How was this even possible? Some of the stories told by my parents while they were growing up oozed of the awesome feeling it felt to have had the privilege of going to school. The education ushered in by the British was considered key to making it in this “new world” that they had created. In addition, the religion they had introduced was also taught in school and in church.
The result of this was that there was a systematic disconnect between these young minds and the ways of their ancestors. Several cultural practices and norms were demonized and replaced with English practices. My mother fondly remembers being taught table etiquette, among other numerous practices.
In the classroom, the children were taught the Eurocentric worldview. The different subjects were taught in the English language. When it came to Afrikan history, for example, they were taught how a white man discovered the River Nile. This is still being taught in our schools to this day! European history was taught and it showed immense progress and a gallop towards development, a continent that was the glory of civilization. The programming would not have been complete without teaching English literature and culture.
The ways of the Europeans were thus indicated as superior and our very own as backward. They were also taught how the British came in and “civilized the barbarian” black men that were roaming the Afrikan continent. This system has remained unquestioningly to this day. In fact, it has become worse because today, it is Afrikans that passionately pass on this type of worldview! There have been attempts to introduce teaching in our mother tongues for at least the first three years of primary school but the programme has not been widely applied because many parents strongly feel their children should study in the English language from the first day of school.
The teaching of all subjects in the English language set the stage for those that spoke the English language to feel superior to those Afrikans that didn’t. That speaking the “Queen’s Language” was something to be proud of while our own languages were forbidden from being spoken in school! Our languages were called vernacular and were relegated for use by the “uneducated”.
Therefore after “Independence”, the stage had been set for a continuation of imperialism because the mind of the Afrikan remained colonized. It is the reason why conflict continued to brew between the Buganda nation and the Central Government. And just like they had advocated for the British to leave, Buganda did the same for the government of the day that had replaced the colonial administration.
By conditioning the Afrikan mind to believe that the white man’s language, norms and culture were superior to ours, the stage was set for a continuation of the British system in the “Independent nation”.