"This is the age of reality
But some a we a deal with mythology
This is the age of science an' technology
But some a we check fi antiquity" ( Linton Kwesi Johnson : Reality Poem (1979)
Africa in the age of science and technology would be needing more science teachers and more schools like the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and of course that should not only be one more stepping stone to an irreversible brain drain - with graduates looking for greener pastures in the United States, Europe and Japan and only a few of them returning home to advance the cause of science and technology locally. It's about time that African leaders also start talking like Trump : Africa first! So, if Nigeria, Africa's sleeping giant had the medical science and technology, then President Buhari wouldn't need to be frequenting Merry England just to attend to his ear. Necessity they say, is the mother of invention : there are approximately 360 ears in Nigeria, potentially in need of medical attention and only a handful of them can afford the luxury of such luxury travels.
Indeed congratulations is due Dr. Ogbonaya Onu and what is overdue is converting visionary talk/poetry/ policy into action i.e. applying his panacea wholesale to the abhorrent "primitive ideas like using humans for sacrifice, an idea that is further reinforced by Africa Magic and the like"
How absolutely this resonates with the second sentence in Dr. Abdalqadir as-Sufi 's indictment of the former Pope, Pope Benedict XVI (the one who retired in 2013). His summation of the Pope's visit to the African continent (actually the Pope only visited Cameroon and Angola) :
"He made one important announcement for a continent crippled with the doctrines of bankism, poverty, genocide, and sexual anarchy with its pandemic disease. Africa, he declared, had to cure itself of witchcraft and the practices of magic."(Papal Bull)
One does not always feel comfortable with the Church/ Western Civilisation/ Cultural imperialism's conveniently facile definitions of "superstition" , since they often outlaw other spiritual technologies as "juju", " witchcraft" and "superstition".
it's not certain that "faith healing" doesn't fall within the province of superstition when such healing is carried outside the ambit of the authorised church - I say this because in my time in Nigeria there were many visitors from "overseas" including the USSR, who were cured of their skin diseases by the healing waters in Cross Rivers State as ministered by the spiritual leader of an organisation known as the Brotherhood of the Cross and Star...
It would appear that from that Pope's point of view, superstition, witchcraft and the practice of magic are the foundations of ignorance and backwardness and once Africa relieves itself of that kind of cultural baggage and replaces all that with faith in Christ Jesus the redeemer and the Holy Roman Catholic Church all the other ills such as poverty, disease, lawlessness, genocide, sexual anarchy etc. would be cured or disappear.
Perhaps that was being a little too cynical; the holy Roman catholic church after all has been and continues to be one of the major missionary institutions promoting education in Africa (my two best Camerooninan friends back in Sierra Leone, Dominic Taqwa (very Catholic) and Kofi Ngoh (great palm wine guitarist) both studied engineering as did many other friends who attended Catholic schools. Fortunately or unfortunately, I did not - neither a catholic school nor engineering and not superstitious either, so I'll continue to stick to poetry, although there's already a lot of poetry in the world - so I thought , but on Monday, I discovered Katarina Frostenson, forty three years after discovering Robert Frost - so I would say that along with science and technology, Africa and the world too needs more poetry and more Ngugi - in all languages, especially our own languages.
As Julius Fakinlede puts it so poignantly, indeed, language is power , the poetic power by which to appreciate, differentiate, relate to reality, dreams, even self-knowledge , self-discovery - when Adam discovered that he was naked he became self conscious:
"The objective of teaching science and technology at an early age is so that our children can learn about their immediate surroundings and appreciate the beauty of nature. Our children must be able to count as soon as they are able to learn anything. They must be able to see the beauty in plants, flowers, animals, insects, etc. They must be able to look into the heavens and be informed about the sun, the moon, planets, the solar system, stars, etc. They must be able to name different types of rocks, stones, soils, etc. Furthermore, our children must be taught about their community, and the culture of their society. They must learn from science from the very first day about the impossibility of transmutation. All these things cannot wait till the child learns English or French - it needs not wait. Our languages are rich enough and sufficient to transfer all these knowledge to all our children if only we take the time to develop them."
On Saturday, 18 February 2017 03:11:26 UTC+1, Oluwatoyin Vincent Adepoju wrote:
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Julius Fakinlede <jfaki...@gmail.com>
Date: 17 February 2017 at 20:17
Subject: Yoruba Affairs - THE NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF NOT PROPAGATING KNOWLEDGE IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY IN THE INDIGENOUS LANGUAGES.
To: Yoruba Affairs <yoruba...@googlegroups.
I must again congratulate Dr. Ogbonaya Onu, our education minister, for bringing this issue to our national attantion again. The vibrant debate going on now indicates that there is a feeling among us that there is indeed something amiss in the way we educate our children and that we are not making them get the most out of our efforts.
However, putting all the attention on the academic attainment of our children does not do justice to the irreparable loss that our current system does to us as a nation, mentally, psychologically, technologically, sociologically, and economically. It is only right to conclude that our inability, as a nation to achieve a scientifically oriented culture is due to our refusal to imbibe science and technology in a timely fashion, if at all. And this is due mainly to the fact that we deliberately set ourselves back at least ten years when we compare our education in this area to the rest of the world.
Mentally, we remain a nation that is enmeshed in superstions. The fruit of science and technology has stedfastly refused to pry us loose from many primitive ideas like using humans for sacrifice, an idea that is further reinforced by Africa Magic and the like. We read constantly in magazines like Alaroye of people killing women and children to make money. The average Nigerian child may have watched hundreds of these television shows before even beginning school and having his mental state permanently scored by them. By the time any form of science is introduced to this child, his mental state is already configured into believing that money comes from human body parts.
The objective of teaching science and technology at an early age is so that our children can learn about their immediate surroundings and appreciate the beauty of nature. Our children must be able to count as soon as they are able to learn anything. They must be able to see the beauty in plants, flowers, animals, insects, etc. They must be able to look into the heavens and be informed about the sun, the moon, planets, the solar system, stars, etc. They must be able to name different types of rocks, stones, soils, etc. Furthermore, our children must be taught about their community, and the culture of their society. They must learn from science from the very first day about the impossibility of transmutation. All these things cannot wait till the child learns English or French - it needs not wait. Our languages are rich enough and sufficient to trasfer all these knowledge to all our children if only we take the time to develop them.
We need to introduce science and technology to our children as soon as they are able to learn anything. We need to modify our number system so our children can begin to learn to use them as easily as they use the English number system. This issue can no longer be postponed. Our inability to even call the simplest five or six-figure number in a timely fashion makes us a laughing stock, even to our children.
I must again call on all our universities and institutions of higher learning in our nation to wake up to their responsibility and the challenge of making science and technology available to our children - in our language.
Senior moderator – The Science and Technology Education in Yoruba Site
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