This position may justifiably provoke the sensibilities of some hard-lined Pan-Africans, who drawing from the history of injustice in Africa by foreigners, may propose an only African approach. However, just like the Black Satellites, we cannot do it all by local talent. The yoke of slavery, remember, was broken not by the victims alone. The genuine zeal and good intentions of Abraham Lincoln, William Henry Seward among others can be hardly ignored.
Traveling the world with over 150 international students drawn from all corners of the globe makes one appreciate the fact that there are sincere Americans and Europeans out there with the right technology, expertise, logistics and capital to collaborate with Africa in her quest to achieving true emancipation.
The last observation under my Pan-African lens is the fact that more than 65% of the world champions, the Black Satellites, came from the lower socio-economic bracket of Ghana. Some are from the streets, others from slums whiles others come from the rural communities with no basic amenities. The point is that, these people defied all obvious challenges and reasonable uncertainties in poverty, hunger and diseases to emerge as world champions!
Similarly, Africa is overwhelmed by concrete challenges including corruption, political instability, unequal level of developments, ethnic conflicts and mistrust among its leaders. The lesson is that, as Africans, if we look at our continent and all we see are the challenges, and not the equally abundant riches and opportunities open to us as a people in this point in our history, we are bound to scare ourselves off our renaissance vision. Remember the European Union (EU) was created in equally daunting political and economic atmosphere in 1993. The political courage and selfless enthusiasm, backed by the right ideological map is what has been the missing link all this while in the continent’s march to a unity government.
To those postulating gradualists approach to African unity with very brilliant explanations to why Africa cannot unite now let it be remembered that Africa’s readiness has never happened in the past, not in the present and shall never be in the future. In the 60s, the excuse was, “Africa is not ready”, in the 90s the excuse was “Africa is not ready”, in the present the excuse is, “Africa is not ready”. In 50 years from now, the excuse shall be, “Africa is not ready”. Instead of researching for plausible reasons to explain why Africa is not ready for a political union, we can apply those same mental exertions to searching for answers to the question, “why Africa is ready now”. It takes courage and strong will, riddled by plausible bullets of doubts from pessimists to achieve anything significant.
Fellow Ghanaians, Africans, Diaspora Africans and friends of African unity, as we celebrate the historical feat of the Black Satellites and many more to come, let us not forget we can always stretch our necks to appreciate things past our artificial national boundaries to the larger African renaissance consciousness. Simply put, see through the Pan-African lens and you surely will see beyond the colonial footprints that divide us as a continent against our unity and ourselves.
By Bidi Emmanuel