By Abu-Jahlil Astrid Chacha
Each year in Canada, Africa, Brazil, Europe and the United States of America, the month of February, the “Black History Month“ is devoted to the commemoration of African history. It is the place to go over an impressive topic of actuality dedicated to the rehabilitation of this too often overused “hisstory”.
The international scientific committee for the writing of the masterpiece “General History of Africa” met for the fifth time from 23th to 28th January 2017 in Havana in Cuba to review the work of the update and the finalization of the ninth volume by the end of 2017. The writing of the first eight volumes completed in 1999 had mobilized three hundred and fifty african specialists, historians, anthropologists, archaeologists, musicology, linguistics and researchers for thirty-five years. Each volume contains eight hundred to a thousand pages. People can read in these books surprising facts.
The “General History of Africa” is a colossal editorial project since 1964 with the aim of remedying widespread ignorance about the Africa’s past and banish the stereotypes associated with slavery and the colonial period
The book “The General History of Africa” is a colossal scientific editorial project sponsored and edited by Unesco since 1964 on the proposal of the African States which became independent in 1960 with the aim of remedying widespread ignorance about the african continent past and banish the stereotypes associated with slavery and the colonial period.
This collective work, unrecognized by the general public, translated into 13 languages of which English, French and Arabic has been unanimously hailed by the scientific and academic communities as a major contribution to the recognition of african history and historiography. Editors include illustrious names such as Congolese academic Elykia Mbokolo, Tshibangu Tshishiku, Isidore Ndaywel, Amadou Hampaté BA, Joseph Ki-Zerbo, Cheick Anta Diop and Tamsir Niane.
The Havana drafting conference of January 2017 was the occasion for the renowned Congolese pianist Ray Lema to give a concert with Cuban artists to publicize in Cuba the International Coalition of artists for the promotion of the general history of the country. ‘Africa.
(Photo of Ray Lema: Olivier Hoffschir) Ray Lema has been named spokesman for the coalition founded in October 2015 in Paris, 7 place de Fontenoy at Unesco headquarters, whose aim is to bring artists together to popularize on the Internet, in the net media the social networks the content of these books to the general public through works of art, theater, music, visual arts, cinema, photography, comics, sculpture … These books which are not easy to read need to be explained to the ordinary citizen by artistic means.
Two hundred playwrights, filmmakers, musicians and singers joined the movement, including Malian singer Rokia Traoré, musician and composer Cheick Tidiane Seck, rappers Barack Adama of Sexion d’Assaut and Oxmo Puccino and Mokobé, the singers Amadou and Mariam, the producer Dawala, the singer Salif Keita, the actress Aissata Maïga, the writer Cheick Moctary Diarra, the singer Inna Modja, the Guinean musician Ballaké Sissoko … RFI, Radio France Internationale and PACSA, The Pan-African Composer’s and Songwriters’Alliance are also part of this approach.
To become a member of this coalition, interested artists must sign a declaration of commitment. In 2009, the African Union expressed its willingness to work towards integrating the contents of the book into the curricula of the education systems of its countries members at the primary and secondary levels. After the publication of the first eight volumes of the book, it is the second phase of this project: the pedagogical valorization of the General History of Africa. Brazil is the only country in the world to have taught in its compulsory schools the teaching of the general history of Africa. An electronic version of the GHA of one hundred pages is under preparation.
The annual celebration of the month of African history in North America is surely a boon for the spokesperson of the coalition of artists for the promotion of the general history of Africa to invite Canadian artists to join this campaign.
The project cost € 40 million to Unesco and Brazil, the only country to have translated it entirely into Portuguese, contributed € 1.3 million. No European country has so far wished to encourage the dissemination of these works which disavow the narrative of the colonial powers.
For more info about these books go to: www.unesco.org