Crucible of Chinese Studies: Our Short Memories & Tortured Histories

Thu, 10 Jun 2010 Source: Mensema, Akadu N.

*By Akadu Ntiriwa Mensema, Ph. D.

**Dedicated to Dr. Ephraim Amu; Prof. A. Adu Boahen; Prof. Kwame Arhin; Prof.

Francis Agbodeka, Prof. M. A. Kwamena-Poh; Prof. R. Addo-Fening; Prof. Kofi Asare

Opoku; and Prof. Ama Atta Aidoo for their stellar resuscitation of Ghanaian

histories and cultures.

“The Chinese Embassy in Ghana on Thursday donated about 600 books to the University

of Ghana towards the introduction and study of Chinese language in the country. The

books, which cover various aspects of ancient and modern China, range from

philosophy, history, politics, economy, culture and arts, religion, sports,

medicine, geography and tourism. Dr C.K.N Badasu of the Department of Modern

Languages of the University received the books on behalf of the Authorities and

expressed gratitude to the Embassy for the support” (MyJoyOnline Friday April 30,


Our Ghana is lost

Our worrying signs of blackness

Lost in the hands befuddled elites

Who ask no questions

But have all the appalling answers

Vampire thievery elites

Educated vultures hovering

Hovering over foreign carcasses

Scavengers of foreign used materials

Prey on discarded histories of hegemony

Anything foreign is better

Better than our local worldviews, ontology

So now we have Chinese Studies

While Krobo, Guan, Ewe, Ga

Dagbani, Konkomba, Denkyira

Nzema, Sefwi, Bono

Asante, Fante, Agona

Akuapem, Akyem

All are being lost

Lost in the curricula of life

Of curricula of mummified atrophy

We have had hegemonic English

French, German

And now Chinese

Outsiders learn our histories

To preserve their constructed hegemonies

We learn their histories to hate our histories

Yes, the English

The French, Americans

All have done so

Learn our histories to demonize us

From their home-grown perspectives

To promote their racist epistemologies

To promote their hegemonies

To promote their careers

Specialists in Africa studies

Pathfinders of African Studies/Histories

Pathological studies carved in deceit

Hurray hurray now come the Chinese

The Ming, Qing, Song, Tang

Now we have Chinese Studies

Confucianism, Legalism

Oracle bones, the Great Wall

The Yellow River and rice

Bronze material culture

Eunuchs in the service of emperors

Sanguinary despots

Of human sacrifice

Of ancestor “worship”

Of footbinding women

Of the Chinese Revolution

These foreign histories, cultures

All will eclipse, overshadow

Our tortured histories

Of enslavement, colonialism

Of the postcolony, Neocolonialism

Of our short memories of fratricides

Of our tortured histories of exploitation

And so we forget about Acheampong

Kutu’s Operation Feed Yourself

Of the bastardized JJ Rawlings

Of his rags to riches history

Of limpidly sad eyes of Liman

Liman’s stoic peace wrapped in dissent

Dissent hatched by JJ Rawlings

Nursed by the socialist thieves

Of the Kofi Awonoors

Ahwois, ET Mensahs

Kwesi Botchways, Tsikatas

Educated thieves in incandescent robes

Robes besmeared with Socialism


Eye kanea eye hann

Of rags to riches histories

Histories of so many thieves

Of the Sekyi-Hugheses, Kwamina Bartelses

Ahwois, PV Obeng, ET Mensah, Tsikatas

Obed Asamoahs the mattress banker

Oh! So many tortured histories

We now have Chinese histories, cultures

Poor souls, poor Ghanaians

To assuage our painful past

Catapulted to the heavens of elitist riches

Paradise lost in swaggering

Of swaggering in used clothes

Of swaggering in used cars

Of swaggering in used underwear

Of swaggering in tired ideas

That have subsumed our histories

Of enslavement of European domination

Of postcolonial recklessness

And now we have Chinese histories

Histories that would assuage our pain

Of our anemic thievery-addled state

Of our unrequited love for foreign things

In the paradise of our hollow worldview

*Akadu N. Mensema, Ph. D., is a nationalist Denkyira beauty. She is a trained oral

historian cum sociologist and Professor in the USA. She lives in Pennsylvania with

her great mentor and teaches Africa-area studies at a college in Maryland. In her

pastime, she writes what critics have called “populist hyperbolic, satirical”

poetry. She can be reached at akadumensema@yahoo.com

Columnist: Mensema, Akadu N.