chapter  13
50 Pages

Africa regains consciousness in a Pan-African explosion

Africa regained its political feet during the struggle for independence in the twentieth century. More than any other century in the last 500 years, the twentieth must be claimed as the century of African freedom. An explosion of freedom movements took place on and off the African continent that had direct influence on the nature of African development. This was a period when Africans took back the discussion about the future of the African continent, created world organizations to mobilize the African people, and launched indigenous groups to fight for independence from colonial repression and oppression. The giant cat was out of the bag and it would never be captured and placed in such a position again. The attendants of this freedom era were Henry Sylvester Williams, W. E. B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, Anna Julia Cooper, Kwame Nkrumah, George Padmore, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Julius Nyerere, Haile Selassie, Gamel A. Nasser, Sekou Toure, Léopold Senghor, Patrice Lumumba, Jomo Kenyatta, Nelson Mandela, Abdoulaye Wade, Marcelino dos Santos, Samora Machel, Robert Mugabe, Eduardo Mondlane, and scores of others. They represent Africa in all of its glory, from the discourse on freedom to the vision for a United States of Africa. To begin with, Africa needed an ideology that would drive the debate and lead to a common view of the future. This was provided by the Pan-African Congresses. Although they had their own internal and ideological issues, they were seen as catalysts. But they must be seen alongside the powerful movement of Marcus Garvey called the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIAACL).