By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK Lack of unity among African people has contributed largely to the problems facing the continent today. A Pan-Africanist scholar Runoko Rashidi, who was recently in Namibia for the African Union celebration on May 25, 2006 believes despite Africa being endowed with so many resources, lack of unity has hindered the African people from coming together and use these resources for the benefit of the continent and its people. He says though Africans might come from different countries within the continent, there is a need to identify and focus more on the common elements. At the moment, nations appear to be engrossed in issues that are dividing the people more and have failed to bring together the people’s interests aimed at continued peace. He gave an example of the European Union (EU), adding that the people on the continent have to identify themselves as one. “It is only the commonality that will help shape the future of Africa,” the scholar told New Era. He expressed dismay that despite African countries being independent, they lack economic power and still allow economically powerful countries to take charge and “run” their economic affairs. “Europeans have been able to subdue us. Africa is the wealthiest continent, we need to manage our own resources to our own good,” he said. A historian, research specialist and a writer, Rashidi called for a need to consider a common language. “It is a shame that we use the language of colonialists to identify ourselves. We allow differences to be brought in and we perpetuate them among ourselves.” Coming from California and yet a proud African, Rashidi indicated that people within the continent could work together with those in the diaspora and help gather the missing pieces of African history. He said humanity started in Africa. Further, they can work together in tackling some of the problems that the continent faces, problems such as the fight against HIV/AIDS. Rashidi has visited 19 countries in Africa so far. He believes the role of women in the liberation struggle could never be overlooked, adding that men’s negative attitudes towards women should come to an end. Rashidi has travelled to about 50 countries throughout the world, including India, Cambodia, Egypt, Russia and Australia, researching on and documenting the African presence and the importance and relevance of African history. While in the country, he held talks with the Deputy Minister of Education Dr Becky Ndjoze-Ojo and Prime Minister Nahas Angula. This was his second visit to Namibia.
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