The Mission & Purpose of Katiopa Watoto Shule
My Mission regarding Afrikan centered education for Black children (worldwide) is to provide information, skills and educational resources/materials to parents, extended family members (who are closely connected to children in their families) & educators primarily so that they may come to fully embrace & accept that it is solely our personal responsibility to protect, nurture and educate Our children. I also offer part time Afrikan centered education to Black children in Toronto, Canada (Scarborough location) which includes an Afrikan centered weekend class (Sundays only), tutorials and summer school programs (June to August 2013).
It is Our sole responsibility to re-establish indigenous Afrikan values & principles and to reaffirm and revive our spiritual foundation (honor of our Bakoko (divine ancestors), Abusuapanin (family elders) and Orisa/Ntru (dieties) in our homes and extended families. Our children must be raised in a home, family and community where they will be nurtured, loved and cared for the way they always have been by Afrikan women, men and grandparents for many centuries. This is the basis for Afrikan centered education because education for Us is wholistic and is directly connected to Our Sunsum (Akan word for soul).
In addition to this, the aspect of academic education must also include the Sunsum of our people. This must mean that the family will accept full and complete responsiblity for Our children and their security. What is the purpose of being an Afrikan mother or father when we have to rely almost completely on others, who care nothing about us & know nothing about us as a people, to do a duty we ourselves were given to fulfill by Onyame (the Creator)? The education of Our children clearly starts in the womb, as the Afrikan mother is continually connected to her child in the womb.
The Afrikan woman who is pregnant with child does not assume that her unborn baby is the responsibility of anyone else, because this baby lives within her. She feeds, nourishes, nurtures and provides warmth & comfort to her unborn child. She feels the movements and kicks of her unborn child in her womb. We seem to have forgotten that just because an Afrikan child is born and then starts talking, walking and eating by itself that does not mean that this child no longer needs the full protection, nurturing, comfort and warmth of its’ mother, father and extended family.
We have been inculcated into the belief that when our children are old enough to walk and talk on their own that it is now no longer our duty to be their exclusive caretakers. To many of us, this is the Final Signal. Now it’s officially “the time” to remove them from their home and place of protection. It is almost like a “eurocentric rites of passage” ushering them into a new and strange world that will teach them that the pursuit of money, fame, western education and material “things” is more important to Us than their own security, comfort and protection.
We confidently place them in the care of capitalistic caretakers and complete strangers they have never even seen before. We do this for the majority of their lives and then wonder why Our children betray us and reject who they are when they come of age. We often do this with no cause for concern because we feel that since this is the established norm in western “civilization” then ofcourse it Must be the right thing to do. Nonsense!! It is the worst thing an Afrikan parent can Ever do.
A primary aspect of Afrikan centered education is acknowledging the fact that no one should be given permission to care for our children but those members of Our race (in particular parents) who have willingly chosen to reclaim and revive our ancestral traditions and inheritance. Afrikan centered education is not about having a “conscious black teacher” that just looks like their students, and has a degree. In my opinion, it must start with re-establishing the village concept (in stages and with those that truly understand the urgency of this mission) as that is the only means upon which Afrikan children and families will be able to meet our specific needs, inter-generationally.
Homeschooling is a very crucial & important aspect of Afrikan centered education which should and must be led by parents primarily, but ofcourse this is my opinion. I also believe that Afrikan centered schools should be primarily led by parents and not just “certified educators” with degrees because Black parents, especially mothers know what is best for Black children in a way that NO ONE else does. I know this for a FACT.
I have studied and witnessed Afrikan mothers in Action for several years, even since i was a child and it is crystal clear that we are the 1st Educators of Our children. This is Undeniable. Black mothers intricately know the needs of their children and are able to meet those needs under extreme pressure. We live with the responsibility of being a lifegiver everyday, from the moment we conceive a child until…forever. No one else in our community but the Afrikan mother can speak about the excruciating pain of labor and the joy of hearing the cries of her baby for the very first time. That experience alone can tell Us alot about the important role Afrikan mothers Must play in the process of educating and rearing Our children.
I believe that in order for Afrikan centered education to be effective it Must be led by parents, committed mothers, fathers, and even grandparents. The consistent imitation of european led institutions is not what the Black community needs because we are a wholistic people who deal with family first. Our major problem in the aspect of education is that we choose to consistently mimic the european standard of academia, which has never and will never work for us. Period. Our traditional learning centers were led by parents, grandparents & elder sages, not “certified educators” and “classroom teachers” with degrees.
This concept is truly anti-Afrikan because we must remember that traditionally, our educators were handpicked & chosen based on their ability to maintain, preserve and uphold our ancestral traditions Not on their ability to copy europeans and now, asians. The way we are currently dealing with education now would be considered an insult and a disgrace to our great great grandparents. Is this the legacy we wish to pass on?
If you take a devoted, loving and committed Black parent without a degree in anything and train them in the educational curriculum necessary they can easily become an expert teacher overnight. But there are many skilled certified teachers in our community who will not be able to connect with the emotional, mental and spiritual needs of Black children just based on their degree alone. This is raw truth and we must finally face it.
The educational curriculum of Black children (i speak from the experience as an early childhood parent-educator) must be based on the worldview of Afrikan people, the value system of our people, the political system(s) of our people & especially the spiritual foundation of our people. Math must be taught using the methods our ancestors used (Oware,Mancala kwk), our languages must be primary in this learning process, the learning of agriculture and its’ connection to spirituality must be understood, our Afrikan Scientific reality must be explored deeply and Our children must learn how to attain True Black Power.
I strongly emphasize Afrikan social studies, values & economics for young Black children as this forms their cognitive abilities and helps them to learn the importance of character development as it relates to cultural behaviour and self preservation. I believe that in order to excel in anything Afrikan people need to know how to conduct themselves in this world & how to act with each other which will help them to learn how to continually build and maintain their own Afrikan families and societies. In this way we will understand what is acceptable righteous behaviour that will move us forward and we will also understand what is treasonous to us, in the eyes of our ancestors and according to our worldview.
In summary, Katiopa Watoto Shule aims to recreate the village concept of communal protection and divine ancestral education for our children. The only way i see this happening is for Pan-Afrikan families of like mind and values to intentionally seek out and connect with other Pan-Afrikan families, to begin to form homeschooling collectives/institutes/support groups all around the world, which will emulate the indigenous educational societies of our honorable ancestors.
In our indigenous societies, traditional educators were chosen based on their character, personal skills, family inheritance/lineage, their ability to preserve and carry on the culture of their people in their own home and family and their commitment to social development and nation building. These characteristics must also be the basis for the current choices we make in selecting educators in our communities today.
Utilizing the principles of Kujichagulia & Ujamaa, Maroon/Pan-Afrikan families can formulate small, sustainable homeschooling collectives with minimal cost, but commitment and dedication is Key to realizing this objective. This is what i aim to help our people achieve in this day and time, as this moment is so urgent for us and our children. And for clarification purposes, when i say families, i am also including single Black mothers (& fathers), as i am one myself.
Katiopa Watoto Shule also encourages Afrikan families to create cooperative economic networks (Ujamaa) so that our financial resources can be shared over the long term to save for our childrens’ future education (high school, college, university), for repatriation, to fund independent businesses that our children would like to create in the future; businesses that will aid us in maintaining our own economic power.
If a few parents/families come together and create, a private and local Susu economy, they can organize a collective visit back Home to see the land of our ancestors, they can invest in an Afrikan or Caribbean country &/or help to finance a business in the coming years for a current child/student or children/students.
Our collective cooperation should assist us in passing on wealth (both financial and spiritual) to our future generations. We should also be able to help fund them to open their own businesses after they are educated by us so they can continue to serve their own interests. It may sound unattainable to some but the fact is, All it really takes is a consistent & cohesive effort. If a collective of approx. 4-10 people can save a fixed amount of money for 8-10 yrs (on average) and start out doing this when their children are in btwn the ages of 3-9, imagine what that amount would accumulate to over time?
The purpose of Katiopa Watoto Shule is for it to function as a family support collective (and not some “intellectually Afrocentric” Black academic institution). Afrikan centered education in this respect would retain its’ wholistic nature and therefore, would also address cultural continuity and the regeneration of wealth, prosperity and societal accountability from one generation to another, consecutively. We have clearly abandoned this sacred tradition and because of our neglect we are losing our children, day by day.
I hope that i can see atleast part of this mission fully realized before i become an old and aged woman. I know that Afrikan children need and deserve it. I know that they are not destined to be beggars, servants and social dependents. So, We have a duty and a responsibility to ensure with all the power in Our Sunsum that they will be able to achieve their highest potential even if we are unable to at this time.
This is a basic explanation of the concept of Katiopa Watoto Shule and what i envision for Us as Afrikan people. As a mother/indigenous educator, auntie and sista, who has a deep and permeating Love for ALL Our children, i truly wish to see Us establish an indigenous framework for success so they can inherit the Best of what We have worked for and created. I can be contacted at email@example.com if you would like to discuss the mission of Katiopa Watoto Shule in further detail. Matondo mingi for reading these words. Abibifahodie.