Michael Afolayan:

I think Dr. Fyle said it well; the relationship between Africans and African Americans should be one of quid pro quo. I also agreed about his position that Africans need to understand themselves, validating the dictum that "charity begins at home." Understanding ourselves is pertinent to understanding others, much more so of our historically distant relatives. We have a long way to travel on that path. There is no light at the end of the tunnel, unfortunately.

Imagine this: Today, many Africans are opposed to their children speaking their mother tongues or learning them at school; they would rather have them speak two or more European languages fluently than speak a word of their own mother tongues. I was in Nigeria last summer and was shocked at the insidious number of Yoruba children born and raised in Lagos, Ibadan, Ile-Ife, Osogbo, Ilorin, etc., who could not speak one word of Yoruba, and yet the parents were proud to quickly warn the visitors not to bother speaking Yoruba to them because they did not understand it. It was not until I visited Ilawe that I saw a few kids who really spoke and understood Yoruba quite well. Those who are familiar with the Whorf-Sapir hypothesis will quickly agree that when a language dies, much of the culture it conveys dies. If African children do not have a clue of their cultures, how would they grow up to appreciate the African Diaspora?

I have not actively lived at home for about two and a half decades now; which means I may not be representing this next point quite accurately. But through the 1970s when I had my undergraduate training in Nigeria, I could not think of a single university in Nigeria that had an African American studies or a Black Diaspora program or department, not even as a consortium! Things might have changed with more than 100 post secondary institutions in Nigeria today, but I doubt it. Indeed, it would be a matter of celebration if we can identify three or four universities in Nigeria that runs an African Diaspora program. Therein lies the dilemma!