A Pan-African Workshop held in Namibia in 2011 as part of activities marking the UN General Assembly’s Declaration of December 18, 2009, proclaiming the year 2011 as the International Year for People of African Descent. I feel sure that not many Africans at home and the Diaspora know much about this UN gesture designed to improve the status of Africans. Again, the UN has declared years 2015–2024, as ‘’The International Decade for People of African Descent’’ It was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in a Resolution (68/237) adopted on 23 December 2013. The theme of the International Decade is “People of African Descent: Recognition, Justice and Development”
Unfortunately, it appears that Africans at home and in the Diaspora are not fully utilizing the opportunity afforded by the UN gesture to remember the past, tell their own stories, and project into the future. Perhaps if the study of History and Civics had been accorded the right attention, role modelling would have been easier today. Perhaps if those African nations that ill-treat Nigerians through XENOPHOBIA know much about Nigeria’s commitment and sacrifice to the cause of Africa and Africans, negative reactions against the country would be very mild, if it ever occurred.
CONFERENCE IN NAMIBIA: In 2011, a conference on Pan-Africanism held in Windhoek, Namibia on sustaining the new way of Pan-Africanism. It was jointly organized by the National Youth Council of Namibia (NYCN) the Nigerian High Commission in Windhoek, Namibia, the Pan-African Strategic and Policy Research Group (PANAFSTRAG) and the Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilization (CBAAC) as well as the Pan-Afrikan Centre of Namibia (PACON) The purpose was to bring young leaders from the African continent and Diaspora together with elders and veterans of the Pan-African Movement so that together they could forge a new way forward for Pan-Africanism.
In this compilation, we bring you back-to-back, speeches delivered at that occasion by former Namibian President, Sam Nujoma and then the then High Commissioner to Namibia, Amb. (now Loja) Adegboyega Christopher Ariyo. Samuel Shafiishuna Daniel Nujoma, is a Namibian freedom fighter, revolutionary, anti-apartheid activist, & politician who served three terms as the first President of Namibia, from 1990 to 2005. Nujoma was a founding member and the first president of the South West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO)
SAM NUJOMA ON SUSTAINING THE NEW WAVE OF AN-AFRICANISM — This conference comes at the right time, when some African countries celebrated their fiftieth independence anniversaries this year and following the UN General Assembly Declaration on December 18, 2009, proclaiming the year 2011 as the International Year for People of African Descent. I am therefore delighted that this workshop is taking place in Windhoek, Namibia, in line with that UN Declaration. The ideology of Pan-Africanism has taken root on the continent of Africa and the Diaspora following the prominent work undertaken by its earlier proponents in the Diaspora led by William Du Bois, Marcus Garvey and others who resisted the ideology of white supremacy and asserted our rights to dignity, freedom and self-determination from the beginning of the 16th century during the advent of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
HOW AFRICANS RESISTED SLAVERY –It was the slave trade that produced the forced migration of just over 11 million people as slave labourers. Of those, fewer than 9.6 million survived the middle passage across the Atlantic to the Americas and the Caribbean Islands. This loss of population and potential population was a major factor leading to Africa’s subsequent conquest and economic underdevelopment while the human and other resources that were taken from Africa contributed to the capitalist development and wealth of Europe. However, I can proudly state that, as early as the 18th century, African peoples never accepted slavery and oppression and always resisted slavery. For example, people such as Toussaint L’Ouverture, the leader of the successful slave revolution from Saint Dominique, helped to establish the Republic of Haiti, the first country of African descent to gain its own independence as a symbol of the successful liberation and independence of the African people in the Diaspora.
FREEDOM FIGHTERS: During the 19th century when European colonial activities increased, culminating in the scramble for Africa and the onset of the era of imperialism, some people of African descent in the Diaspora, like Martin Delany and Edward Blyden, were advocating for a physical return to Africa. Blyden particularly inspired the Francophone Négritude movement, while Delany was the first to coin the phrase “Africa for Africans”. The first wave of Pan-Africanism on the African continent was borne out of the various Pan African conferences which were held at the beginning of 1900, with the most important one taking place in London and attended by prominent Pan-Africanists such as lawyer Henry Sylvester Williams of Trinidad and Tobago, George Padmore and W.E.B. Du Bois. After the death of Sylvester Williams in 1911, Du Bois took over from where Williams left and organized a series of Pan-African conferences from 1919 to 1927 in London, Paris, Brussels, Lisbon and in New York.
The 5th Pan-African Congress held in Manchester, England in 1945, was the most in Sustaining the New Wave of Pan-Africanis. This meeting was attended by African scholars such as Dr Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Chief Nnamdi Azikiwe of Nigeria, Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya, Hastings Kamuzu Banda of Malawi and many others. In subsequent years, African nationalists such as Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, Ahmed Ben Bella of Algeria, Ahmed Sekou Touré of Guinea, Modibo Keita of Mali, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Patrice Lumumba of Congo, Dr Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia, Amilcar Cabral of Guinea Bissau, Cape Verde, São Tomé and Principé, Dr Antonio Augustinho Neto of Angola, Samora Machel of Mozambique among other African leaders of the early 1960s kept the spirit of Pan-Africanism alive on the African continent. Among these prominent Pan-Africanists, we should single out Dr Kwame Nkrumah, who was a true Pan-Africanist and had a deeply rooted commitment to the unity of Africa.
STRUGGLES FOR LIBERATION: Dr Nkrumah truly believed in the total liberation of the African continent. When Ghana achieved its independence from colonial rule in 1957, Dr Nkrumah said, “The independence of Ghana is meaningless unless it is linked up with the total liberation of the African continent.” It is for this reason that Ghana became a beacon of hope that drew many from the Diaspora to Africa but also played an important role in building a new Pan-Africanism centred on the continent, which, on May 25, 1963, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, culminated in the founding of the Organization of African Unity (OAU). One of the aims and objectives of the OAU was to get rid, from the African continent, of the last vestiges of colonialism and apartheid minority white occupation. For that reason, the OAU established the Coordinating Committee for the Liberation of Africa, which was based in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. The Liberation Committee was to render assistance such as military training and financial support to the national liberation movements fighting colonial rule and minority white regimes on the African continent. Through the Liberation Committee, the OAU rendered and mobilised political, diplomatic and material support to all the freedom fighters, with training bases for those who were fighting against Portuguese colonialism as well as those who were fighting against the minority white apartheid colonialism in Namibia and South Africa.
The independence of Zambia in 1964 brought a new dimension to the liberation of Southern Africa. As a result, the white colonial settlers in Angola, Mozambique, Southern Rhodesia and South Africa imposed economic sanctions against Zambia. In the true spirit of Pan-Africanism, when Angola and Mozambique achieved their freedom and independence in 1975, Presidents Kaunda of Zambia, Nyerere of Tanzania, Neto of Angola, Machel of Mozambique and Sir Seretse Khama of Botswana formed the Frontline States later joined by President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe upon his country’s independence in 1980; and resisted the machinations of the colonial settlers and apartheid forces.
NIGERIA’S BRILLIANT ROLE: Equally worth mentioning here, the Federal Republic of Nigeria under the leadership of General Murtala Mohamed became fully involved in the liberation struggle in Southern Africa and as a result, the Frontline States became known as the Frontline States and Nigeria. In Namibia, our struggle for freedom and independence was part of the wider process Sustaining the New Wave of Pan-Africanism in the total liberation of the African continent from colonialism and foreign occupation. Dr Nkrumah even once said, “Only united Africa … can give effective material and moral support to our Freedom Fighters in Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), Angola, Mozambique, South-West Africa (Namibia), Bechuanaland (Botswana), Swaziland, Basutoland (Lesotho), Portuguese Guinea and of course South Africa.” Allow me, therefore, to add our Namibian experience and perspective to the liberation struggle of African nationalism and independence and its wider expression of Pan-Africanism.
The Namibian peoples have equally a proud history of resistance to foreign occupation. We have been inspired by our forefathers in the historic mission to liberate our country from foreign occupation. These are Captain Hendrik Witbooi, Jacob Marengo, Chief Kahimemua Nguvauva, Chief Samuel Maharero, Chief Nehale Lja Mpingana, Chief Mandume ja Ndemufayo, Chief Iipumbu ja Tshilongo and others who fought the wars of resistance against German colonialism, Portuguese invasion and South African minority white apartheid colonial occupation. They stood firm for the protection and defence of the motherland from European colonial invaders.
But it was not until a major milestone in the struggle for the liberation of our country in the form of a campaign against the forced removal of inhabitants of Windhoek’s Old Location to Katutura that confrontation issued on December 10, 1959. On that fateful day, the police opened fire on a crowd of protestors, and in the aftermath killing 12 people and injuring 50 others who put up fierce resistance against the forced removal to Katutura, which was clearly an implementation of the apartheid policies of segregation and discrimination on the indigenous people of Namibia. The events of that day reinvigorated our efforts to seek our freedom and independence by all means at our disposal. In the following years, the Namibian people became more militant and organised themselves better to face the apartheid machinery which was becoming more brutal and systematic in its repression. SWAPO (the South West African People’s Organization), which became the vanguard of our liberation, was founded on April 19, 1960, and initially started with the politics of resistance emerging out of concrete historical contexts of the migrant labour and the defiance campaign with the core objectives derived from Pan-Africanism, and with the clear purpose to liberate our country and unite all our people in its continued efforts to mobilise all Namibians irrespective of colour, tribe, ethnic origin or race to fight for the total liberation of our country.
In the wake of the shooting on December 10, 1959, many political activists such as the Secretary-General of Ovambo Peoples’ Organization (OPO), Comrade Jacob Kuhangua and Nathanael Mbaeva of SWANU (The South West Africa National Union) were deported to Ovamboland and Hereroland, so-called Native Reserves. In February 1960, since I was being arrested on numerous occasions, as the President of the then OPO, and we were spending too much money on bailing me out, before my fifth time of arrest, it was decided by the OPO leadership that I should leave the country to join those Namibians already lobbying at the UN for Namibia’s self-determination. I had already petitioned the United Nations through letters also signed by Herero Chief Hosea Kutako and Nama Chief Samuel Witbooi. Sustaining the New Wave of Pan-Africanism left the then South West Africa (Namibia) on February 29, 1960, crossing into the then Bechuanaland and from there, using the false name of David Chipinga, I travelled to Bulawayo, then on to Salisbury, now Harare, and on to Ndola in Northern Rhodesia now Zambia. Finally I arrived at Mbeya on March 21, 1960 in Eastern Tanganyika which was still a British colony. While in Mbeya, Tanzania, I requested oral hearing with the UN Committee on South West Africa in New York.
THE ESTABLISHMENT OF SWAPO: I arrived in independent Ghana in April 1960 and met President Nkrumah, among other African leaders. From Ghana, I travelled to Liberia and arrived in New York in June 1960 and stayed for the rest of the year petitioning the UN for the independence of Namibia. In early 1961, I returned to Tanzania, from where SWAPO joined with other liberation movements, the Pan-African Freedom Movement of Eastern, Central and Southern Africa (PAFMECSA). While in Dar-es-Salaam, we were joined by Comrades Peter Mweshihange, Hifikepunye Pohamba and many others and started to mobilize for support from other African nationalists and received strong backing from Mwalimu Kambarage Julius Nyerere, the President of Tanzania.
We established SWAPO’s Provisional HQ in Dar-es-Salaam and arranged scholarships and military training for SWAPO members who came to join our liberation struggle in exile. We attended numerous Pan-African and international conferences such as the All Pan-African Conference in 1960 in Ghana and the Third All African People’s Conference in Cairo, Egypt, in 1961 followed by the formation of the Organization of African Unity in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on May 25, 1963.
GUERILLA WARFARE: Before the actual commencement of our guerrilla warfare for the total liberation, genuine freedom and independence of our country, the South African legal team led by Legal Team Judge de Villiers, at the International Court of Justice, made a statement claiming that we were in self-imposed exile and the SWAPO Central Committee decided that we challenge that claim. I was accompanied by His Excellency Hifikepunye Pohamba to Windhoek, as we decided to challenge the White Apartheid South African Regime’s assertion that we were in self-imposed exile. We flew into Windhoek on March 21, 1966, and were arrested and deported 16 hours later. The legal proceedings continued at the International Court of Justice and on July 18, when the final vote came, seven judges voted that Ethiopia and Liberia had a legal right and interest in condemning South Africa’s violation of the mandate, and seven voted against. Judge President Percy C. Spender of Australia cast his vote in favour of South Africa at a tie-break.
The Front National Liberation (FNL) of Algeria, after their independence at the end of 1962, offered SWAPO to open an office in Algiers and when I visited Algiers, the FNL of Algeria under the leadership of His Excellency President Ahmed Ben Bella, offered to SWAPO two pistols and two Pepesa Sub Machine guns, which I carried from Alger to Cairo and from Cairo to Tanzania, as the first weapons with which we launched the armed liberation struggle on August 26, 1966 at Omugulugwombashe in Omusati Region, in Northern Namibia, when the torch of freedom was lit. The armed liberation struggle in the mid-1970s and late 1980s with the independence of Sustaining the New Wave of Pan-Africanism Angola, led to a number of successive military battles and the intensification of the war by the combined Angola’s FAPLA forces assisted by the Cuban internationalist forces, and the People’s Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN) combatants, SWAPO’s Military Wing until the decisive battle of Quito Quanavale in Angola, where the South African troops were militarily defeated, and forced to the negotiating table and the signing of the December 22, 1988 agreement in New York.
This agreement eventually led to the separate and subsequent signing of a cease-fire on Namibia, which I had the honour of signing on behalf of SWAPO of Namibia, with Pik Botha signing on behalf of Apartheid Minority White South Africa Regime. This culminated in the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 435 of 1978, when we achieved our genuine Freedom and Independence on March 21, 1990 and the collapse of the white minority apartheid regime in South Africa, in April 1994, when the first democratic elections took place and were won by Comrade Nelson Mandela, President of the African National Congress (ANC), thus completing the total liberation of Africa.
Now that the continent of Africa is politically independent, what we need is to embark upon the second phase of the struggle for genuine economic independence to eradicate ignorance, hunger and poverty as the enemies of the African continent. That is the challenge facing particularly our youth. Africa holds all known space-age minerals such as natural gas, oil, coal, copper, uranium, diamonds, gold, and platinum, complemented by agriculture. Africa is also blessed with perennial rivers such as the Congo River in the DRC. In terms of economic potential, if the Inga Hydro-electric Scheme on the Congo River is fully harnessed, it can provide affordable electricity to the rest of Africa, with surplus for export to Asia or Europe.
For this reason, it is of great importance for our countries to spend more resources in the training of our youth, to enable Africa to produce our own doctors, mining engineers, architects, geologists, marine biologists, agriculturalists and scientists in all fields of economic endeavour to accelerate economic development for the benefit of the African people on the continent and those in the Diaspora.
In conclusion, to all those who came from America, the Caribbean Islands, Europe and all over the continent, welcome to Namibia and please feel at home. With these few words, I declare this Pan-African Workshop officially opened and wish you all successful deliberations as well as a prosperous and happy new year 2011.
Long Live the Spirit of Pan-Africanism!
Long Live PACON!
Long Live the Republic of Namibia!
H.E. Dr Sam Shafishuna Nujoma is the Founding President of the Republic of Namibia and Father of the Namibian Nation, and Patron of the Pan-Afrikan Center of Namibia (PACON).
Pan-Africanism – Some reflections on the way forward — By: Adegboyega C. Ariyo Your Excellency, the Founding Father, the first President of the Republic of Namibia, the Chairperson, Secretary of the National Youth Council of Namibia, fellow Pan-Africanists and all my brothers and sisters that are here. Tonight I need to pay great tribute to one of the living icons of the liberation struggle of Africa, His Excellency Dr Sam Shafishuna Nujoma, who, I should say, is the kick-starter of this workshop. For and on behalf of the Nigerian High Commission, I wish to recognise our partners in this workshop initiative. These are the National Youth Council of Namibia, here present in the person of the Executive Chairperson Mr Mandela Kapere, the Pan-Afrikan Centre of Namibia and the Pan-African Strategic and Policy Research Group (PANAFSTRAG) and the Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilization (CBAAC).
The workshop arose out of the dinner hosted by His Excellency, the Founding President of Namibia on August 02, 2010. General Williams of PANAFSTRAG had come to Namibia in search of connecting the Pan- African Parliament with Diasporian parliamentarians. An idea emerged from that dinner to convene a workshop in Namibia to look at the outcomes of the various African Conferences/Congresses and to look at PACON as a suitable role model for adoption in other parts of the African constituency – that is in Africa and also in the Diaspora. Thereafter, I held a working dinner for General Williams, to which I invited Namibian Pan-Africanists to attend. I encouraged General Williams to return to Namibia, which he did on October 18, 2010 to interact with Namibians and to make some presentations. This resulted in General Williams travelling to Swakopmund to interact with the Namibian Youth. He also made a presentation on Pan-Africanism at the University of Namibia (UNAM).
We are here because of the ancestors who went before us. There are not so many countries in Africa where you witness the type of workshop we are opening here this evening. Namibian, or South West African Pan-Africanists, were by all accounts more active than their counterparts were in many other parts of southern Africa, including South Africa. The genocide that took place here attracted the attention of the Universal Negro Improvement Association of Marcus Garvey. The upshoot of this is that in Namibia Pan- Africanism has a strong root, more so than in other countries. We are here to ensure that Pan-Africanism is alive and well in Namibia and we need to carry that torch to all other constituencies of Pan-Africanism.
This is the challenge for the Pan-Afrikan Centre of Namibia (PACON) which is located in Windhoek and was created as a result of a groundswell emerging from the Africa Day Conference of 1999. The new wave can only be carried by the Youth. We need young people to carry the torch and be passionate and do the thing because we are in an era, we are in the global economic meltdown. Fortunately, Africa has the natural resources to sustain the development of the world and we need the Youth of Africa to move and the Youth in Diaspora to move aggressively in order to achieve our new wave of Pan-Africanism, which is the economic independence for all of Africa and the Diasporan countries.
By way of information, the initiative to convene this workshop has as its Namibian patrons the Founding President as the Chairperson, the Prime Minister Right Honourable Nahas Angula as a patron, Mrs Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, the Minister of Finance, as a patron and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Honourable Utoni Nujoma as a patron. We thank them for their support. The Nigerian High Commission in Namibia is pleased to be associated with this workshop and wishes you all good deliberations. Nigeria is now pushing this idea of Pan-Africanism forward.
With the exception of Western Sahara, virtually all the countries in Africa today boast their own flag of sovereignty and independent political structures that represent their political independence. All the countries have systems of governance through which they are in position to shape the future of their people as expected by the Founding Fathers of Pan Africanism. However, the lot of many Africans has not improved. Indeed the economies of African countries are not controlled by Africans for Africans, despite the political independence attained in the last 50 years.
THE EFFECT OF BAD PRESS ON DEVELOPMENT OF AFRICA: Since 2008, the media world has been awash with headlines about the state of hopelessness in Africa, the result of the calamitous events created by our self-centred activities. The cacophony of the headlines has been deafening lately because the cradle of self-centeredness is feeling the effects of the failure of a political system that has not placed correct value on common humanity. The bad press Africa has received has added on to our own failures to evolve a political and economic system in tune with our realities.
Africa had been sucked into the vortex of the world development trajectory through colonialism. Africa had been exploited and looted to cover up the failings of this political/economic model. There are many compradors amongst us. They are the new millionaires, the upper classes of our societies. The African middle class has been reduced in size and 80% Africans in Africa and its Diaspora today live below the poverty line because we have allowed too many millionaires. African resources are being depleted every day to enrich a few Africans and many non- Africans.
CHANGE SOCIAL CONTRACT: All this calls for a change of the social contract amongst the people of Africa and their Governments. Yes! There are many social systems in the world. Many have been tested and failed. The late 1980s saw the collapse of the Socialist system in Eastern Europe. We saw the Asian Tiger economic crisis of 1997, as well as financial crisis in USA in 2000, when the Clintonian economic bubble burst. Today (2010) there is the on-going world economic crisis which started in 2008. These suggest that both the capitalist and socialist economic systems have fundamental flaws in their conceptualisation and implementation, as social vehicles to ensure development.
Capitalism talks about competition bringing out the best with minimal use of resources. The advancement of a man depends on the uncontrolled use or deployment of human and natural resources by entrepreneurs. The resultant fruits of such activities are meant to be used according to the desires of the entrepreneur. Socialism proposed socialisation of the processes of human existence. You cannot compete without undercutting your competitor, so that you have advantage. Whether your method is fair belongs to the realm of morals. This was coded into the capitalist motion of might is right. Sustaining the New Wave of Pan-Africanism
The wealthy and the so-called successful capitalist economies of the West were built with the sweat and labour of Africans, our fore-parents. The exploited mineral wealth of Africans and the unfair prices for African agricultural products worked to our disadvantage. African raw materials are turned into finished products and then sold to Africans at exorbitant prices to keep Africa down perpetually. Furthermore, the Africa network of transportation indicates that it has been developed largely to ensure that we do not trade with ourselves, so we do not create jobs for ourselves. We continue to create jobs for others through buying mostly goods made by them – products of their cultural development and social progress. Thereby strengthening their capacities to overpower us, in any engagement with them.
AFRICA’S LEADERS & FOLLOWERS HAVE QUESTIONS TO ANSWER: African leaders and youths have very serious questions to answer in order to chart a better future for Africa. Certainly, we know that there are many hungry lions probing the world for means to sustain their self-centred sybaritic economy. Because of the current architecture of the world economy and the limitedness of what it is intended to accommodate and for who, there is need for Africa to chart a new “Africonomy” based on our historical evolution as a people. The African economy of old cared for all members of the community. African development should be based on our historical experience.
African Development must be based on a holistic understanding of what development means. It is used to denote what is new. For this work, the New Concise Oxford Dictionary 2006 (Ed) p.392 suggested that Development is a noun which means:
(i) the process of developing or being developed;
(ii) a specified state of growth or advancement;
(iii) an event constituting a new stage in a changing situation.
Whereas the word “develops” is the verb that gave birth to the word development, meaning:
(i) grow or cause to grow and become larger or more advanced; and
(ii) start to exist, experience or possess, etc.
It seems that when we examine the meaning of the words develop and development and relate them to how they have been used in development studies, as they relate to Africa, there has been a deliberate attempt to impose a new process of development on Africa, which rejects the African past. The understanding of what our past was is acquired with different lenses and wisdom, not with African lenses and wisdom. We study African history and social engineering from the perspective of the Western world. We look at our civilisation and assess the state of our being from other people’s understanding of their civilisation and state of being.
We tend to forget that there was a period in our history when we existed without any interaction with the Western world. What constituted our state of being then should have been what we should be developing, though mindful that there are new things, to which we are now exposed and must relate to, for us to develop. Indeed before the destructive engagement with the Western world, which led to colonialisation and the brutal imperialist exploitation of Africa for Western economic development, Sustaining the New Wave of Pan-Africanism
African development had reached such a level that many of our cultural relics that are now being displayed in museums in Africa and elsewhere in the world suggest pro-tanto African cultural superiorities. There were many civilisations in Africa. These could not have been achieved without social, economic and political systems. Definitely these systems must have been at variance with the colonialists’ systems. Therefore the process of obliterating the African developed systems, and imposing new ways, then began. During the sad interlude that exposed Africa to the Western ways of doing things, Africa lost the kernel of her development and its humanity, as well as the sense of what development should be.
Whatever we do in the four paradigms of any organisational development (political, social, economic and cultural) the more humane our motives are, the more positive will be our development.
Loja (Ambassador) Adegboyega Christopher Ariyo was Nigeria’s High Commissioner to Namibia
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