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Practice foundations of Nkrumaism in social systemicity 2

Dr Kwame Nkrumah Kwame Nkrumah

Tue, 26 Dec 2017 Source: Francis Kwarteng

The existence of a gross mismatch between the ideological orientation of the running reign of the Eurocentric leadership of Africa, contemporaneous with the golden age of African-centered leadership, and the grand formulaic nation-building architectonics spearheaded by Nkrumah, and following his painful absence from the political scene, and the visionary, selfless, intelligent, and pragmatic political philosophy which the likes of Kwame Nkrumah and Patrice Lumumba championed, is not one that is open to debate, yet the debate continues into the present political dispensation.

This is in large part because they understood the painful challenges posed by the complex dynamics of nation-building, and also how to forcefully channel their social visions and the inherent capabilities of their fellow Africans into that enterprise of nation-building, from the pile of deadly, simmering ashes of slavery and colonization. As writer Peterson notes in Criticism and Ideology:

“Kwame Nkrumah was the single most important theoretician and spokesperson of this decade…Hutchinson, a South African nationalist, captured Ghana’s centrality to the era when he called his book, itself an account of his life and his escape from South Africa, simply, Road to Africa.

“All the continent’s nationalist roads of the fifties led to Kwame Nkrumah’s Ghana. Everywhere on the continent, the former colonial slave was breaking his chains, and singing songs of hope for a more egalitarian society in its economic, political and cultural life and Nkrumah’s Ghana seemed to hold the torch to that life.”

The world-famous Afrocentric scholar and prolific writer, Molefi Kete Asante, on the other hand calls Nkrumah “a prophet of reality” (Asante, 2009). This is neither to romanticize the past nor to excuse the string of glaring failures chalked by the continent’s Eurocentric leadership in the past six decades or so. But the past is still with us with its far-reaching craned-neck peering over the present, seemingly inseparable from the clutching umbilical-cord of contemporary realities, not forgetting that Jews have learned to memorialize their string of inhuman experiences even while the African is consistently reminded to forget his because he is a different species of animal with no historical memory.

Rather, it is to state the bare, cold facts as the records say. The truth is that Nkrumah’s noble person and his innovative ideas are beyond the sciography of any form of self-serving apotheosis on the part of his die-hard, critical admirers. Even the shanty asylum of his clueless ideological enemies and inveterate detractors is aware of this ironclad fact of human history, and that is to say the pragmatic compass of Africa’s true future revolves around the metempsychosis of Nkruamism.

Meanwhile, enemies from within and from without have seen to it that the supposed planned marriage of convenience between slavery and colonization eventually resolves into the parturition of neocolonialism, presently an albatross around Africa’s neck. Europe, for instance, saw a pressing need to come together as a powerful politico-economic block called the European Union, while overtly and covertly it has been relentlessly working against Pan-Africanism and the continent’s strategic interests. France and its Western allies have been working tirelessly to ensure that they ingratiate themselves into the good books of their grand invention, their creation—the largely elitist Eurocentric ruling automatons of Africa. This is from the horse’s mouth, the French (Kwarteng, 2015):

“France views Pan-Africanism as a threat to Western interests in Africa in general and French interests in Africa in particular.”

How can African ideas such as Pan-Africanism pose a threat to French and Western interests in Africa?

Who owns Africa anyway, the West or Africans?

How have French interests in Africa benefited Africa, and how have these so-called interests measurably fared for the African masses in both the short-term and the long-term?

Do Africa and its people have their own interests at all?

How competitive and productive and economical are these African strategic interests?

And, for the sake of argument, whose interests should rather enjoy competitive primacy in the advancement of Africa and its people?

If Africa had any strategic interests worthy of strategic attention and of advancing the continent and its people, then those ungrateful, obsequious fifth columnists within the highest echelon of the Ghanaian body politic would not have overthrown Nkrumah with the active collaboration of the CIA, nor would Senegal’s ex-President Abdoulaye Wade have given his support to NATO to overthrow and assassinate Muamar Gadhafi, reportedly the latter being one of his important sponsors and friends (Asante, 2015).

One can therefore make the case that the Eurocentric leadership of Africa has no interests unless they are products of Western imperialist design. This is because this dangerous leadership which is imbued with the prostrating bias of Eurocentric infectivity, has no potent locus of agency and moral compass to speak on behalf of the continent in the first place except, of course, the benefits to derive from these imperialistic interests exclusively sit well with the elitist temperament of its newly acquired individualistic designation and cannibalistic, rapacious appetite. This leadership is even abjectly blind to the scheming machinations of Western imperial designs. Here is Prof. Dompere again (p. 333):

“Generally and historically, the Western imperialist intentionality of information collection and knowledge production about Africa is to find justification to support their anti-African ideology in order to demonize, oppress and destroy the African philosophical and ideological basis of collectivism and humanism.”

It was this Western imperialist intentionality of information collection and knowledge production about Africa that, if we may add, has given Africa its enviable album of vindictive, murderous Eurocentric autocrats taxidermized in black skin—ex-CIA darling errand boy Liberia’s Charles Taylor, Togo’s Gnassingbé Eyadéma, Congo’s Mobuto Sese Seko, Central African Republic’s Jean-Bédel Bokassa, Ivory Coast’s Félix Houphouët-Boigny, Gabon’s Omar Bongo…Uganda’s Idi Amin (Rice, 2010), all of whom fought one way or the other on the neocolonial turf of borrowed political ideologies in order to justify their place as the ideological scions of Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, and Francisco Franco.

RESISTING COLONIAL EDUCATION

How effectively has Africa responded to Western scheming intelligence-gathering capabilities against Africa’s interests? Or what should Africa do to resist Western attempts to control or re-orient its frozen destiny to fit the latter’s scheming ideological agenda to make Africa subservient to its hegemonizing propagandistic instrumentation, as it were through its carefully orchestrated underhanded imperialist intentionality of information collection? Prof. Dompere foresees the impending obituary of the latter formula entombed in the living organism of Black Studies. The following critical remarks provide some profound insights his prescriptive riposte to the lingering dilemma (p. 332):

“This oppressive intellectual program can only be challenged and negated by an alternative intellectual program which must constitute a revolution in thought and action. This alternative intellectual program is philosophical consciencism…that stands on firm and solid Africentric grounds to engage in the battle and war games of ideas to decolonize the African mind, liberate the African conscience and set free the African forces that have been frozen in the ice-chambers of racism and oppression.”

When he also writes that “Western ideology is constructed with an imperialist philosophy of oppression, intellectual forgery and violence against Africa and her people” (Dompere, p. 332), he is merely partly reiterating or reinforcing Prof. Asante’s central contention set forth in the article “Knowledge as Property: Who Owns What and Why?”: “In some cases Africans…have granted Europeans knowledge about their societies. A host of African guides…have led Europeans to natural wonders and to historical locations only to have Europeans claim that they are the discoverers of those places… (Asante, 2009).

There is, however, a striking resemblance between what Prof. Asante is saying and the living script for the African historical film “Invasion 1897,” directed by Lancelot O. Imasuen. This movie makes the case for the return of those artworks which the British stole from the Benin Kingdom in the 19th century. Stolen African artefacts grace Western museums, with Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka at one time acting on a tip that traced one such masterful art work all the way to Brazil only to find out it was fake (Soyinka, 2007).

Likewise, those unliberated African leaders who ransack their countries’ coffers and secrete away their booties in the darkest secrets of European banks are merely following in the footsteps of those of their adorable European forbears who ransacked the cultural libraries of African art and hid them in plain sight in European museums and private homes.

Also the 20th-century art form we have come to know as cubism, and which is linked to the artistic geniuses of Pablo Picasso and others, borrowed heavily from African art (Kwarteng, 2013). Finally, French President Emmanuel Macron has promised to return stolen African artefacts housed in French museums (Opoku, 2017). These will help reconstruct the intellectual, cultural and organic continuity between the African past and the present, as well as African identity, including decolonizing the African mind, all of which Nkrumah initiated and championed in Africa and on the stage.

Here, we should quickly add that Chinweizu’s Decolonizing the African Mind and Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s Decolonizing the Mind advance a resounding postcolonial theory of centering African psychology much in the theoretical likeness of Profs. Asante’s and Dompere’s African-centered methodology and its underlying formidable philosophical approach to the study of critical theory. Of course it is a humanistic, rigorous methodological approach that makes a beeline for agency and location in a strict Diopian sense, and which, in another sense also, seems to have succeeded in making a powerful case for the humanity of Africa in the deepest innards of Western psychology.

Thus the impact of Afrocentric theory in the American academy, and on the public psychology of American race relations, especially in and through the social sciences and the humanities, cannot be overemphasized. In this light we should not ignore but rather recall Nkrumah’s theoretical contributions to African-centered or Afrocentric education (Poe, 2017). University of Wisconsin’s Prof. Winston Van Horne and Prof. Asante call this discipline Africology (Asante, 2015).

In the grand scheme of things though, and as far as the humanistic underpinnings of Black Studies is concerned, Prof. Dompere fundamentally views what he calls “revolution in thought and action” as being objectively integral to a critical modality of thinking and knowing in which the latter two processes also merge into his idea of transformative power. He argues that this transformative power be defined by the existential parameters of the human condition, freedom, social justice, and resistance to internal or external oppression and subjugation (Dompere, 334).

We should however point out that in managing the operational dynamics of the actual-potential social polarity as it relates to bringing about the needed categorial revolution in thought and action, and the simultaneous transformation of Africa for the betterment of the people, Nkrumah chose ideology over the material conditions of the African people as the driving force of his political philosophy (Dompere, p. 336). After all, the material conditions of a people are a product of the decision-choice system(s) they put in place as a policy function of national priorities and the general health of domestic and global economies. “The material conditions are not self-caused; they are derived social categories…,” he writes (Dompere, p. 336).

None of these takes away the fact that the central feature of his concept of liberating the self through education goes beyond the physical however, to include freeing the mind from the oppressive constraints of ignorance. And this should be the fundamental purpose of any form of education. In other words enlightenment, not endarkenment, should be the primary objective of any modality of progressive education. Frantz Fanon and Albert Memmi (1991) may have conceptualized the liberation of the colonizer and the colonized in this vein. That is, the colonizer too and his descendants can benefit from Afrocentric education.

For the most part this is not what colonial education was designed for—unfortunately. Education in this case, we strongly believe, should be empowering rather than oppressive. It is our firm position that colonial education was actually designed to make the colonial subject easily amenable to the imperialist machinations orchestrated from within the hold of the metropoles, to serve others’ interests. It therefore matters that African-centered education and colonial education exist in some form of binary opposition. This is how Prof. Dompere views this opposition between colonial education and African-centered education as follows (Dompere, p. 344):

“It is directed toward an intellectual revolution against colonial education which was intended to produce educated Africans who have an affinity and service commitment to the social structure of imperialists and neocolonialists.

“To create these kinds of Africans, it was necessary and important that colonial education, and by extension neocolonial education, create mindsets that allowed educated Africans to be divorced from their cultural roots and their people of whom their education has instructed them to despise with venom as uncivilized under the Western anti-African ideology…”

Bob Marley resisted this form of education when, on the track “Babylon System,” he sang:

“We refuse to be what you wanted us to be

“We are what we are

“That’s the way it’s going to be

“You can’t educate I…

No wonder we can also link the moral and philosophical underpinnings of this song to those of his other classic song, “Crazy Baldhead,” on which he sang in part:

“Brainwash education to make us the fools…

Thus, in the special case of the 1African person Black Studies (or African Studies) and Africology are a timely antidote to his cultural, historical, moral, cosmological, and intellectual negation brought about by his voracious digestion of colonial education. Nkrumah quickly realized how insalubrious colonial education was to the character of the African Personality and began putting institutions in place to address the problem. On this score, Prof. Dompere has this to say (Dompere, 334):

“These conditions of intellectual support were clearly understood by Nkrumah, and it was through this understanding that Nkrumah actively promoted the subject area of African studies and the manner in which the knowledge of African studies can form inspiration and motivation as well as integrate into other areas of knowledge to act as the convertibility conditions of the socio-political polarity and the socio-economic polarity.”

Well said!

SOME CRITICAL PERSPECTIVES

But what do all these mean in terms of the general contours of Nkrumah’s philosophical consciencism and categorial conversion, and of the mediating convertibility conditions thereof? Prof. Dompere argues that we arrive at a transformative intellectual polarity only if we bring the overriding focus of African studies in line with the imperative of African emancipation, rather than in contradistinction to the designs of Western imperialist oppression (Dompere, p. 334).

This argument is a tough one to crack, even a difficult one to grasp at face value, merely on the basis of the fact that it is only in acknowledging African liberation as a counterpoint to Western imperialist oppression that, we believe, the unravelling possibility of a transformative intellectual polarity could find full expressive power in the operational scheme of the convertibility conditions. Elsewhere, though, he correctly juxtaposes Eurocentric philosophical consciencism and African-centered philosophical consciencism, oppressive intentionality and liberation intentionality, anti-African ideology and Africentric ideology, and so on.

We are however given to understand that, in a nutshell, the formation of this transformative intellectual polarity operationalizes the laws of categorial conversion in the informative-knowledge space (Dompere, 334). If this is the case then the content of general education, Prof. Dompere argues, becomes subject to the oversight of the kind of philosophical consciencism which defines a nation.

“The content is used as a set in this epistemic structure,” he further writes (Dompere, 334). It appears then that within this epistemic structure the convertibility conditions are ready to transform colonial education in such a way that the resulting content of education is able to engender the kind of social intellectual capital capable of supplying a set of solutions for social and national problems.

The backdrop to the operational success of the convertibility conditions, if we can in fact put it that way, is when the kind of philosophical consciencism that defines a nation is strongly underpinned by African-centeredness. If this core idea is clearly understood by a liberated or awakened intelligentsia within the larger African community, that has completely shunned the doctrine of imperialist anti-African ideology, then the operational instrumentation of the convertibility conditions, African-centered philosophical consciencism, and categorial conversion assumes a state of rational viability and far-reaching possibilities in nation-building. Prof. Dompere quotes Nkrumah on this (Dompere, p. 335):

“The history of human achievement illustrates that when an awakened intelligentsia emerges from a subject people it becomes the vanguard of struggles against alien rule.”

This awakened intelligentsia must operate within an African-centered framework where the love for Africa and knowledge of Africa come together in the spirit of oneness to operationalize the total emancipation of the continent. Setting the records straight on Africa’s intellectual history and its impact on global intellectual history is just as important to this noble reconstruction enterprise and efforts (Dompere, p. 333). He expatiates further the importance of the awakened intelligentsia and its noble role in negotiating Africa out of its current quagmire (Dompere, p.335):

“The system of education in Africa must not only train members of the intelligentsia but an awakened intelligentsia. The members of the awakened intelligentsia are those who are intellectually trained and have liberated consciences derived from the crisis of the African conscience within the African experiential information structure. They are deeply involved in the understanding and expectation of the African experiential structure.”

On the basis of this, Prof. Dompere believes current curriculums used in various universities around the world, particularly across Africa, are immaterial to the realization of African-centered philosophical consciencism. This level of spastic hiccup in the operational development of philosophical consciencism has dire consequences for activating the categorial conversion of the socio-political and socio-economic needs of the continent in terms of domestic socio-economic transformations and global political arrangements (Dompere, p. 335).

What is the solution then? We quote Prof. Dompere at length on this (Dompere, p. 335): “To develop an awakened intelligentsia, the whole education system composed of organization, administration, curriculums, teaching, research and learning must undergo radical restructuring for complete Africanization. In fact, the current African must undergo a revolution in values and culture, where such revolution must be anchored in African tradition as defined and supported by the foundations of Maat in order to overcome the mimicry of oppressive foreign values of colonialism, neocolonialism and imperialism which have come to destroy the African cultural and spiritual unity.”

This is where we shall leave the discussion for our researchers, intellectuals, academics, professors, scholars, research institutions and think tanks, universities, teacher training colleges, and policy makers to contemplate. We shall however return at a later date with more expositions on Prof. Dompere’s ideas.

Columnist: Francis Kwarteng