Debate diverts us from real issues

2011-02-05 09:10

The “who is African?” debate diverts us from discussing the fundamental issues facing African people in this country. Issues such as land ownership, control of the economy, and how rapidly Africans can be advanced in skills to eradicate poverty and acquire high technology to process raw materials and export them as finished goods.

In South Africa (Azania), Africans were colonised and dispossessed of the riches of their country (gold, diamonds, platinum, fertile land etc).

The poorest people in South Africa are Africans. People who live in squalid inhuman settlements fit for pigs are Africans.

These inhuman shelters often burn down or are flooded, killing many Africans.The least equipped hospitals are those that serve Africans.

The highest number of unemployed people are Africans. The worst roads (or lack thereof) are found where Africans live.

The least educated people in South Africa are Africans. People who have the shortest life expectancy are Africans.

People with the highest child mortality are Africans. Not long ago, Africans in this country were “natives” – with a capital N.

They were “Non-Europeans”. They were “Non-Whites”. They were “Bantus”. They were also “Kaffirs”. Every attempt was made to avoid calling them Africans, yet they owned a chunk of Africa’s land, four times the size of Britain and Northern Ireland combined.

Today, some people who debate this topic want to confuse issues surrounding the African identity.

In 45OBC, Herodotus, “the father of European history”, described indigenous Africans as black, having thick lips and woolly hair.

Ancient historians such as Diodorus and Tacitus supported him.

Colonialists have denied Africans their identity for far too long. They called the African country “empty land”, yet they grabbed it with their guns.

It is strange that no one is asking who are Europeans, who are Indians?

Anniversaries of the Anglo-Boer War, the Union of South Africa that consolidated British colonialism and such things as the arrival of Indians here in 186O are made a big indaba.

What did these anniversaries do for Africans?

Africans are the indigenous people of Africa and those in the diaspora who were kidnapped to work for Europeans as slaves.

It is unacceptable that one group of people can grab another group of people’s countries by colonial aggression and declare themselves “Africans” without returning the stolen goods or showing remorse and paying reparation.

Pan Africanists long ago defined who is African. In an apartheid court in 196O, Mangaliso Robert Sobukwe was cross-examined about the Sharpeville Uprising that the Pan Africanist Congress led.

Q: What is an African?A: An indigenous person of this land of Africa.

Q: How would you classify the extinct Bushmen, and the Hottentots and coloureds?

A: They are Africans.

Q: Because they are indigenous?”A: Yes.

Q: How many races are there in South Africa?

A: There is only one race, the human race.

Q: There is only one race?

A: Correct.

Those who claim to have fought “black and white domination” suffer from an incurable pathological mental colonial mentality and ignore the genocide that has been committed against Africans through the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and the 1885 Berlin Conference.

They have claimed that Africanism as taught by Dr Muziwakhe Lembede “was not universally supported because his ideas were characterised by a racial exclusivity”.

Who is this “universal support”? Are they not the economic enslavers and colonisers of Africans?

The truth of the matter is that Africanism is Pan Africanistic in scope and direction, and serves the material, intellectual and spiritual interests of Africa.

Africanism is a social force functioning through the media of African social conditions, and operating to liberate Africa and create a new social order original in conception, Africanistic in orientation, socialistic in content, democratic in form, creative in purpose and, finally, creating one Giant Monolithic State of Africa and using the land’s riches for Africa’s people.

» Pheko is the author of The Hidden Side of South African Politics and a former PAC Member of Parliament

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