The rebirth of African intellectuality

by Shivute Kaapanda

The rebirth of African intellectuality

The understanding of African intellectuality as a core concept in African education seems to be lacking in our education system, because for several reasons the imposed foreign curriculum does not support it.

This will keep generations asleep, as they continue to rely on prayers so that one day they shall see African intellectual prosperity. In the wake of religious and traditional concept of Africa, at the primary level of education children are only taught about the existence of a certain Jesus Christ, whose religious character was imposed upon African ancestors through slavery and colonialism.

The colonial signature is evident amongst Africans today. Languages, such as English, are recognised and trusted to lead official discourses. As a result, African languages are looked down upon as inferior.



The only medium African intellectuals are able to emancipate the uneducated communities through is the English language, among other official languages of Africa, for it was the language of formal communication from primary to tertiary education. The new African society is molded according to the desires of people sitting in Manchester, England.

The generations of African intellectuals need to be awakened in order to emancipate those who did not get university degrees. This awakening should take into account the African linguistic system and African spirituality in order to teach genuine concepts of Africa in languages that are fully accessible to Africa’s people.

Africa might share similar theories with other continents, but the fact that language translation can change the original meaning of a theory in understanding certain events, the original theories might lose the direction of meaning through translation.

The fact that African theories and beliefs are not recognised elsewhere is because for various reasons they are not often translated into other languages. This defies the global understanding and recognition of African theories and concepts.

The visual fact that Africa is defined and interpreted in English or Portuguese cannot be correct, especially in the world where we have nations whose official languages are native to themselves.

Is this a lack of African governance? Should we blame oppression or ancestral ignorance? The fact that we are taught to believe that there is in existence heaven and hell is a clear indication of the flaw in our intelligence only if we cannot question it but accept it as a final knowledge.

If this is final knowledge then who is the source of this knowledge? Theoretical criticism taught us that no knowledge is final and that no knowledge is immune to critique. It’s only a matter of time and critical intelligence before old knowledge is replaced by the new, and for the new knowledge to emerge, the old must die first.

A religious theory that supports the fear of death is against critical intelligence and intellectual liberation. Africa needs to disengage the old theories and African people who bear the potency in the revolution, the rebirth of Africa should be inspired by Africans.

The mere fact that some languages are seen as measures of intelligence is inconsistent logic. We need to generate new knowledge, as morality is not limited to churches; knowledge is not limited to universities.

As Africans we need to go out and research in order to get first-hand knowledge and come to grasp reality to create meaningful theories in our own languages.

African people need to embrace change, the change that will see the intellectual independence of Africa’s people and the re-imagining of Africans speaking African languages without being apologetic.

Africa needs to reject the notions of heaven and hell in understanding and regulating humanity and focus on genuine knowledge acquisition. The heavens are too close and uncertain.

Africa needs to go far with certainty; the heavens are psychologically and strategically set to oppress our lines of thoughts and conscience with a view to keeping us busy embracing the gods of nonexistence.

It is intellectually unsound to be told our gods originated outside of Africa.
If we are to believe that it is logically correct that Africa cannot save itself from the tyranny of oppression and that we need a foreign god, whose territory is home to the oppressor, then we really need intellectual reform and such intellectual rebirth cannot be achieved through a damning prayer, but only with critical intelligence and utmost resilience.

* Shivute Kaapanda is an Africanist writer and philosopher from Eyanda village.

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