Originality vs Nationality - Afri-centric Analysis: Updated
By Dr. Kwame Nantambu
December 19, 2011
As the UN-sponsored "International Year for People of African Descent" (2011) gradually comes to an end, historiography suggests that Afrikan people must deal with these fundamental questions: "Who am I here and now?" "Am I all I can be?" "Am I really who i am?" (and) "Why am I here?"
In this specific regard, people of Afrikan descent need to confront the issues of originality versus nationality. For "a people limited in their viewpoint and without a collective vision, going into the 21st century will indeed perish."
As deceased Afri-centric African-American scholar/historian Dr. John Henrik Clarke opines: "There is no solution for Afrikan people, except for some form of Pan Afrikan Nationalism, no matter how you cut it. No matter what island you're from, no matter what state you're from, no matter what religion you belong to, we must develop a concept of Pan Afrikan Nationalism that cuts across all religious, political, social, fraternity, sorority lines and allows us to proudly face the world as one people."
And as the deceased Afrikan-Trinbagonian, Pan-Afrikanist Kwame Ture once warned: "If you don't know who you are, you would not know what your interests are."
The fact of the matter is that a people without a sense of history are ill-equipped to visualize and plan a future because of an unclear and distorted/mis-educated picture of their past. A people without the knowledge of "having done" will have grave difficulty acknowledging the motivation of "can do."
In essence, originality refers to our inherited Afrikanness; it is a gift from Mother Africa - "the cradle of civilization." It also represents 99.9 per cent of the totality of the history of Afrikan people on the planet.
On the other hand, nationality is an accident of birth; it is a direct result of the European enslavement of Afrikan people or the European slave trade. It represents an indictment from Father Europe. Furthermore, it also represents only 0.1 per cent of the totality of the history of African people on the planet.
In other words, the only reason why Afrikans here are Trinbagonians is simply because their European slave ship landed and unloaded their forefathers on the plantations in Trinidad and Tobago. That's it, period. Ergo, their nationality is a mere accident because if their European slave ship had landed and unloaded their forefathers on plantations in another Caribbean country, then, they would have a different nationality today.
The stark historical reality is that Afrika is our Home, our Originality; Trinidad and Tobago is our Destination, our Nationality. As such, the descendants of our Afrikan forefathers are Afrikan-Trinbagonians, period. The ahistorical, Euro-centric label "Afro-Trinbagonian" does not apply. It does not even compute. We are Afrikans, period.
Our Afrikan forefathers were brought from the Continent of Afrika. According to the annals of world history, there has never been a Continent named "Afro" or Afro-Land. We are Afrikans first---our Orignality, then, we have been transformed into being Trinbagonians, Jamaicans, Cubans, Brazilians, etc., by accident--- our Nationality.
Indeed, let the historical world record validate the fact that in the B.C. era., Afrika was known as the "Land of the spiritual people", as in Originality; however, in the A.D, era of Nationality, Afrika has now been transformed into the "Land of the religious people."
Ergo, it is totality Euro-centric for any Trinbagonian/West Indian historian turned politician to announce publicly on 31st August 1962 that: "There can be no Mother India for those whose ancestors came from India. There can be no Mother Africa for those of African origin and there can be no Mother Syria or no Mother Lebanon. A nation, like an individual, can only have one Mother. The only Mother is T&T and Mother cannot discriminate between her children."
This Afri-centric writer prefers to let readers deal with/assess the afore-mentioned Euro-centric , Oxford University driven Euro-centric garbage.
Truth be told: In the B.C. era of Originality, Afrikans were powerful and Europeans were powerless. Afrika (as in ancient Kemet/Egypt) was the Subject of world history while Europe was the Object of world history. Conversely, in the A.D. era of Nationality, Afrikans are powerless and Europeans are powerful. Afrika is the Object of world history while Europe is now the Subject of world history. Furthermore, as "part of the manifestation of the evil genius of Europe", Europeans have not only colonized the world, but more viciously, they have also colonized/Europeanized information about the world, including the Afrikan concept of God. Ipso facto, for the past five hundred years and counting, world scholarship, albeit Euro-centric global mis-education, has been governed under the rubric of His-Story.
Nevertheless, as the Afri-centric Afrikan-American scholar/historian Dr. Marimba Ani correctly admonishes: "You're not an Afrikan because you're born in Africa. You're an Afrikan because Afrika is born in you. It's in your genes, your DNA, your entire biological make-up. Whether you like it or not, that's the way it is. Indeed, if (Afrikan-Trinbagonians) were to embrace this truth with open arms my, my, my what a wonderful thing (that would be)."
In the final analysis, it is to be hoped that the descendants of those Afrikans who were enslaved on the plantations in Trinidad and Tobago would internalize their Afrikanness and begin to refer to themselves as Afrikan-Trinbagonian from 2012, ad infinitum. If this Afri-centric turnabout does not become a reality, then, the celebration of 2011 as the "International Year for People of African Descent" would just tantamount to a colossal exercise in historical - ancestral futility.
As the adage strongly asserts, whatever "circumscribes the circumference of your mind, controls the diameter of your thinking." Now is the time for Afrikan- Trinbagonians to think, act and live out Afrika, 24-7-365.
In the words of the Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey: "A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots."
"Afrikans of the world unite; we have nothing to loose but our minds."
Shem Hotep (" I go in peace").
Dr. Kwame Nantambu is a part-time lecturer at Cipriani College of Labour and Co-operative Studies.
Nantambu's Homepage / Trinicenter Home