SEEKAPOR | an Educational Companion


As Black History Month is being celebrated in the United Kingdom, I get nostalgic about history lessons during my senior high school days. My teacher used to tell long tales about how before the advent of European imperialism, Africans had their own empires, political systems and socio-economic structures. After the exploitation of African civilisation and enslavement, our African ancestors struggled greatly through life till their last breath. Today, teachers continue that tradition of telling students about slavery and its impact. They (students) are also taught about historical figures like Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Nelson Mandela, Patrice Lumumba who helped their countries to gain independence through their blood and sweat.

The Black History Month celebrations in the United Kingdom is embarked to foreground the achievements and contributions of the Black community in the UK. The Black community in the UK had made significant contributions but these had often been downplayed or ignored due to discrimination stemming from the colour of their skin. As a result of commemorations like this, British people like Michael Ebenezer Kwadjo Omari Owuo Jr. AKA Stormzy (rapper and singer), Ozwald Boateng (Fashion Designer), Peter Mensah (Actor) and Amma Asante (screenwriter, film director and actress) who all happen to have Ghanaian heritage are some distinguished Black figures who are now given recognition.

The first celebration of UK’s Black History Month was held in 1987 and was organised by the Ghanaian, Akyaaba Addai Sebo. It seeks to recognise the important people and events in the history of people of African and Caribbean descent. In the United States of America, Black History Month is observed in the month of February and its celebration is a good opportunity for Black people from diverse backgrounds, especially children to be educated on their African roots and the historical figures that made a difference. For many, the commemoration of the Black History Month serves as an opportunity for one to reflect on the varied histories of people of African and Caribbean descent, taking due cognizance of the achievements and contributions to the social, economic, political and cultural development of their present nations.

As this month is being commemorated, every Tom, Dick and Harry, especially children, must be taught the lessons that explore the impact of slavery and racial discrimination in the Black experience. The teaching of African history begins with their exploitation of humanity and enslavement by Europeans. The role of slavery and colonialism in the marginalisation of African history was great and often, this history was told from the perspective of the conquerors. This is why African civilisation prior slavery era is not acknowledged. Nonetheless, based on valid historical and scientic research, Africa is considered as the cradle human civilisation.

To preserve the African culture, the youthful generation should be allowed to have access to Black history as this will enable them to be aware and appreciative about the successes and struggles of the African ancestors and the current Black community. It is also imperative for children to understand the significance of Black people in the development of their present environment. For British children with Ghanaian heritage, taking interest in learning about their ancestry will help them understand how Ghanaian historical figures resisted and rebelled against colonial rule, making way for independence. By teaching Black children these, they learn how to connect their personal experiences with the larger world.

Knowing one’s history is important because knowing the past opens the door to the future. It is therefore essential for people to understand their heritage and history because these are what continue to glue us together. Understanding the scope of the Black heritage helps one to appreciate the fullness of the African ancestry and humanity. We draw inspiration from the past to gain the tools and clear paths that would guide us live life to the fullest.

October 13, 2020


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