Pan-Africanism & The Cosmopolitan

The clearest realization of the true face of the world lies in its progression and prosperity, in every avenue of its existence.

So when it comes to things like clothing,film-making,politics and socioeconomic situations, it is inevitable that said subjects futures are contingent on innovation.

I take the notion of Pan-Africanism for example. It is an ideology that evolved into a movement, led by notions of nationality, leadership and the political discourse. Its prime objective was African unity, the eradication of “white supremacy“, and the continents colonial imprint. For a continent whose many countries spent generations under foreign rule, the development of this movement in individual minds was a step towards self- reliance; for an Africa free to move itself forward towards an unknown future that lay in the hands of its rightful peoples.

It is admirable, a veritable cornucopia of the ideals that unite a continent and its people, while reminding the world of its involvement in attempting to subjugate an entirety of people in history. In its blatant attempts at stomping out the foreign control that had previously governed many African nations, the elements that define African Renaissance rise to the fore. The idea of renewing every aspect of Africa’s motif, from its economy,cultures and education, has been foregrounded. There was emphasis on reteaching indigenous languages to the masses as a way of rekindling a shared sense of unity, nestled in the embrace of Africa Circa pre-colonialism, pre-slavery etc. in the search for the original bliss.

Today, Pan-Africanism represents clutching at such antiquated ideas regarding what being African is about, that it has isolated groups of people into social constructs that hinder any chances of unification. There is no clear belief that ideologies that had brought about this future could be potentially subject to hybridity. Pan-Africanisms modern interpretation is riddled with consumer-centric propositions regarding ‘child of the soul’ and other earthy spiritual shrines sold off as tags and images printed on patterned fabrics. That is not the legacy of the movement, nor the imagined spectacle of potential change in relation to a new world and its new generation of free participants.

Pan-Africanism is supposed to be, not about ‘black’ Africans, but rather the cosmopolitan identity that would become inherently pro- Africa. Take PANA Television. It is an “internet television service that legally streams African inspired video content worldwide.”(FB Page) Their mission is ” to entertain, educate and spur positive discussions about Africa.” In essence, it is a platform that liberates African media outputs into world-accessible content rooted in the African motif but developed enough to be a modern representation of a developed Africa.

The say that history is written by the winners, I guess that is true. When it comes to Pan-Africanism and the cosmopolitan though, history is forged through those that live life enough to celebrate the world and all its complexities. Africans need to learn to remember the past, but not be bogged down by the negativity so much that it blinds them from the prospects of the future. The future of African unity lies in realizing that the African identity is dependent on every one in the world-how they perceive national identities, and to what extent people are willing to acknowledge the merit of their own dependency on their roots, and the unquestionable unknown of the future.


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