Learning, Wisdom, and The African World Experience
“Fruitful learning experiences involve more than the acquisition of academic knowledge. They facilitate the gaining of wisdom, helping to build an enduring capacity to apply learning to meet communal challenges.” (Syllabus, 1) Well what does this mean? In my own words, to encompass all aspects of learning, concepts other than those of the academic nature must be taught and ingrained into our minds in order to equip us with the tools to become contributing, educated members of society. Dr. Carr said it best, “Learning and wisdom is the celebration of life through the mastery of it.” Being alive gives us the chance to learn about the world around us, take it by storm, and gain wisdom through our years. The ability to do that is a celebration in itself.
In this lecture, I learned small parts of the richness of African history. “To be African is to be brilliant and excellent.” (Carr) As members of the black heritage, no one has been reading and writing longer than us. In addition, the originating basis of modern civilization is Africana. These facts led me to add, “To be African is to be a founder, a creator, and a leader.” So, human brilliance must be connected to African brilliance, if we are the true originators of such things. As well as the notion that human excellence is tied to African excellence. But with this being true, why are we as a people so crippled today, I thought. Then Dr. Carr answered my question with this statement: “The most serious threat to African dignity is the domain of intellectual ability.” With realization of our abilities as a people, backed with wisdom from our history, our dignity is indestructible. The challenge is that this knowledge is rarely known. We must close the gap between our current performance and our true capability to reach maximum potential.
In conclusion, the Mbongi is one of the many tools that will help us reach that. An Mbongi is a physical and intellectual space, or a common shelter which constitutes many traditional African functions. There is no privacy in the Mbongi; everything is shared or is a shared space. I feel that the rules of the Mbongi support and enforce responsibility and “togetherness”; two characteristics that can be used positively in regaining strength in numbers as African-Americans in today’s world.
Remember, “What you think belongs to you, what you say belongs to the public.” – Traditional Kongo