not know that he who pays the piper calls the tunes.

The author of the letter sought to ask for engagement of the academia, on why there are no inventions, innovations or creations in the African universities. None in health, even though the Asians have developed the traditional Chinese medicines(TCMs); no invention in IT even though there are universities, institutes and colleges teaching; no inventions in building, construction or engineering, even though our own pyramids are yet to be reproduced. The author sought to know why Africa does not have its own internet protocol, search engine and networks. He sought to know why Africa has no mineral polishing industries, why we have to refine our fuel elsewhere, and why we consume more than we produce. What happens if Google blacks out Africa? What happens if the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a united states controlled organisation, switches off Africa? What happens if the foreign owned pharmaceutical companies that produce over 80% of drugs used in Africa decide to hike prices, or stop production? The culture of innovation, creativity and invention is neither promoted nor celebrated, and neither do we have institutions to cultivate this culture.

The author of the letter sought to get an answer as to why the African president is still comfortable leading a third world, with no plan to make his country first world, whereas his contemporaries, namely the Asian tigers, are in first world lane. The letter seeks to know why all leaders, both opposition, and those in government, cannot provide a design for first world Africa, and they are all talking Africa as middle income; although the others copy our town plans, use our raw materials for their products, and use our minerals for their style. The culture of thinking big, thinking freedom, and thinking equal is not in us, and neither do we have institutions to grow that culture.

The letter pushes for cultural reformation, in the scale started by the Honorable Marcus Mossiah Garvey, Jr., Order of National Hero (ONH), the Jamaican born African political and economic leader, publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, philosopher and orator who was a staunch proponent of the Pan-Africanism movement, to which end he founded the 4 million member Universal Negro Improvement Association andAfrican Communities League (UNIA-ACL); and founded the first African owned shipping line and group investment company, Black Star Line, as part of the Back-to-Africa movement for the economic development of Africans and their return to their ancestral lands. He started the cultural reformation of theAfrican mind through a practical economic program of mobilizing capital. The letter hoped for a debate forAfrica to imagine, create and institutionalize cultural systems for her advancement.

Fortunately, the letter will not get a response, because there was no letter.


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This entry was posted on October 18, 2012 by in Uncategorized.
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