If you have been reading the recent PenTheVision posts, you will realize that we have been sharing columns that centre around African awakening and excellence. Well, today’s piece is no different.
25 May is commemorated as Africa Day and what better month than May to pen my thoughts for this year’s Africa Day.
My thoughts were sparked by a conversation I was having with a dear friend and something a journalist said over the radio that led me down memory lane. I remember going for a University tour as part of our exam for that Semester to Isandlwana where the battle of Isandlwana, known as the Anglo–Zulu War between the British Empire and the Zulu Kingdom took place. It was also a great victory for the Zulu Kingdom.
The gentlemen narrating the history to us was so amazingly eloquent in unpacking the powerful Zulu history and touched on the broader unpenned African history which I had never heard taught at school. He even went on to say that the kind of information he was sharing with us, we would never find penned in any African history book because it has been years of recollections he has gathered from people in the different African communities.
That trip, being on those mountains were blood was shed, and engaging with the incredible stories that were shared, changed my life and most importantly changed my perspective on what it truly meant to be African. But you know what was both heart-breaking and heart-warming about this experience, was our guide, the gentlemen passionate about this history and sharing with us, was a white man.
Look, initially I was very happy that a white man in South Africa would choose to live in the very rural part of Kwa-Zulu Natal and learn the Zulu language so well, but I was saddened that we Africans didn’t know or worse, care to know about such vital parts of our history.
For too long most African history at school, always focused on how the British Empire “civilised” Africa. Even the word “civilised” still needs to be further opposed because those who define what civilisation is, wear a ‘western’ hat.
The conversation I had with my dear friend sparked a realisation in me that I need to do something about this concern for our African history.
So, I am making a public commitment and I would like the broader community of like minded people to hold me accountable. I want to do a proper research, study, teaching and documentation of African history using different methods of gathering information to make sure I do justice to this process. This is not some “woke” sensationalism stunt, but a serious conviction in my heart to ensure that the next generation of Africans are fully equipped with the right and relevant history.
The term “woke” has become a popular buzz word that speaks to awakening, enlightenment and the celebration of our African heritage, but the reality is our parents and those before us have always been ‘woke’ it’s just that they never had the platforms to fully express their “wokeness”. Now that we do have these platforms, let us be deliberate in playing our part.
But enough with serious stuff – let’s take time to enjoy this Africa month in true African celebration style – whether you are doing the South African Vosho, or Nigerian Skelewu or Kenyan Isikuti or Zimbawean Jerusarema dance – just celebrate being an African – Viva Africa!
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