Posts Tagged ‘maafa’

Had a good friend tell me today that a young mixed-race girl of 12, was speaking of ancestry in the classroom. As one of only two ‘mixed-race’ children in the class, she referred to Caribbean islands as where her ancestors came from.  The teacher, quite rightly tells her that her ancestors did originate from Africa but then because of a widespread flu epidemic they all left Africa for the Caribbean!

No mention of slavery. My friend is still in shock, wondering if the 12 year old just did not translate everything properly or if this really is the state of educators’ education on transatlantic slavery.

Being a teacher himself, my friend wondered if it was something to do with the limited amount of time available to be able to even broach the subject; or maybe he did not want the girl to be singled out as having slave ancestors. Whatever the reason, it’s most likely that the teacher is ill-equipped to tackle the subject confidently, leaving all the various descendents in the class with their self-esteem in tact.

There must be ways. Educating children on ‘the slave trade’ is tough it’s true. Like other sensitive subjects that reveal the Truth about the dark side of humanity that teachers try to educate children away from expressing. To be good boys and girls and responsible citizens we are bound.  But when teachers themselves are not educated on subject mentally nor had to chance to work the ideas through emotionally and politically,  teaching and learning transatlantic slavery will remain dangerous to the delicately developing adolescent and greater social psyche.

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Afrikan education was another thing missed on this trip.

As the home of the John Lynch Afrikan Education Project, and with the visits of Ligali to the city, there is always going to be an opportunity for Bristol’s African people to explore an Africentric worldview.

In this world, African people have history. Big history! And soul-healing and liberation will come from restoring that connection to their ancestors, their land, and their people. The Maafa is an especially heinous crime that not only ripped African people from all these things in the  past, but is robbing them in the present and, as a result will also take their future. If left unchecked!!

However the message is not to convince other people about this Afrikan history. It’s about educating Africans themselves. About themselves.

There are many such African-centred organisations around, but these two (mentioned above) are significant because of their impact on Bristol’s i-ligthenment this year.

Of course they are not much interested in 2007, and see it as an audacious scheme to make yet more money off our black backs (except they wouldn’t really use the term black, but it alliterated!).  This time, the hustle was in the form of all the public funding bids to draw down money on 2007 ticket – when black was the new black.   The Africentic has been working well before two-thousand-and-seven, and will fight on till the battle is done.   “It means nothing to us! ” would be the cry. But interestingly I saw this year Africentric ties grow stronger together. Even if it was just to rally against this European audacity!  

Their view was so crucial to Bristol’s understanding of itself. It was refreshing when they entered the public areana with their African-centred views on t’ telly. I venture they may now go back to being shunned by the public attention-givers in the form of screen and print media, who no longer have their 2007 hook,  but the Afrikan liberation struggle continues.

Meanwhile – on the education issue, if this is a mark for self-knowledge and new truths. It’s a mark for education. 


The term “Maafa” (from the book, “Let The Circle Be Unbroken”, by Dr. Marimba Ani) is a kiswahili word for “disaster” that we are now using to reclaim our right to tell our own story. Maafa refers to the enslavement of our people and to the sustained attempt to dehumanize us. Because the Maafa has disconnected us from our cultural origins, we have remained vulnerable in a social order that does not reflect our cultural identity. 


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