Updated: Nov 30, 2019
Why is the history of Black people not taught at compulsory schools? Is one of the questions that spark curiosity anytime it comes up.
The answer that some people usually give is a question which is ‘'Why is it important to learn black people's history? Alternatively, we need to put the past to sleep and write the history of today, or some would say ''Black people's histories are not well documented'' As much as these answers hold some relevance on an individual scale, they belittle us as a race.
I believe that "the more we look into the past, the further we can see into the future." Through learning our history we can understand how we got to where we are today as a race, and by knowing how we reached our present state, we can use that knowledge to navigate to wherever we want to be in the future. Another point I want to make is that when we know our history, we can use the knowledge to prevent it from repeating itself and also reinvent those moments that impacted us positively.
Throughout my learning of Black people's history, one of the things that I discovered is that our ignorance benefits a tiny group of people, and these groups are the ruling class and the colonizers. (Note that I am using the word ruler and not leader, because there is a big difference between ruling and leading.)
It is a shame that many of the people that we call leaders among us are direct or indirect messengers of the colonizers, this is so through their policies and deals which do not benefit the majority of our people. One of the significant ways that the ruling class benefits from the ignorance of the mass today is clinging to power. An excellent example of this is the story of President Mohammadu Buhari, Nigeria president. I got the shock of my life when I read about him. "How did our people vote such a man to rule over the most populous black nation on earth?" I asked.
As a soldier, Buhari worked with the Late Gen. Sanni Abacha in 1966 as they helped in carrying out the coup d'etat of that year under the command of Lt. Gen. Murtala Mohamed to make Murtala Mohamed the president of Nigeria. Furthermore, In the 1970s, when Buhari was the chairman of Nigeria National Petroleum Cooperation (NNPC), about three billion dollars went missing in the cooperation under his watch. Furthermore, in 1983, as an army general, Buhari carried out a putsch that made him a president by removing a civilian elected president.
How and why did our people choose such man to lead us in the 21st century?
After reading Buhari's story, it became clear to me why under his presidency in 2019 Omoyele Sowore, an activist got arrested for organizing a non-violence movement called "Revolution Now." The Department of State Security (DSS) claimed that the campaign is a threat to national security and a civilian president (Buhari). We must note that Mr Sowore is a political opponent to Buhari, and it is no news that Buhari has a long history of imprisoning his political oppositions.
Sowore is locked up for a crime he never committed and held in prison under the rulership of a man who committed such crime in 1983 but was never punished for it. The Only sense I see in the making of a man like Buhari a Nigeria president in 2019 is that many Nigeria youths were not taught a proper Nigeria history in compulsory schools. For that reason, the history of tyranny is repeating itself.
Some years ago, I was with two friends outside a restaurant in East London, and an old Black woman walked passed us in three legs. "How long do you think she has been in this country?" ask Akin, one of my friends.
"Thirty years?" Nuge my other friend replied
"Maybe less." I contributed before we drifted into another topic.
That night, the older woman's image returned to me, and I began to think about our little gossip about her existence in Britain. So, I went on the internet and searched for how long Black people had lived in the UK.
I learned about the Africans who have been in Britain since the Roman period to the end of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. Moreover, those that served in the British army during the two world wars, and then the ''wind rush'' generation.
The ''wind rush'' generation is the group that caught my attention the most, this was a generation of Black people that went to Britain after the second world war to do cheap labour, in other to rebuild what the Germans left of Britain, the same infrastructures that came into existence through the sweats and blood of their forefathers and the Germans destroyed it in the war.
What surprised me was that many of these 1940s cheap labourers did not have access to proper housing or education, and many were undocumented even down to their children that were born in Britain. However, the descendants of the Germans that destroyed Britain could go to the UK anytime, and anyhow they want. During the next hangout with my friends, I told my friends Akin and Nuge, who were both born in the UK, about my little discovery and they were surprised, that was when I realized that the histories of Black people are absent in British compulsory schools. (Who dares to tell their dark side to the public?)
To teach the accounts of Black people in Britsh compulsory schools will be to reveal to Afro British people the brutality that many of their ancestors suffered in the hands of white British people, furthermore, to prepare the Blacks mentally on how to avoid such histories from happening again.
Black people all over the world must question any system they live about their real history and not just that of slavery since the beginning of the first race on the surface of the earth did not begin with servitude. Furthermore, the rest of the world that benefits from keeping our history a secret must learn that they are sitting on a time bomb of hatred and resentment that will widen the gaps between the ruling class and the races.
A recent case is an issue that the president of Benin Republic Patrice Guillaume Athanase Talon reopened concerning the withdrawing of his country's cash reserve from France. The news broke the internet among Africans and those that are benefiting from the system. However, what most people were tweeting, blogging, and vlogging is the bravery of president Talon to speak out against France. We must also take note that He ( president Talon) is not the first one or the only one who is talking about this neo-colonial system.
The African leaders that challenged the system paid much by facing an engineered revolution in their countries and then with their lives. We must learn how neo-colonization works from the stories of people like Thomas Sankara of Burkina Faso, Patrice Lumumba of Congo, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana and many others.
Moreover, now in the case of Benin republic, all that France is offering is reformation and not the letting go of this African country's cash reserves and their entire economy. We must understand that what France did during the years of Africa independence was the reformation of colonization; they installed African faces that they could control from behind the scene, and the faces that they could not control were taken out.
An excellent example of what France is willing to do to protect her interest in Africa is the case of Guinea under President Sekou Toure. When he (Sekou Toure) disassociated Guinea from the colonial currency of France, the French responded by printing and circulating the fake of Guinea's new money to destabilize the country's economy.
Today, bias economic analysts are quick to say that ''the economy of France is bigger than that of the whole Africa'' but where the wealth of France is coming from is the subject they kept under their pillows.
As Africans, we must learn from those people that stood up for our independence in the 50s, 60s, and the 70s after seeing the ways of Europeans during the world war they seized the opportunity of Europe unstable situation and fought for the freedom of our people from the colonial chokehold.
We should do everything possible to learn from our histories.