Cultural unity vis-a-vis political unity…Africa still divided


By Nthungo yaAfrika

OUR motherland was colonised by Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain. 

Having among us cultural mulattos, our culture was affected and we were forced to linguistically adopt our colonisers’ languages. 

We have continued to be divided 64 years after the independence of Ghana. 

The founding fathers did not embark on the train of cultural unity, but instead embarked on the political unity train. 

This train has not yet reached its intended destination of totally uniting us and this has created xenophobic tendencies among us. 

If the founding fathers had contacted those gifted with spiritual recognition, our motherland would have been the paradise she was meant to be. 

However, after having spent sometime being educated in the countries that believed our culture was demonic, this was a not to be. 

Our founding fathers had all the best educational accolades from the US and Europe, but their education made them despise their  cultural heritage, resulting in our current situation — a continent that is called all sorts of derogatory names. 

In fact we are called worse names and, in due time, we will know about them.

We are currently falling prey to our detractors and enemies because we entertain tribal cultures instead of one unifying continental culture. 

Tribal culture was, and still is, being encouraged by those who have empty mineral cupboards in their countries in order to destabilise our motherland and facilitate easy looting of our natural resources. 

The so-called European explorers crisscrossed the motherland with porters from different areas and tribes. 

These porters were never harassed by anyone. 

This is because 500 years ago, people knew that they were culturally one people despite speaking different languages. This unifying culture was totemic and transcended linguistic barriers. 

This totemic culture was deemed ‘evil’ by missionaries, for they knew it united the people. 

This method is explained in the letter to the missionaries destined for the Congo by King Leopold II of Belgium in 1883: “You have to detach from them and make them disrespect everything which gives courage to affront us.” 

In a nutshell, destroy their culture and make them dependent on ours; make them cultural mulattos, and this they have done through their churches, both old and new, which are heavily funded by them. 

These churches always interpret the scriptures to the colonialists’ advantage, thereby destabilising the motherland. 

A typical example is linking the COVID-19 vaccine to the Tripple Six (666) in the scriptures that can have disastrous consequences on the motherland. (Revelation 13:18)         

With churches sprouting everywhere professing to spread the gospel, albeit distorted, at the 

expense of culture for their financial benefit, the motherland will end up having more churches than its children. 

Like Rome during the classical age: “There were more gods than there were citizens.” 

Most of these churches discourage their members from practising their culture, calling it ‘evil and demonic’. 

Yet those who hijacked the true gospel and preached it to satisfy their selfish agendas were, and still are, evil and demonic. 

Our culture believed in the Creator of everything on earth and heavens and had different names, depending on language of the area.

This is what confused many colonialists who thought that these represented many gods, like their situation before converting to Christianity. 

That is why King Leopold II said: “They speak and submit to a Mungu, one Nzambi, one Nzakomba, and what else I don’t know.” 

These are the names of the Creator in different languages. These men on a mission are described thus in Acts 23:15: “Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you compass sea and land to make one a proselyte; and when he has become so, ye make him two fold subject of hell than yourselves.”

This is what happened during Cheik Anta Diop’s time in the 1950s, during pan-Africanist conferences. 

The intellectuals and academics were divided on religion, pro and anti-colonialism, with some proudly calling themselves cultural mulattos to please their colonial masters. 

Among those from the motherland, Diop was the most hated because his books exposed white scholars as liars as far as African history was concerned. 

White scholars all over the world were so upset that they haven’t forgiven him — even after his death!

A statue of a seated ruler from ancient Ebla.

These are some excerpts from an Afro-American Conference on Culture in the 1950s. 

Alioune Diop: “If to the non-European’s mind that the Bandung meeting has been the most important event since the end of the war, I venture to assert that this first World Congress of Black Men of Culture will be regarded by our people as the second event of the decade.” 

He warned those attending: “Let us be under no illusion. We live in an age in which the artistes bear witness and are all more or less committed. 

We are bound to take sides; every major work by an African writer or artiste bears witness against Western racism and imperialism.”

On the second day of the congress, Aime Cesaire delivered an address which nearly tore the Congress apart. 

He began by pointing out that all cultures have a social, political and economic base and that no culture can continue to survive if its political destiny is in the hands of the oppressor. 

He concluded by declaring: “Culture is the style of dress, the way of holding your head, the way of walking, the way of tying your tie – it is not only writing books and building houses.” 

These remarks were considered far to ‘polemic’ for the cultural purist.

The response to this question was comparatively mild. 

It was the comparison of black status in the US to other colonised blacks that so disturbed the American-Negro delegation. 

The strongest reaction came from John A. Davis, Professor of Political Science at New York University. 

Dr Davis, a founding member of the American Society of African Culture (AMSAC), began his rebuttal of Cesaire’s statement by pointing out that: “America has always taken an anti-colonialist position; from George Washington down to Dwight Eseinhower, every President has taken this position.” 

What the astute political scientist failed to point out is that, it is general practice for colonisers to decry colonisation everywhere except in its colony. 

Davis finally got to the crux of his argument by stating: “What American-Negroes want, I should make this very clear and have been fighting very hard for and with great sacrifices, both personal and in terms of blood, is for the complete equal status as citizens; and since 1936 we have been making tremendous progress in this regard. 

We do not look forward to self-determination in the belt if this is what Cesaire had in mind when he said by reference.”

Speaking in a more restrained manner but possessed with the same anger was Professor Mercer Cook. 

Professor Cook said he had asked Alioune Diop ‘if this was a political or cultural congress’, to which Diop responded, ‘a cultural congress.’ 

One wonders how, especially after hearing Cesaire’s clear explanation of the relationship between politics and culture, could Cook have reiterated his question. 

But he did so, adding: “And then I asked myself, first of all, what am I doing in this outfit,” especially after hearing Cesaire say that: “We American-Negroes have a semi-colonial status.”

In Cesaire’s response, one can admire the tact used to deplore the argument for his American-Negro brothers. Cesaire, at his own risk and peril, honestly addressed himself to the real problems confronting blackmen of culture. 

Now he was called upon to respond and with his characteristic tenacity of purpose and clarity of style, Cesaire responds:

“Everyone solves his problems in his own way, with his own convictions, and his own philosophy and that I can well understand. 

But in my personal capacity, and with my personal experience, I judged that one cannot, in an assembly formed of African or representatives of colonial peoples, pose the problems of black culture without integrating them into the reality which conditions them, namely the colonial context.” 

Cesaire, one of Cheik Anta Diop’s closest comrades during this period, had responded with measured accuracy. 

From the above, one can see that culture, and not politics, can totally unite the motherland. 

But like always, some blacks, whether in the Americas, Europe or on the motherland, are stooges always derailing this freedom train, as they front our detractors and enemies.

We can show each other that we are culturally one people by having all museums in sub-Sahara display illustrations in Cheik Anta Diop’s book titled, African Origin Of Civilization, Myth or Reality.

Children on the motherland must be taught at a very tender age that their countries have borders not by choice, but by the imposition of colonial powers. 

They are not Zimbabweans, South Africans, Mozambicans, Nigerians, Malawians, Tanzanians, Ugandans and Togolese, among others, but children of the motherland, whose ancient name is Nahasi and not Africa. 

Previous generations of academics, intellectuals, politicians and religious leaders have failed to push the culture theme, and current ones are at sixes and sevens, with a lone voice of the likes of Professor Ayei Kwei Armah not being heeded. 

He is a lone voice in the wilderness when he talks about the motherland needing cultural officers.

For the past 67 years, science, mathematics and colonial languages such as English, French, Spanish and Portuguese were, and still are, preferred to indigenous local languages for one to be called a ‘somebody’. 

And because of these, the former colonial powers hold us to ransom, destabilising us at will, because we entertain tribal cultures that are divisive. 

With 3 000 tribes on the motherland, we have 3 000 cultures that are at each others throats and this benefits our enemies and detractors. 

Currently, Africans are outdoing each other by learning foreign stuff.

Ever wondered why we have ECD advertising: ‘English speaking environment’, and parents proudly trumpeting, that their children can not speak indigenous languages. 

Is that their fault? 

I say no because these are the fruits of preferring political unity instead of cultural unity.

We are all supposed to embrace the truth, which is that we are one, not 54 States  

Can the current crop of academics, intellectuals and politicians put their differences aside and work together to put wheels on the cultural train so that it reaches its intended destination – the total unification of the motherland.

Nthungo YaAfrika, aka J.L. Mtembo, is a Hamite who strongly believes in the motherland renaissance.

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