We overdosed on Englishness

02 Feb, 2020 - 00:02 0 Views
We overdosed  on Englishness

The Sunday Mail

You can never be black and racist.

It is impossible!

In fact, it is nonsense!

How is it even possible?

Have you not seen how some people of colour servilely grovel whenever they set their eyes on a white man?

Did you not hear our own African-minted billionaire Patrice Motsepe who, in a moment of cringing obsequiousness, recently told US President Donald Trump — yes, the same guy who thinks some countries in this part of the savanna are humanity’s pit latrines (to put it mildly) — that Africa “loves” him very much?

Or, better still, haven’t you heard MDC’s bae Fadzayi Mahere’s impassioned appeal for Zimbabwe to save Australia from the plague of apocalyptic wildfires.

“Why is the world not panicking about #AustralianWildFires?” she gushed, condescendingly adding: “What can we do to help?”

And then there is Dr Nkululeko Sibanda, Nelson Chamisa’s spokesperson.

Eish! Bishop Lazi still cannot wrap his head around the young man’s accent.

Where can you place it: is it Scottish, Welsh, Cockney, American, or a hybrid of all?

Or perhaps it is Zimbabwean.

Well, these three musketeers of our anglicised African community really complete the package — Motsepe brings the sentiment, Mahere weighs in with the emotion and Sibanda comes with the accent. Kikikiki.

Macaulaysian creatures

For the Bishop, these three, and many others of their ilk, seem to be successful specimens of an assimilated human being that the colonial educational project sought to produce. You see, although we managed to defeat the coloniser, we unfortunately did not vanquish an insidious colonial education system whose corrosive influence on the collective national psyche and normative values we continue to grapple with today.

Now, it seems the aspirational educational goal for some of our fellow blacks is to talk like whites, dress like whites and think like whites.

To them, the white man (or woman) represents the “highest point of civilisation” and therefore a reference point for development, modernity and enlightenment, while the black man personifies failure, backwardness and civilisational regression.

The weaponisation of education to turn various races into ultimate specimens of Englishness in “taste, in opinions, in morals and intellect” has been the subject of rigorous intellectual inquiry.

And much of the invaluable information has been mined from this English chap called Thomas Babington Macaulay, a British historian who served on the Supreme Council of India from 1834 to 1838 — 52 years before the Zimbabwe was colonised.

By then India was a British colony.

Notably, in 1835, this gentleman penned “Minute on Indian Education”, which opened a window to how the colonial education system was used to turn “natives” into ideal “Englishmen” who could wittingly and unwittingly do the colonisers’ bidding.

“We must at present do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern; a class of persons, Indian in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals, and in intellect,” reads excerpts from his work.

So, you must not really be surprised at all why some folk amongst us are black on the outside but thoroughly white on the inside, just like a coconut. Kikiki.

And these are the Macaulysian monsters that roam our streets today.

Corrosive

However, the corrosive impact that this insidious educational system, which persists to today, has had on indigenous knowledge systems, normative values and the African nation-building project cannot be overemphasised.

Renowned Kenyan scholar and author Ngugi wa Thiong’o elaborately highlighted the damage inherent in colonial education systems in his work “Decolonising the Mind: The Politics of Language in African Literature”.

In fact, it was his considered view that it “annihilates a people’s belief in their names, in their languages, in their environment, in their heritage of struggle, in their unity, in their capacities and ultimately in themselves. It makes them see their past as one wasteland of non-achievement and it makes them want to distance themselves from that wasteland. It makes them want to identify with that which is furthest removed from themselves.”

Well, no one could have captured it better than Ngugi.

As long as our kids continue to be taught songs such as “Baa, baa, black sheep” and “London Bridge is Falling Down” in school, we will remain in big trouble.

Only recently has our educational system begun to be repurposed to be relevant to our aspirations to modernise, industrialise and create a prosperous society.

Mutating

Colonisation and imperialism are not words that you hear often nowadays because the assumption is that they no longer exist, especially in this “post-colonial era”.

But this is not by accident.

These terms are now unspeakable in the West, both in the mainstream media and among the intelligentsia.

UK-based award-winning journalist, John Pilger, in his book “The New Rulers of the World”, argues that the world order has not changed a bit since the colonial era, as the haves continue to feed off the have-nots through an overreaching global system that is disguised as globalisation.

Pilger claims that just as it was in the beginning when imperialism was carried out under the guise of spreading enlightenment and civilisation, imperialists are increasingly interfering in the affairs of targeted resource-rich countries under the guise of promoting democracy and human rights.

He quotes Hungarian scholar and emeritus professor of sociology at the University of Kent in England, Frank Furedi’s book “The New Ideology of Imperialism” to buttress his claims.

“The moral claims of imperialism were seldom questioned in the West,” claims Furedi in his work, adding: “Imperialism and the global expansion of Western powers were represented in ambiguously positive terms as a major contributor to human civilisation  . . .”

You probably might not have heard from all these scholars, and this, too, is for a good reason.

Such literature is not mainstreamed as it is regarded as “dissident” work that seeks to undermine the ideals of Western civilisation.

Superiority complex

Imperialism is not dead. It is very much alive.

It is driven and fuelled by the same white superiority complex that existed before.

The continued rise in racism and misogyny indicates that it has been alive all along.

Absurd as it might sound, there are some in the white establishment that think that they were ordained by God to rule over other races.

In June 2018, the then US Attorney-General Jeff Sessions quoted Romans 13 to justify the separation of white immigrant children from their families at the American border.

This is reminiscent of how scripture was used to justify slavery in the old days.

This includes passages such as 1 Timothy 6:1-5. It reads: “Let all who are under the yoke of slavery regard their masters as worthy of all honour, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be blasphemed. Those who have believing masters must not be disrespectful to them on the ground that they are members of the church; rather they must serve them all the more, since those who benefit by their service are believers and beloved. Teach and urge these duties.”

Africa has gone through traumatic historical epochs, from slavery to colonialism, whose effects continue to be pervasive in our societies today.

Africans need to rediscover their soul in order to create the national collective psyche that can spur development.

But it cannot do this through people whose “belief in their names, in their languages, in their environment, in their heritage of struggle, in their unity, in their capacities and ultimately in themselves” has been annihilated.

It cannot do this through people who “see their past as one wasteland of non-achievement and it makes them want to distance themselves from that wasteland.”

Unfortunately, we are definitely overdosed on Englishness.

Bishop out!

 

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