From the Editor’s Keyboard

Ignorance is the source of all evil

8 May 2017 at 10:08 | 1297 views

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By Amin Kef, Guest Writer, Freetown, Sierra Leone.

The reformation of our society requires, first of all, self-esteem.

There can be no self-esteem without self-conscious knowledge, especially of our history. Then the knowledge of a common ideal that will give direction, measure and value to effort, from which the aim and the ways and means of reformation must be derived.

The man who aims at being a perfect, will of necessity follow other ways and use other means than he whose aim is only to make as much money as possible. This unfortunate situation produces only the most vulgar type of men and women. An ignorant man, lacking everything else, will only display a large TV and a large motorcar, and will be admired and respected by his ignorant colleagues. But can we really blame them?

The rare sight of a library or a bookshop in Sierra Leone only make the marvel more marvellous that a man of cultivated mind could be induced to accept exile in a place almost hermetically sealed to intercourse with men of congenial habits, and apart from all that is literary, social, or improving.

The schools exhibit the degree of learning to be expected. The total want of books, beyond those of mere basic school instruction, would make precocious literary tastes a misfortune. This want of academic knowledge among Sierra Leoneans is remarkable. Schools are found in the majority of the villages but are more useful in forming habits of steadiness and regularity than in conveying academic knowledge.

Students, worthy of merit or not, can pass the exam in exchange for monetary bribes or sex with their teachers. The teachers themselves very often cannot read a business card. What is worse, we can read the same exact description of this situation in books written more than 100 years ago by travelers who visited our country. No change ever!

At the root of our cultural degradation was the colonial interference through their missionary activities. The missionaries in fact, by preaching their religion to Africans, required the complete destruction of anything that smells like idolatry. The fact that our culture is entirely based on oral traditions expressed through symbolic gestures, the result was the depersonalization of our people.

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