By Paul Ndiho
Pan Africanists believe that solidarity among people of African descent will enable the continent to fulfill its potential to independently provide for all of its people. Historically, the Pan-African movement often takes shape in the form of a political or cultural movement.
The “scramble for Africa” conference chaired by German chancellor Bismarck in 1884 ended with almost all of the continent being divided between a small group of Europeans countries – known as the partition of Africa in Berlin in 1884. Only Liberia and Ethiopia were not colonized. As a consequence of colonialism and imperialism, the majority of African nations lost their sovereignty and control of their natural resources.
The Pan-African movement was born as a result of colonialism – initiated by blacks whose ancestors came from Africa. There are many well-known pan Africanists such as DR. W.E.B Dubois, Marcus Garvey, George Padmore, and henry Sylvester-Williams and Paul Robinson. Other notable Pan African legends are DR. Kwame Nkrumah, DR. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Jomo Kenyatta, DR. Kamuzu band and Leopold Sedar Senghor.
This generation of leaders were more outspoken about fighting for the rights of Africans. While some became Pan-Africanists merely out of curiosity and sentiments of black pride. The majority of the leaders fought for the independence of new African nations.
W. E. B. Dubois, an African American civil rights leader, founded the us-based national association for the advancement of colored people. He moved to Accra in 1961 and lived there until his death in august of 1963.
Today, he is still considered a symbol of pan-Africanism. Morandon Henry was part of a delegation that visited the home of W.E.B Dubois’s final resting place.
Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, prime minister of Ghana, the first black African country to re-gain independence, graduated from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania.
Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, who became Nigeria’s first president in 1963, was a classmate of famed American poet Langston Hughes and former U.S. Supreme court justice Thurgood Marshall also at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania.
Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda, Malawi’s first president, graduated from Meharry medical college in Nashville, Tennessee.
Jomo Kenyatta was a Kenyan anti-colonial activist and politician who fought against British rule.
The pan-African movement also played a significant role in 1960, when 17 sub-Saharan countries became independent from their European colonizers, 14 of them from France.
Pan Africanism was highlighted in 2019, as Ghana dubbed 2019 the “year of return”, as the country is welcomed over one-million Africans in the diaspora to visit the nation and discover their African roots.
The year of return campaign was launched by Ghanaian president Nana Akufo-Addo in Washington, dc, in September of 2018. So far, high profile visitors, including several African American celebrities, members of the U.S. Congress, and other notable personalities have visited Ghana.