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Reassessing the Relevance of the Pan-African Discourse in Contemporary International Relations

Valery B. Ferim

Keywords: Afrocentrism; contemporary politics; diaspora; Eurocentric; pan-Africanism; ubuntu

Spearheaded by pan-Africanists around the beginning of the twentieth century, the pan-African movement hosted a series of Pan-African congresses. Though the main objectives of the First Pan-African Congresses were to fight against the colonisation of Africa and the oppression of black people, the messages behind pan-Africanism have evolved over time. The central theme behind these Congresses, however, is to reiterate calls that African unity is the most potent force in combating the malignant forces of neocolonialism and entrenching Africa’s place in the global hierarchy. These calls have clamoured for the solidarity of Africans both on the continent and in the diaspora through associated paradigms such as ‘Afrocentrism’, ‘postcolonialism’, ‘African indigenous knowledge systems’ and ‘African solutions to African problems’. Despite this, contemporary societies are characterised by the encroachment of Westernisation, which has become synonymous to globalisation. This article reassesses the relevance of the pan- African discourse within the context of the contemporary world.

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