Decolonial Afrocentric education a panacea for white arrogance

2017-03-19 06:23

Helen Zille, as a European in the diaspora (see Nyasa Mboti), has reminded us again of the importance of decolonizing and Africanizing curriculum content because decoloniality makes us consider the darker side of European modernity which denied independent progress of Africa through peripherization at the global level and innihilation/subordination of African knowledges and systems.

I will give her the benefit of acknowledging that it was bad, though I doubt that she meant that because it was 'bad' for those who receive/d the end of its malice and not necessarily those who are privileged on the basis of a hierarchy of being. Black suffering is the product of colonialism and coloniality which based on racist ideology there isn't much of a problem with black marginalization. Unfortunately many people, particularly those socio-economically, culturally and and politico-historically classified as white including some socio-economically classified as black yet thinking from the cultural logic of whites, believe in the normality of black subordination. These types of blacks are what we can classify as students of house-negroism, luckily there is a cure for such, it is black consciousness and afrocentricity.

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Afrocentrists ask "the question, “What would African people do if there were no white people?” In other words, what natural responses would occur in the relationships, attitudes toward the environment, kinship patterns, preferences for colors, type of religion, and historical referent points for African people if there had not been any intervention of colonialism or enslavement?" The answers to this question require a different platform. Asante does however guide that "Afrocentricity answers this question by asserting the central role of the African subject within the context of African history, thereby removing Europe from the center of the African reality. In this way, Afrocentricity becomes a revolutionary idea because it studies ideas, concepts, events, personalities, and political and economic processes from a standpoint of black people as subjects and not as objects, basing all knowledge on the authentic interrogation of location." (Molefi Kete Asante).

That being said, there is an errorneous assumption that Africans would not have progressed technologically even further had it not been for colonial intervention. Such is a big lie which constitutes part of the miseducation of not only blackanized African people but Europeans too for such functions to sustain the fallacy about white superiority consequently reproducing the skewed racialized power dynamics plaquing our world like a disease today. The assumption is errorneous because archeological data proves otherwise. Take for instance Mpumalanga which has an ancient city with roads raising assumptions about technological advancements pertaining to mobility.

Mpumalanga is home to a "750,000 year old stone calendar, pre-dating all other man-made structures. It is clearly positioned to record the solstice, equinoxes and days of the year and is evidence of consciousness amongst the earliest humans in Africa. The stone circles are estimated to be about 200 000 in total and they bear witness to those who mined the area for gold thousands of years ago. This ancient civilization still has remnants of dwellings, forts, temples, irrigation systems, agricultural terraces and ancient roads. Visible for hundreds of kilometers is an ancient road structure that connects most of the ruins. This proves that the settlement was not accidental and home to an evolved civilization who planned a transport route." (SA venues.com).

Talking about road infrastructure, the likes of Zille should be informed that it was a modern day black person that invented a robot, which the order on our roads partly depends on. As for the metal birds in the sky, ancient Africans archived their ideas on aeronautics thousands of years ago (see Ivan Van Sertima). Basotho, similar to ancient Egyptians, mastered mathematics as is evident in the fact that lessons on geometry are common in modern day African children's indigenous play time games. The use of the string in geometry is common to ancient North Africans and Southern Africans, particularly Basotho (see Zulu Mathabo and CK Raju). There are other similarities between ancient Egyptians and other Africans throughought the continent. "Data from biological anthropology, archaeology, and cultural anthropology show the Egyptians & African physical appearance, geographic origins, and cultural links" with other areas of the continent thus challenging the notion of North Africans being separate or distinct from Africans within the rest of the continent (see Brandon Pilcher, Runoko Rashidi and Cheik Anta Diop among others).

As for medicine, Africans perfected c-section births way before Europeans could even learn how to keep both mother and infant alive using their own indigenous methods during such births. Surgical tools such as anasthaesia are not something new in Africa. Mutwa noted the use of indigineous plants in medical procedures. Infact, Mutwa vehemently argued that there is no such a thing as western medicine. Indigenous people of Europe owe their knowledge to other indigenous people globally. The movie, 'hidden figures' has reminded us that Europeans owe their achievenemts to the exploited labour of others just as Europeans in the African diaspora, farmers in South Africa, owe the knowledge of farming to Africans. "In other words, having stolen their land, the Europeans proceeded to steal their history also." (Keith Hart)

If we were to ask the question, "where would the Euro-American/white world be without Africans/black people?" The answers are multiple but decolonial perspective helps us narrow the answer to a simple, "Europe would be 'backward". The Western world owes its modern achievements to all the people and nations it colonized, enslaved, exploits, loots and systematically marginalizes. It would not be where it is without coloniality. The author of 'The theft of history', Jack Goody, reminds us that the European hegemons owe their illusion of superiority to being masterminds of theft and mass deceit. This ofcourse does not take away from other contributions and progress in the modern era. Sadly "Western writers have unjustifiably traced Europe’s global ascendancy back to the civilization of the Renaissance or to that of Ancient Greece. In separating Europe from Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, they have systematically downgraded Asian societies, while ignoring Eurasia’s common foundation in a Bronze Age civilization that started in Mesopotamia 5,000 years ago. Above all, as the first owners of a newly formed world society, they have rewritten history with themselves in the driving seat and have usurped the legitimate claims of others to have shared in humanity’s greatest achievements." (Keith Hart). There is clearly a disconnect between what Eurocentric education teaches us today and the facts of history which have been falsified.

Africa boasts of advancements in mathematics, astronomy, agriculture, architecture-engineeering, aeronautics, medicine, metallurgy and so forth, read the book 'Blacks in Science' by Ivan Van Sertima. By the way, next time you use your refrigerator or a modern day elevator, know it was Africans in the diaspora who invented those items among many other inventions and innovations that systematic racism ensured black people could not patent. There are a number of things that are not commonly known about our achievements as 'blacks' which I think our lessons on history and heritage should surface. Decolonizing the curricula will help eradicate white arrogance and superiority complex. Doing so will also address black inferiority complex which continues to plaque many people today. That way we can move towards a truly pluriversal world in which progress in the world will be attributed to collective contribution.

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