By Juliet Rogers.
History teaches us about the important happenings of the past, so that we may learn from both the positive and negative lessons in order to help us in decision making in leadership. From those experiences, we learn what to put into practice as well as learn from past mistakes so that we do not repeat them as we are seeing today.
Many Sierra Leoneans know very little about their country’s long and fabulous history. If they did, Sierra Leone today would have been a first class nation of high prosperity and human capital gains. But because we know not our history, we are making needless mistakes that impoverish and expose us to needless instability.
Sierra Leone has one of the lengthiest, thrilling and most interesting histories of all Black Africa countries. But we don’t know it and most other nations don’t know it as a consequence.
In a colloquy with Sierra Leone’s quondam Plenipotentiary to the United States of America (U.S.A), he told me that during the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) and the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) interregna, he used his knowledge of the United States of America’s (U.S.A) history plus Sierra Leone – U.S.A history to persuade Americans and their congressional representatives to strongly support Sierra Leone in defeating the rebels and their external backers such as Charles Taylor of Liberia.
Do Sierra Leoneans know that the Independence of the United States of America was negotiated on the backs of Sierra Leoneans? Does this means a call to avert the journey to becoming a developed nation.
Do you know that Sierra Leone enabled United Kingdom (U.K) to get the lion’s share of its trade amounting to trillions of Pounds sterling annually?
Do you know that Nigeria and Ghana dearly love Sierra Leone out of utmost sincerity and appreciation for being forefront in opening up their countries to Western Culture? Due to that, ECOMOG fought in Sierra Leone diligently to defeat the RUF because of their respect for Sierra Leone’s role in helping to mold them into nation states during the colonial period?
Do you know that Tony Blair, emeritus Prime Minister of Britain helped to bring massive aid to Sierra Leone during his tenure because his father taught him about U.K-S.L historic relations?
In the meantime, reflect on these words:
Study history, study history. In history lies all the secrets of statecraft.” – Confucius, Chinese teacher and philosopher (551-479 BC)
The History of Sierra Leone is one of the most educative for today’s flunky Sierra Leone. The educational system of African nations, especially that of Sierra Leone should prioritize history in our curriculum and therefore, make it accessible and assess able to all students, regardless of the faculty they find themselves in the aforesaid system.
History as a subject is important to all and sundry. Thus, the school system never should had designed it for certain set of students. No student may afford the un sheltered luxury of never to have developed interest in the acquisition of knowledge in history or been taught history in their formative periods.
Robert Penn Warren points out that “History cannot give us a program for the future, but it can give us a fuller understanding of ourselves, and of our common humanity, so that we can better face the future when it comes.”
It is important to note however, that without history there can be no knowledge, without knowledge there can be no development, without development, there will merely survive a degraded society that failed to sustain it own customs, values, norms, ethnological languages etc.
The Mis-Education Of The Negro, The History Of The Negro Church, African Heroes & Heroines, The Education Of The Negro Prior To 1861, The African Background Outlined etc are books originally published during the 1900’s (1915 – 1939) by Dr. Carter G. Woodson, now known as the “Father of Black History.” The common position of the above-mentioned books authored by Dr. Woodson is that African-Americans of his epoch were being culturally indoctrinated, rather than being taught, in American schools. This conditioning, he claims, causes African-Americans to become dependent and to seek out inferior places in the greater society of which they are a part. He challenges his readers to become autodidacts and to “do for themselves”, regardless of what they were taught. Therefore, the fore-named books together with other books authored by distinct authors specifically: “Dancing In The Glory Of Monsters, The State Of Africa, Stolen Legacy & They Came before Columbus” should be included in the school curricula of the African society. To what end?… Reason being that the prescribed books are trusted treasure-trove of pure wisdom of life, and the knowledge herein are also up-to-date and very suitable for the usance of the African society.
Someone may ask: How can African nations, most especially Sierra Leone go about making history instruction, specifically national history & wider world accessible to all students regardless of the faculty they find themselves in the school system, and the benefits a nation will enjoy for carrying out such intervention?
We can teach our nation’s history through mass education by various experts using indigenous languages and English on radio, TV and mass media, including social media. We can encourage knowledgeable people to write episodes of our history in simple pamphlets at low costs for mass distribution in schools, colleges, shops, clubs, etc.
Having recommended that, it is also reasonable that our historians pay attention to the advice submitted by Miguel de Cervantes in this few lines: “For historians ought to be precise, truthful, and quite unprejudiced, and neither interest nor fear, hatred nor affection, should cause them to swerve from the path of truth, whose mother is history, the rival of time, the depository of great actions, the witness of what is past, the example and instruction of the present, the monitor of the future.”
There is also, however, a further recommendation to be considered. We can conduct quizzes and other forms of mass competitions based on our history. These quizzes and competitions should be for valuable prizes and be open to schools, colleges and the general public.
The sentiment expressed in the quotation, “To discover OUR HISTORY is to discover our SOMETHINGNESS (beingness) before someone else CREATED US. To come to know ourselves as we were PRIOR to our RE-CREATION by ALIENS means we will be in charge of our own becoming, the CREATORS of our own CONSCIOUSNESS, the creation of ourselves as ‘namers’ of the world, the namers of ourselves which gives us the power of self-determination and self-direction,” (The Falsification of Afrikan Consciousness page 52) embodies the view that, we need to know our country’s history so that we get to know who we are, where we are coming from, as well as the store of knowledge our people and country have acquired from the past. Without such knowledge, we are condemned to repeat mistakes while not using very useful knowledge available to us like other nations do.
In fact, the World’s most advanced societies know their history very well.
When it is acquired, for which purpose is history? Ikime (2006:144) counts more desirable the response credited to J.H. plumb in 1971, remarking that “the purpose of history is to deepen understanding about men and society, not for its own sake, but in the hope that a profounder’s awareness will help to mould human attitudes and human actions.”
On the importance of history, Daniels in Ikime (2006) had posited that:
“History is the memory of human group experience. If forgotten or ignored, we cease in that measure to be human. Without history, we have no knowledge of who we are or how we came to be, like victims of collective amnesia groping in the dark for our identity. It is the events recorded in history that have generated all the emotions, the values, the ideals, that make life meaningful, that have given men something to live for, struggle over, die for.”
What is more, he argued that “historical events have created all the basic human groupings – countries, religions classes and all the loyalties that attached to these.”
The Creole has respect for history. The respect is memorialized in these words: “If u nor sabee ou sye u komot, u nor go sabee ou sye u dey go”.
No nation can go forward without knowing itself through history and learning from the past what works for its people and what does not.
On the whole, Dr. Edmond Melhem, in his book: “A NATION WITH A GREAT HISTORY,” asserted: “Come forward and let us create a sound literature that has authentic roots in our history and mentality. Come forward, that we may comprehend ourselves and our history in the light of our authentic outlook on life, universe and art. In this way, we will establish a living literature deserving to be immortal and worthy of the appreciation of the world at large.”
The author is a Societal Engineer, Life&Emotional Intelligence Coach.