Pan-Africanism: The Quest to Know Our Place in Human History (Part 2)

Posted: December 28, 2017 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Columnists, Commentary, Junub Sudan, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers, Thiik Mou Giir

By Thiik Mou Giir, Melbourne, Australia

African heritage

December 28, 2017 (SSB) — We will be well off if we could first find out who we were in history.  We will then be able to move on with the vision Construct Our New Identity (CONI) or with any other vision.  Most among us who have learned something about our history either have learned it from the point of view of an Arab or a European, or both.  We should know that they wrote history that way in order to serve their own interests and in so doing they did not write down everything that was supposed to have been written down.

They left out things that they deemed as not serving their interests but which could have had uplifted us and made us advance.  In the light of what they have done to our people, the enslavement and the colonization of our people, we have reasons to believe that they might have inserted a Lie in what we thought is true history.  Because we did not know better we have absorbed the Lie and we even have passed it on to our own people.  The result? Confusion.  That is what a Lie always does.  It is dangerous.

This is what Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – the Nigerian Novelist – had in mind when she entitled her talk at TED Talk, “The danger of a single story.”  We, the South Sudanese, have only heard a single story presented to us by other people who treated and are still treating our African people in the system of racism as if they are sub-humans.  We still hang on every word of ‘history’ that comes down from the mouth or the pen of an Arab or a European historian.

How can we understand what they are lecturing us about is true when we have not also learned as much as we could the other side of history as told or written by our African brothers and sisters?  Where is our own side of the story?

In the past, when our people have no say in the development of Sudan’s school curriculum, we never had a chance to hear history told from the perspective of Africans.  There were no textbooks written by Africans available to us.  Now things are different.  South Sudan has become an independent country and things that were impossible for our people to do in the past are now possible.  South Sudan has educational systems whose responsibility is to develop school curriculum.  Our people are now in the proper position to incorporate history texts using history books written by our African historians.

In the meantime, we expect the government of South Sudan and educational institutions to start coming up with plans to orient potential scholars to undertake undergraduate and postgraduate studies in the following fields:

  • History: we all want to know our place in human history. We all need to hear history being explained to us by our own historians.  The time for us to be lectured by other people only about our own is history is supposed to be over.  The reason is obvious; we must avoid “The danger of a single story” situation by all cost.
  • Kemetology (Egyptology): we want to learn as much as we could about us, the people of the Nile Valley. We want to learn as much as we could the history that stretched four thousand years before Christ and more than two thousand years AD (after Christ).  We also want to know the nature of the relationship of South Sudanese with all other people of the Nile Valley, especially the people of Kemet (Egypt) who had established the first great civilization.  We want to know all the reasons that led to the waning of that great civilization.
  • Archeology: Almost all archaeological discoveries have been made by people who are not people of the Nile Valley. Many Africans are joining the activity of digging out the truth that has remained buried in the ground for thousands of years.  We should expect to see our young people taking up this important task and from them, our people will gain knowledge passed on to them by their own sons and daughters.

This is my last article to you this year and in it, I am urging every one of us, who are literate, to individually and collectively find the Liberating Truth in history books written by our African historians as well as those written by non-African historians.  Let us study with these questions in mind:

  • have we been lied to;
  • If we have been lied to, have we then lived doing nothing substantial but passing on the lie to our own people? And;
  • What strategies are we going to come up with in order for us to free our minds from the lie?

The only way we can confront the Lie is when we are able to arm ourselves with the Liberating Truth.  We must, therefore, find this liberating Truth in history books.  The fact that there was an ancient king, called King Tut, who was born in 1341 BC and who later became Tutankhaten and the fact that we have a South Sudanese name, Tut, should spur us on to investigate and to find out more about ourselves.  Furthermore, the capital city of Sudan is called Khartoum, which means in Arabic trunk, a trunk of an elephant, for example.

This naming background of the place does not make any sense at all.  On the other hand, Jieng’s sense of memory informs us that Khartoum is a distortion of a Jieng name of the place, Kar-toum.  Kar-toum is a compound name; that is, a name made up of two words.  Kar means two branches and toum means to converge.  Thus Kar-toum means the meeting point of the two branches of the Blue Nile and the White Nile.  This, of course, makes a lot of sense.

We have the motivation to study our past and in that, we must find out the missing links between our people with all other people of the Nile Valley who had contributed to the establishment of the first civilization on Earth.  Let us resolve, my beloved brothers and sisters, that in 2018 we are starting in earnest, individually and collectively, to find the Liberating Truth.  This is the only way we can get rid of the Lie which is embedded in our hearts and minds and which is causing confusion and conflict wherever we are.  As we do that, let us continue to think how we can apply the vision, CONI, in our communities.

Thiik Mou Giir, Bachelor Degree in Education from the University of Alexandria, Egypt; Post Graduate Diploma, from Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.  He can be reached via his email contact: thiik_giir@hotmail.com

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made is the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article or news analysis, please email it to paanluel2011@gmail.com. SSB do reserve the right to edit material before publication. Please include your full name, email address and the country you are writing from, plus a concise biography of yourself.

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