By Linda Masarira
This year’s theme of Africa Day is Arts, Culture And Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa We Want.
The contentious question would be, how do we build the Africa we want, when we have the majority of the African populace ignorant of their culture and heritage. Our people have no self determination and still have a deep seated colonial mentality.
As the continent of Africa gathers today in celebration of our blackness and African heritage, Labour Economists and Afrikan Democrats (LEAD) cries out over the complete vilification and downgrading of the African people by the ruthless white supremacy racists and Arabs.
More depressing is the reversal of the gains and vision of the Organization of African Unity (OAU). The 25th of May is the day we remember the launch of the OAU which was later renamed to African Union (AU), after seriously introspecting into the matter we have come to realize that not only was the organization renamed but it was also captured to run the white man’s agenda at the expense of Africans.
Over the past 58 years Africa focused on decolonization, the struggle against apartheid and attainment of political independence for the continent. On the occasion of The Golden Jubilee headed by the African Union (AU) the continent re-dedicated herself to the attainment of the Pan African Vision. It is in light of this that the Agenda 2063 was founded under the Pan Africanist guidelines. Fifty years after the first thirty-three (33) independent African states took a landmark decision to form the Organization of African Unity, we are looking ahead towards the next fifty years. This is the most painful thing that Labour Economists and Afrikan Democrats (LEAD) finds nothing to celebrate about. The idea is good but the implementation worries as it proves lack of seriousness and the willingness to perform.
I urge my fellow African leaders from both ruling and opposition parties to stop being mere planners but rather start implementing the unity Agenda for the purpose of improving Africa. History demonstrated through the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland that unity is productive than anything else. The hallmark of foolishness is not merely the production of failed results but not learning anything from previous mistakes. Nkrumah in a speech to the Ghanaian National Assembly made his views loud and clear when he said, “This new Africa of ours is emerging into a world of great combinations – a world where the weak and the small are pushed aside unless they unite their forces” (Webster Boahen and Tidy, 1967:383).
We must unite for economic viability, first of all, and then to recover our mineral wealth in Southern Africa, so that our vast resources and capacity for development will bring prosperity for us and additional benefits for the rest of the world. The war against exploitation and destruction of Africa was the pre-eminent in Nkrumah’s speeches and writings. He lamented about the division between African leaders and saw failure in division and success in unity for all African states and people. This clarion call for unity against imperialist and neo-colonialist interests fell on deaf ears and today, the IMF, EU, China, the United States of America and multinational corporations are wreaking havoc on Africa, without any regard for the peoples’ well-being.
Neo-colonialism is a monster that must be resisted if Africa is to make strides in its efforts to overcome its socio-cultural, economic and political predicaments. Many African leaders still strongly believe that the problems of Africa can solely be solved from outside Africa as epitomized by their reliance on former colonial masters thereby proving that they do not have an independent mind of their own. As LEAD we believe it’s high time that Africa seeks to harmonize her resources to move from being labelled as Third World.
We need to ask ourselves, “What have we contributed to the wellbeing of our countries and Mother Africa.” We need to remind ourselves that Africa is more important than us. When Africa is in shambles it discriminates not between Southern and Northern Africa or even individual countries as shown by the mass movement of people towards South Africa for better livelihoods thereby causing pressure on resources. We need to realize that we have an intergenerational duty to ensure that Africa is safe for generations to come and not only us so that those generations to come will not be forced to cry foul over our mismanagement of resources.
As the new breed of nationalism and Pan Africanism on the Zimbabwean Political landscape, LEAD is setting the record straight that as custodians of African Heritage we are disappointed by the way we continue to be treated as second class citizens in our own motherland. The way in which Africa is being governed is very retrogressive and breeds the spirit of self hate among citizens.
Since parceling out of African land by foreigners in the Scramble for Africa our continent has become the home of poverty and foreign manipulation. It worries all progressive African citizens how Libya has been turned into war zone in pursuit of foreign leadership principles defined and determined by American leadership through a bogus organization masquerading as United Nations (UN).
How do we attain the Africa we want, when global bodies are working against Africa in cahoots with world super powers. As we commemorate Africa Day today, several African countries are in conflict, their citizens living in terror & insurgents running amok killing innocent civilians in cold blood.
The situation in Chad is heartbreaking. Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict which has led to thousands of civilian deaths and displacements and allegations of war crimes and ethnic cleansing hovering over the conflict. In Ethiopia the second most populous country on the continent also has a dispute with Sudan and Egypt concerning its dam on the Nile River’s main tributary. Whilst in Mali the joint civilian military
Transition government Mali’s joint civiilian military transition after the coup last year is failing to maintain peace.
Just next door we have the Mozambique islamist insurgency in the North Cabo Delgado province which has led to a refugee crisis.
As we sit down to celebrate Africa Day we realize that after being sold a dummy we have nothing to write home about but every justification to curse our very own leadership. It is time we reshape our path as a people. Cultural degradation must stop forthwith if we are to prosper as a people.
The recent developments in Gaza are a sign that religion has been used a tool to pacify most Africans. Too much faith without practical and logical solutions to life problems is the hallmark of foolishness and must be dismissed.
As was noted by the founding fathers of Africa at the inception of the OAU in Addis Ababa, the late great icon of Africa Kwame Nkrumah highlighted the need for a United States of Africa so that we could systematically defend the continent from neo-colonialism. In as much as it might seem as if it’s too late, we have to follow the path. The recent “NO” votes in the “Responsibility To Protect” UN resolution is another step in the right direction which all leaders in the continent should embrace.
Today we remind ourselves that our voices will never be silent when our continent is under threat. We will not rest until Africa as a whole gains recognition of being an equal participant in the decisive boards determining the human agenda at international level. We need to rededicate ourselves particularly as young people to the African Agenda which our forefathers failed to achieve during their lifetime. History has demonstrated time and again that at critical moments in life it is the young men and women in every society who move societies. When the Ottoman Empire was under threat it is the young men and women who defended their society.
We need to remind ourselves as Africans that brothers should not rise against brothers, sisters should not rise against each other. Political conflicts should not be a matter of physical fights or wars but a battle of ideas that move society forward for the common good. We need to recognize that we can do something to save our continent. As Africans we seek social cohesion, political stability, economic emancipation just to mention but a few and to achieve these we need to introspect and realize that united we stand and divided we fall.
As Africans we need to be mentally de-colonized and take a firm stance by going back to our culture, which we inherited from our forefathers. It is a matter of fact that we should minimize eating the food that our colonial masters are exporting to us. We have to be mentally strong and refuse some of the food we are importing which may be unhealthy to us. Before the advent of colonialism, Africans were living much healthier and longer lives without suffering from most of the diseases that we are now faced with today. As Africans in particular we have a moral obligation, to reflect our minds on the dangers some of these food might have on our health. We have to maintain our culture, diets, and traditions to make the West know that we are no longer in the era of colonialism and can now live independently.
The crisis of Africa can be therefore summarized in this observation. The citizens of Africa are incapacitated, firstly, in their endeavours to try and deal with the environment and secondly, in their effort to try and understand nature and carve out developmental tools. This incapacity is premised on and compounded by Africa’s colonial legacy. Going forward there should be a deliberate effort towards mental realignment whose objective is meant to change mind-sets to inspire new self-determinist social, economic and political perceptions.
To say Afrika is incapable of economic development without the involvement of foreigners is an insult to the whole Afrikan race. Afrika is in the current position because of its colonial legacy. A number of issues need to addressed and corrected if Afrika has to move forward. The focus of anyone who purports to champion Afrikan progress should invariably be on mental decolonisation and realignment of our traditional value systems with modern political systems. Imperialism did not only alienate Afrikan resources but severely maimed the African thought process. It impacted on their perception of self and their ability to forge a sustainable, social, economic and political future. The assumed low self-esteem is the arch emery and prime impediment to Afrikan societal evolution.
In a nutshell, Africa will not realize her potential unless we are united. As we celebrate Africa Day 2021 we have to be truthful to ourselves on how we can have meaningful development through home grown solutions.
Linda Tsungirirai Masarira