The Cosmic Journeyman
- Sep 29, 2005
- Creative Industrialist
But, who is the Father of Pan-Africanism? By this I mean the theory and ideology called Pan-Africanism. The "Pan-African Movement" is a less precise in definition. Literally, it means the All-African Movement because "pan" means all. But, Pan-Africanism does not include All-Africans.
For instance, Chinweizu recently launched a vicious attack against Pan-Africanism. Yet, people often see him as part of the "Pan-African Movement". Similarly, "negritude" and afrocentricity" may be part of the "Pan-African Movement". But, they are not Pan-Africanism. If they were Pan-Africanism they would not called themselves "afrocentricity and "negritude". They would call themselves Pan-Africanism.
Instead, some of them uses the label "Pan-African" as a cover to undermine and make war against real Pan-Africanism. We muct be wise enough to see through such non-sense.
As for Garvey, he did not actually call himself a Pan-Africanist. Neither did his teacher and mentor Muhammad Duse Ali call himself a Pan-Africanist. Nevertheless, Pan-Africanists have learned a lot from Marcus Garvey. The greatest of all Pan-Africanists was Kwame Nkrumah. When he took over in Ghana, he named the Ghanaian Shipping Line the Black Star Line in honor of the contributions that Garvey made to African Economic Development. So, it was not just Duse Ali who taught Garvey. Garvey himslef acknowledged that Booker T. Washington also played an important role in his development. I think Garvey's economic ideas can be properly traced back to Booker T. Washington.
But, no matter how we look at it, it was Kwame Nkrumah, George Padmore and W.E.B. DuBois who sat down and thought the whole thing through and moved the Pan-Africanist idea to much higher level in which the whole of Africa became independennt and is now seeking Unifiation and Economic Development. Thus, the highest expression of Pan-Africanism is Nkrumahism becuase it was Nkrumah who implemented it and made it work. Even so, their were many others who made major contributions to it, including Abdel-Nasser.
In his book Africa and Unity Thompson gives great detail on how Pan-Africanism developed. Based on this, a person could spend an entire lifetime coming to understand exactly what Pan-Africanism is or ought to be and refining and develioping it to new levels.
My main point has been that Islam played and continues to play a major role in Pan-Africanism. For many of us, this has long been a blind side. We have failed to see just how important a role that Islam plays in Africa. But, Sekou Toure was a Muslim. Samori Toure was a Muslim. Kwame Ture was a Muslim. Abdel-Nasser was a Muslim. Qaddafi is a Muslim. And, today Muslims are proving to be the truest to African Unity and Pan-Africanism. Christians have a long way to go to catch up.
I agree that "Christians have a long way to catch up" because many have an anti Islamic orientation which runs counter to the spirit of Pan Africanism.
However, the jihadist Salafist groups pose a greater challenge because they tend to lack respect for African cultural traditions and institutions.