Letters Readers’ views
Africa should develop Africa Travelling with my two-month old son, Amadu, I read your very interesting April edition cover story (“Berlin Again! How Europe is undermining African development”) written by my old friend, Professor Chukwuma Soludo. The article was richly enjoyable and shows Soludo is a “wise old man”.
I was struck by his many insightful statements, especially “Africa has long been a source of free labour and profit or a source of raw materials and markets…”
The question is “why so”? The answer is that nation-states hardly ever act out of a consideration of humanity, but in the pursuit of self-interest. Europe caters for Europeans, and there is much we Africans can learn from this.
Soludo and I have had f irst-hand familiarity with these issues at the continental level from when we worked together during our more youthful years (about 20 years ago) at the UNECA and the OAU (now AU). I remember very clearly how the alternative development policies formulated by these institutions and cited by Soludo were treated, even in some of our very own institutions tasked to implement them. They were treated as the banned literature of second-class intellectual output.
Africa has everything it needs to develop itself, even, as Soludo writes, the “technical capacity… to craft a new rather than raw deal.” However, we need more willpower to do so and the belief that we can do it ourselves. If I do not feed my little Amadu, I must not make it someone else’s responsibility. Therefore, the song I would like to sing for my grandchildren (Amadu’s sons and daughters) is not “How Europe Developed Africa” but “How Africans Developed Africa”.
r Karamo N M Sonko
Destiny is in Africa’s hands The lead feature of your April issue, “Will Europe underdevelop Africa again?” rephrased Dr Walter Rodney’s classic observation. But it was done clumsily and clearly suggested that African peoples and their political leaders have a selective memory of the persistent exploitation of the Berlin Club, that group of European imperialist, racist colonisers!
The questions are: Unlike the pio-
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neers of Africa’s anti-colonial revolution, (Nkrumah, Cabral, Touré, Mugabe et al, who spoke truth to power), where are our leaders today, where are educated intellegentsia and the masses; where is the fury for the abusive relationship that retards Africa’s march to modernisation and economic development; and has Africa been betrayed by its present leadership aided by a comprador class?
The game is one-sided and Africans must fight this abusive relationship with external powers for their very survival, by any means humanly necessary and possible! The destiny of Africa is truly in the hands of Africans.
kow Panyin Raleigh, NC, USA
ICC: the scale of injustice Your article regarding the International Criminal Court (ICC) deeply saddened me as it illustrated the continuing injustices perpetuated on Africa and Africans. My question is, what are Africa’s leaders doing to end these injustices? In my opinion, we Africans are not as united as we claim. To me, we are united only in words, and not in action. If we were united, these and many other outrages would have ended. If we allow our people to be kidnapped and taken abroad, so too will our properties be usurped. Of course, our resources are already being expropriated daily and this is a huge insult to us Africans. So, we need to stand up as people and put an end to this exploitation. If we do not, the injustices will continue and it
The cover of our April issue will be ever harder to end it. The time for action is now; and I mean action in unity.
gyei Takyi Piedmont, Italy
Cornel West vs. Barack Obama Leslie Goffe’s commentary regarding Cornel West’s recent criticism of the Barack Obama tenure of leadership is rather a one-sided bio drama, that lacks weight, substance and clarity. The article’s opening salvo depicts West in a patronising fashion by critiquing his choice of attire as resembling that of an “undertaker”. Throughout the article, however, no mention of Obama’s attire choices nor his public persona are mentioned. Goffe mentions that West has been described as a cross between el hajj Malik el Shabazz (aka Malcolm X) and Martin Luther King, Jr. It should be clear to Goffe by now that as a contributing writer to a pan-African magazine, no African freedom fighter/nationalist should be compared and contrasted with another. Moreover, it is crucial and critical to state that each and every African freedom fighter stands on their own ground and approaches the emancipation of the continent from various points tangential to the final goal. It is essential to state that no one African freedom fighter can fill the shoes of another African freedom fighter.
Under an African-centred paradigm, a village has every right to criticise and remove the leader they have selected should that leader fail to adhere to the village’s dictates. Hence, West is within his rights to vocalise his dismay at the failure to uphold promises made but so far yet to be delivered by an Obama presidency. Thus, I view Goffe’s conclusion as patronising to the overall electorate of African descent and/or that of people of colour in general within the US.
K Felix Mjumbe,
BBC African debate motives Many thanks for dedicating an article to the inaugural edition of BBCAfrica Debate (“The BBC Africa Debate: What debate?”, NA,March). Your reporter, Femi Akomolafe, conveyed in great detail the lively, and sometimes robust, debate that
4 New African Magazine May 2012