A history

Authored by: Ama Biney

Routledge Handbook of South–South Relations

Print publication date:  December  2018
Online publication date:  December  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138652002
eBook ISBN: 9781315624495
Adobe ISBN:


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In reviewing the contested history of the origins of pan-Africanism over 500 years, it is necessary to understand its evolving manifestations and focus across different times and places. There are specific tenets to pan-Africanism as a movement, a set of ideals, objectives and as an ideological orientation or consciousness and therefore it is not a static movement or concept. The early pioneers were diaspora-born who initiated racial pride in African identity and a quest for racial and socio–economic justice for all people of African descent while Europeans were promoting their racial superiority on the whole of humanity. Such demands were sustained by continental Africans who, in the mid-20th century, seized the helm of the movement. The institutional formations of pan-Africanism aimed to uplift people of African descent psychologically, economically and politically. There have been moments of lulls and heightened activity during its long history as well as contentious and divisive debates. Pan-Africanism as a broad movement and body of ideas remains alive in the 21st century in new terminology such as ‘Afrocentricity’ and ‘global Africa’. While independence from European colonial rule was previously a foremost priority, the issue of reparations has become a new key demand among other demands.

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