Afrobeat Culture Federator


Wednesday 19 February 2014 by Mabinuori Idowu (aka ID)

Radio Shrine! Gan! Gan!
As earlier promised, it is the issue of the federal government of Nigeria’s proposed national dialogue that I would like to address in this post. Those of you out there who regularly follow my posts would remember my piece on “Dialogue of Bearded Men” where I wrote: “As reality has consistently manifested to us in life, associating wisdom with white beards is not always sage. In this gloomy landscape of general demobilization characterizing African officials, putting our fate and those of the generation to come in the hands of bearded men who one time or the other were active participants, in what we can call football government (apology Fela) is like turning around in circles.” The idea of dialogue of bearded men seems to be in the cooler for the time being, to be replaced by the proposed national dialogue.
The idea of the proposed but controversial national dialogue which would be known as “The National Conference” is a step in the right direction, if the issues to be debated are clear before the modalities and delegates are proposed. National participation conferences and committees are countless in the history of Nigerian nation. The sad outcome of all these conferences and commissions is that nothing concrete comes out of their deliberations. Take for example, the famous Nigeria’ national participation committee on FESTAC ’77 it’s outcome, and Fela Anikulapo-Kuti participation in 1976. Professor Chike Onwunchi a member of the Nigerian FESTAC secretariat, was first to contact Fela asking him to join the Nigerian national participation committee - a preparative body, presumed to decide the scope of Nigeria’s participation.

It is not clear, if the initiative to invite Fela came from the respected professor or the presence of then Inspector General of Nigerian Police M.D. Yussuf in government particularly since Professor Onwunchi too spoke highly of Yussuf to Fela. The first and only meeting of the committee that Fela attended was held at the Bagauda Lake Hotel in Kano in 1976, Fela was accompanied on this trip by JK, Ekow Oduro (the Ghanaian poet who directed the film ‘Black President’), his Queens and the YAP Boys. Unlike all the other invited members of the committee whose charges were paid by the FESTAC secretariat, Fela chose to pay for himself and his large entourage. Also present at the meeting were the crème of Nigeria’s academic and intellectual community people like: Dr. Ekpo Eyo, Professor Ben Nwowu, and Professor Wole Soyinka to name a few. Session after session for four days, the meeting was turning around in circles without concrete issues discussed. Those of us who accompanied Fela were allowed like other members of the public, to observe the proceedings from the public gallery and we took notes and observed the participants for discussion with Fela after.

General I.B.M. Haruna, Commissioner for Information in General Olusegun Obasanjo’s regime and the committee’s chairman, instead of discussing specific issues linked with Nigerian participation, took pleasure in explaining how during his travels all over the continent representatives of each country made comments about their pride in Fela’s afrobeat music. He particularly mentioned Guinea how he was officially received at a state reception in Conakry with Fela’s music. Fela however was determined to make the committee move and he put forward a nine point proposal which if adopted, would have made Nigeria’s participation more meaningful than the cheap display of traditional dances that was the heart of the Lagos festival in 1977.

One of the reasons why Fela resigned his membership of Nigeria’s national participation committee for FESTAC ’77 was his demand in the nine point programme he presented to the committee that the activities of the festival and the ideas behind them should be channelled through the education curriculum in the country to benefit future generations. More than three decades after FESTAC ’77, what do we as a country have to show for all that money spent to host the festival? Thanks to Gboyega Adelaja’s alarm on the social media like I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, we know that thousands of hours of film reels from the festival are disintegrating where they are stored. It would be interesting to know if anything has been done to save those tapes since his post on social network.

We can also sight the example of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, how he graced the Human Rights Violation Investigation Commission (HRVIC) or panel chaired by retired Justice Oputa. He was questioned by Femi Falana (SAN), and President Olusegun Obasanjo said it was all fabrications that General Yakubu Danjuma asked that they get Fela Kuti Dead or Alive and that he knew nothing about such ordeal. During the dictatorship of Sani Abacha (1993-1998), Obasanjo spoke out against the human rights abuses of the regime, and was imprisoned for his participation in an alleged aborted coup. He was released only after Abacha’s sudden death on 8 June 1998. Obasanjo again took office as the first elected and civilian head of state in Nigeria after 16 years of military rule, a date now commemorated as Democracy Day, a public holiday in Nigeria.

In view of the “famous” open letter to Obasanjo by actual President Goodluck Jonathan, and the insinuations and counter allegations about Dimka’s coup, who is still in doubt as to the cover-up of the Justice Oputa investigation commission? Please let us refresh our memories what President Jonathan wrote to General Obasanjo: “That corruption is an issue in Nigeria is indisputable. It has been with us for many years. You will recall that your kinsman, the renowned afro-beat maestro, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti famously sang about it during your first stint as Head of State. Sonny Okosun also sang about corruption. And as you may recall, a number of Army Generals were to be retired because of corruption before the Dimka coup. Also, the late General Murtala Mohammed himself wanted to retire some top people in his cabinet on corruption-related issues before he was assassinated. Even in this Fourth Republic, the Siemens and Halliburton scandals are well known…." Who were the Generals due for retirement by General Mohammed? Justice Oputa Panel did not answer the question that is why President Jonathan is calling Obasanjo’s attention to it I guess in his “famous” reply.

As I wrote in my new work titled Fela – Phenomenon & Legacy: “hopefully one day, records of all the coup trials ever held in Nigeria would be made public to clarify to what extent those accused of complicity in coup attempts were actually involved. For now; under the guise of “protection” of state secrets many Nigerian ex-leaders practically got-away with murder, it is imperative to render account for those wasted lives as most of the army personnel and civilians tried and condemned for attempted coup d’état by special military tribunals, were educated and trained with the Nigerian tax payers money. In light of the examples of failed national conferences and panels given above, the idea of the proposed “National Conference” in my humble opinion is like turning around in circles if the issues to be debated are not defined, and made clear before the modalities and delegates are proposed.

Again I affirm that the idea of a national dialogue is a step in the right direction, if we take into consideration the modalities for the conference announced by the federal government of Nigeria. Among others, the government statement declared that: “It shall last for 3 months and shall discuss any subject matter, except the indivisibility and indissolubility of Nigeria as a nation; therefore the unity of Nigeria is non-negotiable. The decision at the National Conference shall be by consensus; but where it is not achievable; it shall be by 75% majority. It shall advise the Government on the legal framework, legal procedure and options for integrating the decision and outcomes of the National Conference into the constitution and laws of the country and the Conference shall have a Chairperson and a Deputy Chairperson of unimpeachable integrity.”

To this end, I propose that the national conference should be transformed to a forum to discus the decisions adopted at the historic 21st Ordinary session of the Summit of the African Union, which incorporated the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the Organisation of African Unity/ African Union at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa Monday 27 May 2013. A major outcome of the summit was the adoption of the declaration in which the leaders committed themselves to achieve the AU goals of an integrated and prosperous Africa, at peace with itself and with the world, an Africa whose development is driven by its own citizens and which is a significant player on the world stage. The leaders also pledged to translate the provisions of the declaration into action in their different countries by 2017.

The Assembly also decided to establish a High level Committee of Heads of State and Government to sensitise and coordinate the activities of African leaders and members of the High Level Panel, and build regional and inter-continental alliances on the African Common Position on the post 2015 Development Agenda. It appointed Her Excellency Mrs Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the President of the Republic of Liberia as the chair of the High Level Committee which comprises two Heads of State and Government per region in consultation with Regional Deans. The High Level Committee was requested to further crystallize and synthesize, and even further consult as deemed necessary, so as to finalize the African Common Position and ensure that the priorities identified in the said African Common Position are integrated in the New Global Agenda

Other decisions by the Assembly were on the development of the African Union Commission Strategic Plan 2014-2017 and the AU Agenda 2063: The Assembly adopted the Strategic Plan 2014-2017 of the AU Commission and called upon Member States to support the implementation of the plan. It took note of the progress in the development of AU Agenda 2063 and endorsed the recommendation by the Executive Council, calling upon the Commission to present the Framework Document for consideration by AU Policy organs in January 2014 and the final Agenda 2063 for adoption in June 2014.

One can consider all the resolutions above positive if we take into consideration, the refusal of development by African leadership and their lack of political courage to make decisions necessary to make a radical change on the continent. As things are, Africa and her leadership today do not posses the means to impose her voice in major international meetings. Her demand, to have a voice or veto at the Security Council of the United Nations is falling on deaf ears because the continent does not speak with one voice.

On paper the lofty ideas of the African Union as enumerated above can be considered as a march in the right direction, but if we ask ourselves what African Union do we speak about? What means does the African Union have to impose those decisions adopted at the assembly? To be firm is to have the authority and the power necessary. What is the power of the African Union over our so-called independent States? Who among the current African heads of state can confirm reading the constitution of the African Union? How many States Assembly members from current independent nation members of the union have debated the constitutions of the union in their respective assemblies? How many African individuals know the contents of the constitution of the union? African Union of today is purely administrative - it is not cohesive and it is not political.

A union that imposes no sanctions, and has no political mandate to impose decisions taken at its assembly is nothing but useless. It is not enough to speak of being firm - to be firm it is necessary to have authority. For African Union to be able to have authority, it will need political power and mandate. Who among the current heads of State in Africa can claim to preside over African Union and can punish other leaders or heads of state that fail to respect the AU rules? The African Union of today has no power to punish any member states that fails to respect the rules of the union. Many current African states do not pay their contributions to the union, who has the power to punish states that don’t play by the rules laid down by the African Union. Remember that Organisation of African Unity that was transformed to African Union today was created as a compromise by the likes of Kwame Nkrumah, Modibo Keita, Sekou Toure, because other African Heads of State were not too eager for a federation – a Pan-African government. All the other Heads of State apart from those mentioned above, wanted to remain leaders in their respective little countries – we know today that there is no miracle if we want to impose our views in world politics a Pan-African government is the solution.

Africa has no political power to impose her will on any world body. Africa has no economic power to impose on international level. Africa of today has no scientific power to impose, hence the idea to build a new Africa that has the weight to impose her ideas on the world level. Weak nations don’t count today - it is not a question of if Africa count or not, it is more an affair that relates to strength. If you are weak, even if you are White, Chinese, Red or Black, you will be annihilated. But if you are strong and can impose your will, you will be respected. This is the way things go - it is the rule of the game. Thus it is not an affair of being good or bad. Africa needs leaders that can make the right decisions, if Africa cannot decide she will always be dominated and pushed aside. If Africa decides to be strong, she will be strong. Did anyone decide for China? No! Chinese leaders decided to make their nation one of the strongest in the world - today they are a strong nation. Do you believe that there are miracles to make a people strong in the world today? Nobody can decide for a people except their own leaders.

Take North Korea for example, their leaders took the necessary decision to make their country strong, not letting anyone decide their future from the exterior. Today who makes their decision, not the UN, not USA, not European Union either! To decide, we need to have certain ideological direction. Iran decided and they are forcing the world to listen sanction or not. The United States decided on the choice of federation, they were just a few states at the start that made the decision to make a federation. Who told them to make such federation? Certainly it is not Europeans, it is not the French, it is not the English that told them to decide - there are no miracles to such situation. People say the answer is inevitably the need for Africans to be politically conscious, I say it is not even a question of political consciousness, it is necessary for us as a people to make the decision now. There is a book, written in the United States about the constitution during their declaration of Independence - the title is the “final decision”.

They were how many leaders who came together to make this necessary decision? They were not so numerous - maybe about twenty people who made that decision. They came together with Benjamin Franklin and decided it was necessary to make a federation of United States of America. They were not talking about developing a political consciousness, they made the necessary decision. If we do not decide now, we will continue to speak about: political consciousness, awareness, cultural identity of Africa, all these to me are times lost. It is necessary to be determined in our purpose as all things that have happened in the history of humanity were due to the human determination and decisions. How do we explain this weakness among African leadership particularly among us: we have both competent men and women, we have intellectuals, we have capable doctors, we have scientists, why then does Africa not have the right leadership?

There are at the least two reasons: first when one decides to go into politics, there are two ways to do politics – either do politics for personal reason or doing politics for a common goal. I can make politics for my own personal interest, or I can make politics for the general interest, collective interest - the interest of the people. African politicians today, place their own interest before the interest of the whole nation - that’s the problem. When you place your personal interest before the common interest you in-fact make compromises, sign contracts which alienates the interest of the people. But if you do politics for the common interest, you will make compromises in the interest of everyone - it is thus an affair of political clear-sightedness, driven by dedication. It is not enough to do politics for the sake of doing politics, if one wants to make a change in African politics - it should entail dedication and patriotism.

The second reason for the weakness among African leadership is that, there are external forces working to undermine our search for leadership for many centuries. The West (Western Europe) that is, has been working against Africa since the 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th, Centuries right up to the 20th Century. They created the World Bank against African interest. They created the IMF (International Monetary Fund) against African interests. They created Commissions in Brussels against Africa interests, these countries impose on us their so-called “Structural Adjustment” programmes that are not in our interest but their own interests. Who can give me an example of a single country, which got out of poverty because of the assistant of the World Bank? What country has ever been saved by World Bank or the International Monetary Fund (IMF)? African so-called leaders, go over there cap-in-hand every day seeking aids while these Institutions impose structural adjustment program on us making our countries more impoverished.

What we fail to see is that they are nothing but institutions of corruptions. It is only necessary to see who their leaders are and their track record - Paul Wolfowitz, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, and all the others who head these institutions, have nothing other than accusations of sexual scandals, money and corruption scandals, etc. These institutions cannot help us if we bear in mind that the governments of most European nations, are among the most corrupt on earth. They sell weapons to various factions to creates wars (remember Angola-gate and Iraq’s petrol for aid scandal for example). In any case, everybody say that it is necessary to have a clear political policy in Africa, a politics that will break the chain that links us with our former colonizers. For now all that is talk, we have no control of our economic policy, no control of our scientific advancements and we speak about rupture, etc. If European leaders today apply “structural adjustment” program in their respective territories, it is just to give an impression of “democracy” at play. Remember that Brazil, India, China with their emergence as economic power houses are asking for the West to level the playing field.

It is necessary to stop at this stage in our existence crying as victims. First, we need to realise that we have problems and we have natural and human resources to solve these problems. We have cultural, intellectual, and scientific resources at our disposition to resolve these problems. We have to understand that we are living in a cruel world and we can decide from now on to make what is best in our interest. There are no reasons for us to copy words in the vocabularies of others - that’s one reason for our weakness. When the West say words like rupture or break we Africans take-up the relay we use the same words. The Blackman copies, if you say that he belongs to the Third World, Africans accept this description. If the objective of the word "break" or rupture is for Africans to take their destiny in their hands then I am for, I agree to use those words.

Africa does not need words like rupture in view of what is happening or what transpires at present, what we need is rather a radical change. If we continue to use words like “rupture” or "break" to motivate us into action, Europeans are going to laugh at us like they have been doing for centuries – “those are words from a well trained or broken slave.” They have been well trained to repeat our vocabulary. He speaks of his continent like we trained him to do, he see his continent like the Third World. Words like: Co-development, partnerships, north-south dialogue, etc., all these words are designed to keep Africans chained to their former colonizers. However the word which they never use is Radical Change! Here is the word we need to apply so as to galvanize us into a positive action. The struggle should not be limited to concept only we equally apply it linguistically – hence needs to use a word like Radical Change! Remember we need to manipulate the African brains, the spirit, the mentality - it is a psychological struggle.

When they give you a name and you accept it you allow your brain to be manipulated. Do you think a Chinese citizen would accept to be addressed as a Third-World citizen? Do you think a Chinese would keep silent when you consider him or her as a citizen from an emerging country? Do you think he/she is going to accept all that? Never! The Chinese does not know what you mean by those terms, and they would never accept to be addressed as such. No Chinese leader would accept IMF or World Bank’s structural adjustment programme. Who would go to China to impose it on them? The Chinese leadership knows how to take Radical Decisions, and they know what it takes to do things in the interest of their people and nation. They will never allow anyone manipulate their thinking.

Nobody outside of China could be allowed to manipulate their citizen’s brain; they won’t let any person to manipulate their vocabulary, nor their vision. This is not the case in Africa today - if they say structural adjustment programs African leaders accept. Do you think IMF and World Bank can say “structural adjustment program to leaders of North Korea and they will accept? Who is going to impose it on them over there? African leaders attended the same schools as Westerners, the African doctors were formed from the same schools, our engineers, mathematicians, and philosophers were trained from the same schools. Why are the Europeans motivated to work for their country and not us? Why does the African have more interest in everything foreign and less interest in his own proper culture? The answer is not too far fetched – our lack of patriotism. Europeans have been educated to believe in his or her country, they have been trained to put the interests of their country first before their own interests - that is patriotism!

Charles de Gaulle was a symbol for the French people. He left North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in the name of Independence of thinking of France. He realised that he had to build the French nuclear power if he wants to sustain that independence of thinking and action. He immediately started nuclear test first in the Algerian Sahara and latter they moved to Polynesia. Who made Elf and petrol a national arm of France? It was Charles de Gaulle, because he knew that tomorrow it will be the energy sort after by everybody. That it is a leader with a vision for his country. Do we in Africa today have leaders with a vision for our country? The question we should ask our leaders is what legacy do they intend to leave for the future generation? Charles de Gaulle did not build a palace for himself. He did not own a bank account, he lived a normal life and at the same time did everything for France. He built the fifth republic, he changed the constitution thus laying-down and dictating the rule of the game - that is what makes a patriot.

How can we as Africans have a-new, that kind of patriotism flow in our blood? If Africans prefer to serve and give their expert knowledge outside the continent, it is because the necessary conditions are not in place in their respective states. Their competences are not exploited, because they are considered inferior to their Western counterparts and due to the necessity to survive, our experts move to other countries in search of greener-pastures. This is no question of being patriotic or not, it is a question of survival. If the conditions are right, our competent professionals would stay in Africa and work for change on the continent. With time I guess it will come – I guess it is a generation thing it is necessary to see the origin of the problems.

For now, we can see a ray of hope as the African Union tries in any case to do his/her utmost so that Africa can arrive in forming a continental government by the year 2017. This decision can be considered as a step in the right direction, but we have to bear in mind that usually, a government represents a state. In this contemporary world, the African Union can be considered as a provisional government in exile because when the representatives of this Union are invited to world bodies like the United Nations who speaks for the government particularly since we still have individual Heads of States representing still independent nations in the Union. This is the reason why all current African nations have to be federated into states with one central government.

We cannot keep the current nation structures if we want to be taken seriously. How do we attend world summits like those of the United Nation with different Heads of State etc? No one will take us seriously - there is a contradiction here. Legally it is a question of constitution - who represents who? For now the most important step is to have at least five African state-nations come together to make a federation - a nation. Others with time are going to come into the fold. The United States of America did not wait for all the fifty-two states to agree before forming their union. They started first with about 12, 13, or 14 states little-by-little the other states came into the fold to be a part of the federation.

We have to avoid the mistakes of the past, it is necessary to put aside also things which have neither head nor tail in the 21st century. I have never seen a government which has no state, which has no nation like the case of the current African Union. To be recognised as government, there has to be a head with all the council of ministers and secretaries. All these issues are yet to be resolved and we are talking of having a united African government by 2017. For me this is repeating the mistake of the past. To avoid that we need about 20 African nations to come together to start the federation and with time others will follow. That was the way it was done with the United States of America, it the same with Europe – they started with 7 countries at first, they were even three countries at the start of European Union if we take into consideration the BENELUX countries. They started out with 7 countries at first and now they are 27 countries in less than a period of 50 years.

If we are serious about African Unity, we cannot continue to do things in reverse manner. We all are aware that one cannot wear a jacket inside-out, the same for trousers – they cannot be worn in reverse. If we want a federated African nation we have to do things correctly. Maybe it is a question of generation, as Franz Fanon said: "You cannot delegate your historic mission to the coming generation, you have to achieve it with all the best in you." Africa cannot continue the manner she is governed today – Africa won’t end with the crop of leaders that governs her today. Africa still has millions of years ahead to live, if we are incapable to solve our problems, Africans who will come after us will see our generation in other contexts, with other international pressure they may see things differently from the way we currently see things. One consolation though is that we are beginning to find solutions to these seemingly insolvable problems little by little – I guess this is because everyone is beginning to realise that we cannot continue the way things have been done in the past.

Look at the situation with the league of Arab nations – the Arab world as it is called, or the Muslim world, they are trying to get organized. The Chinese are getting organised. India a sub-continent also is getting organised, we have South-Asian countries coming together, Latin America, Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, and Argentina, all trying to organize them into one form of union or the other. There is Mexico, the United States and Canada all looking for possibilities of unions in the interest of their respective nations. How can any nation be a sovereign country - an independent state today with only 10 million citizens? How will the nation finance its own nuclear power that will assure its military defence? How will the nation have its telescopic satellite for communication? All these technology come with a high costs - military satellites and drones needed for espionage in-order to be competitive and in security. Remember to exist in a 21st century world without all these technological advancement is to allow your nation to be enslaved.

It is necessary today to poses nuclear power, it is necessary to dominate space, we need satellites for telecommunication – all these things are expensive to build. A small American university has the budgets of two big African countries of today, hence the necessary need for us to move towards a federation of African States. It is imperative for the continent to arrive in forming a government on a continental scale. Also there are a lot of speculations that Europe intends to sabotage African unity, by creating the union of the Mediterranean States. If the move is to destabilize the march for the unity on the African continent it is simply cannot work in today’s Europe. Because there are two people who make-up what is known as Europe who don’t traditionally like each other: Latin people and Germanic people. These two peoples have always been enemies since antiquity. The Latin people have always been the poorest: Romania, Italy, France, Spain and Portugal. If you compare them with the Germanic people, and with the Anglo-Saxon they have always been the poorest in Europe.

This is one of the reasons why the British people refuse to be full members of a united Europe. Also to note is that the Germanic people of Europe since antiquity times have always been economically powerful and are the majority - all the countries situated in the North of Europe are all Germanic people. Moreover the Germanic territory is very vast compared with the Celtic world - hence the scenario to equalize the situation in Europe, the idea of powerful Germanic people and their large number and one powerful economy, merged with those of Gaul, Celtic, Latin to make the union of Mediterranean states to make them stronger.

How are they going to achieve this goal with countries like: Egypt, Israel, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco? Remember these countries have oil and gas - a real economic bargaining power in a relationship with Latin and Germanic people. To even enlarge their union, they want to include Brazil. They organize Mediterranean games in the search for a culture link with Europe, and they consider these countries as major route to access the continent and justify the Mediterranean region as the cradle of the Western culture - all that is nothing but bluff. That is geopolitics - military and political. The historic division in Europe is not applicable with the African situation. We as a people have to make that radical decision for change. One good thing about finding answers to the issues raised is that as long as these problems persist on the continent, people will always refer us to solutions put forward by notable Pan-Africanists like Marcus Garvey, Kwame Nkrumah, Cheikh Anta Diop, Théophile Obenga, Fela Kuti, etc.

Pan-Africanism is a way of life, a concept for the advancement of Africa from an African stand-point, propagated by people before our times and for people coming after us to find rallying-point. Pan-Africanism is a concept based on the total economic and political unity of Africa and the Diaspora Africa, one unique monetary system for the entire continent, united defence system, open trade and education system based on the needs of the African environment. The idea has been well treated in the books published by Kwame Nkrumah, and as a champion and pioneer of Africa’s Independence, he proposed among other things our own technology, medicine that is what Pan Africanism is about and we use this medium to invite the scientific community to re-write universal history of humanity granting Black Africa her primordial role that she has effectively assumed in the edification of civilization.

The cultural, linguistic, and religious unity, of all Africa is no longer in doubt thanks to archaeological excavations and the works of Africans the likes of Cheikh Anta Diop continued by Theophile Obenga. As far back as 1948, Cheikh Anta Diop wrote a university theses titled: The federal state, the foundations of the federal state of Black Africa and published as a book with the same title in 1960. For those who don’t know him, Cheikh Anta Diop was born on December 29th, 1923 in Thieytou and died on February 7th, 1986 in Dakar. He was a historian, an anthropologist and a Senegalese politician. He had his primary and secondary school studies in Senegal and his higher education in France. After his graduation with doctoral honors, he returned to his native Senegal and worked at the Fundamental Institute of Black Africa (IFAN). Like the popular adage, “prophets are never known in their countries” as a prophet, Cheikh Anta Diop told Africans about the future, he had a vision for Africa and was inspired to do things for his people, but few believed in him in his own country. That is why I say prophets are not recognized in their homeland.

Like Fela Kuti, Cheikh Anta Diop was persecuted by his people, in his own country it is the truth. He was crucified, ignored, banned in his own country – it is an undeniable truth. Despite all the setbacks he worked not for his own personal gains – rather worked for an ideal, in what he believed. Dr. Diop worked for Africa and for the entire African Diaspora. He also worked for humanity and I hope one day, Senegal his native and Africa his homeland, will accord him the necessary tribute he deserves. One important aspect of Cheikh Anta Diop’s work and continued by Professor Theophile Obenga, is that he gave Africans what could be termed a "historical consciousness" - an awareness of history.

A "historical consciousness" means: I am conscious of my past, I am aware of this and I have a conscience of the future. This is what we call the historical consciousness of the human conditions. Today to talk about the memory of a continent, the people, everyone talks about Africa, you sing of Africa, history of Africa. You have books; you have this, and you have that from Africa. Thanks to the young Senegalese who gave Africa the historical consciousness. Before Cheikh Anta Diop there was no historical consciousness. He already was talking about the African Renaissance as far back as 1948, the same thing Thabo Mbeki as South Africa’s president tried to revive in 2009. If we had followed Cheikh Anta Diop since 1948, we would not already be celebrating 2nd World Black African Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC) we would already have had FESTAC number 40 channelled through the education curriculum in the country to benefit future generations like Fela proposed to Nigeria’s National participation committee. With a historical consciousness, you can take Radical decisions. Radio Shrine! Gan! Gan! Please Pass the message!


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