How to teach Afrocentricity to Zimbabweans and their children?


FOR Afrocentricity to be meaningful to Zimbabweans and their children, and not remain a mere abstract academic exercise, those who teach it must keep their focus on the value of the land and having full control of all its wealth, above and beneath its soils. Land is what Africa Day is all about. Land is what Zimbabweans fought for. Land is what Mbuya Nehanda and Kaguvi were deprived of and hanged for by the Rhodesians and the British. Land is what Mbuya Nehanda swore to regain when she said, “Mapfupa angu achamuka!” And land is what Afrocentricity must never lose sight of when teaching Africans and Zimbabweans and their children. Land is what Zimbabweans fought for and were bombed and massacred for at Chimoio and Nyadzonia. Land is what Zimbabweans were put under illegal economic sanctions for. The songs of Zimbabwean liberation struggles are all about land when they say, “Moyo wangu wazvipira kufira Zimbabwe. “Mumakomo nemunzizi ndichararamo.” Land is what is captured in the Zimbabwean National Anthem when it says, “Simudzai mureza wedu weZimbabwe. “Yakazvarwa neropa zhinji ramagamba. “Kubva kuna Zambezi kusvika kuna Limpopo. “Ngai komborerwe nyika yeZimbabwe.” The teaching of Afrocentricity to Zimbabweans and their children must also never lose sight of the great endowments that Zimbabwe is blessed with by the Creator. The soils of this land are good, especially those on the farms dispossessed from our ancestors by whites. Most of the soils on such farms are brown, black and rich. You can grow any crops you want on them. There are a variety of precious minerals beneath them. That is what is meant by ‘black is beautiful’. If you have been blessed to have obtained such a farm repossessed from Rhodesians, take your children to a part of the farm that is still a forest. Show them blackberries, tsvanzva, tsubvu, nhunguru and hute, and ask them to have a taste. Tell them that this is what is meant by “the blacker the berry the sweeter the juice.” That is the way to give meaning to that Afrocentric statement. It ceases to be a mere academic exercise. When black clouds gather in the sky, let your children know that rain is about to fall and take them to hide in a nearby cave on the farm. That way, they will know that “Black clouds are beautiful. They bring rains to the farm and make our crops grow. They make the grass grow for our cows, goats and sheep to graze upon, so that they become fat and give us plenty of milk and soft and tender meat for us to eat.” That way too, ‘Black is beautiful’ as an Afrocentric concept becomes demonstrable as a live concept. And during festive holidays when the family and their relatives and friends gather together on the farm, tell your children to go to the cattle pen, or the goat and sheepfold to select a beast of their choice to slaughter for the gathering. Let them know that without land there would be nowhere for them to raise their cows, sheep or goats to slaughter. They would have to go to some supermarkets or butcheries owned by whites in town to buy the beef they need for the gathering. And the meat would be far from being enough to feed such a huge gathering. And the family as a host would be ashamed and embarrassed. So it is good to have land that you call your own. Afrocentricity means to possess your land and be possessed by your land. That is also what is meant by African identity and spirituality. African spirituality simply means to possess your land and be possessed by your land. African identity simply means to identify with your land as a child of your land and be anchored firmly in the soils of your land so that as a child of the soil of your land, you cannot be separated from your land and your land cannot be separated from you without you dying. Afrocentricity must also emphasise that to be African is also to identify completely with the history of Africa as your land and to be possessed by it so that you are the image of Africa and its struggles and aspirations, and Africa and its struggles and aspirations, is mirrored in you. The history of Africa and its struggles become the burning fire that makes you breathe and live. If that fire or history is put out of you, you die, as what happened to the African people of Sumer. Their history was put out of them, and they died. “What happened to the people of Sumer,” asked an old traveller. “For ancient records say they were Africans. What happened to them?” “Ah!” the old man sighed. “They forgot their history, so they died.” To be Afrocentric is to be at one with one’s history and one’s land. It is to be at one with one’s culture, one’s worldview and religion and to sing songs celebrating that oneness with one’s people and their philosophy of life. The fate of a people without land of their own is like the fate of a young man who sold his land to buy a guitar. It dawned on him later that he needed the same land for people to gather and dance to his songs. So he had to hire the same land he had sold for people to come and gather and dance to his songs. His songs were all about his land. When the man who had bought the land heard the songs, he told the young man to stop singing about the land since the land was no longer his. The new landowner advised the young man to sing songs in praise of him who had given them some land on which to sing and dance or shut up and get out! So Afrocentricity is and should be all about land and mobilising the children of Africa both at home and abroad to wake up and repossess their land and all its wealth beneath and above its soils, if it is not to remain as a mere abstract academic exercise.


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