DARKEST HUMANITY: _PENTONVILLE DIARIES
COULD COVID-19 TURN AFRICA INTO A READING CONTINENT?
Whilst in Pentonville in the Summer of 2013, I met a Ghanaian-British who was very learned. We met in Creative Writing Class in the Prison and became friends. His father is a former Ghanaian Ambassador to the UK. He had been in prison few times. He told me how in the past, people became Scholars in England after spending a year in prison.
In those days, there were no television in the prison cells, so the only entertainment they had in the cells was to read. So by the time you are out of prison for six months or more, you’ll have read tens of Books, and becoming a scholar thereoff. I met several other brilliant and scholarly individuals in the Journalism class in Pentonville who thought the introduction of television into the Prison Cells had been a disservice, but which the Tories are happy with because the majority of the inmates are Blacks!
A teenage girl sat next to me in a trotro recently. She was happily watching Magraheb (Kofi TV) on a smart phone and laughing. Looking at her age and out of curiosity, I asked of her level of education. Surprisingly, she told me she is in Senior High School (SHS). Without parental control, this teenager would spend hours on social media watching Magraheb and laughing.
I told her that in my days, one would be reading a Book because we didn’t have mobile phones, and how I spent hours in my School Library reading Books, just to make up for not being able to study Literature at the Senior High School because my school didn’t have literature as a course. I read the biography of Malcolm X in BLACK HEROES Book in the Library in Pentonville!
It’s interesting to note how Malcolm X’s life turned around in prison because he was following a friend to the Library and began reading about the Nation of Islam and its founder Elijah Mohammed. Until we become a continent of a reading people, we’ll still be held back by the shackles of colonialism.
Government of Ghana, Ghana Association of Writers (GAW) and other agencies are coming up with initiatives to inculcate the love of reading in our children. Parents must consciously get involved with such initiatives, and make sure that their children spend time reading, and not just glued to the television set! Until we have a generation of critical thinkers and scholars who’ll change the destiny of Africa, *_Africa will remain a scar in the conscience of humanity…_*
Maxwell MAUNDY, author of Cutting Edge Pan African Book DARKEST HUMANITY… (26/03/2020)