Paradigm shift needed to­wards pan-African­ism,so­cial­ism

The Sunday Independent - - DISPATCHES -

OUR proud her­itage as Africans was vi­o­lated and dis­rupted by im­pe­ri­al­ism and colo­nial­ism which rup­tured the African community, fam­ily struc­ture, cul­ture and for­tunes. It is only at the root of panAfrican­ism and so­cial­ism that we can fully re­store our well-be­ing and dig­nity and free our­selves from the land­less­ness, eco­nomic ex­clu­sion, and dis­hon­our in­flicted on our peo­ple by ruth­less racist regimes un­der colo­nial­ism and apartheid.

This will free us too from the chains of an im­posed in­fe­ri­or­ity com­plex; an il­licit and base­less creed of white supremacy, which many con­tinue to sub­scribe to today.

The ben­e­fi­cia­ries of apartheid – at 8% of the pop­u­la­tion – re­main the ref­er­ence point at the ex­pense of a 90% African ma­jor­ity, and this is symp­to­matic of a so­ci­ety which con­tin­ues to vest in white cen­tral­ity. This has had dire con­se­quences, as many of the poli­cies pur­sued by the ANC have sim­ply re­pro­duced the past in terms of so­cio-eco­nomic power re­la­tions.

A de­ci­sive paradigm shift away from an op­pres­sive lib­eral hege­mony and to­wards panAfrican­ism and so­cial­ism as the main pol­icy con­structs across our po­lit­i­cal, eco­nomic and ed­u­ca­tional spheres will en­sure African cen­tral­ity in a so­ci­ety which down­grades and side­lines it.

A pan-African­ist so­ci­ety, draw­ing from the logic of the African sit­u­a­tion, is where the in­ter­ests of the na­tive ma­jor­ity must al­ways take prece­dence.

If we are fully to re­claim our her­itage, we will need to re­verse fully the de-per­son­al­i­sa­tion and self­alien­ation of the African.

Put­ting a sure stop to the sys­temic ero­sion and frag­men­ta­tion of our her­itage, community and pur­pose by colo­nial­ism and apartheid will re­quire unity.

An anti-African­ist neu­ro­sis among the mi­nor­ity groups and even some African in­tel­li­gentsia dates back to the time of An­ton Lem­bede, AP Mda, Robert Sobukwe and Peter Raboroko.

This is be­cause of the in­nate po­tency of these po­lit­i­cal philoso­phies and in their deep­rooted ca­pa­bil­ity to unify Africans and re­store the strong African her­itage, which poses a threat to cap­i­tal­ism and im­pe­ri­al­ism.

The African Peo­ple’s Con­ven­tion (APC) be­lieves that so­cial­ism, like pan-African­ism, is the right an­ti­dote to the dev­as­tat­ing legacy of colo­nial­ism and apartheid, as so­cial­ism will de­liver the most eq­ui­table dis­tri­bu­tion of the coun­try’s wealth, as well as the re­ver­sal of work­ers’ in­equal­ity and ex­ploita­tion.

A so­ci­ety that pays true trib­ute to our her­itage must be demo­cratic to give ex­pres­sion to the wishes of the ma­jor­ity, a pop­u­lar democ­racy ex­em­pli­fied by Burk­ina Faso’s Cap­tain Thomas Sankara.

Frantz Fanon has taught us the dia­lec­tics of think, act and think bet­ter; and Kwame Nkrumah said that rev­o­lu­tion is achieved by men who think like men of ac­tion, and men who act like men of thought.

The great Mar­cus Gar­vey taught us that our days do not lie in our past but in our fu­ture; once we know who we are.

We must there­fore seek to hold high the ban­ner of pan-African­ism in the sea of lib­er­al­ism.

To ex­press a new paradigm within the lib­er­a­tion jour­ney of our coun­try, we have called for a name change from South Africa to Aza­nia.

This is nec­es­sary as we be­lieve such a name change is im­por­tant in clos­ing a hor­rific chap­ter of na­tional colo­nial hu­mil­i­a­tion.

South Africa is a colo­nial name and a mere geo­graphic pointer. It gives no hon­our to our her­itage.

Based on the de­bates and re­search on the name for a lib­er­ated coun­try in the 1960s and 1970, there seemed to be broad agree­ment on the ap­pro­pri­ate­ness of Aza­nia as the name of a lib­er­ated coun­try.

But it is nec­es­sary to look be­yond sym­bolic ges­tures and gear for fun­da­men­tal trans­for­ma­tion. De­ci­sive and bold ma­noeu­vres are re­quired on key fun­da­men­tal is­sues of land re­turn and eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion, if we are not to re­main cap­tive in the clutches of colo­nial­ism.

As we aim to re­store our her­itage, we need to ad­dress fully the land ques­tion.

Land is the pri­mary means of pro­duc­tion, and dis­pos­ses­sion re­duced Africans to pau­pers overnight.

Thus, to ad­dress poverty, in­equal­ity and racism, the land must be re­turned to its right­ful own­ers. It is a mon­stros­ity to seek to nor­malise the con­tin­ued cling­ing to alien­ated land.

The land of the African peo­ple must be re­stored.

A pol­icy frame­work piv­oted on pan-African­ism and so­cial­ism will sig­nif­i­cantly al­ter and free us from the suf­fo­ca­tion of a lib­eral hege­mony, which is in­ca­pable of hon­our­ing Africans and an African her­itage.

The ma­jor­ity party has tip­toed around white priv­i­lege. The ben­e­fi­cia­ries of apartheid have not only de­fended what they have, but have en­trenched priv­i­lege and own­er­ship, and stolen land and own­er­ship of key strate­gic eco­nomic sec­tors re­main in the hands of the op­pres­sor.

As the slo­gan of the So­cial­ist Party of Nepal says, “The road is tor­tu­ous, the fu­ture is bright”.

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