What vision directs pan-Africanism and which developmental model does it support and promote? To answer this question, the article evaluates pan-Africanism within the demands of African modernity and locates the extent to which pan-Africanism meets the aspiration of African modernity. It argues that pan- Africanism has what amounts to a north-bound gaze and supports development imperialism, and shows that for this reason it is not properly grounded on African realities, the consequence of which is the weakness of African modernity. The article suggests a rearticulation of pan-Africanism through the ideology of pro- Africanism, which holds that autonomy and self-will are two cardinal principles that are fundamental to African self-definition but which pan-Africanism is not in a position to provide because it amounts to a subordination of African difference. It concludes that a redirection of the African vision in this direction is a worthier ideological alternative to pan-Africanism.
Lawrence Ogbo Ugwuanyi
A Basis for Pan-Africanism and the African Renaissance
Contrary to the view that Africa is populated by many ethnic groups whose cultures and languages have no relation to one another, scientific research, as opposed to impressionistic arguments, points to the fact that African languages are connected, and by extension, demonstrate African cultural connectivity and unity. By making reference to both African and European scholars, this article demonstrates pan-African linguistic and cultural unity, and echoes pan-Africanist scholars’ call for African linguistic and cultural unity as a basis for pan-Africanism and the African Renaissance.
The African Studies Centre has been a privileged institutional form in Britain for knowledge production on Africa since the end of colonialism. This article argues that the origin of these UK centres should be located in the colonial research institutes established in Africa, in particular the Rhodes-Livingstone Institute and the East African Institute of Social Research. Attention to the knowledge about Africa that was deemed authoritative by these institutes as well as to the institutions and structures underpinning that knowledge production can raise important questions about today’s centres that need to be addressed as part of a decolonization agenda.
Ajume H. Wingo
Conceiving of the problems of African colonialism in geopolitical terms offers an incomplete and ultimately misleading view of the significance of the African colonial experience on the present character of African politics. Unhappily, the track record of much of ‘independent’ Africa suggests that the colonisation of Africa was not so much the cause of Africans’ lack of freedom as a manifestation of the lack of freedom, without which Africans were unable to defend themselves. Colonialism is a force that probes for a certain type of weakness or limitations in a population. Colonialism seeks out certain ‘freedom voids’ – populations that lack the qualities of a free citizenry. I argue that Africans would do better to focus instead on the more general political problem of how any state, regardless of its experience with colonialism, must create and sustain the institutions that support the security and freedom of its citizens.
Contradicting pan-Africanism and the African Renaissance?
In his nine years as South Africa’s president, Thabo Mbeki was known as a leading pan-Africanist and an advocate of the African Renaissance. Pan-Africanism is an ideology aimed at uniting Africans into a strong force for total liberation. The African Renaissance is a project aimed at restoring Africans’ self-esteem damaged by colonialism and slavery. During and after his presidency Mbeki was criticised by the local and international media for putting at risk hundreds of thousands of South African lives by questioning the link between HIV and AIDS, and blocking drugs that could have saved many lives. If true, this would suggest that there is a contradiction between Mbeki’s pan-Africanism and the African Renaissance, which are supposed to be life-affirming on one hand, and exposing Africans to the perils of a fatal disease, on the other. This article examines Mbeki’s opponents’ arguments, and Mbeki’s stance in the context of pan-Africanism and the African Renaissance.
Adopting an African-focused perspective in the analysis of African experiences of mobility enables us to confront the limits imposed by a historicist-induced articulation of African experiences of mobility. This article offers some concluding remarks to a section on African mobilities and attempts a critical analysis of how an African-based perspective of mobility serves to decenter or provincialize the Western-centric discourses of mobility. This undertaking is important in the attempts to fashion African modes of thought that serve as a counternarrative to European thought and to subvert the misrepresentations of im/mobilities of Africa and things African.
In classical African communitarianism, individual rights have tended to be accorded a secondary status to the good of the community. What is prioritised are the duties and obligations the individual has to the whole as opposed to the entitlements one can expect to derive from a community qua individual. I seek to show that this view, by its own standards and assumptions, is erroneous in framing rights as secondary to the good of the community. I attempt to show that individual rights are an inherent component of classical African communitarian accounts. Further, I seek to argue for a non-communalist view of African communitarianism which takes into full account the multiple factors that constitute modern African communities. Such a view, I suggest, will avoid the unnecessary dichotomisation of rights which has become synonymous with the classical African communitarian account.
The article examines the ways in which French officers manipulated the image of the "savage and violent" African colonial soldier. While the background for the development of this image was the general European perception of Africa as a violent space, during World War I, officers, as well as parts of the French public, began to see Africans as "grown children" rather than savages. However, as this image served French military purposes and made the soldiers useful on the battlefields, it was not rejected outright. I look at the debate around recruiting Africans to serve in Europe on the eve of World War I, and the French attempts to refute the German accusations around the deployment of African soldiers in the Rhineland during the 1920s. Finally I examine how, thirty years later, during the Indochina War, African officers dealt with these conflicting images in reports about violent incidents in which African soldiers had been involved.
This article examines the impact of art, performance, and technology on the global transformation of heritage tourism in recent years. Thanks to a series of case studies focusing on sites of memory deemed important to diasporic Africans, this article shows how art, performance, and technology are central to identity formation through an examination of mnemonic aesthetics and practices. Recent changes in heritage tourism have given rise to the establishment of categories such as “tangible“ and “intangible“ heritage as well as the construction of museums, the implementation of walking tours or the promotion of reenactments and ritual performances alongside environmental, volunteer, and virtual tourism. But how do tourists' interpretations of historic sites of memory change when various economic, political, social, and cultural factors converge globally? People seek experiences and outlets that could enable them to cling to those things that are familiar to them, while enabling them to identify with like communities in the midst of ground-shaking social, technological, economic, and political changes. Heritage tourism is one of those social practices that produces a sense of centeredness through a complex negotiation and presentation of memory, art, and performance.
The topic of pan-Africanism today brings to the fore questions of the unfinished humanistic project of decolonisation in Africa. When Kwasi Wiredu (1996) calls for the need for conceptual decolonisation in Africa, he recognises the intellectual price the continent continues to pay as a result of conceptual confusions and distortions caused by a colonial conceptual idiom implanted in the African mind. Reflecting on the potential which the ideology of pan-Africanism holds for the continent’s future, my position is that the same passion and energy which brought about political independence should now be redirected to the epistemic front. A new form of pan-Africanism on the intellectual front is required to galvanise Africans to develop and deploy in their thinking veritable categories of analysis born out of the experiences of being African in Africa. It is in the generation and application of these alternative epistemologies that the future of the continent lies.