The Black Power Pan-Africanist Perspective
The Black race will be exterminated
if it does not build a black superpower in Africa
by the end of this century.
African Unity: the problem and its dimensions
By Chinweizu Chinwizu
Copyright © Chinweizu 2008
One of the core objectives of Pan-Africanism, since 1958, has been African unity.
The three key questions about unity are: unity for what? Unity of whom? And what type of unity? Let’s consider them, one by one.
Unity for what?
All too often one gets the impression that Pan-Africanists are obsessed with unity for unity’s sake. But as Chancellor Williams pointed out, "Not ‘unity just for unity’ but unity for great achievements."-[The Destruction of Black Civilization, p.343] We therefore need to spell out the paramount objective to be achieved by any unity we are talking of. I would say that we need just enough unity to achieve the Black Power we need to guarantee our security and survival. Anything less is inadequate; anything more is superfluous. Black power is the only desirable objective of African Unity.
Unity of Whom?
There is no agreement as yet on the constituency for the much desired unity. Some, like Nkrumah, Padmore and Diop, have advocated a unity of the entire continent of Africa, a unity that would include the Black Africans and the Arabs in the African continent.
Some like Azikiwe and Museveni have advocated a unity of all who now reside on the African continent—Blacks and whites, including the Arab and European colonial settlers. Yet others want the unity to be between the Black Africans and their Diaspora in the Americas; and still others want the unity, whatever its form or forms, to be between the Black Africans in Africa and the Blacks world-wide, excluding the European and Asian settlers on the continent. These differences need to be thoroughly debated and a consensus reached on this vital question.
What type of unity?
On this there are divergent proposals, even though some claim that consensus has been reached, and that differences exist only over the means of implementing it.
According to Prof. Opoku Agyeman
"Africa’s predicament has not been in regard to determining the nature and character of the needed unity, but rather in respect to the implementation of it."
--Opoku Agyeman, (2001)in Africa’s Persistent Vulnerable Link to Global Politics, San Jose: iUniversity Press, 2001, p.123
However, please consider the following statements:
"This is my plea to the new generation of African leaders and African peoples: work for unity with the firm conviction that, without unity there is no future for Africa. That is, of course, if we still want to have a place in the sun. I reject the glorification of the nation-state, which we have inherited from colonialism, and the artificial nations we are trying to forge from that inheritance. We are all Africans trying to be Ghanaians or Tanzanians. Fortunately for Africa we have not been completely successful . . . Unity will not make us rich, but it can make it difficult for Africa and the African peoples to be disregarded and humiliated. And it will therefore increase the effectiveness of the decisions we make and try to implement for our development.
--Julius Nyerere, speaking in Ghana in 1997. Quoted in Kwesi Kwaa Prah, The African Nation, Cape Town: CASAS, 2006, p.276
"One must say that our first preoccupation (in foreign policy) has been and remains the creation of working African solidarity, with a view toward African unity, the necessity of which—now unanimously accepted—no longer seems necessary to prove."
--Amadou Ahidjo, 1962. Quoted in The African Nation, pp.276 –277
"I think that Pan-Africanism should be concretized either in the form of regional States or one continental State, whichever is feasible, . . . "
--Azikiwe, 1962, "The Future of Pan-Africanism" in J. Ayo Langley, ed., Ideologies of Liberation in Black Africa, 1856-1970, London: Rex Collings, 1979, p.305
"the organization of African unity in 1963 stated its first purpose to be ‘to promote the unity and solidarity of the African States’ "—Nyerere, (1968) in Langley ed, Ideologies, p.350
"The ideal of African unity is premised on the notion that the emancipation, development and prosperity of people of African descent can be achieved only through the unity of the people."
-- Kwesi Kwaa Prah, The African Nation, p.269
There cannot be "one Africa that fights against colonialism and another that attempts to make arrangements with colonialism."
--Frantz Fanon, quoted in The African Nation, p.276
"Our objectives must be the creation of an economic and politically federated continent. . . . If despite goodwill on our part, North African Arabs were to refuse a continental federation, then nothing should stand in the way of the formation of an exclusively sub-Saharan continental federation. . . . In such an eventuality, no one could accuse sub-Saharan Africans of being guilty of exclusivism, since their appeals to the North would have been refused."
--Chiekh Anta Diop, (1977); Afriscope Interview with Carlos Moore, in Great African Thinkers, ed by Ivan Van Sertima, New Brunswick: Transaction Books, 1986, pp. 260, 261
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