The African Heritage Foundation is of the firm opinion that Afrocentric education brings with it life changing information that will empower of our islands young people. I am Simba, president of the African Heritage Foundation and having been born and raised under the umbrella of Eurocentric Christianity, and educated in parochial schools, I knew only what I was taught about Africa as is the case with a lot of young people in Barbados. My own education and awareness of Africa and African people took a distinct turn when I entered College in Toronto Canada. Direct contact with Africans in that metropolitan city and my involvement in an Afro-Caribbean Club at college taught me that when the European historians compiled the story of Africa they told it from their own perspective, filtered through the lens of a long-standing colonial domination of the African nations.
Giants of the Eurocentric version of world history like Hegel declared the African sub-human: "the African lacked reason and therefore moral and ethical content" according to him. In Britain, David Hume held similar, but less prominent, notions about the superiority of Europeans. History texts, as recorded by European authors, introduced a distorted version of the African worldview and all that is African. Only through close reading of some hard-to-find works by authors of African descent and the education provided through the writings and life of Marcus Garvey, Walter Rodney, Patrice Lumumba and other men and women of enlightenment and strong character was I able to discover that for their own economic gain, and for the glorification of their own homelands, the colonizers demeaned and denigrated Africa and Africans. This was also done in order to exploit the natural and human resources that were originally in abundance in Africa. Rodney, for instance, challenges one of the fallacies of the official Eurocentric version of history when he remarked that it is "an act of brazen fraud to weigh the paltry social amenities provided during the colonial epoch against the exploitation, and to arrive at the conclusion that the good outweighed the bad".
What I came personally to realize was that the Eurocentric lens that were the principal vehicle of my understanding about Africa had long since been clouded over with distortions,misrepresentations, and lies. I began to search for a new way of understanding that would encourage a more positive perspective about the people of Africa whom I had come to know and cherish for their humanity, grace, and endurance in the face of nearly global disregard. As a distinct theoretical perspective, Afrocentricity was a welcome anodyne. Afrocentricity has been an evolving way for revisionist in the social engineering mission to deconstruct the Eurocentric version of the history of African people. For many years, thanks to the work of brothers and sisters telling our history as found from their research Afrocentricity has been re-characterizing and re-contextualizing the history of people of African descent. Many authors, among others in the educational field, have argued for the efficacy of Afrocentricity on the basis of its benefits in explaining what heretofore has been referred to in Eurocentric research as "deviant" behavior among people of African descent. Through the lens of Afrocentricity, the very same behavior can be seen as a positive attribute, a hallmark of the unwillingness of persons of African descent to abandon their rich cultural heritage despite centuries of oppression through slavery, economic distress, and exploitation of the indigenous resources by the wealthier societies of Europe and America.
Even though many are beginning to recognize the importance of Africa, African philosophy and African history, "the fundamental antagonism of Whites toward Africans, be they on the continent or in the diaspora, has not altered over time" . Afrocentric education sheds light on the history of Africans at home and in the diaspora such that they can redefine themselves in light of their true history. The African Heritage Foundation argues that one can only be free in the Afrocentric context when one is knowledgeable about who one is, and from whence one has come from.
The African Heritage Foundation today concluded the pilot phase of its “Knowledge Is Power” (KIP) online comprehension challenge at Queens College. KIP is designed by this organization to assist students with obtaining a greater awareness of Africa, African people and their relevance to our present and future lives with the use of information published on this website.
This project focuses on building an awareness of Africa’s historical significance, the continent’s varying cultures and traditions, existing and future business opportunities, budding and successful entrepreneurs and the relevance of Africa to us in Barbados. We aim to prepare our future leaders and business people to be able to take advantage of the abundance of opportunities that the continent presents. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry toured several African countries in May of this year, and is now urging Americans to get in the game. "We want more American companies to be there, to invest there — both to unleash the power of the private sector in Africa and to create more jobs in America," he said. The AHF is urging Barbados to do the same.
As is the case with the growing Chinese / Barbadian business relationships, the people of these two countries are being sensitised to each other’s culture. Similarly, in looking forward to future business relationships with Africa it is essential that we begin sensitising our students to the various cultures of this continent. We want our children also to gain a better understanding of the politics and economics, types of medicine and healing arts, agricultural techniques, health issues, and advances in technology, mathematics and science, among other aspects of African lifestyles. As this project develops it will assist students in comprehension skills, critical thinking and problem solving. It will be further developed to encourage students to be more conscious of their communities, its needs and to develop ideas on plausible solutions.
It must also be noted that “KIP” is a direct response to the United Nations declaration of the “International Decade For African People”. This declaration carries with it a theme of Recognition, Development and Justice. It is under the banner of Recognition and Development that “KIP” was created.
With phase 1 of "KIP" completed we look to stage 2 that will include the involvement of all secondary schools on the island in this programme. The AHF is working on being in a position to commence with phase 2 of "KIP" in February 2016. Such programmes require the buy-in from the Education sector as well as funding support as all persons involved are volunteers. We are therefore appealing to corporate Barbados to also come on board and be sponsors of the continuation of this programme. Donations to this programme can be made through our paypal facilities here on the website or by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange how you can make your contribution.
The African Heritage Foundation pays a special word of thanks to Dr Browne, Dr Lashley and Ms Catlin of Queens College for their support in this activity and allowing us to use their school for the pilot. The AHF is thankful to have the support of persons such as Dr Nancy Jacobs and Ms Myrna Belgrave who are veteran educators and activist in the fight for Afrocentric education in our schools. We also pay a tremendous word of thanks to the Maria Holder Memorial Trust for their donation to 'KIP". A representative of the Trust was on hand this morning to assist us in making the presentation of the prize to the winning entries. This programme is volunteer based and as such we extend much thanks to Ms Sandie Murphy our Director of Education for her time and valuable instruction within the development of this project. Ms Murphy also a donated prizes for KIP. Everything done in the development and implementation of KIP could not have been done without the support of all of our AHF members who work with the development and implementation of “KIP".
The AHF thanks all the students who took the time to participate in KIP. We had 13 winning entries that spanned the year levels of the school. All 13 winning entries were give certificates of participation and gift certificates. We congratulate our two overall winners Alex Fingal and Muhammad Patel who walked away with the two grand prizes.
The completion of the pilot phase of KIP shows us that, it is not that our youth are not interested in Africa, it is that we have not made Africa interesting to them. To create this interest our educators themselves have to be interested in Africa or at the very least be aware of what she has to offer to our future generations. Teacher and parent buy-in to KIP is essential to its development and effectiveness going forward.
Through the envisioned success of KIP, it the goal of the AHF to have it be utilized as a tool in all the secondary schools in Barbados within this International Decade For African People under the banner of sustainable recognition through education. Our island is host to 22 secondary schools and we look forward to introducing KIP to each and every one of them.
"Our Future Must Be Ready"
To give you an idea of the type of information the students who participated in KIP were exposed to, here is a winning entry. We are not publishing the questions as it is the answers that inform us to what the students read about as they participated in KIP.
1(a) Brenda Katswesigye is from Uganda and her heatlthcare business, Instahealth is one which allows users to connect instantly to health centres, specialists, ambulances and consultation services via geo-location and an interactive voice response system. (b) Kambili Ofili-Okonkwo wanted to find a swimsuit that was both stylish and covered some of the areas she wasn’t comfortable showing off, so she created her own swimsuits which are both practical and appropriate for body conscious women. 2 (a)Samuel Amankwah said, and I quote, “Those who left our shores are still our brothers and sisters,” he also said “Offering Africans in the diaspora a right to abode in Ghana is a way of engaging for our common interest.” (b) In 2000, Ghana passed the ‘Right of Abode’ Law, which allows a person of African descent to apply and be granted the right to stay in Ghana indefinitely. 3 (a) Osei Tutu was one of the co-founders of the Empire of Ashanti and was crowned Asantehene (King of all Ashanti) and held that position until his death in 1717. (b)The name of the Queen Mother of Ejisu is Yaa Asantewaa. 4 (a) Kelvin Doe, also known as DJ Focus is a Sierra Leonean engineer who invented and built his own radio station in Sierra Leone, where he plays music and broadcasts news under the name "DJ Focus." (b) Ludwick Marishane is a South African teenager who invented DryBath, a gel that does all the work of a bath without the need for water. 5 (a)There are 856 columns which support the Great Mosque of Córdoba (La Mezquita). (b) Basil Davidson, one of the most noted historians recognized and declared that there were no lands in the eighth century "more admired by its neighbours, or more comfortable to live in, than a rich African civilization which took shape in Spain". 6 (a) The person who said that is Moses ole Samante. (b) Tiken Jah Fakoly said "Westerners can come to our countries anytime and do whatever they want. But we can't do the same" 7 (a)There were about 161,000 millionaires living in Africa at the end of 2014. (b)Zimbabwe's wealth per capita per person was $550 in 2014. 8 (a)This African proverb came from Ethiopia. (b) 5 African quotes on learning are: "Learning expands great souls." ( a Namibian proverb), "He who learns, teaches." (An Ethiopian proverb), "By trying often, the monkey learns to jump from the tree." (Buganda proverb), "You learn how to cut down trees by cutting them down." (Bateke proverb) and "Where there are experts there will be no lack of learners." (Swahili Proverb). 9 (a)The largest empire in African history was the Songhai Empire. (b) In 1482, the Portuguese built the Castle of Elmina, the first European settlement in Ghana. 10 (a)Three activities that the African heritage foundation will be involved in are: planning and executing several social events throughout the year, such as the annual Afrikan heritage fair (Sankofa). A second one is agriculture, the AHF will acquire agricultural land to develop an organic farm. A third is Business Development, the AHF will establish several businesses and make investments that will effectively increase the Foundation’s revenue. (b)Three benefits to members of the AHF are: Members of the AHF will be afforded special privileges in AHF organised events. A second is AHF members are afforded free access to AHF health services. A third is members with businesses will be offered free or discounted advertising in Our AfrikanHeritage magazine, its website and any form of media representing the AHF. SUPPORT As mentioned before your support to the success of the overall goal of KIP is critical. To facilitate the effective implementation of KIP in all our schools and to properly present it to the nation, will require a budget of $24,000 BDS, $12,000 USD. The AHF will be working in earnest to accomplish raising these funds to commence with phase 2 of KIP in February 2016. WE NEED YOUR HELP ..... SEND US A DONATION.
Below are some images taken this morning from the draw and presentation of prizes to winning students at Queens College.