Former UNESCO boss lauds Africans for fortitude against odds

Dakar- Senegal (PANA) -- A former United Nations official has praised generations of Africans for their strength in overcoming the danger, pains and adversities they have been subjected to for centuries.
Amadou Mahtar Mbow, ex-director general of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), made the statement Thursday night at an inter-generation discourse at the Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar on the sidelines of the ongoing Conference of Intellectuals from Africa and the Diaspora.
Mbow recalled that Africa had gone through many tragic periods, and emphasised that through it all "Africans have always found in themselves the energy and force needed to overcome adversity.
" "Of course, that's what we did during the slave trade, which officially lasted for three centuries, but which continued in the 19th century, even after the Vienna congress abolished it," the former Senegalese minister added.
"We experienced the colonial system with hard labour, marked by an educational system characterised by a cultural alienation of the African elite, which was supposed to identify with the colonisers and thus become the carriers of the interests.
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the values of colonisation.
We managed to overcome it, but I have to say that something is still to be done," Mbow admitted.
He noted that when a form of thought is inculcated in a people for decades, it is difficult to disabuse their minds of such thoughts easily.
"In other words," he explained, "cultural alienation and intellectual alienation are most of the time the most difficult things to overcome.
" But in all of these, the former top UN official maintained: "I have never despaired of Africa and I will never despair of Africa".

08 october 2004 19:40:00




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