Why has much of African history been forgotten by the Africans themselves?http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBbMxJuAQY0&feature=player_embedded...

Why has much of African history been forgotten by the Africans themselves?



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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I liked one of the opening lines of the video clips.  "Darkness is not a subject for history" is a really intriguing line.  It cuts in multiple directions.  On one hand, there is a complete negation of the past in such a statement.  If one acknowledges a sense of darkness in their past, history is not to mention it.  This is fairly powerful because African History, in reference to European influence, is rather dark.  Through no fault of its own, African and Africans, under this assertion, would not qualify to be part of history because "darkness is not a subject of history."  In the oddest or ironic of ways, this might be a reason why Africans forgot most of their history, themselves, as they were told, consciously or not, that their experiences of darkness are not a part of the "exceptional" historical record.  Additionally, the reality of slavery might help to explain again why African History had to be forgotten.  The notion of the past was something in which slave owners did not revel.  We don't get a great feel that slave owners were concerned with linking their slaves to their past heritage.  It is not abundantly evident that slave owners were actively seeking to link their slaves with their past in Africa.  Part of the American Colonization Society's drive during the Age of Reform to bring slaves back to Africa was in stark contrast to how slave owners viewed the past of their slaves.  In the end, this becomes another reason why Africans, particularly those who were involved in the slave trade or human trafficking of the time, forgot their past.  It served them no purpose in their specific context and was strongly discouraged.  Finally, the reality of slavery did much to disrupt the oral tradition that was so much a part of the African Historical tradition.  Without this, the historical consciousness of Africa, along with much else, was lost.  Africans themselves might be excused to have their history forgotten to an extent when over thirty million of their people were actively moved as part of the slave trade. Such a large number has a profound effect on African History and those who seek to remember it.