Pan-Africanism Did Not Originate From Africa

A Historical Perspective

Towards the celebration of the past African Liberation Day 2023, I was made to recall Kwame Nkurumah\’s speech of 24th May 1963 during the OAU meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

He eloquently and fervently addressed the imperative unity of African nations, emphasizing it as the sole formidable force against colonialism\’s grip on the continent. His vision for a united Africa continues even six decades after. However, in 1966, he was overthrown, sent to exile, and endured humiliation at the hands of colonial powers.

Nkurumah stands among the esteemed Africans who bore the cost of African Liberation. Presently, we still witness proxy coups, economic sanctions, and more. The question looms: How much greater a sacrifice must we endure for additional freedom? Moreover, how many of us are prepared to make that sacrifice? Because the necessity of a self-determined Africa for our development remains evident.

Moreover, it raises questions about the genesis of Pan-Africanism. Why the idea of Pan-Africanism was incepted from the west. The initial meetings from 1900 were all majorly attended by Black Americans and non-Africans until 1945 when Kwame Nkurumah of Ghana, Nnamdi Azikiwe of Nigeria and Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya attended the congress meeting in Manchester, London.

Why weren\’t the earliest meetings for African freedom not held in Tunis, Accra, in Abuja, in Mombasa or in Kinshasa? or in Soweto? Does it mean Africans and leaders who were here were inadequate or less motivated? The paradox of Africa\’s liberation being championed by people not intrinsically from the continent raises questions about the dynamics and complexities that surrounded the struggle for freedom on the continent.

With the same people who captured Africa being quote and quote founders of Pan-Africanism, what does that say about the aunthenticy of our struggle for African Liberation. What does that say about the AU? Such reflections prompt us to scrutinize if we are active participants in a legitimate contest or mere spectators in a predetermined match.

A lot of people say that Africans did wrong to adopt the western systems of governance like democracy and rule of law. But did we have an option? What would it be. This is considering the fact that we had already been colonized and society had completely changed and lost the indigenous systems.

Progressively, was there a way for Africans to prevent colonization from happening? In my opinion, there wasn\’t. Change was already here and it was either Africans changed, or change changed them. From a sociological point o view, societies must change over time due to various factors, whether to what people would consider as positive or negative.

Therefore, while the blame for the adverse effects of colonialism in Africa squarely lies on the colonialists. It is essential to consider for how long we should keep the blame. Moreover, we must contemplate our path forward, particularly in acquiring the autonomy to shape the future of our continent and determine our own governance.

We should unite as Africans, joining hands to collectively build and shape the destiny of our continent. By working together, we can harness our strengths, resources, and diverse cultures to create a brighter future for ourselves and generations to come.

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