WHY IS AFRICA'S HISTORY HIDDEN
History has bequeathed Africa an unequal and inferior status. The characterization of Africa as a dark continent that required civilization was integral to the process of colonization. This mythology was vigorously advanced by the colonizer and even internalized by the colonized. Western historians advanced the notion of Africa as a place with a scant history and very little or no achievements. In the post-colonial period efforts have been made to address this historical injustice. In this Africa Month, it is important for people in the continent to connect with their own histories and identities. This will allow for faster forward movement.
So much of African history has been lost, It is the Land of forgotten kingdoms. Great Empires of the Middle Ages provided the ivory and gold that fueled the Renaissance. Arabs and Europeans, the very people who benefited most from Africa’s bounty conspired to deny the continent its great legacy. Saying Africa had or has no history made it easier to cover up the stories of invasions, displacements and land grabbing. The glorious past of Africa is buried under the Eurocentric narrative of advanced Europe bringing industrialization, civilization, trade and other developments to primitive Africa. Euro centrists say that they dragged us all out of the bush or jungle and European colonization lifted us up.
The study of African black history also suffered from the racist bias of the early Europeans, they barely saw the locals as human or having any history worth a mention. When the colonization really got going, after the scramble and division of sub-Sahara, the new white rulers and administrators were not interested in having a native identity. These second-class citizens were now part off the British, French, German, Spanish or Portuguese colonies. The very unfortunate became the Belgian king’s private property. These circumstances were hardly helpful in promoting a black history. History can and should be a major source of patriotic pride and identity. What makes it even more difficult with the pr-colonials, was their complicated social and tribal compositions. Small areas with a variety of languages and traditions, often with generations of warfare and competition, this is not a good foundation for any serious research. By small areas, it could be at village level, where the language across a small river would as different like Russian to English. In Europe, many of our early sources come from Latin, written by monks, rulers, civil servants, academics, poets, intellectuals and so on. This did not exist in the Bantu or black chiefdom. This infertile foundation for research, communication and history has not been popular with modern historians. The Africans, when European education slowly came, had other more urgent needs to train and nourish. With independence followed the burden of governing and running their own nations, so the art of history had low priority.