To be an African is to be a member of a unique fraternity with members in all parts of the global manor – all of whom are connected and bonded by the deleterious and criminal acts of post-1450
One of the several ways continental and Diaspora-Africans has tried to dull the impact of slavery and colonialism is through the spatial, physical and mental bonding of Africans the world over. Pan-Africanism, then, is an effort to unite Blacks in order to (1) confront Western domination and exploitation of the continent and its resources; (2) give global Africans the voice, the courage, and the wherewithal to improve their economic, social, and political lot; (3) to enrich and empower global Africans to take their rightful place in the global system; and (4) to achieve one of the central tenets of the major religions: that all men are created equal, and are not to be exploited, subjugated and dismissed.
Michael W. Williams, and others, have posited that Pan-Africanism is “based on the belief that African people share common bonds and objectives and that advocates unity to achieve these objectives…a cooperative movement among peoples of African origin to unite their efforts in the struggle to liberate
How far has Pan-Africanism come since its early years? Well, in spite of its early triumphs, the jury is still out, however, there are certain observable phenomenons: (1) the rise of subnationalism or ethnonationalism within Africa and beyond seems to be rendering Pan-Africanism irrelevant; (2) the fragmentating and failing nature of African States also calls into question the raison d’entre of Pan-Africanism; (3) fifty or so years after “flag independence,” African-Americans, along with their Afro-Asians and Afro-Latino brethren have not shown encouraging and measurable interest in the affairs of the continent and its people. What we have is indifference and sly ennui on their part; (4) because Africans themselves have, for the most part, validated the thinking of Europeans about the continent, global Africans neither have the joy, nor see the need, to fully embrace the continent and its peoples; and (5) when aggregated, Blacks in other parts of the world are only slightly better off than Blacks in the continent. Unable to significantly better their role and place in their own societies, Diaspora-Blacks have shown marginal interest in what happens to
Africa was supposed to be the
Outside of the African continent, several meetings took place, for instance, the Chicago Conference on Africa, 1895; the Atlanta Congress on Africa, 1895; the Pan-African Conference, 1900; the First Universal Race Conference,
Besides the ideological differences, economic competition and military rivalry between the East and the West, along with old and new problems vis-à-vis terrorism, immigration, environmental problems, and global health concerns that pulls and tugs and diverts global attention, the West is busy looking for ways to keep dominating and exploiting those in the margin. The unity and prosperity of Africans and their scattered brethrens is not of immediate concern. And Africans have no ways of attracting the attention and genuine interest of the West. So, what does it mean to be an African? And for that matter, what does it mean to be Afro-Latino, Afro-Caribbean, Afro-Asian or Africa-American in today’s world? Not much! In jest, or perhaps not, not a few have said that the world will not miss Africa should
Considering the challenges, concerns and constraints that face global Africans, it is time — a time long overdue — for them to reevaluate their relationship with the world. Yes, they cannot operate in a vacuum; they cannot operate as an island as the world is much too interconnected and interrelated for that. But they must device ways to go about their collective-lives without being beggars, harlots, child-like, and suggestible puppets. Continental Africans themselves should mould and direct their own destiny. But, they cannot be masters of their own fortune when they themselves have no regards for life and for decency; when they allow their leaders to steal and cheat and violate all laws known to man and to the heavens. In a continent with 54 or so countries, it is increasing getting harder and harder to point to political leaders with conscience, with visions and stellar character. What’s a country without a true leader?
The goal of Pan-Africanism was simple: to help liberate Africans, wherever they may be, from oppression and exploitation as designed by the Europeans. In today’s world, who is going to liberate the common African from the predatory and exploitative policies of their own governments and elites? Who is coming to the aid of the average man on the streets of
Indeed, the African saddle is too heavy to shoulder: what Africans, at home and broad, need to pursue are many. Here and now, there is a lot to be said for strong institutions, leaders of conscience, respect for life and human decency, for human rights and for the fundamentals of development; and for social, political and intellectual maturity of the continent and its peoples. Pan-Africanism does not mean a thing, and will not amount to anything, more so in a Black world where there is pervasive poverty and perversion of humanity and conscience. Where does Pan-Africanism fit in in all of these? I wonder.