Share This Article:

Colonialism of Mind: Deterrent of Social Transformation

Full-Text HTML Download Download as PDF (Size:272KB) PP. 55-64
DOI: 10.4236/sm.2011.12007    6,469 Downloads   16,133 Views   Citations


An educational system and its curricula are shaped by the culture and epistemology in which it is embedded. It is influenced by the societal knowledge, but it also instrumental in shaping the knowledge of the society. Culture influences learning style. Based on cultural diversities and social needs, different societies have distinct curricula. As such, Oromo students ought to be taught now to interrogate the colonial epistemology and ideology as well schooled in the ways of dismantling the hegemony. However, in many cases, they are simply taught to reproduce the knowledge, culture, power structure, thinking and the worldview of colonizers. This means that education, which is supposed to be about critical inquiry and social transformation has been used to indoctrinate or brainwash some students. Such colonial educational curricula have invalidated the knowledge of indigenous Oromo people and compromised their needs. This type of education system, instead of empowering the students and their society, has incapacitated them. For the Oromo people, such curricula have distorted their history, image, identity, and damaged their social fabric. In this paper I argue that, colonial knowledge and education system is not in a position to bring about social transformation among Oromo people; on the contrary it disrupts their peace (nagaa), health (fayya) and (tasgabii) social order.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Dugassa, B. (2011). Colonialism of Mind: Deterrent of Social Transformation. Sociology Mind, 1, 55-64. doi: 10.4236/sm.2011.12007.


[1] Altbach, P. (1995). Education and neocolonialism. The Post-colonial studies reader. B. Ashcroft, G. Griffiths and H. Tiffin. (Eds.). New York: Routledge.
[2] Anthony, C. G. (1991). Africa’s refugee crisis: State building in historical perspective. International Migration Review, 25, 574-591. doi:10.2307/2546761
[3] Arnold, G. (1992). Brainwashing. London: Virgin Publishers.
[4] Askew, S. & Eileen, C. (1998). Transforming learning: individual and global change. London: Cassell.
[5] Asma, G. (1987). History of the Galla and the kingdom of Sawa. Translated by B. Tafla & S. V. W. Franz, Gmbh, Stuttgart.
[6] Ayana, D. (1999). Book review of James; Bauman, et al. (1996). An Africanist DeTocqueville at Jootee’s court. The Journal of Oromo Studies, 6, 195-196.
[7] Battiste, M. (2005). You can’t be the global doctor if you’re the colonial disease. In P. Tripp and L. Muzzin, (Eds.), Teaching as Activism. Equity Meets Environmentalism. Canada: McGill-Queen’s University Press.
[8] Baxter, P. T. W. (1998). Changes and continuities in oromo studies. The Journal of Oromo Studies, 5, 35-68.
[9] Beckingham, C. F & G. W. B. Huntingford. (1954). Some records of Ethiopia (1593-1646). London: Hakluyt Society.
[10] Berger, P. & Luckmann, T. (1966). The social construction of reality. A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge. New York.
[11] Bitimaa, T. (1999). The wallo dialect of afaan oromo. The Oromo Study Association, 13th Annual Conference, Atlanta, Georgia: Georgia State University.
[12] Biyya, M. (1996). Oromiyan befereqa abyssiniocracy weyis dimocrasy? Jiituu – Finearts, Publishing and Advertising. Finfine (Addis Ababa)
[13] Blundell W. H. (1900). A journey through abyssinia to the Nile. The Geographical Journal, XV, 110.
[14] Bulcha, M. (2002). The making of the Oromo Diaspora. A historical sociology of forced Migration. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Kirk House Publishers.
[15] Bunyi, G. (1997-1998). The question of the medium of instruction and the development of literacy in post colonial Africa. Journal of Trans/forms: Insurgent Voices in Education, 4-3, 56-72.
[16] Catholic Encyclopedia:
[17] Curtin, P., et al. (1978). African history. Longman: Harlow.
[18] Dei, G. (1999a). Knowledge and politics of social change: The implication of anti-racism. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 20, 395-409. doi:10.1080/01425699995335
[19] Dei, G. (1999). Race and equity in academy. In K. Armatage (Ed.), Equity and How to Get It (pp. 79-90). Toronto: Ianna Publications.
[20] De, S. M. (1901/2005). An ancient great african nation. The Oromo. Translated by K. Ayalew, Paris.
[21] Dugassa, B. (2006) Knowledge, identity and power: The case of ethiopia and ethiopianness. The Journal of Oromo Studies, 13, 57-81.
[22] During, S. (1992). Foucault and literature. Towards a Genealogy of Writing, London: Routledge. doi:10.4324/9780203358917
[23] Fanon, F. (1963). The wretch of the earth. New York: Grove Press.
[24] Foucault, M. (1972). The archaeology of knowledge. London: Routledge.
[25] Freire, P. (1973). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York: Continuum.
[26] Gamta, T. (1999). Structural and word stress patterns in Afaan Oromo. The Journal of Oromo Study Association, 6, 173-194.
[27] Hacking, I. (2001). The social construction of what? Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.
[28] Harlow, B. & Carter, M. (2003). Achieves of Empire: The Scramble for Africa. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press.
[29] Harris, D. & Chris, B. (1994). Evaluating and assessing for learning. San Francisco: Kogan Page Ltd.
[30] Hameso, S., et al. (1997). Ethiopia: Conquest and the quest for freedom and democracy. London: TSC Publications.
[31] Holcomb, B. & Sisai, I. (1990) The invention of Ethiopia. The making of a dependent colonial state in Northeast Africa. Trenton: The Red Sea Press.
[32] Jalata, A. (2005). State terrorism and globalization. The case of Ethiopia and Sudan. International Journal of Comparative Sociology, 46, 79-102. doi:10.1177/0020715205054471
[33] Jalata, A. (1996). The struggle for knowledge: The case of emergent Oromo studies. The African Studies Review, 39, 95-132. doi:10.2307/525437
[34] Kazdin, A. (2000). Brainwashing. Encyclopedia of Psychology. UK: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1037/10516-000
[35] Krapf, J. L. (1968). Travels. Researches, and Missionary Labours in East Africa. London: Frank Cass and Co. Ltd.
[36] Mamdani, M. (2001). When victims become killers. Colonialism, nativity, and genocide in Rwanda. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
[37] Mandela, N. (1994). The long walk to freedom: The autobiography of nelson mandela. Boston: Little Brown Co.
[38] Mazrui, A. (1978). Political values and the educated class in Africa. Berkeley: University of California Press.
[39] Melbaa, G. (1988). Oromia, an Introduction. Khartoum, Sudan.
[40] Mercer, N. (1995). The guided construction of knowledge. Talk Amongst Teachers and Learners. Clevedon, England: Multilingual matters Ltd.
[41] OSA (2006). OSA Newsletter No. 10 May. http://www.oromostudies. org/OSA%20newsletter10.pdf
[42] Popkewitz, T. S. (1997). The production of reason and power: Curriculum history and intellectual traditions. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 29, 131-164. doi:10.1080/002202797184107
[43] Prouty, C. and Eugene, R. (1981). Historical dictionary of Ethiopia. London: The Scarecrow Press.
[44] Purdy, L. (1994). Politics and the college curriculum. In L. M. Robert, (Ed.), Neutrality and academic ethic (pp. 236-264). Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Inc.
[45] Reyescortez, M. (1994). Art & culture, the lost path of waqqa. New Africa.
[46] Ruda, M. G. (1993). Knowledge, identity and the colonizing structure, the case of the Oromo in east and northeast Africa. Ph.D. Thesis, University of London School of Oriental and African Studies.
[47] Said, E. (1994). Culture and imperialism. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
[48] Sandford, C. (1955). The lion of Judah hath prevailed. London: J.M Dent and Sons Ltd.
[49] Schreiber, L. (2000). Overcoming methodological elitism: Afro-centrism as a prototypical paradigm for intercultural research. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 24, 651-671. doi:10.1016/S0147-1767(00)00021-3
[50] Siegel, H. (1988). Educating for reason: Rationality, critical thinking, and education. New York: Routledge.
[51] Shor, I. (1980). Critical teaching and everyday life. Montreal: Black Rose Books.
[52] Starrett, S., et al. (1976). Documents on Ethiopian politics. The decline of menilik II to the emergence of ras tafari, lately known as haile selassie. Salisbury, NC: Document Publications.
[53] Taye, A. (1948). Ye Itiophiya Hizb Tarik (Abyssinian Calendar). Addis Ababa: Berhanina Selam.
[54] Thiongo, N. W. (1986). De-colonizing the Mind: The politics of language in African literature. Nairobi, Kenya: Heinemann Kenya.
[55] UNESCO Constitution (Retrieved on February 12, 2011. http://www.’s Third New International Dictionary. Springfield MA: G. & C. Merriam Co. Publishers.
[56] Williams. G. (1992). Higher education and society. In C. Burton and N. Guy (Ed.), The Encyclopedia of Higher Education (pp. 841-851), 2, Oxford: Pergamon Press.
[57] Zoga, O. (1993). Gezatena gezot, macha and tulama association. Addis Ababa.

comments powered by Disqus

Copyright © 2018 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.