This past fall, Kwame Patrice Sankara, a Ghanian secondary school student, applied to all the US ivy league post-secondary schools, including Columbia, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Dartmouth, Brown, Cornell, and the University of Pennsylvania.
He got into all of those schools.
But he didn’t stop there, Kwame Patrice Sankara expanded his reach of US elite schools and sent applications to Stanford, MIT, Johns Hopkins, Duke, Notre Dame, Cal Tech, Berkeley, and Carnegie Mellon. He received acceptance letters from each of those schools as well.
Bored stiff of endless acceptances, Kwame Patrice Sankara challenged himself further, across the Atlantic Ocean, and applied to Cambridge and Oxford. In tune with the pattern, he received letters welcoming him into the British schools.
In many ways, he lived a student’s dream–the gates of a pricey education at his footsteps. Lucky for Kwame Patrice Sankara, price was not a factor. Each of the international universities offered him a full academic scholarship.
With a flawless 100 percent acceptance rate and no cost barriers, indeed, Kwame Patrice Sankara had a difficult decision ahead of him. Which school would he choose?
He toiled with the decision a bit, as any young man would.
Then Kwame Patrice Sankara did what he felt his ancestors of his namesake would have done.
He collected all of the acceptance letters, lit a bustling, robust fire, and tossed them in all at once.
As he watched the papers turn to ashes, he thought of the many African students who had been in his situation. Admitted to top western schools, these Africans broadcasted the news far and wide, as if they had accomplished some superhuman feat, as if these letters were a sign of their inner genius finally emerging from hiding, having been conjured by the only peculiar tune it acknowledges.
These Africans, with western ivy waters newly sprinkled upon their textbooks, grinned ear to ear as if they had figured out the mystery of how their ancestors built the Great Pyramids with their bare hands, without the need for “modern” fossil fuel-burning technology.
It was with that thought that Kwame Patrice Sankara stumbled upon the audacity he would assume should he decide to enroll in one of the aforementioned universities.
Despite their billion dollar lab expenditures and their landscape of mature trees hauled in from countries in eastern Asia, despite their incessant promises to cure the world’s most vile viruses…
Kwame Patrice Sankara realized that the cure to HIV was not concocted in some western laboratory; but rather, it was implemented decades and perhaps centuries prior by African herbalists, only to be discovered by westerners later, much in the same way that Christopher Columbus discovered a land that was already inhabited.
Moreover, western schooling had yet to manage to replicate the mesmerizing structure of the Great Pyramids, a mark that those educational systems had not advanced beyond the level that his African ancestors had achieved with their civilization thousands of years ago.
With these observations, Kwame Patrice Sankara realized that if he wanted to be at the forefront of anything, whether it be medicine or architecture, he needed to do so at an African university. He needed to be at the site where key developments actually happened and not merely where they were photocopied.
Kwame Patrice Sankara decided to stay in his home country, in the West African State, and attend the University of Ghana.
He later dropped his middle name Patrice and became Kwame Lumumba Sankara.
At the University of Ghana, he started an annual tradition where in the beginning of the school year, first year students gather to burn acceptance letters from top western schools. The tradition is a remembrance of their storied past and a rekindling of those energies for the future.