By the time Africans states freed themselves from European colonialism, there was very little of African values, leave alone aesthetics, that Africans could proudly stand for in defence. Using Shakespeare’s expression, the Whiteman had not come to Africa to praise African values but to bury African values and promote Whiteman’s values. How much of those buried values have we uncovered up to now?
The first Presidents, in the lead Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, Jomo Kenyatta, Kenneth Kaunda and the others were forced to start restoring and building Africa cultural values from wrong cultural foundations. The first President to tackle the subject rightly was Nyerere with his introduction of African Socialism. Kaunda talked about African Humanism but did not go far.
In fact, by that time the library of Whiteman’s scholarship had published lots of works arguing that Africa was devoid of History and Philosophy. However, African scholars in the independent states took up to rewriting the cultural history of Africans. The question is, how far have they gone up to now?
The answer is,they have not gone far. In fact they are still in the woods. I take several points as examples to illustrate their failure. One quarter of world languages are spoken in Africa. Find out how many African scholars have a diploma or first degree in any of the languages whereas there are virtually thousands and thousands with doctorate degree in English, French, Arabic, Spanish, Italian, Chinese!
The African continent can boast of having the widest varieties of food stuff in the world. Those who travel round the world know how aggressively Chinese menu has been promoted and what commercial status it has reached. What about the African massive menu?
Africa can boast of holding the largest field of traditional medicine in the world. But have our governments and scholars any devoted persons in the discovery and promotion of African medicine, African psychiatry, African psychology, African dietary? What are the consequences of that failure?