By The Good Elephant
An awakening is currently under way within the black populace. We have reached a point whereby through the Virtual connectivity allotted to us by the power of the internet, especially social media, the black mass is uniting around black issues affecting us on a whole. Black issues in one corner of the earth now find resonance in another different corner of the earth. Don’t get me wrong, the black nation has not yet united as our forefathers called us to do so. We haven’t even reached the kind of unity Marcus Garvey achieved with the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), but we have grown more connected to each other. Many of our folk still depend on the ‘Tell your Vision to be programmed’ (Television Programme) and print media to get informed, but through the power of the internet, we are increasingly sharing positive and true stories about ourselves and our history.
Through the internet we have found power to decolonise history and tell the real Afrikan story. A typical social media timeline should be littered with stories showcasing or explaining white supremacy, stating that Jesus was Black or dismissing the whole Jesus story, posts about putting the Greek Mythologists in their true place in history, in the dustbin of great thieves, pictures of black dolls, instructions on head wraps, tips about how to take care of natural hair, shared memes littered with quotes about Afrikan greats such as Sankara, Nkrumah, Cabral, Woodson Carter, Du Bois, Garvey, Biko, Sobukwe etc. This however is not seen everywhere, but a person whose friends/followers list is connected to the greater black community, does show such traces.
This wave of Afrikan gnosis has created an important virtual community whereby many of our people feel at home. Many virtual movements are being established in the form of Facebook groups, blogs etc. it is in these congregated spaces where likeminded individuals meet to share knowledge, argue it, learn and grow each other. Although this is not the case in many of these movements, with too much politicking, tribalism or disrespect to one another, the fact that such spaces exist, is what’s important for the black nation, for our people are finally connecting with one another. However we do need to set things straight and define what our trajectory should be for too much time is spent discussing history and timelines in our movements. Please and I repeat, Please do not misquote me and say I am looking down on the black man’s history, no, after all, it is part of my essence as a human being.
The key is that, one does not spend his whole lifetime critiquing history. That serves no purpose to the movement, unless insights and learnings are reaped from that history and then adopted & implemented for the betterment of our people, today. The adoption and implementation of learnings is a bit far-fetched since the movement gains a whole lot of masses every day, who in their initial shock to the former lies told about us, still need to go through a cognitive dissonance phase, which leads to us babysitting people, breastfeeding them bit by bit the power that is our true history until they get to such a stage that they can be significant members of the movement. This is a necessary part of ensuring that the movement grows since without proper nurturing, our people become at risk of being swallowed back up by the lies told in the white supremacist history, narrated in a million different ways, with the outcome being the same “WE FREED YOU!!!”
It is on this point where by our people stand at the greatest risk of being swayed back into the same dark whole they crawled out of. As much as the internet is aiding us in our endeavours to Unite on issues, it is also a weapon situated at the fingertips of the enemy, and the power he had of spreading lies and negativity about us to the masses, has been amplified. Too many ideologies and -isms exist out there, with our people gobbling them up, at alarming rates. Truly speaking, wherever our people are, no matter what language they speak, the only –ism that they should find resonance with is that of Pan Afrikanism. Now within the Pan Afrikan movement, we have so many different interpretations of the ideology and that has given the enemy the opportunity to infiltrate and attach other –isms or ideologies to the movement. You read online discussions and hear people state that “we are Pan Afrikans who are socialists” other saying “No, Pan Afrikanists are communists”, some others stating that “Pan Afrikanism is about all Afrikans in Africa, black and white”. This confusion although stemming from different interpretations which are valid in their own rights, can’t be good for the movement. A divided house cannot achieve any progress.
In this regard, what then do we do? What solutions do we have? I would like to state that, you cannot try to change a bad situation by doing the very same thing that got you there or by doing something that has been proven to fail before. Hence the statement that, you engage with history, reap learnings, adopt and implement. When we speak of Pan Afrikanism as a concept, it has many fathers, but the true father of the Pan Afrikanist global movement has to be Henry Sylvester Williams. It was in 1897 when he founded the ‘Afrikan Association’ (later called the Pan Afrikan Association) which in three years was able to host the first ever Pan Afrikan Congress, in London. Before this time, many great Afrikan leaders, had championed the concept, notably, leaders like Booker T Washington, Walker David, Cuffe Paul, etc. now with each leader, giving their version of Pan Afrikanism, the greatest form of Pan Afrikanism, ever to have been witnessed, is that of Marcus Garvey, termed ‘Garveyism’. Why the greatest? You will have to research Him on your own, don’t be lazy, just google Marcus Garvey….
The greatest gift given to us by Garveyism is not only a true testimony that the Unity of all the people of Afrikan Descent is possible, but the 8 tenets of Pan Afrikanism which he himself and his movement did not found but implemented in such a great manner. These tenets can be used to educate the masses, spot the diluted/infiltrated movements and implement in our new found conscious freedom, as we define our future. After all, it is a premise of Pan Afrikanism that all the people of Afrikan descent do not only share a common History, but a common Destiny. The eight tenets of Pan Afrikanism as defined by Garveyism are outlined below as they were taught to a Philadelphia meeting by Dr Umar Abdullah Johnson. (NB: I have paraphrased most of what he said so as to make it relevant to our context):
- Race Pride – absolute pride in being an Afrikan. Not arrogance, not supremacy. This is not black supremacy as opposed to white supremacy. This is what the whole concept of Black consciousness is about, building a sense of Pride in being Afrikan, acknowledging your place in society as a full human being capable of great and mighty exploits. Such Pride is an antidote to the constant negative messages that society perpetuates about the Afrikan race. An antidote not for society but for the Afrikan race itself for if we do not take pride in our race, who will? This is key, because for us to grasp the concept of being part of humanity, we need to understand our own uniqueness’s and showcase them to the world, in a positive manner. Just as Robert Sobukwe said “Africa for Afrikans, Afrikans for Humanity, Humanity for God”
Recommended Reading: I Write What I Like – By Steve Biko
- (Racial) Afrikan Identity – which is very important since, just because you are biologically an Afrikan, is of no good to the movement unless you are consciously one. Just because you have the genes, means nothing unless you can think in the context of a group. Not being a South Afrikan, a Nigerian, a Kenyan, an Egyptian, Afrikan American or an English Afrikan, Nooo!!! This is not about identifying what flag your country looks like, or who colonised you. Aren’t we today masquerading arrogantly in public with our national identities? Saying things like “We West Afrikans”…”We South Afrikans” or “We Afrikan Americans”, thinking we are better by virtue of who colonised us, when all of these are just small pieces of a greater continent, divided through violence and conquest. Pan Afrikanism is about thinking in a context of a group i.e The Afrikan Race (on the continent & in the diaspora) rather than having a nationalistic tribalism.
Recommended Reading: Indaba, My Children – By Credo Mutwa
- Self-Reliance – The dependency complex that has been bred into the Afrikan mentality has crippled our ability to do for self. This is why there can’t be aliens (non – Afrikan members) in our movements because their presence will lead a lot of us who are still climbing the woke ladder to look to them for guidance, something that comes naturally unless one has been in touch with the ideology of BC. Those who invest in you are by virtue of you accepting their “help”, given rights to redirect your vision or plainly put, tell you what to do. This can be seen from the various anti Afrikan policy changes that Afrikan nations have to do as part of their IMF, World Bank & Western loans obligations or “Aid” as they call it these days. Achieving this as individuals of one nation allows us to fully determine our future and build towards our common destiny i.e. The Africa We Want. This means building our own schools, selling products we produce, funding for Postgraduate research topics that we seek to do.
Recommended video: The Theory of Self Reliance: Booker T Washington & Marcus Garvey – By Dr John Henrik Clarke
- Black Image of God – subverting the psychological effects that are linked to worshiping, God’s that don’t look like you and since the Gods worshiped do not have an alien appearance to the ones we have on earth, their worship naturally leads our race to attach god ship to whichever race that the god we worship looks like. The subconscious works by association and it groups everything. So we have to guard the mind, this is important. If you believe in a God, have never seen one and believe that his image is unknown, then that’s all good but if you have an inclination to put an image to your God, it has to be black. This is not a philosophical decision but a psychological one and if your God made you in his image, then you got to look like him/her, that psychologically makes sense.
Recommended Reading: Concept of Deity – By Dr John Henrik Clarke
- Black economic power – which is what funnels into the need to be self-reliant. No nation can do what it wills if it has no economic power. You might be surprised but in nominal terms, as the Afrikan nation we do have economic power in that, we have the power to make economic decisions. Remember we are talking group economics here, not as individuals but as a group. The vast amount of currency that we as the Afrikan nation possess globally, is immense and the possibilities of what we can achieve if we were to pummel all of our money into Afrikan economies, in a day, many economies globally would stumble. And by Afrikan economies I mean businesses that are run by us not extensions of European businesses on the continent. Unfortunately, in Real terms, we do not have economic power since most of the currency we possess; is gained through hard word & sweat at other nations businesses.
I always have to say this when it comes to the topic of Black economic power, and that is, it is not only achieved through entrepreneurship. We can’t all be entrepreneurs but those of us who have dreams and aspirations for the corporate life, nothing stops us from using the same organs which we are entrusted to lead as executives or managers, to empower, equip and drive change within Afrikan economies (businesses & communities) in such a sustainable manner that those Afrikan communities & businesses can be self-reliant. Also, since we can’t all be entrepreneurs, as some chase that CEO/CFO gig, ensure that you invest your own money in Afrikan businesses through becoming a partner, shareholder, non-exec director etc. Why? Your time, money and knowledge can accelerate the realisation of Black economic power.
Recommended Reading: Black Economics: Solutions for Economic and Community Empowerment – By Dr Jawanza Kunjufu
- Unity (Umoja) – unity amongst us even as we have different languages, different shades of colour, different income classes, different political affiliations, different religious backgrounds, and different origins, on the continent or in the diaspora. Again, Pan Afrikanism is about thinking in the context of a group. Though we may fight, argue and disagree with each other on many things but as one family, our actions or lack thereof are linked and our destiny is but one. When the Arab nation first landed on the continent and began the slave trade, those in the southern parts of the continent would’ve been foolish to stand over and laugh at the ones in the north for a few years later, the European arrived and conquered the whole continent, without any remorse. So our connected and shared past inextricably potrays our common future and only in Unity can we achieve this.
When Marcus Garvey and the UNIA released the “Declaration of the Rights of the Negro Peoples of the World”, it was a cry for the whole Afrikan nation in bondage all over the world, a sign of great Unity, yet to be achieved in this age. A great opportunity for us Afrikans to unite, is within our grasp, especially with how the internet has made us realise how our experiences of oppression, racism etc. are so similar and connected. Only in UNITY can we achieve The Africa We Want. No Afrikan person can suffer racism or oppression anywhere in the world if we as the Afrikan nation can stand together, united and in solidarity for the repercussions will be large. This can only be achieved by having a desire to link up with the whole and subvert ones individual agenda, for the betterment of the group.
Recommended Reading: Centered: Building Afrikan Realities – By Mwalimu K. Bomani Baruti
- Nationhood – embracing the fact that whichever current nationality you possess (within Africa or abroad) holds no water for, there only exist one nation and that is the Afrikan nation. This goes hand in hand with possessing an Afrikan identity and breaking the very destructive nationalistic tribalism that we possess. Xenophobia could never be a norm if as Afrikans we push for nationhood. Why nationhood? It is the only self-protection you have and can get. The world will always and forever treat you as an Afrikan and therefore only Afrikan nationhood can serve you. If you don’t grow the food you eat, who does? If you don’t teach your child, who does? Things such as uncovering container-ships from China with fake condoms at a Kenyan port will cease to exist when we embrace an Afrikan Nationhood. Things of the American government deliberately injecting Afrikans in America with syphilis and calling it an experiment, will cease to exist when we embrace an Afrikan Nationhood. This is very critical for us as a nation to survive and thrive.
Recommended Reading: Philosophies & Opinions of Marcus Garvey – Edited by Amy Jacques-Garvey.
- Black Political Power – “A government of Afrikan people, by Afrikan people, for the Afrikan people” Robert Sobukwe. Not a black face whose policies and moves are anti Afrikan. We need this in order to ensure that we govern ourselves, determine our own policies & draft our own constitutions that speak to our values and norms as Afrikans. A new and greater Africa can only be built by us. For Racism to truly fall, for the propagation of White supremacy to be relinquished on the African continent, we need Black Political Power. This is very important for as we not only share a common history but also a common destiny, only Black political power can give us the space to reach this shared destiny.
Recommended Reading: Selected Speeches of Robert Sobukwe and a mini-biography – Compiled by Sinethemba Sembene Mandyoli
This concludes the 8 tenets of Pan Afrikanism as presented by the movement of Garveyism. It is important I state that, this version of Pan Afrikanism is not absolute nor discredits other versions, No. this is just myself acknowledging the greatest ever Pan Afrikan to walk this earth in terms of impact upon the Afrikan people of the world. If these tenets where important to him and his movement which still is the largest ever Afrikan movement to ever be assembled on earth, then that should convince us to follow suit. Throughout this year, we will dedicate a few articles to some of the tenets of Pan Afrikanism listed above, so be sure to be on the lookout for those. Do engage the recommended readings & video in order to understand the individual tenets more and awaken your mind.
As the Awakened Minds, we declare 2017 as the year of Pan Afrikanism where all of us work tirelessly for the unity, betterment, liberation and wellbeing of all Afrikan people, wherever they are in the world. May we take up the 8 tenets of Pan Afrikanism, embrace them and make them our daily bread. May we live and thrive by them at all times.
About the Contributor
The Good Elephant is one with the African people. From Cape to Cairo & beyond the seas, He helps shape and bring change to the African, through every word uttered & every act taken. With Pan Africanism being his backbone, his trumpet only sounds the call for African liberation.