By Imam Hakim Abdul-Ali
The Harvest Pointe Church in North Charleston, South Carolina was the site of a poignant lecture by esteemed Afrocentric educator and noted author Mwalimu K. Bomani Baruti on March 18, 2018. His appearance in the Lowcountry was sponsored by The Central Station and The Communiversity, both based in North Charleston.
Mwalimu Baruti is a serious scholar, who makes no apologies for his love of and respect for traditional African cultural and educational concepts. Everything that he discusses, or explains, seems to be broken down from the lens of time-honored African academic and familial interpretations.
His unique message was filled with insightful details and relevant information about uplifting the Black family and community. With a somewhat laid-back persona and in deliberate speaking style, he articulated the need for today’s African-American communities to soberly look at their conditions from many different aspects by showcasing the differences between, e.g., miseducation and what he calls “diseducation.”
Mwalimu Baruti delivered his challenging message to about fifty congregants who were in attendance around his theme for the evening entitled “Exploring Solutions to Our Problems”. And challenge them is what he surely did as he covered a myriad of complex issues, topics and concerns affecting the overall African-American community with a relaxed presentation, which was delivered with clear, affirmatively hardline perspectives in addressing and solving some of the more pressing issues facing today’s Black populace.
This just turned sixty-two-year-old scholar, the author of twenty-one self-published books and numerous Afrocentric videos already in print and in circulation, is referred to as “Mwalimu,” which is an African traditional honorable title meaning “master teacher.” After interviewing this far-reaching thinker before his lecture, and after listening to his impactful speech, you can see why he’s respected in the African-centered educational fields and beyond.
Hailing originally from Washington, D. C., Mwalimu Baruti now resides in and is based out of Atlanta, Georgia, where he, along with his wife, Ena Yaa Mawusi Baruti, operate the Akoben Institute, a twenty-years-in-operation independent and full-time afterschool program on Atlanta’s West End, for gifted, in terms of knowing who they are, African-American youth. The Institute, founded by him and his wife, is a unique school of Afrocentric tutorial learning geared to teaching young folk the essentials of being educated as to who they are under a structured African-centered curriculum.
The Barutis were both former college instructors at Morehouse College in Atlanta. He graduated from Alabama State University with a Bachelor’s Degree and earned a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Chicago and he stopped (just) short of completing all of the requirements for his Ph.D. degree.
Mwalimu Baruti taught Sociology at Morehouse from 1991 to 2000 as an assistant professor, where he was acknowledged as a very respected instructor, especially with the student body. He became very interested in African centered studies and ventured into teaching and writing about the process of cultivating a greater understanding of traditional African academics, etiquette and moral values.
Among his more notable and widely revered books and DVDs are “The Sex Imperative,” “African Centered Education,” “Nyansasem-A Calendar of Revolutionary Daily Thoughts,” “Menticide,” “ IWA (A Warrior’s Character” and “ Message to the Warriors.” Other notable pieces from his writings and video works are “Kebuka,” “Sovereignty & Remembrance,” and his magnum opus book and bestseller, “Homosexuality and the Effeminization of Afrikan Males.”
This military veteran, who honorably served in the U.S. Air Force in the late ’70s, spoke passionately of the needs for today’s Black males and females to respect each other more in ways which would bring them and their families and communities together with greater cohesive unity. He continually expounded on these themes during his speech and in the extensive question and answer programmatic segment which followed his lecture.
Mwalimu Baruti emphasized, in no uncertain terms, of the dire need to understand what the protection of the African centered family was and should be all about, especially in the training of today’s boys and girls to be culturally proud African descendant men and women. This dedicated intellectual obviously understands this philosophy as he constantly referred to and gave his beloved wife much respect, honor and credit for many of the good things that have occurred to him in his life, a point that I believe should that never be neglected, unrecognized or underestimated.
In a “returning to ‘our’ way” delivery in the concluding format of his thoughtful presentation, and during our pre-lecture interview, he again, emphasized the importance of being a “Jegna.” In the African culture, this word indicates a title of noteworthy honor or distinction,” and Mwalimu Baruti further broke it down as meaning and having a sense of strength and of being courageous in upholding the values of being African conscious, with respect to the protection of “our” culture and heritage.
Forever reflective, Mwalimu Baruti gave his utmost respect for someone who was a “Jegna” in his estimation and that was the late Hannibal Afrik, a great Afrocentric educator from Mississippi. His respected love and admiration for this African-American “Jegna” was obvious as Mwalimu Baruti praised this gentleman as being a stupendous teacher of “our” true African culture and one who was a marvelously humble individual.
Mwalimu K. Bomani Baruti left those who heard his meaningful message with a lot to think about after his lecture. It was concise, informative and to the point. When you really think about it, that shouldn’t be surprising to hear because he was, after all, a “master teacher” just doing his instructive Afrocentric duty.
If you wish to acquire any of Mwalimu K. Bomani Baruti’s books, DVDs or other info about the Akoben Institute, please contact him at [email protected]