What has happened to the Pan-African vision?: Part Two


IN Part One, we looked at the Pan-African vision as conceptualised and propagated by the likes of Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, Kenneth Kaunda and many others of their generation and how their role had generated a strong sense of solidarity and purposefulness across Africa.
Unfortunately the role of that early generation which greatly facilitated the political liberation of the whole continent is not strongly appreciated nowadays- a situation made worse by the fact that the African Union (AU) seems ill-prepared to mobilise ordinary men and women of our continent to support its vision in the same way that the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) did.
However, it is not helpful for us to go on lamenting for long about the absence of Kwame Nkrumah and his Pan–African generation and what they did for Africa!
Rather it is more strategic and useful to look at methods of articulating the Pan-African vision in ways which organically express the wishes and ambitions of current generations!
One of the many ways of doing so is to look at education systems in Africa and structure them in a manner which places the Pan-African vision at the centre of all our educational endeavours.
In other words, we should be looking at ways and means of institutionalising the Pan-African vision so that it is shared by younger generations who never experienced the colonial nightmare associated with European presence in Africa!
Needless to say this redefining and relocation of the Pan-African vision would entail revisiting and reviewing of our current education systems which remain as different and diverse as the 54 African countries which our continent is hosting at present!
In other words one of the priorities of the AU should be to harmonise the education systems in Africa which are all ‘screaming’ in different directions! All are unlikely to deliver the kind of critical consciousness required to promote an organic sense of continental unity which the Pan-African vision demands; they are also unlikely to promote a strong sense of common purpose and solidarity between Africa and all those blacks in the Diaspora!
Education remains a potent force and a powerful tool with which to smash down the colonial boundaries imposed in Africa by European powers for purposes of allocating African resources among themselves at our expense.
As 54 countries we do not even need to speak and learn using one language, desirable though it is—all we need to do is to define clearly common objectives, principles and values which should inform all our educational activities and programmes!
These should be deliberately designed to produce an education system which, while open and alive to the experiences of the rest of the world, remains largely focused in a steadfast manner on the interests and needs of the African continent.
In a sense one is saying everything that needs to be leant, in whatever discipline in Africa and from beyond, should be learnt, but from an African point of view!
The current education systems in Africa, based as they are on inherited colonial models, are a major obstacle to the realisation of a united Africa.
For instance, it is not an accident of history that the systems are producing elites all over Africa who religiously look at Britain, Spain, Portugal, France etc as their mother countries.
These elites are always raring to go overseas and be part of a society which, ironically, always dislikes and distrusts them as permanent black strangers! Their fate is tragi-comic, permanently alienated at home, permanently alienated abroad!
Again the same education systems are producing local elites, forever dissatisfied wherever they are, but impotent to leave, always looking for confirmation of their self-worth from strangers, preferably of Caucasian extraction; this kind of African species revels in getting funds from donors and finds it impossible to think of any meaningful development in Africa unless it is sanctioned by whites.
This lot will not hesitate to sell their country for the proverbial thirty pieces of silver!
It is always more loyal to its real historical enemies than it can ever be to its own people!
These are the Douglas Mwonzoras, the Tendai Bitis, the Welshman Ncubes and Nelson Chamisas of this world!
All of them are hopelessly lost and of little use really but always a cause for pain to their own people!
They are all robots of a kind, the unoriginal lot, imitative of the West at all the times, like the caricatures that they are.
Not much can be expected from types such as these to build Africa, apart for their competent mimicry!
The issue here is that the production of tragi-comic characters cited above is taking place all over our continent because that production is coming from education systems which are Eurocentric in perspective and were never designed to serve and or build Africa in the first place but Europe!
Just as colonialists introduced education systems in Africa meant to serve and protect their interests, Africa should re-design its own education system that is purposefully meant to nurture and protect its own interests, a system which makes it an obligation that whenever Africans find themselves in the larger world beyond our continent, they are there in order to bring home to Africa whatever is necessary to further its continued development.
The Chinese, Indians, Malaysians, Japanese etc always do so for the benefit of their own societies, but not Africans!
Because all these races made sure that their education systems were informed by their cultures and underpinned by their accompanying value systems.
In Africa we are trying to develop on the basis of value systems borrowed wholesale from Europe!
The tragedy for us is that we are trying to do the impossible–no people on this earth have ever developed in a serious and breathtaking way outside and away from their own culture and values!
The task before us is simple; it is to create a continental education system at whose centre lies an inspiring Pan-African vision which makes it possible for our children and grandchildren to imagine an alternative and successful Africa—an alternative in contrast to the current one saddled by the greed and lust for wealth of fortune hunters from the West!
Put differently, our education system in Africa has to make it possible for our children, as Benedict Anderson says, to create in their minds an ‘imagined community’.
A successful and powerful Africa has to become that ‘imagined community’, in their minds, in their dreams and ambitions and lived in their heads and hearts first and foremost before that same imaginary and alternative Africa can be subsequently translated into concrete reality on the ground!
The current education systems in Africa are contaminated to the core and poisoning the minds of current and future African generations with toxic Eurocentric dreams which later on turn out to be lifelong nightmares!


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