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Decolonizing Africa and African Development

The Twenty-First-Century Pan-Africanist Challenge


Anthony Victor Obeng

The book is an intellectual and political response to Thomas Sankara’s challenge to the African people to dare to invent their own future, an echo of Patrice Lumumba’s call for them to write their own history. Exploring the history of Africa’s underdevelopment and the short-circuiting of the Pan-African movement, it argues for the revival of Pan-Africanism as a force for change and calls for a worthy successor to the Fifth Pan-African Congress.

As a background to this argument and call, the book revisits Pan-Africanism’s history and founding ideals and conducts ruthless forensic examinations of the de facto Bantustanization of much of Africa and parts of the Caribbean, the ‘alternative development’ fiascos of the late twentieth century, the contemporary ‘globalization’ and ‘democratization’ of African projects by imperialist interests, the ‘Pan-Africanisms’ of imperialism’s active collaborators and other obstructions to the decolonization of Africa and African development.

Finally, recognizing that the plights of many Afro-Latinos, Afro-Indians, Afro-Arabs and other ‘lost’ or neglected ‘tribes of Africa’ – as well as those of the victims of ‘black-empowered’ predators – call out for urgent Pan-Africanist responses, the book contains numerous start-up project ideas for action-oriented Pan-Africanists.

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For good personal reasons I have taken a special interest in African and world developments since 1943. A combination of the accident of birth, life and work experiences has long given me an urge to share with peers and my younger family and friends my reading of the events and pseudo-events of my lifetime which I deem important to them. The formative experiences include a childhood happily spent under the influence of senior extended family members and their peers who militated alongside Kwame Nkrumah for the independence of the Gold Coast and Africa, and served in his governments in various capacities – and some thirty-five years of a relationship with the African development industry as a student, observer, participant and reviewer.

The urge I got to write this book thus derives partly from a desire to do for others that which my own family elders, mentors and peers have done for me through a lifetime of formal and informal political and development education. Acknowledgement is thus due to them for helping to make me who I am. But by the same token they cannot escape blame entirely for my principles and foolhardiness in recklessly dishing out in the following pages the sacred facts and educated opinions about the politics of Africa’s development and underdevelopment which more cautious individuals would rather leave unsaid.

But, as I researched and wrote the book, the conviction that keeping to myself the knowledge, opinions and alternative African development ideas I...

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