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Personalities that have marked the history of Africa

16.07.2019
From the pre-colonial period until the advent of democracy in the 1990s, Africa has experienced many difficulties in its history. Many of them fought tooth and nail for peace.
From its pseudonym “Cradle of Humanity", this continent has known valiant men who fought body and soul for the happiness of their brothers.

Nelson Mandela was Africa’s first warrior against racial segregation. His zeal and determination to defend the interests of the blacks sentenced him to life imprisonment in 1964. At only twenty-five years, he already foreshadowed his aspiration for politics by joining the ranks of the African National Congress (ANC), the party that worked for the popularization of the black race. Hence his condemnation for sedition and narrowly escapes the death penalty. In prison, where laws against his ideology are omnipresent, nothing prevented Mandela from persevering in his tracks. On the contrary, he sought to infiltrate the Afrikaners, his enemies, through adaptation to their culture and tradition in order to establish a strategic dialogue.

The injustice and hardships he suffered for 27 years rather militated in his favour. His imprisonment earned him an international notoriety that favoured the declaration of apartheid as a crime against humanity at the United Nations Assembly in 1971. Soon after, thanks to local and international support, Nelson Mandela was released on February 11 1990. The series of success did not end at this level. Four years later, the lifting of the ANC’s ban was announced by South African President Frederik de Klerk.

In 1994, the hour of glory came. Nelson Mandela was elected president of South Africa with a large majority in the first general multiracial elections. He presided over the first ever coalition government between the ANC; the National Party and the Zulu Inkhata Freedom Party and advocated living together. Except that in 1999, Nelson refused to continue in politics to devote his time to his loved ones. He certainly died happy on December 5, 2013, after reconciling the races.

Like Nelson Mandela, Cheik Anta Diop, Senegalese historian and politician focused on the on-going fight against multiform racism. Apart from this goal, he also studied the place of Black Africa in globalization, in a bid to restore the consciousness of Black Africa. He also set up books such as “Negro Nations and Cultures”, brilliant acts that were revived in another way after the Second World War and the ancient Pharaoh Negro.

Going further, but still with the objective of empowering Africa, Patrice Lumumba worked to deliver it completely from white domination. According to our sources, he had always opposed the looting of the wealth of African countries to the point where he declared that “[…] some of these powers conceive their presence in the Congo or in Africa only to the extent that they know how to make the most of their wealth through a few corrupt leaders” says the former Congolese prime minister.

Delivering the Congo from the hands of the settlers was Patrice’s leitmotif for the independence of all Africa. With weapons such as nonviolence, courage, social justice and especially determination, Lumumba was motivated to participate in the Accra Pan-African Conference in Ghana in 1958. The meeting he had with Nkwame Nkruma at the end of the conference boosted his ideas about the total independence of the African continent.

In view of these brilliant mergers, the settlers ordered his assassination on January 17, 1961. He was 53 years old. But history retains him a noble political soldier for a bright future for his continent.

In the light of Patrice Lumumba’s thinking, as soon as he came to power in 1984, Thomas Sankara, embarked on a policy for his people to fight corruption, improve education and the status of women. Pan-Africanist and anti-imperialist, Thomas Sankara changed the name of Upper Volta that the whites had attributed to his country to Burkina Faso. He and Colonialism never got along well together. He is also one of the leaders of the last revolution of progressive Africa opposed to the moderate. Already considered a terror at that time, he was trapped by a French coup, which gave way to Blaise Compaoré on October 15, 1987.

Nkwame Nkrumah saw things under a supreme prism. He fought against the English settlers in order to manage the internal affairs of his country. For nine years (1957-1966) the former president of independent Ghana advocated for Pan-Africanism. He called for the immediate independence and transformation of Africa into a United States so as to be among the world’s greatest powers. To do this, in 1963, he participated in the drafting of the Charter of the Organization of African Unity which was not advantageous. But all the same, he was the first promoter of the United States of Africa followed by Muammar Gaddafi, former Libyan president. His works and ideas are always cited and used as references in the evolution of Africa.

Article from AFRIC editorial

Photo credit: google images/ illustration

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