Saturday, November 07, 2009


Many Africans, who were subjected to no or inadequate schooling or learning opportunities, gathered a lifetime of experience or knowledge in their fields of interest.

Many of them could, with or without, a little training and recognition, become leaders in their fields of self-trained expertise.

Africa is loosing many of its artists, historians, conservationists and craftsmen because their skills and knowledge were never recognized.

The knowledge of African languages, plants, cures and history is being lost daily when elders retire or die without imparting their knowledge and expertise, ……. unrecognized … forgotten.

Stupid mistakes are being made into laws because of the inexperience or lack of wisdom of some people in charge.

It is time we find ways to honor those who graduated from the ‘University of Hard Knocks’.

It is time we set up a criterion for people, over fifty years of age, who became self taught experts in their fields, of interest or experience; to receive their well earned recognition.
It is time we give certificates, degrees and doctorates to people who gathered and are able to share a lifetime of wisdom or knowledge.

The elders who possess such expertise, knowledge or wisdom due to the experience of a lifetime of observation or hard work, should be aided to impart their knowledge into a thesis, either verbally or written. They should receive their recognition to the level they deserve. Literacy should not be a qualifying criterion.

The elders should be given their degrees, certificates and doctorates which would have been theirs if they lived in an era of open opportunities. This need not be a racial thing, as many elders, of all races, needed to leave school to earn an income for their families. Tertiary education in Africa has ever been, and still is, out of the reach of the majority. It is time that only the lack of will-power separates a person from his/her educational opportunities.

Many elderly have a wealth of knowledge to impart, without perhaps the ability to attend university or the know-how to share their expertise. Some of them never had any formal schooling and are therefore illiterate.

The University of Hard Knocks can go out and seek those who can add to a database of knowledge gathered by experiencing life in Africa. Such a database of knowledge and experience should be able to be tapped freely by all.

There are people sweeping floors today with more knowledge locked in their heads than the graduates who employ them.

Not all elder people deserve recognition for the way they lived. People fail at life too.
Some people spend a lifetime on self gratification, but there are many who dedicated their lives to some cause. There are those loyal long-term employees who are more able to lead their team than the young college graduate who have nothing but a signed certificate to say he can do the job.

It is time for Africa to stop keeping racism alive with BEE’s and brood over past injustices and gather it’s strengths from within its own people.
A degree from the university of hard knocks should carry the same weight as one from a modern university.

I shall give an example from the nature conservation or natural healing fields:

There are many uneducated elders who know the habitat and behavior of the animals in a specific area. They can follow its spoor without referring to a manual. They know their call. They know their habitat and what will drive them away. They know the plants in an area and how it can be used for cures. They understand what will disturb the ecosystem.

How many conservation students who graduate will be able to match their knowledge?
How many new conservation graduates even know the names of the birds or plants in the area they work in without having to refer to a manual?

That is but one area of African life. There are many similar examples in other areas.
Ex Unitate Vires 7-11-2009

Original post from HEALING THE DIVIDE