Blacks DO Read

EDUARDO Chivambo Mondlane founded FRELIMO in 1962. He was assassinated 51 years ago on 3 February 1969. He was a Mozambican political activist and a professor of Anthropology.

While Onkgopotse Ramothibi Tiro was killed by a letter bomb on 1 February 1974, Mondlane was killed by a bomb device hidden in a book. If he wasn't a vociferous reader, Mondlane would have been alive today. The same could be said about Tiro. The "letter" purported to be from an education-funding agency.

Do you pick up the pattern that these leaders got targeted through their love for reading? Now, how did the stereotype that Blacks don't read come about? You most probably know the anti-Black joke that you should hide in a book anything that you don't want a Black person to see or know. If that was so, Mondlane and Tiro could have been alive today. Besides, white racists would not have hidden the bombs in book if they thought Black people would not read them.

Wipe out of your mind the anti-Black stereotype that Blacks don't read. What is true is that we've been systematically denied education. Where we were given access to educational institutions, they made sure to either under-educate or mis-educate us.

Why do you think there are no libraries in Black schools? Why do think there no libraries in the villages and townships. Of you are lucky to find a building or space given the name library, you are sure to find no books there.

Did you ask why Blacks aren't writing books? How will they write books if they are not formally educated? Where Blacks are educated, the commercial publishing houses are not welcoming of Black experiences and stories.

The work spaces are not designed to encourage Black people to write. No time/ space and facilities allocated to Black people who may wish to write. We are slaves to the unending deadlines.

Perhaps, I'm in denial. But I find it difficult to accept the notion that Black people don't educate when they crossed rivers and climbed mountains on empty stomachs to get an education. Ask every educated and respected Black person how they obtained their education. They will tell you about the river crossing, mountain climbing, empty stomachs and learning under trees with no books or laboratories.

Afrikans educated their children long before there were formal buildings of education. Afrikans were the first to build schools and universities where they were also kind enough to educate foreign nations.

Do yourself a favour and wipe out of your mind all anti-Black stereotypes. And you will see the difference.