Obi Egbuna Jnr Simunye
At every phase of the African liberation struggle, our genuine quest for unity, has magnified both the immeasurable value of diplomacy and clarity.
Each and every time we peacefully assemble to resolve whatever differences we have, and face our contradictions with the attentive detail we give to our own faces when staring in the mirror, we publicly emerge renewed and reinvigorated with a greater sense of purpose.
As we are only a few days removed from celebrating Kwanzaa for the 52nd year consecutively, it is necessary for Africans at home and abroad, to extend heartfelt congratulations to Maulana Karenga and the US organisation for providing our community with such a powerful outlet for cultural and social redemption.
Whether one agrees or disagrees with Karenga politically, what cannot be denied is thousands if not millions of so-called African-Americans received their first exposure to African culture through Kwanzaa.
Arguably the most uplifting aspect of Kwanzaa is not dispersed celebrations throughout the Diaspora reaffirming their commitment to the seven principles, or watching our children bang on African drums and dance with a level of gracefulness and ingenuity that would leave Art Blakey, Max Roach, Katherine Dunham and Pearle Primus speechless, but how those who remember the horrific shoot-out between the Black Panther Party and US organisation that claimed the lives of Bunchy Carter and John Huggins still faithfully support these celebrations.
This level of political sophistication also applies to our comrades who have watched African Liberation Day start as an anti-colonialist and imperialist vessel when it was recognised as African Freedom Day on April 15th, 1958, that was later changed to African Liberation Day during the founding meeting of the Organisation of African Unity in Ethiopia, that was a strategic compromise to establishing One Unified Socialist African Government.
We also bare witness to the ideological differences that led to the dismantling of the African Liberation Day Support Committee in the early 70s inside US borders, that were the primary outlet to maximise unwavering solidarity and support efforts for the liberation movements in Southern Africa who at that point in history were embroiled in protracted armed struggle.
Today African Liberation Day at the grassroots level displays certain organised formations torn apart from the inside out, who might even hold their events in the same building across the hall from each other, or groups who take pleasure in pointing out the shortcomings of other organisations political programme instead of clearly defining their own.
That painful illustration of political weakness is only overshadowed by how African embassies in Washington DC, following a mandate by the African Union have extracted the word liberation from ALD and have through the African Ambassadors Group, put together an annual event that putting it bluntly is an all out neo colonialist political revival.
The long term damage and aftershock of this trend, has resulted in the thousands if not millions of Africans living inside US borders, celebrating Kwanzaa yet completely ignoring African Liberation Day altogether.
Those who dare to magnify this contradiction, only for the purpose of proposing short term and long term solutions, run the risk of being accused of being Anti Kwanzaa or even worse a political troublemaker that doesn’t appreciate African cultural expression.
Even at its most fragile state, these African Liberation Day platforms highlight US-EU Imperialism’s commitment to stifle Mother Africa’s most genuine efforts to break the cycle of rape and plunder, while on the other hand Kwanzaa celebrations are almost devoid of any strategic and tactical planning in relationship to challenging US-EU Policy on Africa.
As Zimbabwe has officially entered the 18th year of being under the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act, perhaps the movement to lift US-EU sanctions on Zimbabwe, could be the bridge between the Kwanzaa and ALD networks in the Diaspora.
While thousands of Africans inside US borders are raising funds at a feverish pace to be in attendance for what has been billed by the current Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo as the year of Ghana, which commemorates the 400th anniversary of our ancestors arriving in chains on the shores of Jamestown, Virginia, the primary grouping of delegates will comprise of the network that celebrates Kwanzaa yet overlooks ALD.
Because President Akufo-Addo has garnered worldwide attention concerning his point of view on Africa’s relationship to the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, one wonders if he has even considered using this gathering to call for the lifting of US-EU sanctions on Zimbabwe, which would serve as the ultimate tribute to the Ghanaian Pan Africanist and revolutionary icons Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah and Amai Sally Mugabe whose shaping and influence on Zimbabwe are undeniable.
By lending his voice and energy to this effort President Akufo-Addo would encourage so called African-Americans seeking to relocate to Africa seeking to live the equivalent of an upper middle class lifestyle in the United States, but would be sending a message that he expects so called African-Americans coming to Ghana today, to be in the frame of mind Dr WEB and Shirley Graham Du Bois, Robert and Sara Lee, W. Alpheaus Hutton, Julian Mayfield and Ana Livia Cordero, Tom Feelings, Alice Windom, and Maya Angelou had when they accepted the Osagyefo’s call for a repatriate community who rejected the notion of a cultural pilgrimage devoid of political and historical responsibility.
The time has come for Maulanga Karenga to remind the most faithful patrons of Kwanzaa that we were inspired by the annual harvest of the Zulu people Umkhosi Wokweshwama which was discontinued after the Anglo-Zulu war and the outcome of the battle of Isandlwana.
The celebration was introduced by King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu, the same year Namibia was liberated from German Colonialism.
If Maulana Karenga could urge the Kwanzaa movement and network to work with the ALD network to develop a joint plan of action to lift US-EU sanctions on Zimbabwe, the struggle to make our cultural and political expression synonymous would receive the ultimate boost moving forward.
source: the herald