In 2009, one of Africa’s eminent writers Ngugi `wa Thiong’o published a book titled “Re-membering Africa”. In that book, `wa Thiong’o portrays the various historical struggles of resistance by African people against colonialism and its aftermath. He calls on all Africans to join the project of putting Africa together…a continent that has been brutally dis-membered through systems of colonialism and its ugly offspring, imperialism. These systems have ruptured the souls, minds and bodies of the people of this continent in the most aggressive ways.
The systematic division of Africa into colonies shows that Unity is a double-edged sword. In unity you can plan to conquer, divide and destroy a continent. Those who colonized were united and systematic in their approach. The scars inflicted by those negative actions of unity have remained with us and continue to define the character of the African people and the general perception of Africa to the outside world as expressed in persistent conflicts and chronic underdevelopment of the continent.
When the founders of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) met in 1963, they had one overarching goal: “to promote unity and solidarity of African States”. Over 50 years on, the questions are: how far have we travelled on this journey of a united Africa? How far are we yet to travel?
To all these soul-searching questions, the response is clear: we have not gone that far. The destination seems far away, but reachable if we are united in our conviction that African unity is not only feasible, but also possible in our lifetime.
#AfricansRising is not just a mantra, nor a mere fashion statement. It is a genesis of a movement driven by a people who have a conviction that this beautiful continent is for all its citizens to enjoy and that its people have the capacity to manage its affairs. Africans Rising is about a people who believe that the one billion people inhabiting mother Africa deserve all things good in this life, from better leadership, better health care, better education, better roads, better working and living conditions to an overall better and long quality life.
I believe that with the right leadership (diverse and accountable), strong and active African states, dependable governments, right policy mix, effective policy implementation, inclusive monitoring mechanisms, capacitated Civil Society, my continent can: be the best version of its current self and manage to reverse the sad narrative that she has been associated with.
My Africa can be the place where all: girls, boys, women, men live in peace and harmony. An Africa where diversities: ethnic, gender, sexual orientation, tribe etc. are celebrated and not shunned.
My Africa should be able to provide hope and security to the many African boys and girls who are born and live in hopeless situations.
My Africa should be the place where women are safe from all forms of abuse and their potential nurtured and promoted to actuality. My Africa should be able to provide opportunities for innovative minds and provide decent jobs to the millions of young Africans who are currently idle.
My Africa should be able to reverse the tide of migration out of the continent and prevent the millions of young people from dying in their attempts to cross various oceans in search of greener pastures.
My Africa should be the place were free movement of people across the continent is the norm. My Africa should be the place where local entrepreneurs are supported to grow; to enable them to create the much-needed sustainable jobs.
My Africa should be the place were foreign investments are accepted only on the basis of Africa’s investment priorities. My Africa should be a place where citizens and their governments say no to multinational corporate atrocities against workers, communities and our natural environment.
The Africans Rising movement is thus a union of ordinary Africans from all walks of life who yearn to make and see the difference. It is an idea that is born out of the realization that no constituency or grouping of people can achieve this alone. Rather, it attests to the fact that meaningful struggles are sustained and victories won by those who come together in unity of purpose and with combined efforts.
I am joining this movement because I believe that Africa can and should be its best version. I am joining this movement because I want my children to seek “their better future” right here on the continent. I want my grandchildren to sing and rejoice in the fact that the ‘Grass is Greener’ right here on the continent and nowhere else. My wish is for all the African generations current and yet to be born to enjoy peaceful coexistence, unity, and prosperity right here on our soil.
The hour for African Unity and Renaissance is here. Let’s unite to rebuild and re-member this continent. Let’s seize the moment! Join Now
Hilma Mote, is the Executive Director at Africa Labour Research and Education Institute
She serves on the Interim Working Group of the Africa Civil Society Initiative (ACSI)