Wakanda A Glimpse Into The Socio-Development Of African States Prior To Colonization.

Wakanda A Glimpse Into The Socio-Development Of African States Prior To Colonization.

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When the movie “Wakanda” first aired, it appealed greatly to the general subconscious of the African people, not just for its record-breaking event as the first masterpiece black superhero, but it showed the richness of African culture, art, and textiles. The movie also appealed to other populace on the idea of what Africa would have been if we had escaped colonization, slavery, and religious indoctrination.

This generally points to the fact that a different African states would have emerged, against the Africa we have today which is riddled with corruption and exploitation, and then these Africans who have swallowed the colonial pill of a white savior syndrome would come to the realization that the civilization we enjoy is a by-product of Western interaction and not part of a grand design. Unfortunately, this group has not yet grasped the concept that Africa had already initiated its own path to civilization. Hence, this current form of civilization mirrors Westernization, and had Africa been allowed to naturally progress, we would have built upon the foundations laid by our ancestors, shaping an Africa that truly reflects African interests. In the film Black Panther, “Wakanda,” was portrayed as a metropolitan state featuring distinct tribes, each renowned for its specific trade. Each tribe was led by a chief, and an overall authority rested with the “Black Panther” family serving as monarchs. This societal arrangement mirrors the social structures found in many African societies, particularly drawing parallels with the ancient Igbo society. In the Igbo tradition, akin to Wakanda, the monarchical framework is not centered on an individual but is instead distributed among a titular council known as “Obi,” primarily observed in the Nnewi region. Within this council, there exists an “Isi Obi,” and collectively, they govern communal affairs, representing the interests of each clan, hence power is not consecrated on an individual or their families. Within the Igbo socio-economic structure, each community is known for a certain trade or skill, and can easily encourage trade and not competition amongst each community. For instance, communities like Oka “Awka” and Lejja in Nsukka are known for blacksmithing and Iron smelting, trade between the two are exchanged peacefully, without one region or community seeking to take what belongs to others and capitalize it, rather people are encouraged to visit those places in order to trade. This economic expression is also fundamental within the family unit, as each family is known by a specific trade or skill.

Our adoption of Western value system and the amalgamation that united Ndi-Igbo with other African tribes accumulating into the African state “Nigeria”, separated us from these fundamentals, therefore, instead of growing our regions with skills and trades that we are known for, we abandoned them to unanimously pursue the monetary system, hence the destabilization of our socio-economic norms.

Educational System As A Product Of Western Norms.
As a social commentator addressing the negative impacts of colonization and religious ignorance, I often encounter resistance from Igbo Christians. They argue that my proficiency in reading, writing, and effective communication in English is indebted to colonial institutions such as the school system. However, it’s crucial to acknowledge that our indigenous culture already possesses a system of writing and education that were intertwined with our spiritual practices.

Our hieroglyphic form of writing known as “Nsibidi” is more or less, an advanced form of an ancient writing system that can be compared with ancient cultures like; Sumeria, Assyria, and Ancient Kemet, even the Afa system when transcribed symbolically, is also a system of writing that is currently seen within the modern computing languages.

The Igbo system of education is also rooted in the traditional rites of “Iru Agwu”, which I personally refer to as the “Learner-Centered Education”, an offshoot of what we know today as “Igba Boi- the Igbo apprenticeship system”. Generally, “Iru Agwu” is the induction and the establishment of an individual’s creative abilities. This induction is done within a linage Agwu “Creative spirit”, which in return amplifies an individual’s creative ability, If we draw a parallel with the Igba boi system, Igba boi simply means an induction and an establishment into a trade which can be what a family is known for or can be influenced by communal constraints. For instance, boys and men from Nnewi are generally known for their trade-in motor and motorcycle spare parts, while boys and men from Nsukka or Enugu regions are mostly into the clothing market or curtain business as seen in Lagos markets like Tejusho Metropolitan market. We also look at these inductions as a way of introducing an individual into the lineage trade and from there that child would attain his or her full potential. This system of education is rooted within the lineage and is therefore one of the easiest ways of boosting and growing generational wealth, because a father or an uncle would teach a trade or skill to a son, and the son would pass it on to another son. When we look at the Western educational system, which every Nigerian parent is pursuing, it channels everyone towards a certain direction without regard for individuality, because we are awfully in pursuit of the tag “Graduate”. The reality is that after achieving this tag, 90% of those with this tag are on the streets jobless, some others go on to create opportunities for themselves and the rest go on to be a nuisance, but when we closely examine the Igbo apprenticeship system, we can see that no educational system has produced millionaires or comfortable individuals like this system.

“Igba Boi” was able to achieve this, by encouraging these young men to actually think and find ways to turn in a profit, whereas the Western form of education capitalizes on constraining its students with a garbage-in/garbage-out mentality, hence encouraging a literate society that can only read and write but fails woefully in critical thinking. Aside from Igba Boi, how about the Dibia “Shamans”, who are not just spiritual emissaries but are also alchemists and scientists of some sort, yet they are the most dehumanized, and colonial adaptations have made it impossible for us to distinguish the chaff from the wheat.

The social structure depicted in Wakanda provides a glimpse of what our African societies could have become. The emphasis on communal individuality would have been a distinctive strength, fostering innovation and creative approaches rooted in our foundational values. The proverb “Odiba mma taa, odibara n’oge” echoes the sentiment that if positive change is possible today, then it’s an opportune moment to initiate it. Therefore, now is an auspicious time for us to start building our nations and regions based on these principles. We can establish foundational principles that align with our vision of a genuine African identity. By embracing communal individuality and drawing inspiration from our rich cultural heritage, we have the potential to create societies or social movements that celebrate innovation, creativity, and a true representation of the African spirit.

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