Nujoma and the failed vision of a united africa

Wednesday May 8 2019


This is the last part of the narrative on the life of Samuel Shafiishuna Nujoma; we look back at his legacy as a pan-African and freedom fighter.

We celebrate the legacy of one of Africa’s founding fathers of the pan-African Movement. We do this by recounting his words; the words he spoke to celebrate pan-Africanism and the possible unification of the African continent.

Nujoma’s speech on the occasion of the African Youth and Intergenerational Forum during the 50th Anniversary of the OAU/AU in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on the 24th and 25th May 2013 embodies him as pan-African leader to be valued. Based on that speech we hereunder recount his hopes in a free Africa unite Africa.

In this speech, Nujoma recalled the journey of hope from colonial dominion to national freedom. He recalled and appreciated the role of the forefathers of the Pan-African Movement. He said: “…On the African Continent, apart from Dr Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Pan-Africanism was kept alive by African nationalists such as Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, Ahmed Ben Bella of Algeria, Ahmed Sekou Touré of Guinea Conakry, Modibo Keita of Mali, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya, Patrice Lumumba of Congo, Nnamdi Azikiwe of Nigeria, Amilcal Cabral of Guinea Bissau, Cape Verde and São Tomé et Príncipe, among many other liberation icons and visionary leaders…”

He continued to tell that these pan-African Leaders in the African Continent and the Diaspora played a critical role in the process leading to the formation of the OAU, the precursor of the African Union (AU) on the 25th May, 1963 and inspired all African leaders to get rid of all the vestiges of colonialism and unite.

In the same speech he also recalled the role of Frontline States in the emancipation of the African Continent. He said: “…However, in the true spirit of solidarity and African brotherhood, President Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, President Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia, President Sir Seretse Khama of Botswana, President Dr Antonio Agostinho Neto of Angola, and President Samora Machel of Mozambique in 1975, later joined by President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe in 1980, formed the Frontline States against what seemed heavy odds and went beyond encouraging words in supporting our liberation struggle by resisting the machinations of the colonial forces to prevent us from liberating the remaining colonies in Southern Africa…”

Nujoma encourages the youth; future leaders of Africa and the pan-African Movement: “…I call upon the current generation to dare not fail in their historic mission of building “an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by Africans” …For that to happen, our youth should not allow themselves to be divided through the old tactic of divide and rule but must unite.”

He concluded by resonating the freedom fighting spirit to the youth to ensure that they continue defending the freedom of the African Continent. He said: “…I therefore call on the African youth to prepare themselves to defend the territorial integrity, the territorial waters and the airspace of the African continent against imperialists and foreign aggressors... Long Live the African Union!”

Samuel Nujoma who is still alive is cherished in various honours and recognition for his leadership, including the Lenin Peace Prize, Indira Gandhi Peace Prize, and the Ho Chi Minh Peace Prize. In the course of his leadership he was also awarded over 14 Honorary Doctoral Degrees. The Parliament of Namibia also honoured him with the titles ‘Founding President of the Republic of Namibia’ and ‘Father of the Namibian Nation’.