Africa day is about the freedom of the African people, it is not so much more about the trivialisation of the ordinary people of Africa by those in the know or who claim so to be or in power. Africa day came hard after the liberation of seventeen countries between 1958 and 1963, at the formation of the OAU, to express solidarity and to show that Africa would achieve much more working as a unity than in fragmented spaces.
The OAU was more of a political movement at its formation than meant to address the economic problems which changed in 2001 when it evolved from OAU to AU. The biggest elephant in the room is to ascertain if the OAU succeeded in its objectives. I would like to think not so because before its formation African countries were already getting their independence from colonial masters and therefore this might not real have changed much but the objective that eluded it was the one that was a still birth of making a United States of Africa.
The success of the economic agenda of Africa with a failed political agenda is doubtable. Africa today sees its people strewn all over the world, we saw a French soccer team looking like an African team in the last world cup. Many European countries are naturalising African people while Africa is expelling its people and killing many in the Mediterranean and burning scores and dozens through tribal killings, genocides, politicides, government crack downs and afrophobia commonly classed without specificity as xenophobia.
Africa is at war with itself, the scramble for Africa which started in Berlin continues today amongst its people and sponsored by its supposed protectors who have turned rogue and become the tools of the neo-colonialists and yet they refer to anyone seeking the real freedom of the African people as an agenda of the west of illegal regime change. The leadership is captured completely by the enemies of Africa and the people who exploit Africa.
If we talk about the free movement of people in Africa and the problems of migration without looking at the real cause of the movement of people in Africa, then we are misleading ourselves and failing to locate the genesis of our problems.
People must move freely and voluntarily because they can, Africans do not move freely because they can, African movements are mainly forced by political situations that give birth to bad economics. The main two factors that force Africans to move are so largely interwoven, these are politics and economics. When Europeans come to Africa, they are truly on holiday, they enjoy their investment. When Africans move within Africa they lose their lives and their investments, they encounter hostile business environments and are treated suspiciously by their own black brothers.
The African mind is heavily colonised today and in a dangerous way and the unscrupulous African leaders are feeding on that. They are turning one against the other to ensure that the African people are not united, because the unity of the African people means the destruction of the monopoly of the real enemy of the people, the big lie, the deception, the belief that Africa is safe with leaders who do not condemn the brutal killings of its own people when they express dissatisfaction against bad governance.
The African principle of sovereignty is misdirected which seems to imply that African Presidents and governments own the people, that they can kill or abuse their people, and no one can come to the help of the people. These leaders cannot be tried anywhere, and the African Court of justice remains an idea, the ICC has been adequately discredited as if its not enough that it is based on ratification. Who in this world will protect the African ordinary person, who polices who? We have seen coups being sanitised and some being condemned, there is no uniformity and certainty of the law despite wonderful documents in terms of PEMMO in SADC and the Constitutive Act of the AU.
We cannot relegate the Africa Day celebrations to merely talking about xenophobia or cultural exchange without looking at the real welfare of the African people, pure political and economic freedom. The system used by the colonialist to rule Africa is the same in over 75% of African countries. What freedom are we talking about to the African person? The only major gain is that Africa is under black governance, but the question is, is that what caused Africans to rise against colonial powers or apartheid? Was it the skin of our leaders or was it the system of governance which made people unequal and discriminated against the blacks. Are we okay when the system is used by our own black brothers and we will tolerate such killings and abuse of our rights because it's the Africans doing it?
What is the African dream that led our forefathers to rise against the colonialists? That question will help us determine where we go from here? Are we content with unemployment, poor economic conditions, bad governance, corrupt governments, the absence of the rule of law, the inequality of people before the law, for as long as an African leader is at the helm of the country? The real cause of the African people fighting against each other is the scarcity of resources and the continued inequality of the people. It is the bad governance and the bad economics. If we fix that, there shall be no afrophobia because people everyone will be able to make a life for themselves because all countries will have an enabling political and economic environment.
The African people have a duty to make Africa a great continent, it is not only left to the leaders for they are the servants of the people. It is every African's duty to work towards a better Africa we want and dream of, an Africa of equal opportunities not to be sold a dummy by anyone.
Mayibuye I – Africa!
Dr Vusumuzi Sibanda
African Diaspora Chairperson