In the recent past, there have been discussions between select numbers of African heads of state surrounding the idea of uniting Africa, as Europe has with the European Union for example. The proposed African Union is a concept that can be very misleading because there is no clear understanding behind the intention or the goal of such an undertaking. What would achieving a united Africa really mean for those living there and those of us in the Diaspora? Would it mean that Africa would control all of its natural resources and funnel the monies made from them back into its own communities? Would it mean that Africa would produce its own form of currency? Would it mean that all foreign interest would be regulated and monitored by one governing body that would ensure there will be no more civil wars based on these interests? Hypothetically? Maybe? It’s difficult to say for sure.
Currently, there are conferences that are held around the world regarding the construction of an African Union. There are many countries in Africa that have agreed to be a part of it as well. There is an old Bob Marley song entitled “Africa Unite”, that expresses the need for a united Africa. There is a verse within the song where Bob sings, “Africa unite, because your children want to go home”…It is a very sincere and heartfelt cry for change through unity on the continent. One day, although I doubt that it will be in our lifetime, Africa will unite. But it will not be the Africa that we know today.
The idea alone of a united Africa is enough to intrigue anyone that feels a connection to the continent. Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a meeting in New York that was held by the African Union board here in America. It only took twenty minutes for me to make enough observations to come to the conclusion that the way they are going about it will not work. I will share what I think were the most significant reasons that led me to that conclusion.
First and foremost, all of the financial support this board is receiving is coming from politicians. This is an indication that there will still be private interest because these politicians all work for the governments of their respective countries. This means these politicians represent the same systems that are responsible for the chaos that Africa has been enduring for the last five hundred years. It was also very difficult for me to take the speakers at that conference seriously because none of them were even dressed in clothing that represents Africa. That was the first red flag.
Secondly, there was no mention of any of the traditional king-ships being invited or involved in the building process of the African Union. I guess they figure that they can go around what is truly holding Africa together now. Politicians are voted into office for a certain amount of time. When their time is up, they have to campaign and try to appeal to the emotions of the people in order to hold their office longer. If the people don’t like the politician they can simply vote him out of office, making him just a regular citizen again. No one would feel obligated to respect or honor him, even if his intentions are good.
This has never been the case regarding traditional African king-ships. Kings are not voted into that position; it is given to them by divine legitimacy, meaning there are specific bloodlines that are chosen to hold such a title. There is an old African saying, “There is no such thing as a bad king, just bad people”. In Merita (Africa) it is not the people who serve the king; it is the king who serves the people. Any traditional king has the authority that stretches much further than that of a politician. It is the spiritual aspect that really separates a king from a politician. This is why the level of respect for a kingship is unquestioned. Even if the people he serves do not like the king sentimentally, he is respected for what he represents more-so than who he is as an individual. Simply put, he represents what a politician can never represent; tradition.
Lastly, during this conference, I observed and voiced that there were no youth represented among the delegation that was present. Again, how can something as monumental as a united Africa happen without any youth involvement? What will happen as the elders reach the time when they can no longer perform their duties? Who will carry the torch when they die? Statistically there are three times more youth than elders anyway. This speaks volumes, but it appeared that the youth do not have a voice within this structure.
It was these three observations that made it easy for me to conclude that the efforts of those who are instrumental in an African Union will come to an abrupt end even before realizing its fullest potential.
I can’t help but think that these components were considered by the forming African Union. Therefore it raises some skepticism regarding their intentions. But most of all it sends a clear message of a failure waiting to happen. Personally, I dream about such a collaboration between African countries. It is very rare that I come to conclusions about anything, but if you try to build a house without laying the foundation first, I think we will all be able to conclude that the house will soon fall.
Our ancestors showed the world how to build and sustain a thriving civilization. Their success was based on reverence for the culture and all of the traditions that comes with it. Ancestor veneration and honor given to the Divine World were key factors that strengthened the structure of every community. Nowadays, the heads of state in Africa are composed of Muslims and Christians. This reality is a stumbling block on many levels, socially and spiritually. Traditional Africa is an entirely different world from modern Africa. The two worlds can in fact coexist, but they will never function as one. So if uniting one half of Africa is indeed the goal for the African Union, they will succeed. But it will only show the hypocrisy and contradictions of the entire movement from its very essence. This is an example of how one can watch a reality be created from an illusion, which is not reality at all.