Challenging knowledge: Repossessing African discourses of truth

by Sunday News Online | Sunday, Nov 12, 2017 | 452 views
Kwame Nkrumah

Kwame Nkrumah

Pofela Ndzozi

In the beginning there were people, the people were Africans, and the Africans were thinkers.

This statement goes against conclusions that were made by German Philosopher and Priest, Father Wilhem who concluded that the African was barbaric and needed first to be cleansed of their being to fit into the modern state.

This philosophy assumed, among other glaringly ugly perspectives about the African; that their culture was formless, and savagery hence their belief to turn them into Christ-like beings, which is a live synonym of Western predispositions.

This is one view that when I meditate of the African dream, together with the likes of Walter Rodney in How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, Dr. Mandaza, and Micere Mugo in Pan Africanism and Integration in Africa, I see informed African perspectives dismissing any tenants or justifications that have been used.

In my study of the popular rights of being, I noticed that today we are told of the right to forget.

An ordinary Zimbabwean who claims their right to the African land, is told that it is seditious and deconstructive to the new popular idea of democracy.

This is because, homollectual democracy has taught even our esteemed scholars that to develop, you need to think global, and by global thinking, it implies Euro North America reasoning, as alluded to by Prof. Gatsheni.

The organic Zimbabwean is therefore required to forget that the land that is Africa today belongs to them outrightly. Prof Dingilizwe Zvavanhu idealises this as unlearning to learn in order to relearn for a people to rethink the truth.

President Mugabe

President Mugabe

Lest We Forget

Democracy in itself is established in the politics of production and a sustainable dispensation of state procured wealth to fund good governance and suit the recognition of human rights.

In an attempt to unpack the complexities of black communities, one is then puzzled on the peculiarity of the black tragedy especially in labelled African rainbow nations, which is a melody that sought to find solace for the foreigner into African land.

The mantra of colonial thinking i.e. Western thinking, sought to annihilate any other alternative thoughts hence coming up with a western hegemonic political system.

In that process, numerous approaches were employed to undermine, negate and control any thinking that is not western.

Before we get into that, let us explore the pre-colonial political systems in Africa and show how colonialism distorted them to justify imperialist thoughts.

In understanding how the African was ruled, Mahmud Mamdani in Citizens and Subject argues how the colonial system went beyond just taking land from the African, but rather disturbing their social fibre through the imposed political system.

This was done through demarcating the African continent into parts that they themselves could manage to control and exploit.

This process among many detrimental things directed to the African, created the ideology of the “one” significant other. The white men being the significant citizen, while the native being the subject.

Soon after independence, the white men, realising the possibility of losing all the exploitation proceeds from Africa, changed narrative to embracing the rainbow nations in the African states and called it democracy. In a sense, the African now has to forget that he was treated as the subject because it is “essential to suit into the framework of the so called modernisation”.

Therefore, the rhetoric of democratisation becomes a rigged system to ensure that we maintain the status quo that benefits the other, who is not us.

Perhaps we need to go back and rethink the traditional political system before the advent of the colonial masters, and how it developed the native questioning how best we can utilise it today as a viable model.

To note here, is the guarding leadership in Zimbabwe that has ensured, unlike most African states that we are a black nation as opposed to the labelled rainbow nation.

The political system that the colonial masters ensured in controlling the native man, and subsequently creating the ideology that the white man is the significant other has even cascaded to the basic way of life of the African today.

The decimation of the African social fibre is presented by various politically dismembering decisions from either a direct colonial thought or disguisable corporate reinforced western intellectual furtherance made on behalf of the forgotten people of colour.

Notably the core drive of imperialism and colonialism was to exploit and dismember the inhabitants of Africa and perversely redirect economic wealth to the global north and its corporations.

In the process of enforcing such a system, Africans re-established into compromised spaces of de-humanity and second-class citizenship in their own land.

As if that was not enough, imperialism exported Western tendencies of resource exploitation, consumerism and materialism to the unsuspecting African societies, decimating the intended pathology of African civilisation. Such a system suffocated the prospective growth and re-emergence of African personalism.

The protracted unorthodox project could not succeed in the land of black ancestry gods, thanks to the likes of Marcus Garvey, Senghor Tourre, Kwame Nkrumah, Nelson Mandela, Robert Mugabe and the indispensable contributions by Frantz Fanon whose contributions to African decoloniality still demand retrospection in the walloping of the post humus genes of colonial influence.

More than 20 years after emancipation, the arrogance of poverty is among the urgently pressing inconveniences contemporarily confronting Africa.

The self-sustaining system of institutional dismemberment of black Africans has rebranded itself into the emergent challenges thought to be a new thing in unfolding the ethos of global democratisation.

Such a disguised systemic apartheid consolidates targeted perennial re-cycling of poverty, employment vulnerability and subjection to unequal social power relations.

Coming to grips with these dynamics requires going beyond the limitations of conventional mal-democracy rhetoric awarded, to the guilty petit African bourgeoisie crop of leadership steering the political ship of Africa.

Defeating the crux of African unbecoming requires a re-engagement with the traditions of critical sociology, anthropology and the theoretical traditions that allow a closer exploration of the political economy of chronic poverty at micro moreover, macro level.

The persistent poverty and inequality in Africa is a political construct of colonialism. Problematic is the presentment governance values by the formerly untrustworthy friend of Africa, coined as democracy.

The concept is an achievement to humanity in its honesty, however, in its positive facets; its fraudulent presentation has constructed an ever-competing political environment for Africa.

One that negates political legitimacy to violent modus operandi in a bid to meet the standards of majoritarian definitions of political legitimacy.

Democracy in most African countries has been contextualised by the global north to cushion colonial establishments from the reversal of their colonially gained privileges through shifting the crux of African problem to be rather within black ethnical African topic instead of questioning the amongst racial inequalities brought forth by the Westerly subjective conglomerating tendencies of colonialism and imperialism. It therefore probes the African intelligentsia to re-think its academic guerrilla approach into being a more militant one.

Challenging and questioning every engineered global change in the African commitment to total emancipation as how Nkrumah perceived, would protract an African thought that is loyal to the struggle against post-independent contradictions of democracy and human rights.

African states confront indirect internal contradictions to the enhancement of indigenous democratic ideas deriving from the schizophrenic national acceptance of global liberalism. As a continent, our commitment to the collapse of structural dismemberment must not seize to gain momentum.

The term democracy elusively changes meanings from one context to the other; our founding principles of democracy appear premised on redistributive justice contrary to the expected straightjacket neo global liberal expectations, which are uncritical of the historical dimensions of democracy and human rights in Africa.

Appropriation of African knowledge and thinking by the North is a system of hierarchy and inequity, primarily characterised by white supremacy.

The preferential treatment, privilege and power for one geographic race at the expense of another, will be mitigated by a revisit to the knowledge question.

Knowledge is the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End hence the end of Africa’s problems can only be found on its decision to democratise the ownership of knowledge.

Feedback can be sent to pofela@abakhokheli.org

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