Ask any African about world war II, American history or the world war II genocide of the European Jews by Nazi Germany popularly known as the Holocaust, they will tell you. Ask them about the world’s greatest writers, playwrights and poets, they will tell you. They will even recite and analyse “Sonnet 116” by Shakespeare and tell you that he was clearly defining love and its power in that masterpiece. They will tell you that the best ever written romance novel in the world is Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice”.
The amount of knowledge African people have of the western history and art is very concerning because it surpasses the knowledge they have of their own history, culture, languages and continent. Ask any South African about Malawi’s different tribes and its languages, they won’t tell you because most have never heard of them. Most Africans don’t know African writers who have influenced African literature and set a platform for the new generation of writers. Besides modern-day Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, most Africans don’t know about Africa’s greatest feminist writer Mariama Bâ and her influence on Islamic and African beliefs.
Could this ignorance of our own history, culture and way of life be rooted in our colonial past? Are we really free even though we still conform to the colonizers’ way of life and call our own irrelevant? Does it make sense that we keep on adapting to the western way of life instead of creating our own that will fit with the modern day?