In my last post title African Perambulators, I discussed the theme: African Civilization and Historical Awareness, and the colloquium’s recommendations to the Governments of African States and Black Communities in the world as a way forward to good governance in Africa. This is another proof, that African leaders have all the advice and recommendation on how to rule in the continent.
The Colloquium, which is the very heart of the festival, is a forum where scholars, writers, and artists of Black World, come to pool together their reflections, their researches and their experiences, around a theme which gives each festival its distinctive mark, and which is illustrated by all the activities of the festival.
The aim of the colloquium is to help Black peoples to become more familiar with their cultural heritage, to master it better, to tighten their solidarity with a view to ensuring their total cultural liberation, and to pool their efforts together in order to promote and disseminate their cultural values within their communities all over the world.
We all know that Religion is one of the issues creating a lot of havoc in Africa today. Before going any further; we have to understand that Abraham or Ibrahim - the patriarch of Christian, Moslem and Judaic religions was not born when our black ancestors built the pyramids. Agreed that the introduction of Islamic fanaticism in our culture calls for concern, same can be said of Christian fanaticism. In view of this, we need to define the position of the so-called revealed religions vis-à-vis the African Society.
To stop any form of religious fanaticism, we have to understand that in as much as every religion is always within a particular culture, the Christian, Muslim and Judaic religions are foreign to Africa because, historically, they are not like traditional religion, moulded in African cultural values. That is why suicide bombings and all those violent fanaticisms are alien to the African cultural values.
But once the doctrines of these religions have been accepted by Africans, they cease to be foreign, just as certain writings imported from Europe are no longer thought to be foreign.
This is the colloquiums recommendation on African Civilization and Religion.
(1) Religion expresses the way the African man has always governed his relationship with nature and with fellow-men.
(2) Religion has therefore not been neutral vis-à-vis history nor vis-à-vis the interests of the African peoples. In other words, religious awareness in Africans is not purely an abstraction; it is a living component of their way of life.
(3) When African religion exhorts Man to fight evil and its causes, it is a means of achieving the African peoples’ aspirations to happiness, fraternity and freedom.
(4) Faith can endure only if it is a living one and it can live only by acting on the cultures which it permeates. Hence religion must enrich theology with all that enables the African man to accede to the promised land of the scriptures.
(5) Every religious education in Africa is therefore in duty bound to serve as an urge to achieving Goodness, Progress, Freedom and the struggle against any form of oppression, and man’s exploitation by man.
(1) That governments and heads of religious communities encourage research workers, teachers, and scholars to carry out studies and research into African traditional religion aimed at a better understanding of its world-view and its impact on the daily lives of the African. In doing this, they should encourage the translation of the texts of this religion into Africa languages.
(2) That the religions in Africa contribute effectively to the transformation of society and man in their struggle against under-development and its deep causes.
(3) That the religions should be based on African values. That; consequently, the Christian and Muslim religions should, like traditional religion, be adapted. That, the need to re-evaluate African traditional religion should, however, be present always in the minds of African so as to make for the adaptation and purification of this religion.
(4) That heads of religious communities in Africa encourage and facilitate authentically African experiences and their expression by the liturgy, the sacred art and theological reflection. And that the research undertaken in matter of spirituality should lay emphasis on the pluralistic character of African religious life.
(5) That the points that are identical or parallel between African traditional religion and the revealed religions be stressed in order to strengthen the spirit of mutual tolerance and respect.
(6) That the religions in Africa give a greater place to the practical aspect of the education of the youths and the emancipation of the African woman.
(7) That all the positive values of African traditional religion be encouraged, particularly:
(i) respect of the sacred and of the dignity of man, of every man and of man as a whole;
(ii) the spirit of openness, tolerance, hospitality, self-sacrifice, struggle and honour;
(iii) the life of communion, union, active solidarity and co-responsibility.
(8) That religious liberty should be ensured to every citizen and all religious communities, in the respect of the commonwealth, irrespective of the form of government and political philosophy of states.
(9) That meetings and exchanges between the heads of religious communities be organized in order to spread the positive experiences in different countries.
The Colloquium on Black Civilization and Education; as you can see is a blue print on how Africa should be ruled. Who among the current African heads of state can confirm reading the recommendations of the colloquium? How many States Assembly members from current independent nation members of the African Union have debated the recommendations of the colloquium in their respective assemblies? How many African individuals know the contents of the colloquium? It is a document printed by the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Information, printing division, Malu Road, Apapa Lagos.
In the struggle for the liberation of the African continent, the relevant problem is not that of the origin or rightful place of religion, or the problem of the difference in its content. The problem that arises is, in fact, how religion can be wrested by oppressive groups, whose interests are opposed to the peoples’ (the use to which religion is put by fanatics). On the other hand, when we can use religion as an element of cohesion, of national unity, of resistance to the invader and use it is at the service of the people – then and only then we can stop fanatics like Boko Haram!
This is what BLACK CIVILIZATION AND RELIGION is about, and as previously stated in an earlier post: Like Frantz Fanon once said:” Let us waste no time in sterile litanies and nauseating mini cries. It is a question of starting a new history of man. Humanity is waiting for something other from us than such an imitation which would be almost an obscene caricature. But if we want humanity to advance a step further, if we want to bring humanity up to a different level than that which Europe has shown it, then we must invent and we must make discoveries. For Europe, for ourselves, and for humanity we must turn over a new leaf. We must work out new concepts and try to set afoot a new man.”
If we talking of “CHANGE”; this is how to make it happen!