The time was 7:43 pm on a Sunday evening, I was laying on my bunkbed when I felt the phone vibrate from beneath my pillow where I had kept it earlier on. It was Nii Amu my course mate from the ‘Consciencism’ philosophy class; PHIL 407. He called to inform me that Monday’s lecture has been rescheduled to 8:00 pm that same night because the lecturer was taking a flight to a conference overseas on Monday.
I was somewhat angered by the turn of events, but I swallowed my pride and pocketed my anger as I was greeted by a full class upon entry. We were about twenty students taking the course and every single student showed up partly because the lecturer had announced to us earlier on that a considerable bulk of the end-of-semester examination questions will stem from the lecture in question. Otherwise, students will always be students I guess.
It was my final year and semester in the university and for some unexplained reasons, I was very excited about PHIL 407 because of the unique Afrocentric insights it preached, sitting in the class that night I played out Kwame Nkrumah’s assertion of collapsing the Euro-Christian and Arab-Muslim ideologies into the Afrikan-cultural ideology as an effective and efficient means of solving the problem of a rapidly decaying Afrikan consciousness and the Afrocentric awareness due to the widespread presence of alien cultural ideologies.
It made a lot of sense to me the solution Kwame Nkrumah proposed as a measure to help prevent the sons and daughters of Afrika from slipping into what he terms; ‘malignant schizophrenia’. Victims of such psycho-social standing will be those with lost identities, misplaced priorities and displaced direction. The mental world created by thinking such thoughts was one with a relaxed atmosphere, I barely felt my presence in the class that fateful night till the lecturer posed a direct question to me asking; “Nii, what identifies you as an Afrikan?”
I was startled at the mentioning of my name, but more importantly by the question that followed it. This question is a dicey one I thought to myself, but I also knew I had to say something otherwise my score on class contributions will suffer for it. As I steadied my thoughts to offer what best response my thinking had cooked up, he interrupted with a follow-up question asking; “is an Afrikan accorded that identity because of what he wears, where he lives as well as the customs and traditions he adheres to?” This was probably his way of breaking down the question to help my confusion and for which I was grateful because I could easily pick a combination of two from the examples cited in his question and present them as my response so I can score something on class contributions.
There however was this ‘eureka’ moment where I paused in thought for a bit, shifted where I sat and realized that; in mentally determining to change my response to the question posed, I had to foremost think about it before bringing it to life with words and sound. This thinking inspired me to submit that; an Afrikan is foremost identified by the depth and quality of the knowledge of his/her Afrikan cultural roots and the appreciation as well as practical application attached to such knowledge. This is what must serve the fundamental experience of the one who will be identified as an Afrikan. For all other cultural experiences and their respective ideologies will be secondary to the Afrikan’s core experience.
It was a response drawn from Kwame Nkrumah’s idea on pooling the Afrikan conscience within an Afrocentric framework; the centralized core from which all other foreign ideologies can be measured, weighed and applied where necessary to the betterment of the Afrikan socio-cultural experience. The lecturer nodded in consent and added that; “as a people of Afrikan descent, we can only go so far as our CENTRALISED belief systems will allow us.”
With a deliberate emphasis on ‘CENTRALISED’, I felt the weight of the need to root ourselves in our cultural soil, just so we can enjoy the stability and nurturing it affords, enhancing the needed growth and experience with which we can branch out and incorporate more cultural ideologies into our own indigenous framework of thought. Without it, we will only be submitting our existence and future progress to the whims of the wind, going where it blows.
At about 9:45 pm the lecturer offered his appreciation for the impressiveness of our attendance. But I wondered who amongst us desired to intentionally fail his final paper for a philosophy class?
Nii Amu and I walked back to our respective residents believing that our generation has already taken up this cause, and will drive it home.