An Open Letter to the OAU

Thought Leaders Series: 2018

How could it be that the oppressor presents an argument based on a faith and stories of exploits that strengthens such faith to the oppressed?

How did the oppressed come to embrace and believe those stories to a point where they even despise the little that is known of their own culture, history, customs and traditions?

For example, Africans confidently articulate Greek Mythology, English and French literature, Jewish and Western history, but see no relevance, or have no clue about their art or history beyond what they are fed from the mainstream media.

The jury is out. There comes a time when the people begin to ask some fundamental questions about their identity. Perhaps not different from questions the biblical figure – Moses would have asked his mother while in Egypt. This generation is asking the same questions, and I’m afraid mainstream Christianity and Islam (the two most popular adopted faiths in Africa) have been found wanting.

Consequently I call on the OAU to commission a framework, and set aside funds for empirical studies on African history in its various facets. This is with a view that we understand what we can harness, and begin the process of moral and ethical analysis. This filtration process will provide a picture of practices that can be reviewed and refined, those that can be developed further, and what needs recovering. Following this we set up institutions to develop, teach and embed these ideas into the social and economic fabrics of nations. To every tribe and village across the continent.

The Bible (especially the Old Testament) that we hold so dear to our hearts today was in fact a nationhood project. It was commissioned by the Elders after The Exile based on the framework: One God, One People and One Covenant. Hence it was designed to address every facet of Jewish life (The Way to live).

To this end the stories and characters are coded with symbols, meanings and wisdom; for a people that were forging a path after their identity, pride, community, and sense of being and belonging had been aggressively challenged through violence, destruction and The Exile.

Therefore it is unwise to arrive at the Old Testament through the lenses of the New Testament or Christian doctrines. In other words, King David is not a “type of Jesus”, but a character known through Jewish history that is embellished to fit a context, and to radiate the type of qualities the people should seek to have in their leaders.

Until this happens I’m afraid that we will only continue chasing shadows of a reality that is unrealistic and inauthentic. As such, the continent remains stagnant, or worse still – regressive.

Where are our equivalent of Abrahams, Moses’, Davids, Samsons, Ruths, Daniels, Ezras, Prophets, Priests etc.

The impact of the stories of great historic figures in the psyche of a people is invaluable. Therein lies the foundation of any great civilisation.

Reachout | Revive | Recover

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