The Director, Institute of African and Diaspora Studies, University of Lagos, Professor Muyiwa Faleye has called on Africans and Nigerians especially, to intensify efforts in changing the narrative the west has about the black man.
He said this at the 2021 celebration of the Black History Month in Lagos, themed, ‘Black Family, Representation and Diversity’.
Faleye, who described the development as worrisome and unfortunate, said there is the need to come together as a people and as a race to take up the challenge and rewrite the story for the benefit of the black man in a more positive manner.
”Today, we are celebrating black achievement, black culture and black civilisation and everything that is good about the black race.
”I have always said that the black man has a badge of black contempt. He wears the badge of black contempt and it is up to us to rewrite the narratives that will show that there are a lot of things that black people have achieved and could achieve.
”But I have also always said that running away from our country to other people’s country without first looking inward on what we can do to improve our country, is never a great way to celebrate black achievement.”
Faleye added: ”The history of mankind shows that black people have done a lot in the civilisation of the rest of the world. Therefore, it is important for us to hold onto these achievements, build upon them and make black people believe in themselves, which is very important. We should believe that we can achieve.”
The director said it is disheartening to see how people will want to hold onto, and believe the narrative the west tells about the black man, adding that it is unfortunate.
“Allowing other people to shave your head in your absence or allowing others to tell your story without you having an input to the story is one of the greatest challenges we have as blacks and black scholars.
”However, let me state that we must always strive too, to do our own biddings in our own little way. For instance, with what is currently going on in Africa or Nigeria, it is not the sole responsibility of the government. It takes all hands to be on deck
The immediate past Dean, Faculty of Arts of the institution said part of the activities lined up for this year’s celebration was an essay writing competition on the Covid-19 pandemic by students from notable schools in the state.
He said before now, the annual event, which usually held for a week with various activities, had been restricted to just a few hours, in compliance with the social distancing order by the federal government.
Faleye said the event was designed to expose students to what blacks have achieved and their role in the world civilisation.
The keynote speaker, Professor Adesina Afolayan of the University of Ibadan, noted that despite the happenings in and around the country, there are still a lot of good and positive things that should be celebrated about the people and country as a whole.
He said these things should serve as the basis from individuals and for building a good and pleasant society for all.
He added that the essence of the celebration was to try to see how to balance the people’s root in the country and that desire to flee whatever challenges they may currently be faced with.
Out of the 10 students from five selected schools in Lagos that participated in the essay competition, George Tailor from CMS Grammar School Bariga came tops.