To my surprise ! What kind of information African lack?
To my surprise !
What kind of information African lack?
I was very surprised by mathematics history. I lived in the west for 37 years now. I was very curious in the beginning how the west advance in technology than Africa. When I was a little boy I used to question God if he created all men equal or not. If he did, I should be able to know what the secret of this technology is. When I was fourth grade, I was forced to learn most of my classes in Amharic instead with my own mother tongue Tigrinya. It was forced on us to learn in Amharic which is Ethiopian language. Ethiopia was colonizing Eritrea after all. After the life in Eritrea was rough under Ethiopian, my older sister decide to immigrate to west, so at age 12 I left Eritrea to Sudan with my sister in 1982. There I did not stay long but I was forced to speak Arabic while I was staying there luckily, I left to German the same year. There again I had to learn the German language for one year then I attended regular class from grade seventh to tenth. My favorite class was math of course.
That’s when I realize that the German student were no different than African, infact I was even getting better grade than some of the German classmate. . So, I ask myself how is the west have advance that we African didn’t. What do they know that we don’t? I was going the same school and learning the same material but what is our difference then I ask to myself?
After five years living in Germany, my sister in-law couldn’t find account job in Germany, decide to immigrate to United States. We came to USA in 1987. The difference between Europe and USA was that no cares what color of your skin is in the street.
I continue my school in USA my eleventh and twelfth grade in high school. My only problem was that I had to learn another language called English. Right after I finished my high school, my English was very poor at that time, so I decide to continue my education in community college but my math grade was great. I went at the community college for three years, and notice that I was the only black who was taking advance math courses. I was wondering why there was no African American in my classes?
From fourth grade to college, I was learning all the subjects in foreign languages, Amharic, German, and English. Finally, when I decide to write a book in my mother tongue, all the terminology that I learned were in different languages, I wasn’t able to express it in my own mother tongue, so I decided to study my own language called Tigrinya at home.
After I finished my first book in 1992, no one was interested to read about mathematics, even though it was written in Tigrinya. I tried to give them the reason why we are not advance in technology and what kind of information we lack. We don’t really know the history of mathematics. We don’t even know how mathematician can be applied. We just accepted the way it is taught currently, we don’t even question it if it is useful or not because we have not gathered enough information to know the history of mathematics. How math use to be taught hundreds of years back in comparison today.
Knowing the history of mathematics is really important because it helps us understand why mathematics taught differently today than in the past (before 1642) and how it can limit us to advance in technology and science.. Studying mathematics history allow us to learn from previous civilization how they applied and taught it differently. We might be fooled to learn this the western dogmatic mathematics. Let’s hope that we are not teaching our children for sake of learning without knowing the history of mathematics, specially if we want to advance in technology and science.
Yonatan Solomon Russom