Unity of purpose key to advancement of the continent

By ZBC Reporter

As the continent prepares to mark its 59th anniversary, calls are being made for the removal of colonial boundaries to propel the development of Africa.

“The forces that unite us are intrinsic and greater that the superimposed influences that keep us apart” – Kwame Nkrumah, Africa Must Unite, 1963. Organisation of African Unity and Ghana founding father.  

The ancient Egyptian civilisation, the famous Great Zimbabwe and the Mapungubwe in South Africa, among many others, are classical examples of economic systems that flourished before the colonial era.

All hell broke loose with the Partition of Africa between 1881 and 1914, which created artificial boundaries, pitting brother against brother. Parts of the continent were annexed to seven European Powers including Britain, France, Portugal and Belgium.

As such, the African Union (AU), then Organisation of African Unity (OAU) founding fathers such as Kwame Nkurumah of Ghana, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Modibo Keita of Mali, Ben Bella of Algeria, Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya and Hastings Kamuzi Banda of Malawi reorganised African unity.

They worked tirelessly until colonised states attained political independence, but for Kwame Nkrumah, the dream was much bigger. He wanted the formation of United States of Africa, a unitary continent that embodied the African ethos.  

59 years later, the voice of Kwame Nkrumah echoes but now in young proponents of the Pan-African Ideology.

Ambassador Kwame Muzawazi, INSTAK Chief Executive Officer noted, “We need to expedite African solidarity. Let me give you an example. I drove through 21 African countries and I needed seventeen visas and I still need seventeen visas today to do the same. I became angry when I realised that an American and a European passport holder needed only five visas to drive through the same borders. Why do Africans need visas to travel in Africa? There are three things that must be allowed to move freely that is people, goods and capital then we can talk of total African solidarity.”

Political scientist Richard Mahomva states, “By now we should be talking of a single currency in Africa, a single passport in Africa. So, the remnants of the Berlin Conference are still upon us and the African post-colonial state has failed to address those basic fundamentals. And to show that the Berlin hangover is still in our midst, how do you explain xenophobia just across our borders? How do you explain a situation whereby we still have certain parts of the continent where there are ethnic conflicts?”

The need to create systems that support the African identity is crucial as over the years the mother continent has experienced intense neo-colonialism resulting in cultural imperialism and identity crisis.

“If you listen to our cultural content. We want to listen to our own music, produce our own music. We want to speak our own languages and we are saying when you get ill, we want you to be cured by our own medicine,” says Ambassador Muzawazi.

“We want a situation when the name of Kwame Nkrumah is mentioned the youths would not ask, ‘who is he’? We want a situation when a school is named after Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, there will not be any public surprise on who was Nyerere. So, we must cultivate a curriculum that reorients us to our dismembered sense of self to the erasure of our history that colonialist have perennially tried to delete from our memory.”

As Africa marks its 59th anniversary and in the words of Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, “An awareness of our past is essential to the establishment of our personality and our identity as Africans”.

The day calls for unity of purpose and the removal of colonial artificial boundaries to ensure the advancement of Africa.