The Tshwane Declaration on African Liberation Day and the Africa in the 21st Century and the Quasquicentennial of the Scramble of Africa Conference: May 25-May 27, 2011
We the 100 plus delegates from various countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas, having met in Tshwane South Africa over three days to commemorate Africa Liberation Day and deliberate on Africa affairs and global issues hereby resolved the following Tshwane Declaration.
- May 25, 2011 marks the 48th anniversary of Africa Liberation Day since the Organization of African Unity (OAU) was founded in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 1963.
- The OAU had the mandate to achieve two main goals: to end colonialism and apartheid and to create a strong, free, independent, dignified and united Africa.
- Colonialism and apartheid formally ended in 1994, some 34 years after formal decolonisation took place and many of the current existing states came into being in the 1960s.
- The unity of Africa has remained a big challenge despite the fact that nearly all the states in Africa if asked will concede unity of Africa is important and it should take place.
- But to date the unity of Africa remains elusive and the aspiration by Africans for full dignity and the end of humiliation have not been realised.
- After half a century of African de-colonisation, the former colonial powers such as France and Britain have managed to persuade the USA and even African states to pass a UN resolution to intervene militarily in Africa on several occasions. This demonstrates the increasing weakness of African States.
- Whatever the merits or demerits for their intervention, the fact that Africa is in a state of disunity, to be so ignored as to let once more the former colonial powers to intervene militarily, compellingly brings home how much the lack of African unity is costing Africa by continuing its historic humiliation. It is important to recognise that the weakness of the African States lies in their artificial borders which ignore the cultural and linguistic characteristics of the peoples of Africa.
- African unity may not make Africa rich quickly, but it will certainly bring the benefits that others will find it difficult to violate African dignity as they have continued to do to this day, based on their authentic reconstitution. A call for Africa unity, therefore, calls for the removal of these artificial boundaries. Cross-border integration that violates the borders others drew for divide and rule thrives in every region of Africa. Though the existing artificial boundaries are violated in the process, in many ways it is more real than the elite driven regional integration schemes that overlap and make the emergence of a genuine African national learning and innovative economy difficult.
- Currently Africa and the Africa Union are being ignored and former colonial powers do not feel any reason to restrain them to take military action to pursue whatever interests they prefer by using any means necessary.
- It is clear Africa’s problems cannot be solved within the current colonial, neo-colonial and post-colonial frameworks in which they are being re-created, enacted and re-played. Colonialism left structures that did not bring an end to the colonial structures which continue to make African economic and social development to remain complicated since the 1960s. The colonial structures left behind have given rise to rent-seeking behaviour by elites who seem unable to develop social economic strategy that can eradicate poverty and increase the wellbeing of the people. There is a real need to go beyond the post-colonial state framework and bring unity now and not later in the future by firmly putting African unity first through the termination of colonial boundaries.
- Actions to be taken
- There is a need not only to dwell on problems, but also strive to find solutions in order to accelerate African unity. When solving Africa’s problems, we must excavate the roots and not dwell superficially at the surface.
- The goal of a united Africa dwells where Africans engage first and foremost with each other before they deal with and respond to major challenges coming from elsewhere. This is yet to be achieved.
- Africa must unite now, if not now, when can Africa unite over 125 years after the European Scramble for Africa, over 50 years of decolonisation and nearly twenty years of the end of apartheid.
- Unity can start by making sure that all that the 53 states learn to communicate with each other and share decisions that affect Africa, such as the current NATO invasion of Libya. Africa should not be in a position where the AU decides to go for dialogue and a few states that are members of the AU sign up to the UN resolution 1973 that sanctions: ‘to use any means necessary to protect civilians.’ Unity means to stand either for dialogue together or for the UN Resolution, but not to prevaricate picking one or the other as time goes by.
- The AU must practise and not merely pronounce Pan-African values, including ensuring full participation of the Diaspora defined as Africa’s sixth region. Above all, African leaders who come to power must learn how important it is to do what the first democratic president Mandela did in South Africa to leave power while ‘there are one or two people that still think well of me.’
- This means that term limits for power transition that the AU proposed should be enforced and those that wish to continue beyond ten years should not be allowed to enjoy support as if they are building institutions by staying longer when they are in fact undermining the opportunities to create sustainable institutions. Examples of success from South Africa and others must be promoted. Ten years is more than enough for a person to stay in power and have the right to do both wrong or right. If the person cannot do all that is to be done, adding more years is not going to make a difference. In fact it can bring diminishing returns.
- As researchers and activists gathered from all over the world we wish to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.
- In our research, education and training, we need to bring back at the centre the ideal of Pan-Africanism that inspired the liberation of Africans. This is necessary in order to ensure that the 'Africaness' or the African identity of the billion Africans living in Africa and those that have been forced out the continent from the times of slavery and the current difficulties of despotic rules achieve paramount significance in shaping the future of Africans.
- The education systems after decolonisation have not fully developed Pan-African education. It is incumbent upon all those involved in science to develop learning materials at various levels to wean the younger generation with strong Pan-African (from Africa and its Diaspora) values, norms and ideals to overcome the pettiness of political tribalism and vernacular divisive blocks to the realisation of the fullest expression of the African identity.
- The education system must recognise indigenous knowledge systems and include them in the curriculum from primary to higher education in Africa. Building knowledge and learning economy in Africa requires harvesting the existing grassroots knowledge processes within the indigenous communities in Africa by identifying, using and applying the existing knowledge that exists within the communities. This requires a willingness to be open by combining indigenous and scientific knowledge, creating a two-way dialogue and communication between them.
- We need to re-define Pan-Africanism for the 21st century and implement practical building on and improving on the AU sixth region concept as we prepare for the Africa and its Diaspora summit in 2012 in South Africa.
- We strongly recommend that the Africa Liberation Day should be celebrated with both intellectual and popular education and other exhibitions so that Africans can engage with one another, network and build trust and spread the Pan-African logo and message to all sectors of societies by going deep into the places where younger generations live.
- The start of this Africa Liberation Day and the conference should become an annual event and the current partnerships (e.g. AISA, NRF, TUT and other universities, DST etc) should be entrusted to plan ahead by starting now preparing for the second and subsequent annual Africa Liberation Days and conferences to disseminate widely into the communities and townships pan-African knowledge and unity.
- May 25 every year has been recognised as Africa liberation day. Like the Black History Month, the whole of May must be dedicated by all the African states as Africa Liberation Month, turning the whole month for spreading pan-African education to find various ways of making Africans engage with other Africans a number one priority.
- South Africa should play a leadership role in promoting the African Renaissance. Its African policy need to be clear and should be the leading advocate of Pan-African unity.
- The African Institute of South Africa and partners should bring together a group of Pan-African thinkers to start work to revisit Pan-Africanism for our time by demonstrating how it can be implemented by all Africans in the 21st century.
- TUT and AISA, with the support of the DST and the NRF should establish a suite of Research Chairs to be named for leading pan-Africanists. These chairs will encourage intra-African higher education teaching, training and research cooperative arrangements to foster Pan-Africanism in the 21st century.
- Post graduate short courses and even master’s degrees, doctoral and post doctoral research to create a Pan-African research area must be formed.
- Funding for this initiative should be provided by the leading African Governments such as South Africa, Nigeria and others, including the African Diaspora.
- A strong Pan-African Academy should be created with AISA forming a working group to plan and work out how it can be realised
- There is a need to produce, after a few years work, by engaging all sectors of African society to design and craft the African Unity First Manifesto (AUFM) that all Africans must be exposed to. The leadership to provide this must come from South Africa. The AUFM must involve all sectors of society, women, the youth, workers, farmers, communities and other stakeholders from civil society, the private sector, education and Governments across Africa and the Diaspora.
This Tshwane Declaration from South Africa should be communicated widely to reach all Africans and friends of Africa across the world.
Drafted: By Mammo Muchie, edited by AISA, NRF, Dan Nabudere and Kimani Nehusi and approved unanimously by all the scientists and participants from all over the world at the International Symposium on 27 May, 2011 (http://www.nesglobal.org/symp125/ )