Be an Agent of Change by Asking the Right Questions
by Seck Barry, intern
Why do we ask questions? Is there power to asking questions, and what happens when we ask the right ones? We dedicate time and energy to seek answers to questions we ask of others or even ourselves. We are human beings capable of reasoning. Thus, asking questions is part of our nature; however, it takes confidence to pose the right questions. In the documentary film, African Independence, Tukufu Zuberi asks many complex questions and some that are controversial. One of my favorite questions he asks in the documentary film is: Is the United States of Africa possible?
African history is complex. Thus, if we do not ask questions that capture the complexity of Africa, then this is doing injustice to those who live on the continent. In addition, failure to capture its complex history will create misinformation about Africa for future generations. So how can we pose questions that address the complex history of Africa and its people?
We must begin by asking the right questions, and these questions must attempt to capture the perspective of the Africans themselves in explaining their history and current events. Most content about African history has come from the perspective of the outside observers. However, little is known about Africans perspectives on the history of the continent. This is what makes the documentary film, African independence, unique. Tukufu poses questions that invite African leaders and activists to tell their side of the story about African struggle for independence. As an outside observer, Tukufu gives Africans their agency by asking questions that bring their side of story to life. Questions that give agency to individuals who are affected by the issue at hand are the right questions in my view. Who will you give agency to with the questions you ask?