is by Dr. Motsoko Pheko of the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania
and a member of the South African Parliament:
Road to Pan-Africanism
Johannesburg (The Sowetan, November 15, 1999)
Following the dark cloud of slavery and colonialism
in Africa, visionary African leaders realised that it was imperative that
all Africans - wherever they might be - should unite to end their holocaust
which began with the 'European Renaissance' in Italy in 1400.
In 1900 Sylvester Williams, a lawyer of African
descent, named this coming together of Africans 'Pan-Africanism'. But
as a movement, Pan-Africanism began in 1776.
It was, however, the fifth Pan-African Congress
held in Manchester, England, in 1945 that advanced Pan-Africanism and
applied it to the decolonisation ofthe African continent politically.
Some African leaders involved in this noble
cause were giants such as Kwame Nkrumah, William du Bois, Jomo Kenyatta,
Robert Sobukwe and Patrice Lumumba.
Pan-Africanism includes the intellectual,
political and economic cooperation that should lead to the political unity
of Africa. The Pan-African alternative provides a framework for African
It also fosters radical change in the colonial
structures of the economy, and the implementation of an inward-looking
strategy of production and development. It calls for the unification of
financial markets, economic integration, a new strategy for initial capital
accumulation and the design
of a new political map for Africa.
Contemporary Africa is beset with difficulties
rooted in its inability to unite territorially. The consequences have
been national economies incapable of developing because of geographical,
economic and political reasons.
We must accept this truth, and take it as
our prime duty, if the restoration of Africa is to become a reality.
As South Africa prepares for the ratification
of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) protocol on trade,
we need to look beyond trade integration and analyse regional integration.
The artificial borders that separate the
national territories in the region are divisive of people united by history
and divisive of regions united by geography to the extent that they are
the subject of disputes and conflicts between African states. SADC must
strive for a community that transcends the economic level and strive for
the territorial and political unification of Africa. This is the only
way for the continent to become a great modern power. This is the only
protection against neo-liberalism and globalisation.
Africa provided leadership of the world for
600 000 years before its enslavement began about 1400. Monotheism was
first taught in Africa by Emperor Akhenaton and his wife Nefertiti, before
the so-called three major religions of the world taught this doctrine.
Historical evidence reveals that Africa had
its renaissance centuries, if not millenniums, before Europe. Some of
Africa's past civilisations were in the Nile, Zimbabwe, Congo and Ghana.
It was the trans-Atlantic slave trade and colonialism which destroyed
Africa and underdeveloped it. In his book How Europe underdeveloped Africa,
Dr Walter Rodney gives a vivid picture of this African tragedy.
Slavery and colonialism were made possible
by the so-called European Renaissance. The authors of this renaissance
used the compass and gunpowder. These Chinese inventions for peaceful
purposes were used by Europeans to steal the land and wealth of Africans.
Pan-Africanism demands that the riches of
Africa be used for the benefit, upliftment, development and enjoyment
of the African people. Pan-Africanism is a system of equitably sharing
food, clothing, homes, education, healthcare, wealth, land, work, security
of life and happiness. Pan-Africanism is the privilege of the African
people to love themselves and to give themselves and their way of life
respect and preference.
Pan-Africanism was developed by outstanding
African scholars, political scientists, historians and philosophers living
in Africa and the diaspora. It was conceived in the womb of Africa. It
is a product made in Africa by Africans.
Pan-Africanism is the oldest vision in Africa.
No other ideology has successfully challenged Pan-Africanism intellectually.
That is why, in the midst of confusion caused
by the so-called 'African renaissance', Colonel Muammar Gaddafi echoed
the pan-African call for a United States of Africa when he opened the
fifth summit of the Organisation of African Unity in Libya in September.
In August a prominent Nigerian political
scientist reminded participants at the fifth Pan-African Colloquium in
Ghana of the historical context of the 'European Renaissance', from which
the so-called 'African renaissance' is trying to borrow and transpose
He pointed out that the 'European Renaissance'
was the foundation of slavery, colonialism and racism. Africa has nothing
to gain from this decadence, which was responsible for the worst holocaust
of the African people in memory.
The inheritors of this inhuman 'renaissance'
are still working hard to perpetuate the holocaust of the African people
and the underdevelopment of Africa, which they inflicted through slavery,
colonialism, apartheid and racism.
Today these forces have their Pan-Europeanism
through their European Union, making them a powerful economic bloc. They
are integrating socially and politically, and working for a borderless
On the other hand, Africa is wallowing in
the quagmire of underdevelopment, poverty, endless border wars, economic
domination and the dictatorship of the International Monetary Fund and
the World Bank.
This is because African leaders are dragging
their feet on the implementation of Pan-Africanism and have made Africa
a perpetual beggar of foreign 'aid'.
Some of these leaders have become agents
of neo-liberalism and neo-colonialism, whose instrument is 'globalisation'.
Globalisation is just a new form of recolonising the African continent.
There will continue to be an ideological
and intellectual crisis in the African world until Africans understand
Pan-Africanism, its value and benefits, and apply it to their many problems.
These include 'foreign debts', reparations,
repatriation of African intellectual property from the museums of Europe,
lack of continental railroads and air routes, intra-trade, communication
and technological development among the African people and states.
The triumph of Pan-Africanism, the only way
Africans can survive the foreign onslaught and live as a truly liberated
people, will come out of the sweat and blood of the African people themselves.As
Nkrumah put it:
'Only a united Africa can redeem its past
glory, renew and reinforce its strength for the realisation of its destiny.
'We are today the richest and yet the poorest
of continents, but in unity our continent could smile in a new era of
prosperity and power.'