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88 Unschooling the African to deschool society Rogers Atukunda “In the end it has come to this prophetic prediction. That in the days of perpetual slumber, the warriors will adopt a philosophy where, ‘to be or not to be’ depends on whether one is known in Europe or accepted in America”- writes Kihura Nkuba; 1995: When The African Wakes (3). Let us ask a question: what did Europeans mean by civilising Africans? In their process of civilisation, they would educate and better behaviours of the savages. What did the savages learn? To speak English, eat, dress, talk, live, build houses, conduct marriages and prayers just like whites. In Grace Ogot’s novel Land Without Thunder; honeymoons were invented simply because white girls wanted to eat the forbidden fruit without their parents constantly watching. Then our black girls ran mad over the idea that without a honeymoon, they would immediately divorce you in 24 hours after the unavoidable church wedding, making us products of an unquestioning unnatural system. These things already existed in African societies; people were already eating, speaking, dressing, worshipping and getting married. Which behaviours were made better? Africans were barbaric because they killed albinos, in Chinua Achebe’s novel Things Fall Apart (1958), and throwing them in the evil forest. The Egyptian Pharaoh had centuries back ordered the massacre of all Hebrew male children. But were the Africans also hanging and persecuting Jews in Venice and Christians in Scotland, Crimea, Spain, Ireland, France, Britain and other repressive states? Were Africans also burning white girls and white women suspected of sorcery and heresy? They didn’t have toilets but I haven’t heard of one who boarded a ship to go to Britain and eased himself in a flash toilet. They were ignorant and needed formal education. Why don’t you say education plainly? The Africans already had their informal education where knowledge and skills of 89 survival were passed on to the young by the elders around the fireplace. Gullible and unsuspecting as Africans were (still are?), they believed that whites had actually come to civilise, modernise and Christianise them. They deposed mighty kings and replaced them with puppets who reign up-to-date; is that civilisation? They butchered innocent children and women, looted property and the continent’s resources, disorganised the cultural structure and retarded the continent’s development; is that modernisation? They stole African artefacts and religious symbols of a people’s beliefs, they asked Africans to believe in a white God and abandon their traditional gods, to bury their superstition and believe in statues of two Jews; Jesus Christ of Nazareth and the Holy Virgin Mary. I thought superstition “is a belief in unseen and unknown forces that can be influenced by objects and rituals”! Replacing superstitious wood and stones with superstitious sculptures of Jesus and his virgin mother, Mary, is that what they meant by Christianising Africans? Like specimens in laboratory experiments, they mixed up an African with their own lifestyle, modes of thinking and behaviour. Don’t be alarmed when the African elites tell you that they “think in English”. They sowed opportunism on African soil and uprooted liberalism and nationalism. When a patriotic African leader like Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe stands against imperialistic and theftdriven western ideas, elitist parrots automatically stand against him for fear of losing foreign aid. This is a testimony that whites never intended to do anything good in Africa. When they trained clerks, messengers and guards, it was because they needed them to run their errands, write down the racist prejudicial observations and protect their lives from the “barbaric native” who could drink their blood anytime chance presented itself. They trained teachers and catechists to help them indoctrinate and brainwash the natives. They largely succeeded in this: producing parrots called interpreters and blind sheep that went around bleating messages about the land of milk and honey (heaven) or Sugar Candy Mountain in George Orwell’s witty allegorical fable Animal Farm 90 (1945) and a messiah; things they were not sure have ever existed. It seems an African is gifted when it comes to what Ngugi terms as “parrotology”. Training teachers was obviously a miscalculation for it resulted in a breed of nationalists that would later eat up the colonial enterprise. The educated started reading the colonial message between the lines and realised the kind of foolery embedded in these messages. They started to sensitise their people against this conspiracy that was intended to wipe them off the face...


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