The Second Edition of the African Fact Book was launched in Harare last weekend with Minister of Information, Communication and Broadcasting Services, Monica Mutsvangwa imploring on education stakeholders to ensure it was included in the school curriculum of African nations.
The 1124 pages Scholars version is the second in a series following the launch in 2020 of the Presidential Version by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
According to the Head of Secretariat at the Museum of African Liberation, Ambassador Kwame Muzawazi, the book brings together serious content on changing the narrative on Africa Africans, the people of the so called Dark Continent.
Muzawazi said the book responded to various myths on Africa, including assertions that there is nothing known about Africa before the arrival of the white man and that the continent was not a subject of history and that there were no inventions by Africans.
“We have responded by saying we are busting the myths and in this book which is 1124 pages and 4kg, we are busting some very key myths about Africa that Africa does not have history. That is the first myth we are busting treated by the best knowledgeable experts on world history on African history where we present in incontrovertible terms that the history of the world is in fact the history of Africa.
“….Where we present that the oldest evidence of the existence of mankind comes from Africa. We have got a section in this book; section C on the inventions and discoveries by Africans and by African we are saying anyone who is black is an African. It doesn’t matter you were not born in Africa as long as you are black, you are an African. The clock, the calendar, were invented by Africa. We invented the science of mathematics…” he said.
Minister Mutsvangwa said the book should be added to the schools curriculum, noting that it presented a unique opportunity for educational and cultural diplomatic cooperation between Africa and the world at large thus boosting tourist arrival in line with President ED’s desire to see a robust revival of the tourism sector both locally and regionally.
“The Africa Fact Book is a celebration of Africa which highlights the importance of national unity and pan-African solidarity. It is one of the most effective ways of teaching African history and African achievements told and interpreted by Africans themselves hence demonstrating out capability to liberate ourselves. I would like to challenge the publishers of this great piece of work to ensure this publication forms part of the school curriculum not only in Zimbabwe but Africa as a whole,” she said
She said the fact book reminded Africans of the importance of their history and the significance of documenting the rich African history and stories.
“In the past we have been preserving our history and passing on our heritage to generations through story telling around a fire or under a shade. While that is traditionally our unique, deep and intimate way of passing on knowledge from one generation to another, it has proven that over time some material and facts get lost in translation and in the process some key elements of our past get eroded,” she said, adding that it would then deprive upcoming generations of a wealth of knowledge and heritage.
Minister Mutsvangwa said while African history has often been told from the Western perspective, the launch of the African Fact Book set out to dispel myths and misrepresentations of the continent, busting the key myths about Africa, dealing with country profiles and fast facts about Africa’s 55 nations.
“African inventions, journeys, pioneers, discoveries, innovations, writing systems and most importantly information on how African countries embarked on the armed struggle to liberate themselves from the jaws of imperialism is included in the Fact book. This does not exclude countries which provided training grounds to freedom fighters or acted as conduits for easy movement of guns, ammunition and various provisions,” she said.