Does the history we learn in school add up?

For many years we have been lied to about 16th/17th centuries’ slave trade.

You have seen reputable historians tell us that Europeans and Arabs came for slaves in Africa!

Its time to unpack this age old lie.

The truth of the matter is that there were no slaves in Africa sitting pretty waiting to be taken to whatever destination.

Africans engaged in very methodical living with each age group knowing their particular tasks.

Some were engaged as farmers, pastoralists, ironworkers, and masters of their areas of specializations.

Laziness was frowned upon.

You will find in some books written by professors, the crazy assertion that Arabs/ Europeans came to Africa for slaves!

Is it not time to rectify some of these lies so blatantly told?

There are so many things I would change in our history books if I had the power.

How many of you still recall that fallacious claim that some random European traveler was the first man to discover or worse still see this or that geographical phenomena?

Needless to say that Africans had lived around these topographical features long before the Europeans touched our shores!

It is called gazetteer history where one was made to memorize lots of nothing.

So many unsubstantiated facts we feed our children, I should say, some of which I was taught at high school through university!

A teacher is just a helpless and hapless cog in the curriculum implementation process.

We just teach authorised syllabus.

Whether you agree with what is in the text books is neither here nor there.

My work as a teacher is to stand in front of students and execute what the curriculum developers at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development hand down to me.

In these same books the Africans who were forcibly taken and compelled to be slaves are classified as items of trade!

We have professors in history departments who have taught these lies and then crowned as ‘leading intellectuals!’

These so called intellectuals have either succumbed to the faulty histories or more tragically still are cowed or unwilling to put facts in proper perspective.

The pioneers of our first republic for instance deliberately misrepresented the freedom struggle narrative.

All the honor of attaining our independence is ascribed to a particular region.

At least mostly. Yet in this region we had the most prominent collaborators!

For instance did we really run the British out of town in 1960–63?

Is it that colonialism as an idea was no longer fashionable?

In the early 19th century the British authorities famously spoke of ‘the wind of change’ that was blowing across their empire.

The colonialists simply changed tact.

They still rule indirectly!

Remember we followed them to Lancaster to have them write our independence constitution!

Authentic historians would definitely replace some prominent names that are erroneously credited with our freedom from the colonialism with that of Dedan Kimathi, Waiyaki wa Hinga, Koitalel arap Samoei, Moraa wa Ngiti, Mekatilili wa Menza and even Jaramogi Oginga Odinga.

Anything else your history teacher purported to teach you about the struggle for independence could as well turn out to be a figment of the content creator’s fertile imagination!

What else did you find utterly disagreeable in our history books?

Nyantino is a NAKURU City based teacher, book author and columnist at The Scholar Media

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Mwalimu Gichaba Nyantino is a Nakuru-based teacher and author and Columnist "THESE, THAT AND OTHER" at The Scholar Newspaper and


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