Cooperation in Africa refers to the way African countries relate to each other. It is stimulated by the economic exploitation and political domination by Western Europe. The cooperation has been in form of;
Organization of African Unity (African Union)
The East African Community
Economic Community of Western African States.
Common Markets for Eastern and Southern Africa.
Meaning of Pan-Africanism
“Pan” means “all” and “Africa” refers to the continent. “Africanism” refers to those of African Origin.
Pan-Africanism is a belief in the uniqueness and spiritual Unity of Black people acknowledging their right to self determination.
It is a movement aimed at unifying all the people of African descent in the world. It stands for economic, political and social advancement for all peoples of African descent throughout the world.
Origin and Development of pan-Africanism
The movement has roots in the trans-Atlantic slave trade that took place between 15th and 19th c. the trade was responsible for the dispersal of black people all over the world. The suffering the slaves underwent made them become conscious of their colour and origin. The Africans viewed themselves as having a common destiny. Even those who remained in Africa were later subjected to the colonial experience including forced labour, land alienation, taxation, poor wages, discrimination corporal punishment rape and murder.
The movement first started as the Pan Black Movement for the American and Caribbean black only. Several African Americans wanted to uplift the lives of fellow Africans in USA and in Africa. They included Martin Delaney, Alexander Cromwell, Bishop James Johnson, Wilmot Blyden and Bishop Turner. The leading pan-Africanists in America were Booker T Washington, Marcus Moziah Garvey, Dr. William Edward Burghardt Du Bois and George Padmore.
The pioneer African pan-Africanists included Kwegyir Aggrey from Gold Coast, Wilmot Blyden from Liberia, Kwame Nkrumah from Ghana and Leopold Sedar Senghor.
The Pan Black Movements enlisted all blacks worldwide. It sometimes was called Pan Negro Movement and was pitted against the evils of racism.
Pan Black Movement gave birth to Pan-African Movement, which had its first meeting in London in 1900 attended by 32 delegates, drawn from USA, Africa, Canada, West Indies and Britain. Sylvester Williams, a lawyer from Trinidad, coined the term Pan-Africanism. By 1920, an all-African idea had been developed.
The first pan-African congress for Africans was held in Manchester –England in 1945, also attended by Jomo Kenyatta.
Causes of pan-Africanism
The Trans-Atlantic slave trade. It took place between 15thand 18thcenturies.Africans who were forced into slavery in America during this period suffered a lot under the white people. The Africans in Diaspora, through humiliation and sadness realized they had a common destiny.
Colonization of Africa. The division of Africa into 50 colonies separated some communities. It also put together various people of different history and culture. The divide and rule tactics of colonialists brought deep divisions among same communities. The Africans realized later on that there was need to find a common ground to bring about change.
The need to correct the negative ideas about Africa and Africans held by Europeans. The whites held a popular belief that Africans belonged to an inferior race without ability to run their own affairs.
Pan-Africanism was a fight against Racism-Africans was despised and ridiculed on the ground of colour and hair texture.
The evolution of leadership cadre of educated class of Africans- leaders like Kwame Nkrumah, Sedar Senghor, Jomo Kenyatta and Blyden wanted to prove that Africans were a civilized people with a rich history and culture.
European missionaries had discriminated against the Africans /Africans formed independent churches contributing to the rise of Pan-Africanism.
Objectives of the Pan-African movement
To unite all the peoples of African origin in the struggle for emancipation from social discrimination and colonial rule.
To challenge the ideology of white supremacy on which European colonization was based.
To improve the African living conditions in the Diaspora and in the African continent.
To secure democratic rights for all African peoples e.g. right to vote. Form political associations etc.
To restore the dignity of the black people and liberate them from the bondage of slavery.
To create a forum through which protests against European colonization and racial discrimination could be channeled.
To find better ways of establishing better relations between the Europeans and Africans on the one hand and among Africans on the other hand.
To appeal to missions and humanitarians to protect Africans against colonial aggression and exploitation as well as land alienation.
To fight neo-colonialism
1. Marcus Garvey (1887-1940)
He was born on 17th August 1887 in the West Indies island of Jamaica to a family of freed slaves. The fact that Marcus was very dark is what shaped his philosophy of Pan-Africanism. While a young man, he witnessed great European and Mullato discrimination on account of his complexion.
He arrived in USA in 1916 after widely travelling in south and Central America and Britain. While in England, he was greatly encouraged by Mohammed Duse to lead the peoples of African descent all over the world in the struggle for liberation.
He developed the Pan-African philosophy in USA through which he sought to make Africans take pride in their blackness and cultural heritage. He founded the Negro Empire in New York in 1920. He organized a black convention in 1924 in New York during which he launched the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) whose HQs were to be at Harlem, New York. UNIA had the following objectives;
~ To create universal fraternity among the Black Race.
~ To assist uplift the civilization of African communities.
~ To establish a central nation for the black race.
~ To establish academies for African children.
~ To promote African cultures.
Garvey founded a Journal “The Negro World” and the African Orthodox Church under a black Patriarch or chief Bishop and a Black Madonna as the symbol of his church.
He advocated for the return to Africa by the Africans. To Garvey, freedom was to be gained through economic empowerment of Africans. To this end, he mobilized African Americans to contribute funds to establish black businesses like the Black Starline Shopping Company. The project however collapsed due to mismanagement. He was arrested, tried and convicted of fraud (collecting funds unlawfully) and imprisoned for five years. He was deported to his home country Jamaica after two years in Jail where he died in 1940
He is credited for succeeding in mobilizing Africans to take pride in their cultures and complexion.
2. Booker T. Washington.(1856-1915)
He was born in 1856 in USA to a poor slave family. He acquired a university degree in Agriculture at Hampton Institute.
He is credited for promoting African Education.
He started a model institute for training blacks in agricultural and industrial skills (the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama).
Unfortunately, Washington adopted a policy of cooperation with the government as a means of winning acceptance by the European community. To him, Africans ought to gain wealth in order to attain equal status with Europeans and end racial discrimination. He began the National Negro Business League with the help of a European Andrew Carnegie.
He died in 1915.
He was born in great Barrington, Massachusetts, USA on 23rd February 1868.
He was the first black to receive a PHD Degree and become a professor of History, Economics and Sociology. He was also a renowned journalist.
He greatly disagreed with Booker T. Washington’s policy of accommodation and cooperation. In 1905, he established the Niagara Movement to protest against racial discrimination. In 1900, he was one of the founder members of the National Association for the advancement of Coloured Peoples (NAACP) an association that championed for the struggle for Negroes’ civil rights in America.
He prepared the pan-African conferences that were held between 1900 and 1945 to fight against slavery, colonial exploitation and repression of African peoples. He was the chairman of the Manchester Conference of 1945..
In 1961, he relocated to Ghana where he became a citizen, on invitation of Nkrumah. He died in 1963 in Ghana.
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