Sunday 20 June 2021
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The imperative necessity to revive the spirit of Pan Africanism

The Fifth Pan African Congress which was held in Manchester, United Kingdom, 15-21 October 1945 imbued Global Africa and African nationalists with the spirit of Pan-Africanism.
The Pan-African spirit aimed at the strengthening of economic, intellectual and political cooperation among the African people. This cooperation was expected to bring about a new political landscape on the African Continent and the Caribbean.
The first wave of African nationalists was committed to Pan-Africa solidarity and cooperation because they understood that imperialism would not disappear when colonialism is defeated. Greater cooperation among African countries was thought to be a necessary condition for the African people to reduce economic dependence on the Empire. African solidarity was important for enhancing the capacity of African people to have a voice in international fora.
Kwame Nkrumah, the leading architect of Pan Africanism, recognized the importance of unity and solidarity if Africans were going to challenge the world hegemonies and become true masters of their destiny. It was clear to Nkrumah that failure to unite, African independence shall be without substance.
Imperialist countries and their corporations would continue to keep Africa on the leash.
Africa would remain a hostage to foreign powers and its economy shall continue to be captive to powerful foreign corporations.
Addressing the Organisation of African Unity Summit Conference in Cairo on 19 July, 1064, Kwame Nkrumah reminded his fellow Heads of State and Government about the necessity of unity on the African Continent: “ We must unite for economic viability…and to recover our mineral wealth…so that our vast resources and capacity for development will bring prosperity for us and additional benefit for the rest of the world”.
Amilcar Cabral, the revolutionary who led the struggle against Portuguese colonialism in Cape Verde and Guinea Bissau, was correct when he observed: “… so long as imperialism is in existence, an independent African state must be a liberation movement in power or it will not be independent.”
The first generation of African nationalists were clear in understanding the nature of imperialism. It was for that reason that they sought alliances in other forums such as the Non-Aligned Movement and the Organisation of African Unity(OAU). They clearly understood that the imperialists hegemony could only be resisted through unity and solidarity of the oppressed people.
For the purpose of defending its hegemony, imperialism unleashed neo-liberalism under the cloak of globalisation. Neo-liberalism as Issa Shivji of the University of Dar-Salaam, Tanzania, correctly stated that neo-liberalism was an ideological offensive against nationalism and socialism. Neo-liberalism opened up the world economy to capitalist vultures. Africa in particular, remained a virgin land to be exploited by old and new capitalists. Unfortunately, the new generation of African leaders embraced neo-liberalism lock, stock and barrel.
This situation gave the so-called foreign investors a free reign on African resources.
Africa is under the onslaught of neo-liberalism which is nothing else but neo-colonialism. Mkhosana Mathobela Bingweni of the University of Witwatersrand captured the current African condition as follows: “Old fashioned colonialism only changed its name, dropped its dry leaves but deepened its roots and refreshed its tactics and strategies of domination and control”.
Africa today under neo-liberalism is a neo-colony of old and new exploiters. Africa is held captive by multi-national companies while its people are sinking deeper in poverty and desperation.
It is for this reason that many an African youth are risking their lives to migrate to Europe.
There is therefore an imperative necessity for Africa to revive the spirit of African unity and solidarity. The idea of a pan-African nation should be rekindled if Africa was going to save itself from the neo-colonial onslaught. The neo-colonial capture of Africa by old and new economic hegemonies is responsible for the African misery. It thrives because it is supported by comprador class of African elites who are leading Africa today.
The comprador African ruling class which is predatory has abandoned the suffering masses of African people and aligned itself to international capitalist system.
The new pan-Africanism must therefore begin with the generation of ideas as to how to bring about genuine liberation and disseminate such ideas to the broad masses. The new Pan-Africanism must be based on the solidarity with the poor and the down trodden.
It should mobilise the working people who struggle daily under neo-colonial economy of plunder, dispossession and exploitation of African resources.
The new Pan-Africanism should create a pan-African civil society consisting of youth and students with the aim of fighting for social justice for the poor and the marginalised.
This is the only way Africa can save itself from its current state of dependence and imperialist control. Progressive Africa should re-echo Kwame Nkrumah’s clarion call: Africa must unite!

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