Rekindling the Spirit of Ujamaa

By
Moono John

The history of the world is told from many points of view. Many a times the writers of this history tend to have a specific target groups and objectives. One disadvantage about the way history is that there is always a lot of distortion particularly about the way African history has been told. One advantage Africans have now is that African history can be told from their perspective because we have acquired the necessary skills and tools to do that.
The lack of bookish education on the African continent in the early centuries contributed greatly to distortion in African history. However, one thing that has not been distorted about African is the fact that Africans have always upheld the concept of brotherhood. The concept of brotherhood among Africans meant that it did not matter from what tribe, race, creed and tongue but for as long as one hailed from the continent, one was always regarded and treated as a brother. The pursuit of a common goal was the brainchild of the society.
This had always been the trend until the beginning of the interaction between Africans and people from other continents and lands. This ushered in the concept of Atlantic slave trade. The much talked about Atlantic slave trade spelled doom the concept of brotherhood that had served the African people well. The concept of individualism slowly started creeping. The Africans were amazed by the magic and innuendoes of the white man. Some Africans that felt marginalized by the systems that Africans held on to quickly joined the bandwagon. The coming of Christianity and the white man’s education as well as system of government put a knife on things Africans held so dear and things could not hold. The genesis of things falling apart among Africans. The spirit of ujamaa (togetherness as the Swahili say) was slowly being lost.
The disintegration of the African society was in full swing by the time colonialism was in full flight on the continent. This is because Africans could no longer act as one and fight a common cause as one. The colonial masters carefully designed the plan of imposing the language on the Africans by introducing western education and placing their language as the medium of instruction in the schools and official language in the communication process.   Unconsciously Africans were able to learn the foreign languages without realizing the long- term effects of learning the foreign languages. Through this measure, Africans have been slowly adopting the culture of the colonial masters and the continent has been having a cultural identity crisis. The mannerisms that we exhibit today, as Africans do not reflect the African lifestyle. This is down to the fact that Africans have successfully learned the culture of the imperialist and unconscionably discarding their own culture in the name of it being primitive. This in effect effectively killed the African spirit of togetherness because the western education centred on individual brilliance rather collective brilliance. Ujamaa has also promoted collective brilliance but a few individuals felt that the best is to please the missionaries and the imperialist and put the continent of Africa back by 50 years
In quest for Uhuru (freedom) Africans could still not go back to the spirit of Ujamaa which was a better system that served the continent so well. Even in the times when Africans understood the objectives of colonialism and why there is so much interest in the African land, still Africans are forsaking the spirit of Ujamaa.

It will only be Uhuru when we silence the guns, it will only be Uhuru when we become authors of our own well-being, it will only be Uhuru when our independence is accompanied by rapid economic and social development, it will only be Uhuru when African Unity and Solidarity are expressed in our decisions, it will only be Uhuru when we are respected and regarded around the world, it will only be Uhuru when we support one another as a people of the continent, it will only be Uhuru when our ambitions stop seeing their end
The 21st century scramble for Africa can only be defeated by Africans rekindling the spirit of brotherhood and oneness. Ujamaa should be the word on the lips of the African people for the betterment of the African continent.

Published by MyWritings

A Writer, A Diplomat in Waiting, Climate Change Advocate and a Football Administrator

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