Ugandan author and Pan-Africanist Okot p’Bitek notes that culture should be the basis upon which Africans form their education. Culture which is defined as the ideas, customs and social behaviors of a particular people or society. He says in the Book Song of Lawino on Page 10
In the educational section, break down the walls that surround our schools and universities, and let the people who know our culture teach our people. Let us Africanise our curriculum in a meaningful manner. Let African culture be the core of our curriculum and foreign culture be at its periphery. p’Bitek notes that development can only be realized when the African people see the need to protect and promote African culture to be the foundation upon which the curriculum in schools and universities rests on.
p’Bitek continues that Lawino lampoons the formal Western education system for being responsible for Ocol’s alienation. Lawino’s ideas about education and it’s effects on the African recipient are contained in the lamentations that Western formal education produces graduates who cannot relate to their countrymen. The statement that no man is an island is epitomized in the cultural orientation of the African people before the societal infiltration by the Western Formal Education and Religious Beliefs. Kinsmen whether educated or not are very useful in a proper organized African society because their wisdom and geographical knowledge is a vital cog in the sustainence of the society and the preservation of the African culture.
Overdressed in his dark suit he walks out of the University gate, out into the world, materially comfortable, but culturally castrated, dead. A lost victim of the school system, he cannot dance the dance or play the music of the people. Education should not be the reason why one is alien to his or her own people. What Western formal education has successfully done is to impart the Western culture into the African society.
It is therefore imperative that the educated elite of the African society purge the continent of the cultural castration it has suffered in a bid to fully attain Western formal education. Culture and Education are both aimed at being of service to the people. How is one a graduate yet they don’t know anything about their culture. Education should be the first step to proper cultural orientation.
Culture should therefore form the Educational backbone of the African society in order for it to purge is self from the Western formal education norms.