F – Solidarities, internationalisms, and global movements

The global colour line: Pan-africanism and black internationalism in the 21st century

Event Details

  • Date

    Saturday, 27 June - 8:30–10:30

  • Venue
    tba
  • Theme
    F – Solidarities, internationalisms, and global movements
Convenor
  • Ernst van der Wal (Stellenbosch University)
Chair
  • Lena Dallywater (Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography)
Panelists
  • Tunde Adeleke (Iowa State University)
  • Ernst van der Wal (Stellenbosch University)
  • Franco Manni (Independent Scholar)
  • Moncef Bakail (University of Algiers 2)
  • Lena Dallywater (Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography)

Papers

  • Tunde Adeleke
    Questioning ‘Diaspora’ and ‘Pan-Africanism’ as Analytical Frameworks: Two Twentieth Century Complementary, Yet Divergent Viewpoints

    Questioning ‘Diaspora’ and ‘Pan-Africanism’ as Analytical Frameworks: Two Twentieth Century Complementary, Yet Divergent Viewpoints

    Scholars of Black Nationalism and Pan-Africanism have long theorized the “Diaspora” and “Pan-Africanism” as frameworks for study and analysis of the relationship of Africa, and her expanding and increasingly complex African diaspora world. Even as diaspora Africans in their distant locations encountered challenges that fundamentally could not be subsumed under the traditional “Pan-African” and “Diaspora” paradigms, some scholars persist in conflating the experiences and challenges while ignoring or downplaying the complexities and divergences. For much of the twentieth century, the appeal of the Pan-African and the Diaspora paradigms remained strong, even as the “Black Internationalist” world grew complex and complicated; and blacks in different locations encountered experiences that fundamentally transformed them culturally while also complicating their identities. By the dawn of the twenty-first century, however, there emerged dissenting voices raising questions about the potency and continuing relevance of homogenizing and unifying essentialist constructs. Increasingly, many scholars are calling for re-conceptualizing, perhaps even jettisoning, such conflating paradigms as “diaspora” and “Pan-Africanism”. Have these concepts become obsolete and anachronistic, as some scholars suggest? What are the alternative paradigms or approaches to studying this phenomenon that would reflect shared heritage and experiences as well as differences and divergences? This paper is an attempt to answer these questions by foregrounding the complementary and yet conflicting viewpoints of two leading twentieth century black nationalists and Pan-Africanists (Stokely Carmichael and Walter Rodney)
  • Ernst van der Wal
    Shit and the Politics of Identity in South Africa

    Shit and the Politics of Identity in South Africa

    Drawing on recent examples of human excrement that was strategically employed as a site of activism, protest and/or violence, this article examines how shit has been central to the politics of identity in South Africa. Be it as a vehicle for decolonisation (as a weapon, as it were, to question colonial and apartheid legacies), a site of public protest or a means to highlight racial inequalities, shit has been used in significant ways to speak to a complex South African environment. This article examines such examples, and aims to demonstrate how human excrement has become a key tool for negotiating agency and claiming rights, while, at the same time, it has also been utilised as a means to speak of ideas surrounding loss, deprivation and inhumanity. During a recent protest in Cape Town, South Africa, police confiscated human excrement carried in plastic containers that was meant to be thrown against the walls of parliament in protest the city’s failure to ensure equal service delivery across lingering racial divides. Furious protestors confronted the police, claiming that their excrement was “illegally arrested” (“our faeces did not commit a crime”, one protester claimed at the event). This example, as well as other recent occurrences, serve as the basis of this article that aims to trace the complex entanglement of race, identity, politics and shit in the post-apartheid South African context.
  • Franco Manni
    Africa and her mission

    Africa and her mission

    Giuseppe Mazzini (1805-1872) was admired by Nietzsche, Gandhi, Bakunin, Ben Gurion and Woodrow Wilson. In his masterpiece, On the Duties of Man, Mazzini advocates the idea of “duties”, designing a structure which includes four levels of life: individuals, family, nation and humankind. Two Pan African leaders, South African Anton Lembede and Ghanaian Kwame Nkrumah strongly admired Mazzini and explicitly appealed to his ideas. Nationalism can be civic and liberal without extremism and bigotry. This is just the first step towards political independence from foreign powers. But the second step should aim beyond the single States and achieve the unity of all African peoples, so that Africa could pursue her divine mission for the good of all the peoples on earth. In Asia, Europe and America today a new alt-right nationalism is spreading throughout many countries, bringing deceitful messages such as xenophobia and religious fundamentalism. Here we go back to Mazzini’s “duties of man”, in particular the duties of Family. Parents should change sharply the education of the young generations: life is a mission and not a mere search for pleasure. If this new educational spirit prevails, the weakness of African public life, i.e. cronyism and corruption, could be overthrown and Africa could accomplish her mission for the world: to be a witness and a model of welcoming the foreigner, since Africa is the least xenophobic of all continents.
  • Moncef Bakail
    Supporting South African freedom fighters: Algerian solidarity with the ANC and PAC, 1962-1978

    Supporting South African freedom fighters: Algerian solidarity with the ANC and PAC, 1962-1978

    The Algerian legislator did not neglect two basic principles: the right of peoples to self-determination and the solidarity of Algeria with African liberation movements. Accordingly, the Algerian authorities preferred to use the term Freedom Fighters rather than "refugees" in the matter of logistical and military assistance to refugees from South Africa. This presentation casts light on the following questions: What impact did the Algerian revolution has on the ANC and PAC? What were the diplomatic, economic and military methods on which Algeria relied on the liberation of Africa in general and South Africa in particular? Did South African freedom fighters of the ANC and PAC benefit from Algerian hospitality and their military training in Algeria? The Algerian experience in urban guerrilla warfare against the French served as an inspiration to Mandela. It wasn’t only the fighting ability that had impressed him, but the whole conceptualization of liberation war that included revolutionary consciousness and the need for political mobilization both at home and abroad. Moreover, Since 1965, Algeria has hosted many fighters from the African National Congress, who received military training before returning back to South Africa to execute military operations. It should be emphasized that the ANC was not the sole liberation movement in South Africa at the time. In addition to the ANC, there was the Pan-African Congress (PAC) which had broken away from the ANC on 6 April 1959. Thus, Algeria not only supported the ANC but also supported the PAC, which benefited from Algeria's political and military support. In this context, the PAC sent Mr. Patrick Duncan as his representative in Algeria and many PAC freedom fighters benefited from an extensive military training in Algeria .Patrick Duncan was able to obtain the approval of the Algerian authorities to train 100 freedom fighters. Among the Benevolent Congress Party's who benefited from a military training in Algeria, we can cite Templeton Ntantala, . Moreover, the Algerian government granted a quantity of weapons to Peter Molotsi for the establishment of a training camp for some officers of the PAC. One of the political methods adopted by Algeria to support the cause of South Africa was the opening of an office of the African National Congress in Algiers, located in Larbi Ben Mehdi Street, which was headed by South African personalities like Robert Reicha and Johny Makatini who were known by their struggle against the apartheid policy applied by the South African regime. Many ANC cadres have also benefited from Algerian passports in their travels, most notably former South African President Jacob Zuma. When Mandela was released from prison In February 1990, after 27 years of imprisonment, he returned to Algeria as the first country to visit in May 1990. Nelson Mandela also pointed out that he was "the first South African to be trained in arms in Algeria. When I returned to my country to face apartheid, he added, I felt stronger.” In conclusion, this paper examines in depth how Algeria support to South Africa was tridimensional. It provided political and military support. Secondly , Algeria played an essential rule in isolating the South African regime through diplomatic and economic pressure. Thirdly, it contributed to the mobilization of world public opinion by publicizing the evils of apartheid.
  • Lena Dallywater
    "We were like these people” - Framing Pan-African Aesthetics in the 21st Century

    "We were like these people” - Framing Pan-African Aesthetics in the 21st Century

    Framings of African and African diaspora aesthetics are rather overlooked when recounting the history of Pan-Africanism in its global context. Authors writing about the subject tend to focus on big names and prominent movements, enfolding a picture of African aesthetics as either the invention of a few Francophone intellectuals in mid-20th century or part of 1960/70s’ Black radicalism in the USA. But, the discourse has not only formed a crucial part of cultural and political liberation movements both on the African continent as well as in the USA and Caribbean, it keeps inspiring philosophers, writers, artists and poets up to today. Since the early days of Pan-Africanist activism, intellectuals have been arguing for the necessity and benefit of the development of Black (or African) critical standards for the evaluation of art and literature. By invoking notions like “Black aesthetics”, “African aesthetics”, and “Pan-African aesthetics”, framings of African art and philosophy, and ultimately Africanness and Blackness, are contested and re-interpreted. Following an actor-centred approach, the paper focuses on the intellectual history of Praise Zenenga (born 1968 in Mhondoro, Zimbabwe), a contemporary theater historian and director of Africana Studies at the University of Arizona, USA. In the paper it is argued that a close reading of his writings and the attention to micro-level interactions reveals not only the persistence of Pan-Africanist narratives in intellectual accounts today, but also the nuances, twists and turns that slip under the radar of scholarly attention.

Abstract

Recently, scholarly attention has increasingly focused on the re-emergence of Pan-African themes and projects, and the importance of African and African Diaspora activism for contemporary Global History writing. International bodies made the theme “Being Pan-African. Pan-Africanism and Renaissance” their focus (African Union 2013) and historians wonder whether Black Lives Matter (BLM) represents „twenty-first-century Pan-Africanism“ (Adi 2018). Whilst the interest in „Post-Blackness“ (Golden) was great in the late 20ths century, and the notion of „Global Art“ has been flourishing since, the question of what it means to be (Pan-)African is clearly on the agenda again. In the last 5-6 years, societies on the African continent, in the USA and also in Western and Eastern Europe witnessed political shifts, heightened mobility and migration. These dynamics seem to threaten existing orders, they give rise to variety of reactions, ranging from Trump’s foreign policy and ‘Black Lives Matter‘ in the USA, students’ movements like ‘Rhodes must fall’ and ‘Fees must fall’ in South Africa, to the strengthening of populist and nationalist politics and rhetorics across Europe. How does an explicitly transnational and transregional project like “Pan-Africanism” fit in this new scenario? How has it changed and adapted to the needs, visions and situations of Black and Africans in current processes of global ordering and re-ordering? Or, better: how have individuals and groups of actors changed and adapted it to make it suit the needs of people behind and beyond the „global colour line“ (Marable 2008)? These are the questions this panel adresses, with a specific focus on intellectuals, academics, writers, poets and artists with African descent in higher education, arts and culture from the late 20th century until today. Contributions from African and Global history, Anthropology and Visual Studies interrogate the timeliness, or untimeliness of Black solidarity as mode of integration from an interdisciplinary perspective. They shed light on past and present entanglements of the art world, structures of knowledge production, and modes of discussing and framing "Africanity". Starting from an actor-centred approach, the papers touch upon the different sites and sides of Pan-Africanism as global, and also ongoing project.