Journal of Pan African Studies ABSTRACT A focus on Amilcar Cabral's theory of citizenship, highlighting his definition of citizenship and the interest of Guinea-Bissau and the Cape Verde Islands, as a nation. The paper argues that some may accept the letters of citizenship criteria while their real convictions are elsewhere, and still others may accept the criteria in both the letter and spirit with deep seated convictions, thus, there is no objective standard for determining who is a genuine citizen.
Journal of Pan African Studies Nobody knows when the first enslaved Africans came to Mexico or New Spain as it was called during the colonial period, but their numbers grew in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. 1501 marked the earliest recorded date of the Black enslaved arriving in the Americas from Spain; Blacks served as companions, servants, and auxiliaries to the Spanish explorers and conquistadors. Not till 1519, notwithstanding, when Hernan Cortes first began his conquest of the Aztec empire, which he accomplished by 1521, did the Black enslaved come to New Spain. He brought the Black enslaved with him, including those that played prominent roles in the conquest, such as Juan Cortes and Juan Garrido. Historical records purported Hernan Cortes to be the first Spaniard to introduce the Black enslaved to the region. Though most Blacks in New Spain came as enslaved persons, a few came as free people (other historians a la Ivan Van Sertima claimed that Blacks lived in this region before the advent of Europeans). Cortes, himself, used the Black enslaved for military reasons not only in the conquest but for labor purposes on his plantations. The conquest of the Aztec empire caused the demographic collapse of the indigenous populations (misnomer Indians). In 1519, New Spain had estimated the indigenous populations to be 27,650,000, but by 1532, they declined to 16,800,600; in 1580, the indigenous populations had decreased rapidly to 1,900,000; and in 1595, they dwindled to 1,375,000. Epidemics destroyed major indigenous populations in 1520, 1548, 1576-1579, and 1595-1598. By 1605, the indigenous populations had reached to 1,075,000. Epidemics, diseases, enslavement, and hard work caused the demographic collapse of the indigenous populations of the region. They had no immunity against such European diseases as smallpox, measles, yellow fever, malaria, and typhus. Other reasons for the decline of the indigenous populations included poor living conditions, low birth rates, destructive wars, harsh labor, and mass suicides. The average indigenous family declined to only four people: mother, father and two children.
Journal of Pan African Studies The reputed "Father of African Cinema," Ousmane Sembene is perhaps ironically famous for what we can call his sexual consciousness, a consciousness of the politics of sex or gender and sexuality, in his radical productions of Black independent film. For example, Moolade (2004) is about resistance to female "circumcision" or "genital excision." Guelwaar (1992) treats the theme of prostitution in Dakar, portraying sex workers as survivors of oppression and the colonized elite as "beggars" or prostitutes to neo-colonial "aid." Xala or The Curse (1974) is a parody of the Black pseudo-bourgeoisie middleclass in which the father of "flag independence" is characterized as impotent in matters of both sex and political economy. Thus, Toni Cade Bambara once stated, mocking male chauvinism: "If a sister had written half the works of Ousmane Sembene, there'd be back-and-forth debates raging about reverse sexism: how come the heroics are always done by women?" (Bambara in Tate 36). Analogously, sisters have worked a critical "sexual consciousness" beyond the alleged "high art" of cinema in and for Black popular culture, particularly in the art and culture of Hip-Hop. Lyrically lauded by the likes of Toni Morrison and bell hooks, Lil' Kim is most famous or infamous for this sort of consciousness, which is oxymoronic under status-quo schools of thought. The world of music constantly pits "sexuality" against "consciousness" in its commentary, especially when Black music is the subject at hand; internationally, it divides music with "positive," "progressive" or "political" content from "sex-driven" music which is, supposedly, "sensational," "scandalous" and "slack." This line of thinking goes well beyond contemporary critics and consumers. For over five hundred years, the Western world of ideas has itself opposed sexuality and consciousness, rigidly, laying the foundation for an entire culture to interpret "eroticism" as a threat to "intelligence," "bodies" as menaces to "minds" and "sensuality" as an enemy to "rationality" or rationalism. The European oppression of most of the world's peoples, African people most of all, it continues to use this bi-polar world-view to advance a racist empire that is every bit as much sexist, class-elitist and homophobic as it is racist or white-supremacist. Consequently, social and music criticism claiming to be "positive" "progressive" and "political" might want to separate itself from this Western tradition of thought, lest its "positive," "progressive" "politics" be no less identified with white racist imperialism, sexism, elitism and homophobia. A radical sexual politics is in order, and such a politics of consciousness is brilliantly showcased in and beyond The Notorious K.I.M., a paradigm-shifter and "lyrical force to be reckoned with" according to Hip-Hop Immortals: The Remix (Malone n.p.).
Journal of Pan African Studies Margaret Walker's Jubilee is an important marker in the effective development of African-American historical counter-narratives. Walker indeed appropriates feature traditions in the narratives of the enslaved, which she reshapes to create a new mode of representation that will only come to predominate in the sixties. Walker's text anticipates most of the practices embedded in the new body of African-American historical studies and novels on enslavement published after the sixties, which like her work pays attention to the agency and self-representations of the enslaved; privileges description of their community-and culture-building energies; exhibits forms of resistance; and interrogates the myths and stereotypes disseminated in Anglo-American representations. Walker's approach to history has inspired filial African-American contemporary writers. Indeed, as Pettis conjectures, "historical fiction structured in the same manner as Jubilee is also a vital precursor to complex ... approaches to Afro-American history such as David Bradley's The Chanesysville Incident, John A. Williams' Captain Blackman, and Ishmael Reed's parody of the genre, Flight to Canada" (12). Margaret Walker's text, as several critics have pointed out, may well have been the impetus for revisions of the history of chattel enslavement from the Black woman's perspective such as Ernest G. Gaines' The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (1971), Sherley Anne Williams' Dessa Rose (1986), and Toni Morrison's Beloved (1987). (i) The author's confirmation that enslavement did not destroy the spirit of her heroine is her legacy to female protagonists of historical fiction that follows such as Miss James Pittman, Dessa Rose, and Sethe. Most scholarship on Jubilee traces back the text's inception to the sixties. Indeed, critics such as Ashraf H. A Rushdy, in "The Neo-Slave Narrative;" Joyce Pettis in "Margaret Walker: Black Women Writer of the South;" and Angelyn Mitchell in her introduction to The Freedom to Remember: Narrative, Slavery, and Gender in Contemporary Black Women's Fictions--suggest that the novel's development parallels the sixties. This article argues that in accounting for the revisionist undertaking which Jubilee represents, however, one should not only take into account the significant ideological base of the sixties, because Margaret Walker's text is a product of an earlier period during which the African-American movement of historical reclamation reached its peak: the thirties.
Journal of Pan African Studies In her novels, Toni Morrison mediates the distance between African belief systems and western hemispheric realities of Africans in America. Repeatedly, Morrison illustrates how African women, soul workers, continue to employ symbolic, temporal and cultural codes reflective of African traditional religions and indigenous values. Sculpting spiritual landscapes emblematic of Yoruba, Kongo and various African spiritual systems, Morrison imbues her work with sacred features to simultaneously recover ancestral memory and engender the individual's and community's future endeavors. Asserting the circularity of and concentricity of African cosmologies, Morrison links her narratives with the sacred, symbolized by elements of nature to cleanse the community, re-integrate the African personality, and restore cohesion. Eco-critical ideas will be explored with a brief examination of Morrison's literary creation of spiritual spaces in the "wilderness" that regard particular animals and plants as emblems of the divine ascribing particular powers to these objects in ceremonial acts of propitiation and other ritual processes enacted by female spiritual officiants representing the Mama Nganga of the Kongo spiritual tradition and the Iyalorisa of the Yoruba belief system. "Remember this: against all that destruction some yet remained among us unforgetful of origins, dreaming secret dreams, seeing secret visions, hearing secret voices ..."
Journal of Pan African Studies There is great unanimity among African people from all walks of life on the topic of imprisonment. Hence, carceral is considered an alien custom introduced on the African soil by Europeans, searching for human cargo to be transported to the Americas as massive forts were constructed for enslaving African peoples which evolved into prisons, especially after the colonial scramble for Africa (1880s) (Bernault). Today, while many old notorious structures, such as Robben Island, have been shut down, carceral punishment, ironically, has become an "African" way of life--at least for those who are socially displaced or who are political opponents of anti-democratic regimes. In reviewing the futility of imprisonment, it is helpful to ascertain the meaning of political principles, such as freedom, equality and justice, from the vantage point of some of society's most marginalized people--prisoners. Politicized prisoners often take a very dim view of the capitalist ideology of freedom and theories of desert--i.e., who ought to be deprived of their freedom of movement, of expression, etc., and they are suspicious towards using the (capitalist) justice system to press for appeals of wrongful conviction. Thus, formerly imprisoned voices on the continent, such as South Africa's president Nelson Mandela, Egyptian activist Nawal El Saadawi and Kenyan writer Ngugi wa Thiong'o, use a prophetic language of liberation in thought and practice, often at the expense of their own well-being. For example, when Mandela's autobiographical notes were discovered in the Robben Island prison yard, after he had lost the privilege of reading materials.
Journal of Pan African Studies Introduction Doing doctoral research on the history of Jamaican popular music in the twentieth century, I study the life of singers, producers and other protagonists of that story. Thus, I recently took an interest in the life and theories of Marcus Garvey who has been perceived as a true prophet by most Rastafarians since the beginning of the Rasta movement in the early 1930's. For a great many people, especially in the Caribbean, Garvey is often depicted as the father of Pan-Africanism, a political doctrine and movement designed to unify and uplift African nations and the African Diaspora as a universal African community.
Journal of Pan African Studies Introduction Reparations is one of the most misunderstood topics in recent years, and it is gradually becoming an area where even some angels fear to trend. There are now protagonists and antagonists of reparations all over the world, and it has divided people along racial lines. Most blacks want the payment of reparations to Africans and their descendant in the Diaspora because of the indescribable damages that have been done to the continent by the slave trade that took place over four hundred years ago. The late Chief M.K.O. Abiola belonged to this school of thought, but most whites regard such demands as frivolous, irrelevant and thus, should be ignored.
Journal of Pan African Studies Introduction Among Africans, names reflect the worldview of a people, hence some names are used to accentuate and situate the significance of an experience, an event or a phenomenon. In this respect, especially in Yoruba language, some proverbs underscore the importance of names and others specific names that correlate with proverbs.
Journal of Pan African Studies Aime Cesaire (1913-2008) was born in Martinique. In his poetry, plays and political activities he waged a lifelong struggle to restore dignity to colonized peoples. First and foremost a poet, here he talks to Annick Thebia Melsan about his faith in the power of words. The following interview is from the May 1997 issue of UNESCO Courier published by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (www.unesco.org), reproduced here in honor of his contribution to human culture and the articulation of Negritude as a state or condition of being African that incorporates a consciousness of pride in the cultural and physical aspects of being a person of African descent in the world. ATM: The usual way of trying to place you is by reference to various things such as time and place, writing, poetry and its different categories, political action and so on, but how would you place yourself?
Journal of Pan African Studies Introduction The liberation of oppressed people is a global struggle as liberation movements echo one another in proclaiming rights of equality, freedom and liberty inherent to all human beings which is indeed deserved, but not always realized by the marginalized. And thus, such marginalization in this construct leads constituents to response to oppression by donning the armor of struggle to wrest free from the chains of oppression and racism and/or white supremacy.
Journal of Pan African Studies Molefi Kete Asante (http://www.asante.net) is Professor of African American Studies in the Department of African American Studies at Temple University. He is considered one of the most distinguished contemporary scholars, and has published 66 books, among the most recent being An Afrocentric Manifesto: Toward an African Renaissance and The History of Africa: The Quest for Eternal Harmony. He has published more scholarly books than any contemporary African author and has been recognized as one of the ten most widely cited African Americans. Dr. Asante completed his M.A. at Pepperdine University, received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles at the age of 26 and was appointed a full professor at the age of 30 at the State University of New York at Buffalo; and notwithstanding, at Temple University he created the first Ph.D. program in African American Studies in 1987; he has directed more than 125 Ph.D. dissertations; written more than 300 articles for journals and magazines; he is the founding editor of The Journal of Black Studies (1969); the founder of the theory of Afrocentricity, and in 1995 he was made a traditional king, Nana Okru Asante Peasah, Kyldomhene of Tafo, Akyem, Ghana. Itibari M. Zulu (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the editor-in-chief of The Journal of Pan African Studies, author of Exploring the African Centered Paradigm: Discourse and Innovation in African World Community Studies, editor of Authentic Voices: Quotations and Axioms from the African World Community, editor of the forthcoming book Africology: A Concise Dictionary, provost of Amen-Ra Theological Seminary, and vice president of the African Diaspora Foundation. He holds a Th.D. in African world community theology, a M.L.S. in library and information science, undergraduate degrees in African American Studies, and is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the Union Institute & University in Cincinnati, OH.