It is often said that history is written by the victors. It is the story of the victors only that is plastered everywhere. The victors tell you their story from their own distorted and biased angle. The story of those defeated is hardly told. Or if it is told, negative connotations are attached to it.
The battle that the Africans have had to face since the dawn of decolonization has been consuming lots of European history, and less of African history. The way history is taught in African schools is clearly wrong without any shadow of doubt. History in African schools is centred more on European civilizations and in a way, glorifying them. Less is done about glorifying African civilizations.
The fact that before colonization Africa had her own systems of governance intact is never fully exhausted. That before colonization various African kingdoms had their own way of life is never fully exhausted.
When the Europeans conquered Africa by use of sheer force, they had to make it a point that the Africans learn about them. The colonizers saw no point in focusing more on African history. Even in Literature, it was more about English writers and other European writers, while there was small emphasis on African authors.
They knew that by focusing more on European history, the African would feel alienated and disengaged from his immediate surroundings. They knew the African would grow to abhor everything and anything African. How would you love Africa when you had scant information on it?
The trend continued in the post-independence era. This time, history is being distorted by those in power so that the youth do not fully learn about the darkest points in those respective countries' histories. Take for instance in Zimbabwe. Students are never taught about the Gukurahundi that happened in Zimbabwe in the early 1980s. During this period, thousands of civilians in the Matebeleland and Midlands areas were ethnically killed by the Mugabe regime. This period is never taught about in schools.
People can only move forward if they fully know their history. If they fully appreciate what happened in the past and how it shapes what is happening in the present. Because this is the essence of history. To learn as much about your country and continent so as to have informed opinions about the present and the future. We are where we are because of history.
Therefore African history should take centre stage. Students need to feel proud about their history.
More of African history should be taught in African schools!
Header image credit - The African Exponent File