It’s preferable to have illiterate africans than to expose them to literature that weakens their personality and make them black people with a white ghost in the mind.
98% of the content and narrative about Africans and Africa is created by Europeans and their descendants. Most of that content is racist, bigot, poorly written and eurocentric. Young people who have been overly exposed to the biased, often racist and eurocentric literature finish to develop a self-hate and a complex of inferiority toward europeans.
Did you ask, why Africans don’t like to Read?
The right question is why would they spend their time reading books that insult them and portray them with the most degrading images, and stories?
It’s often that I heard from many sources “Africans don’t read” or “the best way to hide something from Africans is to put it in a book”. And, for long time, I’ve heartwarmingly agreed with these statements and have spent time to “shame” my friends and connections into reading.
Personally, I’m a restless reader. I can’t have enough of reading, tough I was born in a family where neither my father or my mom could read or write. It happened that when I was 7 my parents go divorced, and I was left with my father who owned a small retail shop in the center of our village. My father wanted me to spend time with him, but like most traditonal fathers, he never knew what to tell me when we sit together except when he would spot an opportunity to lecture me.
From 7, unlike other kids in my village, I’d spend most of my time reading behind my father shop counter. Sometime, I’d suddenly emerge, and stretch my body to relax my muscles. Those sudden “emergences” from behind the counter got me the most famous nickname in the village “The Hippopotamus”.
Yeah, at that age I’d absorb anything in print that I could find. There were barely enough books in my village for my voracious reading appetite. I was even able to finish the whole Bible (more than 1000 pages), which in fact was the easiest book to get because the only gift the german missionaries never forgot to bring with their numerous visits is the Bible.
For me, school was the most boring thing that ever happened to me, but I have to admit that the only virtue I found to school is putting together people who are hungry to learn, and accidentally some good teachers who could point the kids into the right direction.
I remember that in school we were taught for examples the advantages of colonization for Africa. Because they books were written by Europeans who portray themselves as the savior of African bringing them to civilization and enlightenment. However, I’d later learn the real story of Africa, which was not taught at all, and found out that colonization was mainly a looting system designed by europeans to steal and exploit local people and their resources.
So, the question is Why aren’t african writing books for themselves?
First, because of history. When Europeans invaded Africa they applied the 4 basic principles of any occupant forces:
1. First, Kill the strong and loot the place
2. Second, Breed the weak
3. Third, Deport or Exile the smartest and the skilled ones
4. Fourth, Impose the golden colonial rule “My way or the Highway”.
The people who traditionally have the skills to maintain our narratives alive either have been killed, exiled or deported. Additionally, 3 centuries of transatlantic slavery exported more than 12 millions of the finest men and women from Africa to America.
Second, the colonizer understand well that “he who controls literature, controls the people mind”, and therefore the French and the British become surprisingly the biggest sponsors of African literature and books edition. Through various instruments, from scholarships to novel contests, most of the books produced and promoted in Africa today are still done through the control of the past and present colonial powers.
Unfortunately most of the contents created through the above channels are like the Black man writing with the White man in mind.
In the end those books interest more european audiences than Africans. Additionally, when you take the French, British and American cultural centers in developing world, less than 5% of the books are scientific books. Because, the mission of those governmental organizations is not the education of the Africans, but rightfully the spread of their culture and diplomacy.
With less than 2% of the narrative on Africa written by africans for Africans, everywhere I turn, I see a huge demand for local content. From local movies production to local artists focusing their work on ordinary africans people. The boom is coming.
It’s the perfect time ever to be content producer in Africa, because the demand is huge. Africans want content created by africans for Africans, without the validation by some foreign experts or juges.
The day is coming where Africans will not listen to BBC, RFI and all other western propaganda medias, but will Be so happy to have good local content, and then the joy of reading, learning will be back in every african family.
Now, it’s your turn, Please suggest your favorite books to read to the SiliconAfrica audience, because we have to start reading, and much more creating more content for ourselves, and Stop reading other people narrative on us.