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The next Pan-African wave

Africa Day is a moment unique and yet unremarkable when placed aside any other – be it yesterday or today. This said, through its origins as the anniversary for the former Organisation of African Unity (OAU), we are left with the fragments of memory of an era of Pan-African energy that has since began to fade to grey

Africa Day. 25th of May.

This day makes a moment unique and yet unremarkable when placed aside any other – be it yesterday or today. This said, through its origins as the anniversary for the former Organisation of African Unity (OAU), we are left with the fragments of memory of an era of Pan-African energy that has since began to fade to grey.

Pan-Africanism itself has been something that has meant many different things at many different times to countless people. For some it means the embrace of “Africa Rising”. It means the raising of African Silicon Valley’s housing technology embassies for the West from Nairobi to Lagos with so-called pockets of glittering excellence shining through from the likes of South Africa.

For some it means the recognition of the immense collective wealth, strength and historical solidarity we have together as Africans the world over.

Africa day is every day. Africa day is global. In the heart of the children of Africa.

Patrice Lumumba. Photo: OkayAfrica
Patrice Lumumba. Photo: OkayAfrica

For some this moment is one to raise from their shallow graves the spirits of the likes of Sankara and Lumumba as we herald the rushing waters of the dreams of 21st century African unity. It becomes a space to examine the hollow, empty chasm marking the space of the promises of the past left decidedly unfulfilled.

Our struggle songs still sing with chords that yearn for liberation. Long after their anti-colonial inception.

We remain trapped in the nightmares of Post-Colonies, imprisoned as the latest troupe of actors in this forceful performance of Animal Farm that is on show from Haiti all the way through to Somalia. We ache at the unforgivable loss of the young women taken hostage in Nigeria. At the timeless, unending conflicts in central Africa. For the innumerable lives lost and permanently changed by vicious gender-based violence.

We ache on Africa Day. Everyday.

In tears, for the African-Americans who can no longer breathe. For the Afro-Brazilians, who represent our thickest chain from the trans-Atlantic slave trade era. Whose lives remain characterised by the unending line from the plantations to the favelas.

A protester with the phrase "I can't breathe" written in tape over her mouth in memory of Eric Garner who was strangled by US police. Photo: Reuters
A protester with the phrase “I can’t breathe” written in tape over her mouth in memory of Eric Garner who was strangled by US police. Photo: Reuters

For the countless brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers who recognise that Africa, is a state of mind.

As we dance, eat and cry with one another today – everyday – we beckon the call for the next Pan-African wave, the likes of which the world has never seen. A global revolution led by African women, standing at the forefront of activism and political decision-making. In this new era, the revolutionary thrust required to bring us together will harness the collective pain and determination to challenge and conquer the disastrous effects of the patriarchy on the peoples of Africa, the state of mind.

From LGBTQIA activists in Uganda and Kenya who risk their life each and every day, to voices and writers across the diaspora who dedicate their lives to putting at the top of the agenda the most vulnerable and most marginalised among us, wielding powerful intersectional lenses.

The next Pan-African wave will not lean on the dreams of the likes of Malcolm X and Marcus Garvey alone. The generation of Africans alive on Earth at this moment are preparing to take their position in history. To craft new ideas, new names, new dreams for our land and our people.

A gay pride event in Uganda. Photo: David Robinson/UNI Proud
A gay pride event in Uganda. Photo: David Robinson/UNI Proud

We will resist an African Unity that is used and manipulated to open our markets to the likes of the Chinese. We will reject an African Unity that ignores that unforgivable pain and damage inflicted on the most marginalised among us. We will reject any African Unity that does not lead us to a path were our songs are no longer that of those that yearn for liberation.

In the name of Africa, we can no longer stand idly and bear witness to countless souls displaced in Burundi. We cannot stand to have our people die in scores on ships in oceans in ways that remind us that we have yet to emerge from the nightmare of coloniality.

Prepare. Here, there and everywhere. The Next Pan African wave is coming. “Collective self-reliance”. By any means necessary. From Venezuela to Mogadishu. From Garrisa to Baltimore. From Cape Town to Cairo. By any means necessary.

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