Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
PANEL DISCUSSION TO INTRODUCE A NEW BOOK ON AFRICA'S LIBERATION: THE LEGACY OF NYERERE TODAY-SOMA BOOK CAFE 4:30 PM
INTRODUCING A NEW BOOK ON AFRICA’S LIBERATION: THE LEGACY OF NYERERE
It is indeed a great honour to introduce to you a new book on Africa’s Liberation: The Legacy of Nyerere. This publication is but a modest tribute to Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere. It revisits his revolutionary ideas which continue to inspire all those who still wish Africa well.
The process of publishing the book has truly been a collaborative pan-African initiative. Authors from the continent and beyond have contributed chapters that address issues that were close to Mwalimu’s heart and mind – issues that still concerns all of us today. This augurs well with Mwalimu’s wakeup call for Africa to embrace ‘Maximum Collective Self-Reliance’. Even the name of the publisher attests to this: Pambazuka Press. This Kiswahili name means dawn-awake!
In this book you will engage with the multidimensional thought and practice of Mwalimu. You will get a glimpse of his attempts to finely balance the protection of human rights and the dispensation of justice which do not necessarily go together. Our leading human rights theorists and activists, Helen Kijo-Bisimba and Chris Maina Peter, have taken up that challenge of presenting this controversial subject in a balanced way. Their chapter helps us to understand how and why Mwalimu did “whatever” he “did that could be interpreted as violating human rights.”
Mwalimu was not just a politician. He was also an intellectual. That combination produces what the late Haroub Othman refers to as ‘an intellectual in power.’ His chapter highlights how Mwalimu juggled with power that is often claimed to corrupt. How did he escape unscathed?
Those who worked closely with Mwalimu in the international arena reminisce on his global impact. Chief Emeka Anyaoku, former Secretary General of the Commonwealth Secretariat, tell us of Mwalimu’s wins and losses in the diplomatic battles. A former Deputy Secretary General of the then Organisation of African Unity, Mohammed Sahnoun, also recount the victories and setbacks that Mwalimu and the Frontline States encountered in the course of liberating Africa.
Time will fail me to talk of the inspiring interviews that Mwalimu gave to Nawal El Saadawi and Ana Camacho; Of the powerful question that Neema Ndunguru’s poem ‘But Dear Mwalimu’ poses; and of other chapters that attempts to capture the many faces of Mwalimu – Mwalimu the Artist, Mwalimu the Educator, Mwalimu the Economist, Mwalimu the Historians and so forth.
So, I urge you to read the book for yourself for therein is the unearthed treasure that awakes Africa!
Read. Reflect. React.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
We are about to commence the Second Julius Nyerere Intellectual Festival (12 – 15 April 2010). Following a successful inaugural festival it is thus fitting to continue this as an intellectual tradition. This year’s festival is picking up from where we left last year when we spent a whole week reflecting on Pan-Africanism and exposing ‘New Imperialisms’.
This time around it is a ‘Week of Reflections on the Arusha Declaration.’ The sons and daughters of Africa are assembling in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania from all corners of the continent and beyond to reclaim this revolutionary declaration of liberation from the clutches of imperialism. Our indefatigable critic of ‘Obsolescent Capitalism’, Prof. Samir Amin, will set the deliberation in motion as the ‘2010 Distinguished Nyerere Lecturer.’
Prof. Amin’s first Nyerere Lecture on Monday is thus fittingly entitled ‘Long Road to Socialism: Crisis of Capitalism and Imperialism.’ It promises to be a powerful analysis of the inherent self-destructive nature of capitalism which has recently culminated into a global financial/economic crisis. His second lecture on Tuesday aptly subtitled ‘Exiting from Capitalism in Crisis: Initiatives in the Global South’ would lay to rest the ‘TINA Myth’ that continues to claim that ‘There Is No Alternative’ to neoliberal capitalism.
In a significant way the 2010 Dar es Salaam reflections is picking a baton from the 1980 ‘Arusha Initiative’ that attempted to overhaul the International Monetary System. Both draw their inspiration from Mwalimu Julius K. Nyerere, a consistent critic of the world capitalist order. It was during the Arusha Initiative that Mwalimu echoed the ethos of the Arusha Declaration by boldly stating: “My Government is not prepared to give up our national endeavour to provide primary education for every child, basic medicines and some clean water for all our people.” His address was aptly titled ‘No to IMF Meddling’!
Today, as we face capitalism in crisis, we cannot but go back to our blueprint of liberation: The Arusha Declaration. All over Tanzania (and beyond) the oppressed are reclaiming it. Even those who buried it in theory and practice are exonerating themselves. To satisfy this hunger during the festival copies of the Declaration would be issued. This will help us understand why the exploited now affirm that ‘the Declaration cared for us.’
But one cannot reflect about the Arusha Declaration without Pan-Africanism. In fact the opening Creed in the Declaration affirms that one of our principal aims and objects is to cooperate “in bringing about African unity.” To that end the festival will be graced by Hon. Ms. Samia Nkrumah as the Guest of Honour. Her lecture, entitled ‘Reflections on Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s Pan-African Vision’, promises to be a very inspiring reminder to make her father’s call, ‘Africa Must Unite’, a lived reality in the 21st century.
Hon. Ms. Samia Nkrumah will also launch a new course on ‘Pan-African Thought and Practice’ at the University of Dar es Salaam. This is a course that aims to make Pan-Africanism ‘a category of intellectual thought’. In other words, it will enable students to think about the whole of Africa as they tackle any problem in their respective fields of study. At the end of the day graduates would have an in-depth knowledge of our societies. To give a glimpse of how to achieve this, the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) will hold a panel on its role in developing a ‘Pan-African Intellectual Community’. This will feature Prof. Zenebeworke Tadesse, Prof. Sam Moyo, Prof. Said Adejumobi, Prof. F.E.M.K and Dr. Ebrima Sall.
The global economic crisis has brought the food and agrarian crises to the fore. It is not by accident then that the festival would devote time to dialogue on ‘Socialism and Rural Development’, which was a policy component of the Arusha Declaration. To set the stage for this Vice-Chancellor palaver, the author of ‘The Republic of Hunger’, Prof. Utsa Patnaik, will give a public lecture on ‘The Agrarian Question in the Neo-Liberal Era.’ Then Prof. Rwekaza Mukandala will dialogue with Hon. Eriya Kategaya, Prof. Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o, Prof. Anna Tibaijuka, Prof. Andrew Temu and Dr. Opportuna Kweka.
In the Pan-African world a festival is always graced with songs and dances. As such our very own hip-hop artist, Professor J, will sing the Julius Nyerere Intellectual Festival 2010 Signature Song ‘Azimio la Arusha.’ Sauti za Kimapinduzi (The Revolutionary Voices) Choir will come all the way from the historical town of Bagamoyo (Pour your Heart) to sing about the liberation of Africa. Primary and Secondary school students under the tutelage of Lawrence Malima Madole (Marlow) will perform ‘Sisi ni Watoto wa Afrika (We are children of Africa)’. Carola Kinasha and a Live Band will also fire us up with their revolutionary music during the Pan-African night on Thursday at HillPark.
The festival will indeed be a potpourri. We will also get a chance to view a premiere screening of a documentary on Walter Rodney Stories (WAR). The director of the film, Clairmont Chung, will be present to introduce this documentary that “covers the life of world renowned historian, author, and activist” who had a revolutionary stint at the University of Dar es Salaam just before he was assassinated in his native Guyana in 1980.
A couple of publications will also be launched. Marcelino Dos Santos, a revolutionary hero of Mozambique’s struggle for independence, will launch ‘Africa’s Liberation: The Legacy of Nyerere’. The book, a truly collaborative Pan-African work published by Pambazuka Press, features interesting chapters by authors from the continent and beyond.
As usual the last day will be ‘A Day of Academic Reflections’. This time our economists will hold a ‘Symposium on the Teaching of Economics at the University of Dar-es-Salaam’. It will indeed be a moment for soul-searching as the ongoing global crisis of neo-liberalism has stripped mainstream economics of its hegemonic garb of legitimacy.
What an opportune time to reclaim the Arusha Declaration! This is the time Mwalimu Nyerere anticipated. No wonder he thus predicted: “I still think in the end Tanzania will return to the values and basics principles of the Arusha Declaration.” Now is the time!