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410 CHAPTER 23 Fanonian Thought and Implications for Pan-African Unity Tendayi Sithole INTRODUCTION This chapter seeks to situate Fanonian thought to understand the implication of pan-African unity in so far as the post-colonial Africa is concerned. It is in post-colonial Africa where pan-African unity is seen as impractical. This is because pan-African unity has been and continues to be reduced to mere rhetoric in the geo-political location where borders, are the inheritance from the colonial order. The advocates of pan-African unity are dismissed as imagining the impossible, and also being caught in the nostalgia of the African past or the unreachable future. Pan-African unity is not impossible to realise and it is necessary to navigate through some of the warning that Fanon provided. This chapter begins by examining Fanon’s prophecy within the realm of pan-African unity, based on the view that he provided a warning against problems that will feature in post-colonial Africa which will make pan-African unity impossible to imagine and to realise. It then engages the politics of possibility, and this is the condition which will make pan-African unity possible. The chapter proceeds to problematise the notion of emancipation and offers the argument that emancipation is not similar to liberation. Emancipation is what has pervaded the post-colonial Africa and liberation is yet to be born, the necessary condition for pan-African unity. The chapter also then argues that post-colonial Africa is entrapped in repetition without difference, and it concludes that the African Union (AU) is trapped in the very anti-thesis of pan-African unity. ON PROPHECY AND THE POST-COLONIAL CONUNDRUM Fanonian thought indicates that for pan-African unity to come into being , Africa has to be given birth again, and this means Africa must be 411 FANONIAN THOUGHT AND IMPLICATIONS FOR PAN-AFRICAN UNITY thoroughly decolonised. This is on the basis that pan-African unity cannot be realised in the absence of the conscious effort of bringing together the fractured imagination and narratives of liberation which must be brought together to realise decolonisation that is due to Africa. Since the call for pan-African unity has been bandied around, it has lost legitimacy and also to some extent, relevancy. As Ndlovu-Gatsheni points out, celebrations, memorialisations, commemorations and jubilees which are authorised by the post-colonial African state are mainly elite centred and do not point to the fact that the pan-African dream is abandoned.1 For Ndlovu-Gatsheni, the African post-colonial conundrum is that of the murky present and mysterious future which hides the myth of decolonisation and the mysterious future. The post-colonial conundrum has reduced pan-African unity to irrelevancy . The irrelevancy of pan-African unity is no more apparent than in the post-colonial moment, where all the efforts of realising the goals of pan-Africanism were just ‘mission suspended’. The consolidation and unification of the people – the oppressed in particular , is of capital importance.2 This allows them to push for change in that they are the ones that should belong to the world they sense reality in and their expression should not just be in vain. Pan-African unity must be a new expression of new beings in the world, and as such, such new beings must be their own political directors who should not be spoken for, and acted upon. Fanon argues that change as effecting from liberation is not a back-and-forth emergence of the ambivalence, but it is a ‘dialectical progression’.3 This is not romanticism of the African past and culture, but new language articulated to pursue the very basis that will speak directly to pan-African unity. What the presence of this then implies for pan-African unity is that it will be a form of consciousness that is bottom up.4 Fanon would have been betrayed by the post-colonial Africa’s conception of pan-African unity, as it is still-born. It is still-born since it is not imagined on the basis that there is no thorough decolonisation that exists. For pan-African unity to exist there needs to be a thorough decolonisation. The re-awakening of the African being from the political lull which has given a fatalistic view of the world perpetuates absence of power and agency to take pan-Africanism as a counter-hegemonic discourse. Fanon did not engage in the notion of pan-African unity directly but envisioned...


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