Afrisecal Philosophy

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Afrisecal movement Afrisecal school of thought, philosophy or Afrisecaism is a political as well as a socio-economic intellectual podium for the expression and translation of Neo-African Renaissance in contemporary times.

The Afrisecal movement (aka Afrisecaism) is a loosely defined movement in art , politics, philosophy ,and literature in later twentieth century Africa. Generally speaking, it represents the same tendencies that Pan-Africanism , Afrocentrism or Negritude stood for in Africa, and may be considered the progeny of all three movements in Africa. It belongs to the "anti-Dictator reaction" and has anti-Colonial Afrocentric roots. It took off from the picturesque and artistic Nigerian city of Jos in the early 1990s following several informal meetings of a group of young pro-democratic writers and students who wanted genuine democratic transition in African politics. The major decision in what is now better known as the "Afriquest Initiative" was that writers' collectives all over the continent should be more pro-active in championing the message of democracy as opposed to dictatorships and military juntas. The belief that Africa was on the threshold of a Neo-renaissance was the bedrock of the nexus . This period also coincided with the call by the post-Apartheid African National Congress (ANC) for an African Renaissance more focused on the economic and political fronts. Hence some writers have called Afrisecal movement a form of pax Nigeriana while the South African flame of the call to an Africa "rebirth" as a form of Pax Praetoriana (or Pax Azania?) that developed out of Ubuntuism.

Francis Okechukwu Ohanyido is generally considered to have founded the movement. In the arts, other prominent persons considered part of the evolving Afrisecal collective include Samson Omayewa, Fantu Cheru, Ntone Edjabe, Jude Akpo Souza , Prince George O'Brien Ndu , Emmanuel Onwi ,Badri Moukarim, Gbenga Ibileye, Chima Ubani, Shaka Momodu and others in all spheres of life.The poets in this collective prefer their poetic works to be referred to as Afrisecal poetry The principal motive behind their intellectual works seems to have been the use of knowledge for the cultural, social, political, and economic transformation of African people by suggesting the necessity for a recentering of African minds on the matter of leadership and accountability, in a way that brings about a liberating consciousness.Ultimately the goal is the evolution of a true African renaissance.

The Afrisecal writers are deeply influenced by Molefi Kete Asante , Chinua Achebe, Ali Mazrui , Chinweizu , Nelson Mandela, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, J. A. Sofola, Ama Mazama, Aboubacry Moussa Lam, Terry Kershaw, Walter Rodney, Leachim Semaj,and Wole Soyinka. Some of the other early influences just like Afrocentricity were Kariamu Welsh,Zik, Chief Damian Ohanyido Okoli

The Negritude Link

Négritude is a literary and political movement developed in the 1930s by a group that included the future Senegalese President Léopold Sédar Senghor, Martinican poet Aimé Césaire, and Léon Damas. The Négritude writers found solidarity in a common black identity as a rejection of French colonial racism. They believed that the shared black heritage of members of the African diaspora was the best tool in fighting against French political and intellectual hegemony and domination. Cesaire who, upon returning to Martinique following his studies in Paris, was elected both Mayor of Fort de France, the capital, and a representative of Martinique in France's Parliament and Senghor in Sénégal never envisaged political indépendence from France. Négritude would according to Senghor enable Blacks under French rule to take a "seat at the give and take [French] table as equals." France had other ideas, and it presented Sénégal and its other African colonies with independence. It was not Senghor who asked for it. In recognition for his lifelong dedication to French culture and language, Senghor was inducted into the Académie française in 1984.

The movement was influenced by the Harlem Renaissance, and particularly the works of African-American writers Langston Hughes and Richard Wright, whose works address the themes of "blackness" and racism. During the 1920s and 1930s, a small group of black students and scholars from France's colonies and territories assembled in Paris where they were introduced to the writers of the Harlem Renaissance by Paulette Nardal and her sister Jane. Paulette Nardal and the Haitian Dr. Leo Sajou founded La revue du Monde Noir (1931-32), a literary journal published in English and French, which attempted to be a mouthpiece for the growing movement of African and Caribbean intellectuals in Paris.

The term négritude (which most closely means "blackness" in English) was first used in 1935 by Aimé Césaire in the 3rd issue of L'Étudiant noir, a magazine which he had started in Paris with fellow students Léopold Senghor and Léon Damas, as well as Gilbert Gratiant, Leonard Sainville, and Paulette Nardal. L'Étudiant noir also contains Césaire's first published work, "Negreries," which is notable not only for its disavowal of assimilation as a valid strategy for resistance but also for its reclamation of the word "nègre" as a positive term. "Nègre" previously had been almost exclusively used in a pejorative sense, much like the English word "nigger"

In 1948, Jean-Paul Sartre wrote a famous analysis of the négritude movement in an essay called "Orphée Noir" (Black Orpheus) which served as the introduction to a volume of francophone poetry called Anthologie de la nouvelle poésie nègre et malgache, compiled by Léopold Senghor. In this essay, Sartre characterizes négritude as the polar opposite of colonial racism in a Hegelian dialectic. In his view, négritude was an "anti-racist racism" (racisme antiraciste) necessary to the final goal of racial unity.

Négritude was criticized by some black writers in the 1960s as insufficiently militant. Keorapetse Kgositsile argued that the term was based too much on celebrating blackness by means of a white aesthetic, and was unable to define a new kind of black perception that would free black people and black art from white conceptualizations altogether.

The term "Negritude," a common 19th century term, referring to "blackness," was also used by American Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and early abolitionist, to describe a hypothetical hereditary disease which he believed to be the cause of "blackness".


  • Sartre, Jean-Paul. "Orphée Noir." Anthologie de la nouvelle poésie nègre et malgache. ed. Léopold Senghor. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France. p. xiv (1948).
  • Condé, Maryse (1998), "O Brave New World", Research in African Literatures, vol. 29, pp. 1-7.

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Categories to read: Literature | Post-colonial theory.

African Renaissance : The Tandem

The African Renaissance is a concept popularized by South African President Thabo Mbeki in which the African people and nations are called upon to solve the many problems troubling the African continent. It reached its height in the late 1990s but continues to be a key part of the post-apartheid intellectual agenda.

The phrase was first used in 1994 in South Africa following the first democratic election after the end of apartheid. However, the optimistic tone of the still forming concept took shape with then-Deputy President Mbeki's famous "I am an African" speech in May 1996 following the adoption of a new constitution, in which Mbeki pronounced, "I am born of a people who are heroes and heroines [...] Patient because history is on their side, these masses do not despair because today the weather is bad. Nor do they turn triumphalist when, tomorrow, the sun shines. [...] Whatever the circumstances they have lived through and because of that experience, they are determined to define for themselves who they are and who they should be." In April 1997, Mbeki listed the elements that would eventually be seen to comprise the African Renaissance, social cohesion, democracy, economic rebuilding and growth and the establishing of Africa as a significant player in geo-political affairs.

In June 1997 an advisor to Mbeki, Vusi Maviembela, wrote that the African Renaissance was the "third moment" in post-colonial Africa, following decolonization and the outbreak of democracy across the continent during the early 1990s. Deputy President Mbeki himself melded the various reforms he had discussed to a tone of optimism under the rubric "African Renaissance" in a speech in August 1998.

Among other things the African Renaissance is a philosophical and political movement to end the violence, elitism, corruption and poverty that seem to plague the African continent, and replace them with a more just and equitable order. Mbeki proposes doing this by, among other things, encouraging education and the reversal of the "brain drain" of African intellectuals. He also urges Africans (led by African intellectuals) to take pride in their heritage, and to take charge of their lives.

Other individuals seen as being the "new generation of African leaders" that would accomplish the goals of the African Renaissance were President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and President Paul Kagame of Rwanda.

However it has drawn criticism as a form of Africanist utopianism, especially given the various armed conflicts that continue in Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and elsewhere. Others have viewed it as an attempt by South Africa to foist a new form of colonialism, nicknamed Pax Praetoriana (after Pax Romana), upon the continent.

Others argue that the analogy between the Renaissance and the "African Renaissance" is tenous for a number of reasons, among them that the Renaissance existed in the context of the fall of a great empire, and the subsequent descent into the Dark Ages. They substantiate claims that the term is anachronistic and misconceived [1]. The historical misconceptions, in turn, undermine the intellectual connotations. They further state that "African Renaissance" is a misnomer and should be seen as no more than rhetoric, and that the continued upheaval and disunity in Africa do not bode well for the aspirations of the "African Renaissance".

While the "African Renaissance" has lost much of its credibility, it is still frequently employed. This is the case especially in South Africa, where the African National Congress has adopted it as part of its ideology and where the phrase is sometimes used in advertising. African Renaissance has also been championed by the maverick Nigerian Philosopher-Poet ,Dr Francis Okechukwu Ohanyido who first started an intellectual movement termed "Afrisecaism" (Afrisecal movement) in the early 1990s. [edit]

External link

  • Thabo Mbeki's I am an African speech
  • Mbeki's 1998 speech outlining the African Renaissance
  • AfricAvenir's collection of African Renaissance materials
  • The "African Renaissance" at The Crossroads of Postcoloniality and Postmodernity

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Category to read: African politics


Pronunciation: (af'ri-ku-niz"um), [key] —n. 1. something that is characteristic of African culture or tradition. 2. a word, term, or the like, that has been adopted from an African language. 3. African culture, ideals, or advancement.

Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease. Afrocentricity- The Molefi Asante perspective For more than twenty five years and in more than thirty five books I have tried to deal with the question of African identity from the perspective of African people as centered, located, oriented, and grounded. This idea I have named Afrocentricity to convey the profound need for African people to be re-located historically, economically, socially, politically,and philosophically. For too long we have held up the margins of the European's world and have been victimized by the illusion that we are working in our own best interests when, in fact, we have become the chief apologists for Europe.

Afrocentricity seeks to re-locate the African person as an agent in human history in an effort to eliminate the illusion of the fringes. For the past five hundred years Africans have been taken off of cultural, economic, religious, political, and social terms and have existed primarily on the periphery of Europe. Because of this existence we have often participated in an anti-African racism born of the same Western triumphalism that has entrapped our minds in the West. We know little about our own classical heritage and nothing about our contributions to world knowledge. To say that we are decentered means essentially that we have lost our own cultural footing and become other than our cultural and political origins, dis-located and dis-oriented. We are essentially insane, that is, living an absurdity from which we will never be able to free our minds until we return to the source. Afrocentricity as a theory of change intends to re-locate the African person as subject, thus destroying the notion of being objects in the Western project of domination. As a pan-African idea, Afrocentricity becomes the key to the proper education of children and the essence of an African cultural revival and, indeed, survival.

Afrocentricity is therefore a philosophical and theoretical perspective, as distinct from a particular system, whose origins are attributed to my works Afrocentricity, The Afrocentric Idea, and Kemet, Afrocentricity, and Knowledge These books form the essential core of the idea that interpretation and explanation based on the role of Africans as subjects is most consistent with reality. It became a growing intellectual idea in the l980s as scores of African American and African scholars adopted an Afrocentric orientation to data. Afrocentricity is generally opposed to theories that "dislocate" Africans in the periphery of human thought and experience. Such theories see Africans in the diaspora only as creations of Europe, off-centered Atlantic products with little or no agency of our own.

I argue as an Afrocentrist that the Western dogma which contends that Greeks gave the world rationalism effectively marginalizes those who are not European and becomes the leading cause of the disbelief about African achievements. The Afrocentrists contend that the dogma that the Greeks gave the world rational thought is historically inaccurate and that the construction of the Western notions of knowledge based on the Greek model is a relatively recent construction beginning with the European Renaissance when Cosimo de Medici of Florience asked Marsillio Ficcino to translate the Corpus Hermeticum and Plato's Republic in that order. In the standard Western view neither the Africans nor the Chinese had rational thinking. Only the Europeans had the ability to construct rational thought. Thus, the Afrocentrists contend that the Eurocentric view has become an ethnocentric view which elevates the European experience and downgrades all others. Afrocentricity is not the reverse of Eurocentricity but a particular perspective for analysis which does not seek to occupy all space and time as Eurocentrism has often done. For example, to say classical music, theatre, or dance is usually a reference to European music, theatre, and dance. However, this means that Europeans occupy all of the intellectual and artistic seats and leave no room for others. The Afrocentrists argue for pluralism in philosophical views without hierarchy. All cultural centers must be respected; this is the fundamental aim of Afrocentricity.

In the Afrocentric view the problem of cultural location takes precedence over the topic or the data under consideration. The argument is that Africans have been moved off of social, political, philosophical, and economic terms for half a millenium. Consequently it becomes necessary to examine all data from the standpoint of Africans as subjects, human agents, rather than as objects in a European frame of reference. Of course, this means that Afrocentricity has implications for intellectual, social, and artistic fields as different as dance, architecture, social work, literature, politics, and psychology. Here the motifs of locations and constituents of centeredness or de-centeredness become important. The architect who understand the significance of having buildings or homes constructed on the basis of African culture and behavior.

We contend that human beings cannot divest themselves of culture; they are either participating in their own historical culture or that of some other group. They may, of course, choose to opt out of their own cultural heritage and appropriate that of some other people. This is rarely the case, however, with Europeans. They do not choose to become Indians or Chinese or Africans. In fact, the only people who have totally distanced themselves from their cultural origins are Africans in the diaspora. We have been victimized by the negative image of Africa and have therefore concluded that we wanted nothing to do with Africa. It is the voice of the person who says, ÒI am not an African. I never left anything in Africa.Ó To such a question in the l960s Malcolm X replied, ÒYou left your mind in Africa.Ó

A contradiction between history and perspective produces a kind of incongruity which is called decenteredness. Thus, when an African American writes from the viewpoint of Europeans who came to the Americas on the Mayflower , or when literary critics write of Africans as the Other, Afrocentrists claim that Africans are being peripheralized. Since Afrocentricity is not color-conscious, it is not a matter of color but of culture that matters in the orientation to centeredness. The Wolof people of Senegal say, ÒWood may remain in water for ten years but it will never become a crocodile.Ó

Metaphors of location and dislocation are the principal tools of analysis as events, situations, texts, buildings, dreams, authors are seen as displaying various forms of centeredness. To be centered is to be located as an agent instead of as "the Other." Such a critical shift in thinking means that the Afrocentric perspective provides new insights and dimensions to the understanding of phenomena.

Contemporary issues in Afrocentric thinking have involved the explanation of psychological misorientation and disorientation, attitudes which affect Africans who consider themselves to be Europeans or who believe that it is impossible to be African and human. Severe forms of this attitude have been labeled extreme misorientation by some Afrocentrists. Additional issues have been the influence of a centered approach to education, particularly as it relates to the revision of the educational curriculum. What is significant as knowledge if we seek to socialize children to live culturally in the world? A growing group of Afrocentric writers at major universities in North America and Africa has established several professional associations and journals. The premier center for the Afrocentric Movement is the Temple University School of scholars, frequently referred to as the Temple Circle. Among the Temple Circle of Afrocentrists (including the C. Tsehloane Keto, Kariamu Welsh Asante, Abu Abarry, Ama Mazama, Theophile Obenga and Terry Kershaw) there is a strong emphasis on aesthetics, behavior, and ethics with Afrocentric location as the key component to interpretation. But this attention to place, to perspective, bothers many scholars and ordinary whites. They do not believe that the insistence on quality, rational thought, and control of time and space is legitimate and they rather believe that the aim of the movement is to remove the Western hegemony. This is probably a correct assessment. Why should not a Guadaloupean have a voice of her or his own? Why must we be seen as a reflection of Europe. This does not mean that we are not influenced or that we do not partake in other cultures, it simply means that we are unashamed to claim our own cultural heritage.

I believe that the European scholars who register a negative reaction to Afrocentricity do so out of a case of fear. The fear is revealed on two levels. In the first place, Afrocentricity provides them with no grounds for authority unless they become students of Africans. This produces an existential fear: African scholars might have something to teach whites.

The Afrocentric school of thought is the first contemporary intellectual movement initiated by African scholars that has currency on a broad scale for renewal and renaissance. It did not emerge inside the traditional white academic centers but In the cultural context of the African community seeking to assert itself. The second fear is not so much an existential one; it is rather a fear of the implications of the Afrocentric critique of Eurocentrism as an ethnocentric view posing as a universal view. Thus, we have opened the discussion of everything from race theory, ancient civilizations, African and European personalities, the impact of the glaciers on human behavior, and dislocation in the writing of African American authors. We examine these topics with the eye of Africans people as subjects of historical experiences. This is not the only human view. If anything, Afrocentrists have always said that our perspective on data is only one among many and consequently the viewpoint, if you will, seeks no advantage, no self-aggrandizement, and no hegemony. The same cannot be said of Eurocentrism.

The African Caribbean or American and African Eurocentrists are a special problem. They represent two cases. The first case is represented by those who have been so well-trained in the Eurocentric perspective that they see themselves as copies of Europeans. These are the Africans who believe they came to North America on the Mayflower or to the Caribbean as plantation owners or better yet they believe that classical European music is the only real classical music in the world. Their rejection of Afrocentricity is tied to their rejection of themselves. Thus, the inability to see from their own centers or to position their sights on phenomena from their own historical and cultural conditions is related to what Malcolm X used to call "the slave mentality," that is, the belief that their own views can never be divorced from the slave master's. To a large degree these Africans tend to lack historical consciousness and find their own source of intellectual satisfaction in the approval of whites, not in the search for the interpretative key to their own history. I am not suggesting the stifling of this type of imitation in any politically correct way but rather I want to explain the response to Afrocentricity in an historical manner. The second case is also historical, that is, Afrocentrists find evidences of it in our historical experiences. These are the Africans who seek to be appointed overseers on the plantation. They do not necessarily believe they are the same as whites. They recognize that they did not come here as planters and owners but they aspire to universalism without references to particular experiences. For them any emphasis on particular perspectives and experiences suggest separatism and separatism suggests hostility. This is a fallacy because neither separatism nor difference suggests hostility except in the minds of those who fear.

In an intellectual sense these African Eurocentrists feel inclined to disagree with any idea that has popular approval among the African American masses. Much like the overseers during the ante-bellum period they are eager to demonstrate that they are not a part of the rebellion and that they distrust the ideas that are derived from the African masses. They might even consider themselves a part of the elite, almost white, separate from the rest of us. The progression of their dislocation is seen in the distance they seek to place between themselves and us. Indeed, they might even participate in what Louis Lomax once called "the fooling of white people" by telling white audiences that Afrocentrists represent a new and passing fad.

The point is that Afrocentricity is nothing more than what is congruent to the interpretative life of the African person. Why should an African American see himself or herself through the perspective of a Chinese? or white American? Neither the Chinese nor the European American views phenomena from the perspective of the African American and nor should they. Historical and cultural experiences and traditions differ and in order to understand the African American experience in dance, architecture, social work, art, science, psychology, or communication one has to avail one's self of the richly textured standing place of African Americans. In the end, you must ask yourself, why does such a simple rational position threaten so many people?

Late in the 18th century, at the University of Gottingen, Wilhelm von Humboldt and Alexander von Humboldt began to develop the racial hierarchical theories that would catapult European thought into the next centuries as the bedevillers of truth and cause Africans to question themselves.

So aggressive would they be in promoting their ideologies that they would not only conjoin them with capitalism but would spread them to other parts of the world and convince many Africans and Asians that their racist views were correct.

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BLACK POWER: The Song Of The Black Panther Movement

Black Power The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense was one of the leading organizations advocating Black Power. (Source: J.C. Albert and S.E. Albert, eds., The Sixties Papers [Praeger, 1984], 105)

Black Power was a political movement that arose in the middle 1960s, that strove to express a new racial consciousness among Blacks in the United States. Robert Williams, who revived the Monroe, NC chapter of the NAACP and later entered exile in Cuba and China, was the first to put the actual term to effective use in the late 1950s. Williams, who was also the first to publish the poetry of Ray Durem, used the phrase "Black Power" in the American political context.

The movement stemmed from the earlier civil rights movements, but its meaning was vigorously debated. To some African Americans, Black Power represented racial dignity and self-reliance (i.e. freedom from white authority in both economic and political arenas). To others, it was economic in orientation.

Led in some ways by Malcom X, who supplied the rhetoric, style, and attitude, the Black Power Movement encouraged the improvement of African American communities, rather than the fight for complete integration. The Black Panther Party for Self Defense were truly the vanguard of the Black Power Movement. In addition to Robert Williams, Stokely Carmichael played a key role in the formation of the ideas of Black Power. Carmichael made Black Power more popular, largely through his use of the term while reorganizing the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) so that whites would no longer possess leadership responsibilities.

Some African Americans sought cultural heritage and history and the true roots of black identity as their part of the movement. This was thought of as the "consciousness" aspect of the Black Power Movement. The classic phrases belonged to the musicians: "Free your mind and your ass will follow" (George Clinton/Funkadelic) and "Say it loud, I'm Black and I'm proud" (James Brown). The recognition that standards of beauty and self-esteem were integral to power relations was also a significant aspect of the movement.

Other interpreters of the Black Power Movement included Harold Cruse and Amiri Baraka who dealt with the cultural-nationalist perspective of Black Power as related to the artistic realm. In his essay "The Black Arts Movement," Larry Neal explains the effects of the Black Power Movement on the Black Arts Movement (Neal, Visions of a Liberated Future). He writes, "the political values inherent in the Black Power Concept are now finding concrete expression in the aesthetics of Afro-American dramatists, poets, choreographers, musicians and novelists." Like those who emphasized "consciousness" the artists of Black Power likewise emphasized the central importance of self-representation and productive autonomy.

One main point of the Black Power Concept was the necessity for Black people to define the world in their own terms. At times this included a call for revolutionary political struggle to reject racism and imperialism in the United States. As the Black Power Concept began to grow, it also began to build resistance and condemnation from whites and from several African American organizations, including the NAACP, because of the anti-white message associated (often unfairly) with Black Power.

When the Black Panther Party began to grow in the late 1960s, it became the largest Black organization advocating Black Power. Eventually because of the continual condemnation of the theory of Black Power as a separatist and anti-white movement, along with the destruction of the Black Panthers in the early 70s, the Black Power Concept seemed to disappear. Yet, scholars of African American art and politics still see the idea of Black Power as a strong effect on the consciousness of Black America today, though its institutions have been destroyed and the radical politics largely discredited and defused. In essence, the focus on cultural autonomy and self-esteem of the Black Power Movement has survived and, not surprisingly, grown in strength. courtesy of .