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George Nelson Preston


I have not gotten sufficiently angry enough to write a letter about this sort of thing since I can remember but the Gatescapades in Africa did just that. But before I go any further, I want to make it clear that in this letter I am not referring to Gates' encyclopedic work for Encarta which I have not seen, nor to his work in literature. My daughter Afua, born in Africa of an Ashanti mother had just called me. "Dad, are you watching this video version of a bad textbook on Africa? Wonders of the African World." On screen: An archeological zone is to be inundated, and the peasants moved to higher ground and electrified homes with running water. Here is Professor Gates scolding the Islamic Nubian peasants for forsaking their glorious archeological past, informing them that the government of Sudan has coerced them into supporting the destruction of their Meroitic traditions. In Gates' mind they really do not want modern plumbing and electric light. That the government of Sudan may not think much of pagan Meroe and Axum is plausible but it is equally plausible that present day Islamic people inhabiting the sight do not feel culturally related to the people who built them.

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West Africa Review. ISSN: 1525-4488 (online).
Editors: Adeleke Adeeko, Nkiru Nzegwu, and Olufemi Taiwo.

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