By Tapiwanashe Chiriga
Happy Africa Day! The 25th of May is always a special day to celebrate Africa. Today marks 57 years since the formation of the giant Organization of African Unity now African Union. It is also a day to celebrate the tireless works of Henry Sylvester Williams, William Edward Burghardt DuBois, Kwame Nkrumah, Edward Blyden, Stokely Carmichael and a lot more of great minds that worked hard in the harshest of circumstances when it was less fashionable, to call and work for the unity of the oppressed people of Africa across the world.
It is a celebration that comes amidst the deadly Covid-19 pandemic whose worldwide effects will be felt for generations to come. A pandemic that has ravaged the world. Africa Day comes barely days after the World Health Organization FINALLY approved the use of the much talked about Covid-19 cure from Madagascar, an approval that took twists and long enough to remind Africans that we are still made to play second fiddle on world affairs nomatter how “good” we try.
It is 57 years since our forebearers formed an organization that boldly called and vowed to actively fight for decolonization. 57 years later, although the decolonization agenda was successful, we are faced with a more ruthless colonial arrangement that allows racists like China to loot African resources, control the means of production in Africa, abuse African workers and call the shots in the politics of our land while racially abusing black people in China and even worse in our own backyard.
Our forebearers truly did not fight for this private school colonialism to emerge. Not to be outdone, the former colonial powers still boast of a hand in former colonies. Years after liberation, some “sovereign” states still had to pay “colonial tax” to France, while closer home, Zimbabwe had to accept a coup to replace one dictator Mugabe with his dull version, thanks to the unbridled and unholy interference of China and the hand of our former colonizer. Today young people must make a rallying call to the total decolonization of the political, economic and social order as per the words of another African revolutionary Frantz Fanon.
It is 57 years since Africa converged and formed the OAU to fight social, political and economic exclusion and injustices that colonialism meted on the oppressed masses of Africa. It is however sad that 57 years later, the exclusion and injustices remain prevalent the gap between the schism between the poor and the rich has become wider, now proudly administered on the poor by our kith and kin, black colonizers who call themselves governments. Freedom and democracy remain dreams for most poor citizens of Africa. Economic emancipation for the ordinary man and woman remains confined to literature and political rants.
African governments through their security forces are killing, maiming, abducting and raping citizens with impunity. Workers, students, farmers and all of the proletariat are still treated as second class citizens. 57 years later the now African Union has become the club of dictators, a club of leaders that cheer each other on in abuse. A congregation of the elite, most of whom would have illegally assumed power, either through a coup or a stolen election. The silence of the African Union in the face of injustice is not only worrisome but a betrayal of the ideals on which the organization was built. Kwame Nkrumah surely is turning in his grave!
57 years after African unity, we are yet to see a borderless Africa. Instead we have seen a sad and terrible kind of Afrophobia, itself a tool by the ruling elite and their neocolonial handholders, to self hate and divide amongst ourselves so that we will not disturb them at the long feast of looters. We remain divided by colonial borders imposed on us by European colonizers.
Instead of opening up borders across Africa, we have at many times seen spirited attempts to create more borders and further division through cessation and what Nkrumah boldly condemned as “balkanization”. It is time for young people and the oppressed masses of our people to unite across our borders and work towards a socioeconomic and political order that excludes none but benefits all.
Today, the best form gratitude we can give to our forebearers as young people is uniting in pursuit of an egalitarian Africa. Uniting to decolonize our economies. Decolonizing our minds. It is a time to fulfill the Nkrumah dream of African socialism. It is the time embrace and champion African Socialism that Senghor called to identify, reawaken, and elevate lost possibilities that he believed remained crystallized within Marxism and socialism. Only then shall we be sure of Agenda 2063!
Today there is only one road to effective action – the organization of the masses :Kwame Nkrumah the 5th Pan African Congress of 1945
For and on behalf of the Zimbabwe National Students Union
Tapiwanashe Chiriga is ZINASU Secretary General. He can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org