INTRODUCING PAN AFRICANISM
Marcus Garvey and W.E.B Du Bois – Founding Fathers of the Pan African movement.
I would argue that Pan Africanism is generally not well understood in
West African Students Union (SWANU) in
Over the past decade in South Africa we saw the PAC squander its huge Pan Africanist potential capital in its pursuit of a black consciousness agenda (Biko had said ‘I write as I like’), which had nothing to do with Pan Africanism,but which the public in South Africa perceived was a Pan African agenda. If the PAC had been a Pan African organisation it should have been pre-occupied with developments in
Minority communities in Southern Africa and in
Another truth which needs to be stated and which is often lost, is that there is only one route to African unity and that is via Pan Africanism/African nationalism. That may appear obvious, but the fact is that few of the people who talk about African unity have taken time to read and study the development of the ideal. The question needs to be asked, why? One would go so far as to call Pan Africanism/African nationalism a political science, or rather a particular area of polical science, or alternatively, international relations. Like any other science it can be studied. One knows of few places in
At the main library at the University of Namibia, in the Journal of Southern African Studies, volume 30, number 1 of March 2004, is found the article ‘Communist and Black Freedom movements in South Africa and the United States:’by Edward Johanningsmeier. The paper begins by making the connection between the Garveyist movement in the 1920’s and South African activists. Interestingly it has no difficulty in incorporating both the socialist and capitalist (i.e. left and right) orientations in one text. Johanningsmeier is clear about the interaction between the African Diaspora and
Prof Kwesi Prah in his paper entitled ‘Capacity of the Southern African states in developing and implementing policies promotive of African unity through Pan Africanism’ delivered in Durban in October 2003, tells us about the work of the Pan Africanist Henry Sylvester Williams in Cape Town around 1903. P rah refers to figures such as Sol Plaatje, Selope Thema and Walter Sisulu’s early politicization by way of Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) founded in
If the issue of Pan Africanism is raised here in
Emmett’s text is the authorative source on Garveyism in
The two leading pioneers in the Pan African Movement, Marcus Garvey and WEB Du Bois are herewith introduced on equal footing. Earlier reference was made to the interconnection by Johanningsmeier of the African communists and nationalists in North America and
As Prah says in his above-mentioned paper,‘the Ideal of African unity has been a consistent and ever present feature in African nationalist through since the end of the 19th century’.In the unipolar world today, moving to a multi-polar world tomorrow, the politics of unity will be the dominant discourse globally. This discourse for us will be grounded in the soil of African nationalism. However whereas the nationalism which decolonised Southern Africa was in pursuit of the recognition of the states created by the Berlin Conference, none of these states proved viable. The future objective therefore is the unity of the African nation, a larger objective than the nation state project.
The seed of Pan Africanism originated in
The experience of the Eastern Diaspora is now being shaped.Its voice is emerging in places such as Darfur in Sudan.It did not resonate in the past, as did the Western Diaspora by way of Pan Africanism,because of the fact that the voice of Africans in the Middle East and
To go to the essence of the experience of the Diaspora and the lessons to be learnt, these are the practical learning experiences of history -for example
Garvey and Du Bois were the Founding Fathers of the African unity movement. They were not the first Pan Africanists but they emerge, by their dedication and commitment to sets of principles, as significant leaders, who unified Africans across continents.
From ‘The Negro almanac- a reference work on the African American’, compiled and edited by Ploski and Williams, published by Gale Research Inc. in Detroit, USA in 1989, we learn that Garvey was born in Jamaica in1887. He dedicated his life to the advancement of the African people of the world through the creation of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) and the African Communities League. He believed that Africans could never achieve equality unless they became independent – founding their own nations, governments, businesses, industrial enterprises and military establishments. Garvey departed this world in 1940, in
WEB Du Bois was born in the
Prah in his paper states that Pan Africanism represents the most distinguishing feature of African nationalism as a wider project than neo–colonial state formation, opposing the balkanization of the continent. Countless nameless Africans within our Continent gave of their lives to advance African nationalism. The difference your author has with Dudley Thompson is his Pan Africanism of the elites, of the ‘big’ names. Pan Africanism is made in large measure by the nameless Africans who gave of their lives so that we could be free.