The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Speaker: Lack of education creates gap

By Sharon Murra-Kapon/south news editor

The development of women in Africa has made an impact in today’s world in spite of the African diaspora, panelists said in a discussion held on South Campus Feb. 16.

Diaspora comes from the Greek word to diaspeirein, to scatter. The scattering of African people from their homeland to different global destinations has contributed to the labels used to identify them. African-American, Afro-Mexican, Afro-Cubans and Afro-Brazilian on the American Continent.

There is also the scattering to the Middle East and India.

Dr. Allusine Jalloh, associate professor of history and founding director of the Africa Program at UTA, said about 1,000 ethnic groups in Africa were dispersed around the world involuntarily through slave trade.

Jalloh said diaspora has three dimensions. One relates to the earliest dispersal period of Africans through the Sahara Desert to Arab countries.

The second dimension is the Indian Ocean trade from Kenya, Mozambique, Somalia and Ethiopia.

The third dimension is the Trans Atlantic slave trade, of approximately 14,000 Africans who settled in North and South America. Africans from Sierra Leon and Liberia were taken to the United States.

Involuntary and voluntary migration and settlement in foreign countries had a negative effect on what Africa is today. Jalloh said a physical return to the native country would help its economy and growth, and a psychological return could give African-descendants a sense of belonging, a possibility to find family traces.

Among the people who voluntarily migrated to the United States are many women who were and are currently recruited as nurses.

One strong factor why these women left their native country is because they are offered better salaries, Jalloh said. Therefore, many professionals leave Africa while other countries benefit from their services.

“ Part of the brain reverse is to equip Africa with good packages for professionals to come back,” he said.

Dr. Ehikioya Agboaye, associate professor of government on SE Campus, said African women work very hard, and leaving their country and families is a very tough decision but often the best option.

After Africa’s independence from the British, Spanish and Portuguese, the country did not know how to establish itself, resulting in a civil war, Agboaye said. Many Africans left seeking refuge in other countries.

“ We became our own enemies,” Agboaye said.

The corruption of the government, in Nigeria for example, leaves much poverty in the country and lack of resources for education. Agboaye said people run from Africa because they cannot handle the system.

In the contemporary diaspora, Europe recruits young girls, enticing them with money to work as prostitutes without their previous knowledge, Agboaye said.

However, in spite of the confusion and chaos, African women are still fighting for a better future.

Myrtle Freeman, assistant professor of social sciences on South Campus, said after the conflict between American Liberians and natives, people were not given the opportunity of education.

An example of the friction is Samuel Doe, former Liberian head of state. Resenting the privilege and power granted American Liberians, he led a group of soldiers to the executive mansion in 1980, killing the president, an American Liberian. Doe was elected president in 1985

The ascendance of Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, 67, to the presidency of Liberia, whom media call the “Iron Lady” is an example of the major development African women are having, Freeman said.

Her education was a key factor; Johnson-Sirleaf, as many African women, left her country and settled in the United States while she worked as a waitress and continued her studies at Harvard. She obtained her master’s degree in science and economics.

Freeman said Johnson-Sirleaf’s cultural assimilation into the dominant American-Liberian culture opened a door for her success.

In addition, Johnson-Sirleaf intelligently aligned herself with the progressive party, which respects individual rights and liberty, a movement for justice.

“ You have to be able to conquer the obstacles in order for you to get up there,” Freeman said. “Women here in America can be inspired by this event.”

Jalloh said education in Africa is taken very seriously and is considered essential.

“ College is not an option. It is a natural progression,” he said. “It is a family value.”

However, schools in Africa lack many resources needed for effective learning, Jalloh said.

Panelists said the gap for success is education in both parts, Africans and African-Americans, and a connection between African-Americans and their roots with Africa is still missing.

Donate to The Collegian

Your donation will support the student journalists of Tarrant County College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Collegian