ONE of the weapons used during the colonial period to ensure a fragmented Africa was the installation of geographical borders. With 54 African nations split among the colonial giants, Africans were conditioned to believe they were a different people.
Sadly, the shackles of colonialism went deeper than that. Reggae artiste Bob Marley sang about ‘mental slavery’, while prolific writer, Ngugi waThiong’o wrote about the colonised mind. With a great portion of the African population now fighting to restore its true Africaness, the effects of colonisation of the mind still lingers in some.
As a result, years after the attainment of independence in African states, 54 fragmented African nations still exist despite the perceived African unity.
We have the Northern, Southern, Western, Eastern and Central Africa broken further into Francophone, Anglophone and Lusophone Africa.
Yet one umbilical cord ties us all back to Mother Africa regardless of our nationality, language, religion and customs.
We share important history and a priceless culture. The borders have inevitably brought about the crisis of national consciousness and identity which is currently ravaging Africa and is giving birth to disputes over nationality.
For example, rogue elements in South Africa have in the recent past seen it fit to persecute their fellow African brothers and sisters for merely crossing the borders into their country.
This insider Afrophobia — the self-hatred, self-laceration and self-denigration of people of African descent — is a belief in self-powerlessness. As we commemorate Africa Day in the next three days, it is crucial for African people to realise that we can’t hate ourselves and then expect others to love and value us.
We cannot talk of African unity when so many disparities exist across our borders, when our brothers and sisters in Somalia wallow in poverty and those in Mozambique and Nigeria face attacks from fellow countrymen. African unity is not a theory that we can just talk about, it has to be practiced.
For this reason, on May 25, 1963, Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah, Ethiopia’s Emperor Haile Selassie, and 30 other Heads of State, formed the Organisation of African Unity, now known as the African Union, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
This year on May 25, Zimbabwe will once again join the rest of the African continent to commemorate the special day which provides an opportunity to acknowledge the achievements of the people and governments of Africa, while reflecting on the challenges that the continent is facing in the global environment.
A truly united Africa largely remains a gigantic dream cherished only by the great visionaries of genuine pan-Africanism.
They see the opportunities beneath the imagined complexities.
This dream reduces Cecil John Rhodes’ ambition of controlling the whole of Africa, from Cape to Cairo, into a caricature.
Zimbabwean born Dr Arikana Chihombori-Quao, an outspoken pan-African who was dismissed from her post as African Union Ambassador to the United States last year, has never minced her words on neo-colonialism and has strong views on the independence and governance of Africa.
We need to unite and build the Africa we all want.
Agenda 2063 looks at the African people’s aspirations, including a more prosperous future in which all its citizens are healthy, educated and empowered to realize their full potential.
Africa’s population will be one of the conduits to attaining the goals of Agenda 2063 and ultimately the continent’s success.
With a population reported to be currently slightly above 1,3 billion, such a large number can work wonders in building political and economic powers, as compared to what can be achieved by the 14,5 million of Zimbabwe, Lesotho’s 2,1 million or Swaziland’s 1,1 million.
After all they say when spiders unite they can catch a lion, isn’t it?
It is not a coincidence that China, the most populous country in the world with a whopping 1,4 billion people, has the fastest growing economy in the world.
Neither is it a coincidence that the United States of America follows hot in pursuit with its 330 million people. In fact, most of the world’s most populous countries also tops the list of the world’s richest countries.
Population dynamics influence development at the national, regional and global levels.
Africa needs to be united politically and economically to become a world giant that speaks to the Western countries with one voice.
Conscious of the fact that freedom, equality, justice and dignity are essential objectives for the achievement of the aspirations of the Africa people, it is encouraging to note that Africa is now speaking with one voice against the illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe. As African voices get louder, the West shall listen, it is only a matter of time.