Pan-African Scholars Must Stand Tall

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By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK “We have called you here, to come and witness the birth of our twin projects, namely, the Dr Sam Nujoma Annual Public Lectures and The AfroVoice Magazine. “The underlying idea and philosophy behind these twin projects emanated from our link and interaction with youth activists who have been working tirelessly to drive preparatory events to this very day.” So said the board chairman of Pacon, Johannes Tjitjo, on Thursday when his organization officially launched the Sam Nujoma annual public lecture series and the launch of a magazine at the Polytechnic of Namibia. “The fundamental principle in pioneering these projects is well documented in many African history books. It is also well argued in many scholarly papers and presentations in archives and libraries. For the purposes of this presentation, I chose to enlighten the same with the thoughts of Robin Walker in his book When We Ruled. The title of this book speaks volumes. It reminds us of the times, years, and centuries when the Africans were at the peak of their glory,” said Tjitjo, quoting from extracts of the New African Magazine of October 2006. “Yes, we may have fallen as a people, continent and empire. But once upon a time, we sure ruled the world! Africa and its people shall rise again – but only if we study our history properly: take absolute pride in it, and learn from the mistakes and move on.” The board chairman of Pacon said: “The Pan-Afrikan Centre of Namibia is saying, let us rise and document that rich history of the African people in order for us to build strong foundations for the future of this beautiful continent. The time is now for all progressive Pan-Africanists to put aside our petty differences and develop a Master Plan for the development of our continent. In arriving there, conscious of the gloomy past where we come from, it is important to start small and end up big. It is important for all Africans to understand and appreciate each other by openly discussing our differences through debates and other public discussions. This common understanding is the genesis of the idea of the Dr Sam Nujoma Annual Public Lecture Series and the birth of a Pacon Magazine by the name AfroVoice. Simply put, the voice of the African people within the Republic of Namibia.” According to Tjitjo, two projects pioneered by Pacon, the film Where Others Wavered and the annual public lectures series are aimed at creating and emulating heroes of our own. “We need to provide answers to many questions that are being asked by those who do not know what Africa is all about. Or even to those who deliberately deny the very existence of Africa. Furthermore, we as Africans need to stand up tall and firmly assert ourselves in the face of globalisation. Africans need to hold hands and stand together in their resolve to strengthen the African Union and all its operational and administrative organs. The strength and or weaknesses of any African state should, of necessity, become the concern of the rest of Africa,” he said. Tjitjo further encouraged Namibians to move away from divisive tendencies of individualism, egoism and myopic nationalism. “We should move very fast in forging the unity of the African continent, not in words but in deeds. Pacon has created a platform for all Namibians and fellow Africans to debate issues in a manner that will make Africa an oasis of peace and the envy of many. I do hope that as from today, these projects will become a collective property of the Namibian people, those of Africa and in the Diaspora,” Tjitjo concluded.