‘Who Taught You To Hate Yourself?’ A Critique of African History

They say that we were slaves until a few white men fought for our freedom. They say that Kenyatta is our founding father and to him we owe a lot. They teach us to revere Her Majesty’s government, to respect her history and to follow her culture. They teach us the adventures of European pioneers. They say that educated Africans are those with European education. What they teach and what they say may not be lies but they may be far from the truth.

African slaves fought and died for their freedom. Some succeeded while others did not. Do you know any of these battles? Slaves on hundreds of slave ships, without arms and hope, fiercely fought for their freedom. Do you know any of these slaves or any of these slave ships? African revolutionaries in the Americas waged war against their oppressors and won. Do you know any of these great military generals?

Did you know that Persia and Arabia once had millions of European slaves? Your idea of slavery only starts and ends with African slaves does it not. Did you know that African slaves in Arabia brought about one of the most famous rebellions in history? Is it not time you educate yourself? Why are our children constantly singing praises of white men who fought for the liberation of African slaves. We should appreciate these white men. We should appreciate African slaves who fought and died for their freedom even more.

Yes, Kenyatta founded something but not a nation. He is a collaborator who founded a chronic system of corruption, greed and tribalism. We owe nothing to such a man. This man is a dark blot on the pages of African history. He was a potential leader who turned into the very worst of oppressors. He paved the way for other oppressors and so the cycle of oppression never stopped. Now his son sits on the seat of power. How poetic. Our heroes were the ‘uneducated,’ the ‘unarmed’ and the ‘uncultured.’ They fought with passion, with little in their stomachs and with arms that seemed like toys to the enemy. How dare we forget them? How dare historians focus on collaborators and not them?

Her Majesty’s government is indeed a powerful government but it is just one government. Why focus on Her Majesty and her kin? Do you know the name of any Black Pharaoh? Do you even know that Black Pharaohs existed? How many African kings and kingdoms do you know? Do you know the Nubians who rose repeatedly to liberate ancient Egypt from the clutches of foreign domination? What do your children know about Rome, Persia, the Chinese Dynasties, the Aztecs and the Mayans? Why did we brush through them in history class when some of these empires defined the world, as we know it?

They teach us the adventures of European pioneers. Do your children know the slavery, murder and plunder that followed these pioneers? Do your children celebrate men who pioneered death and devastation? Do you even know what took place in the Americas? You just know about great explorers but little about what happened after the exploration. Is the little you know in your history books or did you find it out for yourself.

European education is not education. It is indoctrination. We gave power to indoctrinated people and for that, we have suffered. People taught to perpetuate a system of colonialism. People who admired their oppressors and smiled as their masters give them orders.

‘Who taught you to hate yourself?’ – Malcolm X. Now you know. You taught yourself to hate yourself. Only an accurate rewrite of our history can change this continent. You change the constitution yearly, spend heavily on investment and build as many roads as you want. In the end, all you will be is what you taught yourself to be i.e. an African slave fit to serve a master be it a European master or a Chinese master.

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