To better guide our youth towards excellence, happiness and freedom, Elimu offers you five character traits of great leaders from which we should draw inspiration

I. The determination and commitment of Nelson Mandela

Changing the world is obviously not an easy thing to do. Along the way, there will be setbacks and oppositions to all your plans, regardless of the goal. This is why determination is an essential trait. The ability to stick to a plan, and to persevere in the face of opposition is a necessary trait that all great leaders share.
Former South African President Nelson Mandela, who spent 28 years in prison for his protests against apartheid in his native country, demonstrated that the amazing transformations that can be achieved by standing up for our beliefs and being ready to work hard for it.

II. The visionary leadership of Marcus Garvey

The ability to conceive of reality in a new way is another characteristic of a great leader. He must be ready to stand out from the crowd, and even be ridiculed for his new ideas and thoughts in order to make a difference. Many revolutionary thinkers were often considered strange or even crazy, but they never let the disapproval of the crowd stop them from acting in a revolutionary way.
Marcus Garvey, is often called the father of black nationalist movements in Africa and the Americas. He was perceived by some black leaders as a controversial figure. However, his vision of a new world in which black people would be masters of their own destiny served as the inspiration for the creation of more than 30 countries on the African continent and several of the main black organizations in the United States and In the Caribbean.

III. The spiritual basis of Malcolm X

A surprising number of the planet’s great leaders had a strong religious or spiritual background. Indeed, many of them became leaders after a conversion or a religious revelation. The conversation of Malcolm X, human rights activist and revolutionary thinker and his devotion to Islam is one of the best examples. It was his dedication to the spiritual tradition that transformed him from a petty burglar, arrested in 1945, to a great leader.
While devotion to a specific religion might not be a requirement for all changemakers, it is impossible to discount the positive effect that adherence to a spiritual tradition seems to have had on leaders of the past. Perhaps even non-religious people could benefit from daily practice, especially community practice, to help keep them grounded and inspired by something bigger than themselves.

IV. The inspiration of Martin Luther King Jr

The ability to inspire others to action is key to spreading positive ideas. Throughout history, great leaders have been praised for their ability to inspire and motivate others. Nothing great happens alone, and everyone needs a community behind them to make things happen. To bring this community together, you need to be able to articulate your goals and explain to others why they should achieve their dreams on their own.

Martin Luther King Jr. is perhaps the best example of such inspiration. Known for his ability to make words motivational and empowering, MLK’s message for freedom and equality has inspired an entire nation.

V. The self-confidence of Sojourner Truth

Portrait of African-American orator and civil rights activist Sojourner Truth (1797 – 1883), 1860s. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

It is often claimed that the diverse experiences of people of color are unimportant or invalid. Other races and groups often express surprise when we speak loudly. It’s in these times in particular that it’s important to look to those who have come before us to bequeath us the confidence we need, like Sojourner Truth, best known for his “Ain’t I A Woman” speech.
What many people do not know is that this famous speech was given spontaneously, before a large audience of people attending the 1851 Women’s Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio.
Former slave Sojourner Truth was acutely aware of the likelihood that her speech would not be well received. Still, she was confident enough to stand up and speak her truth no matter what.

Source :

Like almost all of the scientific corpus of the peoples of Africa, the history of African astronomy and cosmology has either been destroyed, relegating Africans, in the racist imagination, to people without knowledge of the world around them, or copied then falsified to be integrated into the Western corpus! Do you know the names that Africans gave to the stars? Did you know that NASA scientists regularly source information from traditional knowledge from the continent’s hinterland? Elimu reveals several millennia of hidden ancestral knowledge!

I. What is astronomy?

Astronomy is the science of observing the sky. Since its origin, it has been associated with cosmology and cosmogony. By definition, cosmology is the knowledge of the Universe, its origin (cosmogony), its structure and its future. Peoples of the Earth, trought their sciences, mathematical calculations, physical observations but also their myths, metaphysics and philosophical speculation, they have made it possible to develop, over time, a corpus relating to this knowledge of the Universe.

For the San people (one of the oldest in the world), heaven is the home of all the divine beings and spirits of the dead. The “things of heaven” generally do not influence or reflect the affairs of man, nor do they affect the weather, the growth of vegetation, or other conditions of the earth; they are in a field of their own. For the Tswana of southern Africa, the traditional idea is that the stars are holes in the rocky vault that is the sky. The Ibibio of Nigeria picturesquely referred to the stars as the “sand of the moon”. The Dogon are renowned for their knowledge of the sky, long before the use of the telescope. Many peoples also speak of their Ancestors as people who came from the sky to inhabit the Earth (Ancient Egyptians, Dogons, Fulani, Banyarwanda, etc.)… Anyway, Africans have always wondered about the nature of astronomical phenomena and cosmic, these sciences being as old as Humanity and that this one was born in Africa.

We cannot give here an exhaustive list of the names of the stars in all the languages of the continent, but we will try to highlight the long astronomical tradition of the peoples of Africa.

II. The observation of the Sun and the Moon at the origin of the calendar

You may be aware that the calendars that we still use today have their origins in the observations of the lunar and/or solar cycles. It is not for nothing that in most African languages, to designate “a month” we use the word of the moon!

Officially, astronomy originated with the Chaldeans, the ancestors of the Sumerians. But it seems, however, that this is another attempt to shift the origin of civilization to Mesopotamia, supposed to be “white”. Despite, this does not prevent the Chaldeans like the Sumerians (who are of African origin), from being a dark people…

The solar year, which is the basis of the contemporary calendar, comes from Ancient Egypt which, in addition to Kemetic countless inventions, offered the world its first calendar. It was therefore in Africa that humans began to locate themselves in time by observing the two largest stars visible in the sky. No offense to the revisionists of History!

Humans also used the stars to locate themselves in space and especially in places without visible terrestrial indicators such as the desert or the ocean. It is in this way that Africans left Africa to populate all the other continents and in particular the remote islands such as those in the Indian Ocean, those of Melanesia or even Easter Island.

III. Planets, stars and constellations in the African imagination

The peoples of Africa have in many ways demonstrated their ability to observe and draw the best from Nature. A process that began at the edge of human history, the observation of the stars requires a specialized methodology and above all extends over the long term (rotation of the stars, symmetry and relationship between the constellations, etc.).

The “Centaur”

The constellation known as “Centaurus” in Western astronomy and the two luminous pointers Alpha and Beta Centuari are probably the most recognizable of the southern stars, and they hold a prominent place in African star lore. It is the closest constellation to ours.

In the Sotho, Tswana and Venda traditions, these two stars (Alpha and Beta Centuari) are Dithutlwa (“The Giraffes”). The shining stars are male giraffes and the two pointers are females. The Venda call the fainter stars of the Southern Cross, Thudana, “The Little Giraffe”. They also say that the Khubvhumedzi month begins when the crescent moon can be seen for the first time and, the lower two Giraffe Stars are just below the horizon and the upper two are just visible. Sotho lore says that when giraffe stars are seen near the southwestern horizon just after sunset, they indicate the start of the growing season.

The San considered the two pointers to be male lions; they were once men, but a magical girl turned them into stars. The three brightest stars of the Southern Cross are seen as female lions. To the Khoikhoi, pointers were known as Mura, “The Eyes,” of a great celestial beast.

The long axis of the Southern Cross points to a bright star called Achernar. This star is called Senakane (Sotho, Tswana) and Tshinanga (Venda), which means “The little horn”.

The Scorpion”

The so-called constellation Scorpius with its thin row of curved stars is famous for the bright reddish star Antares. This star was called by the San, Xu! “The Fire Finishing Star” because not only does it have a reddish color, but (at certain times of the year) it sets very late at night when the camp fires are out.

Along the curved body of the scorpion, just before the tail section, is a close pair of stars, which the Khoikhoi called Xami Di Mura, “Lion’s Eyes.”

The “Big Dog”

The so-called “Major Dog” constellation is known in particular thanks to the brightest star in the sky (after the Sun of course), Sirius. The ancient Egyptians called it Sopdet, in Uganda it is called Kyabihembezi and the Banyarwanda call it, Rusiza. It was the Dogon, people of West Africa who informed Westerners of the particularity of the Sirius system. In fact, it is composed of

Sirius A, named Sigi Tolo (the “sigi” star).
Sirius B is named Po Tolo. It revolves around Sirius A and its revolution time is about 50 years. It would be the most important of all stars, even before Sirius A, since they consider it the center of the stellar world. Po Tolo means the Star of the Beginning. It is the egg of the world for the Dogons. They regard it as the reservoir, the source of all things.
Sirius C is named Emme ya tolo, (the female sorghum star). However, if Sirius A and Sirius B are attested by modern astronomy, the existence of Sirius C remains hypothetical.
Here are some names of stars in Runyankore:

Turumwabashatu (constellation of Orion)
Kakaaga (constellation of the Pleiades)
Rumaranku (star Aldebaran in the constellation of Taurus)

Here are some names of stars in Kinyarwanda:

Mboneranyi (the planet Venus)
Nyamuheshera (the planet Mars)

It is obvious that we could not make an exhaustive list of the names of the stars in African languages, do not hesitate to complete in the comments!

Elimu Editions is a publishing house based in Kigali, Rwanda. It has been registered with the Chamber of Commerce since 2020 for the following activities:

  • edition and publication of books
  • cultural education
  • entertainment, arts and cultural creation

It is the result of several years of personal and/or collective reflection, university, professional and associative careers in connection in particular with sociology, education and social work, but also with the memory of the genocide of the Tutsi in Rwanda, the pan-Africanism and the history of Africa and its diaspora in general.

The founder and director, Manzi Rugirangoga is a Rwandan entrepreneur. He is also the author of “La Légende de Havilah”, Rwanda’s first Afro-futurist novel.

He studied sociology and education sciences in France at the University Lumière Lyon II, and in social work at ARFRIPS. During this period and in parallel with his studies, he became involved in several local or national associative networks in Lyon, including that of African students in Lyon (AECAL), that of the memory of the genocide of the Tutsi in Rwanda (Ibuka France) or still that of the pan-Africanist sphere (founder of the OJAL – Organization of Afro-descendant Youth of Lyon).

It is therefore in a social approach, of unity, of self-determination, of perpetuation of an emancipated and emancipatory memory that Elimu was born.

Our goals

Our goal is to provide an education adapted to African and Afro-descendant youth of the 21st century. It aspires to complete the “normal” academic training of children and students, which “forms” but does not always educate. This education therefore concerns children, parents and, more broadly, civil society as a whole.

We noted the lack of representation of our stories, our voices, our know-how, our cultures and our memory in the educational materials offered to the different generations of society (games, courses, books, textbooks , entertainment, etc.). We believe, however, that this representation and taking into account the voice of African youth is essential to its growth and educational development. Our idea is to energize the potential of the African child by focusing on self-revaluation.

We are aware that access to knowledge today depends on several information channels and that today’s youth is solicited by several media (television, social networks, streaming platforms, video games, etc.). It is for this reason that we have chosen to invest in all educational formats.

We are present on social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), on which we regularly publish content from our site. However, we want to further develop access to knowledge for African youth. The objectives of Elimu Editions can be divided into three main fields of action:

  • The publishing and sale of books and other educational media (novels, children’s books, collections of poetry, educational manuals, comics, animations, audio books, video games, etc.)
  • The organization of events related to the culture and history of the peoples of Africa and the diaspora (cinema club, reading group, conferences, etc.)
  • The creation of audio-visual cultural education programs (IBIGANIRO).

Kigali, Rwanda
+250781961617 (Whatsapp)

What is a human being? What is to be human? Here are the two questions that have been shaping world civilizations since the dawn of time. From the answers of these questions arise the relationship that we maintain with society and the world. Education is the basis of all this. After reading this article, the conviction that African philosophy Ubuntu is an incomparable civilizational base will no longer leave you!

Ubuntu, humanist philosophy

Ubuntu in most languages in sub -Saharan Africa translates the very essence of existence as a human. It is the ability to be and thus, as a Umuntu (the singular of Abantu = humans), of being human. Generally, it is translated by: “I am because others exist.” It is therefore the ability to recognize in the other the same nature as his own. “You are a human being like me. Together, we are humanity. “

The refusal of humanity, the basis of the oppression system

However, it is precisely the refusal to recognize in others the same humanity as its own, that is exactly at the origin of all forms of discrimination and inequalities. When someone is discriminated against, he iss denied fundamental rights like those defined by the oldest universal declaration of the right to humanity which is African. Westerners had to deny the humanity of the dark peoples of the world to reduce them into slavery and/or exterminate them. There were debates on the question of humanity of the Amerindians (in Valladolid in 1550/1551 for example) and blacks of Africa during the period of raids and treaty treaties, by those who claimed Represent “lights” and progress. We also remember the genocide in Rwanda and the process of dehumanization of Tutsi through the ethnic dictatorship.

Example closer to everyday life: the case of the disabled. It is generally agreed that a human has two legs, two arms, two ears, two eyes, a nose of two nostrils, a mouth of two lips … etc if someone came not to match these criteria, we would consider it as “disabled” or “abnormal”. Likewise for intellectual capacities. Thus, certain societies and certain people may not consider them as fully human and therefore allow themselves to deprive them of their basic rights (health, education, physical and moral integrity … etc).

The community, a factor of Ubuntu

By declaring, “I am because we are”, Ubuntu’s philosophy recognizes not only diversity but above all the complementarity of humanity. It is a solid basis for building a society of equity, solidarity, fraternity and promotion of collective excellence.

In Africa, we are used to saying that you need a whole village to educate a child. The individual does not only belong to his parents, but to the community. This allows you to deindividuate your identity. The child literally exists because it belongs to a wider group. The decisions are made collective, the responsibilities are collective and the destiny common. This allows individuality to flourish in the community, and the community to invest in individuals. It’s a virtuous circle.

If we educate our children in this paradigm, as were generations of our ancestors, we could find our essence of human, and leave the paradigm that denies our humanity.

When our history reveals to us the richness of African thought

Although this is disturbing information for those who claim to have the exclusivity of “Human Rights”, the first true declaration of universal right to humanity in history comes from Africa, from Mali exactly with the charter of Kouroukan Foura or Donsolu Kalikan (hunters’ oath). It dates from the 13th century (Common era), officially proclaimed during the advent of Sunjata Keita, founder of the Mali Empire in 1236. His successor will be the famous Mansa Musa, the richest person who has ever existed in the story. In 2009, the United Nations listed it as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity. Here is the text:

The Manden was founded on understanding and love, freedom and fraternity. This means that there can be no ethnic or racial discrimination in Manden. This was the meaning of our fight. Therefore, the children of Sanenè and Kòntròn make, to the address of the twelve parts of the world and in the name of the entire Manden, the following proclamation:

Chapter 1
Hunters say:
All [human] life is life.
It is true that one life comes into existence before another life.
But a life is no more “old”, more respectable, than another life.
Just as one life is not superior to another life.

Chapter 2.
Hunters say:
All life being a life,
Any wrong done to a life requires reparation,
Let no one attack his neighbor gratuitously,
Let no one harm his neighbour,
Let no one martyr his fellow man.

Chapter 3.
hunters say:
Let each watch over his neighbour,
Let everyone venerate his parents,
Let everyone educate their children properly,
Let everyone “maintain” in other words provide for the needs of the members of his family.

Chapter 4.
Hunters say:
Let everyone watch over the country of his fathers.
By country or homeland,
We must also and above all listen to men;
Because any country, any land that would see men disappear from its surface would immediately become nostalgic [would experience sadness and desolation].

Chapter 5.
Hunters say:
Hunger is not a good thing;
Slavery is not a good thing;
There is no worse calamity than these things
In this world.
As long as we hold the quiver and the bow,
Hunger will no longer kill anyone in Manden,
If by chance famine were to occur;
War will never again destroy a village in Manden
To take slaves there;
That is to say that no one will now place the bit in the mouth
of his fellow
To go and sell it,
No one will be beaten either,
A fortiori put to death,
because he is the son of a slave.

Chapter 6.
Hunters say:
The essence of slavery is extinguished this day,
“from one wall to another” of the Manden;
The raid is banned from this day in Manden;
The torments born of these horrors are over from this day in Manden.
What an ordeal is torment!
Especially when the oppressed has no recourse.
What degradation is slavery!
The slave enjoys no consideration,
Nowhere in the world.

Chapter 7.
the people of old tell us:
man as an individual,
Made of bone and flesh,
Of marrow and nerves
Of skin and hair covering it,
Feeds on food and drink;
But his “soul”, his spirit lives on three things:
See who he wants to see,
Say what he wants to say,
And do what he feels like doing;
If one of these things were to fail the soul,
She would suffer
And would surely wither away.
Accordingly, the hunters declare:
Everyone now has their own person,
Everyone is free in their actions,
In respect of the “prohibitions”, of the laws of the Fatherland,
Such is the oath of the Manden,
For ears around the world.

Source: Youssouf Tata Cissé, based on an account by Fa-Djimba Kanté

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