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Forum 7 : Living History

History is all around us: in ceremonies and songs, in the landscape, in buildings and roads, the clothes we wear. It's part of family life: both in oral history handed down across the generations and events experienced first hand by elders.

Tell us your favourite historical characters, episodes or snapshots from your region. Or describe a historical event from further afield that particularly captures your imagination.

And how is history taught in your school or university? Could there be improvements?

When I was younger, I bore the name of a very strong, Jewish queen who lived in Ethiopia centuries ago. She was called Yodit (Judith) . Her descendants are the Falashas in Ethiopia. According to legend, Queen Yodit Gudit (the bad doer) went to Axum and burnt down the church. This is a black spot in the rich Ethiopian Christian history. My father and friends would tease me due to my name, so I prefer to use the name Roman. But despite this, my favourite historical character would be Queen Yodit Gudit.
Roman, Ethiopia

I was born in Somalia, grew up in Congo and Egypt among other places, and now, as a US citizen I am a REAL African American. I find the "Story of Africa" site of the BBC to be painfully superficial and overcome by political correctness, to the detriment of history.
Why for example is it OK for Shaka Zulu to slaughter his people and yet be called great, slaughter his neighbors and seize their lands without any criticism, yet the Europeans are roundly condemned for doing the same? Why are not the horrors of Gezo and Gelele of Dahomey not condemned in the same tone of outrage as those of Leopold's Congo? Indeed, the sanitized version of Africa presented is less than disappointing: it is dangerously simplifed to the point of
fiction.

Mike Tsoukias, USA

There are very few voices of women in the more contemporary
sections of The Story of Africa. Women could have been interviewed about their feelings at Independence. I think women are not in history because the subject has been dominated by men, and is from their point of view.
Of course women like Yaa Asantewaa and Queen Amina are some of my favourite figures, but there are many more unknown women in African history. Most have remained invisible.

Mensah Prah, Ghana