Jazz musician Louis Armstrong with his wife Lucille and Prime Minister Kwame Nkrumah of the Gold Coast. This photograph was taken in 1956 during Armstrong's goodwill visit on the eve of Ghana's independence., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Editorial Comment:Let us clebrate the coming of age of Africa
Monday, 27 May 2013 00:00
A collossal cry for freedom rang through the continent of Africa for many generations, and many determined Africans never lived to taste the freedom that they yearned for and vigorously agitated for as they spiritedly battled to unshackle our people from the fetters of colonialism.
That long held dream for freedom was galvanised by our Pan Africanist leadership, the likes of Kwame Nkrumah, who spearheaded the formation of the Organisation of African Unity 50 years ago in Ethiopia.
The vast continent of Africa now enjoys independence from colonial subjugation and that dream of more than 50 years ago is now largely fulfilled in terms of political independence across much of the continent.
This weekend, the then OAU, now the African Union, marks that milestone in Addis Ababa, with more than 50 heads of state and former heads of states reflecting on the journey Africans have travelled from the difficult days to this age where the continent is confronted by new challenges.
It is important to celebrate successes of the Africa Union since a Golden Jubilee signals a time of celebration.
It is against this background that as Africans we should celebrate the coming of age of Africa and its leadership though still making the clarion call for greater co-operation and integration across the continent.
Even Biblically, jubilee was the blessed year, in a 50-year cycle, when people were liberated from all shackles and all debts.
Every family was again given their portion of land, the ancient key to economic empowerment. We believe the reclamation of land was the greatest achievement of Africa over the past half a century and that it gives us reason to celebrate though in many parts of the continent some have not woken up to that realisation of empowerment through ownership of resources and are still mentally enslaved and expecting salvation from our erstwhile colonisers.
This is where a new breed of Pan Africanism championing not only political independence but economic independence is needed too.
The likes of Kwame Nkrumah and Julius Nyerere played their part in raising awareness about the need for African unity to defeat foreign control and we believe a new thrust in leadership should see the continent assert control over its resources instead of having the perpetual tag of being the richest continent in terms of resources yet being the poorest in real terms.
As the continent pays tribute to our heroes that include our own former Vice-President Dr Joshua Nkomo and former Zanu national chairman Cde Herbert Chitepo, who was assassinated during his fight for the emancipation of his land, this should give renewed vigour and bring reflection upon our current leadership on what legacy Africa will celebrate in the next jubilee which their leadership is shaping now.
The year 2013 has been declared the year of Pan Africanism and African Renaissance by the AU, an indication of a readiness for a paradigm shift in the way the continent views itself and conducts its affairs.
This is quite important considering that much of the continent was in bondage when the AU came into being and that such a mindset might still be a obstacle to many citizens of this continent who may not have grasped it yet that we are masters of our own destiny. Our acceptable year of liberty has been decreed by the coming of the 50 years, our jubilee.
We would like to commend our African leaders by celebrating our African heroes through honouring them with medals at the 50th anniversary celebrations.
While it is well for many among our leadership to make interesting speeches at such occasions, they will be judged by what they do in their lands.
Are Africans totally free in this age? Have they weaned themselves from colonial control? And do they have ownership of their resources?
Many among our leadership are still under control of foreign capitals and we have seen this scourge bring back the nightmare of colonialism, this time coming as neo-colonialism.
We challenge Africa to go back to the ideals of unity and integration that brought us so much success in our fight for political independence in order to succeed on this new frontier.
Our Vision 2063 should encapsulate that dream of practical economic emancipation across the continent so that we do not continue to be a land of potential that does not dare dream big to translate that opportunity into better livelihoods for its people.
We believe the African heroes, some of whom never lived to see a free Africa, dreamt of an economically free land that fattened its own inhabitants.
In Zimbabwe, we owe it to our heroes and ourselves to take our battle for independence to the economic arena without any apology or else we could become slaves that refuse to be set free and take ownership of their resources in the year of jubilee.
*“Jubilee” comes from the Hebrew “jubil,” a ram’s horn blown everywhere to proclaim precious personal and social liberation.