The Politics of 21st Century Pan African Education

Practical Politics

David L. Horne, Ph.D ow oped | 10/17/2019, midnight

While California is currently abuzz with the process of approving a viable Ethnic Studies curriculum so that future high school graduates will be better informed about the contributions of the state’s population to the development of the state, a simultaneous process that is even bigger and more important—the development of a Pan African Education model to help build the new Africa, is ongoing

Colonial education in Africa was fundamentally aimed at teaching Africans that Europeans were superior in everything, and that the purpose of African life was to follow whatever Europeans said and go wherever they led. Africans were to stay divided and quarreling among themselves, and the only unity they were to achieve was in their agreement to allow Europeans to do whatever they wanted in Africa and to Africans. Colonial education was aimed at teaching Africans to stay dependent on White outsiders.

Colonial education created tamed, servile, obedient passive servants of the system who saw the highest stage as being praised for being “good civil servants” or model students.

Neo-colonial education, the immediate successor of colonial education which is currently in vogue in Africa, similarly has been aimed at using African educators to teach African inferiority and European superiority.

In spite of colonial and neo-colonial education, African independence occurred. Currently (counting Western Sahara), there are 55 independent African nations, with only Ethiopia having escaped colonial domination.

The first 50 years of African political independence bore witness not only to numerous coups d’etats based on African brainwashing resulting from the colonial educational system, but to a seemingly intractable problem in African self-reliance and development. There must now be a renaissance of Pan African education to remedy that multi-pronged problem.

Pan African education is to teach Africans that they must be united (a Union of African States), that they must forge and learn a single African language that all Africans will speak, and that they are stronger and more formidable when they are united in collaboration than they are separated, divided and disjointed. Twenty-first-century Pan African education is about teaching all Africans the worth and positive value of being African in this world—and that being Black and African is neither a curse nor a shame.    

Pan African education is a common set of curricula measures designed to teach Africans to think of themselves as Africans first and foremost, and as Fulani, or Hausa, or Zulu, or Kikuyu, only secondarily.

As an example, when China became a sustained world power, many more Chinese wherever they were and are living in the world, felt proud of being Chinese. Similarly, Japan’s modern economic success has given the Japanese, whether in Los Angeles, Tokyo, New York, or wherever, added dignity and sheer pride in being Japanese. Twenty-first-century Pan African education advocates the same for Africa and Africans, wherever they may be scattered.

So, one of the herculean tasks of the present and near future is to establish Pan African educational strategies wherever African people live, including the United States, Central America, the Caribbean, Europe, etc. As identified by the late Abdul Raheem, to African youth, “Pan African education must emphasize that African people are first and foremost Africans, which creates a sense of solidarity which transcends national boundaries, drawing substance from the struggles of African leaders and their people from all over the continent.”