UBUNTU

ON `UBUNTU’
BY
HERBERT VILAKAZI

(Pretoria: February 2015)

“UBUNTU” is an African World-View which was formulated and developed by Africans centuries before a specialized body of knowledge called “philosophy”, and intellectuals called ‘philosophers”, emerged.

This African World-View described and prescribed a world in which “Thought” and “Practice” (practical life) were still united. The division of labour in community life was still so low, largely shaped by age and sex, that “Thought” had not torn itself from “Practice”. There had not yet emerged a split between material, physical labour, on the one hand, and mental, intellectual labour, on the other hand. At a certain stage of the split between material, physical labour, on the one hand, and mental, intellectual labour, on the other hand, emerge the distinction between the city and the countryside.

This was first noted during the Neolithic, alongside waterways and rivers. Specialized labour and functions emerged in cities, such as artisans, the clergy, clerks, government servants, later intellectuals. (Mann, M., The Sources of Social Power: Volume 1: A History of Power from the Beginning to A. D. 1760, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1986).

It is during this stage in the development of social structure that “Thought” seems to detach itself from “Practice”, that “Thought” at first glance seems to take a direction of its own, independent of, distinct from Practical Life. It is during this stage that there emerges a specialization of knowledge called “philosophy”, and a category of intellectual labour called “philosophers”. Sooner or later, a debate emerged among philosophers: the question was: are ideas, philosophies, the Spirit, and emotions, a more or less correct reflection of people’s interaction with the material world; or do ideas, philosophies, Spirit, and emotions exist first and thereafter shape the material world and the interaction of people with the material world, including nature?

Once “Thought” appears to lead an independent existence, separate from “Practice”, an illusion created by the division of labour, thinkers become specialized, thinking in silos, called universities, research institutes, think-tanks –there, individual thinkers spin off all sorts of cobwebs in their minds and literature, cobwebs which become more and more difficult for the average person in society to understand (Engels, Frederick, “Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophy”, Marx and Engels, Selected Works, Volume 3, Moscow, Progress Publishers, 1970, pp. 337-376; also Engels’ letters to Bloch, Schmidt, Mehring, Ibid., pp. 487-498)

Various disciplines, particularly in the social sciences and humanities, are shaped by the division of labour; and the history of each discipline, whether it be economics, anthropology, sociology, history, linguistics, philosophy, literature, Marxism, etc., consists of so many different fashions, fads, trends, schools of thought –so may cobwebs, spun off the heads of individual thinkers. These individual thinkers create long or short-lived fame for themselves, and create careers and even wealth for themselves and their families. These specialists then formulate and issue manuals defining what the proper discipline is, and also formulate and issue the guiding methodology to be followed by outsiders or new initiates who wish to qualify as members of the discipline. All these `contributions’ by specialists intellectuals can, together, form a pile greater than Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Everest, combined; however, digging through that enormous mountain shall reveal very few pieces of genuine and valuable knowledge which can move Humankind forward.

“UBUNTU” and African Historical Experience

We began with the assertion that “UBUNTU” should be understood as a “World-View”, rather than as a “philosophy”. I stressed that “UBUNTU” is an African World-View which was formulated and developed by masses of Africans when “Thought” and “Practice” were still united. This was a World-View of common African people formulated centuries before “Thought” and “Practice” were split and seemingly led separate lives in the West (Kunene, Mazisi, “The Relevance of African Cosmological Systems to African Literature Today”, African Literature Today, No. 11, 1980, pp. 190-205; Kunene, Mazisi, “Misconceptions About African Cosmological systems”, Introduction to Anthem of The Decades, London, Heinemann, 1981, pp. xiii-xl). “UBUNTU” existed centuries before the emergence of “philosophy” in Western society: I submit, therefore, that “UBUNTU” does not qualify as a specialist subject called “philosophy”, to be the preoccupation of Western intellectuals as they do when they preoccupy themselves with specialist subjects like existentialism, liberalism, economics, or 19th century German philosophy.

To make this point clear, let us look at the history of Africa and of African communities.

The modern world and Africa today have a schizophrenic relationship with one another. This schizophrenia is largely reflected in contemporary personalities, as social characters, in our identities, in how we view one another, in how we study history, and how we write history –`ours’ and `theirs’.

The world truly still awaits a Homer greater than Homer, to tell the story of the relationship between Africa and the rest of Humankind; the world still awaits a book perhaps as significant and moving as the Holy Book itself on the true significance of Africa in the making of Humankind.

The African stock of Humankind is the oldest stock, is the parent of all the existing stocks inhabiting all regions of the world. In the words of scientists Chris Stringer, head of the human origins group at London’s Natural History Museum, and Robin McKie, science editor of The Observer, “Human differences are superficial…What unites us is far more significant than what divides us…Under our skins we are all Africans, the metaphorical sons and daughters of the man from Kibish”. (African Exodus, Random House, 1997)

We all know, of course, how Homer begins his epic: “Sing, goddess, the anger of Peleus’ son Achilleus and its devastation…” and so on.

Perhaps, the missing, greatest, epic, on Africa and the rest of Humankind, may begin thus:

“Sing, Oh Ancestors and Goddess Nomkhubulwana, the story of Africa and Humankind;
Sing, Ancestors and Goddess Nomkhubulwana, the story of Mother Africa;
How Africa gave birth to Humankind;
How this Lady, Mother Africa, raised and nurtured infant Humankind;
How Mother Africa gave strength, culture, knowledge of Goddesses and Gods, and knowledge of good and evil;
How Mother Africa gave Drum, Dance, Voice, Laughter, Music and Play, to Humankind;

Sing, Oh Ancestors and Goddess Nomkhubulwana, the untold story of Mother Africa and Humankind;
How some of her children-grown-to-adulthood, left Mother Africa for distant corners and far regions of the World; and there changed skin colour, hair, and size of nose, and lips.

Sing, Oh Ancestors and Goddess Nomkhubulwana, how some of these children-grown-to-adulthood, having forgotten their original relationship with Mother Africa, came back, abused, heaped contempt, and violated Their own Mother, and, like maddened Ajax, chained, drew blood, killed, and took their own brothers and sisters to be slaves in distant lands;

Sing, Oh Ancestors and Goddess Nomkhubulwana, how this act became poison And Curse on the minds and souls of all Humankind;

Sing, Ancestors and Goddess Nomkhubulwana, how redemption, renewal, and regeneration of all Humankind shall fail and be naught, until Mother Africa is restored to Her place of Honour as the Mother of Humankind, and how the African is the first brother and sister, and first cousin, of all peoples of the World. “(Vilakazi. H. W., “Africa and Humankind”, http://www.professorvilakazi.wordpress.com)

That, Brothers and Sisters, may be the beginning of that missing epic story of Humankind. That void, I must say, is a challenge to African writers and to World literature.

As we fell together, so we must rise together. This is the methodological and moral injunction which should guide us all within Africa itself, in the work of all individuals and communities within the Continent; as well as a methodological and moral injunction which should guide the peoples of the rest of the world in their relationship with Africa.

Africans, Europeans, Arabs, Jews, Chinese, Indians, all Asians, the peoples of North and South America, the Caribbean, the Oceanic peoples –are all brothers and sisters long lost to one another. The word to every individual in the world is the following: when you write about Africa, or about Africans, you are writing about YOURSELF!

The African Slave Trade of the West, which was initiated by Portugal in the 15th century, became in its stride the most decisive turning-point in World History. It became a gigantic landslide, in the geology of human history, which created the new World Capitalist Economy, and shifted, rearranged, fragmented, and injured continents, human culture, and social consciousness throughout the globe. In the Poverty of Philosophy, Marx showed the African Slave Trade to be the very foundation of the new capitalist world order:
“Direct slavery is just as much the pivot of bourgeois industry as machinery, credits, etc. Without slavery you have no cotton; without cotton you have no modern industry. It is slavery that gave the colonies their value; it is the colonies that created world trade, and it is world trade that is the pre-condition for large-scale industry…Without slavery North America, the most progressive of countries, would be transformed into a patriarchal country. Wipe North America off the map of the world, and you will have anarchy –the complete decay of modern commerce and civilisation.” (Marx, Karl, “The Poverty of Philosophy”, Marx and Engels, Collected Works, Volume 6, New York, International Publishers, 1976, p. 167)
The African Slave Trade of the West brought about a complete degradation of entire Humankind, first and foremost, of Africans, and of Europeans in Europe and in European colonies throughout the world. First, the entire African stock of Humankind was “turned into a semi-animal”, in the words of Leo Frobenius. Frobenius continues: “the concept of a `barbaric Negro is a European creation…” (Leo Frobenius: 1873-1973, edited by Eike Haberland, Wiesbaden, Franz Steiner Verlag GmbH, 1973, p. 58). What is almost always omitted in this harrowing phenomenon is the other side: Europeans could not successfully treat and regard the masses of African people without the Europeans, themselves, becoming “semi-animal” and “barbaric”. We are talking here about wholesale degradation and dehumanization of just about entire Humankind.

Africans and African cultures, were then excised from human history. Africa, African people, African cultures became an object of study, similar to the study of artefacts in museums, or the study of nature. The classic methodological precept of the study of human society (sociology), was that the scholar studying human beings in society must be very aware that he/she is the subject and object of the same study (Weber, Max, The Methodology of the Social Sciences, Glencoe, Free Press, 1949). With the emergence of the discipline of cultural/social anthropology, whose subject was “primitive society”, the unity of object-subject ceased to apply when European scholars encountered African people or primitive societies.
“The native society has to be in the anthropologist himself and not merely in his notebooks if he is to understand it, and the capacity to think and feel alternatively as a savage and as a European is not easily acquired, if indeed it can be acquired at all.” (Evans-Pritchard, E. E., Social Anthropology, London, Cohen and West, 1951, p. 82)
The relationship between the European scholar and the people of the primitive community was that of “ruler” and the “ruled”, the “colonizer” and the “colonized”. There emerged, then, the distinction between “sociology”, the study of human society, and “anthropology”, the study of primitive people.

Of course, there are generational differences in the thinking of Western scholars. The attitudes of 21st century Western scholars towards Africa are different from the attitudes which prevailed in the 19th century, even from the early 20th century. The African Slave Trade ended in the 19th century, and legalized racism ended in both the USA and South Africa. However, racism has massively persisted right into our time. The State of New York is reputed to be the most liberal State in the USA. Yet, the Editorial Board of the New York Times, in an editorial of January 9, 2015, has written:
“New York schools are the most segregated in the nation…Minority children are disproportionately trapped in schools that lack the teaching talent, course offerings and resources needed to prepare them for college and success in the new economy”. (Editorial, New York Times, January 9, 2015)
Racism is still alive in the minds and hearts of ordinary people –and scholars are part of ordinary people (also see article by a Harvard economist: “Racial Bias, Even When We Have Good Intentions”, by Mullainathan, Sendhill, New York Times, 3 January 2015).

UBUNTU

UBUNTU is not an historical phenomenon similar to “classical German philosophy”, “existentialism”, “Liberalism”, or “modernism”. Each of these historical phenomena is a products and preoccupations of a thin stratum of intellectuals in modern history. It is a specialist preoccupation of a thin layer of modern intellectuals. It is not a World-View, or “Weltanschauung”, of the masses of society members.

“Philosophy” emerged as a special preoccupation of those who had been relieved of manual labour by a certain level of the division of labour. This became their sole occupation, producing ideas, refining ideas, and debating ideas. This thin layer of intellectual workers, and their products, appeared to exist independently of the masses of society members, still involved in manual labour; and these non-material products of intellectual workers appeared independent of the ideas of masses of society members.

“UBUNTU” is a World-View of the masses of African people whose community life was still pre-industrial and pre-urban. Agriculture and pastoralism were the basic source of livelihood for every community. This lasted for tens of centuries and thousands of years. Communal ownership of land was the foundation of African society. The hoe was the main instrument used in tilling the soil. It was established decades ago that the use of the hoe in African agriculture was largely determined by the quality of the soil on the Continent (Leser, Paul, Entstehung und Verbreitung des Pfluges, Munster, 1931). It is wrong to assume that hoe-agriculture represents the lowest stage of agricultural development. Max Weber acknowledged that extensive development of social forms was possible on the basis of hoe-agriculture (Weber, Max, General Economic History, New York, Collier, 1961, p. 45).
W. E. B. Du Bois made the remarkable statement many decades ago that while most civilizations owe major advances in historical development to cities, African civilization owes major advances in historical development to the countryside. We now know that the initial spur and model for the emergence of Ancient Egypt came from interior Africa, below Egypt (Williams, Bruce, “The Lost Pharaohs of Nubia”, Egypt Revisited, edited by Ivan Van Sertima, New Brunswick, Transaction Publishers, 1989, pp. 90-104)

Culture-historical ethnologists of the Germanic tradition were convinced at the beginning of the 20th century that the greatest technological advancement for Humankind, the invention of iron, emerged first in Africa. Franz Boas wrote as follows:
“While much of the history of early invention is shrouded in darkness, it seems likely that at a time when the European was still satisfied with rude stone tools, the African had invented or adopted the art of smelting iron…It seems not unlikely that the people that made the marvellous discovery of reducing iron ores by smelting were the African Negroes. Neither ancient Europe, nor ancient western Asia, nor ancient China knew the iron and everything points to its introduction from Africa. At the time of the great African discoveries towards the end of the past century, the trade of the blacksmith was found all over Africa, from north to south and from east to west.’ (Boas, Franz, pp. “The Outlook for the American Negro”, The Shaping of Amarican Anthropology 1883-1911: A Franz Boas Reader, New York, Basic Books, 1974, 311-312; Du Bois, W. E. Burghardt, The World and Africa, New York, International Publishers, 1965)

While we are scratching our heads, incredulous, here is another revelation, which was printed in the New York Times:
“South African archaeologists have reported discovering the world’s oldest mine. The mine, in an iron-ore mountain in neighbouring Swaziland, is 43,000 years old, according to radio-carbon dating.” (New York Times, February 8, 1970).

The greatest influence of Africa upon human history flows out of the fact that Africa is the Mother of Humankind. All the peoples of the world are traceable to Africa. It is impossible to truly understand human culture without relating it to the culture of African people. The words of Frobenius, in his planned survey of African culture and history, still express the current truth:
“This will involve in particular an extended study of the history of western and central Africa. These areas, which were not part of the Roman empire, have ideas and achievements to their credit which go back more than two thousand years. Furthermore, the African past is intimately related to the prehistoric monuments of the cave-dwellers of southern France and Spain, to the Etruscan problem and the dawn of Egyptian culture, and this points a new way to the study of the most fundamental questions of human history. Whatever we can learn today of African religions and social institutions, art forms and poetry, is of immense importance for our knowledge of mankind and may radically alter our understanding of the past.” (Leo Frobenius: 1873-1973, op. cit., p. 54)

This also applies to the proper understanding of Hebrew culture and religion, which requires revealing Ancient Egyptian philosophy and culture as the primary source of influence (Karenga, Maulana, “Towards a Sociology of Maatian Ethics: Literature and Context”, Egypt Revisited, edited by Ivan Van Sertima, op. cit., p. 354; Weber, Max, Ancient Judaism,)

The Communally-owned land, and the Hoe-agriculture, were the commanding heights of the economy of African civilization in Southern Africa.

African society in Southern Africa consisted of Communes, based on no private ownership of land; each Household was allocated land for use, and produce belonged to the Household. Livestock was controlled and owned by the Household, co-existing with land and livestock held by the Royal Head, which served also as insurance for members of the Commune in times of scarcity. Certain lands, like forests, grazing pastures, and rivers belonged to the Commune; these were `commons’ available for use by all members of the Commune, similar to `commons’ in Europe before the rise of capitalism. (Marx and Engels, Pre-Capitalist Socio-Economic Formations, Moscow, Progress Publishers, 1979; Marx, Karl, Pre-capitalist Economic Formations, edited by Eric Hobsbaum, London, Lawrence and Wishart, 1964; Marx, Kark, Grundrisse, Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1973, pp. 471-479; Dalton, George, Tribal and Peasant Economies: Readings in Economic Anthropology, Garden City, Natural History Press, 1967, pp. 51-170)

African agriculture, based on the use of the Hoe, made cooperation and collective labour mandatory among members of the Commune.

This foundation of the social order of African civilization in Southern Africa, Communal Ownership of Land, and Hoe-agriculture, which lasted for tens of hundreds, and some thousands, of years, ended up encoding and enforcing the Collective Consciousness, the Collective Conscience, into the psyche and personalities of members of the Commune.

The Africans of African Civilization in Southern Africa saw the individual human being as a UNIVERSAL PHENOMENON, with universal features of Humankind. The starting point of this view is a community, NOT in a local sense, but a Human community as a Universal phenomenon. The greatest shock and horror of the African was to encounter Europeans and people from other continents who denied the African the indivisible, universal status of Humankind. Racism did not flow from the Human instinct. To Africans, these Europeans, and others, disqualified themselves as human beings. The African on the ground simply said these are not human beings.

It is striking that this African assumption and acceptance of the Human Being as, first and foremost, a indivisible member of the universal human community, is similar to Marx’s point that the human individual, is, first and foremost, an indivisible member of the universal human community (“species-being” (Marx, Karl, “Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts”, Early Writings, edited by T. B. Bottomore, New York, McGraw-Hill, 1964, pp. 120-194; Meszaros, I., Marx’s Theory of Alienation, London, Merlin Press, 1970; Fritzhand, Marek, ‘Marx’s Ideal of Man”, Socialist Humanism, edited by Erich Fromm, New York, Doubleday, 1965, pp. 172-181; Schaff, Adam, “Marxism and the Philosophy of Man”, ibid., pp. 141-150)

In their conception of the Human Individual, members of African Civilization in Southern Africa start with the Human Community as a universal phenomenon. The human Being is inconceivable outside the context of relations with other human beings: “umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu”. The isolated individual is not the starting point; it is the individual integrated within the human community, local and UNIVERSAL, which is the starting point in the understanding of the particular individual and the establishment of relations with that individual.

Until conquest by European powers, with the imposition of colonial subjugation and rule, the societies of African civilization in Southern Africa had been largely pre-class societies. Stratification by class was at its incipient or early stages. Social stratification does not become obvious and recognizable until there is private ownership of land and a subjection of the majority people on the land as producers of surplus-value for the owners of land. That is the foundation, the starting point, of the system of social inequality. Social stratification does not start and exist until there is exploitation of the direct producers of wealth by the few who own the land and the instruments of production.

In the societies of African civilization in Southern Africa, Communal ownership of land, and Hoe-agriculture set tight limits to the growth of social inequality. Every Household had more than one Hoe, and every member of the Commune had equal right to a share of the land, even though, as in the Russian Commune, there was periodical redistribution of the land as Household circumstances dictated. It is true, of course, that not every Household had equal amounts of land. The same principle applied in the African Commune in Southern Africa. The number of livestock controlled or owned by the Household also differed, just as the number of men, women, and children in each Household also differed from Household to Household. So, some inequality emerges; there may emerge the “Big Man” and “small man” distinctions.

This was a natural economy, in which production was mainly for use; the production of commodities was almost totally absent; and money was largely unknown as a means of exchange in social relations, endowing the possessors of commodities and money with the power to dominate other members of society.

The important point here is that the morality and ethical system flowing out of the Collective-Commune Conscience still exerts enormous pressure on the thinking, dreams, and behaviour of members of the Community. The morality and ethical system flowing out of the Collective-Commune Conscience prescribed certain actions to be taken to counteract growing social inequality. In this traditional African society, for example, there is “Ukusisa” custom, according to which a Household with a surplus of cattle shall loan a less fortunate Household a cow or two for some seasons –what we can call an empowering loan. The less fortunate Household takes care of the cattle for that season or two. The calves born of that loaned cow, or cows, remain with the less fortunate Household, and the original empowering loan of the cow or two is returned to the Household that extended the original loan. There was also the “Ilimo” custom, according to which a number of Households would gather on the field of a certain Household, and work together in tilling that field. The products of that common labour are left with the Household on whose fields they laboured. (Vilakazi, Absolom, Zulu Transformations, Pietermaritzburg, University of Natal Press, 1965).

The morality and ethical system flowing from the Collective-Commune Conscience prescribed that a Household that had accumulated wealth should schedule a Public event, during which the rich Household unloads the surplus wealth in a Public Feast. Among Northwest Coast Indian communities, this custom was called the “Potlatch”, and it puzzled and confused not a few American anthropologists. Some leftist anthropologists attempted to fit the Potlatch within the framework of “class analysis” and exploitation (Ruyle, E. E., “Slavery, Surplus and Stratification on the Northwest Coast”, Current Anthropology, Vol. 14, No. 5, December 1973, pp. 603-631). In a publication of over 40 years ago, in a leading academic journal, I placed the Potlatch within a complex of the morality and ethical system that flowed out of the Collective-Commune Conscience (Vilakazi, H. W., “A Comment on Ruyle’s Theory”, Current Anthropology, Volume 14, No. 5, December 1973, pp. 623-624; also see Harris, Marvin, Culture, Man and Nature, New York, Thomas Y. Crowell, 1971, pp. 247-250; Kottak, Conrad Phillip, Anthropology, New York, Random House, 1974, pp. 377-379).

The peculiarity of Southern Africa, compared to other civilizations, is that this region of the world never passed through the Feudal Age. I have already stressed that the Communal ownership of land, and Hoe-agriculture, were the foundation as well as the `Commanding Heights’ of the economy of societies in the African Civilization of Southern Africa. Feudalism is a type of social stratification which emerged in the West some centuries after the collapse of the Roman Empire; Feudalism was largely determined by the military factor, the material means of warfare, the low-level of development of agricultural productivity, and a very high level of physical insecurity of ordinary members of society (Marx and Engels, Selected Works, Volume 1, Moscow, Progress Publishers, 1969, p. 72; Weber, Max, Economy and Society, Vol.2, Berkeley, University of California Press, 1978; White, Lynn, Jr., Medieval Technology and Social Change, New York, Oxford University Press, 1966).

For centuries upon centuries of social life in the civilization of Southern Africa, in which Communal ownership of land and Hoe-agriculture were the `commanding heights’ of the economy’, these African kingdoms lacked a socio-economic mechanism for the exploitation of group by a privileged group; they lacked a socio-economic-political mechanism for the oppression of one section of the kingdom by another section of the community. I must stress that we have in mind, here, African societies and kingdoms which had not been conquered by Islam and Christianity. Trade within the kingdom, and between kingdoms, existed, but it was still at the level of barter. Therefore, slavery was unknown as a general phenomenon.

The remarkable businessman and scholar, Michael O’Dowd, wrote about this peculiarity of Southern African civilization. O’Dowd wrote that Africans in South Africa
“have never experienced the corrupting influence of indigenous slavery or of foreign slave trade, nor have they been ruled by absolute monarchs over any considerable length of time.” (p.104)
“Strange as this statement may seem to those who cannot see further than the fashionable propaganda of the moment, the outstanding characteristic of the Africans of South Eastern Africa is that in their history they have so little experience of oppression. For the last hundred years they have been treated about as badly as the majority of people in Europe were treated in the nineteenth century, but of the terrible systems of oppression that existed in Europe and Asia before that…they have no experience at all.” (104)

“When tribal society came to an end and was replaced by large-scale states in Europe and Asia, the vast majority of the people were reduced to slavery, or something very close to it. In the Middle East this happened more than four thousand years ago, and in China more than three thousand, and in all that time, up to the present, it has never changed. The same was true in Japan up to the Meiji Restoration…The same system was spread throughout the Mediterranean world not less than two thousand years ago and reached North Europe, only very slightly ameliorated, a thousand years ago. The iron has had a long time to enter into the souls of Europeans and Asians, and I think it has done so. [emphasis mine] (105)
“I think that this accounts for that set of values and characteristics among Southern Africans which are called in Zulu ‘ubuntu’ or in Tswana ‘popagano’, a philosophy of life which gives rise to, among other things, a combination of emotional warmth, openess and tolerance, with a readiness to respect other people.” (O’Dowd, Michael, South Africa: The Growth Imperative, Johannesburg, Jonathan Ball, 1991, pp. 104-105)

What I am asserting is that this African civilization of Southern Africa, in which Communal ownership of land and Hoe-agriculture were the Commanding heights of the economy, resulted in the emergence of an Egalitarian Society. (Fried, Morton H., The Evolution of Political Society: An Essay in Political Anthropology, New York, Random House, 1967).

This Egalitarian Society of African civilization in Southern Africa, in which Communal ownership of land and Hoe-agriculture were the `Commanding Heights’ of the economy, existed uninterrupted for centuries upon centuries, and for tens of centuries, until an appropriate “social character” emerged (Erich Fromm, The Sane Society), whose day-to-day implementation, was UBUNTU.

UBUNTU is the African Humanism of this African civilization. It had a material foundation in this African civilization of which Communal Ownership of land and Hoe-agriculture were the `Commanding Heights’. UBUNTU stands and remains the most coherent and powerful critique of the violation of the Human Being as Human Being ever produced in entire human history.

In modern history, UBUNTU stands as a fundamental critique and opponent of capitalist civilization, Human Alienation and Racism. The true and full history of the critique of modern Western civilization, from Rousseau to Marx, is the discovery by Western philosophers of “Tribal societies” and the “Gentile-Tribal” principle of social organization: this occurred when Europeans encountered the indigenous peoples of the `New World’, Africa, and Asia. If Truth be told, this was not a `discovery’, but a re-opening of the minds and eyes of Western philosophers to the truth about their own Western society. This is the new yeast which brought about a new fermentation in the minds of the original philosophers of the West, above all in Rousseau and Marx.

In Marx and Engels` thinking, the revolutionary climax was Marx’s discovery and study of Lewis H. Morgan’s Ancient Society. (Engels, Frederick, “The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State”, in Marx and Engels, Selected Works, Volume 3, Moscow, Progress Publishers, 1970, pp. 191-334). What we must add also is the mighty influence on Marx’s mind of the significance of the “Russian Commune”, as was discussed by Chernyshevsky and by the Russian Populists. (Shanin, Teodor, Late Marx and the Russian Road: Marx and the Perpheries of Capitalism, London, Routledge, 1983, especially “Marx and Revolutionary Russia”, pp. 40-76)

What is of decisive relevance to members of African civilization are Marx’s remarks on the “Commune”. In this text, which was a reply to Vera Zasulich’s letter to him, Marx integrates anthropology, sociology, economics, and revolutionary thought, and poses the challenge of what we must do as members of the Third World in shaping the new world (Marx, Karl, “First Draft of a Reply to V. I. Zasulich’s Letter”, Marx and Engels, Selected Works, Vol. 3, op. cit., pp. 152-161).

This is an Agenda for the overwhelming majority of African civilization. This is an Agenda for the masses of ordinary Africans, and for African intellectuals.

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Cradle of Mankind

THE “LAND QUESTION” AND THE HISTORY OF AFRICA
BY
PROFESSOR HERBERT VILAKAZI

My aim in this article is to dispute the falsification of history we are getting from land-owners on the issue of the right to land-ownership. Defenders of the White landowners argue that Whites have as much right to own land because they occupied those lands first, or that Whites and Africans arrived in South Africa at roughly the same time. Let us throw the light of scientific research on who were the first occupants of Africa, and, specifically, of what is now called South Africa.
The year 1924 is honoured by scientists who study the anatomical history of Humankind. That was the year when Raymond Dart, a paleoanthropologist working at Wits, led a delegation from Wits, under his leadership, which discovered at Sterkfontein what became known as Australopithecus Africanus. This discovery was made about 50 km from Johannesburg. In 1947, Dr. Robert Broom and John T. Robinson made further discoveries of fossils which are pictures of ancestors of currently existing Human Beings (Hominid Fossils).

So many other pictures of Human Ancestors have been found in Sterkfontein, NorthWest Province, that the United Nations declared Sterkfontein a World Heritage Site, now known all over the world, and celebrated, as the “Cradle of Mankind”.

Other discoveries of fossils, closer to contemporary humans, were made later in East Africa.

Further astonishing scientific evidence has been published, tracing the first emergence of Human Beings via female-borne DNA evidence. The original Mother is an African woman who was located in the Ngwavuma area (Newsweek, 11 January 1988; Stephen Oppenheimer, Out of Africa’s Den).

The word is out: if you are looking for the site where Human Beings first emerged in history, look at what today is called South Africa and Swaziland.
Africans were the first Human Beings to occupy the world; Africans were the first Human Beings to occupy Africa; and Africans were the first Human Beings to occupy Southern Africa; and the scientific study of human languages has concluded that the first bricks in the structure of all languages in the world are traceable to an African language. Africa is the Mother of Humankind.

Between 60,000 years and 100,000 years ago, the Human Race began to move out of Africa, to all parts of the world. Remember that at that time there were land bridges linking Africa and the rest of the world. The first people to populate these regions were Africans. Fossils or pictures of African Ancestors were found all over, particularly in Southern Europe.

As the original Africans spread to other parts of the world, to different climates and atmospheres, they changed skin colours, hair-textures, size and shape of lips, etc. DNA studies show that the appearance of what is called `White’ people first became noticeable about 7,000 to 8,000 years ago. Dates for the appearance of `Asians’ and other types of Humankind differed according to various historical, environmental circumstances. The important point is that Africans, Arabs, Jews, Europeans, Indians, Chinese, Japanese, Asians, Indigenous peoples of North and South America, the Indigenous peoples of the Caribbean, and Oceanic peoples, are all brothers and sisters long lost to one another historically and psychologically.

The tragedy of human history is that some of the children of Mother Africa, having forgotten their original relationship with their Mother, particularly Arabs and Europeans, came back to Mother Africa, abused the Mother, pillaged the Mother, killed their own brothers and sisters, and forcibly took millions of their brothers and sisters to be slaves in Arabia, Europe, North and South America and the Caribbean. This inflicted a terrible open wound on the psyche of Humankind, a wound which. Redemption for all Humankind shall only be achieved when we restore the original relationship which existed between Africans and all peoples of the world.

The peopling of Africa, therefore, begins in Southern Africa. There is no logic and sense in our celebration of the Cradle of Mankind in Sterkfontein, North West Province, while at the time asserting that Africans in South Africa came from Central or North Africa. It seems most likely that the movement of people in Africa was originally from the South/Central to the North. It seems also that the Khoi and Abathwa represent probably the earliest stock of Humankind. The Khoi and Abathwa are part of the African family. The study of language shows an intimate historical relationship between the Khoi, Abathwa, and other African people.

My last point is on the drying up of the Sahara, the formation of the Sahara Desert, and its impact on population movements in Africa. Probably the largest destruction that ever occurred in Human history was the drying up of the area now called the Sahara Desert, between 9,000 years and 5,000 years ago. This is an area almost as huge as the USA. This entire area was once fully occupied by Africans, with watered farmlands, towns, cities, and cultural achievements.

Suddenly, all these people, watered farmlands, lakes, rivers, towns, cities, and cultural achievements were overwhelmed and buried under burning winds of sand. An historian asked: “how many cities and towns lie buried under those mountains of sand and rocks? We know that in a given area all farms, orchards and even villages could be completely covered over with sand in a matter of weeks” (Chancellor Williams, The Destruction of Black Civilization). Years later, “microwave beams of an American radar satellite beneath the sands of the Sahara” revealed “cultures 200,000 years old and the traces of ancient rivers running from this ancient African center” (Ivan Van Sertima, Blacks in Science, Forework).

This massive, horrendous event sent masses of people away from the disaster to all other corners of Africa, including to areas adjacent to the Nile River. Historian Arnold Toynbee, in A Study of History, argued that it was this challenge of `desiccation’ as a stimulant and basis for the emergence of Ancient Egyptian Civilization. You cannot understand the rise of Ancient Egypt without the influence of people from the interior of Africa, from down South, especially Nubia and Ancient Ethiopia.

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LET US FORM A NEW UNION OF SOUTHERN AFRICA

LET US FORM A `UNION OF SOUTHERN AFRICA’ [USA AFRICA]
BY
PROFESSOR HERBERT VILAKAZI*
(* http://www.professorvilakazi.wordpress.com)

The people of Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, and Namibia, should form a `Union of Southern Africa’. The present territorial boundaries are artificial, having been arbitrarily drawn by European colonialists guided only by European interests and motives.

The formation of this Union should be in stages; the first stage is the formation of an Economic Union, embodied in a Central Economic Council for Southern Africa.

This economic Union should go much further than the mere formation of a `single trade area’; indeed, much further than NEPAD: this Central Economic Council for Southern Africa should be the decisive arm and brain in formulating Planning and Investment Policies for the entire Union.

The formation of this `Union’ shall be in stages also in the sense that not all the currently existing States may agree to merge at the same time, even at the economic level: the `Union’ may begin, perhaps, with the agreement of 2 or 3, perhaps 4, Nation-States; others may follow later, as happened with the European Common Market, and, later, the European Union.

The failure of development and psychological-mental illnesses are on such a large scale now that African societies are facing a catastrophe similar to a war-situation or a war-threat. A serious war-threat, or a war-situation, such as that faced by Britain in 1940, requires centralized decision-making, centralized Planning, and mobilization of resources.

Leon Trotsky warned, in his criticism of Stalinist Planning, that centralized management of the economy implies not only great advantages but also the “danger of centralizing the mistakes”. Rational Planning requires the inclusion of democratic discussion, democratic control, and a critical spirit, within the centralization and planning process.

Capitalism gave rise to economic processes that tend to cross all territorial boundaries in the world, as well as to cultural process that cross all boundaries; capitalism also generated the modern desires for equality and freedom. The positive features of capitalism became intertwined with its negative features. Both the positive features and negative features of capitalism call for cooperation and Planning among Nation-States. The dangers of war and destruction, alone, call for cooperation and Planning among nations.

Integration of Nation-States at the regional level, and across the territorial boundaries of the globe, is a universal inner urge and tendency of our time. This universal urge and tendency must be knit together and guided by justice and equality for all communities. The integration of economic and science activities is occurring informally across Nation-States; what needs to occur now is the formalization of this integration at the political level. These tendencies, and this urge, are also manifesting themselves in Southern Africa.

We need a Single Investment Plan for entire Southern Africa. The overall Planning for the development of Southern Africa, and the Investment decisions, should be made by the Central Economic Council for Southern Africa. This Planning and Investment Council should be composed of representatives, in equal number, of all Nation-States comprising the Union. The Planning and Development Fund in the hands of this Council should aim to accomplish the following:
1. To plan and develop the infrastructure for entire Southern Africa: the solution of the water problem in the region; electrification and alternative sources of power; telecommunication; roads; railways; airports; harbours;
2. Develop the infrastructure for Education; Health; and Environmental care.
3. The most important challenge facing the Central Economic Council for Southern Africa should be the Initiation of the Agricultural Revolution in the region. The aim, here, is to develop Agriculture to be an economic asset of the first order, as a foundation for the development of the region and the African continent. The World Bank has made the following statement: “Africa’s farmers and agribusiness could create a trillion-dollar food market by 2030 if they can expand their access to more capital, electricity, better technology and irrigated land to grow high value nutritious foods” (World Bank, “Growing Africa –Unlocking the Potential of Agribusiness”, 2013). Non-chemical based agriculture shall have an enormous impact on the health of human beings consuming that food. The first medicine the human body gets is food. Non-chemical based agriculture shall considerably lower the medical expenses of government.

An overall aim of this strategy is to bring about balanced, rational, just development in the entire region, bringing about economic-social equality between the different parts of Southern Africa.

To stop millions of people from poorer regions of Southern Africa flocking to South African urban areas for jobs and better living conditions, the Council should plan, encourage, and direct investments to less developed parts of the region.

There are sound, compelling economic reasons for the formation of this Central Economic Council for Southern Africa. The economic problems of each of these Nation-States shall be solved much better and effectively, if these Nation-States become a single economic union guided by a rational overall Plan.

There are also sound and compelling historical and cultural reasons which justify the formation of a `Union’ composed of the current Southern African States. The people comprising these Southern African States are historically and culturally ONE people. They can be said to be members of one historical family, which was artificially split by the European Colonialists. A few examples: the people called BaTswana stretch all the way from what today is called Botswana to Pretoria –but the European colonialists drew an arbitrary line separating the BaTswana in Botswana from the BaTswana of South Africa; the people called the Swazi stretch from the country called Swaziland to Mpumalanga and Johannesburg –but European colonialists drew an arbitrary line separating the Swazi of Swaziland from the Swazi of South Africa ; the people called BaSotho stretch from the country called Lesotho to the South African Province called Free State –but European colonialists drew an arbitrary line separating the BaSotho of Lesotho from the Basotho of South Africa. The same applies to the formation of a country called Mozambique, as well as to the drawing of the boundaries separating present-day Zimbabwe from South Africa.

It is important to stress that there was a constant movement of people from one area of Africa to another. Today we move as individuals, or as individual families; in the pre-capitalist, pre-colonial era, we moved as communities. We know, for example, of the movements of communities of people from what today is KwaZulu/Natal, which spread to different regions of Southern Africa, stretching all the way to the Congo and East Africa: we know of communities led by Soshangane, who established a Kingdom in what today is Mozambique; of communities led by Mzilikazi, who settled consecutively in what is now Gauteng, the North West, and later Zimbabwe; we know of communities led by Zwangendaba, who moved up to what now is Malawi and parts of Zambia and Tanzania; we know of Shemane, King Zwide’s son, who moved with his community to what today is Limpopo. In sum, these communities were mixtures of Nguni, Sotho, Shona, Tswana, Venda, Pedi, and other cultures. All these peoples were one family. Language is, among other things, a very significant piece of evidence in community genealogy.
The study of languages spoken by people in Southern Africa shows that these people are originally One family. For example, linguists who have studied the structure of Nguni and Sotho languages have concluded that the Nguni language is the skeleton of Sotho languages; through separation of groups, migrations, and interface with differing environments and activities, different flesh and accents emerged: “If genetic relationship among a number of languages can be demonstrated, it constitutes prima facie evidence that the ancestors of the speakers of those languages shared a common location at some time in the past” (Reconstructing African Culture History, edited by C. Gabel and N. R. Bennett, 1967, p. 31).

Capitalism, the African Slave Trade, imperialism, colonialism, and racism, were like an enormous world-wide landslide that radically reshaped the structure and process of the human mind and consciousness throughout the world: a new measuring rod of human beings emerged, which placed Europeans as the top and best, and Africans as the catastrophic bottom and worst, with the rest of humankind falling in-between.

During the first decade or two of the 20th century, European colonialists began to carve and create new White-ruled nations in Southern Africa: it was during the same period that Pan-Africanism was born, that the Bambatha War occurred, and the ANC was formed.

The ANC was originally formed as a Pan-Africanist Movement for the emancipation of all Africans from European domination.

The first Constitution of the ANC, adopted in 1918, takes it for granted that the peoples of what today is Botswana, Lesotho, and Swaziland, are constituencies of the new organization. In her history of the ANC, Mary Benson wrote as follows:
“Early in January 1912, from the kraals in the Highveld and lowveld of the Transvaal, from Zulu villages, from the beautiful bare uplands of the Transkei, from the arid expanses of Bechuanaland and the royal capital of Swaziland, from the Paramount Chief’s fastness in the mountains of Basutoland, came chiefs and their followers…Among them were the chiefs from the neighbouring High Commission Territories: Prince Malunga Ka-Mbandeni, Regent of Swaziland, just back from England; Chief Maama, descendant of Moshoeshoe the Great, representing the Paramount Chief of Basutoland; and Chiefs Molema, Montsioa and Mankwane from Bechuanaland.” (Benson, Mary, The African Patriots:The Story of the African National Congress of South Africa, pp. 26-27)

The founders of this organization were very clear about the fact that they were forming a “Pan African association”: Mary Benson continues:

“The conference resolved to `unite together and form a federation of one Pan African association.’” (p. 28)

It must be emphasized that this `Pan African association’ would form a Union with a single Parliament, of which what today are Lesotho, Botswana, and Swaziland would be constituent parts. Ms. Benson continues:
“The conference accepted Seme’s recommendation that the Congress should be modelled on the American Congress and it was also decided to combine British parliamentary structure and procedures in an Upper House of Chiefs and a Lower House of Commoners, each with a President. The Paramount Chief of the Basuto, Letsie ll, was unanimously elected Honorary Governor, leader of the Upper House in which `Princes of African blood’ were to hold their seats for life.” (p. 28)

This was, indeed, a Pan-African agenda: Dr. Seme travelled the entire Southern Africa, mobilizing support for the ANC; that is the reason Nkosi Sikelela IAfrika became the anthem for the entire region. The Kings and Queens of Africa were the god-parents of the ANC. Perhaps no people in Southern Africa made a greater contribution to the establishment of the ANC, during the early years, than the Swazi. Through Prince Sobhuza’s grandmother, Queen Labotsibeni, the Swazi Royal Kingdom made a tremendous financial contribution for the upkeep of the ANC; Dr. Seme and Patrick Vilakazi re-located to Swaziland, as advisors to the Royal Leadership, and acted also as tutors to the young Prince, so that he could be raised in the tradition of the ANC.
As the new White Nation-State called South Africa became stabilized, consolidated, and triumphant, the agenda of the ANC was formulated in reaction to the policies of the White Nation-State: there began to take place the southafricanization of the ANC.

European capitalism in Southern Africa did not clip its wings to fit within the White Nation-State. Cecil Rhodes and Anglo-American used semi-slave labour of Africans from entire Southern Africa to lay the foundation of South African industrialization. It was the forced labour-power of entire Southern Africa which created modern South Africa. Cecil Rhodes, Gold and Coal mining knit the entire Southern Africa into ONE economy, with its metropolis being the White-controlled cities and towns of the new country called South Africa.

I am emphatically NOT proposing that Lesotho, Botswana, Swaziland, Mozambique, and the other existing States should be made part of existing South Africa; I am proposing that we form a new Union altogether, comprising all the existing nations of Southern Africa, beginning first with a Central Economic Council, which shall make Investment and Planning decisions for entire Southern Africa, which later-on can result in political unification.

With the wealth of all Southern Africa put together, this Union shall be more powerful and decisive in the world economy that BRICS.

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Union of Southern Africa [USA Africa]

LET US FORM A `UNION OF SOUTHERN AFRICA’ [USA AFRICA]
BY
PROFESSOR HERBERT VILAKAZI
(September 2014. http://www.professorvilakazi.wordpress.com)

I am proposing that the people of Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Zambia, Malawi, and Namibia, should form a `Union of Southern Africa’ [USA Africa]. The present territorial boundaries are artificial, having been arbitrarily drawn by European colonialists guided only by European interests and motives; none of these States are viable as Nation-States, all the more so in our epoch.

The formation of this Union should be in stages; the first stage is the formation of an Economic Union, embodied in the formation of a Central Economic Council for Southern Africa.

This economic Union should go much further than the mere formation of a `single trade area’, or a `common market area’, or different national currencies hanging on a Rand or Dollar, or something similar to a West African or East African Economic Community; indeed, this goes beyond Nepad: this Central Economic Council for Southern Africa should be the decisive arm and brain in formulating Planning and Investment Policies for the entire Union.

The formation of the `Union of Southern Africa’ shall/may be in stages also in the sense that not all the currently existing States may agree to merge at the same time, even at the economic level: the `Union’ may begin, perhaps, with the agreement of two or three Nation-States; others may follow later, as happened with the European Common Market, and, later, the European Union.

Hunger, poverty, unemployment, diseases, the degradation of the environment, dislocation of communities, and psychological-mental illnesses, are on such a large scale now that African societies are facing a crisis and catastrophe similar to a war-situation or a war-threat. A serious war-threat, or a war-situation, such as that faced by Britain in 1940, requires centralized decision-making, centralized Planning and mobilization of resources.

Leon Trotsky, the father of National Planning, warned, in his criticism of Stalinist Planning, that centralized management of the economy and national life implies not only great advantages but also the “danger of centralizing the mistakes, that is, of elevating them to an excessively high degree. Only continuous regulation of the plan in the process of its fulfilment, its reconstruction in part and as a whole, can guarantee its economic effectiveness.” This requires the inclusion of democratic discussion and a critical spirit within the centralization and planning process.

The economic crisis, the depth and scale of underdevelopment, dislocation, and diseases in Africa as a whole, are such that they call for Planning and centralized decision-making over the fundamental economic and social trends and activities. This basic need within the contemporary world has been generated by capitalism. Capitalism emerged as a world-transforming system. It gave rise to economic processes that want to cross all territorial boundaries in the world, as well as to cultural process that cross all boundaries; capitalism also generated the modern desires for equality and freedom. The positive features of capitalism became intertwined with its negative features. Both the positive features and negative features of capitalism call for cooperation and coordination among Nation-States.

The need for the formation of a `Union’, for the benefit of all, forced the separate States of North America to forge unity as the United States of America; in the 20th century, this need and tendency gave rise to the United Nations, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. In Europe, the different nations formed the European Common Market, which later became the European Union. Integration of Nation-States at the regional level, and across the boundaries of the entire world, is a universal inner urge and tendency of our time. This universal urge and tendency must be knit together and guided by justice and equality for all communities. The integration of economic and science activities is occurring informally across territorial boundaries and Nation-States; what needs to occur now is the formalization of this integration at the political Nation-State level. These tendencies, and this urge, are also manifesting themselves in Southern Africa.

I made a similar proposal in 1990 (Sowetan, November 22), as well as in 1994 when our new government published the RDP policy (Star, December 13). I argued that RDP must not stop at our borders. I wrote: “South Africa is, indeed, destined to be the growth engine for the whole of Southern Africa, but not the way we are going about it, thinking that by bringing growth to the South African economy, we shall, subsequently, bring about growth to the economies of the neighbouring states.”

We need a Single Investment Plan for entire Southern Africa. The overall Planning for the development of Southern Africa, and the Investment decisions, should be made by the Central Economic Council for Southern Africa. This Planning and Investment Council should be composed of representatives, in equal number, of Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi, and Namibia. The Planning and Development Fund in the hands of this Council should aim to accomplish the following:
1. To plan and develop the infrastructure for entire Southern Africa: this includes the solution of the water problem in the region; electrification and alternative sources of power; telecommunication; roads; railways; airports; harbours;
2. Develop the infrastructure for Education; Health; and Environmental care.
3. The most important challenge facing the Central Economic Council for Southern Africa should be the Initiation of the Agricultural Revolution in the region. The aim, here, is to develop Agriculture to be an economic asset of the first order, as a foundation for the dynamic, historical growth and development of all of Southern Africa. The aim is to regard food not merely as necessity to avoid hunger and emaciation, but also as a successful business in the World Economy. The World Bank made the following statement in 2013, regarding prospects for African agriculture and the World Economy: “Africa’s farmers and agribusiness could create a trillion-dollar food market by 2030 if they can expand their access to more capital, electricity, better technology and irrigated land to grow high value nutritious foods” (World Bank, “Growing Africa –Unlocking the Potential of Agribusiness”, 2013). Non-chemical based agriculture shall have an enormous impact on the condition of health of the masses of human beings consuming that food. The first medicine the human body gets is food. Non-chemical based, or organic agriculture, shall considerably lower the medical expenses of government.

An important, overall aim of this entire strategy is to bring about balanced, rational, and just, development in the entire region, that is, ultimately to bring about economic-social equality between the different parts of Southern Africa. Pretoria tries to apportion funding to different universities of the country in this fashion, although the formula used is still not just and rational as far as the African population is concerned.

To stop hundreds of thousands and millions of people from poorer regions of Southern Africa flocking to Johannesburg, Durban, Cape town, Bloemfontein, and other cities and towns, for jobs and better living conditions, and opportunities for development, the Council should plan, encourage, and direct investments to less developed parts of the region.

There are sound, convincing, compelling economic reasons for the formation of this Central Economic Council for Southern Africa. The economic problems of each of these Nation-States shall be solved much better and effectively, if these Nation-States become a single economic union guided by a rational overall Plan.

Historical and Cultural Reasons

There are also sound, convincing, and compelling historical and cultural reasons which justify the formation of a `Union’ composed of the current Southern African States. The people comprising these Southern African States are historically and culturally ONE people. They can be said to be members of one historical family, which was artificially split by the European Colonialists. Let us note these few examples: the people called BaTswana stretch all the way from what today is called Botswana to Pretoria –but the European colonialists drew an arbitrary line separating the BaTswana in Botswana from the BaTswana in a country called South Africa; the people called the Swazi stretch from the country called Swaziland to Mpumalanga, which is part of South Africa –but European colonialists drew an arbitrary line separating the Swazi of Swaziland from the Swazi of South Africa ; the people called BaSotho stretch from the country called Lesotho to the South African Province called Free State –but European colonialists drew an arbitrary line separating the BaSotho of Lesotho from the Basotho of South Africa. The same applies to the formation of a country called Mozambique, as well as to the drawing of the boundaries separating present-day Zimbabwe from South Africa.

People in pre-colonial African communities that had not developed the modern State, with its police force, prisons, separate legislatures, courts, and passports, were not restricted in their movements and in their consciousness by fixed territorial boundaries. For them, in the main, there was just one world. Every individual was a specimen of Humankind. In pre-colonial Southern Africa, there were no nations called Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Swaziland, South Africa, Tanzania, Angola, etc. People were more or less the same; in their consciousness they were more or less the same, and they occupied more or less one world. “In traditional societies, hence for the greater part of history, peasants regarded themselves, and indeed were, the basic type of humanity” (Eric Hobsbaum).

It is important to stress that there was a constant movement of people from one area of Africa to another. Today we move as individuals, or as individual families; in the pre-capitalist, pre-colonial era, we moved as communities. The history of all clans and peoples in Africa begins with the legend of how the people got to be where they are from somewhere else. We know, for example, of the movements of communities of people from what today is KwaZulu/Natal, which spread to different regions of Southern Africa, stretching all the way to the Congo and East Africa: we know of communities led by Soshangane, who established a Kingdom in what today is Mozambique; of communities led by Mzilikazi ka Mashobane, who settled consecutively in what is now Gauteng, the North West, and later Zimbabwe; we know of communities led by Zwangendaba, who moved up to what now is Malawi and parts of Zambia and Tanzania; we know of Shemane, King Zwide’s son, who moved with his community to what today is Limpopo. In sum, these communities were mixtures of Nguni, Sotho, Shona, Tswana, and other cultures. All these peoples were one family; they are linguistically and culturally kindred. This was, more or less, one world. Language is, among other things, a very significant piece of evidence in historical-community genealogy.

The noted American anthropologist, George Peter Murdock wrote: “The nation known as the Nguni represents the southernmost extension of the Bantu.” (Murdock, George Peter, Africa: Its Peoples and their Culture History, p. 380) He then goes on to list communities throughout Southern Africa, Tanzania, and the Congo, that he considers branches of the Nguni tree.

The study of languages spoken by people in Southern Africa shows that these people have kindred ties. For example, linguists who have studied the structure of Nguni and Sotho languages have concluded that the Nguni language is the skeleton of Sotho languages; through separation of groups, migrations, and interface with differing environments and activities, different flesh and accents emerged: “If genetic relationship among a number of languages can be demonstrated, it constitutes prima facie evidence that the ancestors of the speakers of those languages shared a common location at some time in the past” (Reconstructing African Culture History, edited by C. Gabel and N. R. Bennett, 1967, p. 31). In a striking passage of the history of the Zulus, written by Cecil Cowley in the form of an autobiography of Queen Mkabi, who was King Senzangakhona’s first wife, who lived through the reign of Kings Senzangakhona, Shaka, Dingane, Mpande, and Cetshwayo, dying in 1879, we read as follows about the people who came to Zululand with her grandfather: “They settled with my grandfather between Nhlazatshi mountain and the Ceza forest, and far from considering themselves a unit, they continued to call themselves by their name of origin `Base Nguni’, as they still do. I think most of the people in Zululand also came from the country of the Nguni people long ago, but they have formed new nations” (KwaZulu: Queen Mkabi’s Story, p. 8).

The historical process of capitalism, Western imperialism, colonialism, and racism, thrust itself into the world, and into the body of Africa, the way a sharp large blade of a spear is violently thrust into a human body. African societies and African consciousness, Western societies and Western consciousness, were spiritually gored and severely wounded. Capitalism, the African Slave Trade, imperialism, colonialism, and racism, were like an enormous world-wide landslide that radically altered and reshaped the structure and process of the human mind and consciousness throughout the world.

It was during the same historical period, the beginning of the 20th century, that modern Pan-Africanism was born; that the Bambatha War occurred; that Southern Africa was cut and carved by European powers into new White-ruled nations; that the union of Whites into the Union of South Africa occurred; and that the ANC was formed.

The important point to stress here is that the ANC was, originally, an organized African movement for Africa, ultimately for entire Africa, for the emancipation of masses of African people. Pan-Africanism was originally the Soul of the ANC: hence Dr. Seme’s trips to regions of Southern Africa, mobilizing support for the ANC; hence the singing of Nkosi Sikelela IAfrika in Southern Africa at large; hence the financial support of the ANC given by King Sobhuza’s grandmother, Queen Labotsibeni, who requested Dr. Seme and Patrick Vilakazi to relocate to Swaziland and bring up the young Sobhuza in the tradition of the ANC; hence the participation of a representative of the Royal Leader of Swaziland in the drafting of the original ANC Constitution!

The first Constitution of the ANC, adopted in 1918, takes it for granted that the peoples of what today is Botswana, Lesotho, and Swaziland, are constituencies of the new organization. In her landmark history of the ANC, Mary Benson wrote as follows:
“Early in January 1912, from the kraals in the Highveld and lowveld of the Transvaal, from Zulu villages, from the beautiful bare uplands of the Transkei, from the arid expanses of Bechuanaland and the royal capital of Swaziland, from the Paramount Chief’s fastness in the mountains of Basutoland, came chiefs and their followers…Among them were the chiefs from the neighbouring High Commission Territories: Prince Malunga Ka-Mbandeni, Regent of Swaziland, just back from England; Chief Maama, descendant of Moshoeshoe the Great, representing the Paramount Chief of Basutoland; and Chiefs Molema, Montsioa and Mankwane from Bechuanaland.” (Benson, Mary, The African Patriots:The Story of the African National Congress of South Africa, pp. 26-27)

The founders of this organization were very clear about the fact that they were forming a “Pan African association”: Mary Benson continues:

“The conference resolved to `unite together and form a federation of one Pan African association.’” (p. 28)

It must be emphasized that this `Pan African association’ would form a Union with a single Parliament, of which what today are Lesotho, Botswana, and Swaziland would be constituent parts. Ms. Benson continues:
“The conference accepted Seme’s recommendation that the Congress should be modelled on the American Congress and it was also decided to combine British parliamentary structure and procedures in an Upper House of Chiefs and a Lower House of Commoners, each with a President. The Paramount Chief of the Basuto, Letsie ll, was unanimously elected Honorary Governor, leader of the Upper House in which `Princes of African blood’ were to hold their seats for life.” (p. 28)

Yes, the Kings and Queens of Southern Africa, Traditional Leaders, played a role second to none in the original formation of the ANC. It is a sharp, cutting irony that these god-parents of the ANC are precisely the ones excluded from the real governance of the country by the 1996 Constitution largely drafted by ANC lawyers and representatives. This exclusion of Traditional Leaders from real governance of the country lies at the bottom of the virtual dysfunction and near collapse of local government in rural areas.
The first generation of leaders of the new Liberation Movement were well aware that this vast area of Southern Africa was composed of people of ONE historical/cultural family, which was artificially split by European colonialists. In the same way that certain members of the German Culture-Historical School of Ethnology, during the first half of the 20th century, argued that there was a common cultural stratum stretching from African cultures to Old Testament cultures, indeed, at one time, from Africa to the Middle East, and to Mediterranean Europe (Paul Leser, Adolf Jensen), so there is a common cultural stratum underlying the communities of Southern Africa, as the Malawian historian, Mphande, has argued for over 20 years. The first generation of the leaders of the ANC, wanted to build upon that common cultural stratum, and form a “federation of one Pan African association”.

All the subsequent leaders of the ANC descended from that lofty vision and aim. We are bound to ask, what led them to descend to lower levels?

As the new White Nation-State called South Africa became stabilized, consolidated, and triumphant, there began to take place the southafricanization of the ANC. The lure, glare, and prospective pecks that would accrue from playing the game according to the status quo, blinded the leadership, and inclined them to clip their wings to fit within the existing White-defined and delimited Nation-State. The aim and mission became that of fighting for the removal of racist restrictions imposed upon Africans, and fighting for equality, within the Nation-State as designed and delimited by the European settler-community. Thus, the ANC became a South African phenomenon. The Nationalist-Pan-Africanist orientation and intention were put on the back-burner. I must stress, however, that the Nationalist-Pan- Africanist orientation has remained a living current within the Liberation Movement, in conflict with the tendency to reject African Nationalism and Pan-Africanism. Lembede, Sobukwe, Mda, Tambo, Mandela, Sisulu, were all part of the ANC at one time, and out of that conflict within the Movement arose the Pan Africanist Movement.

To reiterate, the first generation of ANC leaders regarded the new organization as a Movement to free the entire African Continent from European colonialism, domination, and racism. The entire Southern Africa participated in the formation of the ANC. The Protectorates of the time, today’s Lesotho, Botswana, and Swaziland, were specifically mentioned in the 1918 Constitution as constituencies of the ANC. The original ANC was never intended to be a solely South African phenomenon, restricted to operate within the territorial boundaries of an artificial country called South Africa, designed and delimited by the European settler-community to suit their own needs and egos.

It is striking that while the ANC clipped its wings to adjust and fit within the Nation-State called South Africa, designed and delimited by the White settler-community, Western capitalism did not respect any territorial boundaries within Southern Africa; Cecil Rhodes, the Mining companies, principally Anglo-American, used semi-slave labour of Africans from Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana, Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Zambia, to lay the foundation of South African industrialization, i. e., to lay the stable foundation for the new South African State and racial order. It was the forced labour-power of entire Southern Africa which laid the basis of modern South Africa. Cecil Rhodes, Gold and Coal mining knit the entire Southern Africa into ONE economy, with its centre or metropolis being the White-controlled, White designed cities and towns of the new country called South Africa.

I am emphatically NOT proposing that Lesotho, Botswana, Swaziland, Mozambique, and the other existing States should be made part of existing South Africa; I am NOT proposing that Lesotho, Botswana, Swaziland, Mozambique, etc., should be added as new provinces of South Africa, as the United States of America added Hawaii and Alaska as new States of the USA. NO, I am arguing that all the current Nation-States of Southern Africa are artificial creations of European colonialists; that the African masses in entire Southern Africa actually constitute ONE historical/cultural Family; that this Family was irrationally and artificially fragmented; that each one of these Nation-States, in isolation, is unsustainable, first and foremost, economically; that the Gold and Coal Mining industry actually knit the people and regions of Southern Africa into ONE ECONOMY; that this One economy of Southern Africa, which has been existing behind our backs, informally, must now be formalized, initially through the formation of an ECONOMIC UNION, embodied in a Central Economic Council for Southern Africa, composed of equal representation of all current Nation-States, which shall be the decisive brain and arm formulating Planning and Investment Policies for entire Southern Africa. This ECONOMIC UNION shall be the initial first stage, which ultimately shall lead to POLITICAL UNION, and the formation of the Union of Southern Africa [Africa].

I emphasize, I am not talking about the incorporation of existing Nation-States of Southern Africa into existing South Africa: I am proposing the formation of a new UNION altogether. For those who may find this proposal too difficult to visualise, let me emphasize that this has been done in our very own genuinely African history. A remarkable and dramatic example of a negotiated unification of Nation-States was that of the Zulu Kingdom, during King Shaka’s reign, and the Mthethwa Kingdom founded by King Dingiswayo.

The Zulu Kingdom was originally a small unit, exceeded in size, population, and power by neighbouring nations, the Ndwandwe Kingdom, under King Zwide, and the Mthethwa Kingdom under King Dingiswayo. When Shaka’s father, the King of the Zulus, Senzangakhona, and his mother, Princess Nandi, quarrelled and separated, the mother and son left Zululand. Later, the growing Prince Shaka was accommodated and protected by King Dingiswayo. When news of his father’s death reached him, he marched to the Royal Headquarters in Zululand, accompanied by warriors from the Mthethwa Kingdom, slew the designated successor to Senzangakhona, and assumed Kingship himself.

From the very beginning, King Shaka had the ambition to build a powerful Kingdom, one that would win respect and admiration of all. His biggest problem and threat came from King Zwide of the Ndwandwe Kingdom. King Zwide’s kingdom was larger, more populous, and with a larger military force.

In the face of this massive threat, King Shaka thought of, and proposed, a federation consisting of the mighty Mthethwa Kingdom and the smaller Zulu Kingdom. In his book on the history of the Zulus, told in the form of an autobiography of Queen Mkabi, King Shaka’s senior mother, the event is recorded as follows: “…Shaka collected advisers from the Zulus, including Mapita of the Zulu royal family, and the party journeyed to visit the new Mtetwa king. The outcome of the visit was a compact to become sister nations. Malandela would be undoubted chief of the Mtetwas, and Ngomane would become Zulu Prime Minister. The armies would unite under the command of Shaka, who would establish his chief military kraal in Mtetwaland. Zwide’s threat was to the Mtetwas as much as to the Zulus, and with the strength of this joint army, the two nations would be in a better position than they would be, acting separately and at a distance apart” (KwaZulu: Queen Mkabi’s Story, pp. 73-74)
.

The significant points, in this event, for the existing Nation-States of Southern Africa, are the following:
1. There is a massive threat facing both King Shaka’s Kingdom, and King Malandela’s Kingdom, which, singly, they could not overcome;
2. There is a Summit Meeting of the leadership of the two Kingdoms;
3. In this Summit, King Shaka proposed the formation of a Federation of the two Kingdoms; and the proposal is accepted.
What are the terms of the Joint Agreement? They are as follows:
i. King Malandela would remain INkosi of the Mthethwa people;
ii. Ngomane, who had been the Prime Minister in the Government of the Mthethwa Kingdom, would become the Prime Minister of the Federation;
iii. The Military organization of strength of both the Mthethwa Kingdom and of the Zulu Kingdom would fall under the single Command of King Shaka
iv. King Shaka’s Chief Military Headquarters, in other words, the Capital, of the Federation would NOT be in the land of the Zulus, But in the land of the Mthethwa people. A new Palace was built for King Shaka, called Bulawayo, located in the Mthethwa region (King Shaka also proceeded to build nearby a Palace for his Mother).
v. Meetings of the Supreme Governing Council, whose Chairperson was Ngomane, took place at Bulawayo, in the territory of the Mthethwa people.
vi. The intellectuals originating from the Mthethwa Kingdom played a very prominent role in government and in national life.
Of course, in a period of incessant wars, and the new dangers foreseen by King Shaka in the arrival of Whites in Southern Africa, the importance of individuals in charge of the military and warfare tend to rise and to overshadow civilian aspects of national life.

These are the decisive steps and measures which lifted the new Kingdom headed by King Shaka to unheard-of heights, and established the international reputation of the Zulu Kingdom.

One of the prominent thinkers in revolutionary thought said that what is needed to achieve great revolutionary deeds is “Audacity, Audacity, and once more, Audacity”. To face and solve the problems and challenges of contemporary Southern Africa, we need “Knowledge and Audacity, Knowledge and Audacity, once more, Knowledge and Audacity.”

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African Nationalism2

AFRICAN NATIONALISM
BY
HERBERT VILAKAZI

(SA FM, August 12, 2014, Pretoria)

African Nationalism was a response of Africans to the Conquest, Enslavement, the Subjugation, Plunder, and Exploitation, of Africa by the Powerful Nations of Europe.

Many other countries and peoples have had that similar experience in history.

There is, however, something singular, unique, about the African experience. Because Africans had the skin colour black, the peoples of the entire African Continent, one of the largest continents in the world, were demoted, degraded, to the status of a “semi-animal”. As the German scholar Frobenius put it, the “African was turned into a semi-animal.”

It entered the mind and consciousness of all other civilizations and peoples, across generations and centuries, to regard Africans as inferior beings. Their cultures, their physiological features, their languages, their art and religions, were all considered inferior. This was the case for all Africans, within the Continent, as well as outside the Continent.

It was taken for granted that Africans were not entitled to any human, civil, or political rights that any other person, particularly the White or European person, was obligated to respect.

THAT is the basis of African Nationalism. African Nationalism is the response of Africans to the treatment they have received in the world that has been controlled by Whites or Europeans.

It is important to stress that as the denigration of Africans has been a universal phenomenon in modern history, so African Nationalism has a universal aspect –it is Pan Africanism; it is a struggle for entire Africa, and for all people of African descent.

Having suffered so much from Racism, from being regarded and treated as a “semi-animal”, the first reaction of African Nationalism was a total rejection of racism in all its forms: the first axiom of Pan Africanism is, in Sobukwe’s formulation: there is only one race, the human race.

The second principle is the desire and demand of Africans to rule over their own Land, and to rule over themselves. This means Political Independence and self-determination.

A major issue and factor in Political Independence and Self-determination is the LAND QUESTION. The masses of Africans were dispossessed of the Land. The issue of the Land must be resolved. President Mugabe and his Government dealt with that issue directly; the South African Government has lately proposed a new way of transforming Land ownership.

Of course, there must be an effective policy for the development of the Land and of the countryside.

The many different nations of contemporary Africa, which were created and carved by Colonial Powers, must combine and form a United Africa, as in the United States of America, as the European Union is a step towards the Unification of Europe. No other African Nationalist leader left a more cogent, more realistic, still valid, proposal and plan for the Unification of Africa than Kwame Nkrumah:
“We therefore need a common basis for the integration of our policies in economic planning, defence, foreign and diplomatic relations. That basis for political action need not infringe the essential sovereignty of the separate African States. These States would continue to exercise independent authority, except in the fields defined and reserved for common action in the interests of the security and orderly development of the whole continent. In my view, therefore, a unified Africa –that is, political and economic unification of the African Continent- should seek three objectives:
Firstly, we should have an overall economic planning on a continental basis. This would increase the industrial and economic power of Africa…The resources of Africa can be used to the best advantage and the maximum benefit of all only if they are set within an overall framework of a continentally planned development. An overall economic plan, covering an Africa united on a continental basis, would increase our total industrial and economic power…
Secondly, we should aim at the establishment of a unified military and defence strategy. I do not see much virtue or wisdom in our separate efforts to build up or maintain vast military forces for self-defence which, in any case, would be ineffective in any major attack upon our separate States…
The third objective which we should have in Africa stems from the first two which I have just described. If we in Africa set up a unified economic planning organization and a unified military and defence strategy, it will be necessary for us to adopt a unified foreign policy and diplomacy to give political direction to our joint efforts for the protection and economic development of our continent…The burden of separate diplomatic representation by each State on the Continent of Africa alone would be crushing, not to mention representation outside Africa. The desirability of a common foreign policy which will enable us to speak with one voice in the councils of the world, is so obvious, vital and imperative that comment is hardly necessary.” (Nkrumah, Kwame, Revolutionary Path, London, PANAF Books, 1973, pp. 224-226)

Intimately tied up with the need to solve the Land Question, i. e., to end the exclusion of African people from ownership of the Land, which was forcefully taken out of their hands, is the need to end the exclusion of African people from ownership of the immense natural resources of Africa, i. e., mineral resources, and the `commanding heights’ of the economy, e. g., big banks and big industries. This emphatically does not exclude a transitional arrangement of the leasing of these industries to private companies during the transitional period. (Keep in mind that as a result of the 2007 Economic collapse in the USA and certain European countries, the US and British governments, for example, intervened with massive `Bail-outs’ of the corporations threatened with collapse, and some of these industries, e. g., Big Banks, Insurance companies, and General Motors, were, in fact `nationalized’; some of these are steadily being handed back to private owners!)

The next major facet of independence and self-determination is in the sphere of Culture, Thought, and Speech: the right of Africans to think THEIR own thoughts; to freely speak THEIR own thoughts in their own languages; to have African Culture, African thought, African languages, African philosophies, African values, as equal independent factors, as over-riding factors, in the construction of the new South Africa and the new Africa.

The great German writer, Goethe, likened world culture to a great “Fugue, in which the various nations, one after the other, stand forth to make their contribution to the Fugue”. The tragedy and deep injustice of the oppression of Africans is that Western civilization and Western rulers denied Africans the right to stand forth and contribute to the great Fugue, which is World Culture. African cultures, African values, African thought, were not considered, and are still not considered, major factors in the shaping of world history and world politics.

It is in this light that we can understand Nkrumah’s stress of the role of the “African Personality” among the nations of the world. Through political independence, Africa would get a chance to remove the chains around her, the chains around Africa’s cultures, languages, philosophies and arts, so that Africans can stretch, develop, and display the “African Personality” and creative talents, and make a major contribution to World politics and World history.

We want African culture and African traditions to be used as a source, among others, for the solutions of the problems of our time and problems of the current world.

The last major point is that all the great leaders of African Nationalism argued that Africa must build upon the socialist, or collectivist orientation of Traditional African Society. The ultimate aim is to create a United Socialist Africa. This emphatically was not an aim to be reached over-night.

Any underdeveloped, or developing society, shall be compelled for many years, even decades, to have a mixed economy, in which capitalist economic elements and socialist economic elements co-exist. The hope is that, through correct policies, the socialist elements shall grow steadily in strength, preponderate over the capitalist elements, until the socialist elements triumph completely.

There shall be no abrupt, political, administrative commander’s interference in the economic process. In the competition between the capitalist and socialist elements, the triumph of one over the other shall flow from the superiority of one over the other in the economic-social processes themselves (Lenin, V. I., “Tenth Congress of the R. C. P. (B)”, Collected Works, Vol. 32, Moscow, Progress Publishers, 1965, pp. 165-271; “The Tax in Kind”, Collected Works, Vol. 32, pp. 329-365; Lenin, V. I., “Eleventh Congress of the R. C. P. (B)”, Collected Works, Vol. 33, Moscow, Progress Publishers, 1966, pp. 261-309; Trotsky, Leon, “Report on the New Soviet Economic Policy and the Perspective of the World Revolution”, The First Five Years of The Communist International, Vol. 2, New York, Monad Press, 1972, pp. 220-263; Trotsky, Leon, “Towards Capitalism or Socialism“, The Challenge of the Left Opposition: 1923-1925, New York, Pathfinder Press, 1975, pp. 319-382; Trotsky’s essay on socialist planning, and a critique of the economics of Stalin’s government is a must reading: “The Soviet Economy in Danger”, Writings of Leon Trotsky: 1932, New York, Pathfinder Press, 1873, pp. 258-284)

African Nationalists were, and are, of course, aware of the fact that the mere existence of African Nationalism, with all that it stands for, shall generate hostility and irrational fears in the minds and hearts of former colonial powers, in the hearts and minds of the major capitalist powers, and in the hearts and minds of those who took, or take, the subservience and inferiority of the masses of Africans for granted. Those who got used to thinking for Africans, or to guiding the thinking of Africans, also feel aggrieved by the masses of Africans rising to be thinkers and spokespersons of their own thoughts, by Africans rising to be leaders of thought.

Major capitalist powers are driven by the urge to protect capitalist civilization. Any genuine Nationalism is viewed as a potential enemy. The major capitalist powers then directly or indirectly put in place policies that shall weaken, destabilize, or destroy African Nationalism. Then emerges the field of misinformation, disinformation, and lies, about African Nationalism. This hostility can rise to sabotage, economic and diplomatic sanctions, bribery and corruption to turn individuals in African politics against Nationalist politics, the declaration of African Nationalism as an enemy of `progress’, as a `reactionary’ force, attempts to cleanse African Nationalism from African political movements, the organizing and financing of civil wars, even direct military attacks to overthrow Nationalist governments.

Great African leaders shall be those who are wise enough, strong enough, intelligent enough, and realistic enough, to be able to navigate successfully through these dangerous waters.

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African Nationalism SA FM

AFRICAN NATIONALISM
BY
HERBERT VILAKAZI

(SA FM, August 12, 2014, Pretoria)

African Nationalism was a response of Africans to the Conquest, Enslavement, the Subjugation, Plunder, and Exploitation, of Africa by the Powerful Nations of Europe.

Many other countries and peoples have had that similar experience in history.

There is, however, something singular, unique, about the African experience. Because Africans had the skin colour black, the peoples of the entire African Continent, one of the largest continents in the world, were demoted, degraded, to the status of a “semi-animal”. As the German scholar Frobenius put it, the “African was turned into a semi-animal.”

It entered the mind and consciousness of all other civilizations and peoples, across generations and centuries, to regard Africans as inferior beings. Their cultures, their physiological features, their languages, their art and religions, were all considered inferior. This was the case for all Africans, within the Continent, as well as outside the Continent.

It was taken for granted that Africans were not entitled to any human, civil, or political rights that any other person, particularly the White or European person, was obligated to respect.

THAT is the basis of African Nationalism. African Nationalism is the response of Africans to the treatment they have received in the world that has been controlled by Whites or Europeans.

It is important to stress that as the denigration of Africans has been a universal phenomenon in modern history, so African Nationalism has a universal aspect –it is Pan Africanism; it is a struggle for entire Africa, and for all people of African descent.

Having suffered so much from Racism, from being regarded and treated as a “semi-animal”, the first reaction of African Nationalism was a total rejection of racism in all its forms: the first axiom of Pan Africanism is, in Sobukwe’s formulation: there is only one race, the human race.

The second principle is the desire and demand of Africans to rule over their own Land, and to rule over themselves. This means Political Independence and self-determination.

A major issue and factor in Political Independence and Self-determination is the LAND QUESTION. The masses of Africans were dispossessed of the Land. The issue of the Land must be resolved. President Mugabe and his Government dealt with that issue directly; the South African Government has lately proposed a new way of transforming Land ownership.

Of course, there must be an effective policy for the development of the Land and of the countryside.

The many different nations of contemporary Africa, which were created and carved by Colonial Powers, must combine and form a United Africa, as in the United States of America, as the European Union is a step towards the Unification of Europe. No other African Nationalist leader left a more cogent, more realistic, still valid, proposal and plan for the Unification of Africa than Kwame Nkrumah:
“We therefore need a common basis for the integration of our policies in economic planning, defence, foreign and diplomatic relations. That basis for political action need not infringe the essential sovereignty of the separate African States. These States would continue to exercise independent authority, except in the fields defined and reserved for common action in the interests of the security and orderly development of the whole continent. In my view, therefore, a unified Africa –that is, political and economic unification of the African Continent- should seek three objectives:
Firstly, we should have an overall economic planning on a continental basis. This would increase the industrial and economic power of Africa…The resources of Africa can be used to the best advantage and the maximum benefit of all only if they are set within an overall framework of a continentally planned development. An overall economic plan, covering an Africa united on a continental basis, would increase our total industrial and economic power…
Secondly, we should aim at the establishment of a unified military and defence strategy. I do not see much virtue or wisdom in our separate efforts to build up or maintain vast military forces for self-defence which, in any case, would be ineffective in any major attack upon our separate States…
The third objective which we should have in Africa stems from the first two which I have just described. If we in Africa set up a unified economic planning organization and a unified military and defence strategy, it will be necessary for us to adopt a unified foreign policy and diplomacy to give political direction to our joint efforts for the protection and economic development of our continent…The burden of separate diplomatic representation by each State on the Continent of Africa alone would be crushing, not to mention representation outside Africa. The desirability of a common foreign policy which will enable us to speak with one voice in the councils of the world, is so obvious, vital and imperative that comment is hardly necessary.” (Nkrumah, Kwame, Revolutionary Path, London, PANAF Books, 1973, pp. 224-226)

Intimately tied up with the need to solve the Land Question, i. e., to end the exclusion of African people from ownership of the Land, which was forcefully taken out of their hands, is the need to end the exclusion of African people from ownership of the immense natural resources of Africa, i. e., mineral resources, and the `commanding heights’ of the economy, e. g., big banks and big industries. This emphatically does not exclude a transitional arrangement of the leasing of these industries to private companies during the transitional period. (Keep in mind that as a result of the 2007 Economic collapse in the USA and certain European countries, the US and British governments, for example, intervened with massive `Bail-outs’ of the corporations threatened with collapse, and some of these industries, e. g., Big Banks, Insurance companies, and General Motors, were, in fact `nationalized’; some of these are steadily being handed back to private owners!)

African Nationalists were, and are, of course, aware of the fact that the policy intention of repossessing the Land, other natural resources, and major industries, shall bring upon them the hostility of the major capitalist powers, which shall be activated in economic and diplomatic relations, including organizing and financing civil wars and direct military attacks.

The next major facet of independence and self-determination is in the sphere of Culture, Thought, and Speech: the right of Africans to think THEIR own thoughts; to freely speak THEIR own thoughts in their own languages; to have African Culture, African thought, African languages, African philosophies, African values, as equal independent factors, as over-riding factors, in the construction of the new South Africa and the new Africa.

The great German writer, Goethe, likened world culture to a great “Fugue, in which the various nations, one after the other, stand forth to make their contribution to the Fugue”. The tragedy and deep injustice of the oppression of Africans is that Western civilization and Western rulers denied Africans the right to stand forth and contribute to the great Fugue, which is World Culture. African cultures, African values, African thought, were not considered, and are still not considered, major factors in the shaping of world history and world politics.

It is in this light that we can understand Nkrumah’s stress of the role of the “African Personality” among the nations of the world. Through political independence, Africa would get a chance to remove the chains around her, the chains around Africa’s cultures, languages, philosophies and arts, so that Africans can stretch, develop, and display the “African Personality” and creative talents, and make a major contribution to World politics and World history.

We want African culture and African traditions to be used as a source, among others, for the solutions of the problems of our time and problems of the current world.

The last major point is that all the great leaders of African Nationalism argued that Africa must build upon the socialist, or collectivist orientation of Traditional African Society. The ultimate aim is to create a United Socialist Africa. This emphatically was not an aim to be reached over-night.

Any underdeveloped, or developing society, shall be compelled for many years, even decades, to have a mixed economy, in which capitalist economic elements and socialist economic elements co-exist. The hope is that, through correct policies, the socialist elements shall grow steadily in strength, preponderate over the capitalist elements, until the socialist elements triumph completely.

There shall be no abrupt, political, administrative commander’s interference in the economic process. In the competition between the capitalist and socialist elements, the triumph of one over the other shall flow from the superiority of one over the other in the economic-social processes themselves (Lenin, V. I., “Tenth Congress of the R. C. P. (B)”, Collected Works, Vol. 32, Moscow, Progress Publishers, 1965, pp. 165-271; “The Tax in Kind”, Collected Works, Vol. 32, pp. 329-365; Lenin, V. I., “Eleventh Congress of the R. C. P. (B)”, Collected Works, Vol. 33, Moscow, Progress Publishers, 1966, pp. 261-309; Trotsky, Leon, “Report on the New Soviet Economic Policy and the Perspective of the World Revolution”, The First Five Years of The Communist International, Vpl. 2, New York, Monad Press, 1972, pp. 220-263; Trotsky, Leon, “Towards Capitalism or Socialism“, The Challenge of the Left Opposition: 1923-1925, New York, Pathfinder Press, 1975, pp. 319-382; Trotsky’s essay on socialist planning, and a critique of the economics of Stalin’s government is a must reading: “The Soviet Economy in Danger”, Writings of Leon Trotsky: 1932, New York, Pathfinder Press, 1873, pp. 258-284)

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ON THE RENAMING OF A UNISA WING TO “THE ROBERT MANGALISO SOBUKWE” WING
BY
PROFESSOR HERBERT VILAKAZI

(UNISA, PRETORIA, 24 APRIL 2014)

Chairperson of Council of the University of South Africa, Honourable Vice-Chancellor, Professor Mandla Makhanya, the Deputy-Chief Justice of the Republic of South Africa, Justice Moseneke, the Mahlangu Family, the Sobukwe Family and relatives…

I stand here to utter some words on behalf of the Family of Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe, above all on behalf of Mrs. Veronica Sobukwe and on behalf of the children and grand-children of Mr. and Mrs Sobukwe.

It is proper to expect that all of you understand that this event, today, the decision of the University Council, of the Senate, of the Administration of UNISA, to rename the Vista Building the “Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Building”, touches a wound in the body, spirit, and mind of this Nation, a wound which has never been properly attended to, a wound which is still open and festering.
It is with all the more reason, therefore, for the Sobukwe Family, beginning with Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe himself, to his wife, children and grand-children, to show appreciation of the decision of the UNISA Community to rename one of its prominent buildings after the personal embodiment of the Pan Africanist Spirit in the history of this country. Your decision, as the leadership of UNISA, is appreciated, is courageous, is significant, as the beginning of making amends to a moral, historical and psychological wrong in the life of our nation.

Herodotus in his Histories tells us of a very peculiar element in the culture of Persians. He says that Persians consider that the worst thing that can happen to anyone is to tell a lie.

The principle extends from the life of an individual to the life of a society, and to the life of a civilization. Any individual’s life, any society, any civilization, whose foundation is built out of lies, is unhealthy, has no nobility, and cannot stand long. Any nation that does not honour its genuine heroes and heroines in all walks of life is not morally satisfying.

In February 1960 the then British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan appeared before the White Parliament in Cape Town, and delivered his famous “wind of change” address. It was an epoch-making address, which set a new agenda in Western Big Power politics with respect to African politics.

Macmillan warned White rulers everywhere, particularly in Africa, that the “wind of change” which was blowing across the Continent was African Nationalism. He stated forthrightly that the time for African Nationalism had come, whether or not we liked it.

The essence of African Nationalism was, course, the irrepressible desire of masses of Africans to chart their own course in history; to control their own economies and societies; to lead themselves; to use their cultures, languages, and traditions, as assets in the construction of the new Africa and satisfaction of their needs.

African Nationalism arose against the background of racism and degradation of the African human being, of African history, and of African culture. The presumption of African Nationalism was, and continues to be, the rejection of racism in all forms, and acceptance and implementation of the ideal of UBUNTU.
African Nationalism taught, as Sobukwe stated many times, that “there is only one race, the human race.”

African Nationalists simply insisted that Africa must be ruled by Africans, as the overwhelming majority of Africa; that the material economic resources of Africa must be controlled in the majority by Africans, and must be used for the development and benefit of masses of African people; all this is a means for the empowerment and realization of UBUNTU, for the benefit of “the only one race, the human race.”

Harold Macmillan’s “wind of change” speech rang throughout the Western World as a warning. Remember that this speech was delivered during the height of the Cold War between Western capitalism and Soviet Marxism.

Many of the foremost leaders of African Nationalism were neutral, with respect to joining either NATO, led by the United States, or the WARSAW Pact, led by the Soviet Union. Like India under Nehru, they were non-aligned, even though they were, like Nehru himself, “Socialists”. Quite a number of prominent leaders of African Nationalism professed “African socialism”, on the belief and assumption that traditional African societies were “communal” or “socialist”.

In South Africa, the most significant and inspiring leader of African Nationalism, during the 1940s, whose inspiration and ideas lived beyond his death, was Mzwakhe Anton Lembede. Mangaliso Robert Sobukwe, in truth, can be said to have picked up the leadership baton of Pan Africanism from Lembede.

Lembede openly announced that the ultimate aim of Pan Africanism was the creation of a United Socialist Africa. Sobukwe also announced that the ultimate aim of the Pan Africanist Movement was the creation of socialist society.

African Nationalism in South Africa became battered left and right by World Power politics, at the heart of which was the struggle between capitalism and socialism; it was also battered left and right by forces opposed to the uncompromising African leadership of Africa; and, most important, it was battered left and right by the reaction to its militant stance on the issue of White property, particularly the land question.

As has been said over and over again, over centuries upon centuries, the first casualty of every war or conflict is the TRUTH.

The history of Southern Africa was distorted to no end: the history of socialism was distorted; the history of capitalism was distorted; the history of Africa was distorted to no end; the history of our politics was distorted; and the history of African Nationalism was distorted.

African Nationalism is an important part of the stream and soul of the African Continent.

The ANC was originally formed as a Pan-Africanist Movement to fight against the European conquest of Africa. At the initial gatherings which paved the ground for the formation of the ANC were representatives of African Kingdoms from entire Southern Africa, prominent of which was the participation of representatives from what is now called Swaziland.

A Gigantic, heroic figure in the landscape of the Liberation Struggle of this country is the figure of Mangaliso Robert Sobukwe. Inspired by Mzwakhe Anton Lembede, he led the formation of the Pan Africanist Movement. He was a prominent part of the front of the “wind of change” about which Harold Macmillan warned the Western World. He was kept in isolation from other political prisoners on Robben Island, and brutalized in isolation, which is many times more brutal than the brutality received collectively by prisoners.

After British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan warned the White Colonial Rulers of Africa about the “wind of change –African Nationalism”, from the podium of the White Parliament in Cape Town, in 1960, the White, Western Establishment initiated plans to tame and transform African Nationalism: if African Nationalism could not be destroyed physically, everything had to be done to destroy it ideologically, through misinformation, disinformation, lies, and silence.

Mangaliso Robert Sobukwe was more than a member of an individual family; he was more than a father and husband and grandparent. He was a personal embodiment of an irrepressible large stream of our national life. We are living a life of lies, which horrified the Ancient Persians, is we pretend he never existed, or if we try to diminish his historical significance. A society or civilization which fails to honour its heroes and heroines is a degenerate civilization.

It is in this light that we begin to honour the UNISA Community for the pioneering courage you have displayed in beginning to cleanse the soul of this nation of the dirt of lies, misinformation, disinformation, and silence.

My last word is addressed to my Aunt, Mrs Veronica Sobukwe, who has for decades born untold suffering and pain without shedding unusual tears.

Yintombi yakwa Mathe lena!
Yintombi yase Hlobane lena!
Yintombi yase Baqulusini lena!
Ncanana! Akafile!!
Uyaphila!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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