Celebrating Africa's 50 Years of Independence

African Update – 24/05/10

We prefer self government in danger to servitude in tranquility” Dr Kwame Nkrumah, founder and first President of Ghana.

We prefer self government in danger to servitude in tranquility” Dr Kwame Nkrumah, founder and first President of Ghana.

Africa is in celebration mood this year and we at Humanitas Afrika wish to share our own joy and reflections on this momentous occasion with you, our friends, supporters, and indeed the world.

Without hesitation many historians have conferred the year of African independence on 1960 and with good reason. In this year a record seventeen African countries (Chad, Benin, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Madagascar, Central African Republic, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Togo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, Congo, Gabon, and Cameroon) achieved independence and took their rightful places in the commonwealth of free nations. It is the golden jubilee of these countries in 2010 that has occasioned the attention and celebrations in Africa.

Prior to 1960 a paltry eight African countries had gained independence, five of which were North African while only three were sub-Saharan. Ghana was one of these sub-Saharan countries, and Liberia notwithstanding; Ghana is reputed, not only as the first sub-Saharan country to gain independence, but that its independence helped radicalize the liberation of the entire continent. Dr Kwame Nkrumah, who led Ghana into independence, captured the collectivity of the African liberation struggle when he said “the independence of Ghana is meaningless unless it is linked up with the total liberation of the African continent”.

Dr Nkrumah soon played host to the first Conference of Independent African States on African soil in April 1958. This conference was significant in representing “the collective expression of African People’s disgust with the system of colonialism and imperialism, which brought so much suffering to African People.  Further, it represented the collective will to see the system of colonialism permanently done away with” thetalkingdrum.com. In the same year and soon after the Accra conference Guinea defied de Gaulle and followed Ghana into independence to be followed in 1960 by the other seventeen countries. Even as a numbers game the achievement is phenomenal within such a spell.

Colonialism and the struggle for independence was in many ways a shared experience. The colonial masters were basically of the same breed, driven by the same greed, and employed the same brutality to subdue the natives, a process in which the African was cast, perceived and perpetuated as inferior and undeserving of the dignities that define humanity. Irrespective of whether the colonial master was French, English, Belgian, Portuguese or Boer the effects of their occupation of African lands, their influences on African populations and the long term psychological trauma on African peoples varied very little if at all.

But what is there to celebrate about a continent where starvation, poor infrastructure, corruption, illiteracy, low life expectancy, frail institutions, and poor healthcare are still perennial fifty years on? What is there to celebrate about when our countries cannot prepare national budgets without foreign aid input, when we cannot even process, let alone price the produce of our soil, our natural resources? These are observations that may sound far fetched, or pandering to a stereotypical Africa, but they are part of the reality experienced across the continent in varying measures of severity, and cast a dismal picture of an Africa in dire straits of everything except anthems and flags not worth any celebration.

But we celebrate. We celebrate a new Africa “after 500 years of the most brutal suffering known to humanity, the rape of Africa and the subsequent slave trade” thetalkingdrum.com. We celebrate being African, our identity. We celebrate our heritage, our space that we had to reclaim by force, already raped and profaned as it may have been. We celebrate our effort to reconstruct our culture, for we cannot be a people living on an imposed culture, a culture not our own. We celebrate the peace and stability achieved by some of the seventeen African countries, and the challenges of democracy and good governance in some others.

We celebrate even as we acknowledge that we are yet to totally free ourselves from the colonial vestiges that still enslave us mentally, and from a world economic order that seeks almost deliberately to tread continually on Africa. And we celebrate to ask ourselves the hard questions and prescribe the bitter pills. We celebrate because it is right to do so, and if anything else, we celebrate because “we prefer self government in danger to servitude in tranquility”.

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Xoliswa Ndoyiya: Ukutya Kwasekhaya

Xoliswa Ndoyiya: Ukutya KwasekhayaTastes from Nelson Mandela’s kitchen

A collection of recipes by Nelson Mandela's personal chef, this book contains the food served to visiting heads of state, celebrities, politicians for more than 20 years. Featuring some of the favourite former South African president's favourite meals including samp and beans, farm chicken, tripe, this book also features paella, peri-peri chicken, prawn curry, and myriad of other delights. With simple, delicious and nourishing recipes, it will interest those who wish to prepare meals that are both elegant and healthy.More

New arrivals

New titles in our library 12/2016

Our library has aquired a number of new and interesting books. Here is the list of the latest titles.

  • Blood Brothers: The Fatal Friendship Between Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X by Randy Roberts and Johnny Smith
  • Fashion Cities Africa by Hannah Azieb Pool
  • Frantz Fanon: Toward a Revolutionary Humanismby Christopher Lee
  • Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty by Robinson, James A., Acemoglu, Daron
  • Shakespeare in Swahililand: Adventures With the Ever-Living Poet by Edward Wilson-Lee
  • A History of Modern Africa: 1800 to the Present by Richard J. Reid
  • Authentically African: Arts and the Transnational Politics of Congolese Culture by Sarah Van Beurden
  • Children in Slavery through the Ages by by Gwyn CampbellSuzanne MiersJoseph C. Miller
  • Global Health in Africa: Historical Perspectives on Disease Control by Tamara Giles-Vernick
  • Rumba on the River: A History of the Popular Music of the Two Congos by Gary  Stewart
  • Women and Slavery, Vol. 1: Africa, the Indian Ocean World, and the Medieval North Atlantic by Gwyn Campbell
  • Women and Slavery, Vol. 2: The Modern Atlantic by Gwyn Campbell
  • Cahier d'un Retour Au Pays Natal by Aimé Cesaire
  • Healing Traditions: African Medicine, Cultural Exchange and Competition in South Africa, 1820-1948 by Karen Elizabeth  Flint
  • Global Education Policy and International Development: New Agendas, Issues and Policies by Antoni Verger
  • Black Skin, White Coats: Nigerian Psychiatrists, Decolonization, and the Globalization of Psychiatry by Matthew M. Heaton

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