For those of you, who do not know me, my name is Nasilele. According to historical, stories regarding my Lozi tribe in Zambia, Nasilele was a name given to the wife of God. (God was called Nyambe). I have also heard that it is a name which evokes royalty and has been given to wives and daughters of chiefs.
I am quite proud of my powerful African name and its meaning, because it makes me feel uniquely connected to my History!
I also love to learn about the many things our African ancestors endured and overcame and although I don’t proclaim to be any sort of post-colonialist or historian, I am quite proud of the vast amount of knowledge I’ve instilled in myself! (And I’m still learning and evolving).
I believe it’s important that we keep learning, as if we understand where we came from, we can know ourselves and start to bring conscious children up too! I never want my child to be unaware of his or her history…..I guess that’s partly why I’m writing this column – so this if nobody instills knowledge and pride for Africa within my children then they can always go online and read something written by their crazy Afrocentric mother!
Nobody instilled my “culture” in me when I was growing up. I grew up as a British girl in a foreign land. It wasn’t until later on in life that I craved more knowledge and a connection to Africa. If it wasn’t for that wonderful day I discovered my father’s bookcase full of interesting historical narratives and informative stories about slavery, the colonisation of Africa and the struggle to liberation, who knows how great my knowledge and pride for Africa would be?
I think all I’d know about is that we were ‘stolen’ and shipped to the UK! Nothing in between, nothing before that and nothing about the actual experience….
I don’t remember learning much about my own History or even ‘general slavery’ at school. I cannot recall much from the History lessons aside from a very quick and generalised version! Is this because I live in Britain and her Majesty’s state system does not feel obliged to spend too much time discussing the legacy of Slavery?
Or is it because too let us know of the extremely marvellous inventions and developments started by us would reveal the secret? What is the secret you say?
The secret is that Africans have always been highly intelligent, innovative beings! We were “civilised” before so called “civilisation” was brought to us!
For instance, did you know?
- The mathematics you think we have been taught is not new to us! Africans pioneered basic arithmetic 25,000 years ago and we also had alphabets and systems of writing before Europeans instilled their own.
- Africans invented their own forms of technology for Agriculture and cultivated crops very well for centuries. Egyptians cultivated crops of barley, capers, chick-peas, dates, legumes, lentils and wheat over 12,000 years ago. Their ancient tools have also been recovered by Historians – they were grindstones, milling stones, cutting blades, hide scrapers, engraving burins, and mortars and pestles.
I am aware that there is so much about our history, ancestors and what our people went through – and I believe it is better told from our perspective.
So where do we start? How do we begin to take charge and create our own history?
There are so many things to learn and unlearn about our beautiful Mother Africa!
Ask your family
School going Africans should not feed into what they hear about from third parties, or those with limited knowledge of their history, NO! Ask your parents to tell you about your ancestral history and if they do not know, go on your own journey of discovery until you find out. I believe that when one knows where they came from and what occurred before them, they have a clearer understanding of themselves. It’s kind of like a spiritual journey!
Whether your family originate from Zambia, Zimbabwe, a Caribbean Island – GO THERE!
As they say, travel is the best form of education. I cannot express how humbled and enlightened I feel everytime I go back to Zambia! I’ve also learned so much just from listening to historical narratives from elders.
Every day I hear of new developments in Africa and I am certain that it is the place to be right now and will be even more so in the following years to come.
If you cannot travel, then read! Books were always such a powerful form of escapism for me as a child. (Not that they should be used by everybody to escape!) My point is that, as an avid reader I’ve often found myself so lost in the narrative that it was almost as if I was inside of whatever book I was reading! So people, let’s encourage our children to read, to learn and to grow!
Facts taken from: http://www.blackhistorystudies.com/
Pictures from google images.