DISCARDING OUR COLONIAL PAST: Words and phrases to avoid.

When the winds of independence first swept our Continent in 1957 and Ghana brought down the Union Jack, it signaled our desire as Africans to take charge of our affairs and destiny. Many countries followed suit. There have been a slew of disappointments in the political arena, but that is a story for another time.

But, let’s talk about a few phrases and words that we have inherited from our former colonial masters that we continue to use, carelessly. Bad habits are hard to break.

Colonialism could not have succeeded without using Christianity to blindfold Africans. As the saying goes, they told us to close our eyes and taught us to recite the Lord’s prayer, and when we opened our eyes, our land was gone.

Ever wonder why Missionaries called us pagans? We already believed in a higher being which the Missionaries referred to as “God.” We had our own names.

Colonialists called our nations tribes. Why? To demean us. You never hear “tribe” used to define the peoples of Europe. And our Kings were referred to as Chiefs. Again, to demean them.

Never refer to the people of Kalahari as Bushmen. They are Basarwa.

I refuse to call myself Rwandese. I am a Munyarwanda, by the Grace of God.

When she was elected the first woman to head the African Union, Dr.Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma of S. Africa was referred to as an “Anglophone”. She was quick to remind the press that she is not that, but Zulu. Good for her.

When the Western press covers African conflicts, they refer to African generals as warlords. During the Bosnian conflict, nobody ever referred to Ratko Mladic or Atif Dudakovic, those war criminals, as warlords.

Please, inspect your vocabularly.

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2 responses to “DISCARDING OUR COLONIAL PAST: Words and phrases to avoid.

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