Education is the most powerful tool
1.1. Africa labelled
He did it yet again, President Donald Trump said something offensive about poor countries occupied by individuals who are not white. Whilst appearing at an immigration meeting with a bipartisan group of senators President Trump, called some countries occupied by black and Latino people as “shithole” countries. During this meeting Trump was talking about Haiti, El Salvador and African countries (Valverde, 2018). Millions of people all over the world immediately responded on this statement, describing it as a racist sentiment and utterly offensive. Unfortunately, Africa was amongst these countries being labelled as a “shithole” country. In the following academic essay from an educational point of view I’m going to employ my own understanding, knowledge, meaning and perspectives of African philosophy to try and solve the fundamental problem that is implied by Trump.
2.1. Crumbling power structures
After the unpleasant events that occurred during colonialism the world already formed a perception of Africa. The challenges the colonial order was faced with in the end led to angry questions and violence out of which African philosophy emerged and European colonies in Asia and Africa were liberated (Higgs, 2000). But why is Africa left faced with the problem that is being implied by Trump, because the African philosophy does not challenge power structures. Since liberation from colonization some countries in Africa such as South Africa, has been dominated by unequal power structures. Gedleyihlekisa, more famously known as Mr. Jacob Zuma former president of South Africa who has been prosecuted and is facing charges of corruption, money laundering, and fraud has left a devastating impact on South Africa’s educational systems. According to (Ngcukana, 2018) one school in particular who has been a victim of inequality and corruption is Isivivane Senior Secondary School located in Chris Hani West education district near Queenstown. According to City Press Isivivane Senior Secondary School has been described as one of the worst schools in South Africa with a 0% matric pass rate in 2016.
2.2. Cutting corners
The real problem that Isivivane Senior Secondary School and other schools in Africa face is the poor state of resourcing and infrastructure, this specific school has no such thing as a library or computer and science laboratory. Schools lack water, electricity and sanitation, because of these circumstances how can one expect learners to perform well and contribute to the growth of the economy. Ultimately the outcome of this can result in the school shutting down after being established 26 years ago in 1992. African philosophy can assist in building a community. This is demonstrated by the community as they have tried their best to stop attempts of closing down Isivivane Senior Secondary School, in attempt of keeping the only school in their community open for their children’s basic right to education and knowledge. According to the community and parents the Government and Department of Basic Education has failed them and their children by not providing them with the necessary resources for proper education. Many people of a nearby Rhodani village claim the reason the school’s learners fail is because they have no geography, physical science, agriculture or math teachers, the school only has four teachers while 106 learners are enrolled in this school. Linda Ntlanganiso, principal of the school asked City Press during an interview what will happen to these children’s futures if they shut down the school (Ngcukana, 2018).
2.3. Follow the leader
The main concern is that some of Africa’s leaders such as Robert Mugabe, Jacob Zuma, Julius Malema, and Muhammadu Issoufou, president of Nigeria, have all been a far cry from being a noble example. Africa needs leaders who are worthy of following. Because the African philosophy does not encourage critical thinking, these ‘leaders’ often talk about fighting corruption, but there has been little to no action regarding the implementation of an equal and working educational system in Africa. If we want to solve the fundamental problem of being a “shithole” country as implied by Trump, political corruption must be dealt with, only then can we have an equal educational system that everyone, including educators, learners, community and ultimately the country will benefit from. Because of improper budget spending, limited access to education, poor schooling and corrupt educational systems in South Africa, millions of children and adults are being deprived of their right to knowledge (Anon, 2013).
3.1. United we stand
I agree with the Nigerian man who was bold enough to comment on this matter that the only way to solve this problem is for the people to stand together and reignite our beloved Rainbow Nation. The most courageous and constructive must come together and stand united. African philosophy is associated with Ubuntu philosophy that promotes an African culture where individuals express compassion, dignity and humanity. African philosophy must be implemented correctly because this holistic philosophy stresses the importance of the community’s place in the universe. A disadvantage of African philosophy is that it fails to challenge power structures, but by challenging power structures, they must start to take action in implementing equal opportunities and resources for all. “Ubuntu calls on us to believe and feel that: Your pain is my pain, my wealth is your wealth, and your salvation is my salvation.” Out of all the countless definitions of Ubuntu, the statement above in my opinion would be the best possible solution to transform Africa and its educational systems, taking into account that Ubuntu does not in any way support violence but promotes forgiveness and reconciliation.