Letters Readers’s views
What about Ayi Kwei Armah? Who made the decision regarding those selected as the 100 Most Influential Africans of our time? I was rather surprised to not see Ayi Kwei Armah listed, as his seminal work Two Thousand Seasons has impacted generations of African people worldwide, and his later works continue to shape African consciousness.
Furthermore, unlike many of the people listed, Armah lives, writes and practises according to the highest standards of integrity, refusing to sell out or exploit his people. And he has worked to build an institution (Per Ankh Publishers) that is teaching and building up Africa’s next generation of “conscious” writers.
As you can imagine, such an endeavour is very challenging but necessary if the African people are to have anything created by and for them. It is unfortunate that those who continue to be celebrated in Africa are the people and institutions most aligned with those who have historically brutalised, enslaved, and colonised the African people and their land.
fe Kilimanjaro Detroit, Michigan, USA
… And Ibn Chambas was forgotten! How on ea r t h i s t he quiet achiever and i l lu st r ious A f r ic an, Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas, not on your list of the 100 Most Inf luential Africans? Dr Chambas, a Ghanaian, was appointed the sixth executive secretary of Ecowas in December 2001, and became the first president of the newly transformed Ecowas Commission in January 2007 – a position he held until March 2010 when he became the general secretary of the 79-member grouping of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries.
Earlier, Chambas had held ministerial positions at the Ghana foreign affairs ministry, where he worked variously to achieve peace in the long wars of Liberia and Sierra Leone. He also at some point worked to
The attempt to Westernise Nelson Mandela’s legacy is gathering steam achieve the growth and development of quality tertiary education in his country as a deputy minister in charge of education. He is now currently involved in the ACP at a crucial time, when the entire ACP group requires firm leadership in the face of the challenges to its unity, in view of the various divisive and disproportional regional trade packages the European Commission is concluding with individual ACP regions.
In future, I hope the New African takes seriously the nomination process for such a sensitive compilation before going to press.
Jide Olatuyi Abuja, Nigeria on’t Westernise Mandela’s legacy As the battle to define Mandela’s legac y g r adua l l y g at her s s t e am (NA , May), it appears t here i s a deliberate attempt in some quarters to Westernise it for evidently selfish purposes. Like many other objective Africans, I condemned the unveiling of a Mandela statue in London’s Parliament Square in August 2007 since it was hypocritical for Britain to do so, given its support for the apartheid regime that jailed Mandela as ttention Readers: Ful adress please Letters for publication should bear the full name and address of the writer, whether sent by post or email. We can withhold your name and address on request but we cannot publish letters that do not bear the full names and addresses of the writers. Could you also please keep the letters short and straight to the point (maximum length: 300 words).
well as its frustration of African antiapartheid efforts in the 1960s and 70s. The Ghanaian writer, Ayi Kwei Armah, attests to the attempted Westernisation of Mandela’s legacy in his no-nonsense review of Mandela’s new book (NA, May).
The reason the powers that be are keen to Westernise Mandela’s legacy is that its pure and unadulterated form is a damning verdict on a shameful episode of Western discrimination against, and exploitation of, Africa that unfortunately continues in different forms today.
Mandela is the hero he is today for two outstanding African features in his personality – patience, determination and longsuffering on the one hand, and forgiveness and tolerance on the other. In both cases, and in the context in which Mandela used them, it is very likely mainstream Western culture would have acted in the opposite way.
Mandela himself drew a fine line between Western hypocrisy and African honesty when in a Southern African-Cuban Solidarity Conference in October 1995, he said this about Cuba – a country extremely detested in many Western circles:
“ ...Many powerful countries have [asked] us to condemn Cuba...They have a short memory. For when we battled apartheid, the same countries were supporting the regime ... and we fought successfully against [it] with the support of Cuba... They now want to be our only friends and dare to ask us to renounce those people who made our victory possible...” (NA, April 2008).
It is unfortunate though that an ailing Mandela unconsciously aided the Westernisation of his legacy when he naively condemned Zimbabwe’s Mugabe for the land reform programme at a London event in 2008. The irony is that Mandela failed to tackle economic apartheid in South Africa (NA, Nov 2009) whereas Mugabe has succeeded in dealing a decisive blow to economic exploitation of Zimbabwean land (NA, Jan 2011).
Bob Marley’s lyrics: “ ...How long shall they kill our prophets while we stand aside and look?” ought to awaken us to the plan to steal one of our own in broad daylight! South Africa, with its new found BRICS clout, and the ANC and Mandela’s immediate family must particularly beware!
Zionson Eyo Buea, Cameroon
8 | August/September 2011 | New African Leading the way in pan-African banking
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