During his remarkable and outstanding short period of leadership, Sobukwe taught us that leadership is initiative and courage. To lead one must initiate ideas and action. He also taught us that leadership is courage. Sobukwe initiated ideas that gave PAC direction and inspiration. There was no confusion and doubt as to where he was taking the PAC. His clarity of thought, systematic thinking and forthrightness left no doubt in the minds of PAC members and the general public as to where the PAC was going and leading the masses of the oppressed and exploited.
On the 3rd June 2012, a columnist of the City Press newspaper wrote, “There are many ways of being African in South Africa.”
Are there many ways of being a British in Britain? Are there many ways of being a Chinese in China, many ways of being a German in Germany or many ways of being a Russian whose minority dictate to the majority population?
The misconception about national identity in South Africa stems from a falsified colonial history. It is exacerbated by the 1955 political manipulation by which a certain section of the leadership of colonised African people abandoned the anti-colonial struggle for a civil rights movement. They claimed that their country belongs equally to the colonisers and the colonised, the dispossessors and the dispossessed owners. This is tantamount to saying that stolen goods can equally belong to the armed thieves and their rightful owners. It is not magnanimity. It is betrayal of the dispossessed.
Where has this happened anywhere in the world, except where British imperialism seized this African country at gunpoint, consolidated its colonialism through the Union of South Africa Act 1909 and allocated its 349,837 colonial settlers 93% of the country and left five million Africans with 7% through the Native Land Act 1913 and additional 6% through the Native Trust Land Act 1936? This 13% has now been entrenched in section 25(7) of the present Eurocentric constitution misleadingly called “the best democratic constitution in the world.”
April 27 marked the fortieth anniversary of the passing of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the founder of modern-day Ghana and a leading theoretician of the post-World War II national liberation movement for unity and socialism. Nkrumah’s legacy is still very much a part of the ongoing efforts of the peoples of Africa and the world who seek genuine freedom from colonialism, neo-colonialism and imperialism.
Born in the western region of the Gold Coast (later renamed Ghana in 1957) on September 21, 1909, Nkrumah grew up under the colonial system established by the British. The people of the Gold Coast had fought western domination from the period of the Atlantic Slave Trade through the early 20th century when Queen Ya Asantewaa of the Ashanti people led an armed resistance campaign to halt British encroachment into their territories.
William Mpofu’s misleading article which appeared in the Sowetan newspaper of 22 September titled “the scourge of African tyrants” should not and must not be allowed to go unchallenged because it is a compendium of misinformation and factual errors. It is also misleading and contains historical inaccuracies. Mpofu wrote that, “From Kwame Nkrumah to Robert Mugabe, African dictators have invoked the spirit of African unity and black solidarity against the vampiric Western imperialism with the right hand while with the left subjecting their people to cruel bondage and violence”.
Those who have read Walter Rodney’s “How Europe Underdeveloped Africa” will understand that cruel bondage and violence in West Africa were introduced by leaders of Western countries during the Atlantic slave trade. At the time Mpofu’s article was published, the US and some Western countries under the auspices of NATO were on their sixth month of bombing Libya for the sake of accessing that country’s resources so that China should be dependent on the US for oil. Mpofu continued, “another truism of the underdevelopment and impoverishment of Africa is that African despots have looted natural resources, plundered economies for personal enrichment and deployed violence of the worst magnitude to crush opponents”.
From its inception on 06th April 1959, the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC) in South Africa, whose first President was Mangaliso Robert Sobukwe, agreed with Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah that “The longer we wait the stronger will be the hold on Africa by neo-colonialism and imperialism.” That “If Africa was united, no major bloc would attempt to subdue her by limited war because, from the very nature of limited war, what can be achieved by it, is itself limited. It is only where small states exist that it is possible, by landing a few thousand marines or by financing a mercenary force that they can secure a decisive result.”
Nkrumah emphasised this important point for Africans when addressing the African Heads of State and Government on 24th May 1963. He declared, “No sporadic act nor pious resolutions, can resolve our present problems…As a continent we have emerged into independence in a difficult age, with imperialism grown stronger, more ruthless and experienced, and more dangerous in its international associations. Our economic advancement demands the end of colonialist and neo-colonialist domination of Africa.”
The USA Africa Command which they call “Africom” is a military structure of the Defence Department of America. It is the American political deception for establishing military bases on the African Continent. It conceals its real intentions in Africa. It was formed in February 2OO7 during George Bush’s term of office. This was two months after America had bombed a small African country, Somalia, destabilizing it to the ashes it is today.
At that time the American President said Africom “will enhance our efforts to bring peace and security to the people of Africa and promote our common goals of development, health, education, democracy and economic growth of Africa.” Where in Africa has the USA done this? With the same breath Bush revealed, “Africom will co-ordinate all U.S. security interests throughout Africa.”
September 21st, 2010 marked another day in the commemoration of Founder’s Day. Founder’s Day highlights the achievements of Ghana’s illustrious son and Africa’s man of the millennium, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. The day is observed by all African Union (AU) member countries. There are many controversies surrounding the term “Founder’s Day” as some Ghanaians think it should be renamed “Founders’ Day” to acknowledge the roles played by other figures, such as J.B Danquah, in the emancipation struggle of Ghana.
This article skips that particular controversy to address some misunderstanding of Nkrumah by critics. These misunderstandings are often rooted in petty politicking, and try to downplay his achievements and vision for Ghana, Africa, and black people everywhere. It is imperative to make clear that Ghana/Africa celebrates not Nkrumah per se, but his selfless and timeless vision he left not only for Ghanaians or Africans but also for the entire black African people. Another point worth clarifying is that Nkrumah was not an infallible demigod, and therefore not beyond objective criticisms.
Just like every major leader, Nkrumah had his flaws, but it will amount to gross imprudence on our part, and disservice to posterity to continue to feed on his flaws, leave his strengths to rot on the table, and inter his vision with his corpse. There comes a time when people must challenge themselves by rising beyond their selfish inclinations and begin to gravitate towards a bigger stream of consciousness—one that is clean of petty party politics, pull-him-down mentality, and personal whims. That time could be now!
Programme Director, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and gentlemen, It is an honour for me to speak to you at this important meeting of the OPEN SOCIETY AND INITIATIVE FOR SOUTHERN AFRICA. I like the name especially, the words Open and Initiative. We need openness and initiative in Africa.
I have been asked to speak on CREATING A COMMON AFRICAN BASE TO ENGAGE THE WORLD: A Pan Africanist Reflection. I shall humbly do so from a Pan Africanist perspective. You are the architects of Africa’s future and shapers of her present.
Now! How Do I Start?
Well, knowledge has been colonized and information manipulated in order to control the minds of African people, and achieve epistemological domination over them so as to undermine their national and continental interests. There is much that must be known, regained and done to restore Africa to her lost power and glory. Africa created the first human civilization on this planet. In adoration and admiration of the Africa he knew, that great Roman Emperor, Julius Caesar exclaimed, “Ex Africa semper aliquid novi!” (Out of Africa comes always something new).
The world we live in is history unfolding and unveiling itself everyday of our lives. I find it particularly of great significance and essence for me to be part of this history. Africa, our beloved continent remains a major part of such history and its place of importance cannot be overemphasized.
It is also a humbling task for me to represent the several millions of African students from the 53 states of Africa and the 54th state of the Diaspora to share some thoughts on the topic “AFRICOM in Africa: Implications for Human Security and Development in Africa”.
The All-Africa Students Union (AASU)- Who we Are
Permit me to briefly state what the All-Africa students Union (AASU) stands for. As the name suggests, AASU is the convergent continental student organisation consisting of the entire 53 member, national student unions and associations across Africa with the mandate of securing the welfare of all students of Africa. AASU is an international organisation in operational relations with UNESCO and is a member of the International Union of Students (IUS) and a few other United Nations committees. Our values are clearly articulated in our fight for human rights, especially the right of every African child to education, world peace, good governance; global and social justice.
There is this crazy thing about the celebration of Nelson Mandela’s birthday and the exaggeration of his role in the South Africa’s struggle for liberation. There is also overemphasis on the issue of the 67 years he put in the struggle. Some of his fellow comrades, like Govan Mbeki and Walter Sisulu, who were incarcerated with him on Robben Island, put in more years than Mandela in serving humanity. Anton Lembede, Ashby Peter Mda, Zeph Mothopeng and Oliver Tambo were involved in the struggle for liberation long before Mandela. Now what is so significant about Mandela’s 67 years in the struggle? The Western media, UN and Mandela foundations and charities set up after his retirement in 1999, are in the forefront of promoting this Mandela Day. The Western media sets the agenda for us and also decides for us who our important heroes are – the hierarchisation of struggle heroes.
According to the Western media, UN and the Mandela foundations and charities we should all forget the imperialist brokered sellout deals Mandela clinched in secret with representatives of Apartheid regime. They also want us to be in a permanent state of amnesia concerning the accusation against Mandela by his former lawyer, Ismail Ayob, that Mandela did not pay tax from the proceeds of his books sold abroad. The South African Revenue Services did nothing about these tax defaults to this day. Ayob also suggested that there are other trusts for individual Mandela children. Ayob was a trustee of the Mandela trusts. When there was a fallout between Mandela and Ayob after it emerged that Ayob had allegedly cashed in on the Mandela name, the much vaunted reconciler was said to have told a number of friends that, “I want Ayob imprisoned”.