MIRROR OF HISTORY is an African history book written by Mashabela who believes that it is very important for one to read and always take a quest to seek knowledge and wisdom in order to gain correct understanding of one’s true identity and purpose. This book will help you and I (as much as it helped Mashabela) to understand our origin as an Africans (mirror our history). As the son of the continent, Mashabela’s conviction is that the story of his land (Mother Africa) will be best told by us (Africans). When writing this book, he considered the basic principles of history: chronology, change and continuity. Although he agrees that it’s difficult to root-out subjectivity out of history, the author says “Objectivity is key to him”. He also reminds us that history is a continuous science rather than a subject or the study we often narrowly believe it is. This is the history for everybody: rich, poor, powerful and powerless.
Dan Brown said in his book ‘The Da Vince Code’, that “History is always written by the Winners, and that when two cultures clash, the loser is obliterated and the winner write history book which glorify their own cause and disparage the conquered foe”. Mirror of History is the opposite of this because it’s neither written by/for the winners nor the losers, but by an honest lover and indeed an agent of objective history. The book was written to bridge the gap between the so called ‘history of winners and losers’.
In a nutshell, one can say that the book MIRROR OF HISTORY is about my history and your history as African (INDEED THE NAKED TRUTH OF OUR ORIGIN). It portray Africa is a continent born out of geohistoric context. The book begins with the section on the mythological beginning of all for our beloved continent, a reflection of how Africa came into being, and how it is today. The division of a supercontinent (Gondwana) and the formation of a new beautiful continent (Africa) are reflected as historic and geographical experiences. The book covers most of all, the important events in the history of Bantu speaking people of Southern Africa.
The book goes further to argue that “over the past two centuries, there have been clear increases of associations between ignorance of history, racism, tribalism, xenophobia and the whole lots of socioeconomic crises; these comes as the results of lack of historical knowledge”. The emergence of xenophobic attacks towards our African brothers has by far awakened people like Mashabela to teach history. The book attempts to address the misconception that our African brothers are foreigners in the land of their birth and ancestry (Africa). Most of the time we hear people from South Africa going to other African states saying “we are going to Africa”, then i ask myself!!! ………Where is South Africa? Are we not in Africa? You see my point!!!!!! Mashabela believes that “this is a misconception, and it must be treated or seen as such”. The book goes further to say that “we are being overwhelmed by either inferiority or superiority complex that is leaving us paralyzed for our own good”. How can we call our brothers foreigners in land of their birth and origin? Mashabela warns us about Misconceptions, stereotypes and illusions, that he says “travel first”. He asks the question: “Who is a real foreigner in this continent?”
It also affirms that “South Africa is home to Zimbabweans as much as it is a home for South Africans, precisely because Zimbabweans can trace their history back from South Africa (be it history of Maphungubweor Mzilikasi’s journey to Zim)”. It argues that “this concept of Africans being foreigners in South Africa is a pseudo-historic theory, misconception and a lie that should be exposed”. Mashabela warns us that “this is one theory that is often employed by those who want to justify xenophobia, tribalism or Afro-phobia”. Wake up Africans, Africa is one?
The book also goes deep in addressing the very emotional issues of land ownership, xenophobia and racism. It says that “these issues have always been at the center of land claims and South African politics”. Generally, South Africans do not see or understand the intra-connection between their lack of knowledge for history and the challenges they are facing now. Inter–alia we must have ourselves (our ignorance), our history and our education systems to blame. Our education systems haven’t done enough, just to try to magnify the importance of learning history (history education).
It says that “AFRICA was often described by those who did not know it as the ‘dark continent’ without civilization”. Failure to learn history will leave our people with false beliefs on these baseless misconceptions and misinterpretation of history. The truth is that Africa was civilized when most of the western countries where still living under ‘dark ages’. Take records of early civilizations in Great- Zimbabwe, Maphungubwe, Timbuktu and Egyptian civilization among others”.
Mashabela says that “history has taught us that things change, while others stay the same (change and continuity). It is also a historical fact that history is written and interpreted differently. We often choose to write history that suit us and leave that which does not favour us. By doing this, we end-up creating historical misconceptions and myths that portray history in an imbalanced way, however these often create an opportunity for other historians like myself to rewrite history and address such misconceptions and imbalances”
Mirror of History goes further to warn us that “It will not be fair if we continue to consume biased history or fail to write history that is balanced, unbiased, and does not aim to distort the truth (an objective history). It cannot be correct that the only true history is the one written by the winners or the elitist. The fact of history is that the history of Authumato, the great leader of the Khoisan is as important as the history of Jan Van Riebeeck, Shaka, Hintsa, Makhado, Cecil John Rhodes, Adam Kock, Moshoeshoe, Sekhukhune, Nghunghunyani, Mahatmas Gandhi, Mzilikazi, Sobhuza, Mandela and many more of our leaders who helped to shape South Africa for what it is today. The history of these leaders is as significant as the history of the ordinary people (followers, bodyguards, cooks, soldiers etc) who were with them. Failure to write true history will leave our people susceptible to misconceptions, stereotypes and unsupported myths”.