Thinking out loud: African Freedom Day – Africa betrayed!

By Yona Musukwa

Today, Zambia joins the rest of Africa in commemorating Africa Freedom Day, a day dedicated to remember the struggle of liberation of the African continent from colonial rule. On this day we also commemorate 53-years of the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), now called African Union (AU).

Today, we take the opportunity to remember and salute many of our heroes and heroines who volunteered their lives in the cause for Africa’s struggle and liberation. We remember Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, Nelson Mandela, Patrice Lumumba, Thomas Sankara, Kenneth Kaunda, Ben Bella and many others. Through them we remember the role of ordinary people, the unsung heroes without whom the liberation struggle could have been impossible.

On this day, we also pause and reflect on the current political and economic status of Africa in general and Zambia in particular. The dictum: “nothing has changed”, while mathematically inaccurate, is the widespread common sense that reverberates many years after the formal end of colonialism. The colonial scaffolding may be gone but the building remains. The same revolutionary beliefs for which our forbearers fought are still an issue around Africa – the belief in human rights, democracy, equality, rule of law and end to poverty.

We, the people, still remember the hope, the promise of democracy, the reconstruction and development promises that are still not met. We acknowledge the contradictions, the disappointments, the anger, the sadness, the pain, the unfairness of it all. But we still remember why we wanted freedom so much.

And yet, the task and struggle for political, social and economic development moves on. It moves on because it is a well-established fact that Africa is still in the vicious grip of grotesque inequalities, poverty, civil wars, human rights abuses and social injustice perpetuated by a different coloniser – its own black brothers and sisters. As Frantz Fanon observed many years ago, “the curse of post-colonial Africa were the leaders who took over from the colonialists only to become black colonialists themselves”.  This is the fierce urgency of now! Africa has been betrayed by its own leaders.

While colonialism was rolled back, it would be naïve and even dishonest to argue that what replaced the paternalism of Western European powers in Africa were democracies. It was most often traded for undemocratic corrupt regimes. For the most part, elites and opportunists of liberation movements quickly consolidated themselves in all the countries where colonial powers were ousted.

Again it’s Frantz Fanon, who wrote that: “Each generation must discover its mission, fulfil it, or betray it…” It’s up to the new generation of Africans that must take a conscious decision to revive and strengthen participation in social, economic and above all political governance, because it is in politics where ideas of a just society are properly and uncompromisingly expressed. The new African generation must continue to fight for a just and humane Africa, a democratic Africa, a prosperous Africa and Africa of shared opportunities and shared responsibilities.

The struggle continues. All of us know that, by definition, all struggles are not, to quote Nelson Mandela, an “easy walk to freedom”. Accordingly, our own continuing struggle will also not be an easy walk to freedom.

The message is simple: #TheStruggleContinues!

WP2Social Auto Publish Powered By :