We are our own saviours

“Incidentally, the Organisation of African Unity, now known as the African Union, was formed on the 25th of May 1963 – about 94 days before Rev King jnr made his historic 'I Have a Dream' speech”

“Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.” These are the closing words in an iconic speech done by Reverend Martin Luther King Jnr in Washington, DC in August of 1963.
The speech carried sentiments that suggested that the black masses of the world had finally been freed from the bondages and shackles of race-based oppression.
It has been 50 years since Rev Martin Luther King made that speech but I bet if he was to make the same speech today then his dream would be bigger than before. The lines in his speech would include free from colonisation, free from neo-colonisation, free from imperialism.
But the question remains, when shall Africans enjoy the fruits of the paradise as promised by these early activists?
Incidentally, the Organisation of African Unity, now known as the African Union, was formed on the 25th of May 1963 – about 94 days before Rev King jnr made his historic “I Have a Dream” speech.
As sons and daughters of the motherland celebrate the 50th anniversary of the African Union, I believe it is time Africans take a moment and reflect on their history and make serious efforts in claiming our position as a people in the world.
To realise Rev King Jnr’s dream, the continent should document and share its stories.
Carter G Woodson, known as the “Father of Black History”, believed that documenting and sharing African contributions is essential to cultivating positive self worth among Africans as well as garnering respect from other races.
“Africa must tell its own story, it is our duty, no one will do it better than us,” Woodson asserted.
More so, an old adage has it that until the antelopes have their own historians, the tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.
The injustices that Africans were subjected to under white rule are unforgettable, and even after the end of colonialism, apartheid and segregation, people are still poor just because they are black.
And so we must ask, “Where is the black’s paradise?”
Today, whenever an African country tries to gain control of its economy and chart its own destiny, it is sanctioned by the West and a coup is fomented to change the government.
As such, African countries are still in the bondage of an international trade and financial system that makes them suppliers of raw materials and labour.
In a nutshell, we are still not yet as free as Rev King Jnr and the founders of the OAU believed all those 50 years ago.
Africa must stand up and fight against this state of affairs.
Former Libyan leader, Muammer Gaddafi, spoke often about a United States of Africa in much the same way Kwame Nkrumah dreamt of such an entity half-a-century ago.
But many African leaders seem to either fail to grasp the importance of strength in unity, or they deliberately act as agents of division and under-development by sabotaging the idea.
It is time for the African continent to raise a generation that does not look West, East, North or South for salvation, but rather one that looks to Africa for African solutions.
Leaders in Africa – whether in politics, business or the cultural fields – must make holistic efforts to promote Pan-Africanism and real development. We must defend our own interests because no one else will.
For this to happen, we must draw from the deep well of the Black Consciousness that Steve Bantu Biko championed.
If the God that made the Niagara Falls is the same God who created the Victoria Falls; if the God that created the river Mississippi is the same that crafted the Great Nile; if the God that created Mount Elbrus in Russia is the same God who created Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and if He watches over west the same way that He looks over Africa, then Africa must not fear because the playing field is level.
We are all equal and the only reason we live lives that are inferior to those of the people of the West is because we allow that to happen.
As Africa celebrates 50 years since the formation of the OAU, we must look to the next 50 years with clarity and purpose and create that paradise that has long been dreamt of.

June 2013
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