Your Name Is Your Shield
It's a wonderful opportunity to revisit Alex Haley's book - ROOTS in the reimagined series by History Channel that was aired first on Memorial Day in the US.
Growing up, I remember the weekly anticipation my family experienced in watching Kunta Kinte in action. We never called the show by its actual name - Roots (1977), we named it Kunta Kinte.
It was a highly memorable period for many families who owned a TV set back then. Emotionally intensed and heart breaking at every point in every episode - learning how slaves were traded and treated like animals instead of humans. How a family struggled from one generation to another. How no African slave had the right to their own life, and how within 24 hours, one's fate could change tremendously for the worse.
Now after 30 years, watching Roots (2016) on TV with my little children, the emotions are even more intensed for me. With age of course you begin to understand the intensity of history. Of how things happened to shape the world we live in today.
In Roots (2016), phrases such as
- your name is your shield
- family matters most
- honour your ancestors
- live in dignity and honour
- behold the only thing that's greater than you (the universe!);
all these speak loudly to its viewers through this series.
Evaluate our present lives and we'll see how little people care for such substance and how unwilling people are to fight for our loved ones, our name, our roots.
Night 3's episode where Kizzy says goodbye to Marcellus, choosing her son and daughter-in-law over love shows how much a women sacrifices for the safety of her children and would do so even if it kills her. That was an honorable and heart-breaking scene to watch especially for a woman who was raised so gracefully by Kunta and Belle and had her life turned upside down because she was caught being able to read and write.
My 9 year old son, upon seeing Kizzy dragged away, sold off to a new master because they found a letter of freedom she had forged for her boyfriend Noah, asked me what's wrong in knowing how to read and write? Knowledge is power and if you have it you are a threat back then. Even now not much of that idea changed. How governments control what we can and cannot learn. Segregation of elite and non elite groups. It's pretty much still in existence. Whenever I read about how women were persecuted for being able to read, I always tell my children, you have the opportunity to be educated so don't take it for granted! Remember the many who yearn for it and get persecuted instead. Educate yourself and use it to make the world a better place for your children!
Hence it sickens me when I hear people question why their children need to study certain subjects in school. There are even teachers who make statements like this on subjects such as ICT & RBT, calling it a waste of time. Really? When people in some parts of the world get shot for wanting to learn, here we have a different, more privileged way of taking education for granted.
I'm not an African American, but this history touches me very deeply. History has a lot to teach us when we evaluate the story told wisely. Of course it has to be history with a true account and not one manipulated by politics.
Here's something I cannot help but compliment after reading it on FB. The caption to this post is very true. Those who forget their past are condemned to repeat it. We are suppose to make something better of our lives than the ones our ancestors had. They fought to break the chains bound to their hands and legs; to break free from the masters who owned them and abused them. Remember their trials and let not your generation now and the ones to come be bound to the unseen masters that insidiously destroys one's existence, one's root!