Prompting a Culture Shift for a New Black Afrikan Age of Power
Every age and generation has a culture, tradition, way of life that is unique to them and which, consciously or unconsciously, defines their perspective about life and by that, they create their popular narrative and their collective life’s reality. Culture is so deeply ingrained in the heart and mind of the people, that it literally dictates how they see life and whether they react or respond to life’s issues and how they create new realities.
Before going further, let’s take a look at the meaning of culture. Culture defined by online dictionary means “the ideas, customs, and social behavior of a particular people or society.” Belief systems create culture and culture creates the consciousness with which the people of a particular society live.
It’s very difficult to speak about the defining culture of a people and how it affects their narrative, without first understanding the foundational idea that birthed that particular society. Afrika is a country of fifty-five nations with fifty-five different foundational ideas that created them, which foundational ideas really didn’t begin with the people themselves but with the foreign interests that colonized them. Meaning that, Afrika as a continent of fifty-five nations, which were forcefully created by the colonialists, are not living out their original culture which was steeped in Afrikanism, but are living out the imposed cultures that were created through the colonial ideas that birthed each nation. For instance, do you wonder what is wrong with a mighty nation like Nigeria, with all her human and natural resources, but still living largely in poverty, with no stable power supply and the many other issues of corruption wreaking havoc on that beautiful West Afrikan nation? If you trace her origin as a nation created by the colonialists, you will see the foundational problem which has created a cultural narrative of individualism, self-preservation, selfishness, greed for more, crab in the barrel syndrome – which tries to pull others down instead of working together to rise together – and the massive corruption it has created. The disunity it has created is also beyond words.
In tracing the history of Nigeria as a nation birthed in 1914, you will find that it was an experiment that was created to see if the Northern and Southern protectorates could be merged as one. It was a kind of forceful marriage between two entities that were never supposed to be together. And this idea was not even from the people themselves but from the foreigners whose intentions were for self gain. The unification was done for economic reasons, rather than political – Northern Nigeria Protectorate had a budget deficit; and the colonial administration sought to use the budget surpluses in Southern Nigeria to offset this deficit. And what happens to a marriage that was imposed, not by the will of the two, but by the will of others, the children will suffer. So it’s a state of every man for himself and it is pathetic. And this also goes for every other Afrikan nation. You see deep levels of capitalism and over-commercialization of goods and services in Kenya and if you trace these backwards in history, you will find out that the foundational idea for a created Kenya was simply that of a production plant from whence resources produced by the sweat of the locals were sent to the nation of the colonial masters. It has not changed even up till now. The question now is this: why have these cultures of loyalty to the wrong and imposed foundational ideas that created the fifty-five nations persisted until now? Why are we still affected by these things, and why are we not changing them even after sixty years of independence?
Raise up the Afrikan culture of life
There isn’t one simple answer to the above questions, but we can at least begin to narrow down what we must do to create a new Afrikan narrative, by consciously striving to change our cultural identity.
With all the issues happening in Afrika and in light of the fact that no nation in Afrika has been able to rise above the imposed foundational ideas with which each was created, should it not be time for us to look for an alternative solution to our collective problems? I think it’s time to do so. Meaning it’s time to look away from the fifty-five nation culture which was created by the foundational ideas of the colonialists and by which Afrikan nations have remained stagnant and to begin to shift towards a common Afrikan culture, found in the meaning of her name and in the ideologies of some of the Afrikan founding fathers.
Afrika as a name
The name Afrika is a combination of two words Afri and Ka. Other indigenous people of Africa used the name “Afri” or “Ifran”. The ancient language of Mizraim/Kemet (Ancient Egypt) called Afrika “Af-Rui-Ka.” It means the opening of Ka. Afri like Afro means black and Ka means soul or spirit. It also means the place of birth. So technically, Afrika means the land of the blacks; that is the womb of spirit or soul. And what this tells me is that Afrika, as a continent, has been living outside of her original foundational idea, which is to give life or be the plumb line for others to follow, and instead she has been living out the false idea and identity given to her by her oppressors. So, since the foundational identity of Afrika as the cradle of humanity is that of being the womb of life, the arms that nurture life, compassion, care, love, brotherhood, Ubuntu etc, then I think it’s time for Afrika as a people to rise above their individual national cultures which were created by the foundational ideas of the colonialists, to embrace one Afrikan culture that will give voice to our collective destiny as the womb that gives birth to life and the arms that also nurture life. That way we can rise above the fifty-five foundational ideas that created a divided Afrika. We need a new Afrikan narrative that gives strength to the ideas of the founding fathers of independent Afrika. We have the needed ideas that will create a new and thriving Afrika, we just have to know that we have them, embrace them and then create with them.
Ideas of the Afrika’s founding fathers
There are lots of ideas propagated by the founding fathers of independent Afrika. One of such ideas is Nyerere’s Ujamaa Philosophy. According to Ronald Elly Wanda, “Nyerere”s theory of Ujamaa was more concerned with practical political intent and in my view, it emerged from extended reflections on the nature of cognition, the structure of social inquiry, the normative basis of political, economic and social interactions of not only his Tanzanian compatriots but also of Africans in general. He saw social justice as an important element that could only be achieved by having human equality.
As such, the foundation of the Ujamaa philosophy is based on three principles: work by everyone and exploitation by none; fair sharing of resources which are produced by joint efforts; and equality and respect for human dignity. Nyerere’s belief in Ujamaa was largely driven by the fact that Africans are people who work together for the benefit of all community members. He, as such, stood firm against exploitation that he saw being perpetuated by the capitalist economic system as this encouraged individualism at the expense of the community.”
Kwame Nkrumah’s idea for a united Afrika is also one that should help us relook the way we are going and then make the changes that we definitely need in this age. In his words at the eve of the founding of the organization, he said “Without necessarily sacrificing our sovereignties, big or small, we can here and now forge a political union based on defense, foreign affairs and diplomacy and a common citizenship, an African currency, an African monetary zone and an African Central Bank. We must unite in order to achieve the full liberation of our continent. We need a common defense system with African High Command to ensure the stability of Africa…with our united resources, energies and talents we have the means, as soon as we show the will, to transform the economic structures of our individual states from poverty to that of wealth, from inequality to the satisfaction of popular needs. Only on a continental basis shall we be able to plan the proper utilization of all our resources for the full development of our continent.” The Afrikan leaders did not appreciate Nkrumah’s wisdom at that time, but the Europeans did. The concept of the European Union is based on Nkrumah’s ideas, to the detriment of Afrikan unity.
Let’s change the cultural narrative
An Afrika proverb says that a child leaves the stone that made him fall right where he fell but an elder falling on the same stone will move it away so nobody else falls on it. Afrika at “sixty” has come of age to know the stones that keep making her fall and she really needs to decide to remove them. We have enough foundational ideas that can create the reality and vitality that we want.
The new age of the Black Afrikan
I cannot tell you right at this moment that I have the full meaning and context of the idea behind this new age of the Black Afrikan that I am talking about, but believe you me, I know something great is coming, which I shall share as it unfolds as permission is given to do so. The innovative spirit that was suddenly awakened in Afrika during this Covid-19 shutdown certainly is creating a picture of what can happen for Afrika, if we as Afrikans decide to deliberately create a new narrative for ourselves. We can create a new narrative of new technologies that give life to organic farming and not the capitalistic farming of dead GMO foods; a new narrative of health care based on natural medicine and holistic healing; a new narrative of law and order based on the principle of Afrikan Ma’at justice system and not the colonialist police system that was created for the oppression and muzzling of locals by the colonial administrators; a new narrative of reforming our prison systems to become healing centers where true rehabilitation can take place for those who erred on the side of the law and not the place where they are made into worse criminals; a new narrative of the educational system that teaches our children the value of life, love, brotherhood, Ubuntu, true Afrikanism, compassion, mindfulness, honor for parents and elders; and a new narrative of politics in which leaders are not chosen by the public based on how deep their pockets are but by how large their hearts are for the emancipation of their people.
The Black Afrikan solidarity
On May 25th of 2020, the world watched on social media the horrible killing of a 45 year old Afrikan American George Floyd by a Minneapolis Police officer named Derek Chauvin. Floyd died of asphyxia, due to compression to the neck – which can interfere with oxygen going to the brain – and compression to the back, which interferes with breathing, Floyd’s death, like a bombshell instantly set off a myriads of events that led to days of protests, chaos, unrest, looting, arson in multiple cities of America. Some say the murder was purely a racist issue from a white man towards a black man. That is understandable judging by how many of such crimes against Afrikan Americans have taken place over the years. But you will agree with me that the way the entire situation quickly went out of hand, from simple protests over murder, to a chaotic situation that needed the American military to step into the streets of their own land… that it must mean something else. Some even say it’s part of the globalist agenda since Covid-19 didn’t seem to achieve what was expected by the so-called elites.
All of these scenarios may be true and I am not dismissing them, but I watched a video where an ex American police officer was using the situation to paint a picture of what happened with the children of Israel when they were slaves in Egypt. And how that after 430 years, they had to be freed by force. His words kinda resonate with me more than the other stories, for clearly, the modern day Afrikan Americans are descendants of Afrikans that were taken to slavery for 400 years. Sounds similar right? Yes it does. And now the call is for the freedom of Afrikans from every form of slavery, both in the form of racism or mental slavery. Yes, Afrikan Americans are all considered American citizens and they may not necessarily be chased out of America by the US government to come back to Afrika, that is not technically possible, but the Afrikan Americans themselves must know that the time has come for them to be set free from slavery of whatever form. They must now begin to reconnect themselves back to their home in Afrika and help to rebuild the broken places in Motherland Afrika.
These incidences of the pandemic, and the death of Floyd that followed, should wake up Afrikans at home and in the Diaspora to understand that home is always the best place to be and that we need a new culture of oneness that truly gives strength to our Afrikanism.
It is time…let my people go.
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Samuel Phillips is a writer, graphic designer, photographer, songwriter, singer and a lover of God. As an Afrikan content creator, he is passionate about creating a better image and positive narrative about Afrika and Afrikans. He is a true Afrikan who believes that the true potential of Afrika and Afrikans can manifest through God and accurate collaborations between Afrikans. Afrika is the land of kings, emperors, original wisdom, ancient civilizations, great men and women and not some road-side-aid-begging poor third world continent that the world finds joy in undermining.