History plays a very significant role in the development and stability of any nation. It serves as an indicator and in some ways an explanation of the current state of any nation. Citizens take pride in recalling or reminiscing how their nation has survived and emerged triumphant over the years. Things that had happened in the past, which inspired the current state and will continue shaping the future.
The case of tracing the history of Africa seems to be a controversial one. Historians have raised issues over the historical accounts of the African to be deceiving as most of them were developed by Europeans.
Some, who found discrepancies with the European documented or written history, suggested a restudy or a rethinking of the real African History as the new generation of Africans has all the right to be fed with appropriate and unbiased information.
In revisiting the African history, historians, instead of relying on European references studied other sources like the African culture (oral tradition and language), and the African art which all served as alternative foundation for the African history.
What a harsh reality for the Africans to have this tremendous experience – they had more than enough of the discrimination and worse, even their very own history was denied to them.
Europeans have, in one way or another altered or edited the reality behind the history of the African people in different aspects of their way of living in the past. In terms of civilization, they have built early civilizations in Africa but the Europeans made them believe that Africa was not capable of establishing civilization then.
The problem with the true African history was the lack of sufficient tangible evidences. Most of the history was passed from one generation to another through verbal story telling.
Such method made it difficult to preserve the genuine history, which gave the Europeans the opportunity to transcribe and document the flow of events in a manner that would please them and that would justify the slavery and prejudice Africans experiences with the Whites.
The European’s version of the African history gave credit to the former as the beginners of civilization there. And they were successful in spreading a false history that favored them and emphasized that they were indeed the superior race. But there were evidences found later that Africans had been civilized even before the Europeans arrived.
They were already educated on spinning and weaving cloth, twisting and plaiting ropes, and even raising domestic livestock. But these information were all denied from them and were revealed just recently.
Another gloomy reality concerning the African history was the denial of the cultural heritage. Native works of arts and masterpieces were illicitly brought and displayed in museums outside of Africa, defying the fact that they were African original creations and possessions. Different artifacts found in Mapungubwe Hill were evident of the wealth and differentiation of the Africans before the Whites took over.
he denial of the truth for the Africans on what truly happened in their past had greatly affected how they perceive themselves. The issue on racism, also introduced by the Whites, left the African people unconfident about themselves and their culture. They created a mindset that the better race is that who have originated form the West.
To date, Africans have not seized building and developing their own, true history. From all the challenges and struggles they have surpassed, they will continually.
It will be imperative that the new generation of Africans and historians as well, learn to view their very own history from the perspective of their ancestors rather than from the European point of view. The future African generation hopefully will not be confused anymore between the real and the invented African history.
Giblin, J. “Issues in African History.” Art and Life in Africa Online. 07 March 1999. 1 May 2007 <http://www.uiowa.edu/~africart/toc/history/giblinhistory.html>
“The Crawfurd.dk.” History of Africa. 1 May 2007 <http://www.crawfurd.dk/africa/history.htm>