Whenever the name “Africa” is mentioned in diaspora, what comes to mind is POVERTY. Then, names of different kinds of diseases. The European historians have omitted(intentionally) pieces of information that might have improved the texture and colour of African history. I believe it is time African writers start inserting these patches of information because, If we can give our children pride in their past, then we can show them what they can be and give them the self-respect that will make them succeed.
There are many examples of the mark Africans have made on world history. Americans are surprised when I tell them Africans built both Washington’s White House and Capitol. According to the US Treasury Department, 450 of the 650 workers who built the White House and the Capitol were African slaves. Because the White House and Capitol are the two most visible symbols of American democracy, it is important to inform all schoolchildren in our globalized world that these institutions are the results of the sweat and toil of mostly African workers.
This must also be an acknowledgement of the debt America owes Africa. Similarly, discussions of globalization should credit those Africans who left the continent and helped build other nations throughout the world – most nations on Earth. Africans who have made contributions in Australia, in Russia, and in Europe must be acknowledged so our children can have heroes with African roots – so they can know their own roots and be proud of them.
The enormous contributions of Africans to the development and progress of other nations have gone unacknowledged. We have yet to acknowledge, for example, that St. Augustine, who wrote the greatest spiritual autobiography of all time, called “Confessions of St. Augustine,” was an African; that three Africans became pope; that Africans have lived in Europe since the time of the Roman Empire; that Septimus Severus, an Emperor of Rome, was an African; and that the reason Beethoven was called “The Black Spaniard” was because he was a mulatto of African descent. Why are we reluctant to acknowledge the contributions and legacies of our African ancestors?
We cannot inspire our children to look toward the future without first reminding them of their ancestors’ contributions. Look at the long struggle of African Australians, who recently became citizens with rights on their native continent. Africans have been living in Australia for 50,000 years. Yet, African Australians were granted Australian citizenship just 42 years ago, in 1967. According to CNN, African Australians were not recognized as human beings prior to 1967. They “were governed under flora and fauna laws.” African Australians were, in essence, governed by plant and animal laws. For many years, African Australians were described as the “invisible people.” In fact, the first whites to settle in Australia named it the “land empty of people.”
The contributions of Africans to Russia must be reclaimed. Russia’s most celebrated author, A.S.(Aleksandr Sergeyevich) Pushkin, told us he was of African descent. Pushkin’s great-grandfather was brought to Russia as a slave. Russians proclaim Pushkin as their “national poet,” the “patriarch of Russian literature” and the “Father of the Russian language.” In essence, Pushkin is to Russia what Shakespeare is to Britain. Yet Africans who have read the complete works of Shakespeare are not likely to have read a single book by Pushkin.
The re-orientation begins NOW! We must inculcate into our children the true story of their fore fathers. I’m playing my part……..what about you?
Inspired by: Philip Emegwali