Sisay Asefa, Professor Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan,
I join Edward Mensah in commending Mandela Institute. (By the way,
are you Edward Mensah, Iowa State Alumnus? I am not sure? But, if you
are I am also an ISU Economics/Ag. Economics Alumnus and we know each
other?). Any way, I concur with Edward's assesment with some
qualification. One as he notes is Abuja may be the wrong place. South
Africa would be a better, unless perhaps Nigeria is putting up oil
money? Also, while science and technology is crucial for Africa, a
major focus of the institute should be on democratic governance and
institution building. Former President Nelson Mandela's greatest
contribution is his long struggle against Apartheid followed by
visionary democratic leadership. He voluntarily stepped down even
though he would have won with 99% vote had he chosen to run again.
He is the greatest role model alive in democratic and visionary
leadership. Current and future African heads of state should take
lessons from him, since science and technology may not go anywhere in
the midst of depotism.
Dr. Hakeem Ibikunle Tijani, Henderson State University
The US/African dialogue is one of the best forums in recent time. The Internalists and Externalists have explained their viewpoints with facts and figures. Some of us are using debates from the forum in our class. It is useful and I'll strongly advice all instructors teaching Africa to please adapt, or modify commentaries for their class. But when you choose to do this, kindly remember to continuously inform your students that there are always two sides of the coin. Beyond our daily dialogue, scholars should however take note of an invaluable text on issues so far discussed. The work of William G. Moseley titled "Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial African Issues (Connecticut, 2004). In 390 pages, Moseley presented a debate-style synthesis and analysis of issues and events, opinions and scholars, and presented the juicy and sour part of the African debacle. For each issue, Moseley presents preface and postscript of issues, views, and scholars orientation. Readers and particularly students are given the opportunity to develop a critical mind about issues and commentators. The publisher of the book (McGraw Hill/Dushkin) also has a web site www.dushkin.com/online for further enrichment. Instructors can direct their students to this web site or ask them to critique issues based on what they read. From this book, most of us will know that issues are larger than Ayitteh and his cronies; and that we should not only stress objectivity in historical explanation of African issues (and indeed other parts of the world), but must be careful in misleading our students by holding on to one viewpoint.