The 32 African leaders who were signatories to the formation of the Organisation of African Unity in 1963 should be turning in their graves right now as the level of divisiveness in the continent further delays the realisation of the African Union dream.
We cannot turn a blind eye to the fact that there were two proponents of unity i.e. the Casablanca bloc led by Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah and the Monrovia bloc led by Senegal’s Leopold Senghor.
The former, including Algeria, Guinea, Morocco, Egypt, Mali and Libya wanted a federation of all African countries while the latter which included Nigeria, Liberia, Ethiopia and most of the former French colonies wanted unity through economic cooperation.
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Kwame Nkrumah’s vision as stated in his 1963 book Africa Must Unite was to fade out the physical and imaginary boundaries created by the European colonialists after the “Scramble for Africa” between 1881 and 1914 that partitioned the continent.
Fast-forward to 2017, millennials and other political figures in Africa are advocating for the same boundaries the freedom fighters fought against. Young Africans are campaigning under the “Africa is not a country” banner by calling out anyone who makes a generalisation by mentioning Africa instead of a country in the continent.
The most recent incident was between South Africans on Twitter and an American singer, songwriter, rapper, drummer and record producer Anderson Paak who was trolled on Thursday for tweeting: “MAma [sic] I made it to Africa” while in South Africa for the AFROPUNK FEST in Johannesburg.
MAma I made it to Africa
— ANDY (@AndersonPaak) December 28, 2017
He received a lot of jabs but a few people defended the fact that his tweet was harmless and “South Africa is Africa”.
You mean South Africa… Africa is not a country. Welcome
— Eugene Boris Kgalema (@KgalemaM1) December 28, 2017
Africa is not a country ?? pic.twitter.com/9Hjh1GH0O1
— Dan LaRusso ?? (@Jeph_Macassette) December 28, 2017
You’re the Holy Spirit – you spread yourself across 54 countries in Jesus name… https://t.co/QlQOrE6qCx
— RSA Minister of Police (@MbalulaFikile) December 28, 2017
— Abdul Dantata (@abdul_Dtt) December 28, 2017
Welcome to SOUTH AFRICA next time be specific we have like 54 countries here in AFRICA last time I checked
— RAZ-GRIFF (@tmotshawe) December 29, 2017
AFRICA ends at Botswana and Namibia Borders
Your in SOUTH africa… Here it’s Africa Literacy ?????
— Mr TP (@VerroMekgwe) December 29, 2017
An attempt to support him by pairing Africa to the United States of America failed.
Still makes sense because South Africa is in Africa. If I were to make it to somewhere in the states I’d also be like, “Mama I made it to America”
— Gabrielle Universe? (@gabsbluemilo) December 28, 2017
Well America is specific a country so your point just defeated itself.
— kayMar (@Kaymar_xoxo) December 28, 2017
We are waiting for your answer ,teacher .
— Thakabanna (@Thakabanna13) December 28, 2017
Others, however, tried to defend him out of the thousands of tweet replies that attacked the musician.
Y’all are reaching. I’m in Pretoria right now. Am I in Mamelodi and Atteridgeville all at once? GTFOH and leave the man alone, he’s in Africa generally, South Africa specifically and prolly Cape Town more specifically. The next thing tlabe le batla di GPS coordinates. #sigh
— ChocLaDesh (@MissThato) December 29, 2017
Many argue that some African countries are responsible for their woes which indirectly affect others who are otherwise developing at a faster pace. There are insurgencies in Nigeria and Somalia, communal conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Libya and the Central African Republic among other eventualities that affect the continent’s image.
Some of these countries with internal problems were key during the decision-making process to create a united Africa. They all contributed to the creation of what is currently termed as the African Union. Isn’t it a shame that other problem-free and resource-rich countries are silent on the plight of their neighbours who are also called Africans outside the continent.
It should be noted that Ghana was the only country that went to the aid of Guinea after the former French colony voted against French dominance prior to attaining independence in October 1958. The French left the West African country with nothing even though they milked it dry over the years.
Other countries received immense support decades ago, yet, that can’t be said of today. Individual countries rather lean towards “neo-colonialism” [as preached by Nkrumah] for aid from Western countries. Those in the position to help are playing ostriches to their African roots and brotherly duties.
The African Union has failed to chart the path of economic unity as proposed by the 1963 Monrovia bloc consisting of most of the former French colonies.
Granted that Africa is a continent, isn’t it time to restart the campaign for the United States of Africa?