I wouldn’t call myself an educationalist, nor an educational theorist.
It took a decade before I could call myself, without being overwhelmed by the physical effects of a lifetime of suffering imposterism, a historian. No sooner was I calling myself that before I was convinced that I was not just that. I had something to say about today. I wanted what I had to say to be firmly steeped in an understanding of the past, not in the way a social scientist checks the literature to make sure he is not repeating somebody else’s thoughts, but in the way a devotee checks with God, or a pilot consults his manual, or a saxophonist the muscle memories of a life time of fingering F sharps.
I just can’t give up the past.
But I have something to say about this whole educating business. So much of my work concerns navigating the history of the knowledge economy. I study the new African intelligentsia of the 19th and 20th centuries, what education meant to them, how new knowledge created new men, then they created new people, and we are all still here, their disciples, trying to figure out what these apostles of knowledge meant for us to do with all of this “white” education.
The AHP spends about as much time theorising about education as it does educating, and I am proud of that. There is still a lot of thinking to do. Launching the Centre for the Study of Pan-African Citizenship Education (CPACE) earlier this year was a big achievement. I said it then to the team – its a big thing we’re doing here. Many people won’t understand it. But we still have to do it.
I hope the pieces in this issue of The Africxn Review seem to you as they seem to me, to be striking the right balance between theory, policy and history. I hope you see the past flowing in every phrase that simultaneously stretches into the future.
I still won’t call myself an educationalist, nor an educational theorist. But, like I warned you at the beginning, I still won’t let go of the past.
Apeike | Chief Editor, African History Project