Kawaida and Pan-Africanism

A compelling proposal from Kawaida: An Introductory Outline by Maulana Karenga. Sadly, much of this remains in the realm of the conceptual rather than the actual.

D. Build Pan-Africanism – As Pan-Africanists, we must build Pan-Africanism as a global project, not just a continental one. Any serious and successful Pan-Africanism must be rooted in and reflective of the following basic principles and practice:

1. unity and struggle of Africans wherever they are;

2. acceptance of the principle that the greatest contribution to the liberation of African peoples is the liberation struggle each people wages to liberate itself, and thus;

3. acquire the effective capacity to aid others still struggling. In a word, the overall struggle for African liberation is one, but a people must begin the struggle wherever they are.

4. development of mutually beneficial cooperative efforts between Continental and Diasporan African.

Kawaida proposals at FESTAC: a. permanent Afro-American observer status at OAU; b. All African People’s Convention-international as distinct from continental (OAU) – Continental and Diasporan; c. Pan-African University-Continental and Diasporan; d. Diasporan Studies in all African universities as African Studies in West; e. Continental and Diasporan common language – Swahili; f. developmental capital – for all Africans; g. African people’s lobby-for all Africans; h. African people’s skills bank-for all Africans; i. support in the UN-and other international bodies by African countries for Afro-Americans and other Diasporan Africans and other concrete support (political pressure, capital, information, asylum, etc. where possible).

5. recognition and response to the fact that in the final analysis, each people is its own liberator. A people that cannot save itself is lost forever.

Dr. Josef Ben Levi on language and epistemology

Yesterday during the ASCAC Midwest Region Medew Netcher class, Dr. Josef Ben Levi offered an interesting discussion of this statement Dr nbw, which can be transliterated as “Dr nbw” or written phonetically as “Djer nebew”. Dr is a complex term which refers limits as well as to the expansive bounds of the universe–quite simply, the all. nbw is a plural of the word nb, which the Egyptologists typically translate as “lord”. This begs the question of whether such an idea is indigenous to ancient Kemet, and whether such an idea is resonate with the use of nb in the written texts. Baba Bonotchi Montgomery, in his insightful book “All the Transformations of Ra” refers to nb as “possessor”.

In his class yesterday, Dr. Ben Levi stated that this term (Dr nbw) could be translated as “‘lord’ of all”, but more accurately it refers to “The force that conveys everything seen and unseen in the universe and beyond”. Again a very interesting idea that is quite resonate with Baba Bonotchi’s points from his talk “There are no gods in Kemet”, in addition to Prof. Rkhty Amen’s discourse on the nature of netcher (nTr). What I most appreciated about this, though little time was spent on it, is that it seeks to push us beyond the false notion of equivalency when dealing with cultural notions, and the need to deal with language as a medium for understanding them.


“Every people should be the originators of their own designs, the projector of their own schemes, and creators of the events that lead to their destiny—the consummation of their desires.”
-Martin Robeson Delany


What does it mean to struggle for “equality”, “inclusion”, or “justice” in a society with a history of colonialism, enslavement, and sexism? How does such a struggle not simply seek to reform, amend, or slightly adjust the adjust the social order rather than subvert it? Does not the discourse of reform necessarily reenforce the perceived legitimacy of the existing order? And does this sense of legitimacy constrain the capacity of social actors to envision and construct a truly emancipatory society? I begin with these histories, because they are not a past truly removed from the present, as they are relived and re-inscribed daily.

Denmark Vessey wasn’t interested in reform. Neither was Harriet Tubman. Neither was Marcus and Amy Jacques Garvey. The reformist position necessarily precludes the tactics or philosophy of radicalism. Can a people who have experienced the dispossession and dehumanization that Africans in this country have endured afford to be reformist? What is the cost of seeking to adjust a society that daily feasts on the Black body? What viable future emerges from this vacuous path?