Former South African President Thabo Mbeki says Africans need to document and teach their own history in schools.
Mbeki was speaking at a event to mark Africa Day in Pretoria.
The former head of state blames Africa’s social and political ills on a lack leadership.
Mbeki has been hailed, internationally as one of Africa’s most revered thinkers and leaders.
He says contrary to some popular believe, Africa’s racial and economic ills won’t be solved by removing symbols of the past.
He was referring to recent controversy over the destruction of apartheid monuments such the statue of former President Paul Kruger.
“We can’t deny this reality that South Africa of today is made up of its past and you can’t say that by removing Paul Kruger you therefore remove that past, you haven’t. It’s pretence show and in some instances it’s lead to failure to address the challenges because you think because the symbol is gone there for the substance is gone.”
Mbeki says South Africa’s education system needs to promote African pride adding that colonialism doesn’t define Africa’s future.
He made reference to the 1896 battle of Adwa wherein the Ethiopian empire defeated the Italian forces as an example to Africa success story against colonial powers.
“Here is a major battle, European meet in Berlin in 1884-5 and decide to chop the continent, 10 to 11 years later Ethiopians win at Adwa which is in direct conflict with Berlin that African must be colonized and Ethiopians said Africa will not be colonized and they succeeded. A message to call African, that the fact that they met in Berlin and took this decision doesn’t mean that we must agree and if we act to unite as Ethiopians did: prepare ourselves as a fighting force as Ethiopians did and mobilise all the people to engage this win.”
Mbeki has called on Africans to conscientize the youth to continue the struggle to fully liberate the continent.
“I think one of the biggest challenges we face as a continent is this mobilization of African youth, raising their level of consciousness about ourselves, raising the level of pride, sense of identity so that they can take on this things that professor Segobjye was talking about, saying the African youth must take responsibility for the transformation of the African continent.”
Some of the speakers at the event lauded Mbeki’s involvement in conflict resolution efforts on the continent saying other African leaders and civilians should draw lesson from him.