African Media: Vanguards of African ideas


There is an old saying: “The dead only know one thing, that it is better to be alive.” This adage fits well in the bracket of the founding fathers of Africanism whose dreams were snatched from them by the colonialists, even after independence. And failure to pursue their unselfish dreams gives them a groan in their graves.

The advent of new technology has, however, disrupted the culture of Africanism replacing it with Eurocentric views as a way of finding solutions to African problems. It is against this background that Dr Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah envisioned, that “African journalists and media houses should not hide the fact that they are pro-Africa”.

This view of being proud with the African concepts does not distort the reality and the objectivity of the African cause, total economic emancipation. African journalists, however, have been roped in by Westerners who are anti-African and are now being used as “forces of democratic change”. This was the dream of people like Nkrumah, Tanzania’s Julius Nyerere or even South Africa’s Julius Malema, whose African ideology many are trying to nip in the bud.

There is a lack of “African objectivity”. For example, one who writes about the successes of Zimbabwe’s agrarian programme is quickly labelled a “Mugabe apologist and bootlicker” and in some cases a “ZANU-PF thug”. Should writing about the land reform in Zimbabwe or any other African country constitute “thuggery?”

In the North, one who attacks everything with an African view is deemed a “force for change who wants to instil equality and democracy”. This moves clearly to former Congolese premier, Patrice Lumumba, who articulated that “some of our brothers have sold their souls to imperialists”. Some who attack the African spirit are given accolades and awards. But being pro-African does not call for one to get an award, but there are rewards.

African journalists have been used as pawns to disrupt the African political culture that governs and guides Pan-Africanism. The sole objective Africans fought colonialism in their respective countries was not to attain African democracy only, but to “reclaim their lost pride and heritage from the white man”.

Those journalists who oppose Pan-Africanism (it is their democratic right) are in support of what they see as democratic, which is in actual fact the “support of ideological and political positions and interests of the West”.

America itself says it supports (in the Arab world) all elements that are fighting for democracy, against their governments. Even in Syria today they are doing that. So anyone who is against an African and Arab government is seen as prodemocracy by the West and by the media, which are in opposition. Journalists do all the fighting against an African conscience.

Nkrumah, a Western educated pundit, later amended his thought and advocated for a “regional first” approach, an example that journalists should also take.

Europeans do not have interest in the way we defend our ideologies, but persistently pledge to bring chaos in our orderly system. 

In Zimbabwe today, some media institutions think democracy is what is practised and preached by the West, so their relationship is in support with the Western propagated type of democracy.

On the other hand, other media institutions try to align with what they think is democracy, for example, this attitude of democracy was brought through the liberation struggle in Zimbabwe.

African journalists are the weapons and pawns, which the white man is using to overturn tables that should have food consumed for the African cause.

“As long as we are ruled by others we shall lay our mistakes at their door, and our sense of responsibility will remain dulled. Freedom brings responsibilities, and our experience can be enriched only by the acceptance of these responsibilities,” said Dr Nkrumah.

The Western way of getting rid of African problems is a deceptive object, one in which there is a discrepancy between its essence and its appearance.

To accomplish the task of unity among Africans, local journalists should first examine the canons of Afro centric inquiry. 

Afrocentrism explicates the concept of Pan-African harmony, and it is at this extent that journalists should be pro-African, offering a lifeline that reflects an awareness of African centeredness. The perennial omnipresence of a continuous option to unite African peoples in the face of life-challenging situations should be asserted by African journalists.

Those protracted liberation wars to retain African glory should not be side-tracked for ‘new’ philosophies that people generate from the greed of erstwhile colonisers.

Some reap in chaos, and now Africans should defy the notion that they should be made to hate each other through black and white.

Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro, in his ‘Nothing Can Stop the Course of History’ interview with Mervyn Dymally in 1985 once said, “journalists are intelligent people who discuss complex issues intelligibly”. African journalists should fight all the complexities that tWestern media bring so that people appreciate what is made of us. 

Ideas are more powerful than guns, and African are powerful too. 

This is why Marxism has shaken the world. Everything that African journalists do should be for the sake of the people, in an African understanding. There is no intellectual knowledge for its own sake, it is all for the sake of the people. Perception building is what people in Africa should thrive for, to define issues according to how we understand, and not to feed from the crumbs of people whose history is alien to us.

The teachings of Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, Ben Bella, Nkrumah, will never perish even if there are people perishing. Afrocentrism must not perish, it must live beyond. 

If African ideas are taken seriously, they should not die because they are concerned with all humanity.

African philosophies, values and life should create a better world for every African and our journalists must strive to reach for the truth about what went wrong in our societies and how we should correct the distorted truths about our life.

African journalists must all contribute, guided by our African conscience, to a world where everyone can live happily, in harmony with one another while furthering Pan-Africanism.

December 2013
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