The Pan African Debate: A Rejoinder to Alagie Yorro’s Article on Founding Fathers of Africa


kwame_nkrumahBy Sainey Faye, Atlanta

This is an interesting article, and one that raises many questions that need clarification. When we read in one of the paragraghs that “Apart from Mandela, Kharma, and Ramgoolam, African leaders and elites did not establish political systems that bore any resemblance to indigenous systems” what precisely is meant by that statement?

Are we to belief that the authors referenced in this article or research paper, are trying to make us belief that the ex-president Nelson Mandela, established political systems that were indigenous to the people or the nation of South Africa. That would be hard to belief, even though Rotberg; with all his knowledge and prestige with his Harvard elites; on the theory of governance can muster; need to tell us which South Africa they’re talking about.

These so called ‘international theorist on good governance’ now hobnobbing with Mo Ibrahim, are the very ones that opposed and were silent about the ANC’s armed struggle, as a means of liberating South Africa; and eventually Nelson Mandela himself. Many of them have since shifted gears as being sympathetic, and concerned about the Africa’s woes; when Harvard itself had invested profitably in the former apartheid system along with many Ivy league institutions.Now it is brainwashing and some of the modern sophisticated methods used are subtle indoctrination that they are perfecting on our younger, unsuspecting generation of so called pseudo intellegentsia.We need to be very care careful of these ‘guardians’, of course not all are bad, some do really mean well.

Another paragragh erroneously calls Nkrumah, the father of African Socialism – whatever that means.Nkrumah was not the father of African Socialism, he was instead an opponent of those who branded themselves with term African Socialism.He advocated Scientific socialsm, and not African Socialism.In one of his major essays ‘African Socialism’ Revisited published in ‘African Forum’ Vol. 1, No.3, 1966 he notes:-

“The purpose of an article I wrote in 1966 under the title ‘African Socialism Revisited’ ……. was to show that there is no such thing as ‘African Socialism’. The term had come to be employed as proof of the existence of brands of socialism peculiar to Africa, such as Arab socialism, pragmatic socialism, and this or that socialism, when in fact there is only one true socialism: scientific socialism.”

He bitterly criticizes Senghor’s on his work “African Socialism’ (London and New York, 1964, pp.72-73), …as ‘hellenic’. Nyerere too toyed with the idea and to a certain extend, worked very hard to explain how indeed Socialism as applied to various countries may be different, but the principles are the same.

China and the Soviet Union both were socialist countries, but their methods in application based on their countries were different; but the principles were all the same. Both men are indeed much closer to the title than Nkrumah, although has written extensively on it and ‘UJAMAA’ than most of his critics ever read about the transition from a colony, to a neo-colony.

Overall, the article touches on some very important and salient points; but is short on giving credit to some of the positive things that some of the founding fathers have done, or try to do. And if we think that they blew it …..with  blunders and bad governance, which many undoubtedly did; how about picking up where they left off..That is what a revolutionary intellegentsia ‘must do list’ and then see how easy or hard the ongoing, unfinished struggle is. For Nkrumah it is Forward Ever Backward Never,The Struggle Continues.


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