Culture is Redemptive
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  Amilcar Cabral saw the problem clearly .He wrote: When Goebbels, the brain behind Nazi propaganda, heard culture being discussed, he brought out his revolver. That shows that the Nazis...even if they were degenerates like Hitler, had a clear idea of the value of culture as a factor of resistance to foreign domination.  
  History teaches us that, in certain circumstances, it is very easy for the foreigner to impose his domination on a people. But it also teaches us that, whatever may be the material aspects of this domination, it can be maintained only by the permanent, organized repression of the cultural life of the people concerned. Implantation of foreign domination can be assured definitely only by physical liquidation of a significant part of the dominated population.  
  In fact, to take up arms to dominate a people is, above all, to take up arms to destroy, or at least to neutralize, to paralyze, its cultural life. For, with a strong indigenous cultural life, foreign domination cannot be sure of its perpetuation. At any moment, depending on internal and external factors determining the evolution of the society in question, cultural resistance (indestructible) may take on new forms (political, economic, armed) in order fully to contest foreign domination. (taken from National Liberation and Culture)  
  Pan-Africanists understand that the seizure of the land and the destruction of the culture are two sides of the same coin.  
  Pan-Africanism recognizes that the acculturation processes imposed on Africans is the direct result of a systemic policy of racist diffusion. A diffusion initially facilitated by outright military conquest. Conquest aimed at the seizure and control of Africa's land and the destruction of the indigenous cultures, state structures and general social institutions.  
  The military conquest was in turn buttressed by the activity of alien carriers from the various predator systems. Carriers such as missionaries, government officials and the like. Today these historical carriers have been largely supplanted by aid workers, students, diplomats, journalists, and increasingly, tourists.  
  These carriers bring and reinforce the values, beliefs, customs, traditions, languages, behaviors and other aspects of the conqueror system, thus infecting members of the targeted African cultures. In this way racist diffusion leads to acculturation. This acculturation process is strengthen by the social-psychological impact of the perceived power and success of the invading systems, what is called the demonstration effect. For example, the assassination of Lumumba and the overthrow of the CPP government were intended to not only destroy the liberation process in the specific areas, but also to weaken Pan-Africanism generally, and to violently dissuade other peoples from adopting or embarking upon similar patterns of state organization.  
  In many instances certain elements of the targeted culture are selected for assimilation. For example, those Ghanaian military elites who identify with the United Kingdom because they had the "privilege" of attending Sandhurst; or the assimilé in French colonial Africa. Nkrumah writes of the February 25 Traitors, The fact that Harley and others found it fairly easy to get support in the army may also be explained by what has been called "the Sandhurst mentality of certain officers. These men trained in various English military establishments prided themselves on being more "English" than Ghanian, and tended to frown on everything in our Ghanaian way of life which did not conform with English customs and traditions. They gradually became more British than the British as they slavishly tried to imitate the traditional British army officer. Ankrah is a typical example with his enthusiasm for the Turf Club, his love of ceremonial, and his sense of caste.  
  Afrifa has called Sandhurst "one of the greatest institutions in the world". He looks with nostalgia on the days he spent there: "through its doors have passed famous generals, kings and rulers...It is an institution that teaches that all men are equal, that the profession of men-at-arms is essential and a peaceful one." The confusion in his mind is obvious.  
  Like many other army officers in the developing countries who have received part of their training in imperialist establishments, he had been brainwashed into showing more devotion to his counterparts in imperialist countries than to his own countrymen. He considered himself a "gentleman", far superior to the peasants and workers of his own country, He admits that while he was in Britain that he first heard criticism of the Ghanaian government. He listened to people running down our efforts to achieve economic independence. He read in the British press that I was a "dictator", and that Ghana had stepped out of line in establishing a one-party state and in pursuing such revolutionary aims as the complete liberation and unification of the African continent. Instead of being proud to be Ghanaian and in the vanguard of the African revolutionary struggle, he identified himself with the critics of his own government and people.  
  Afrifa's case history is similar to that of many more of our army officers in the independent states of Africa. While training in in imperialist countries they become imbued with ideas and traditions which made them easy game for those plotting the overthrow of progressive governments. (Taken from Dark Days in Ghana)  
  Cabral too understood the racist process of assimilation --- which he referred to as one of the array of related theories that were nothing more than gross formulations of racism, and which, in practice, are translated into a permanent state of siege of the indigenous populations on the basis of racist dictatorship (or democracy.) He went on to observe, ...the so-called theory of progressive assimilation of native populations, which turns out to be only a more or less violent attempt to deny the culture of the people in question. The utter failure of this "theory," implemented in practice by several colonial powers, including Portugal, is the most obvious proof of its lack of viability, if not of its inhuman character. It attains the highest degree of absurdity in the Portuguese case, where Salazar affirmed that Africa does not exist. (Taken from National Liberation and Culture)
  This can also be seen in the French concept of African states as Departments of France. This same perverse logic is pointed out by Nkrumah's in his comment, found in the book Africa Must Unite: It is significant that the word Eurafrica has come into use in connection with the European Common Market negotiations. In essence as far as the oppressors are concerned, we don't exist, except as a part of Europe.  
  This cumulative process creates and/or exacerbates many social and psychological dysfunctions and problems. Namely, the destruction of traditional culture and institutions, leading to the increase in criminal behavior, juvenile delinquency and mental health conditions. Mental health problems that go by names such as anomie, angst, general depression, schizophrenia, trauma and dysphoria -- many of these maladies are identical, related, similar and/or share symptoms, are a particularly troublesome consequence of these general processes. Such disorders further weaken the African culture and deepen the peoples' subjugation. Add the other disastrous side effects such as food insecurity, destruction of the family and the overall general deterioration and decline in society; in short one concludes that racist diffusion, the acculturation to and assimilation of alien cultural values, is in fact an act of conquest, an act of total war.  
  The antidote to all this is the development of counter-measures that will facilitate the organization of the threatened or conquered cultures in a manner that will preserve or re-establish their independence from the encroaching systems. For Africans at home and abroad the route to salvation is the knowledge of true African culture and the embrace of same. What Cabral called return to the source. African cultural syncretism and survivals are vital aspects of this process. Examples are found in religions such as Santeria, Voodoo/Voudon, Candomblé; in linguistic traits, such as the Gullah language; the Africanization of the Roman Catholic Carnival system; the survival of the libation ritual; as well as African cultural influences in global cuisine such as gumbo; and in music, art, dance, such as the Samba and Mumbo, the proliferation of African dance troupes and the use of Africa's drums as universal African cultural symbols. All of these and more are valuable assets in the African counter-attack. They are key elements of the concept of Pan-African culture and play a positive role in the evolution of Pan-African culture.  
  These phenomena would be of even greater utility if properly strengthened. That is, if organized in a manner that enhanced the many positives of Africa's cultures and discards the negative elements, such as feudal remnants and related backward practices -- and specifically, the destructive influences of the assorted external hostile elements and their internal operatives. This demands a process that also properly assimilates aspects of universal and non-African national cultures that are beneficial to Africa's growth and development. This is the sure, and only route, to the redemption of the global African population and construction of the Pan-African nation  
  The best possible solution is the projection of positive role models that can provide an affirmative demonstration effect for Africans, such as we had in the role of Nkrumah's Ghana as the fount of Pan-Africanism (Omowale Malcolm X (Shabazz), 1964). We need to develop and diffuse these kinds of cultural model throughout the whole infected/affected area of Africa and among African people globally. Such a cultural epidemic would engender the general philosophical and agency systems needed to launch a powerful positive enculturation and socialization process. This would favorably alter the power equation between the oppressive systems and Africa. It will usher in the era of the reign of Pan-African culture and create an irresistible aggregated force for good in the world. As such, it is the most precise instrumentality and modality for the liberation of the African personality and global population.  

Images of African Cultural Traits in the Diaspora

Image 1: Photo of a carnival participant in Brazil with elaborate African inspired garb. This is representative of the aspects of African cultural survivals and syncretism found in carnival and other similar activities around the world.

Image 2: Photo of the Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago's drummers performing at reception for Dr. Philip Emeagwali in Chicago, IL USA. Emeagwali was the featured presenter at a conference on digitalization. The use of drums by Africans in the US has been historically discouraged, and even made illegal in some instances. Nevertheless, Africans in the US continued to use them whenever possible, thus the deep affinity for this particular cultural instrument never completely dissipated.

Image 3: Photo of Dr. Emeagwali dancing with members of Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago. Video of the Conference introduction of Dr. Emeagwali and a segment of his presentation and of the reception can be found at: Presentation and Reception

Image 4: Photo of two Africans in Brazil performing movements from Capoeira. Capoeira is a martial art and dance form. It was a widely used in the anti-slavery wars waged by the Africans in Brazil..

Click here for page three:Pan-African Culture and Ideology