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Producer Bola Olufunwa in discussion with Professor Ali Mazrui (left) and Dr Wosene Yefru (right)
"Sometimes we need myths, legends, heroes and heroines, and in the process we may…deify some people… That does not mean that all history is based on fiction. Very often, the historian works with facts but it's the question of interpretation that leads to different layers of truth."
Dr Wilhelmina Donkoh, Kwame Nkrumah University, Kumasi, Ghana.

"As a historian, you may be yourself oriented towards looking at a certain situation in a particular way, because you are you. You may be favourably disposed towards peasants or kings…you see history through the role of kings or see history through peasant movements."
Professor Ali Mazrui, who lectures at Binghamton University, New York.

Producer Bola Olufunwa hosts a debate at Nashville, TennesseeWhat are the political uses of history? Who has been telling Africa's History? And, can a historian in Africa make a living? These are only a few of the many issues historians grapple with during the process of reconstructing past events in the continent.

At a major conference of the African Studies Association of the United States, held in Nashville, Tennessee, BBC reporter Bola Olufunwa hosted two debates with eight historians about the importance of Africa's history. Their thoughts and comments were recorded to make two radio programmes which you can listen to and read about.

CONTRIBUTORS
Professor Ali Mazrui
Binghamton University, New York
Dr Wosene Yefru
Tennessee State University, Nashville, Tennessee
Professor J.F. Ade Ajayi
University of Ibadan, Nigeria
Dr Wilhelmina Donkoh
Kwame Nkrumah University, Kumasi, Ghana
Professor Atieno Odhiambo
Rice University, Houston, Texas
Dr Edmund Mazibuko
Rutgers University, New Jersey
Professor Sylvia Ojukutu-Macauley
Truman State University, Kirksville, Missouri
Professor Arthur Abrahams
Virginia State University, Petersburg, Virginia

If you wish to add your comments to these debates please contact our forum area.