African Resistance to Liquidate Colonizers’ Empire – Pan Africanism
January 23, 2022
BY JOSEPH SOBOKA
A united struggle can break any shackle how strong it is. A person cannot prevail over his attacker no matter how hard he tries, especially when he is alone and in unfamiliar political environment. Such had been the situation when they were under the yoke inhuman colonialism. Both politically and physically they were hand cuffed and gaged, rather they were denied their natural rights to enjoy and excercise social or political activities like their colonial masters.
The intriguing situation is that the Africans mistreated like that on their own land. They did not go to the colonizer’s country. Yet, their territories and cultures were unjustly invaded and were manipulated to serve the interest of their masters like they did not have any human interests of their own.
It became imminent that the formation of some form of unity was highly required if Africa were to become independent and self-reliant member of the international community. The period of economic and political tutelage had to come to an end. Enough is enough! No more living under a continual surveillance of those who are only after their own selfish interest.
The irony is that every resource the Africans are denied to access belongs to the Africans. It is like chasing out the owner of the house and illegally claiming the ownership. This is exactly what has happened to Africans. Even in modern era, a concerted move is still much required of Africans to have a say in local and international affairs.
Long before the European conquest was completed, ideas of some form of nationalism were expressed in sub-Sahara. First and foremost, Dr. William Edward Burghardt Du Bois (better known as W.E.B. Du Bois), is the father of modern pan-Africanism. W.E.B. Du Bois was a leading African-American intellectual of the 20th century, who died in Ghana at the age of 95. Edward W. Shamefully, many of Du Bois’ long-time friends in the US civil rights movement, afraid of the wrath of the US government, abandoned him. Such situation indicates that the US government had resist policy of the whites’ supremacy at that time.
Blyden, as a matter of fact, was also one of the earliest to take up the ideas. He was born in West Indies but became a teacher in Liberia in the 1860, was active in Sierra Leone. This individual thought of African nation, not a Liberia or Sierra Leone nation, his main concern was nation building, presumably African nation. His primary concern was education, especially higher education that could serve as a medium for interacting and preserving African values. He knew very well that the Africans were discriminated against and their values were replaced by that of the colonizers.
Another individual named J.E. Casey Hayford carried the ideology further still with his book Ethiopia Unbound and his organization a National Congress of British West Africa. Although his idea was not so much Pan African, yet, there is that dim light in which the noble idea flickers. History tells us that Marcus Garvey is among the initiators although his appeal was not only for Pan Africanism but also he wanted an African state independent of European rule and for Afro-Americans of the diaspora. In the long run, these various African themes were important ideologically as a background for common action through agencies like the Organization of the African states. This movement, at the same time, laid a strong foundation for independence from European colonization.
Initially there were two groups known as Casablanca and Monrovia groups: The Casablanca Group emerged in 1961, comprising seven countries: Algeria, Egypt, Ghana, Guinea, Libya, Mali and Morocco. The Monrovia Group comprised the twelve countries of the Brazzaville Group as well as Ethiopia, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Togo, Tunisia and Congo (Kinshasa). Active African figures comprise Jomo Kenyatta (Kenya), Kwame Nkrumah (Gold Coast, now Ghana), Julius Nyerere (Tanganyika, now Tanzania), Léopold Sédar (Senghor now Senegal), Nnamdi Azikiwe (Nigeria), and Félix Houphouët. Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia played a pivotal role in allowing the OAU headquarters to be in Addis Ababa.
If someone asks why Pan Africanism was needed, the key answer to it is just an attempt to create a sense of brotherhood and collaboration among all peoples of African descent whether they lived inside or outside of Africa. In other words, Pan-Africanism is a worldwide movement that aims to encourage and strengthen bonds of solidarity between all indigenous and diaspora ethnic groups of Africa.
The governing idea, here, is that Africans were kept apart from by various schemes such as slave trade, local subjugation by iron fist of colonialism and the like. Such treatments totally obliterated the sense of brotherhood from their mind. Each African was made an island that had to depend on cruel strangers rather than on his understanding and sympathetic fellow African.
Africa to defend against economic colonization still has to integrate in the field of international trade and security. Akin to the issue, African integration is benefiting from a number of reform programs. One such is the recently established African Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA). A majority of African countries, including the two largest economies of Nigeria and South Africa, have now signed and ratified the agreement. At the same time, the African Union and the regional economic communities are consolidating and expanding their peace and security mechanisms.
Apart from trade and security issues, there are many other areas where we can expect to see progress on Africa’s regional integration in the near future: education and human capital, labor mobility, common currencies and taxes. In this respect Ethiopia is doing everything possible to push further the integration even though she is in the middle of turmoil created by the internal and external enemies of the countries.
At the root of many of these new initiatives, lies a legacy handed down from the liberation struggles and the Pan-Africanist movement. This policy note assesses how the Pan-Africanists ideas have been transformed from an ideology for decolonization into a framework for African development, with regional integration as its key strategy. Understanding the motives for and ideas of unity and cooperation, as well as which stakeholders stand to gain or lose from the integration programs, is key for everyone working for the continent’s security and prosperity.
To embark on such grand plan, Africa should design a strategy on what to do and how to do. With her strong tradition of advocating multilateralism, free trade and international co-operation, some European countries should support regional integration in Africa even though they may not like it. Drawing on their experiences of the European post-war integration projects, they could have a lot to offer, especially in education and capacity building. Correspondingly, the African experiences of cooperation across vast cultural, social, political and economic diversities could feed into the Nordic countries’ sustainable development agenda.
As the writer hinted above, from the current status Ethio-European relation, it is unlikely that most European countries are eager to co-operate with Africa to assist her, realize her dreams. Rather they try to put a road block to Africa’s preferred future and holistic development. They have strong fear that if Africa succeeds, they cannot manipulate her as they like in line with their interest. Africa’s disintegration is much preferred by the West and the United States: this is not a past history; it is a bitter experience Ethiopia is currently undergoing.
To tackle such a grave problem, enlightened individuals inside and outside the continent have labored relentlessly and their objective is relatively achieved. Today, Pan-Africanism is embodied in the African Union (AU), the organization of African states which includes the entire African diaspora as its “sixth region”. The current war situation in Ethiopia is decisive test to the African Union.
Except China and Russia, when the world, tuned its back on Ethiopia, some African stood with Ethiopia and are even encouraging others to uphold the cause of Africa with Ethiopia. Some individuals from Congo and South Africa have traveled to Ethiopia to show their support for the struggle Ethiopia is making.
They openly declare that Ethiopia, single handedly, is fighting against the modern economic sabotage being manipulated by the West and the United States. They are calling all Africans to fight alongside Ethiopia. They believe that what is happening in Ethiopia is the buildup of the current Pan Africanism which is most likely true. To be more certitude, the decision made by the African Union to hold a summit conference in Addis Ababa, despite the opposition by the West and the United States, shows how much Africans are eager to form a new phase of Pan Africanism.
The Ethiopian Herald January 23/2022