Professor Lamin Sanneh narrated a story of a man…
In his address to the Armitage High School Alumni Association in 1977 theme “The Dilemma of the African Intellectual” more than three decades ago, late Professor Lamin Sanneh, Harvard University Professor, and a distinguished Gambian, an eminent scholar, and D. Wills James Professor of History and Missions and World Religions at Yale University – the first non-American to hold such a high and rear academic position – and also Chairman of The Yale Council on African Studies and Fellow of Trumbull College, told students about the story of a man who was invited to address a gathering of distinguished guests “O, my people,” he began “do you know what I want to talk to you about?” They all answered with a unanimous chorus: “No.” Well, then,” he rejoined, “there is no need for me to say anything to people who are ignorant,” and promptly left the meeting hall.
On a second invitation, he asked the same question. The people considered it for a while and decided that since a negative reply on a previous occasion produced no results, For a while, the people considered it they had better return an affirmative answer. “Yes,” they said. “Well, then,” the lecturer added, “there is no need for me to tell you anything since you know it all already.” He departed from the scene.
The third time they invited him, he asked his instead battled audience by now. This time they consulted one another quickly and decided on a non-committal answer. On two previous occasions, they had achieved nothing by answering “no” and “yes” each time. So, they said to the lecture: “Some of us do know, and some of us do not.” The speaker retorted, “Let those who know tell those who do not,” and again left the audience chamber.
May His Soul Continue to Rest In Paradise, Professor Lamin Sanneh