Thursday, September 24, 2020

“I am black inside…”

Japan is a great country. Compared to other developed countries there is virtually no difference between what is in the media and what is on the ground.

Whatever one reads about Japan in the media is what one will see or experience here. My university is considered one of the topmost and prestigious. The university is now 151 years old; having been started by a well travelled Japanese patriot and realist it has a unique education system which emphasizes modernization and forward thinking without forfeiting one’s integrity and cultural essence. My campus is considered the best out of the six campuses of this university. What shocked me at this campus was the seriousness with which undergraduate students pursue their education.

Contrary to the UB tradition of perfunctory academic fulfillment they study in order to be educated. Unlike at UB, undergraduates have research seminars and this seems to really develop students more into educated than certificated people. One of the reasons may be because they receive no government sponsorship, but what stands out is the way their education is designed. In the space of two months I have met an outstanding number of undergraduate students who have done research in Africa: Ethiopia, D.R.C, Tanzania, Cameroon and other African countries. There is a university fund to support their research endeavors. The university ends up with research materials which are truly authentic and not cooked. This blew my mind. But a few nights ago I realized that the abovementioned had only inflated my mind to hypertrophic levels. I met an ultra-beautiful young Japanese lady on the bus from school. She told me that she has been living in Senegal for the past five to seven years or so. She speaks perfect and fluent Wolof. I also learned that this student was sophomore when she first went to Senegal for research. She fell in love with Senegal such that she secured a transfer from what I earlier implied to be the best campus of one of the most prestigious universities to study in Senegal for the mere reason that she loves Africa.

When we boarded the express train she said to me “I am black inside”. Having been let down by Senegal professors at graduate studies she transferred to a university in Paris. But she is still studying African sociology and politics. She is about to start her PhD in the same field. I asked her what she plans to do after graduating; she told me “I want to go back to Senegal and get a job”. I was shocked by the love this lady had for Africa. Her only lamentation was that some employment criteria marginalize foreigners and the fact that Africans always view her as a stranger. Her case is not the first, although unique. While in the UK I also learned of people who had a single experience in Africa and sold everything they had to start a new life in Africa. It is a pity that the world has been divided by misinformation and propaganda in academic literature and the media. For example I developed fear of the Russians when studying history and watching Western movies; but I learned that the Russians are some of the nicest people in the Eurasian panorama. Recently I passed through Moscow and I was shocked at their hospitality. Recently one of my Russian friends said to me that they do not see color when we relate (I had not asked).

However I find that wherever I go, including back home, people fully packed with intolerance, stereotypes and immense fear are the older generations. The young people today all over the world are different. After my meeting with the ultra-beautiful lady I realized the world is changing. Truly the global village is a divine design.

People are about to be blind to national and sociological borders: international marriages are a precursor to this. I rarely use the terms “white”, “black” or “yellow” to refer to people. These abhorrent terms fuel racism. I only know of Africans, Caucasians and Asians. People should not only be blind to skin color but be dumb to such terminology. Batswana in particular should start traveling at least within Southern Africa.

Xenophobia is normally bred by living one’s entire life within a small square kilometer. Batswana should learn to go on holidays and also go to the ocean: it will help reduce the seemingly inherent fear of the unknown in our people. It does not only take a flight to travel: save a little money, get your family a nice Japanese second hand car (at P16, 000) and take your family out to Mozambique, South Africa or Namibia and have fun. UB students used to organize themselves as glee groups and travel to Namibia, Mozambique or South Africa. Families and high school students should follow suit. Young Batswana kids should be proud of what they are. The number of children trying to be American or European in Botswana is appalling. Although we are universal citizens today, there is a big difference between acculturation and cultural erosion. A world without diversity shall be a bore. This is due to the influence the media has claimed from the time parents endorsed television as alternative parenting. Paradoxically parents grin and believe their kids are getting civilized: what a joke! Kgosi Kgafela II talked about this during his inauguration, so I cannot say more.


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