Edward W. Blyden and the West African University: race, mission and education
Hanciles, Jehu J.
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Throughout the nineteenth century, and well into the twentieth, education at all levels in sub-Saharan Africa was controlled by European missionaries and was essentially a tool of Western Christian expansion. As early as the nineteenth century incipient African nationalism inspired strenuous opposition to what was perceived as the inimical effects of an educational structure imbued with Western European ethnocentrism. Foremost among the champions for a system of education adapted to the needs of Africa and geared towards building African 'selfhood' was Edward Wilmot Blyden (1832-1912), a West Indian of direct African descent. Blyden achieved prominence as an ardent champion of black nationalism and became one of the fathers of Pan-Africanism. This paper reviews and evaluates his thinking on education in the African continent - notably West Africa - and the enduring impact of his ideas.