AfricAvenir Windhoek: A call for a joint effort for an Afrocentristic cultural emancipation

AfricAvenir Windhoek wishes the AU and all its member states a happy 50 years anniversary of the AU and hopes, that cultural aspects, be they critical or in line with government policies, are considered equally important as political, social, and economic aspects of the African Renaissance. They go hand in hand and need all our support.nPan-Africanism, development, and democracy in global Africa, fifty years after the establishment of the OAU/AU, demands a joint effort for an afrocentristic cultural emancipation.nCulture has always played a pivotal role in the decolonisation processes of Africa and in establishing the political Independences of African countries. On the one hand, culture and its manifestations, played a pivotal role in creating the necessary mindset for the people to end colonialism. Without a culturally aware elite and populous the political game would have been un-winnable. And here, we include dance, music, literature, film, intellectualism, theatre and other spheres like religion and theology. We just need to look at the importance of the works of Frantz Fanon, Cheick Ante Diop, Ousmane Sembene, Chinua Achebe, Miriam Makeba, or Namibia’s very own late John N. Muafangejo, the late Jackson Kaujeua and Bishop Zephania Kameeta, who all contributed to the liberation of Namibia through encouraging art, music and theology. The masses and political elites understood and appreciated this alike.nSome political leaders like Amilcar Cabral, Thomas Sankara, Kwame Nkrumah, Agostinho Neto, Leopold Sedar Senghor, and others, equally saw culture and an afrocentristic identity as a tool of liberation. E.g. one of the cornerstones of Cabral’s movement and its success in Guinea Bissau and Cabo Verde was the essential cultural emancipation, which had to go along with political and economic independence. The writings of Neto and Senghor, first and foremost their poetry, underscores the significance culture played for the political leaders. nNow, in the year 2013, cultural emancipation becomes even more important in a world of economic and cultural globalisation. In a time, where one feels cultural erosion throughout the world, where globalisation has fostered the dominance of Western cultures and education systems, and where this culture keeps claiming universality, other cultures are marginalized, including African cultures. Having said this, putting an effort on culture and afrocentristic identity for Africans becomes crucial. An African Renaissance in the cultural sphere becomes key. nWe as an organisation feel, that is about time, that the AU strengthens its efforts and establishes cultural institutes like the others have done, e.g. the British Council, the Goethe Institute, Instituto Camoes, Alliance Francaise, and so forth. We hereby call for the establishment of African Cultural Institutes around the world, starting on the mother continent Africa and its biggest cities, proceeding with mayor cities around the world. It will generate pride in being African and its cultural achievements, it will contribute to mutual understanding, but it will also boost the efforts for a PanAfricanist joint approach by African societies and governments. These African Cultural Institutes will give the African Renaissance meaning and drive in the cultural arena and strengthen PanAfricanism as a whole. If you are proud of who and what you are, if you appreciate your cultural richness, resources, and heritage, you can cope easier with the challenges of today. You will be able to accept yourself and others, and hence contribute to a peaceful co-existence of people, societies and continents alike. A partnership and collaboration on an eye-to-eye level with the outside world becomes possible and reality. In the end, African societies and individuals will be enabled, to also contribute to development and growth of Africa on an economic level, an objective people around the world will support. In this sense, we understand Thabo Mbeki’s speech in 1996 starting with the words “I am an African”. n25 May 2013, The AfricAvenir Windhoek board of 2013


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