Baba Baye Kemit, M.Ed
Founder and Principal
THE AFRICAN-CENTERED WALIMU (ACW): MORE THAN THE JUST A TEACHER
(Exerpt from an article written by Baye Kemit)
Independent Black Institutions have long ago dismissed the mundane rhetoric of the public school educational theories. Our institutions, with its limited funding and staff, have consistently excelled above and beyond the best public, private and parochial schools throughout the country. Our focus has been simple; education is more than schooling. Mwalimu Shujaa, co-founder of African Peoples Action School and current Provost of Southern University in Baton Rouge, in his prolific book, "Too Much Schooling, Too Little Education: A Paradox of Black Life in White Societies" writes, "that for Africans in the United States (and elsewhere, for that matter) education must be recognized as a process that should reflect our own interests as a cultural nation and be grounded in our cultural history." pg. 9-10
African centered schools have succeeded in knowing that ''whats good for the goose may not necessarily be good for the gander." Essentially, what the local school districts mandate as the standards for the public school students are not our standards. In our shuleni (schools), it is incumbent upon our wanafunzi (students) to know and actualize the Nguzo Saba, invent Science projects and display them at the Council of Independent Black Institutions (CIBI) National Science Expo, learn and perform African dance/drum, speak African languages, demonstrate good character, know African history, culture, heritage, and, most importantly, excel to their greatest potential.
African-centered walimu (ACW) are the nexus, the conduit for actualizing all of the above mentioned realities in our nation's future, the watoto (children). "Education", as Shujaa furthers, "is our means of providing for inter-generational transmission of values, beliefs, traditions, customs, rituals and sensibilities along with the knowledge of why these things must be sustained." pg. 10 As I will later address, it is the ACW that bring these elements into the classroom as practitioners of African culture. It is the ACW, with his/her many talents, research, experiences, love, commitment, katha wa katha (kwk-as so on in Swahili), that intuit the walking curriculum that European schools spend millions of do