The word “Unemployment” was an alien terminology in ancient Africa. Everyone was gainfully employed. Everyone contributed to the general economy of the community, town or kingdom. The education system we had then made sure every man or woman born had something that brought food to his or her table.
During Africa’s encounter with Europe, new ways of life were learned and new forms of education were introduced. Colonization required that Africans borrow the education system of Europe. Even though this was not a need by Africans, the Europeans needed to expand their empires, and as such, must be able to replicate their ways.
Western Education promised a livelihood according to the western system of society. It also offered new ways of doing things. Those Africans who first learned under the Europeans were accorded a certain level of respect. That respect and place in the neo-colonized Africa were then sought after by parents and their children alike.
What Africans didn’t see at that point was a shift in social structures. A shift in economic values. And above all, a near-total abandonment of our ancient education and occupations.
Most young Africans after graduating from high schools and colleges, found themselves above farming, hunting etc. It was only a matter of a century, and we are where we are today – a people with millions of young people who add nothing to the economy. Our young people, in their millions, depend on failed governments to provide jobs for them.
Western Education has its merits when propagated in its true form – when balanced out with the ancient ways of our people. But in Africa, its byproduct has become a “foreign-type” acute laziness.
Unemployment is now the price the African continent has to pay for abandoning the system of education and craftsmanship of their forebearers.
When you go back in time, say, 100 – 200 years, you will find that every youth and man and woman in Igbo land was gainfully employed. Working and earning under his own terms. We had farmers, builders, medicine men, midwives, palm wine tappers (Brewers), blacksmiths, cobblers, soldiers. We had a system that maintained law and order – what we now know as Police and Lawyers.
The list can go on and on but at this point, I am positive that the reader understands my standpoint. Most of these crafts have now been refined by Western education into written words or plainly put “Theory”. Our children and youths go to school and pay millions to learn the theory of what they could have learned for free from the ancient African system of education.
So what do we have after 5-6 years of university education? We have millions of young men and women who can recite how to ‘Build a House’ or ‘brew beer’ but cannot actually build a house nor even ferment barley and yeast.
It is safe to say that the Western educational system might have helped us only in places where it was applied correctly. It has also stolen from us our own system of Education – making the word ” Unemployment” the most popular in Africa, only second to “Poverty”.
The Western style of education and profession has its own advantages and so also does the African system of education have its own advantages and strong points.
My dear Africans, to dissociate ourselves from this ‘Plague’ called unemployment, we must begin to retrace our steps. We must dig deep to find our path back to our days of Glory. We must embrace agriculture, we must embrace commerce, we must embrace craftsmanship and above all, we must stop depending on our university degrees to find a place in society.
Your employment should be in your hands, not in the hands of a system designed to enslave you. Rise above Unemployment my people of Africa – rise to reclaim your place in the Commonwealth of nations of the world.
Article Written By Chuka Nduneseokwu