Sunday, April 12, 2009


The long awaited ‘Julius Nyerere Intellectual Festival Week’ is here. It is a week of reflections on Pan-Africanism, that term which literarily means ‘African Unity’. Thus the sons and daughters of Africa have come all the way from all corners of the African continent and beyond, in the very heart of the African Diaspora. Together, under the auspices of the Mwalimu Nyerere Professorial Chair in Pan-African Studies, we are assembling in Nkrumah Hall at the University of Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania as one people.

Wole Soyinka, the first African Nobel Laureate for Literature, has come all the way from the western corner of the continent in a country that is affectionately nicknamed ‘Naija’, that is, Nigeria. He is here to grace us with a ‘Nyerere Annual Lecture I and II’ on Monday and Tuesday respectively. In the wake of the global financial crisis resulting from what Vladimir Lenin prophetically phrased ‘Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism’, Soyinka’s lecture is accordingly entitled ‘New Imperialisms.’

From this eastern corner we have our very own Parapanda Arts that will lead us as we jointly sing the Tanzanian National Anthem and the African Union Anthem to kickstart the intellectual festivities on Monday. Fittingly, the first stanza of the former anthem is essentially Pan-African: “…Hekima, Umoja na Amani hizi ni Ngao zetu Afrika na Watu wake…” that is “…Wisdom, Unity and Peace these are our Shields [for] Africa and its People…” So is the last stanza of the latter anthem: “Let us all unite and toil together to give the best we have to Africa…”

Gamal Nkrumah has crossed artificial borders all the way from that northern corner in Cairo, Egypt to honour the ‘Pan-African Day’ on Thursday. Picking a baton from his father, Kwame Nkrumah, who called for a United States of Africa, and his namesake, Gamal Abdul Nasser, who championed Pan-Africanism vis-à-vis Pan-Arabism, Gamal Nkrumah will thus present ‘Pan-Africanism and Development: Personal Reflections.’

Toward the southern corner of the continent, in the jewel of Africa that would still be Zimbabwe the Great, has come the new President of the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA), Sam Moyo, to launch ‘ChemChemi – Fountain of Ideas’ among other things on Tuesday.

Olivier Fanon, straddling the diasporic spatial bounderies, has symbolically come all the way from the Island of Martinique in Africa’s Diaspora via Algiers, Algeria to celebrate ‘Nkrumah Centenary Day’ on Wednesday. Carrying on the torch of worldwide Pan-Africanism so highly carried by his father, Frantz Fanon, Olivier is expected to share with us his views on the implications of the life and times of Kwame Nkrumah in our lifetime.

As the accompanying program of the festival shows, there are more palatable events on offer to quench our intellectual thirst and stimulate creativity in our minds. For the love of poetry, the great Ghanaian, nay, African, Poet, Kofi Anyidoho, will stir us with a lively poem performance on ‘Nyerere Day 1’, that is, on Monday. During ‘Nkrumah Centenary Day’ on Wednesday he will electrify us with ‘Nkrumah Centenary Lecture: Beyond His Place, Beyond His Time: Nkrumah’s Heritage in the New Millenium.’

In a way the weeklong event will also be a film festival for there shall be a ‘Film Premiere: Mwalimu – The Legacy of Julius Kambarage Nyerere’ on Tuesday evening. The film, “a Savannah Films Production in collaboration with Maa Media Centre for M-Net’s Africans Series”, features Mama Maria Nyerere, Madaraka Nyerere, Rosemary Nyerere, Rashidi Kawawa, Kenneth Kaunda and Salma Maoulidi among others. They discuss how Mwalimu Nyerere “is remembered and the ideas that define his legacy.”

This festival that runs from 13th to 17th April 2009 will also be a book fair in its own right for a number of publications will be launched. ‘The African Union and New Strategies for Development in Africa’ edited by Said Adejumobi and Adebayo Olukoshi will be introduced on Thursday. Issa Shivji’s new book ‘Where is Uhuru? Reflections on the Struggle for Democracy in Africa’ published by Fahamu Books will also be launched.

The festival is intended to be highly interactive for that is what Pan-Africanism is all about. To that end, there are a number of interactive dialogues: ‘A Round-table Informal Discussion by Youth’ on Tuesday evening, ‘Kwame Nkrumah’s Pan-Africanism’ hosted by Joe Oloka-Onyango on Wednesday, ‘Thinking with Mwalimu’ hosted by Issa Shivji on the same day, and a ‘Vice-Chancellor’s Palaver on: Crisis of the International System and Africa’s Development’ hosted by Rwekaza Mukandala on Thursday.

What about music as in singing and dancing? Our very own Kalola Kinasha will touch us with a special song, whose title remains a surprise package, on Tuesday. More melodies will be on offer during a ‘Pan-African Night at UDASA Club’ on Wednesday evening.

Last but not least the last day will be ‘A Day of Academic Reflections’. Our historians will hold a ‘Symposium on the Teaching of History at the University of Dar-es-Salaam’. It will be a moment for all of us to reflect on where we are coming from, where we are and why we are here in relation to where we are going or ought to be going. If there has been a theme that is so paramount to Pan-Africanism then it is our collective her/history.

African must unite. Here we are uniting. United we shall stand. Be a part of that unity.

Source: Published in Sunday News' (12 April 2009) Supplement


Faustine April 16, 2009 at 3:44 PM  

Wapi ninaweza kupata nakala ya "lecture" ya Wole Soyinka? Ninaitafuta.
Kama unayo naomba uwasiliane nami kwa drfaustinen at aol dom com.

Karibu kwenye ulingo wa kutafakari kuhusu tunapotoka,tulipo,tuendako na namna ambavyo tutafika huko tuendako/Welcome to a platform for reflecting on where we are coming from, where we are, where we are going and how we will get there

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