The Oxymoron Of Being A Black Academic
To be an African and pleasurably declare yourself or endorse a declaration on yourself that you are an “Academic”, considering the term in its historical and phonological use and the context that produced it, you further strengthen the European hand that lordingly possesses the Power to Define over the Afrikan mind. You attack fellow Afrikans who call themselves “Christian” and “Muslim”, and you don't find anything wrong with priding yourself in being located within what is called “Academia”, whose spiritual and cultural genesis and orientation you have never had a fleeting thought to question. Black Man, Black Woman, don't render yourself an object through which European cultural and intellectual arrogance is entrenched and paraded.
The word comes from the akademeia in ancient Greece, which derives from the Athenian hero, Akademos. The word emanates outside the city walls of Athens, in the gymnasium which was made famous by Plato as a centre of learning. The sacred space, dedicated to the goddess of wisdom, Athena, had formerly been an olive grove, hence the expression “the groves of Academe”.
This is how White arrogance’s invasion of our souls gets to be “universalised” and “normalised”.
“Education in service of Values”.
Transformation is a trite, but not finely dissected and robustly engaged concept pervading the minds of those in “student politics” and those esteemed progressive thinkers in academia. Throughout history, in all civilizations, empires, dynasties, nations etc., the type of education a particular people would receive would be in response to promptings and yearnings of such a people, which promptings and yearnings are an impulsion by the values they have defined and standards they have set for themselves, that being in the context of their cultural orientation. Then those who study would do so, within their frame of passion, giftedness and interest, solely to equip themselves with the skills and competencies to serve a certain value based need in the collective. The content of that particular education would have a framework of people's values as a guide ensuring the validity and meaningfulness of the acquisition if that particular education and its relevance to the recipient’s envisaged role to serve the values defining its necessity and importance.
Now, currently, there are educational institutions and educational systems with legislative and policy frameworks through which they are managed. Have you ever had a fleeting thought as to whose values, looking at the content and the outcomes, is this type of education serving and the ideological cartography within and through which to locate it.
What is a Black child prepared to respond to by the education they receive? Is this education acceding to our value prescripts? Do we even have values and a value system as a people (Black people), to begin with or are we simply being mechanised through a certification process to become agents of a response to yearnings and promptings of other people not having our best interest at heart?
These are serious questions that deserve attention, and though they may not be answered but are worth meditating upon.
- Itumeleng Makale’s New Black Order Glossary:
Blackademics (noun); Activities, studies or pursuits relating to the amassing of research and production and/or dissemination of knowledge that is African-centred and geared at establishing African-centred Education.
Blackademic (noun); a person who engages in Activities, studies or pursuits relating to the amassing of research and production and/or dissemination of knowledge that is African-centred geared at establishing African-centred Education (e.g. Dr. Veli Mbele is a blackademic of the highest eminence).
Blackademic (adj); of or belonging to or classified under Blackademics (e.g. She has a brilliant blackademic mind/they are engaging in a blackademic discussion or debate/he is presenting a blackademic paper).
The above is a postulation for a new conceptual framework within which to engineer a whole new paradigm and epistemological base for our holistic healing and restoration as a people. From here disciplines emerge which can be rightfully termed Restorative Blackademic Areas of Practice or Study.
*Itumeleng Makale is a Restorative Blackademic and a Black Power Proponent.