Monday, November 21, 2005

Woman's Hour

I woke up to Martha Kearney and Woman's Hour on Friday. She'd secured an exclusive interview with Liberia and Africa's first female president-elect Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. I was impressed by the panel's acknowledegment that leadership among West African women is as strong as ever. Women might not hold political office, but they're indispensible everywhere else, culture, business, law, banking. In areas where merit is put above the ability to employ an element strong arm-ness, women prosper. I remember my grandmother was very prominent in the grass roots politics of Rivers State; Shehu Shagari (who I'm named after) personally thanked her for securing the state for his party.

More impressed was I by Pat Caplin's mention of the Igbo Women's War of 1929. It's widely believed that this was a pivotal moment in the anti-colonial movement, our very own Epsom Derby moment. Yet we were not taught anything about it in school. What our schools do well is force its students to stand in the hot sun Stalinist-like reciting jingoistic national anthems and pledges, words which given the state of Nigeria, obviously mean nothing. I went to a Nigerian business exhibition a few weeks ago, hoping to find someone selling cut-price Stella Obasanjo oil wells, because I'm flat broke. At the stands for the Nigerian schools, there were pictures of smiling children wearing blazers, and Harrow School straw hats. Nigeria's yearly average temperature is 25-28 degrees C. Why would anyone torture these kids so in the name of education? Ah, I see, it's how the British supposedly educate their children. All the schools with stands had a hankering to represent the British public school ethos. Aspiring to educational standards is one thing, but imitating dress shows they know not what the purpose of education is. I despair for the education of our youth.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Did you say Business exhibition, so the schools were doing what exactly - trying to attract investors?

Funny enough we used to wear those straw hats and blazers back in my early teens in some small unknown village in Osun state. We were also called an international school.