Nothing Western about science and maths

Maths teacher. This picture is used here for illustrative purposes only Photo - Stock image
Maths teacher. This picture is used here for illustrative purposes only Photo - Stock image

In a time of overwhelming national disorder, it is difficult even for the most common sense to prevail.

Indeed, disorder produces its own champions. Because champions of disorder thrive on noise and brio, it is impossible for the voice of reason to be heard.

Most often clever champions of disorder take on issues that make them appear as if they are defending our collective interests, when in fact they are destroying our future. One of these fashionable subjects is what is being called "decoloniality".

The violent element among the champions of disorder go around burning infrastructure on university campuses in the name of a "decolonised" education.

The more peaceful among them spend time producing loads of hollow words about "decoloniality".

It is interesting that the students who are calling for "decolonised" education are themselves not qualified to design a curriculum.

This could be the reason so few of them have explained what "decolonised" mathematics would look like. Maybe 1+1 will no longer be 2 in "decolonised" mathematics.

Ironically, the pseudo-intellectual champions of disorder have imbibed and accepted distorted conceptions of knowledge. They have accepted that there is a thing called "Western" science, which they must fight.

Because our noisy pseudo-thinkers don't understand that there is no "Western" science, they spend long hours chasing a ghost that does not exist - all in the name of "decoloniality". The thing generally referred to as "Western" science is in fact a universal heritage appropriated by the Occident and given a label designed to make white people feel good.

Some among us know Confucius, the great Chinese philosopher; Ibn Khaldûn, the legendary Arab polymath; Hannibal, the sophisticated African master of military strategy; and Socrates, the father of modern Western philosophy. All these greats inhaled oxygen.

There are fools today who wage verbal wars to "decolonise" oxygen, a gas that has never been - and shall never be - Western.

The fact that a white man discovered a specific natural law - such as Galileo's law of falling bodies - does not make the "discovered" law a property of white people. The law was in operation long before Galileo was born. It was - and continues to be - a natural, not Western law.

A great deal of what goes around in the name of "decolonised" education is nothing more than pretentious showmanship by champions of disorder who style themselves as intellectual tribunes of black people.

Behind the facade lurks a woeful misunderstanding of the very thing these champions claim to fight. That is why we are yet to come across a convincing elaboration of the content of their slogans. So, dear African child, please don't be fooled by confused black pseudo-intellectuals; study mathematics and science. There is nothing "Western" about these subjects, and nothing needs to be "decolonised" about them.

Decolonisation is a political and philosophical concept that must not be confused with or used to cast doubt on the pure content and importance of scientific knowledge. Seek ye the kingdom of scientific knowledge and ye shall be liberated.

Even if there was something "Western" about science, it would still be advisable for Africans to study it, if they hoped to build a better future for themselves.

Intelligent people must seek to understand the thing that places Western societies ahead of the rest. If you don't, you are a fool.

The problem with the "decoloniality" noise that is busy polluting our minds is that it diverts the attention of black people from urgent problems they should be working hard to resolve. Our greatest problem today as Africans is not "decoloniality", it is a triple crisis in which we are trapped.

The first is the crisis of production. The role of Africans in the modern economy is that of employees. Our brains don't produce and convert ideas into concrete things. Other people will never respect us until we do this.

Our second crisis is the lack of high culture. Other than low culture - characterised by such things as song, dance and dress - our collective life exudes no higher ideal. The evidence of this is the lack of a reading culture among us. In other words, our minds are not engaged in serious civilisational projects.

The last element of black people's triple crisis is the crisis of a backward politics. Due, or related, to the first two crises, we Africans have an uncivilised politics.

It is the politics of regression, not progress.

With all their problems, Asians - bar Arabs - are visibly making progress in the improvement of the quality of their lives.

We Africans kill each other for nothing - look at the Democratic Republic of Congo or South Sudan today.

If we don't kill each other, our politics is about corruption and empty slogans like "decoloniality", or such useless hot air. How long will it take for us to wake up?

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