My Minimal Knowledge of Africa

I know very, very little about modern Africa. What I do know I’ve learned from reading and from sitting in on a contemporary history of Africa course forty years ago taught by Dennis Brutus. The course was laughably Marxist, obviously politically biased, and in some ways quite mad but I faithfully attended the large lecture class and listened to the lectures, holding my tongue all the way.

In the very final session of the class one of the teaching assistants approached me and asked me a peculiar question. He explained that they’d eventually figured out I was an unofficial auditor but they’d kept track of my attendance and determined that I had a better attendance record than anyone who was actually enrolled in the class and they wanted to know if I’d be willing to take the final, just to see how well I’d do based on the lecture material alone. I did. I’ve always been a good test taker.

As I think I’ve mentioned before I was a lousy, lazy, arrogant, smart aleck college student. It’s something I regret. I loved school, however. I carried extra hours practically every quarter and audited lots more. I scarcely did a lick of work except in writing research papers. I loved writing research papers and in at least one case spent scores of hours on research. I also worked various jobs for at least 30 hours a week. But that’s a story for another time.

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