On December 16th in 1497 Vasco da Gama passed the mark set by Bartolomeo Dias in 1488 and rounded the Cape of Good Hope, sailing into the Indian Ocean and history.
Each Portugese explorer tried to build on the knowledge and achievements of his predecessor and stretch the boundary of the known world further with each voyage.
The outcome of decades of exploration was to open the door for da Gama to exploit the Indian Spice Route.
Academic research adopts the same approach. When you write a research thesis you begin with a review of all the available literature in your field. You establish the base of existing knowledge and then you seek to expand it further with your research project. If we do not know what already exists then we waste time reinventing the wheel.
When we educate oppressed people to the possibilities that exist in other societies we open the door for them to liberate themselves. A regime that limits knowledge is a regime ruled by fear of the possible. An open information policy is a sign of a healty regime.
In the modern world you can quickly identify which regimes are open by looking at their approach to regulating the internet. That will give you a very strong indication of how they control freedom of the press and the education of the people.
A nation that shrouds itself in a blanket of ignorance is protecting the vested interests of the current regime. No such nation can sustain this stance into the long term. The truth will emerge and will set the people free.
The child is not dead; by Ingrid Jonker
The child is not dead
The child lifts his fists against his mother
Who shouts Afrika ! shouts the breath
Of freedom and the veld
In the locations of the cordoned heart
The child lifts his fists against his father
in the march of the generations
who shouts Afrika ! shout the breath
of righteousness and blood
in the streets of his embattled pride
The child is not dead not at Langa nor at Nyanga
not at Orlando nor at Sharpeville
nor at the police station at Philippi
where he lies with a bullet through his brain
The child is the dark shadow of the soldiers
on guard with rifles Saracens and batons
the child is present at all assemblies and law-givings
the child peers through the windows of houses and into the hearts of mothers
this child who just wanted to play in the sun at Nyanga is everywhere
the child grown to a man treks through all Africa
the child grown into a giant journeys through the whole world
Without a pass