From NigerianWiki
Revision as of 18:24, 13 May 2009 by Lekan (talk | contribs)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Pan-Africanism is a sociopolitical world view, philosophy, and movement which seeks to unify native Africans and members of the African diaspora into a "global African community".


As a philosophy, Pan Africanism represents the aggregation of the historical, cultural, spiritual, artistic, scientific and philosophical legacies of Africans from past times to the present. Pan Africanism as an ethical system, traces its origins from ancient times, and promotes values that are the product of the African civilization and struggles against slavery, racism, colonialism, and neo-colonialism.

Pan-Africanism is usually seen as a product of the European slave trade, rather than as something arising in the continent of Africa itself. Enslaved Africans of diverse origins and their descendants found themselves embedded in a system of exploitation where their African origin became a sign of their servile status. Pan-Africanism set aside cultural differences, asserting the principality of these shared experiences to foster solidarity and resistance to exploitation.

Alongside a large number of slave insurrections, by the end of the eighteenth century a political movement developed across the Americas, Europe and Africa which sought to weld these disparate movements into a network of solidarity putting an end to this oppression. In London, the Sons of Africa was a political group addressed by Quobna Ottobah Cugoano in the 1791 edition of his book Thoughts and sentiments on the evil of slavery. The group addressed meetings and organised letter-writing campaigns, published campaigning material and visited parliament. They wrote to figures such as Granville Sharp, William Pitt and other members of the white abolition movement, as well as King George III and the Prince of Wales, the future George IV.

Modern Pan-Africanism began around the beginning of the twentieth century. The African Association, later renamed the Pan African Association, was organized by Henry Sylvester-Williams around 1887, and their first conference was held in 1900<ref name="The History of Pan-Africanism">Template:Cite web</ref>.

Key figures

  • Edward Wilmot Blyden has been labeled the Father of Pan-Africanism.
  • W. E. B. Du Bois has also been labeled the Father of Pan-Africanism. Du Bois hosted the highly influential 5th Pan-African Conference in Manchester, U.K.
  • Hugo Chavez, Current President of Venzuela who is trying to reconnect Afro-Latin Americans with their African heritage.
  • Marcus Garvey, was a Caribbean-born Pan-Africanist, stern advocate for the Back-to-Africa movement, and has also been labeled as a Father of Pan-Africanism. Garvey led the largest organization with Pan-African goals in history.
  • Jomo Kenyatta was a Pan-African activist who became the first president of Kenya.
  • Julius Kambarage Nyerere: Key figure for Pan Africanism and SADC
  • Ahmed Sékou Touré was a Pan-African activist, who became the first President of Guinea, West Africa, the first French sub-Saharan African colony to gain independence from France on October 2, 1958 following its rejection of the famous 1958 Referendum that was proposed by President Charles De Gaulle of France. President Toure, along with President William Tubman of neighboring Liberia and President Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, was the vanguard behind the creation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), which has been transformed into the African Union (AU), at a Special Head of States Meeting held in the northern Liberian city of Sanniquelle, Nimba County, which is often referred to as the "birth place" of the OAU (now the AU).
  • Fela Anikulapo Kuti: The founder of Afrobeat music, and political/human rights activist. Promoted pan-africanism through his music.
  • Gamal Abd El Nasser was a Pan-african activist and the president of Egypt.Alongside Nkrumah,he endorsed the African countries who were fighting for independence and placed Egyptian culture and civilisation within an African framework.
  • Kwame Nkrumah was a Pan-African activist who became the first president of Ghana
  • Haile Selassie, emperor of Ethiopia, was a key figure in Pan-Africanism due to his call for greater unity among African Nations.
  • Muammar al-Gaddafi, also known as Colonel Gaddafi has been the de facto leader of Libya since a 1969 coup, has in recent years been the most dominant/active organizer of African unity and has proposed the formation, based on Gamal Abd El Nasser and Kwame Nkrumah's dream, of a United States of AfricaReport
  • Robert Gabriel Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe who has ruled for more than 28 years. Mugabe is allied with Muammar al-Gaddafi.
  • Bob Marley was Pan-African activist through his music.


Billboard in Zambia with Nkrumah's non-alignment quote: "We face neither East nor West; We face forward" (Taken in May 2005)

As originally conceived by Henry Sylvester-Williams (note: some history books credit this idea to Edward Wilmot Blyden) pan-Africanism referred to the unity of all continental Africa (excluding North Africa) <ref name="Sculpting a Pan-African Culture">Template:Cite web</ref> The concept soon expanded, however, to include the African diaspora.

During apartheid South Africa there was a Pan Africanist Congress that dealt with the oppression of South Africans under European apartheid rule. Other pan-Africanist organizations include Garvey's Universal Negro Improvement Association-African Communities League, TransAfrica and the International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement.

Pan-African Banner

Template:Main The Pan-African flag was designed by Marcus Garvey and is known as "The Red, Black, and Green". This flag symbolizes the struggle for the unification and liberation of African people. The "red" stands for the blood that unites all people of African ancestry, "black" represents the color of the skin of the people of Africa, and "green" stands for the rich land of Africa.

Sometimes the green, gold, and red of the Ethiopian flag are used as the colors of the Pan-African movement. According to some sources, this is because Ethiopia escaped European colonization except for a brief period of occupation by Italy under the Fascists.

The four Pan-African colors — red, black, green, and gold — may have inspired the flags of more nations than any other flag.


Two of Pan-Africanism's major academic goals are reexamination of African history from a African perspective as opposed to a pro-European perspective and a return to traditional African concepts about culture, society, and values. Most notable, Pan-African academics often espouse the view that Egypt (Kemet), Nubia, or the Nile Valley civilization were of African origin.

Pan African studies

Also related to Pan-Africanism is the academic discipline of Pan-African Studies. Departments of Pan-African Studies have existed in many North American universities since the 1960s.

Maafa Studies

Maafa is an aspect of Pan-African studies. The term collectively refers to the 500 hundred years of suffering (including the present) of people of African heritage through slavery, imperialism, colonialism, invasions, oppression, and exploitation.<ref name="Maafa Defined">Template:Cite web</ref><ref name="Temple News">Template:Cite web</ref><ref name="Swagga Definition of Maafa">Template:Cite web</ref> In this area of study, both the actual history and the legacy of that history are studied as a single discourse. Thus the paradigm is the legacy of the African holocaust on African people globally. The emphasis in the historical narrative is on African agents, as opposed to non-African agents.<ref name="Agency and Africa">Template:Cite web</ref>.

Political parties and organizations




Template:African American topics sidebar

  • The Us organization was founded in 1965 by Dr Maulana Karenga, following the Watts riots. It is based on the synthetic African philosophy of kawaida and the Nguzo Saba. In the words of its founder and chair, Dr. Karanga, the essential task of our organization Us has been and remains to provide a philosophy, a set of principles and a program which inspires a personal and social practice that not only satisfies human need but transforms people in the process, making them self-conscious agents of their own life and liberation. <ref name="The US Organization">Template:Cite webTemplate:Verify credibility</ref> Us is perhaps most well-known for creating Kwaanza and the Nguzo Saba, or Seven Principles.

Pan-African concepts and philosophies

Afrocentric Pan-Africanism

Afrocentric Pan-Africanism, as espoused by Dr. Kwabena Faheem Ashanti, Ph.D in his book The Psychotechnology of Brainwashing: Crucifying Willie Lynch. Another newer movement that has evolved from the early Afrocentric school is the Afrisecal movement or Afrisecaism of Dr Francis Ohanyido a Nigerian Philosopher- Poet. <ref name="Bio Ohanyido">Template:Cite web</ref> Black Nationalism is sometimes associated with this form of pan-Africanism; the figure of Afrocentric Pan-Africanism in the Spanish-speaking world is Professor Antumi Toasijé.<ref name="Antumi Toasije in Spanish Wikipedia">Template:Cite web</ref>



Hip Hop

During the past three decades hip hop has emerged as a powerful force shaping black and African identities worldwide. In his article “Hip-hop Turns 30: Whatcha Celebratin’ For?,” Greg Tate describes hip hop culture as the product of a Pan-African state of mind<ref name="Tate, Greg 2005">Tate, Greg. “Hip-hop Turns 30: Whatcha Celebratin’ For?” Village Voice. 4 January 2005.</ref>. It is an “ethnic enclave/ empowerment zone that has served as a foothold for the poorest among us to get a grip on the land of the prosperous,”<ref name="Tate, Greg 2005"/>. Hip-hop unifies those of African descent globally in its movement towards greater economic, social and political power. Andreana Clay in her article “Keepin’ it Real: Black Youth, Hip-Hop Culture, and Black Identity” states that hip hop provides the world with “vivid illustrations of Black lived experience” creating bonds of black identity across the globe<ref>Clay, Andreana. “Keepin’ it Real: Black Youth, Hip-Hop Culture, and Black Identity.” In American Behavioral Scientist, Vol. 46.10 (2003): 1346-1358.</ref>. Hip hop authenticates a black identity, and in doing so, creates a unifying uplifting force among Africans as Pan-Africanism sets out to achieve.

Pan-African art


Template:Unreferenced section Template:Weasel Pan-Africanism is often criticized for overlooking the cultural and ethnic differences of African people as well as different socio-political circumstances among people of African descent worldwide.

Although African people are ethnically diverse, Anglo and Anglo-African mixed race people are disregarded from any discussion. However, being African does not automatically mean that one is racially black, since African people are not exclusively black.

The motive of the modern movement seeks to unite "black power" under the label African even though an individual of black race may trace his history multiple generations past within their national origin far from Africa as with black Americans, termed "African Americans." White African people, Anglo-mixed African race people of colonial heritage and tribal blood lines are not included in the definition, though some consider them to be indigenous to the continent over multiple generations.

Some criticize the Pan-African movement's perceived tendency to exclude primarily Caucasian businesses from commerce. It is believed that this unwillingness to cooperate with North America and the European community furthers the economic decline of Africa, to the point of financial collapse.

See also




External links

Template:Pan-Africanism Template:Africa topics