In the first of two parts, Dr. Kheftusa Akhiba Ankh explores the importance of De-colonisation of the African Mind in the struggle for Black liberation.
The consciousness of African’s needs to be re-assessed and systematically repaired. As we need to question who we are? We have been conditioned by a colonial system of oppression rooted in centuries of exploitation and enslavement.
However, before we go any further, let’s examine the word colonisation. Colonisation is generally seen as a territorial conquest, where one group violently conquers another group and assumes control over a specific territory and the people that reside in it. However, that definition will not foreground this discussion. Instead, we will examine a more abstract approach in order to understand our present-day realities. History teaches us that ancient and modern Africa has been colonised by numerous invaders. For example, the Berlin Conference which occurred on the 15th of November 1884 and ended on the 26th of February 1885 occasioned a scramble for Africa. This was documented by Walter Rodney in his book: How Europe Undeveloped Africa, which highlighted the tragic impact of European imperialism. However, many of us don’t understand the psychological damage that was inflicted on the African psyche.
This article will draw on the prophetic Wisdom of Carter G, Woodson who identified the Miseducation of the Negro which was published in 1933 as well as the powerful analysis of Prof. Amos Wilson to unlock the vault concerning the Falsification of African Consciousness, which was published in 1993. Significantly, the miseducation of the American Negro should be used to understand the conduct of the global African community. In short, the Negro persona represents a people stripped of their cultural identity and their Knowledge of Self. Here, the Negro, signifies a lost people who longingly desire acceptance into the bosom of European culture whilst denying their African identity. Indeed, in accordance with the thinking of Malcolm X and the Messenger, the Negro is deaf, dumb and blind and culturally retarded.
In actuality, wherever African’s reside, be it in the UK, America, Brazil, South Africa or Nigeria, the African is a hollow representative of our former and true selves.
Malcolm informed us that the term Negro was derived from the word Necro and represented one who is both mentally and spiritually dead. The Negro’s psychic trauma was also illustrated by Prof. Amos Wilson, who pointed to the layers of self-hatred deposited due to the inculcation of white supremacy. Wilson pointed out that our perceived, or actual identity informs and shapes our behaviour and determines the vibrational frequencies that we resonate at. In a sense, our perceived identity helps determine our lived reality. With that said, the Negro persona type undermines who we are and who we ought to be.
Therefore, colonisation is better understood as a mental, cultural and spiritual phenomena! And de-colonisation corresponds to the liberation of the African psyche.
The Colony of the Mind
In the sixties, Malcolm argued that the possession of land represented the fundamental basis of all revolutionary struggles. But if land is an essential asset (and it is) then freedom of thought is a crucial component in the African liberation struggle. Indeed, Steve Biko argued that
“the most potent weapon of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed”
That is African liberation on the continent in the Caribbean and the America’s has stalled because the minds of African people are devoid of an authentic African consciousness. In short, African’s broadly ape other people’s cultural values. Hence Malcolm’s analysis regarding the importance of land in regard to power must be coupled with his intellectual and cultural work which focused on raising African consciousness from the dead level until as he said, “it was upright and perpendicular on the square”.
In brief the battle regarding ideas, concepts and identity are primary factors in the quest for freedom. Prof. Wilson recognised this as he identified that the Blueprint for Black Power lay in critical thinking added to the strategic leverage of African Political Culture. One might add that the reassertion of authentic African spirituality would enhance and secure our efforts to succeed. That is until we acknowledge that our thoughts, actions and choices determine our reality we will continue to fail. That is why we need a systematic infusion of scientific and cultural Self-Knowledge or a Knowledge of Self.
Dr Kheftusa Akhiba Ankh is a leading educational consultant, lecturer and writer in African culture and history. He is available to take bookings for lectures, workshops, courses and seminars/conferences. For further enquires please contact firstname.lastname@example.org