Jamaicans urged to appreciate rich history
“A people without knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”
These are the words of Jamaica’s first national hero, Marcus Mosiah Garvey.
They are words that resonate with University of the West Indies (UWI) lecturer, Dr Dave Gosse, who is highlighting the need for greater knowledge and appreciation of the country’s rich history among citizens, particularly the youth.
This is particularly important as Jamaica marks 188 years since Emancipation and 60 years of Independence this year.
Gosse believes that such knowledge will help to build persons’ self-worth and address social ills, including crime and violence.
“I am convinced that the level of violence we have in our society comes partially from persons not valuing themselves, their history and their culture,” he said.
Gosse, who is a senior lecturer and director of the Caribbean Studies Department at UWI, said that the value in teaching students about their history is not only about educating them about their past but also helping to shape their sense of self and identity.
He noted that for many persons “history is something that is rather negative [and] we can, through education, try to climb that barrier”.
He is, therefore, recommending that while the education system is being advanced and improved, consideration be given to how history is taught.
“Students’ first introduction to Africa basically comes through the slave trade. They need to do topics about precolonial African societies and civilisations before the slave trade, so that they can understand the great kingdom we had and about civilisations in Africa [before colonisation],” he said.
In doing so, Gosse argued that they will “grow up believing in themselves and [accept] how they look. They’ll [know that they] are divinely made by God [with] a culture that is incomparable to any other in the world”.