In this Afrocentric piece, Amara Sesay makes a case for the witch child or housemaid in the family and concludes that our ignorance of the strange gifts of these young stars has deprived our continent of many great minds.
If the much feared old woman in your village had the same nurturing and encouragement as Einstein, your village, country and continent would have never been the same afterwards. If we never feared, mocked and suffocated the strange gifts and talents God gave them…If we accepted their weirdness as their ability to think differently and not some form of organized rebellion against society, something great could have happened to scientific and technological advancements in Africa.
A comparison of the childhood of some of the world’s finest thinkers and inventors- Edison, Shakespeare, Einstein inclusive- and that of the “child witches” we exorcised of curiosity and appreciation for enquiry goes to show why we lost out in Science and Technology in the past 200 hundred or so years. The interesting thing is that those who were lucky to escape the “witch hunt” either by relocating to the West or by being discovered by a talented teacher or scout, turned out to do great things for themselves and humanity.
A deep thought on some of the women and young girls we despised for “eating our babies, ” or hindering our growth in life will uncover how our ignorance conspired in decimating some of the fine talents we needed for advancement on the continent. Some of these talents right from childhood were feared for “seeing” more than the ordinary eyes can see, and for the almost near precision of their predictions.
We feared them because we could not withstand them. Their electromagnetic beings burned out our happiness any time they came around us. They made us feel uneasy, belittled and powerless. Their magnets drained us of energy and because we thought of them in negative, rather than affirmative terms, our thoughts became the things we feared. Truth be told, most times those very thoughts were the witches we mistook our young geniuses for.
We could not be their Sullivans so we became their victims, psychologically. They killed our babies, they prevented our destinies, they inflicted our parents with the diseases that led to their demise, they even prevented us from giving birth after many years of marriage. Remember the bold young house maid we blamed for the poor performance of our kids in school. That was so because even when we denied her education, she always looked more productive and far more intelligent than our entitled and spoiled kids. Such was the fear that even the powers the Almighty reserved for Himself were attributed to these witches. They certainly were masters of mind and they could control us because they had such access to our minds that we ourselves did not have.
My sense here is not a justification for the evil forces that exist in our villages, and the world at large. Or to deny the existence of witches altogether. I am only asking that we reconfigure our mindsets with regards to how we perceive strange gifts and talents in our families and societies. Don’t beat the brain out of her only because she thinks differently from all the other kids in the house. Don’t scoop bravery out of her because she is too intimidating for your liking. It is okay for you to be ignorant about some aspects of child upbringing, so find the courage to ask those who know more. Learn from the experts and do not deprive your family, country and continent of another Einstein.