“Until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.” Chinua Achebe
The Oxford Dictionary defines emic as: “relating to or denoting an approach to the study or description of a particular language or culture in terms of its internal elements and their functioning rather than in terms of any existing external framework”.
The opposite of emic, etic, denotes the study or description of a language or culture from the observer’s perspective. Until recently, much of Africa’s story has been told by others. This has been one of the legacies of colonialism. The time has long passed for the Lions to tell their own stories.
What has been true of colonized Africa, has also been true of all colonized people and in fact, of all oppressed people everywhere. Stories about them–their history, culture– have been told by others from seemingly “objective” viewpoints. Unfortunately, we now know that most of these stories were told with very specific objectives in mind. Take King Leopold’s depiction of the Congo by way of an elaborate museum, for example. For the longest time, museum visitors saw a people who needed “civilizing” and “saving” thereby justifying his country’s presence in the Congo. His was a curated story designed to tell a particular story of the Congolese and by extension, Africans, as peculiar people. The good news is that thanks to a new curator, the Africa Museum now tells a different story. A more accurate story of a people and their country.
What stories would the Lions tell? What stories will you tell after your own Sankofa Experience?