Monday, June 03, 2013

50 years of African Unity; African Renaissance, Militancy and Frantz Fanon's Legacy

Monday, June 03, 2013
Frantz Fanon, Source: Wikipedia
A key element of the discussions at the just ended African Youth Forum 2013, during the golden jubilee celebrations of the African Union, was the issue of Pan-Africanism and Renaissance. On this post, we share with you a presentation by Miriam Dieye from Senegal who contributed to a panel discussion on "Africa renaissance, militancy and Frantz Fanon Legacy.


By: Myriam Dieye, Senegal

Whether we agree with his positions or not, we cannot deny the importance of Frantz Fanon when it comes to African positioning with regards to the international context. 

Frantz Fanon had extremely strong ideas, some of which are still very relevant in today’s contemporary context, notably regarding the dialectics between colonizers and the colonized. Indeed, even though Africa is supposed to have reached independence, it is obviously not the case. To this day, Africa is still suffering from colonialism, expressed through different forms, going from ideological, cultural, political to economic colonialism. In that matter, Fanon’s theories can help us link our identity as Africans with the global structure. 

However, his thoughts are to be used with parsimony. 

First bear in mind that his ideas were raised in a context of oppression, exploitation, persecution, humiliation, violence, indignity inflicted by the white imperialists and therefore constituted a very reactionary concept. Considering that the context today is completely different, we cannot apply those ideas without first assessing them thoroughly. 

Secondly, it is very important to keep in the mind the importance of the way a message is sent to the masses. Fanon’s radical way of thinking and of expressing himself can lead to radicalism and violence. And those types of behavior are not what Africa needs. We cannot afford, at this stage, to get into more conflicts which will do nothing but worsen the situation. It is important that we realize that what is more important is not necessarily what we fight against. It is rather what we fight for. And what comes after the fight. Africa must be realistic about the fact that the order in place works strongly against us and that we do not have the means, or the luxury, to engage into any type of conflict against the Western world, whether it is armed, political, or ideological. 

What we must do critically is analyze our current situation in order to address the issues that we are facing in a more pragmatic way. And it is the role of the African youth to work towards this goal. We are granted with critical and strategic thinking, we were born and have grown up in a culturally interlinked context, but mostly, we are able to analyze international dynamics and realities in a way that our predecessors couldn’t. We have what it takes to make the change happen, and it is crucial that we do not lose ourselves by giving up to extreme and radical thinking that lead to nothing but violence and alienation. 

Thinkers like Fanon provided us with solid grounds regarding our identity and the importance of reacting to the exploitation that we are still facing to this day. However, even though this awareness about our history and our position in the world order is crucial, we need to stop looking back if we want to move forward. We need to step away from theoretical concepts and analyses towards proactive thinking and action. We must be realistic and pragmatic to allow for the situation to change. 

Let’s focus on priorities so that in 2063, we do not still speak of Fanon’s legacy but of what we, African youth, achieved for our continent. Change doesn't come from endless conferences and debates on the legitimacy of different ideologies. It comes with hard work, awareness, concrete plans, commitment and sacrifice. 

So let’s make the change happen. Let’s not do different things, but do things differently.


About Frantz Fanon

Frantz Fanon (Frantz Omar Fanon, 20 July 1925 – 6 December 1961) was a Martinique-born, French–Algerian psychiatrist, philosopher,revolutionary, and writer whose works are influential in the fields of post-colonial studies, critical theory, and Marxism. As an intellectual, Fanon was a political radical, and an existential humanist concerning the psychopathology of colonization, and the human, social, and cultural consequences of decolonization.

In the course of his work as a physician and psychiatrist, Fanon supported the Algerian war of independence from France, and was a member of the Algerian National Liberation Front. For more than four decades, the life and works of Frantz Fanon have inspired anti-colonial national liberation movements in Palestine, Sri Lanka, and the U.S. 

Source: Wikipedia
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect official policy or position of Connect African Development.

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  1. Interesting read. I would agree with the Algerian prof at the conference that Fanon's radicalism isn't necessarily a commitment to arms- but a resolve to dignity, a stand on identity and the pride that comes with it. It is a call to awareness and a bid for Africans to shape their own destinies as they push for a fairer world.
    It is my understanding that Fanon's generation had the task of establishing African dignity and especially political independence, which- because partially achieved, leads our generation to the strive for economic independence. To me, it is all about the ECONOMY- Africans being able to get quality health, education and eventually jobs; to save, to invest and to move freely within the continent and without. Someone said no one gave the West visas into Africa- I say. we as Africans must minimise the migration barriers (for both peoples and goods); as such we would have given Fanon reason... An Africa for Africans where Egypt, Botswana, Tanzania or Gabon, are home to any African who cares to make a decent living in the respect of the laws in place. This century, Fanon's messae speaks to African entrepreneurs who shoudl create jobs and more jobs, wealth and more wealth- And to governments which through strong institutions (and not strong men) should create enabling and stable environments for businesses to thrive.

  2. Thank you Paschal Chem. To see you take this forward and also contribute to the blog is very much welcome. We look forward to reading more from you.


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