Roles and Responsibilities of
Teachers and Students

I.  The Roles and Responsibilities of Walimu and Wanafunzi

THE MWALIMU (TEACHER) — MWANAFUNZI (STUDENT) relationship is of major importance and must  be understood and adhered to if an atmosphere of learning, discipline, and respect is to be created. In the final analysis, we are all students, but some of us have been students longer and have acquired a body of knowledge that must be passed on to those who are just entering formal life-studies. We call the teacher MWALIMU and the student being introduced to knowledge, we refer to as MWANAFUNZI. No institutions can advance intellectually, culturally, or politically, unless there are dedicated and sincere WALIMU with an equally committed WANAFUNZI. The Mwalimu and the Mwanafunzi are equally responsible to each other and must develop an unbreakable trust between themselves as exemplified in The Seven Principles or the African Value System — NGUZO SABA (EN-GOO-ZOH SAH-BAH).

            I.  UMOJA (OO-MOH-JAH)  —  Unity 
                To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race. 

           II.  KUJICHAGULIA (KOO-GEE-CHAH-GOO-LEE-AH)  —  Self-Determination
                To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves instead of being defined,  named, created for and spoken for by others. 

          III.  UJIMA (OO-GEE-MAH)  —  Collective Work and Responsibility
               To build and maintain our community together and make our sister's and brother's problems our problems  and to solve them together. 

         IV.  UJAMAA (OO-JAH-MAH-AH)  —  Cooperative Economics
               To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit from them together. 

          V.  NIA (NEE-AH)  —  Purpose
               To make our collective vocation the building and developing our community in order to restore our people to  their traditional greatness. 

         VI.  KUUMBA (KOO-OOM-BAH)  —  Creativity
               To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and  beneficial then we inherited it. 

        VII.  IMANI (EE-MAH-NEE)  —  Faith 
               To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and  victory of our struggle.

     The following points should be observed by all WALIMU (Teachers)

     1. Be the example of what you teach. Your personal contradictions can wipe out years of hard work. You must be direction for the young, be what you teach, exemplifying The Seven Principles — NGUZO SABA

     2. Always impart knowledge with an eye on reality. Pull your examples from the real world that we are involved in daily. High sounding philosophy belongs in philosophy classes that divorce themselves from life. Knowledge without     understanding and practical application is like owning land without being able to cultivate it. 

     3. Never tire of teaching. An instructor who believes in what he is teaching can teach anywhere and at anytime and is always prepared to teach; his lifestyle should be a lesson. Concentrate on the four ingredients for an African reality: to work, to study, to create, and to build. 

     4. The developing of the moral, spiritual, and physical well-being of the students is of the uppermost imperative. A student should never be held back — in fact, a teacher should be eager for his student to surpass him; this is a reward for doing his job well. 

     5. In order to develop the communal spirit to the highest, the instructor must be conscious of and concerned about the student' s well being outside the classroom. Make sure that the student has all basic needs in order to develop his mind, body, and spirit. 

     6. The student should be encouraged to investigate all areas of life-studies. The student should be given equal time and attention in accordance with his personal ability. Push the complimentary and cooperative aspects of learning and encourage involvement with man and nature, and independent study. Never betray a trust, and discipline should be    strict, quick, and fair. 

     7. All teaching should be based upon tradition and reason, and be taught theoretically and scientifically, the emphasis always on Afrikan man in relation to his community — community-centered rather than man- or woman- centered; emphasizing the responsibility of the students to their community, organization, and family; always communalism over commercialism. 

     The following points should be observed by all WANAFUNZI ( Students )

     1. The student is the nation becoming. The good student never tires of learning. The secret of knowledge is that the good students can learn anything, any place, and any time. 

     2. The good student is committed — committed to the institution/organization, committed to his people, and     committed to the acquisition of knowledge that will aid his people — therefore aiding himself. 

     3. The good student lives the African Value System — NGUZO SABA — and is the example for the younger brothers and sisters. 

     4. The good student knows that to move from black purpose to Afrikan Reality four ingredients are needed: Work, Study, Creativity, and Building. 

     5. Remember that a student' s conduct outside the organization reflects the organization. To do in justice one day out of 365 days could wipe out the whole year' s work. 

     6. The spirit of sharing and learning; must be with the student at all times. But if he does not know any thing —     there will be nothing for him to share. 

     7. The student must develop good study habits, always show a willingness to learn, and always be respectful to the instructor. Address all male instructors with [Mr. or Doctor] and all female instructors with [Mrs., Ms. or Doctor.] 

     8. Knowledge without understanding and practical application is useless — if you do not understand something ask questions. One who continually asks questions does not show stupidity or ignorance — he shows a thirst for      knowledge. One who nits and absorbs everything without question is — like a sponge — with his head is full of water.   Challenge your instructors to give you all the knowledge they have. 

Source: Excerpted from Haki Madhubuti. (1973). From Plan to Planet. Detroit: Broadside Press.

II:  Roles and Responsibilities of Faculty, Parents and Staff 

     1. Never be overawed by authority. Not at any time whatever, nor for any reason whatsoever, can any one with safety or profit permit his faculty-of-thought to take a "sabbatical," least of all when that individual's mind is exposed to the thoughts of other people. 

     2. Be open to conviction, but refuse to be convinced until conviction becomes a necessity. In other words, do not imprison your mind in the padded cell of the comfortable rut of your own preferred beliefs, prejudices, biases, or     egocentricity. 

     3. Read little, think deeply — and much. Avoid acquiring the grasshopper mind. Books are highly suggestive, therefore, choose your authors with care. Take time to think through the full implications and connotations of what you read, testing its validity from as many angles as you can. Even nourishing food leads to indigestion if swallowed whole. Avoid mental indigestion at all costs. It is not to be cured merely by going to the Drug Store! 

     4. Seek TRUTH and pursue it, to the extent of remaking your own mind no matter what the cost, should it become necessary. Never forget that the "superstitions" of today were the "truths' of yesterday; the "truths" of today will be the "superstitions" of tomorrow. Do not allow them "permanent residence" in your mind. Seek not mere "knowledge" but UNDERSTANDING. Perchance WISDOM may follow. One thing is certain: Only when the rational mind is stilled can the ears of Understanding open to the voice of Wisdom. 

     5. If you must lie, lie to others; they will find you out and know you for the fool that you are. But if you lie to yourself, you are a lost fool. 

     6. Learn to "think beyond the thoughts of men that lean on things they see." Inevitably they become "obsessed by the perceptible to such an extent that, for them, thinking has become synonymous with repeating parrot-fashion the cast-off-thoughts of others, with less intelligence than the (so-called) "dumb" animals. On no account should you visit that Club, much less join it. 

     7. Make it your golden rule, never to be broken, NOT under any circumstances to consult any author on any subject until you shall first have thought deeply about it — meditative act — and shall have reached some conclusions, no matter how tentative. Remember at all times: NOTHING BELONGS TO YOU EXCEPT YOUR MIND HAS HAD A HAND IN ITS FORMULATION. The moral is obvious: ensure by every means at your disposal, that your mind is      actively functioning on oiled wheels, and that it functions as your servant and not your enslaver. 

     8. Heed well the words of Herbert Spencer: "There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments, and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance: That Principle is . . . contempt prior to investigation." 

Source: First drawn up by Chief Fela Sowande at Howard University, 1969, revised at the University of Pittsburgh, 1973, and restructured at Dartmouth College, July 1975.