May Day: Remembering four independence leaders considered “fathers of African socialism”

Nii Ntreh May 1, 2020 at 09:00am

May 01, 2020 at 09:00 am | Opinions & Features

Nii Ntreh

Nii Ntreh | Associate Editor

May 01, 2020 at 09:00 am | Opinions & Features

Dr. Kwame Nkrumah is noted worldwide as one of the most original thinkers on socialism in the 20th century. Photo Credit: Pulse Ghana

Modern social science and liberal studies aficionados are constantly inundated with cautions that seek to remind them of the dangers of having one narrative or perspective about a universal topic.

This pluralism caveat is, in part, a consequence of early progressive politics in the West from the 1950s and the emergence of a reflective educated class of Africans from about the same period.

The caveat meant that theories, concepts and ideologies are preceded by descriptors just so you know the author is not discussing a familiar Euro-American reality. This is how we began speaking of Black theology or African capitalism or even misogynoir.

But this agenda is also often criticized and accused of forcing a sort of compartmentalization of knowledge, shutting out critiques from a certain kind of observers, usually white men.

African socialism is one of the thoughts that arose from the need to invite perspectives from other quarters other than Europe and the United States.

African socialism is an ideology that was necessitated by mid-20th century educated Africans who felt the need to adopt the themes of Marxist and Leninist collectivism because they felt those themes had a home in traditional African communalism.

The champions of African socialism were usually the independence time leaders of a few countries on the continent. The consequence of their position meant that these men were in the best place to re-imagine the remnants of the exploitation of European colonization.

So worker-centered rhetoric and policies as epitomizing community and patriotism became obsessive points for these leaders.

These champions were fiercely intelligent men who arguably cared about their countries but were compelled to walk a fine line due to the geopolitics of the Cold War.

On this day that is considered in more than 100 countries the day of the worker, Face2FaceAfrica singles out four of these fathers of African socialism for praise.

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