Dynamic African Stories Are Relevant
William Jackson, M.Edu. @wmjackson
Edward Waters College
Based on the presentation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
(Nigerian author) through TED Talks,
“The Danger of a Single Story.”
African children, each child has a story, a story that
defines their lives, a story of diverse emotional and
psychological dimensions, it is important that African
adults play a part in their children’s developing
stories because adults set the tone for
continued growth the children will grow to
take leadership roles in their respective nations.
Childrens lives are like books and because each page
is blank, African parents need to be cautious as to
what is imprinted on each page.
Childrens stories cannot be erased, rewritten, edited
nor started over. Their lives are continuous pages that
may branch off into diffrent storylines, each
storyline is as important as the next because they
are the stories of that child.
Parents establish the foundation of a childs language
development. The term “garbage in, garbage out” is a
technology term that can be applied to the educational
and cultural development of African and American children.
As technology expands in households what goes into a
child will come out. Technology is
a two edged sword and parents must guide their
children to determine what is good and what is bad.
African parents help to create a storyline in their
children by allowing or denying the infusion of reading
and literature. If parents encourage reading, cognitive
development, appreciation of diverse literary content,
their children will have a well rounded literary
background which allows for strong language development,
appreciation for diversity and promote the strenthening
of African societies.
I do not know the individual academic situations of
African families or children, so this is not a judgment
just educational guidance to help those that have a
desire to help families and children if color and
Listening to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, “The Danger
of a Single Story,” my interpretation is for African parents
to understand how they shape, mold and create the stories
of their children because society will continue to
create their own story of African and American
children of color.
Based on the color of skin or the perceived cultural
background. Children will be given a false story as was
done during colonization. African parents
must make sure an authentic story is heard loud and clear
about their culture, their societies and their children.
Chinua Achebe often shares how his culture (Ibo) was forever
changed by colonization. So transformative was the change
that his book, “When Things Fall Apart,” was published,
it resonated globally with many cultures that were
tragically affected by European, Japanese, Chinese, and
other cultural colonization.
Each new day is an opportunity to create a story
of societal unity, progressive educational access and
understanding the Africans place in the world. Each child
is a single story that is continuously being developed,
the story is written on the lifelines that are a trail of
deeds, actions, events and circumstances that cannot be
changed once done.
Because of the dimensions of life our stories
cannot be rewritten because they happen each
second, each minute, each hour of each day.
As Ms. Adichie states we cannot buy into a
single story based on the media (paraphrasing).
“Show a people as one thing, and only one thing
over and over again, and that is what they become.”
In many cases African children have been given the
wrong information and their perceptions of self are wrong.
When we allow one story to be told about a culture,
gender, and lifestyle things can get twisted and misinterpreted.
One story cannot be the representation of a whole culture or
race of people. The media will have you believe an opposite
truth than the reality. Ms. Adichie states that,
“The single story creates stereotypes, the problem is
not that they are true they are incomplete.”
This is one of the misconceptions African Americans have
of each other and the African culture, African Americans
have been so brainwashed and mislead they lost their
connection with Africa. They no longer see the historical,
cultural, ethinic, scientific, medical and global greatness
that is Africa. There is only one story that the media tells
that is inaccurate.
Each African child is important to the story of Africa
because of the capcity for change, the ability to
influence the stories of each other and the cultural
stories that continue to expand.
Listen to the stories of the past African Writers:
Chinua Achebe, Mariama Bâ, NoViolet Bulawayo Tsitsi
Dangarembga, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Binyavanga Wainaina,
Steve Biko, Buchi Emecheta, Teju Cole
These are just a few that inspire, influence and
encourage the African story.
Educators in Africa have a tremendous job to teach
African children about their history and also to teach
African children what their place is in the world.
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