Cheikh Anta Diop

REJOINDER TO THAMI KA PLAATJIE’S “MALEMA DOES NOT MINCE HIS WORDS”

Thami Ka Plaatjie’s article in Sowetan of June 21, 2011 published under the headline, “Malema does not mince his words” reminds me of the words of the Pharaoh of African Studies the late Dr Cheikh Anta Diop during the time whites claimed that race determined the intelligence of a people. Diop responded that equating intelligence with race is like confusing rectal temperature with good health.

Ka Plaatjie claims that the recent ANCYL “conference affirmed its President Julius Malema as a critical voice of the youth in the current South African trajectory, secondly the conference confirmed Malema as the political and ideological heir of the mantle of Anton Lembede and AP Mda, thirdly Malema used the elective conference to lavishly display his nationalist ideological thrust and fourthly, he exposed his Pan African political and ideological outlook and fifthly, Malema has brought about a greater urgency to issues such as nationalization and land reform”.

NELSON MANDELA IS NOT MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE ENTIRE CONTINENT OF AFRICA

Nelson Mandela cannot be more important than the entire continent of Africa and its people at home and in the Diaspora. It is absurdity to try and elevate Mandela over and above the entire Africa and its people. He cannot be more important than the South African Native National Congress (SANNC) of1912 and its founders.

The SANNC became the African National Congress in the 1920’s and its founding members were, among others, Sol Thekisho Plaatje and Pixley Seme. The former was invited by Marcus Garvey and UNIA to the US in the early 1920’s and the latter studied in the US . Mandela cannot be more important than the African Diaspora and its leaders like Frederick Douglass, Toussaint L’Ouverture, Martin Robison Delany, Edward Wilmot Blyden and Marcus Garvey to name but five.

IN MEMORY OF DR. CHEIKH ANTA DIOP: THE FOREMOST AFRICAN CULTURAL BRAINPOWER

The 7th February marks the 24th anniversary of the death of world renowned multi-disciplinary scholar and Pan Africanist, Dr Cheikh Anta Diop. Diop was born on December 23, 1923, in Diourbel west of Senegal. His mother tongue is Wolof. He came from a Muslim peasant family and attended Koranic schools. Diourbel was the seat of a strong Muslim sect, the sect of the Mourides, the only Black African sect which succeed in acting independently from the rest of the Muslim world.

One of the scholars who knew him well, James Spady, wrote that Diop’s historical roots and intellectual climate of the area where Diop was born has a long and honourable tradition of griots behind him who served as worthy precursors of any historian. Diop completed his bachelor’s degree in Senegal and then went to the Sorbonne University in Paris in 1946 to do his graduate studies. Diop developed the concept of the cultural unity of African people as early as the mid-1940’s. In November 1948 he wrote an article in the review Le Musee Vivant titled “When do we speak of an African Renaissance?”

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