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Why I am not siging a petition to create laws to protect celebrities in the aftermath of Caroline Flack’s tragedy


The suicide of Caroline Flack was a tragedy. I empathise with her family. I lost my sister who committed suicide too.

In that sense, I can relate and empathise with her family and friends with the guilt, pain, their loss and their feelings of powerlessness.

These are natural feelings that the surviving family and friends have to contend with. However, calling for stricter laws to protect celebrities and people in the public eye is not going to protect anyone.

It is a kneejerk reaction to a situation that people who are vulnerable think will make a difference. It is not a well thought out reaction.

It is more emotional than anything else and I can understand and empathise with where they are coming from.

Normally when people are making reactionary petitions, they are not well thought out.

They are driven by other considerations such as grief; pain, loss, and guilt. Those mixed emotions are enough to cloud anyone’s reasoning. 

They may think that they are doing something to protect someone else from going through the same things.

However, you cannot protect someone who is determined to kill themselves or self harm. They will do whatever it takes; that is the sad reality.

There is no law that can prevent someone from taking their own life when that time comes.

Instead, we risk getting flooded by over legislation. There is too much legislation in the world and we don’t need anymore.

So when I saw the following insert from an email from change.org, I knew what I was going to do.

“After the tragic passing of Caroline Flack over the weekend, her friends are calling for stricter laws to protect celebrities and people in the public eye. Over 222,000 people have signed the petition. Will you?”

I was not going to sign it. I have nothing against Caroline Flack or her family and friends. It is not personal.

I do not believe having laws to protect privileged people is an answer.

There are people who have to put up with more vitirol than Caroline had to put up with. Take the case of Meghan Markle.

The media has given her a lot more flack; she has been the subject of racist attacks by celebrities and people in the public eye.

The likes of Germaine Greer a so called feminist is a typical example of people who have consistently attacked Megan. Forget that they are both women which makes the attacks so much more insiduous. She is not alone.

Two front pages images from the Express newspaper depicting the double standards fo the press when covering kate Middleton and Meghan markle.

The above illustrates the double standards of the media and the subtle racism that is insinuated in the subtle choices of a few poignant words.

Why should they be protected yet have the privilege of attacking people they don’t like for their own selfish reasons?

We don’t see the same kind of sustained attacks on Kate Middleton even for similar things they criticise in Meghan.

The media is always biased in reporting news. A black youth who commits the same crime as a white youth is demonised and depicted as evil and a devil.

At times, they don’t have to do anything bad at all. It can be good. But they will be demonised for being black. Their skin is their crime.

city boys

Image shows how the media depicts black people in racist stereotypes and demonises them even when they have done noting wrong but extols the virtue of white people for doing the same thing they lambast black people for.

Yet a white youth is humanised and referred to as a lad who made a mistake. He is not subjected to the racist stereotypes and vitirol directed at young black men or women are subjected to.

We should concentrate on treating people equally. We cannot have separate laws for different people.

Black people already have to deal with laws that are skewed against them. We have to deal with a judicial system that is biased against us and a media that only amplifies black stereotypes.

Nobody calls for laws to protect them from a racist media.

Having laws that protect celebrities only places other people right at the bottom rung of a  multi tiered legal ladder.

Celebrities and people in the public eye have made choices to live in the glare of the limelight and paparazzi. They invite them into their lives.

They may manipulate the media to get column inches and use them to get what they want in the form of publicity and influencer deals.

Therefore, it makes it difficult to introduce laws that protect these people because of the nature of their fleeting relationship with the media.

It cannot be ok to be milking the media when it suits them and tell them to fuck off when it doesn’t.

If you don’t like the media then get out of the limelight.

If a moth plays near a candle, one day it’s life will be snuffed out and so it is with celebrities who live their life under the spotlight. It is the natural cycle of that life.

What we need is less legislation. We need common sense that Jesus and other wise sages througout time were trying to teach that, “you should treat people just as you would like them to treat you”.

That would do a lot more to protect our sanity and generate more goodwill than selective legislation can ever achieve.

What we need is more humaninty and less legislation.

In conclusion, I say give us equal rights and justice.

 

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February 18, 2020 · 4:22 pm

Death Row Records Owned by Toy Company


What do Tupac, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg etc. have in common with Peppa Pig, PJ Masks, G.I. Joe and My Little Pony?

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In a masterclass of how to play board games like a Grandmaster, Hasbro, the toy and board game now owns Death Row Records, reducing a once revered and feared label to a collective of toy soldiers.

How did that happen?

According to James Rettig at Stereogum:

In a wild turn of events, Death Row Records is now owned by Hasbro, the gargantuan toy and board game company that is behind My Little Pony, Furby, Monopoly, G. I. Joe, and many more classic children’s enterprises. Death Row Records is, of course, the West Coast rap label that was founded in 1991 and put out major releases from Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and Tupac. Strange bedfellows!

Hasbro acquired the Canadian Studio One Entertainment for $4 billion. They owned the Peppa Pig and PJ Masks franchises.

Entertainment One had a valuable music division when they purchased the Death Row catalog in 2013 after its previous parent company went bankrupt.

They bought the label’s catalog for approximately $280 million in 2013, about seven years after Death Row declared bankruptcy.

in 2006, Death Row Records filed for bankruptcy. It was auctioned to Wideawake Entertainment for $18,000,000 on the 15th of January 2009.

The WIDEawake remit was to put out all unreleased Death Row material. Their chief aim was to put out all unreleased songs from the Death Row Vault . They also re-released and remastered classic Death Row material and made considerable money from the venture. 

It beggars belief that what was once a black owned label that made crazy money and had rap stars living five stars lives is no more in black hands but in the arms of a major toys and board company.

dre and suge

Death Row Records shot into public consciousness in 1992. It was a fledgling West Coast record label that was founded by the infamous Suge Knight and the famous and legendary Dr. Dre as depicted in the 2015 film Straight Outta Compton.

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It had only been established for a year when Dre’s The Chronic exploded on the scene and took over the streets of America and spread globally.

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Following the success of that album, Snoop Dogg and Tupac joined Death Row Records and with their considerable talents built the label into one of the most formidable recording labels at the time and made vast amounts of money.

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The Chronic’s success was quickly followed up by Snoop Doggy Dogg’s Doggystyle, Above The Rim, Murder Was the Case, Tha Dogg Pound – Dogg Food, 2Pac’s All Eyes On Me and Makaveli – The Don Killuminati: The 7 day Theory

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Those albums and many more that followed solidified Death Row Record’s reputation as one of the baddest rap and music labels of all time and probably the most notorious.

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Suge Knight, the co-founder, worked with some of the best rappers ever in the form of Pac, Dre, Kurupt, Daz Dilinger, M.C. Hammer, Nate Dogg, to name a few well known artists.

The downfall of Death Row Records was Suge’s temper and love for violence. It is no surprise though because the label was started with proceeds from violence.

The white musician known as Vanilla Ice who had a hit with Ice Ice baby, claims that Knight crashed into his hotel and took him onto the balcony by himself.

Suge allegedly implied he would throw Vanilla Ice over unless he complied and signed the rights of Ice Ice Baby to him.

That money helped to establish Death Row Records. The label would eventually make more than $400 million and end with it’s star dead, the business manager in jail and monies stolen by white businessmen.

In an ironic twist of fate, the money ended up where it started in white hands and they are enjoying the fruits of black labour as has been the case for the past centuries.

There is a lot to learn from the case of Death Row Records. It is an important case study in how not to run a business; how to manage your wealth, intellectual property, and why it is important to safeguard our legacies for the next generation.

But maybe the biggest lesson is that there are no guarantees in life and nothing lasts forever.

Despite the crazy monies Suge Knight made during the heyday of the Death Row Records and managing it’s back catalogue, his net worth today is about $500 thousand dollars.

For many of us, Death Row Records’ music was the backtrack to our youth and finding our feet in this world. We grew up fired by its artists and music. It is sad to see the label’s fall from grace from being a black icon to a white acquisition.

 

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August 24, 2019 · 1:41 pm

Sankara The Play Review: Echoes of The Coup That Wasn’t in Zimbabwe


Over the weekend, I attended the play Sankara that was showing at The Cockpit Theatre in Marlyebone in London.

external shot of The Cockpit Theater in Marlyebone in London courtesy of thegatvolblogger

Sankara was written and directed by Ricky Dujany. Dujany claims the inspiration for the play, which is basically the rise and fall of an Africa hero, was Shakespeare’s Julius Ceasar.

It is a timely reminder of the iconic African leader; his life, death, philosophy, principles and struggle against power, Western imperialism and international hypocrisy.

Sankara highlights the role of African leaders who come to power; do little to nothing to uplift their own people, protect Western interests at the expense of their own people and national interests;  their role in the continual subjugation and exploitation of their own nations and people.

external image of The Cockpit Theater in Marylebone in London showing posters of Thomas Sankara in the front window and at the entrance to the building

Sankara has all the hallmarks of a Shakespearean tragedy. However, the greatest tragedy is that this story is a real story inspired by actual events that are interwoven into the narrative by using dramatic devices such as audiovisual footage from the archives of history projected onto screens in the theatre to echoes of Sankara’s speeches from books like Thomas Sankara Speaks being recited by characters in the play.

Sankara is truly an African tragedy. It is the tragedy of Africa’s lost potential. It is the tragedy of Africa’s arrested development.

It is the tragedy of how those who have the genuine human, moral and political will to uplift the lives of Africans are murdered by the powers that be whose sole objective is to see Africa remain underdeveloped and subject to white interests.

From the outset of the play, we are reminded that Sankara came to power through a military coup – popular though it was – but a coup nevertheless.

a close up piccture of the poster of Sankara the play in the window of The Cockpit Theater in Marylebone in London advertising the play by Ricky Dujany. Picture taken by thegatvolblogger

It echoes recent developments in Zimbabwe in November 2017 that saw the ousting of Robert Mugabe through a coup that wasn’t a coup. It was a popular coup in the same way that The August Revolution was.

However, the similarities end there. The Zimbabwean coup lacks the moral backbone and the philosophical perspective of the Burkinabe Revolution. It was a reactionary move devoid of a sound political ideology.

Echoes of Sankara’s words in the play, “A soldier without any political or ideological training is a potential criminal”, resonates with developments in Zimbabwe and the actions or omissions of the miltary that seized power to consolidate it’s own interests, and create a mililtary state under the guise of preserving the legacy of the liberation struggle and entrenching democractic ideals.

In the play, the role of the military is a world away from the role of the military in Zimbabwe. Whereas, in The Burkinabe Revolution, the military was actively involved in working hand in hand with the people to build roads, the first international railway and other projects that developed the communities; the opposite is true in Zimbabwe.

The military has awarded itself all the positions of power in goverment and the public sector, and has limited involvement in helping to make the living conditions for the masses better in Zimbabwe.

In addition, they have made themselves king makers, the ultimate arbitrator of who has the right to lead Zimbabwe through the ballot or other means.

Reliving Sankara through the play reinforced the principles that he enshrined and lived by. His wit, charisma, humour and powers of mind were brilliantly captured in this three hour long production.

However, it is Sankara’s attitude towards debt that is truly at odds with the Zimbabwean leadership.

“Debt is aimed at subjugating the growth of Africa through foreign rules. Thus each one of us become a financial slave, which is to say a true slave.”

In the play, this quote above is brilliantly captured in the speech that Sankara made at the OAU meeting addressing the question of debt and creating a club of Addis Ababa for African leaders to address these pertinent questions that many African leaders are reluctant to address to this day.

It is ironic that it is also in this speech that Sankara reminds the seated leaders at this meeting that he might not be there next year because of his speech and that was eerily so.

In the play, as Sankara speaks, the footage at that meeting is projected on the screens making the scene eerily realistic.

When Sankara returns to Burkina Faso, he is asked how did things go. He responds that he expects the other African leaders to come out in support of him. However, the irony is that we know it is not going to happen and they are going to betray him.

Three months after that speech at the Organisation of African Unity headqurters on the 29th of July 1987, Thomas Sankara was assassinated.

One can sense the same betrayal happening to the masses in Zimbabwe who are waiting for the military that removed Mugabe to change things, but are in the process of making them financial slaves as they go globetrotting seeking loans and indebting the nation, and seeking re-entry or reengagement with the clubs that Sankara despised for their hypocrisy and robbing the people of the fruits of their hard labour.

It is also ironic how in one scene Sankara receives an official from the IMF who is seeking to get contracts signed off that will undermine the interests of the people and Sankara refuses on points of principle.

This official from the IMF appears in the play in different guises as different characters. He is like a recurring motif that reminds you of the many facets imperialisms manifests itself like a pest that leeches off its host.

However, in the Zimbabwe situation, the new president declared Zimbabwe is open for business, and is actively seeking to engage investors who may not have the interests of the people at heart but their own.

What is eerily unnerving is that the president has no known stance on imperialism as Sankara did. His political philosophy is opaque. He lacks the political and moral gravitas of Sankara.

And it is this stance above, that partially made Sankara the African hero transcend his continental limitations to become a global icon, embraced across the world for speaking to power not only on behalf of his own people but all oppressed people all over the world. Women included. Sankara’s feminist stance is well known and also well entrenched in the play and some of his revolutionary comrades react to it in quite humourous ways.

sankara actors gova media

From right to left: Yonka Awoni in green beret [Henry Zongo], Ike Chuks in red beret [Thomas Sankara], Chris Machari in blue beret [Blaise Compaore], Clovis Kasanda [Jean Lingani/ Charles Taylor]. Image belongs to Gova Media [https://www.govamedia.com/2018/04/04/theater-the-rise-fall-of-an-african-hero-play-written-directed-rickydujany/]

It is apparent that the Zimbabwe situation is devoid of a young, charismatic leader like Sankara who had the political will to carry out fundamental change as echoed in the play, “You cannot carry out fundamental change without a certain amount of madness”.

The late Thomas Sankara was instrumental in changing the mentality of his country, promoting work for everyone to build the nation’s first internatinal railway, refusing aid and debt, and coining the famous slogan “he who feeds you controls you”.

There are scenes that are brilliantly captured in the play that show there was an urgency in the way Sankara implemeted reforms such as nationalisation of land, empowerment of women, building houses, addressing hunger and solving the environmental crisis, education and vaccination programmes.

This urgency is absent in the Zimbabwean situation. That lack of urgency reinforces that Zimbabwe is most likely than not headed for gloom.

There will be no revolutionary programmes coming from the encumbent government because it is a government of reactionaries and a privileged elite who are similar to the ones Sankara and others unseated in the hope of liberating Burkina Faso.

It is this urgency above that allowed Sankara to make Burkina Faso self reliant within four years while other nations have failed to achieve a fraction of what he did in over three and a half decades plus more.

The greatest question many will have is does the play teach us anything new about Thomas Sankara. The answer is in the affirmative.

I will not spoil that by revealing all, but I can say that I have read a lot of books on Thomas Sankara, watched numerous documentaries and written a fair bit about him and still learnt something new that I did not know from the above.

Sankara also raises questions about the agency of Captain Blaise Compaoré. I am not sure if it is a question of Ricky Dujany employing poetic licence or he is aware of something that a lot of people are ignorant of. It is a strong possibility considering that he did his research for writing the play.

However, whether the wife of Captain Blaise Compaoré really did influence him to assassinate Sankara or not is questionable, but in my opinion it doesn’t absolve him from the ultimate act of betrayal as it appears to do in the play or undermine his own agency.

In conclusion, Sankara is a timely and honourable production. It is honest, brutal, well executed and sensitively handled. The players rose to the occassion and did such a historical narrative justice, bringing the play to a new audience who may not have known or heard anything about Sankara.

I was happy to see some parents bringing their children to watch this play because it is important that our children grow up knowing our history, and where we are coming from, and those Africans who gave their lives to liberating the continent.

I was not impressed by the accents in the play. There were times when you could hardly hear what the actors were saying because of the funny and inconsistent accents. They were not necessary especially when you have actors using English when we know that the real life characters communicated in French and local languages in Burkina Faso.

That is a minor criticism of the play. My disappointment is mainly reserved for those who did not turn out to support.

I watched over the past weeks as Black Panther trended on social media and it appeared like every black person went out to watch the movie yet those same people who became honorary Wakandaians were nowhere in sight.

It appears that our people are more in love with the hype of Hollywood and fictious heroes and seductive white naaratives about Africa than they are about the real thing, and they remain ignorant and oblivious of African history and embracing our own African heroes and narratives.

The ultimate question though is how will the Zimbabwean coup that wasn’t a coup end. Sankara reminds us that coups rarely end well. As a Zimbabwean, I wish that we are an exception to the rule though this may go against what I know or have observed through our history. There are exceptions to the rule. And maybe our coup that wasn’t might not end up in the same way as Sankara and be one of the most notable exceptions.

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April 10, 2018 · 5:49 pm

The poetry writing African President: Agostinho Neto


What does writing poetry and African presidency have in common? None. Unless you are Agostinho Neto. He was an acclaimed poet and the first African President of Angola.

I knew a bit about Neto and his role in the decolonisation of Africa. He was quite an exceptional leader in many ways. Not only did he become the first president of Angola in 1975, but he was also a medical doctor who specialised in gynaecology.

I only discovered it a few years ago that he was an acclaimed and published poet after stumbling on one of his few translated poems in the anthology The Heritage of African Poetry: An Anthology of Oral and Written Poetry edited by Isidore Okpewho.

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It is no ordinary anthology because it features some household names and the greatest African poets to grace the African continent. This includes heavyweights like Wole Soyinka, Kofi Awoonor, Christopher Okgibo, Leopold Sedar Senghor to mention a few.

To be published among such names speaks volumes about the nature of one’s work and the quality of it. You don’t get published among legends like that unless you are made of the same stuff.

It is probably little known that Neto was a poet because his work was not so easily accessible to those of us who cannot read or write Portuguese. But it is also not so well known that Neto, to this day, is one of Angola’s most acclaimed poet and writer. That is no easy feat.

Agostinho Neto was born in 1922 at Icola e Bengo in Angola. He studied medicine in Lisbon and Coimbra in Portugal and returned to practice in Angola.

neto and machel

He joined a movement for the discovery of indigenous Angolan culture. In 1960, was elected president of the MPLA [Movimento Popular da Libertação de Angola – People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola] which was a militant anti-colonial organisation. That year he was arrested and taken to jail in Portugal but escaped two years later.

After a protracted guerrilla struggle, he helped to establish the independence of Angola. He became it’s first president but died in 1980.

He published poetry in several Portuguese and Angolan publications and a volume entitled A Sagrada Esperanca (Sacred Hope).

neto and castro

There was little in Neto’s earlier life that indicated the direction of his later life. He was born in a Methodist family. His father was a Methodist pastor. We can interpret through the trajectories of what is known about him that his conception of serving his people was strongly influenced by his father and his exposure to the teachings of Christianity.

It was only when he was in Lisbon [Portugal] that his political activism became marked. He became friends with other future political and iconic figures such as Amilcar Cabral who I have written about and would leave a lasting legacy in Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde. This also included Marcelino dos Santos from Mozambique.

Dos Santos and Neto seemed to have more than politics in common. Dos Santos was also a poet and a revolutionary. After Neto was arrested and his friend Eduardo Mondlane also from Mozambique and a fellow comrade from FRELIMO moved to the United States, dos Santos moved to Paris where lived with other artists and writers and became associated with the literary magazine Présence Africaine.

Their friendship seemed to be destiny because they had so much in common and as leading intellectuals of their time, it was inevitable. What we don’t know is what role they had in each other’s poetry and if they read and critiqued each other’s work.

Somehow, Neto managed to juggle both his academic life and covert political activities. However, he was soon to learn that mixing politics and medicine had its consequences.

Agostinho-Neto dr

That came in 1960 when he was arrested for campaigning against the colonial administration of Portugal in Angola. When his family, friends, patients, supporters and empathisers and others marched to protest his arrest, the police fired at them. Consequently, thirty people were killed and about two hundred others were injured.

He was later exiled to Cape Verde where he wrote his second poetry publication. It is not clear if he was able to link up with the likes of Cabral in Cape Verde. It is always a possibility and it is also possible that he learned firsthand about their struggle and used it to forward his own political development.

Like Lumumba and Cabral, he sought assistance from the Americans but as usual, the Americans let him down and he enlisted the help of the Soviet Union and Cuba.

Unfortunately, Neto’s rule was not marked by peace. It was riddled by a civil war that was sponsored by foreign agents that were sponsoring sectarian violence and trying to destabilise the country.

neto and castro 2

His country was flanked by hostile territories. On one side was the FNLA supported by the dictator, Belgian and American puppet Mobutu Sese Seko who got into power through assassinating Patrice Lumumba and given free reign to terrorise his own people.

On the other side was Jonas Savimbi and his UNITA movement which was supported by the racist Apartheid government of South Africa that had no wish in seeing a thriving majority ruled African country because this would make the Africans at home want the same.

One of Neto’s lasting legacies to Angola was his invitation to westerners to invest in the oil industry. To this day, it happens to be one of Angola’s largest export and brings in the largest revenues. However, as in most African countries, the proceeds or these great repositories of wealth rarely filter to the people. They are monopolised by the leadership who enjoy the wealth and treat it as their own.

I guess you can do more research and fill the holes in the life of this remarkable leader. I set out to share this little bit of knowledge about him and his accomplishments.

I will leave you with a poem he wrote in 1954 and entitled Bamako. You can interpret it for yourself, not that it needs it.

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Bamako

Bamako!                                                                                                                                           Where the truth dropping on the leaf’s sheen                                                                         unites with the freshness of men                                                                                               like strong roots under the warm surface of the soil                                                             and where grow love and future                                                                                               fertilised in the generosity of the Niger                                                                                     shaded by the immensity of the Congo                                                                                       to the shim of the African breeze of hearts

Bamako!                                                                                                                                           there life is born                                                                                                                             and grows                                                                                                                                       and develops in us important fires of goodness

Bamako!                                                                                                                                           there are our arms                                                                                                                         there sound our voices                                                                                                                   there the shining hope in our eyes                                                                                             transformed into an irreproachable force                                                                               of friendship                                                                                                                                     dry the tears shed over the centuries                                                                                         in the slave Africa of other days                                                                                                 vivified the nourishing juice of fruit                                                                                           the aroma of the earth                                                                                                                   of which the sun discovers gigantic kilimanjaros                                                                   under the blue sky of peace.

Bamako!                                                                                                                                           living fruit of the Africa                                                                                                                 of the future germinating in the living arteries of Africa                                                       There hope has become tree                                                                                                         and river and beast and land                                                                                                       there hope wins friendship                                                                                                           in the elegance of the palm and the black skin of men

Bamalko! there we vanquish death                                                                                     and the future grows – grows in us                                                                                           in the irresistible force of nature and life                                                                           with us alive in Bamako.

 

 

 

 

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July 4, 2017 · 4:32 pm

30 Kwame Nkrumah’s Quotes from Class Struggle In Africa: Saluting An African Revolutionary


Kwame Nkrumah was a Ghanaian nationalist leader who led Ghana, formerly the Gold Coast, to independence from Britain. This post explores Kwame Nkrumah quotes I pulled from one of sixteen books, Class Struggle in Africa, he wrote.

You can skip the pursuing paragraphs which place Nkrumah in context to access the quotes below.

Nkrumah first became Prime Minister of the Gold Coast in 1951; he  led it to independence in 1957 when he also became the first Prime Minister of an independent Ghana. In 1960, the country became a republic and he became the president.

On a state visit to Hanoi in February 1966, Nkrumah was overthrown by a coup led by the reactionary forces within Ghana. They were assisted by their imperialist and neo-colonialist masters pulling the strings behind the scenes.

Nkrumah was later to write in Class Struggle in Africa, “Imperialist aggression has expressed itself not only in coups d’état, but in the assassination of revolutionary leaders, and the setting up of new intelligence organisations”.

Front cover of the book Class Struggle in Africa written by Kwame Nkrumah

His experience taught him a lot of things that ordinary people were unaware of. His experience permeates the texts he writes and this is what makes his testimonies so powerful.

His words would became true in the assassination and murder of revolutionaries like Thomas Sankara from Burkina Faso in 1987 and Samora Machel, leader of Mozambique in 1986 to mention a few.

Patrice Lumumba from the Democratic Republic of Congo was long gone by then, killed like the latter two for his anti-imperialist views, and will to uphold the will of his countrymen while refusing to be a puppet of the agents of imperialism.

Fleet Street and the western media and other media outlets demonised Nkrumah, creating fictions that he was a dictator and his rule was becoming authoritarian to justify the coup in support of his political enemies, the reactionaries, who were nothing more than mere puppets in the whole charade.

Nkrumah was a threat to their interests and cut a lonely figure, a voice crying in the wilderness, denouncing neocolonialism and imperialism and calling for the expulsion of the European powers from Africa, and the Unification of Africa into a single state under a socialist government as he spells out in the video clip below.

He was a threat to the neo-colonialist and imperialist ambitions and interests of the west; especially, as he was turning more and more towards the east, China, Russia and other socialist countries.

The western powers couldn’t afford to lose their lucrative share of Ghana’s diamonds, gold and cocoa. They couldn’t let Nkrumah influence other African countries to follow his lead.

The European powers were at war trying to maintain their stranglehold on Africa’s resources. America was using the United Nations to force the European powers to release their stranglehold on Africa so it could get a slice of the cake.

Therefore, he was a threat to their colonial, neocolonial and imperialist ambitions and interests. Nkrumah was a dangerous man. His ideas were dangerous.

The Americans were not happy with him for trying to create a government that was against their interests. They were even more afraid of other African governments which might have been encouraged to follow Nkrumah’s lead.

In addition, Nkrumah’s material and financial support for liberation movements fighting the white minority and colonial regimes in Africa made him a figure who had to go.

Therefore, they used the reactionary forces to get him out of power and continue their monopoly of Ghana’s valuable resources.

Nkrumah spent the last six years of his life as co-president of Guinea where his friend Sekou Toure invited him to partner him.

He also spent time writing books such as Class Struggle in Africa published in 1970 and others.

During that time, he also founded PANAF BOOKS. It came about after the two publishers who had previously published his work refused to publish his books after his fall from grace.

The political motivation was evident: Nkrumah understood better that this was an attempt to silence him and his ideology. He was also able to buy the previous books before they were turned into pulp and all his ideas killed.

Fortunately for us, these books and Panaf Books are still around continuing where he left off.

Nkrumah published about 16 books during his life. Only two of these: Revolutionary Path and Rhodesia File were published posthumously in 1972 by the company he set up. All sixteen books are available through Panaf Books.

I am sure there are numerous other books out there, volumes about Nkrumah’s speeches, and many others inspired by the great man.

Nkrumah died in exile and he never set foot in his Ghana again. There are many around, those close to him, who maintain that Nkrumah was murdered: his death was unnatural as the speech below, Cancer of Betrayal, by Amilcar Cabral spells out.

However, time has been kind to him. Time has absolved him of all the accusations made by his detractors.

Time has restored him as the great man he was. He is remembered as the firebrand of African liberation.  Today, those people who overthrew him hail him as the greatest man in Ghana.

They in turn have since sunk into oblivion. Across Africa he is revered as an international symbol for freedom. His ideology for a United Africa lives in the hearts and minds of true African Revolutionaries.

Nkrumah was central to the founding of the Organisation of African Unity and his support for the liberation movements striving to free themselves from the colonial powers during the decolonisation of the continent made him a hero right across Africa and the Black Diaspora.

Those who have tried to push his visions for a United Africa like Colonel Muammar Gaddafi or Robert Mugabe are either murdered by the imperialist powers or demonised.

Nkrumah’s ideology continues to live in young and old across Africa and the Black Diaspora.

His words remain relevant to an awakening generation of revolutionaries. This is why I have taken the time to share 30 of his quotes below from Class Struggle in Africa. Enjoy.

  1. Workers are workers, and nationality, race, tribe and religion are irrelevancies in the struggle to achieve socialism.
  2. In Africa there should be no African “alien”. All are Africans. The enemy-wall to be brought down and crushed is not the African “alien” worker but Balkanisation and the artificial territorial boundaries created by imperialism.
  3. It is the task of the African urban proletariat to win the peasantry to revolution by taking the revolution to the countryside.
  4. It is the indigenous bourgeoisie who provide the main means by which international monopoly finance continues to plunder and to frustrate the purposes of the African Revolution.
  5. The exposure and the defeat of the African bourgeoisie, therefore, provides the key to the successful accomplishment of the worker-peasant struggle to achieve total liberation and socialism, and to advance the cause of the entire world socialist revolution.
  6. Colonialism, imperialism and neocolonialism are expressions of capitalism and of bourgeois economic and political aspirations.
  7. There is not one country in Africa today where the political consciousness of the worker-peasant class has resulted in the establishment of of a socialist state.
  8. The worker-peasant class even though it has assisted in the winning of independence, has not yet assumed leadership in Africa as a conscious class. Closeup picture of Kwame Nkrumah and his book entitled I Speak Of Freedom. The quote superimposed over his face reads,
  9. Imperialist aggression has expressed itself not only in coups d’état, but in the assassination of revolutionary leaders, and the setting up of new intelligence organisations.
  10. As long as African States continue to be dependent in any degree for training, and for arms and supplies on capitalist sources, the African Revolution is in jeopardy.
  11. Historically, professional armies of the capitalist world have a tradition of suppression of socialist and revolutionary movements. They are the instruments of the ruling class or classes for maintaining bourgeois power.
  12. There is little justification for the enormous sums of money spent on the armies of Africa. Africa is not threatened territorially by any outside power. The border disputes which exist between certain African States, most of them legacies from the colonial period, are all capable of peaceful resolution.
  13. Inequality can only be ended by the abolition of classes.
  14. Ideologies reflect class interests and class consciousness. Liberalism, individualism, elitism, and bourgeois “democracy” – which is an illusion – are examples of bourgeois ideology. Fascism, imperialism, colonialism, and neo-colonialism are also expressions of bourgeois thinking and of bourgeois political and economic aspirations.
  15. Those who for political reasons pay lip service to socialism, while aiding and abetting imperialism and neocolonialism, serve bourgeois interests. Workers and peasants may be misled for a time, but as class consciousness develops the bogus socialists are exposed, and genuine socialist revolution is made possible.
  16. The principles of scientific socialism are universal and abiding, and involve the genuine socialisation of productive and distributive processes. Picture of Kwame Nkrumah waving at the masses at a stadium. The quote superimposed on the picture reads “And my last warning to you is that you are to  stand firm behind us so that we can prove to the world that when the African is given a chance, he can show the world that he is somebody!”
  17. For race is inextricably linked with class exploitation, in a racist-capitalist power structure, capitalist exploitation and race oppression are complementary; the removal of one ensures the removal of the other.
  18. A non-racial society can only be achieved by socialist revolutionary action of the masses. It will never come as a gift of the minority ruling class.
  19. Elitism is an ideology tailor-made to fit capitalism and bourgeois de facto domination in the capitalist society. Furthermore, it intensifies racism, since it can be used to subscribe to the myth of racial superiority and inferiority.
  20. In general, intellectuals with working class origins tend to be more radical than those from the privileged sectors of society.
  21. Intelligentsia and intellectuals, if they are to play a part in the African Revolution, must become conscious of the class struggle in Africa, and align themselves with the oppressed masses. This involves the difficult, but not impossible, task of cutting themselves free from bourgeois attitudes and ideologies imbibed as a result of colonialist education and propaganda.
  22. Socialist revolutionary struggle, whether in the form of political, economic or military action, can be ultimately effective if it is organised, and it has its roots in the class struggle of workers and peasants.
  23. The total liberation and the unification of Africa under an All-African socialist government must be the objective of all Black revolutionaries throughout the world.
  24. The core of the Black Revolution is in Africa, and until Africa is united under a socialist government, the Black man throughout the world lacks a national home. Picture of a portrait of Kwame Nkrumah on the front cover of Time Magazine. A quote beside the picture reads,
  25. It is around the African peoples’ struggles for liberation and unification that African or Black culture will take shape and substance.
  26. The African Revolution is not an isolated one. It not only forms part of the world socialist revolution, but must be seen in the context of the Black Revolution as a whole.
  27. Socialism can only be achieved through class struggle.
  28. In Africa, the internal enemy – the reactionary bourgeoisie – must be exposed as exploiters and parasites, and as collaborators with imperialists and neo-colonialists on whom they largely depend for the maintenance of their positions of power and privilege.
  29. The rural proletariat are workers in the Marxist sense of the word. They are part of the working class and the most revolutionary of the African rural strata.
  30. The basis of a revolution is created when the organic structure and conditions within a given society have aroused mass consent and mass desire for positive action to change or transform that society.

I hope you enjoyed those quotes and found them not only interesting but enlightening and they inspire you to know more about Kwame Nkrumah. Keep your eyes open for my book review of Class Struggle in Africa by Kwame Nkrumah coming soon.

If you want your copy of the books or others by him, you can order from Panaf Books. Follow the link.

2 Comments

June 26, 2015 · 4:25 pm

Thoughts about my motherland


Sometimes I wonder when I see the fat cats looting the coffers of our nations to line up their greasy pockets, using their struggle credentials to monopolise and misappropriate national resources for their bloodlines, what is the future  for my motherland.

Sometimes I wonder when I see the future of Africa drowning in the ocean off the coasts of Europe, fleeing the motherland to lands unknown, in search of a better life far from the dehumanising poverty many have been reduced to, what is the future  for my motherland.

It strikes me then that some animals, not in the Animal Farm sense, but literally that some animals in Africa enjoy better living standards than human beings. They have better access to health. They have better access to housing. They have better access to water and sanitation.

They have better access to security and protection. They have passports and don’t have to walk thousands of miles across arid deserts, risking their lives crossing treacherous oceans in search of greener pastures.

How is it that an animal can have more rights and protection than man? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe animals shouldn’t be protected or have some rights, but I don’t believe they should enjoy better privileges than human beings.

Sometimes I wonder when I see the violence and terrorism unleashed on my people by those with their twisted holy wars, crusades and xenophobic impulses snuff out fruitful lives casually like a man putting out a candle flame between his fingers, what is the future for my motherland.

Image of Patrice Lumumba with the quote which reads “The colonialists care nothing for Africa for her own sake. They are attracted by African riches and their actions are guided by the desire to preserve their interests in Africa against the wishes of the African people. For the colonialists all means are good if they help them to possess these riches.”

Sometimes I wonder, I dream, about what heights Africa would have risen to if Patrice Lumumba, Samora Machel, Kwame Nkrumah, Amilcar Cabral, Thomas Sankara, Steve Biko, Robert Sobukwe, Herbert Chitepo, Dr. Samuel Parirenyatwa, and Mwalimu Julius Nyerere were steering this mighty vessel, The Motherland, towards The Promised Land – the United States of Africa.

It’s at times like this I realise that there is a dearth of leadership. Everytime we talk about African leaders, we don’t talk about the living because we cannot find one leader living today worth talking about or looking up to.

We keep turning back to the past and talking about leaders who are no longer present, and died decades ago, but whose influence is sorely missed today.

In the absence of great leaders, I conclude, it is up to us, the small people, to unite and fight for what is rightfully ours. That is our future, an equal slice of the economic cake, prosperity and a better life.

This cannot become a reality while the hawks of imperialism and neocolonialism are circling the continent in search for rich and easy pickings, robbing us from the food right from our mouths.

Image of Steve Biko taken from his book I Write What I Like. The accompanying quote reads, African unity is not a concept that should remain a dream but it should become a reality because that is where our salvation lies. We cannot do it alone as individuals but as a collective.

Therefore, we, Africans, have nothing to lose but our colonial and neocolonial shackles. We have a motherland overflowing with diamonds, cobalt, gold, uranium, milk, honey and every thing else a people could ever need. Africans of all nations, all ethnic groups unite and reclaim what is rightfully yours.

Homeland or death, we will win comrades! Aluta Continua!

Thomas Sankara 8

3 Comments

May 2, 2015 · 1:40 pm

Burkina Faso Sanctions Threat


The struggle for the Burkinabe continues. I believe they deserve our support in every way in their ongoing struggle against tyrants and rogues.

via Burkina Faso Sanctions Threat.

3 Comments

November 9, 2014 · 3:27 pm

Burkina Faso Sanctions Threat



Burkina Faso protesters

The African Union has threatened to impose sanctions on Burkina Faso if the military doesn’t hand over power to civilian rule within two weeks.

However, Burkina Faso‘s military leader, Issac Zida dismisses African Union intervention preferring stability.

The military led by Zida agreed on elections next year but hasn’t agreed on an interim leader.

This seems to be a ploy for these counter revolutionary forces to reverse the gains of the popular uprising that led to Blaise Compaore resigning after 27 years and fleeing to Ivory Coast.

Lt Col Zida retorted, “we are not afraid of sanctions.”

This suits his plans as the interim leader to buy time to regroup and consolidate power while re-strategising Compaore’s stunned counter revolutionary forces.

A quick and efficient hand over to the Burkinabe is in the interests of those who kicked Compaore out of power.

Zida’s comments that the military “care more about stability than the AU’s threats” hints at how far the military is prepared to dig its heels into the ground to do what it needs to do to protect their interests and sacrifice the gains made by the popular uprising.

Burkinabe protesters

The military are taking advantage of the impasse between the political parties about who should be the interim leader. It is surprising that they pushed so far without having made that crucial decision.

I assume the results of the popular uprising took them by surprise too. They never expected to find themselves in the position they are in now. They seem to be suffering stage fright and indecision after coming to terms with reality.

It is no surprise the military are taking advantage of the confusion in the civilian camp. It is a basic rule of the art of war.

However, the political parties are clear on one thing: they don’t want Blaise  Compaore‘s  former governing party to be involved in the ongoing discussions. I wouldn’t want them too.

Lt Col Zida was previously second in command of the presidential guard: that would put him in the latter camp the political parties don’t want in the discussions.

Lt Col Issac Zida

The Burkinabe have been very vocal and they are still protesting because they want civilian rule. Therefore, it is imperative the army respects the will of the people because they will not rest until their demands are met.

ECOWAS, the West African regional body discouraged the international community from imposing sanctions on Burkina Faso. They are optimistic their mediation efforts led by Senagelese President Macky Sall can achieve an equally agreeable solution.

He was party to the three man team that traveled to Ouagadougou this week to engage in talks which secured the one year transition agreement.

However, I believe any means that force the military to hand over power soon shouldn’t be discouraged. It is in the best interests of the Burkinabe and long term future of Burkina Faso.

Various parties are engaged in ongoing talks to agree on a civilian interim leader.

The AU sanctions could include:

  • a travel ban on military officials.
  • suspension from the union.

However, we have to question their efficacy and whether they serve as a deterrent. They don’t sound like much of a deterrent to a desperate regime.

Burkinabe protesters

Burkina Faso‘s constitution states that the head of the National Assembly should take office if the president resigns. Considering that the resignation wasn’t exactly done through constitutional means, it is pointless sticking to the letter of the law.

It is better to abide by the spirit of the  Burkinabe. The head of the National Assembly is part of Compaore’s inner clique, therefore, the constitution is better observed in the breach than in the observance.

The Burkinabe have come too far to resort to the constitution that was an instrument used to oppress them. They have dared to invent the future by shunning the old formulas and choosing the way of mad men.

It is the mad men who normally shape the future and change the world. I want to be one of those men.

The struggle for the Burkinabe continues. I believe they deserve our support in every way in their ongoing struggle against tyrants and rogues.

The latest Burkinabe uprising forms part of a longer history of mass public protests. Burkina Faso is a nation with a very active and strong civil society.

This bodes well in their determination to build a democracy that reflects their aspirations and vision for the future.

Burkinabe protesters

Slowly but surely, mass demonstrations and coups have subtly changed the nature of Burkinabe society. They have forced various regimes to change their policies or make concessions to appease the people.

Thomas Sankara’s revolution remains the most popular example. Its impact spread far beyond the borders of Burkina Faso. Its influence continues to raise the consciousness of Africans and other nations across the world.

Sankara’s Revolution brought with it enormous changes that transformed the socioeconomic structures, cultural practices, women’s liberation and political consciousness.

Democracies by nature are not apocalyptic. Democracies are not the result of philanthropy or enlightenment. Rather, they are the net sum of humanity’s struggle against tryanny and power.

Therefore, they are always evolving. Peaceful, unlawful or violent movements have being at the center of challenging and upsetting the status quo. Sometimes external forces have influenced the outcome of democracies via covert or overt means.

Democracies are built over time. They are shaped by local trade unions, political, individual, civic society, peasant and women’s struggles.

Burkina Faso provides the perfect case study to observe how localised struggles shape a democracy.

Democracy can’t be imported and uploaded into a political system like you upload software into a computer’s hard drive and expect it to operate smoothly.

When a democracy is shaped by local struggles it reflects a local character.

Therefore, an African democracy  should reflect an African character.

Burkinabe protesters

Western democracy works for them because it was shaped over centuries by various struggles in their respective countries which is why their democracies function differently, reflecting their unique characteristics. No two democracies are ever the same.

The greatest mistake Africans ever made was to stop struggling after independence, expecting politicians and others to develop democratic institutions and society. That goes against the development of a democracy.

Consequently, politicians and leaders took advantage of the apathy of the masses to protect their own interests. They developed or retained structures that protected their own interests.

The socialist ideals they preached before independence were forgotten once they became enamoured by the trappings of capitalism.

Therefore, it is essential to reawaken the struggle mentality in Africa to shape the democracy Africans desire.

The Burkinabe are leading in this regard and daring to invent the society they want to live in where they are free and able to realise the envisioned self.

Burkinabe women protesting

For now, it is the military versus the people. I believe the will of the people will triumph no matter what the military try to do to frustrate the people’s aspirations and dreams for the future to determine their destiny.

For once, I commend the African Union’s proactive decision to preempt the situation. It is surprising because they are normally reactive and tend to protect one another hence earning the moniker the Dictator’s Club.

Let us keep our fingers crossed they don’t let the people down.

Aluta Continua! Viva Revolution!

1 Comment

November 8, 2014 · 8:44 pm