Decolonising the history of Christianity in Africa

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• Shivute Kaapanda

To comprehend the policy of racist Christianity in Africa, we should revisit the history of African mental colonialism by African historians. The bitter truth on African history is found in the revelation of the Senegalese historian Cheik Anta Diop’s works on “Rehabilitating the self-image of the black African”.

Cheik Anta Diop critically analysed that the presumption that black Africans have contributed nothing is a false one but it was given an appearance of truth by two falsifications of history: firstly, the denial of what Ancient Egypt had contributed to the culture of the Greeks and the Hebrews, and through them to European civilization, and secondly, the exclusion of pharaonic Egypt from black Africa.

This teach us that the mythology that black Africans invented nothing, explored nothing and tamed nothing serves to demotivate Africans and by reverse motivated the white people in order to give them mythical power over the black communities. Diop stated that the European history functions as a mythology, and as mythology it functions to maintain European power, domination and control.

Christianity is one of the mythical tools which were used to domesticate African minds into a mental colonial situation, a situation that gave birth to the generation of black Africans who hate themselves but have more love and fear of the white race.

The situation imposed the religions, languages and European cultures, Africans were given the new names through the fake oratory of biblical customs known as baptism, they were taught foreign languages and introduced to the new ways and meanings of doing things based on the knowledge of a trespasser.

The arrival of missionaries marked a new era; an encounter between African cultures and the European mythology.
Baptizing Africans into Christianity is a Christian ritual which signals civilisation which comes with a new name of a person being baptised in a different language not of his/her choice, totally different from the language of the person being subjected to baptism rhetoric as a first encounter to conquer the fragile minds of black Africans using the bible, a bible being a rhetorical book which used an emotional story of Jesus Christ’s death, a mascot used as an emotional appeal to ancient African intellectual fragility to drag them into sentimentalism.
As a scholar of humanities it is an intellectual obligation to provide tangible insights on what rhetoric does to cement religious and political statements.

Aristotle’s ancient contribution to the field of rhetoric entails the ethos (appeal to character of credibility), the pathos (appeal to emotions) and the logos (appeal to logic and reason). With Aristotle’s contribution one can deduce that if pathos were the roots of a tree, Christianity would indeed be a big and matured tree.

In the mythical history of Europe the field of rhetoric has long been dominated by Ancient Greek and Roman philosophers and rhetoricians, such as Fabius Quintillian, Marcus Cicero, Socrates and Aristotle. The history of African rhetoricians is orally documented and therefore fragile to the imposed educational curricula and religious texts enforced to Africans in any available form of literature.

It is therefore intellectually barbaric by virtue of black history of colonialism that carrying a European name was a new way of being civilised, in other terms being wise and awake. Christianity is a mythical subject which imposed hopeless hopes on the minds of Africans that them carrying a foreign name on a birth certificate is a blessing and when you are baptised and blessed you will enter the eternal kingdom of God.

This mythical statement has a rhetorical effect and the power that sells the hope and bridges the gap between life and death. Christianity sells “life after death” as a service and inspires the fear of death as raw material (input) hypocritically ignoring the mere fact that death is an inevitable phenomenon of humanity.

It is only a fool who can believe that there is a thing in existence called heaven without distinguishing reality from falsehood or life from death. It can therefore be deduced that Christianity is a theistic theory born from the mythical tradition, which falsely undermines reality. Furthermore, it undermines African humanity in general and the black race in particular.

Frantz Fanon’s work, “The wretched of the Earth,” also gave an intellectual diagnosis on Christianity that “The church in the colonies is a white man’s church, a foreigner’s church. It does not call the colonised to the ways of God, but to the ways of the white man, to the ways of the master, the ways of the oppressor”.

This alone gives testimony to black man’s captivity into the white man’s religious prison of Christianity, wherein neither remission nor parole is guaranteed. The only escape route is for our intellects to rebel against this bloody captivity.

In the final analysis, due to the absence of tangible evidence in the production of a Christian doctrine, Christianity must be considered a mythology which belongs to the world, which is neither possible nor actual.
Due to European mythology which spread via Christianity, the doctrine that has captured African cerebrums, Africans remain colonised species with colonial signatures in the form of European naming systems and other western-controlled schemes. Christianity is facing intellectual liquidation as it continues to face a litmus test.
* Shivute Kaapanda is a writer from Eyanda village.

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