The New African and 21st century Pan-Africanism
During the days of Life President Dr. Kamuzu Banda in Malawi, the only way I was able to read The New African, the London-based pan-African monthly magazine, was through a relative who managed to bring copies to Malawi from Zimbabwe, where he was teaching. The relative sadly passed away in 1997, three years after the end of one-party rule in Malawi. By that time The New African was on sale in Malawi, although I am not sure whether it had been on the list of banned publications or not during Dr. Banda’s rule.
Last Saturday, 21st April, I entered The Central Bookshop in the Shoprite shopping mall in
So it was in the company of another very good friend, Bright Malopa, that I entered the Central Bookshop and saw a copy of The New African. Bright had urged me the previous night to buy a copy of a book by D.D. Phiri on Clements Kadalie, a Malawian who played a highly significant role in the struggle for freedom in the early years of the 20th century in
I will write about D.D. Phiri’s book on Kadalie when I have read it in the coming weeks, but for now I want to talk about the current issue of The New African, which I must confess I now feel guilty for not having followed in the last decade or so (Thanks a lot Carina, Kiki, and Bright).
Splashed across the front page of the current issue is the title of the cover story, “Confessions of a CIA AGENT: How the imperial powers control
In the features section are articles on
The remainder of the magazine contains articles on the improving picture of health in Africa; the need to protect what is known as the “African brain”; African prostitutes storming Europe; the perspective of Canada’s Senate Committee of Foreign Relations on Africa as a “lost cause”; stopping Black Americans from voting in 20th century United States; footballing news; and a young African industrial designer who is GM’s lead designer on their latest car, the Volt.
It would need a much longer essay to go into the details of each article in this particular issue, but suffice it to say that the magazine speaks to the continuing importance of pan-Africanist perspectives in understanding the contemporary African world. The cover story describes a new book by Larry Devlin, who was the Chief of Station in the DRCongo when the then Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba was assassinated. The book reveals how the assassination of Patrice Lumumba was ordered by the then US President, Dwight Eisenhower, for fear that Lumumba would turn to the Soviet Union and thereby thwart the
The article’s author, Osei Boateng, also sends a message to African journalists to be critical of claims of objectivity and independence by the Western media, which has always operated on the principle of serving the foreign policy of their governments. Boateng’s implied caution is that some (not all) African journalists tend not to be aware of this and instead take the side of the Western media in propagating policy objectives of Western governments against those of their own countries, in the naive belief that they are pursuing objectivity and independence. I find Boateng’s argument persuasive, although I would add that in fact many Western journalists have a lot to learn from some African journalists when it comes to objectivity and independence.
Of even greater relevance to the optimistic expression of
Gbagbo talks about young Africans managing some of the world’s biggest financial institutions, yet they have no confidence in generating and managing capital for Africans. The story of Jelani Aliyu in the same issue, a young Nigerian who is the lead creative designer for the global automaker General Motors, is another example of the potential that Africans possess, but which is hampered by the lack of confidence, and is therefore stifled in many young Africans who end up languishing in the villages and on the streets.