‘Let’s teach our children to be black’


“WE didn’t want anybody telling us anything about Africa, much less calling us Africans. In hating Africa and in hating the Africans, we ended up hating ourselves, without even realising it. Because you can’t hate the roots of a tree and not hate the tree. You can’t hate your origin and not end up hating yourself. You can’t hate Africa and not hate yourself.” – Malcolm X
What Malcom X, the great African revolutionary in the US said years ago remains true.
A recent lecture delivered by the Zimbabwe Heritage Trust CEO Pritchard Zhou at the Samuel Centenary Academy, where various schools from Harare gathered, elicited giggles, disbelief and in some cases outright refusal to accept certain points of the lecture, particularly those which pointed out the greatness of black people.
Apparently, the young do not believe in the capabilities of Africans as creators. The question of identity has remained critical for black people; sadly many black people do not know who they are. Colonisation deliberately stripped Africans of their names, customs and languages. Many of the pupils at Samuel Centenary Academy could not sing the National Anthem. But it is not their fault but the systems in place.
Fortunately, a new and updated curriculum has been introduced in schools. The major highlight of the lecture was identity crisis.
According to Cde Zhou, the inferiority complex must be dealt with if Africans are to achieve sustainable development.
“The black people were told their skin is too dark, nose too open, brains too small, lips too large and this is why Africans have thought that God was unfair to them. If your mentality remains Westernised, we will continue to allow the West to find ‘solutions’ to our problems,” Cde Zhou said.
“We need to open our minds and question if the God of the white man is the same as the God of the black man. We need to ask if the slave traders that prayed in churches above the dungeons at the points of slavery were praying to the same God that the slaves were praying because slave trade went on for 450 years. If we ask these questions, we are considered blasphemous.”
Read were sentiments of imperialism such as Lord Macaulay who in his address to the British Parliament on February 2 1835 said: “I have travelled across the length and breath of Africa and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such calibre, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage and therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Africans think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self-esteem, their native culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation”.
Speaking on the side-lines of the workshop, Harare Girls High student Mutsa Mutasa said the lecture was an eye opener.
“The lecture was very good and I believe that Zimbabwe is indeed a rich country. I am proud of myself as an African. I am proud of my culture and while my school has people from different countries, it is up to me not to change myself.”
Melisa Kaliyaty from Speciss College appreciated the lecture.
“The lecture was eye-opening. For the first time, I got to appreciate myself for being black. If only the lecture had shared more information about the disadvantages of taking skin lightening creams so that people can stop using them,” said Kaliyaty.


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