March 29, 2007

Joseph Ki-Zerbo 1922-2006

"We are not exploited because we are black, we are black because we are exploited. The day we are seen as equals, people will stop seeing the colour of our skin."

Joseph Ki-Zerbo was the first African professor of History in Paris having studied at both La Sorbonne and the Paris Institute for Political Studies. Born in Burkina Faso, he later came to be involved in politics, wrote many books, among them a standard book on African History, established the Centre for African Development Studies and dedicated his life to free his continent from colonialism and later on postcolonial chains that have helped suffocate the sense of worth and respect in the peoples of Africa. He spent some time in Uppsala, Sweden due to the political unrest that sometimes erupted in his home country.

Ki-Zerbo retells a story of an african woman, something very striking which can be seen in peoples of many nations that have been colonized whether it is Senegal or India;

"An african woman went to see her doctor. He told her that he would have to make a small operative incision but assured her he would give her local anaesthetic. The woman became very scared upon hearing the word local and said, "no doctor, please, I want french anaesthetic."

10 comments:

Destitute Rebel said...

Great post as usual very educational. It is people who take a stand for themselves and their communities that make a difference, people have dedicated their entire lives for the betterment of others, that is what makes them great.

Shaykhspeara Sha'ira said...

Thanks munda, I just found him particularly inspiring. he is filled with philosophical formulations into simple french which really convey some strong messages. I wish I had known about him before he passed away but c'est la vie sometimes.

ArabLady said...

Ah loved this post very much …ur blog is always inspiring …keep up the good work

Shaykhspeara Sha'ira said...

Thanks habibti :) how have you been?

Radha said...

Excellent post. I think the reverse-discrimination in colonised countries (where we learn to discriminate against our own) is much worse than discrimination by others

Shaykhspeara Sha'ira said...

Radha I agree, and it is those chains of inferiority complex that still chains a lot of peoples. It is like being suffocated by ones own rope instead of a strangers.

Optimistic Guard said...

I agree with Radha, a lot of the people degrade themselves or their peers, The caste systems, and the divisons in society are the worst kind of discrimination.

Shaykhspeara Sha'ira said...

Absolutely OG, and what is interesting to know, having studied colonialism is, that it was the British themselves and their need for systemizing everything including their subjects, that the caste system was enforced and strengthened in a way it had never been before.

Wil Robinson said...

I'm not sure whether I should laugh at the joke or not...It speaks for the quality of life in post-colonial Africa, which hasn't been a great thing.

Great quote by Ki-Zerbo, by the way.

Shaykhspeara Sha'ira said...

Hi Wil, good to see you :)

Well it's one of those laugh and cry jokes. It's tragic yet very telling.

The quote is some piece of writing and philosophy on Ki-Zerbo's part.