How Much Do We Know About Ourselves?

So earlier i was doing my daily perusal of my Twitter newsfeed and i came across the word "fenestration",my first time ever coming across it. I looked it up and i saw that it meant the arrangement of windows in a building, the same thing we call "fenstere" in my native language and the synonym for it being "seokomelabagwe",loosely translated to "something to peep at the in-laws". Anyway long story short,my newfound curiosity about how closely related our languages are made me checkout a couple of articles on the internet about word etymologies.

A friend recommended this article for me and it was quite insightful for me not only about the etymology of our native words but about our history in general. It made me appreciate my native language more because i realized how clever and poetic our language actually is. Before i read that article,i was mostly of the opinion that most our words were just generational mispronunciations of other languages but despite that being true in some instances, we also have interesting roots which unfortunately were not documented enough.

How much about our ancestors do we really know?I am not talking about the little you learnt through probably biased and inaccurate history classes in high school but about the reality of our people,our culture?Most native African history only started being documented,with the exception of a few tribes in East Africa,after the arrival of the colonizers. In short,the most recent and accurate documentation of our history was recorded not by us,but by people who came to take from us, so how much can we really trust their accounts?

Culture is very important to a people because only when you know your origins and where you are from can you be able to map a way of where you are going as a people and it is a shame how much we do not know about our ancestors and hence ourselves. Our only knowledge of them before the arrival of the Europeans is assumed,often in a very terrible light.

They are more often painted as savage and uncivilized people who lived in the jungle and were saved by the arriving Europeans. Never have i ever come across a history which painted our ancestors with even a stroke of intelligence,which again brings me back to the question of how much of the little that we know was even told accurately?

Because of this lack of documentation,our knowledge about them has probably been forever lost but as terrible as that is,it is also a lesson for us to document the little that we have remaining so that never again should the history of Africa be told through the eyes of those who never experienced what they are relaying as facts.

The way of life will of a people will always be told subjectively from the eyes of a foreigner,that is just human nature. They will document and interpret it according to how it aligns to their own values. The only accurate account will always be from the natives themselves and unfortunately that knowledge which was passed from generation to generation orally because of lack of knowledge in reading and writing eventually got distorted as it passed on to a point where what was is unfortunately not even close to what we know right now.

Although we have lost much of our past,as aforementioned,the future generations do not have to lose our present which they will call their history. It is on us to leave them something they will call their culture in the next centuries instead of being forced to adopt another people's way of life as their own because they do not know theirs.



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