Updated: Apr 28, 2020
As we observe that which we have experienced, and still undergo continuously, we also see the desire for freedom. In this desire for freedom, we can observe the misunderstanding of what freedom truly is. Many of our people must re-establish the skill of critical thinking, attention to detail, supreme awareness of our situation, and the ability to untangle the intricate understanding of a word; All of which was in the essence of our original culture, and way of thinking. Understand that if we are asking for freedom, then we are already displaying an ignorance of what freedom is, and a counter-productive mentality in comparison to the craved actions we are trying to take. In strong surety, one of our greatest African leaders has once stated…
"Freedom is not something that one people can bestow on another as a gift. They claim it as their own and none can keep it from them.”Kwame Nkrumah
When leaders stated such, was it just for us to admire, or was it a learning moment? Most have unfortunately experienced that in absence of their attentive capabilities, whether the individuals listened during or studied post the actual events, many of us have missed the key message. Realize that leaders of the past that have asseverated essential, and studious quotes such as that, clearly show a beyond surface level of knowledge. Concerning this topic of what freedom truly is, it must be understood that we embody this and progress.
Anatomizing the word freedom, it is best to start with the colloquial meaning (modern/informal/conversational), and the etymological meaning (origin/historical development). Modernly speaking, freedom is often covered up by its conventional dominance, in which many stems from unconsented impositions; For example: Freedom being the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint, without the presence of subjugation to foreign dominance, and or not under tyrannical government. Additionally, this freedom is not as the submissive African would think of it, being that it is tied into the same system that abused us (i.e. the 13th amendment), as one of the definitions also states not being imprisoned or enslaved. Unmistakably, in regards to where this definition stems from is not that of true freedom, but it's that of an ultimatum from those who have violated natural living of who they have subjugated. Otherwise, why is the present day stance of freedom mainly stamped by specific groups in power, who have stripped those they view underneath them of their original mind. This stance that “modern freedom” has, is written by a pen that is dull, spoken with a split tongue, and takes advantage of the brainwashed. Eloquently revealed by the team of University of Kmt Press “Like heirs fervently quarreling among themselves over the inheritance (which they are unaware does not exist) even before the obituary notice has been printed, Africans spar against each other with the veiled mystical illusions handed down to them by the populations that historically enslaved them. Yet, ideas of justice and injustice, freedom and slavery, objectivism and subjectivism, science and spiritualism, abundance and suffering, morality and immorality only lose their antithetical character in the actual life social condition.” (Kilimanjaro, 39).
Obviously, the overruling definition of freedom is the stipulation of a system of people, not for the benefit of who they view as “inferior”, but to ensure the survival and evolution of the foundational system for the sake of control.
Furthermore, as expected the etymology of freedom is still at the whim of our oppositions concerning the surface level. For example: The old English concerning “emancipation from slavery” or “possession of particular privelages” from the 1570’s. Although this might excite the somehow appreciative African, it does not fool the African who knows the true meaning of freedom. In dealing with emancipation or also known as mancipare, which is to “deliver, sell or transfer”, it is not to set one “free” as you think, because the intention or plan was to install a more “decorated” systematic approach in keeping you cooperative property; That was not a redemptive act, it was to tranquilize you, and make you embrace or perpetuate further alteration of who you are. Just to ensure there is no naivety, ignorance, or misunderstanding; it’s mandatory that we as Africans globally understand that this applies to all who have subdued, and manipulated us.
“Nothing that was ever brought into Africa from the outside was meant to do the African any good” -Dr. John Henrik Clarke
In further elaboration, we must understand the necessity of returning back to our original African cultures, as it is the base and lead for what true African freedom is. As one studies African culture, clearly they will recognize the understanding that there is nothing outside of self, not in the sense of promoting selfishness, but in the knowing that nothing is beyond your nature and or choices. This original mindset teaches you unequivocally that true freedom for the African must be internally grasped, realized, and exercised by any means necessary; especially when facing objectionable resistance, or aggressive action. As a matter of fact, one of our African concepts known as Ifa is all about the most inner complexities of self, from the deepest depths of knowing self to the distant confusion due to not knowing or finding self. With much precision, our ancestors stressed the cogent priority of self-responsibility, regardless if something has “taken away” your freedom or is simply in negative contrast. In equivalence with that, another author emphasises the same as he affirms “Ifa divination is a tool designed to identify self-destructive tendencies before others in the community are damaged. Divination
cannot work if Ifa is merely perceived as fixing a problem by magically manifesting a desired result without taking into consideration the need for personal transformation.” (Fatunmbi & Remo, 35). Through close examination, it is understood that our ancestors taught the reality of one's life, and whether it be pleasant or unpleasant isn't important. However, what is important is that we as Africans understand our freedom is innately us, thus by any means it can only depend upon us, and not that of another.
Ultimately, it’s obvious that the expectation of freedom coming to us from someone or something outside of ourselves will never occur, nor is it even logically plausible. As an African, how can one experience adverse familiarity repeatedly, consistently, and still await for freedom to be given to you by that very same thing. It is crucial that we comprehend true freedom isn't ultimatums that take advantage of your lack of awareness, or steer you in a direction that will only cause you to go along with deception. Undeniably, true freedom for us as Africans is only accomplished or exercised by our own essence, and we must be the progenitor of the instinctive solution without exterior options or prescription. Conclusively, true freedom for Africans is when you know who we are, what we are, and solve our equation without hindrances, all while rejecting the offenders deceitful propositions.
Kilimanjaro, I., Kilimanjaro, T., Aaneb, Y., & Heru, T. G. (2014). Maat: guiding principles of moral living. Detroit, MI: University of Kmt Press.
freedom (n.). (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.etymonline.com/word/freedom
Fatunmbi Awo FáLokun. (2005). Inner peace: the Yoruba concept of Ori. Brooklyn, NY: Athelia Henrietta Press, Publishing in the name of Orunmila.
emancipate (v.). (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.etymonline.com/word/emancipate
Pruitt, S. (2012, September 21). What Abraham Lincoln Thought About Slavery. Retrieved from https://www.history.com/news/5-things-you-may-not-know-about-lincoln-slavery-and-emancipation
Kwame Nkrumah. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/acref/9780191826719.001.0001/q-oro-ed4-00007911
Gyekye, K. (2010, September 9). African Ethics. Retrieved from https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/african-ethics/