Oludamini Ogunnaike

The Promise and Perils of Postcolonial Education.

Learning, children would also forget. Would what they would learn
be worth as much as what they forget?
I should like to ask you: can one learn this without forgetting that,
and is what one learns worth what he forgets?
– Cheikh Hamidou Kane

Your university, like all others in Nigeria, is a cultural transplant whose roots lie in another tradition…. It is little wonder that our so-called modern elite find it easy to violate the very laws and principles which they themselves create. When your own world is put aside, you feel no respect for any other.
– Waziri Junaidu

Cheikh Hamidou Kane’s celebrated novel Ambiguous Adventure is perhaps best known for its description of colonial education as the ultimate instrument of conquest:

On the black continent it began to be understood that their true power lay not in the cannons of the first morning, but rather in what followed the cannons…. The new school shares at the same time the characteristics of the cannon and the magnet. From the cannon it draws its efficacy as an arm of combat. Better than the cannon, it makes conquest permanent. The cannon compels the body, the school bewitches the soul. Where the cannon has made a pit of ashes and of death, in the sticky mold of which men would not have rebounded from the ruins, the new school establishes. The morning of rebirth will be a morning of benediction through the appeasing virtue of the new school.

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