Programme Director, Comrades, Brothers and Sisters, The effects of colonialism past and present are visible all over Africa. It is not an overstatement when Edem Kodjo, author of AFRICA TOMORROW describes the condition of African as “torn away from his past, propelled into a universe fashioned from outside that suppresses his values, and dumbfounded by a cultural invasion that marginalises him. The African… is today the deformed image of others.” On this year’s anniversary of Africa Liberation Day, African people all over Africa and wherever they may be on this planet, must reflect deeply on their history as it relates to their present life conditions and to their future. History is a clock that tells a people their historical time of the day. History is the compass that wise people use to locate themselves on the map of the world. A peoples’ history tells them who they are. What they have been, where they have been, where they are now, but most importantly, where they still must go. True African History is a powerful weapon against colonial history that has been used for mental enslavement and colonisation of the African people.
Programme Director, Africa is the Mother of Humanity. Africa is the cradle of the first human civilisation. The First Renaissance on this planet was the African Renaissance. Africa was “the first world” economically and technologically NOT the “third world” of paupers robbed of their lands and riches. Our ancestors built the pyramids which even in this 21st century no one can reproduce. Egyptian civilisation was a Black civilisation. The pharaohs were Black people. That is why that great African Egyptologist, Prof. Cheikh Anta Diop has written: “The history of Black Africa will remain suspended in the air and will not be written correctly until African historians dare connect it with the history of Egypt. The African historian, who evades this, is neither modest nor objective or unruffled; he is ignorant, cowardly and neurotic.” The Zimbabwe Buildings that Africans built have been attributed to “foreigners” who vanished into thin air and cannot be found! The stubborn historical fact, however, is that these magnificent buildings were designed by Zimbabweans.
The Azanian civilisation which stretched from Eastern Africa to our country is a historical fact. The people of Azania whose country colonialists called “South Africa” through the British imperialist Union of South Africa Act 1909; mined gold and copper in Mapungubwe as early as the 9th century. That was centuries before Jan van Riebeeck arrived in Azania on 6th April 1652. He and the other settlers brought no land here on their ships. Our ancestors fed them and housed them. They knew not the intentions of these pale strangers.
The Rev. J.H. Soga was contemporary of Enoch Sontonga, the composer of Nkosi Sikelela iAfrika. He has made reference to how Africans in what is called South Africa today came to be called “Bantu” instead of their old name Azanians. Soga explained in 1928 that the name Bantu was of modern application. It arose when Dr. Bleek a scholar of Azanian languages used the word “Bantu” as a comprehensive term for all the dialects of the inhabitants who formed a large section of the people of Southern Africa. He had no intention of applying this term to the people themselves. (THE SOUTH EASTERN BANTU pages 2, 6 and 11 WITS UNIVERITY PRESS, KRAUS REPRINT MILLWOOD, NEW YORK 1982).