The history of the African Continent is a political story that is marked by a generation of founding Leaders who thought, envisioned and acted in unison to unite Africa in one nation. The continent conceived and begot the first generation of leaders who all had a common vision of “pan-Africanism”; and wanted a one Africa; a United States of Africa.
To date individual African States are politically free; the African Continent is still a fragmented continent and under economic dominion. The continent is not yet united as most leaders who dreamed for a pan-African united Africa; were eliminated by either an assassination or a coup d’état.
Leaders who survived assassination or a coup d’état met with a new world economic order that was designed to introduce a new kind of colonial bondage based on economic dependency. With this new order these leaders were forced to step aside from leadership to allow the wind of change introduced by the new order to consume Africa.
In a series of articles we will map the labour of the founding leaders and see great strides, endeavours and discourse to achieve the vision of one Africa. We look at the genesis, metamorphosis and the demise of pan-Africanism.
Some of the founding leaders of which their leadership discourse and actions to promote pan-Africanism that will be charted out includes: Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana; Patrice Lumumba of the Democratic Republic of Congo; Ahmed Ben Bella of Algeria; Sékou Touré of Guinea; Léopold Senghor of Senegal; William Tubman of Liberia; and Obafemi Awolowo of Nigeria;
Others are Gamal Nasser of Egypt; Nelson Mandela of South Africa; Julius Nyerere of Tanzania; Thomas Sankara of Burkina Faso; Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya; Samora Marcel of Mozambique; Muamar Gaddafi of Libya; Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe; and the Emperor Haile Selassie, who was part of a long time Ethiopian Imperial Monarchy.
We begin by looking at the work and leadership of Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana who is considered the father of pan-Africanism. Nkrumah was born on the 21st September 1909 at Nkroful in the Gold Coast the present day Ghana.
While studying in the United States of America and later at the London School of Economics in the United Kingdom (UK); he came to be influenced by pan-Africanism that was playing out among the Afro-American personalities in the US and Anglo-African elites in the UK.
With this pan-Africanism influence while studying abroad; Nkrumah beheld himself as a Moses of Africa sent to a distant land to learn the skills of liberation; ordained to liberate the African continent from colonial bondage.
As is written in the Book of Exodus in the Bible, Moses was sent by God to the land of Midian to learn the skills of being a liberator and came back to Egypt to liberate his people the Israelite from bondage in Egypt. So as was Moses, Nkrumah strongly felt that he was sent abroad to prepare for the liberation of the African continent.
Regarding this messianic personal view; Nkrumah wrote in his Autobiography in 1957: “ Just as in the days of the Egyptians, so today God had ordained that certain among the African race should journey westwards to equip themselves with knowledge and experience for the day when they would be called upon to return to their motherland and to use the learning they had acquired to help improve the lot of their brethren. I had not realized at the time that I would contribute so much towards the fulfillment of this prophecy.”
As a result of this belief, Nkrumah became an activist student in the USA; who organized students from Africa to form the African Students Association of America and Canada. The group, among other things was to inspire each colonized African country to struggle and gain independence.