Is Pan-Africanism a figment of the imagination?

According to theorists reported by Wikipedia, Pan-Africanism is a political movement that promotes the independence of the African continent and encourages the practice of solidarity among Africans and people of African descent, wherever they are in the world. Pan-Africanism is simultaneously a social, economic, cultural and political vision of the emancipation of Africans. It is a movement that aims to unite Africans on the continent and in the African Diaspora into a global African community. The heart of its principle consists in the certainty that the peoples of Africa and the Diaspora share a common history and destiny and that their social, economic and political progress is linked to their unity. Its ultimate objective is the achievement of an integrated political organization of all the nations and peoples of Africa.

The word “pan-African” appeared at the end of the 19th century during the preparation for the First Pan-African Conference in 1900. Historically, the idea developed in reaction to the consequences of the progressive dismantling of slavery in America. The expansion of Pan-Africanism can be found in the writings and speeches of a few founding figures, including Edward Wilmot Blyden and Anténor Firmin. At the beginning of the 20th century, other figures such as Bénito Sylvain, WEB Du Bois or Joël Augustus Rogers contributed to the political affirmation of the Pan-African project.

With decolonization, it took on a new dimension and found itself embodied by leaders such as Kwame Nkrumah, Patrice Lumumba, etc. Even today, pan-Africanism is expressed in Africa as in the former colonial powers in the political, economic, literary and even cultural fields. The largest pan-African organization today is the African Union. This is what the theory on Pan-Africanism says. Let us now see what is involved in the practice of this pan-African movement.

In practice, the African is fought by his own African “brother” for personal interests, unlike Europeans who are in solidarity with each other. The Europeans support each other, help each other, especially in the face of a non-European, while the Africans torpedo each other, are jealous of each other, distrust each other. Same for Asians, Hispanics. It is in the African environment that we still find the practices of witchcraft with the aim of poisoning just to eliminate the other African opposite. Leadership conflicts give way to maraboutage, to the “Me”. In my village, in my region, it has to be me and me alone. Everything must bear my name. Beware of anyone who dares to stand in my way, I will plot against him and he will lose his job, he will no longer have the esteem of his boss, he will lose his notoriety.

It is this kind of people who are at the same time ministers, deputies, presidents of regional councils, village chiefs, etc. in their region. These practices are even stronger on the eve of each election and on the eve of each ministerial reshuffle. I am the president of the republic, I am the minister, I am the deputy, I am the most educated with the highest university degree in my region, the most senior, I am DG, CEO, I live in Europe, in Canada, in the USA, I am not just anyone, etc. etc everything must bear my name, one must venerate me, one must not contradict me, here is depicted the selfish African in all his splendour.

There is a lack of solidarity between African leaders, all hypocrites towards each other. Africans don’t like each other. They are ready to plot, to look with contempt, disdain, jealousy on their African colleague who has succeeded, mind to do battle with him spiritually or even physically. All the African leaders removed by force are the work of other Africans who have plotted against them. There are many examples but I don’t want to cite names on purpose so as not to offend anyone.

In the workplace, the enemy of the African is the African. The African who has become the boss will torpedo the Africans who are not from the same country of origin as him until they resign or are fired. Africans are grouped by socio-cultural affinities. Nationals of the same country come together, find each other. Within each country, subgroups are formed by ethnicity or religion. Within the ethnic groups the family reflex appears. At this micro-family level, discrimination also appears between members of the same family. The children don’t love each other. When the parents die, it’s the worst because everyone goes their own way after having squandered the inheritance left by the deceased parents.

In this pan-Africanist movement, what do we say about Arab Africans or white Africans? What is their position vis-à-vis Pan-Africanism? It seems that for these Moroccans, Egyptians, Algerians, Tunisians, etc., pan-Africanism concerns only the blacks of Africa, not them the whites of Africa”. Let’s look at their behavior from history to the present day vis-à-vis other Africans? It is said that the slave trade would also be part of it. The whites would have used the Arab Africans to mistreat the black Africans.

Here in the United States, black Americans do not feel African by about 2%. They even look at Africans with contempt. There are two feelings that animate them. The first feeling is that they resent having been sold by Africans into slavery. The second feeling is that they feel that Africans are coming to take their place in jobs and in social assistance programs. They even call Africans dirty men and women and uneducated poor people. Here is a brief report of the practice of the so-called pan-Africanism movement. Now let’s see what I think.

From my point of view

I believe, in view of the above, that there is a contrast between what Pan-Africanism is supposed to be advocated theoretically and its practical use. For me Pan-Africanism must cease to be a view of the mind and review its ambitions, its objectives, starting at home first. Pan-Africanism has a lot of work to do. In the family, Pan-Africanism must begin by raising awareness, bringing messages on parental education, love of neighbor, solidarity, mutual aid by rejecting the spirit of jealousy.

Within African families, African cultural values ​​must be inculcated in the child very early. The child must grow up with the precepts of self-love, love of others and above all love and sharing between Africans. National education must also integrate these fundamental precepts into the educational curriculum of pupils and students. Pan-Africanism should not be seen as a movement directed against non-Africans but a movement of love and mutual aid among Africans. Pan-Africanism must also advocate self-love, pride in being born African and without complex. So love yourself, love the other and accept his success, the success of the other without trying to harm him but rather to do like him while seeking his own path to success.

I do not agree with the current defenders of Pan-Africanism who stand up only against non-Africans, especially Westerners. Westerners can’t do anything if we Africans are united, in love, in work, if we support each other. They can never crack our walls. In the village they say that as long as you haven’t delivered your sheep, it can still live in the village without being worried. It is the Africans who have always delivered their African brothers.

If the enemy comes with the strength that he finds a united, determined people, he will not be able to exterminate everyone. No matter how many fishing boats there are always plenty of fish in the waters. So these enemies will leave discouraged. We have seen it in Asia. The Americans abandoned their war of occupation in the Philippines and Indonesia, the same for the English. It was in Africa that they certainly found resistance too, but crumbled, dispersed resistance which therefore could not worry them, especially since these Africans were not in solidarity with each other.

Look, for example, at what is happening in imports of consumer products. It is in Africa that we dump spoiled products, second-hand products, which have remained in freezers for a long time and are a source of cancer with the complicity of our leaders who favor imports of food and other products. Not only do these products harm the health of populations but also disadvantage national entrepreneurs whose products are considered second class. We should promote national production concretely and not lip service, also promote inter-African trade, inter-African circulation, but no. Our own organizations such as the African Union, ECOWAS, etc. are under the supervision and therefore under the control of Westerners with our complicity.

So dear defenders of Pan-Africanism, stop saying that our problems in Africa are other people’s problems. Before accusing others ourselves, what do we do, what have we done? Why the Asians succeeded why not us? We are even ashamed of our culture, our history, our languages, our clothes, our dances, etc. I believe that Pan-Africanism must be redefined to better reorient the movement. We need to stop crying that others are hitting us when we are the ones giving them the opportunity to hit us.

Westerners only seek their economic interests through alliances, and so-called friendships. Why do we accept Western spies in our meetings in Africa under the guise of partnership? Why do we not have the courage to say, for example, that this meeting is reserved exclusively for Africans? Why does the European Union participate in the financing of the African Union and it does not bother anyone in Africa?

Why do African leaders avoid approaching one of their own whom the West avoids meeting? The friendship between the African and the White is based on hypocrisy with a background of the White’s superiority complex and the African’s inferiority complex. While the African is proud to have a white friend, he only seeks other objectives in this relationship. How did the Bokassa, Mobutu, Nasser, Idiamin, etc. end, all those who considered themselves friends of white people?

African leaders must also stop relying on Westerners to cling to power against the wishes of their people. African leaders must accept transparency in the management of elections so that Westerners will one day start to respect us. We must practice democracy as they practice it at home and you will see that they will stop manipulating us. So friends of Pan-Africanism, the ball is rather in our court, we Africans.

In conclusion, if Pan-Africanism promotes self-esteem, love of neighbor, solidarity, respect for African cultural values, rigor in work, no one will come to manipulate us, no one will come to divide us to to reign. Pan-Africanism must revise its ambitions. It must be more realistic, stick to the evolution of modern times and focus more on cultural values ​​and true solidarity among Africans in the work for the development of the continent.


Dr. Charles Koudou, Health Administrator

Independent Consultant in Health and Development

Founder of the Civil Society National Conscience for Development facebook@charleskoudou

We wish to say thanks to the author of this write-up for this outstanding material

Is Pan-Africanism a figment of the imagination?

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