NEO-AFRICANISM

Nigeria has not yet had a Nigerian President. South Africa has had many Presidents, but only Nelson Mandela was a South African President. The others, before and after him, white and black, have all been just sectional leaders. Africa has had very very few AFRICAN leaders-of-state, Pan-African heads of government. Selfless father-figures and servants who are a father to all and a mother to all, regardless of ethnic or religious affiliation.

Why? Because it is not easy. It is not easy to place loyalty to high ideals above loyalty to tribe, religion, family and every thing else. When people come campaigning for votes and popularity, and they claim they will be „President of everybody“, „there will be no sacred cows“, they will be „everybody‘s friend and nobody‘s friend“, „everybody will be equal under the law“, they will rise above „tribalism and religious chauvinism“, they will not favour „their side above any other side“, etc etc etc…

Look at them carefully or just wait for it. In time, they have almost always turned out to be just a Big Fraud.
Why? Because it is not easy. Deep in their heart, everyone loves their ethnic nationality, their religion, their spiritual philosophy, their origin. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with this. It is normal and healthy. The question is: WHO loves the Truth and Justice more than he or she loves ANY OTHER THING? That is the Point. Who, above loving his tribe or faith, loves the progress of the Whole more than any other thing.

It is not easy. It requires honest and painful soul-searching. It requires self-unmasking experiencing. It requires self-conquest. It requires, not self-abnegation (for you cannot deny who you are, and anyone who denies who he or she is, is a liar or is still in the process of finding himself). It requires Ennoblement and Maturity. It requires elevation into Selfless Love.

These are the new kinds of leaders we need in Africa now and in the future. These are the people we should look for and encourage, instead of discouraging them. These are the people we should begin to awaken within our own souls. These are the Neo-Africans.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

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COARSENESS IS NOT AFRICAN

Have you ever opened the door for a lady, only to be told by another African… that that is not African?
Have you ever arrived punctually or waited patiently for your turn, only to be told by another African that that is not African?
Have you ever spoken in soft, sophisticated tones, only to be told – loudly and crudely and full of mortified or amused laughter – by another African that that is not African?

Do you, when you are with your fellow Africans, deliberately coarsen your ways or diction – sometimes greatly, sometimes very subtly – in order to be accepted as being authentically African?
Do you act as if certain habits are normal to you which you actually inwardly abhor because they are less than your innate take on nobleness?
Do you too subscribe to the thinking that coarseness is not only a badge of belonging but also a way not to show weakness in African culture?

Well, the truth is this: You carry Africa in you. Africa begins and ends with you. Whatever you do today, that is what posterity will one day point to and label as being African. And if you acquiesce today to something which you inwardly know to be inferior and improvable; something a better version of which you carry consciously or unconsciously within you; then you commit three sins, at the very least.

One: you fail to establish the next stage of African evolution by not bringing out the New which you carry within;
Two: you reinforce in the next generation the false assumption that it is African to be coarse;
Three: you transfer to subsequent generations the poisonous message that it is right to acquiesce to what is wrong and to lower one’s standards, within the context of one’s African culture – even if one carries strong convictions in the opposite direction within one.
And these three things, which reinforce each other reciprocally like the sides of a triangle, are some of the greatest killers of Africa.

Additionally, as a human being you are not just an African, you are also a member of the human race. You owe it as a duty not only to Africa and not only to yourself but also to mankind as a whole to be a part of the evolution of civilization. Very often the African component is missing on the world stage of emergent ideas and evolutionary effort. But each time you break the self-fulfilling stereotype of African coarseness, and of African lethargic changelessness, of helpless receiver mentality instead of creator impulse, and of lower African standards, you produce something – tangible or intangible – that fulfils a part of the the African responsibility in the advancement of humanity.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

THE BASIS OF AFRICAN POLITICS

I know liberal Africans and I know conservative Africans. I know Africans who lean towards capitalism and those who are convinced solialists or even communists. I know those that are committed naturalists and environmentalists. I know those who are naturally republican in nature and those whose inclination goes towards centralisation of power, akin to monarchy. In short I know Africans of different philosophical and ideological convictions.

And yet, for some reason, when we want to form political parties, we form them not along ideological lines, but based on factors like Ethnie, Region, Religion, class, wealth, vengeance, opportunism, greed, materialism and temporary matrices towards the satisfaction of power-lust.

Needless to say, this impedes an effective meeting of positive like-minds in political affairs and makes it difficult for similar thinking patterns to congregate, refine each other, transform, evolve and grow, and gather that momentum which births concrete deeds, processes and systems out of mere ideas. And yet this alone is how tradition and civilization evolve.

So, my question is: Why are African political parties founded mainly not on objective universal ideas, but on earthy group similarities? Was political Democracy, as an idea, invented solely for internally homogeneous groups where there is enough of that mutual trust and those shared common interests which act as a playing field on which people can then divide and converge into ideas-based camps, knowing that their basic – and base – needs are uniform and covered by all sides equally.

Whenever a too divergent (apparent) heterogeneity comes into play, however, with different ethnies or nations – especially when it was not consensual – there you suddenly see a congealing into a more primal group identity first, as a home and as a shield against the others, to fight for, ensure and protect the covering of the basic – and base – needs.

Before I continue maligning Africa, let me look over to America – another multicultural melting pot – where at every US election, one hears of the Asian vote, the Jewish vote, the Black vote, the Latin Vote, the Italian vote, the White vote, and so on. Well, that also does not sound very much like ideas-based politics to me, but more like the same old herd-adherence, constantly lurking beneath the surface of high philosophical jargon, and clandestinely (sometimes openly) simply jealously guarding the native group interests.

I thus hesitate to blame the lack of ideas-based politics in Africa on any notion of primitiveness. I rather think that the human being, by nature, first seeks for safety and a sense of belonging in that which is most obviously and easily his outer and ethnic homogeneous group. This provides a certain outer protection. It often represents also how he or she is default-seen by the rest of the world too. Thus it provides a rallying point around which a sense of vulnerability and victimhood can also be mutually nursed and addressed and transformed into strength.

Without a sense or the reality of safety on this basic level, humans hesitate to commit fully to the bonding that takes place on more sublime levels of abstraction. Religion is usually the first of these abstract levels and often the strongest. The next is the uniting consciousness that comes from shared socio-economic conditions like poverty or oppression or ostracization. Finally, there comes the realm of ideas where all those nice sounding -isms dance to the Wailers. But on all these levels, even in religion, one sees how pressures can push people back into tribe adherence, interpretations and loyalties whenenver their is uncertainty or conflict.

The question is thus: At what stage of bonding are African countries, in the process of their socio-political engineering, currently situated? And since the primary element of unison is still the tribe and not the country, what efforts are being made to further, to improve and to entrench friendship, understanding, a sense of familiarity, and an intertwining of the cultures, and amongst the ethnic nations? Because this is the crux of the matter. Only when, for example, the constituent tribes of Nigeria build up adequate depths and dynamics of reciprocal trust and generational bonding, will the stage be set for that sublimation into ideas-based politics, on the foundations of a shared trust that the basic needs are uniform and will also be always uniformly covered and addressed by all. The same with Africa in general.

There is today need more than ever to promote friendship amongst the cultures, to build working relationships between homogeneous or historically close ethnic groups, and then to expand these in circles. There is the urgent need to openly address the difficulty in finding a neutral theater of resolution for the situation where one etnnic or religious group dominates the power structure of a country and uses (or seems to use) this Advantage to ruthlessly oppress or conquer the other ethnic or religious groups, whose options for reply are often very limited. The current situation in Nigeria under the Buhari government is a classic example. There is need to engineer the dynamics of true Fairness in Africa and clarify the nature of authentic sovereignty for African peoples, one that furthers rather than impedes development in all spheres. There is need for a new theater and type of African dialogue and conflict-resolution.

Because, as things stand now, one can safely say that it is not the African “tribes” but the modern African nations that are primitive. – because they offer no possibility for their actual constituent Units (the ethnic nationalities) to express, defend or cross-engineer their sovereignity, nor to thematise their vulnarability once they are not in power, nor to protect themselves. The basis of today’s colonially born modern African country is unwieldy, unindigenous, uncondusive for progrewss, and primitive. That is why it throws up non-ideological parties and has to be constantly defended internally by a brute Military force that has its origins in a colonial police machinery that was originally designed just for that purpose.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

LANGUAGE

Language is to group identity as spirit is to earthly personality. As the spirit grows weak you still see the body walking about as if the actual human being is still alive. But it is just an illusion – at physical death, the real human spiritual personality will disintegrate for good.

The same thing with groups. When a group loses its language, you will still see its indigenes walking around, congregating und socializing, and calling themselves the group name… but it is an illusion. A people without a language have ceased to exist as a people – what holds them now is memory and a wish. At the next tragedy that strikes them they will scatter and have no center of orientation that triggers a sense of belonging which pulls them back together again in any meaningful way. We witness the end of yet another branch of civilization.

The death of African languages was initiated when Africans stopped – or did not at all really determinedly try – translating and transsituating their rapidly expanding world view, new knowledge, science, technology and philosophy into their indigeneous languages. Thereby they caused a break between the African psychic identity which had indigenously developed over millenia and the new African mentality whose birth was being so forcefully and unnaturally midwifed. It was also a missed opportunity to embrace the challenge of exertion that catalyzes growth.

Any indigenous national psyche worldwide that has achieved the feat of transforming ITSELF on its own foundations into or towards a so-called 1st World Country, has not done so on the back of the scientific and philosophical lingua of a foreign language. They have instead forced their own language to expand, to deepen, to evolve, to grow, to be alive and exhibit the characteristics of a living thing – self-preservation through movement, exertion, growth, self-upgrade within a healthy sense of self. Thus these peoples did not just move, they took their cosmos and their roots along with them. Therefore, no matter to what dizzying heights of technology or abstract new thought they arrive, they always feel at home. They never feel lost. Because their world always exists in their language, and their language is the structure within which their world pulsates and expands.

Africa’s deepest, most intimate and most imediate break with the preservative Spirit and Act of INNOVATION therefore was the failure to translate and transfer new world knowledge into their own indigenous languages, and make their language the vehicle for transfering knowledge and civilization to the next generation. This was an act of indolence or carelessness of gargantuan proportions whose degenerative after-effects will continue to manifest exponentially from one generation to the next. In Igbo language, this is the true example of “i fu” – to become lost. Everything that is familiar to you feels simultaneously strange, and you don’t know why.

The fact that I am expanding and writing this thought in English and not in Igbo is the very evidence that I too am a product of that colossal careless break in transmission, and thus I carry within me also the unending thirst for rebalancing, that deep-seated African search for identity in a world, of shared human responsibility, in which aptly one often feels MISUNDERSTOOD.

In Africa, African languages have for over a century rapidly lost their role and function as the medium via which knowledge and civilization are transfered from one generation to the next. Ancient proverbs and perception patterns, yes, but every other thing no. The African, as an agent of innovation and civilization, is today a divided personality. When the European colonialist wanted to give us his religion he translated it into our language. But when he wanted to give us science and technology, he kept it in his language and forced us to learn it in his language. The Arab colonizer went a step further and taught everything only in his own language. Little wonder then that we are masters of Christianity and Islam in Africa today, but not of Innovation and Invention.

And to those who will tell me that attempts have recently been made here and there with inconclusive or initially uninspiring results, to them I will say: Civilization is not a sprint, neither is it a game of materialism and quick profits where you jump trains at will in search of quick gratification and the illusion of fast progress – indeed that is what has brought Africa to where we are today.

Civilization is a long long race, a marathon, a movement of the people, like Moses’ Israelites wandering (and wondering) for decades in the wilderness on the way to their promised land. You are in it for the long haul; solid progess is slow and hard if you want it to be real, and you must be dogged, persevering and patient. And, above all – this is the crunch – you must trust and rely in your own creativity and abilities; and develop these.

Setting off onto the right path does not mean that you automatically take over the lead or catch up immediately with the rest. It simply means that you have created the right conditions for a growth which, no matter how initially hard, if managed diligently, will be lasting and always feel natural. A growth that will be indigenous and make you the master of your own fate in this uncertain future into which Mankind is currently herding.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

INHERENT INCLINATIONS

Why do Africans look down on their own intelligence, their own inventions, their own historical recognitions? What we disparagingly call primitive African religions today were the expression of search, perception of recognition done by the African psyche. That psyche still lives and works today in the subconscious of the so-called modern African. He has been made to believe, however, that there is something inherenrtly wrong in an inner world view that came up with the concept of an Amadioha or a Shango. And yet these perceptions at that time represented leaps in consciousness and expressed a willingness to independently break new ground spiritually, mentally, physically and technologically.

They expressed a desire to dare to understand and interpret nature through the agency of their own eyes and indigenous preceptions. They document an understanding of the inherent calling and duty to “explore” the world, to “dissect” nature, to search for patterns and laws, to align intellect with intuition, to look for the next boundary of civilization, to advance themselves, their world and their world view forward – in little steps or quantum leaps – from one recognition to the other, on their own, indigenously, self-driven and self-motivated. Just for the heck of it. Just for the fact of being alive and possessing the faculty of thought and of intuitive perception. They were Explorers, they were Inventors.

Quite apart from the fact that Shango or Amadioha really exist (but that is the subject of another discussion), this instinctive attitude and inherent inclination in the earlier Africans found expression in all walks of life. Be it in the field of what we now call religion, but which at that time was integrated science; be it in what is today called the arts, but which at that time was living culture; be it in architecture which for them was just common sense; be it in early technological advanes and dynamics; in well thought-out and varied political systems; in the arrangement of soceity; in military equipment and strategy; in the philosophy behind the structure and implementation of justice codes; in the orderliness in the fields of commerce, finance and markets; and in the practical relationship with physical nature to ensure survival.

Everywhere we see evidence not just of independent thought and not just of WILLING thought, but also of progressive and evolutionary thinking and applied recognitions. Africa was a continent of ambitious explorers who found joy in breaking boundaries, a place of restless thinkers, and of innovators and inventors.

If today there exists inside of you any of the indolence or lethargy that now impedes the re-awakening of thie Original African in you…, UPROOT IT! Go within your own soul and destroy it! Become an abstract and creative and hungry thinker and DOER again. Become again someone who can – yes – study, replicate, preserve and respect the past…, but who can then leave it behind in the past, if necessary, and strive forward in search of the next Amadioha! The next bolt of thunder that will ignite the next leap, the next JUMP of Africa into the future, independently, indigenously – without boarding one migrant boat, without receiving one aid package, without self-destructing.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

PROGRESS

When you ride the western star until you hit its heavenly glass ceiling, are unable to break through it, and then console yourself with the thought that, at least, you have done better for yourself than those who once started off with you back home in the deep global south… the question is: has Progress really been made?

You rise in the West
But Africa stays the worst.

If you shine moderately in the glow of the eastern star, but your own land of the rising sun is still struggling with twilight…

If like a lost moon you reflect dazzlingly the northern lights and it blinds you to your own northern people’s plight and they desert-roam in darkness and have no light…

If you drown power-drunk in the global financial waters, but your own lagoons are not overflowing with milk and honey, and your people thirst out of lack…

Has Progress really been made?

West, east, north, global are not necessarily far away places. They are the System and the way of life that rule and school you also at home, and force you to make a choice.

It’s easy to rise as a stranger.
It’s hard to rise as yourself.

As a stranger you just have to pretend and act the part and they’ll let you through and put you in a place that’s safe for them.

But as yourself you have to persevere; and refuse to compromise if it won’t help your People; and be content to inch your way forward, little by little, you and your world.

It might be slow, it might be painful, but that is true Progress.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

THE FROZEN LAKE

There is a frozen lake. Once it was open and liquid in the land of summer and rain, but it was visited by the Ice-Queen, who breathed into it her imperial breath, to freeze it up. But there was fire deep in the heart of the lake and the fire fought back – and thus, only the surface of the lake froze over, not its heart. Underneath, it remains liquid, a lake, and the fish are still swimming. They just can no longer break the surface and make themselves seen. The owners of the lake walk on solid ice and think it is solid ground. They peer into the ice and sense that something is moving down there, but they cannot see it anymore. The lake is alive, though it looks rigid and frozen.

“Advanced” thinkers sniff derogatingly at the notion of occupying oneself with the subject of the fact and dynamics of the original indigenous African nations, swimming like restlass schoals beneath the surface of the tight lattice of the present day African Nation-states, formenting trouble, looking for a voice, sometimes exploiting and sometimes lamenting the lattice, and everybody wondering how things are going to go next. “Advanced” thinkers call them “tribes” or sometimes, indulgingly, “ethnic Groups”.

The inability to “shed” or “overcome” ones “tribal” or “native” identity and “rise” into the new modern African self-view, that has its beginning in the colonial re-engineering of the African psyche, is looked upon as a sign of smallness, backwardness and primitiveness, if not even wickedness. In truth, however, this notion is the modern day equivalent of our early School days when African languages were derogatingly classed as “vernacular”, while European tongues were the proper language.

Just like there was no need to demonize African languages or cultures in a bid to validate the Non-African ones, there is need today to take a critical look at the dynamics of Ethnic Nationality in Africa, in order to ascertain how best to interpret this field of reality towards the forging of a more realistic and stable peace in Africa. They have been long looked down upon as a nuisance to be suppressed and managed and, eventually, overwritten like an old piece of software on the way to socio-politically engineering an ostensibly new Africa – an Africa that was birthed through the injection of European spark during colonialism. However it is perhaps time to rethink and view them as the essential building blocks which homogeneously come together in a natural and unforced way to become the larger, inherently stable African Nation-states.

Because without arguing much about the merits or demerits of so-called African tribes in terms of size, it suffices to note that the very fact that they refuse to go extinct, continue to exist and exert themselves, and continue to determine the foundations of inner politicking in African countries by itself qualifies them as viable subjects to be examined in the light of the search for a proper restructuring within the African continent. There is nothing wrong with them. What we need is not to close our eyes and hope – or forcefully insist – that everyone obeys, but a conscious engineering of friendship amongst the cultures.

The Lake is frozen. One day it will surely thaw. When that happens, it is necessary that it does not dissolve into a chaotic mass of uncoordinated rivalry in waters turned opaque. We need a council of cultures in Africa, where the indigenous nations can deliberate frankly on their true desires, fears, natures and capacities. Right now we have many voices shouting, but there is no theater of conference and no common moderator.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije

UNDERSTANDING AMONGST AFRICAN PEOPLES

Although Africans call themselves citizens of the 55 member states of the African Union (AU), the conflicts do not take place on that level. The conflicts, suspicions and animousities manifest on the level of the original African nations that existed before the advent of European and even Arabian-style colonialism. Those original Nations, still very much in existence, are today called Tribes and Ethnic Groups – and their indigenes, even in subsequent generations, and even when they can no longer speak the indigenous language, still often feel deeply beholden to them, or are made to feel so, or are made to understand that they are seen to be so.

And yet, although this is the level on which, national-identity-wise, insults and patriotism are most deeply felt, there is no medium, no active Organisation, no Instanz, no consciousness, no consensually constituted Authority, to mediate the debate, the cooperation, the healing and the upbuilding on that level.

Any mention of this is equated to a threat against the colonially created Nation-states, with the corresponding reactions of fear or uncertainty that this thought awakens, depending on the nature of the dependancy-or-exploitation-relationship each person has with a particular Nation-state. It seems as if Africams have become so weak or deeply afflicted by Inferiority Complex that they have no sense of self-confidence in managing or developing their affairs upon any other stage than that designed for and given to them by Non-Africans; even in matters regarding the interacting of their own core identities – core national identities and languages that formed and developed over centuries and eras.

The AU is not the equivalent of the EU. Whereas it is largely native indigenous European peoples who, under the appellage “nations”, are the member units of the EU, it is completely the oppposite in the AU. Here it is the colonially born countries that are the members. With the result, that the actual African peoples themselves, the indigenous nations, have no theatre of Consensus and thus no voice. This is what is direly missing on the African continent: A Union of African peoples. The sheer number of different african indigenous nationalities should not daunt us to the task. Conversely it only shows us the potential for misunderstanding and conflict which has been exploited for decades. It is simultaneously also the potential for harmony and would be worth every ounce of effort put into it. Anything to foster and further peace and understanding in Africa is of prime importance now.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije

THE ORGANISATION OF THE TRUE AFRICAN NATIONS

The members of the African Union are countries like Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, etc. But those are not the true African nations.

The true African nations are for example Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa, Ashanti, Zulu, Xhosa, Oromo, Amhara, Hutu, Mande, Akan and all the many rest of them. We need to also form an Association of the true African Nations, where we can again relate and talk to ourselves the way we spoke to ourselves before an exploitative volition conquered our minds and taught us foreign languages in which we misunderstand each other.

If you want to form an Organisation of the true African Nations, inbox me. It is time for Africa to start uniting and solving its problems again, the African way.

All the nation-people conflicts in Africa take place on this level, hardly ever on a post-colonial-Nation Level. It is never Nigeria vs Niger, it is Hausa vs Fulani. It is never Rwanda vs Burundi, it is Hutu vs Tutsi. It is never South Africa vs Botswana, it is Zulu vs Xhosa. And so on. So it is therefore on that Level that Africans must also forge an alternative parallel theater of dialogue in which to engineer the internal dynamics of uniting. Because, in all naturalness, these are the identities to which the African ethnies feel most deeply beholden.

Without political harmony and concerted interaction on this foundational and original African level of Nation-being, the post-colonial nation-states will remain unstable powder kegs waiting to self-destruct or hoping to de-escalate only through the deliberate eroding and gradual extinction of ancient african languages and ethnies, leaving only rootless and memoryless post-colonial constructs behind, erroneously called ‘African’ countries.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije