Saturday, 5 May 2012

The way forward for pan Afrikanism (PART ONE) by Malaika wa Azania

by Malaika Wa Azania on Saturday, April 9, 2011 at 9:22pm ·
Pan-Afrikanism remains the most misunderstood philosophy in the world.It has been dismissed as a "pipe-dream" and many pan-Afrikanists have been branded as "racists" who are suffering from apartheid nostalgia.The international community in its entirety refuses to engage the philosophy,perhaps because of their fear of its potential magnitude in creating a paradigm shift of thought amongst the oppressed Black nation,or maybe because those who subscribe to the doctrine are themselves unable to define what it is and how relevent it is in the 21st century.It is with this understanding that rather than join the active struggle on the ground,some of us have opted for becoming activist writers who advocate for the adoption of the philosophy.
The reality of the situation is that there can be no revolution without revolutionary theory,and the duty that has been bestowed upon some of us is to redefine pan-Afrikanism,to shape the understanding of it so that when our forces go down to the masses,they teach what they know and thoroughly understand.

In its simplest connotation,pan-Afrikan is a political worldview that advocates for a united Afrika.It is a philosophy that dictates that Afrika is for Afrikans and thus,its economic policies and socio-political framework must be orientated towards a people-driven development agenda led by Afrikans themselves.

The economic ideology that guides this philosophy is Afrikan Socialism,which is an auto centric development that refers to a development strategy based on meeting our continent's own economic and social needs first.
Production of goods and services is geared primarily towards the domestic and regional market,with export playing a secondary and supplementary role.

Pan-Afrikanism in Azania was introduced in 1959 by the late Mangaliso Robert Sobukwe,who was the first elected president of the Pan-Afrikanist Congress of Azania (PAC).
Sobukwe,along with other members of the Youth League of the then Black nationalist orientated ANC,left the ANC to form the PAC after the former adopted the Freedom Charter or Kliptown Charter as it is commonly known.This document,which stated that "South Afrika belongs to all those who live in it" was a contradiction to the objectives of the 1949 Programme of Action of the ANC,which seeked to radically address the question of land and its re-attainment from a settler minority that had complete ownership of it and all natural resources that were the country's source of wealth.
Fearing the compromise of the struggle by mother body,the Youth League in almost its entirety abandoned the ANC to establish this nationalist formation.

The first programme that the PAC embarked on after its formation was the Anti-Pass Campaign that was launched on the 21st March 1960.This campaign seeked to radically challenge the brutal dom-pass system that was a burden to Black people.On the day,men,women and children in multitudes marched in Langa (Western Cape),Sharpeville (Gauteng) and other areas around the country.In Sharpeville alone,over 7000 people marched to voluntarily hand themselves over to the apartheid police to be incarcerated for not having the compulsory documents in their possession.The police retaliated by firing at the unarmed crowd,killing 69 and wounding 180 people,including women and children.
At that moment,the armed struggle was born.

Shortly after the Sharpeville/Langa massacres,the PAC and all other liberation movements were banned.Leaders were arrested,including Sobukwe,and those who escaped had to go underground.
So,we can already see that before it was even a year old,the PAC was already a serious threat to the establishment.The philosophy of pan Afrikanism was a serious threat to the establishment.

It has been over 5 decades since pan-Afrikanism was born in Azania.It has been 33 years since the death of Sobukwe and pan Afrikanism has taken serious blows.The rise and power of the Black Consciousness Movement in the 60s and 70s gave us hope that the end of White domination was near,but the abandonment of the armed struggle in 1989 shattered that hope.The birth of the United Democratic Movement (UDM),the Conference for a Democratic South Afrika (CODESA) and ultimately,the democratic elections of 1994 cemented the fate of pan-Afrikanism,for to some extent and in different degrees,all these developments compromised the struggle of the Azanian people.In advocating for a democracy before land was seized,we were forced to negotiate from a beggar's position,for we came on the reconciliation table with nothing but our suffering,while the other party came with our land,our resources and our lives in the palms of their hands.

(part two continues)

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