19 days into black history month and 9 days till our parting. My first time celebrating Black History month informally became more than a meer eye-opening experience.
Perhaps blogging for The Afrolutionist, and deflowering my Black History Month experience did i realize its core significance and understand the need to celebrate our history not as one month annually, but every day.
Initially, my ignorant unenlightened self thought over-celebrating black heroes in our history would create a supreme state of mind– a mentality i tend to shy away from granted by its detriment to vast societies in history across the world, I mean – look at the scars of white supremacy mentality across the globe. Nevertheless, I took upon this journey of celebrating my culture through unearthing historical events and Pan African Leaders that changed the face of Africa and led us to our physical emancipation.
Through my journey of learning about people that I was never taught of in school – i became more rooted not only to my Tswana culture, but to the cultural similarities of Africans at large. I enlightened myself to leadership qualities which the now world depicts as this new age phenomenon. I learnt of infusing entrepreneurial skills into a state’s economy through Musa I of Mali, I learnt the true art of war through Queen Nzinga, and picked up on unsung inspiring Pan African leaders the West coined as rebels and became heroes only through retrospection – Our Patrice Lumumba’s.
Paging through history books gave me a new perspective of these people that impacted the political and economic climate of their countries in Africa. It formed more than relativity, did more than enhancing my pride. It awakened my African consciousness – something that perhaps Carter Godwin Woodson strived for African Americans to awaken to in 1926.
Conscious awakening is undoubtedly, the most imperative step in breaking free from our oppression. Our predecessors broke bondage through legislative and physical works – but the true state of freedom is a free mind. Our lack of black consciousness bind us in mental chains that keep us from enjoying the fruits of their toils, and striving more to ascertain the freedom of those who truly are facing detrimental crimes that regress our freedom.
Our lack of consciousness takes us away from our fundamental communal way of life – our belief in humanity (or as my culture says botho). It binds us from practicing fundamental teachings in leadership, patriotism and spiritual development that can be easily referenced in our documented history books. Legislation proves our freedom, but we are bound by mental shackles of stereotypes and negative perceptions we have now imposed on ourselves. Yes, we have been called lazy, ugly, dirty slow animals, but we are constantly redefining this stereotype among ourselves in social network forums. How often do you see tweets and Facebook status updates of other Africans saying Africans are a lazy, crab-in-the-bucket, unsupportive, individualistic people? How we must ‘wake-up’ because we stay sleeping? How we like to complain but never act? What I find interesting is that history does not corroborate these statements I see online – if anything, these statements according to history are from a time of enslavement – a time where we were meant to believe in such strong untruths.
Just as a good friend of mine Anibus Hotep states about being a Modern African ‘If you don’t know your past you don’t know your future’. In my journey understanding my past, my past before slavery and colonization gave me a clearer understanding on our movement towards a brighter future. And we need to be enlightened in who we are through unearthing our past.