AfricAvenir was founded on certain principles and beliefs and follows very specific goals. The following is our mission statement that guides our activities in Douala, Berlin, Windhoek and Cotonou.
AfricAvenir Mission Statement
AfricAvenir is committed to the goals of an African renaissance, that is to root African development on the reality and culture of African peoples and to re-invent and re-construct the African continent according to African priorities and values.
Our overall aim is to contribute to the recovery, rehabilitation and imaginative recreation of African civilisation, culture and history in order to devise new ways of thinking, behaving and organising both the African societies and the emerging ‘Global Village’.
The necessity for such a ‘deep renaissance’ arises first and foremost from the lasting consequences of five centuries of European imperial domination which, beyond mere exploitation, has above all meant the re-organisation and transformation of non-European areas into fundamentally European constructs. While this re-organisation was based on military conquest resulting in the de-facto domination of African physical space and in the integration of local economic histories into the Western perspective, the most far-reaching ‘adjustment project’ certainly has been the ‘reformation of the African mind’ (Mudimbe), because it includes the inflicted acceptance of the new economic, political and social order and most effectively prevents any structural change.
It is mainly through the control over the production and dissemination of knowledge that, despite their forced withdrawal, the Western imperial powers have been able to retain and in some way even extend their economic and political domination over their former colonies.
We believe that a sustainable development of the African continent is unthinkable outside the culture, the language, the history of the African masses – outside the institutions which the people build according to their own needs and which they control internally. AfricAvenir therefore actively participates in the ‘insurrection of subjugated knowledges’ (Foucault), meaning the emancipation and reactivation of local, popular and traditional knowledges. This is not in the least a call for a mere and uncritical return to a mythical past or for the restoration of a historically continuous and allegedly pure pre-colonial heritage, but rather a quest for realism, adequacy and relevance.
In our view, an African renaissance does not bring back the past; instead, it recreates African cultures by including the challenge of the West.
We further believe that the degree of self-consciousness, self-reliance and independence needed for an indigenous and emancipative development of the continent can only be achieved on the basis of a renewed version of Pan-Africanism at the centre of which should be the forging of African solidarity and political unity.
Finally, we believe that such a ‘deep’ renaissance is only feasible if we gradually change the present structures of the contemporary international system. This system is the legacy of four and a half centuries of European imperialism which created a political structure of dominance and dependency, an economic structure of exploitation and impoverishment and a cultural structure of contempt and humiliation across the globe. Accordingly, this present international system fundamentally denies the validity of African knowledge systems, morals and ethics and the fact that there are solutions to African and global challenges other than those imposed by the dominant culture.