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Opinions of Thursday, 28 May 2015

Columnist: Kpe, Divine K.

The History of AU is Not The History of Africa

Written by Divine K. Kpe

"Africans and Their History." Do you know that is the title Joseph E.
Harris gave his 303 page book? Let us do the postmortem.
#1. Who is the author? An African? Let me help you, the answer is NO!
#2. Have you read the title very well? Underline the word, "THEIR."
#3. Must we wait for a foreigner to tell us our history?
You said no. But can I ask?
"Besides knowing the history of OAU which has metamorphosed into AU
within time space, how many of us (Africans) truly know the history of
this continent?" I will stake a wager that not even a fraction of
professors of history.
You look at the school curriculum from upper primary to second cycle
educational levels, all you see is the repetition of the same things:
the date AU was formed, Achievements, Challenges and if anything
again, we rote learn the chairpersons from the days of Haile Selassie
to date. 'Na lie?'

But the story of AU is not the story of Africa. If you haven't sat in
a lecture hall at University of Ghana studying African History, then
you are probably going to be a complete novice about the story of this
continent. The height to which we are so oblivious of our own history
is the common denominator for the countless challenges we are facing.
No country on this continent is ready to assimilate fellow man/woman
from different part of the country because we think we are fighting
separate battles. 'Massa', that's a big lie. The battle is for us all.
But since we lack the understanding of our own history we assume

Africa is the richest continent. However, it has been painted black
more than all other continents put together since creation. If the
story of AFRICA can be well told than echoing the history of AU into
our eardrums every day, the exodus of Africans to the homeland of our
mockers in search of a greener pasture can be limited. Tell me it's
not ignorance about the prospect of staying here that is increasing
the penchant for going to other continents. Trust even the village
idiot to be able to know this.

We must stop trumpeting AU history and trumpet the history of AFRICA,
the land of our birth, where our umbilical cords were buried. AU
itself hasn't done enough in projecting the image of this continent.
It's the recycling of old achievements. The same achievements I learnt
about AU in JHS were the same I learnt in College.
'Nye bro', lets look at this very well. Do you think the agenda for
the AU summits do change at all? Well for me I doubt. Maybe I have to
follow Mr. President to the next one to see 'filifili', 'ditodito'.
That's the only way I can undo my long held suspicion. If you ask me
to tell you the agenda of the first AU summit to date, I can do that
more than Prof. Allortey can solve equations in quantum mathematics
written in hieroglyphics. And on the scale of 0-10, you will give me
not less than 8.
It's all about the quest to achieve a United African State. The
weightier matters are always left untouched. With their lenses
adjusted a bit forward and relaxed on their noses they take cursory
look at issues that are golden nuggets because they are the very
Why should they talk about peace when some are worse than notorious
for threatening Armageddon during election years?
Why should they discuss about poverty when like lump of sugar attracts
ants, some attract it through bad policies and appalled leadership?

But wait even a minute. Which African leader will ever think of
leaving the luxuries of his/her presidency to do that "unthinkable"
thing called a United State of Africa? Robert Mugabe? (Apuutor!).
Jacob Zuma? (Puiiiii!) John Mahama? (Holalaaa!) Faure Gnassingbé?
(Hmmhmm). "Massa", forget. 'Power sweet African leaders'. If one
person can hold onto power since independence and when his tenure of
office was coming to an end he tactically called for amendment of
constitution you expect him to give that sit to someone somewhere in
the name of a united African States. Maybe not in their generation.

I'm even deviating from the subject matter.
Back on track now. My point is that we should tell the Africa story
the Africa way. Those people will never see anything good about this
continent. I can bet on that using my last hard earned depreciated
Ghanaian cedi. The school curriculum must take care of our history;
where we are from, where we are and where we have to go.
We have had enough about AU. Funnily, they give us holiday every year
to commemorate its founding day. Well, like a nose, no matter
grotesquely misshapen, everyone has an opinion and this is mine; I
don't think we even need the holidays.

Lest I forget. Do you pay much attention to the screamers on the front
pages of our dailies? Our African media 'kruaa' I don't know about
their how far. They nicely craft the headlines about the wrongs on
the continent and the goods are scarcely reported. Even that I guess
is done apologetically. What do you think? Do you know some of our
newspapers report stories from other part of the world before coming
to write something at a column they mostly call "INSIDE AFRICA"? Mr.
Ken Ashigbe, 'I dey lie?'
Methinks if we will be celebrating this AU holidays, the media can do
us good by devoting their airtimes to educate us and tell the stories-
good ones of course- about Africa than much talk on AU because African
History/stories is far far far different from AU history and we don't
need that now.
We need to know who we are so that we can take destiny into our own hands.

Divine K. Kpe
Freelance Writer l Author l Speaker l CEO of Teen Age Build-Gh l Poet
Read my poems at