Reinventions and Contestations of Thought-Power: Emerging perspectives on Pan-Africanism (Part 2)

14 Apr, 2019 - 00:04 0 Views
Reinventions and Contestations of Thought-Power: Emerging perspectives on Pan-Africanism (Part 2) The late Professor Vimbai Chivaura

The Sunday News

Pofela  Ndzozi

This is the continuation from the first instalment which presented the argument made by Dr Umali Saidi, Dr Samukele Hadebe’s first thematic argument, Mediel Hove and Enock Ndawana’s argument on the role of literature in reconstructing societies and the submissions by the editors of the text. 

This second of three instalments continues. 

The neatly woven academic arguments posit monumental nuggets of re-reading pan Africanism in the 21st Century. With the stemmed ideology facing threats of “globalisation” there is need for the academy to offer refreshing paradigms of reinventing thought process and power. 

This is exactly what this co-ed thesis by Mahomva, Chigora and Lunga offers. Professor Terrence Ranger emerges as a theoretical doyen of comprehending national historiography. 

The “Rangerian” approach employed in the chapters by Helliker and Bhatasara; Hove and Ndawana. Helliker and Bhatasara revisit the contributions of the Professor Terence Ranger to explain the role of nationalist historiography in mobilising citizens towards the goal of liberation and sustaining the enduring values of the liberation legacy. 

This perspective somehow tallies with a view posited by Hadebe in the opening chapter of the book which focuses on the need for the post-colonial state which must revive the idea of pan-Africanism in order to deal with the challenges of nation-building, democracy and economic development. 

In line with this thought, Helliker and Bhatasara provide a discursive evolution of Ranger’s work beyond 2000 and how he influenced the work of academics opposed to the ruling’s economic indigenisation initiatives and “exclusive” nationalism. 

The problem posited by Helliker and Bhatasara offers a critical highlight of Zimbabwe’s contestation for power and how they affected citizen belonging at the same time justifying the popular dismissal of the liberation legacy largely associated with the ruling’s “Third-Chimurenga”. Expanding on the “Rangerian” thought trajectory, however, illuminating on youth and patriotism, Mediel Hove and Enock Ndawana posit that patriotic history was established to proclaim the continuity of the Zimbabwean revolutionary tradition which was being challenged by trade union and civil society narratives aimed at lobbying regime change. 

Patriotic history was created to orient the youths to be vanguards of the country’s revolutionary past. 

The logic for targeting the youth was to ensure that they become correctional points of reference to win their parents and teachers to the liberation revolutionary values which they had long abandoned (Ranger 2004) as cited by Mediel Hove and Enock Ndawana.

“Starting in 1991 and ending in 2002, the Government introduced a nationalist syllabus. The syllabus did not critically interrogate race relations although it got rid of the racism of the Rhodesian curriculum.” (Hove and Ndawana. P40)

The above snippet is specifically found in the chapter by Mediel Hovel and Enock Ndawana who use Terence Ranger’s patriotic history theoretical lens to discuss how the teaching and dissemination of history in Zimbabwe was profusely manipulated to solicit political legitimacy for the ruling party during the Mugabe era. 

The chapter exposes how Zanu-PF locates its legitimacy in the auto-biography nationalism to give a compelling justification for the party’s stay in power. 

The chapter also highlights how this strategy of using history for comparative political advantage neutralised the influence of the opposition; as a result furthering the political rifts experienced in Zimbabwe since the beginning of the millennium.

On a different note, Brian Maregedze pays tribute to the late Professor Vimbai Chivaura whom he believes challenged the state for maintaining residues of colonialism. 

His position foregoes the view that Chivaura was nothing but a pro-establishment scholar who was instrumental in driving the state motivated manipulation of nationalist historiography to build relevance for Zanu-PF. 

Maregedze submits that Chivaura was one of the less celebrated academics in the country’s circles of anti-establishment scholarship through his argument which reads: Decolonial thinking can be extracted from Chivaura in that he was feeding in the calabash of African thought conscious on the impact of colonial encounters. Despite having received western education, Chivaura belongs to a rare breed of organic intellectuals with strong anti-colonial sentiments and decoloniality (Maregedze.p.81)

Maregedze’s chapter unseals the subtle and yet grossly misconstrued role played by Chivaura in challenging the state to adopt decolonial and Afrocentric measures to run the country’s systems of governance. 

This chapter locates Chivaura’s credence within the ideological confines of Afrocentricity and decoloniality of knowledge. 

It is in this chapter that we learn that Professor Vimbai Gukwe Chivaura critically accounted for the gendered interpretation of God in Christianity with “male” characterisation while simultaneously demonstrating that the Supreme Being in indigenous religion was no equivalent. 

Within the same realm of religion, Mwari is not equivalent to God from an indigenous perspective. 

To translate Mwari akasika munhu to “God created the man” is tantamount to misrepresentation of the African view of God and gender (Maregedze.p40; citing Chivaura).

Spectacularly in this academic thesis, all submissions in their multi-disciplinary grounding aptly express the need for Africa to unite and develop. 

The unity of logic in the submissions made in this book is part of the bigger effort to expand the cognitive limits of understanding our challenges through ideas derived from colonial epistemologies. 

In fact, Mahomva, Chigora and Lunga advise that Africa needs relevant and contextual sources of reason which inspire unity and socio-economic. 

They emphasise that Africa’s hope lies in the enduring and liberating grounding of pan-Africanism to organise and centralise a path to victory. Contributions made in this text reveal that scholars and policy-makers have a role to play. The citizenry have a role to play as well. 

We all have a role to awaken the dreams of peace, unity and prosperity. This is why it is crucial for people to people, country to country unity to take the centre stage in defining favourable conditions for a post-colonial paradigm. 

Relics of colonialism in public institutions must be decisively dealt with in as much as the models of learning deserve restructuring. It is our hope that this publication will inform the proposed direction to redefining Africa’s liberation. 

The last part of this review will offer a dissenting critique of the text highlighting poignant critical theory disobedience found in this text.

Book Editors: Richard Runyararo Mahova (MSU, AU, UZ); Professor Percy-Sledge Chigora (Senior Lecturer-MSU), Dr Majahana Lunga (Senior Lecturer and Dept. Chairperson CUZ). Publisher: LAN Readers; Publication year: 2018; ISBN: 978-1-77906-671-8; Review by: Pofela Ndzozi (Leaders for Africa Network, Winner of 2018 Bulawayo Arts Awards Non-Fiction Literature Winner, B.A Honors Degree in Language and Communication-LSU)

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