bring you warm greetings from the Kwame Nkrumah Ideological Institute (KNII),
the National Joint-Action Front composed of the Social Justice Movement, People’s
Democratic Movement and the Osagyefo Youth Movement.
pay tribute to our late Comrade Percy Ngonyama of the Mzala Nxumalo Centre and
other progressive colleagues of the Pan-African revolutionary struggle who have
also passed on to glory. May their souls rest in perfect peace, for their labour
and sacrifices shall not be in vain.
a determined progressive force, we are connected by one aspiration and dream; the
common aspiration of a just world of equal opportunity and the dream of power
becoming the common business of all of society. In Durban, we have come with a common voice to
contribute and share our thoughts in this 1st African Marxist
Conference and on the topic of African Socialism in relation to the African
conception of land and labour built over centuries through inter-communal
relationships, mutual assistance and that sense of duty of care which birthed a
unique system of mutual co-existence.
Marxist socialist philosophy, which found resonance in trade union movements, came
out of the industrial revolution’s mode of economic production and commercial
exchanges as defined by class differences. The contest between the exploiter
and the exploited, oppressor and the oppressed, the bourgeoisie and the
proletariat intensified with the final quest to establish a socialist society
to improve the conditions of every member of society. Currently, most socialist
theories have evolved around the classical works of Karl Marx.
long before the emergence of intellectual classical Marxist socialism on the
African continent there was in motion an egalitarian socioeconomic order. This socioeconomic
order built on the theme of work and happiness ensured that in a moderate rural
environment one was the other’s keeper and they treated each other with empathy.
This socioeconomic order based on collective responsibility to the land and the
common application of labour came to define the identity and character of the
African in the fraternal use of natural resources to produce for use and
surplus to generate wealth. Communal life therefore taxed itself to providing
the essential needs such as food, clothes and shelter as outlined in classical
to Casely Hayford, “Before even the British came into relations with our
people, we were a developed people, having our own institutions, having our own
ideas of Government…”.
the Bible, the book of the Prophet Isaiah, describes Africa as “the land
shadowing with wings; that is hidden in the midst of all knowledge”.
to colonization, Africa’s statecraft and governance system, as an expression of
the direct will of the people, guaranteed the security and safety of all of
sense of duty of care ensured that the disadvantaged and less privileged in
society were duly provided for. Social order therefore rested on the orderly
organization and management of the material conditions of life in the
collective interest. The discipline of the individual and their respective
labour was at the core of this social order but the security and progress of the
individual rested on that sense of responsibility to the common good, welfare
and security of the community. The adage that a straw on its own is weak but
tens of straws bonded together is strong holds so true here.
the bonds that held Africans together got fractured by the encounter with Islam
and Christianity some of the validating practices do exist in some parts of the
continent. For example, the Mole Dagbana jurisdictional area of West Africa,
tracing its roots from the 8th to 16th century Ghana/Mali
empires, are found engaged in social
activities that foster peaceful co-existence. These strong cultural expressions
are supported by effective conflict resolution mechanisms which have stood the
test of time. In Mali, there exist the practice whereby when there is great
tension and potential conflict is brewing the leading parties are gathered in a
purposefully built meeting room where the ceiling is about a meter and a half
high forcing all participants to crouch or sit in lotus position. If you are
angry and agitated it is you who will knock your head at the ceiling. You will
quickly learn to compose yourself and participate constructively. And no one is
let out until a resolution is arrived at.
ethnic groups like the Frafras interplay with Dagabas in Ghana. Frafras and Dagabas working in the urban
areas, as a yearly custom, organize fun games to strengthen ties and entertain
themselves. The same exercises take place between the Moshies predominantly of
Burkina Faso interplaying with the Dagombas and Mamprusis of Ghana. The Gonjas
do the same with the Kassenas, Sissalas, Chokosis, Builsas and Bimobas, while
the Kusasis engage with the Nabdams among others. These traditional and
cultural activities enrich socialist practice and reinforce Marxist teaching.
is an expression of our One Humanity and so is the concept of African Socialism
which is scientific socialism within an African context. Every child born of
the earth, our Mother Earth, is by right entitled to live, grow and prosper on
the land. The land as our all-giving and all-protective mother could not be
owned. The land was common to all and all of society had the inalienable right
to eat from the land by their own labour. That sense of One Humanity was
therefore shaped by the value and meaning of land and the application of one’s
labour to produce and distribute and exchange surplus to fulfil a social
purpose. The generated surplus in in exchange defines capital in relation to
land and labour without which capital has no existence on its own.
and its accumulation therefore had a social purpose in the African social
context. Capital could therefore not be alienated from the land and labour as
the three are the force of wealth generation. As an individual therefore your
humanity is defined by your sense of responsibility to the common good of the
society you belong to and also to one another. I therefore exist because of you
and you exist because of me.
is with such humanistic philosophy of life that Africa confronted or dealt with
outsiders who were welcomed to our shores by our ancestors with open arms and
shared and traded with these visitors who later became invaders, conquerors,
colonisers and our living nightmare.
our Glorious Ancestors realised the intentions of the invaders we resisted and
have continued to resist and our gathering here is a continuum of that spirit
of resistance to the doctrine and practice of the exploitation of man by man
and the inhumanity of man towards another. Such is the nexus of Marxism and
Many African politicians of the late
1950s and 1960s advanced the concept of African socialism, although definitions
and interpretations of this term varied considerably. In 1956 an influential publication on African
socialism, LES MASSES AFRICAINES ET L’ACTUELLE CONDITION HUMAINE, was released
by the Senegalese intellectual AbdoulayeLy. Ly argued that the way out of the degrading conditions of the African
masses was the continued research and development of the African communal way
of life to compete on equal terms with the West.
Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Modibo
Keita of Mali, Léopold Senghor of Senegal, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Kenneth
Kaunda of Zambia, Milton Obote of Uganda and Sékou Touré of Guinea, were the
main architects of African Socialism according to William H. Friedland and Carl
G. Rosberg Jr., editors of the book African Socialism. Senghor claimed that
“Africa’s social background of tribal community life does not only makes
socialism natural to Africa but excludes the validity of the theory of class
struggle,” thus making African socialism, in all of its variations,
different from Marxism and European socialist theory.
President Senghor of Senegal stands
out among the statesmen of Africa not only for his literary achievements and
his political acumen, but also for having made major contributions toward the
emergent doctrine of African Socialism. Senghor’s reflections on that subject
are based on his emotional and intellectual commitment to African values and
realities, and on a thorough investigation of western and communist thinkers.
The result is an amalgam aimed at serving the future of Africa.
Julius Nyerere, who wrote
extensively on African socialism in his many books borrowed heavily from Marx
but based his classics on African conditions and needs. The
Arusha declaration of 1967, a development blueprint by “Mwalimu” (teacher)
Nyerere, brought to the fore, the principle of Ujamaa (extended family or
family-hood in Swahili). Ujamaa was the practice of African socialism based on
the understanding and appreciation of African traditional systems, where villages
worked and lived happily together for the common good in line with the
socialist maxim that “from each according to his ability, to each according to
his need and a person becomes a person through the people or community”.
relied on an aggressive “Villagisation” programme, relocating millions of
Tanzanians into government created “Villages” to form a unified and egalitarian
society in a Nation with 140 tribes and significant Muslim and Christian
influence but harmoniously co-existing. Nyerere, who was a committed Catholic
Christian, worked hard and by 1972, brought the Christian community to support
Ujamaa, thereby succeeding in unifying Tanzanian with advances in universal
health and education provision and delivery.
The institutionalisation of social,
economic, and political equality through the creation of a central democracy;
the abolition of discrimination based on ascribed status; and the nationalisation
of the economy’s key sectors came to define Tanzania. The “villagisation” of
production, essentially collectivised all forms of local productive capacity.
Tanzanian self-reliance was fostered through the transformation of economic and
cultural attitudes. Economically,
everyone would work for both the group and for him/herself. Culturally,
Tanzanians must learn to free themselves from dependence on European
powers. For Nyerere, this included
Tanzanians learning to do things for themselves and learning to be satisfied
with what they could achieve as an independent state. The implementation of
free and compulsory education for all Tanzanians was to sensitize them to the
principles of Ujamaa. Added to these was the creation of a proud Tanzanian
through the adoption of Kiswahili as the national language and a highly
politicized and disciplined national army.
Julius Nyerere’s leadership of
Tanzania commanded international attention and attracted worldwide respect for
his consistent emphasis upon ethical principles as the basis of practical
policies. Tanzania under Nyerere made great strides in vital areas of social
development where infant mortality was reduced; life expectancy as well as
primary school enrollment soared.
Kwame Nkrumah the first prime
minister and president of Ghana was determined to build a socialist society,
one that was Ghanaian in character and African in outlook, and he frequently
spoke of the evils of “Neo-colonialism.” Nkrumah looked with
disdain upon the export of raw materials to industrialized nations. He
described the trade in cocoa as contaminated by capitalism.
Kwame Nkrumah established an
Ideological Institute to train Ghanaian civil servants and beginning from 1964
all students entering university colleges were required to attend a two-week
“ideological orientation” at the Institute. Nkrumah advised that trainees
at the Institute should be made to recognise the party’s scientific socialism
ideology as a religion which should be practiced faithfully and fervently.
a letter dated 4th December 1966, written to his publisher, June
Milne, Osaygefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah said “I am a Marxist and Scientific
Socialist. But I don’t consider myself
in this particular sense a Leninist.
Leninism is an application of Marxism to the Russian milieu. But the Russian milieu is not the same as the
Africa milieu. What I am trying to do is to apply Marxism-Scientific Socialism
to the African situation, in order words, to the African milieu. And here the question of communism comes in –
whether I am a communist or not, I am a scientific socialist, a Marxist and if that
is tantamount to being a Communist then I am.
not a Communist of the Marxist-Leninist type.”
Wednesday, 11th March, 1964, Nkrumah’s government launched its Seven
(7) Years Economic Development Plan to consolidate Ghana as a socialist state with
full responsibility for the promotion of the well-being of the people. According
to Nkrumah, a socialist Ghana must also secure for every citizen at the
earliest possible date, an adequate level of education and nutrition and a
satisfactory standard of clothing, housing and leisure.
in its application demands a very different kind of planning and economic
structure from the type which was evolved by the colonial administration. The
Pan –African socialist outlook of the Nkrumah Government also relied on the
past achievements of African civilizations in order to construct a modern
egalitarian continental society where the rich and endowed states will share
wealth with the lesser endowed to advance universal prosperity.
by the Convention People’s Party (CPP), Ghana moved to collectivise agriculture
(through state farms), created state run industries, in distilling, metallurgy,
tire manufacturing, vegetable oil production, boat building, paper mills, cocoa
processing, footwear manufacturing and pharmaceuticals and by 1963, Nkrumah had
set up over forty enterprises, including mass housing, hydro electrical power,
quality schools, affordable health care systems among others.
the African Continent, Nkrumah advocated and promoted inter and intra African
trade and industry, the African High Command, African Central Bank, and common
currency among others for rapid growth and development of the continent.
Nkrumah in his book, Africa Must Unite, says that “there are those who argue
that the conditions and resources of Africa are not suited to
industrialization. In this way, they seek to excuse the economic policy of the
colonial powers and support the infiltration of Neo-colonialism. The argument falls to the ground when the
facts are examined. We have here in Africa everything necessary to become a
powerful, modern and industrialized continent.
United Nations investigators have recently shown that Africa is far better
equipped for industrialization than almost any other region in the world.”
The ancient Ubuntu philosophy of
South Africa recognizes the humane impulse in every human being. The word comes
from the Zulu and Xhosa languages. Ubuntu believes in a bond that ties together
all of humanity and the fact that a human being is of a high value. According
to Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a man with Ubuntu is trustworthy and accessible to
The challenges of Africa can
therefore be practically solved through scientific socialism from an African
ultimate intent of capitalism is huge profit margins which can be realised at
the expense of the well-being of the worker. Capitalism which has failed on the
African soil is now cleverly being substituted with the so-called
Africapitalism, a belief that after huge accumulation of profit, part be
ploughed into philanthropic activities.
or philanthro-capitalism is a neo-liberal philosophy espoused by the Nigerian
billionaire Tony Elumelu, who believes in the use of private sector investment
to stimulate growth and self-empowerment. He says “Africapitalism is the
philosophy that African private sector has the power to transform the continent
through long-term investments, creating both economic prosperity and social
practice of capitalism and its associated features on the continent has not
yielded any tangible results of socio-economic improvement on the lives of
Africans. It is clear that, due to its failure, it has nowhere to turn to but
borrow from the principles of socialism projected in philanthropic obligations
or corporate social responsibilities.
capitalist twist, affirms the thesis of Karl Marx that capitalism is gradually
being swallowed by socialist theories and practices, reasons being that we are
beginning to see socialist features manifest in philanthro-capitalism.
like capitalism has failed to address major developmental challenges of the
continent such as accessibility to health, good drinking water in many deprived
areas, free and quality education, agriculture, housing, living wage and the
likes, so shall Africapitalism fail because their main goal is centered on
gaining huge profit margins through the exploitation of man by man.
see before us how capitalism, for example, has failed to address the problems
of the DRC. How therefore can Africapitalism stop this long standing western
engineered political conflict in the DRC?
Africapitalism, ensure free, fair and democratic elections without imperialist
Africapitalism stop xenophobia, sexism, tribalism, corruption and bad
governance? The general answer is found in an African proverb that: “lf you
want to see how death looks like, then consider sleep”.
Until Africa reverts to co-existential system
of living; producing and distributing in common on the strength of scientific socialist
policies, Africa’s pride as a source of early civilisation will quickly slip
into oblivion. Our belief in an egalitarian system that guarantees the interest
of the peasant farmer, working class, market woman, and the house-wife must not
be sacrificed on the altar of capitalism.
CHALLENGES AND THE WAY FORWARD
progressive forces of Africa are responsible to organise, orient our common
efforts towards the edification of Scientific Socialism based on our own
cultural values and lifestyle. Our states ought to be states controlled by
the working class, peasant farmers together with traditional rulers playing a
our contemporary challenges be tackled through scientific socialist practice? Certainly, as we have the benefit of hindsight
plus the teachings and writings of leaders like Dr. Amical Cabral, Ahmed Sekou
Toure and Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and Dr. Julius Nyerere to help us plus the living
example of the discipline of Marxism in practice by the people and leaders of
Cuba. The example of Cuba is an open
vista of possibilities for Africa to achieve total political and economic
liberation and unification. Cuba, as America’s greatest enemy, is in fact the
nemesis of global capitalist assault and domination. Marxist discipline, the
exemplary leadership of Fidel Castro and the indomitable spirit of the people
of Cuba have combined as a countervailing force against the evils of
capitalism. Cuban self-belief has triumphed over American bullying. Bullies
must be confronted and not allowed to have their way.
cautioned that “Until Socialism, I mean scientific socialism, triumphs over
capitalism and imperialism, I shall not stop attacking these social evils.” Nkrumah
further affirmed that “Marxism as the key principle to the African Revolution,
Socialist Revolution, can triumph, only when workers and peasants are mobilized
under the leadership of a Marxist party.” It is Marxist discipline therefore
that has held the center of the Cuban society together thus enabling Cuba to
withstand the destabilisation assault of the twin evils of capitalism and
here, we must pause and examine the example of Cuba and interrogate ourselves
thoroughly on why the tiny island of Cuba has been able to withstand the
imperialist aggression of the US. That Cuba still exist as an independent and
self-asserting sovereign state is a testimony of the strength of value of
scientific socialism as a moral force. It is this moral force that has come to
characterise the Cuban spirit as exemplified in the leadership of Fidel Castro.
It is this moral force that came to the rescue of Mother Africa at a time of
her greatest need. Cuba, under sanctions and faced with unparalleled
destabilisation have had that presence of mind to sacrifice their blood on
African soil for the liberation of Angola, Mozambique, Namiba and South Africa
from Portuguese and apartheid enslavement, humiliation and impoverishment. Not
only that, but Cuba is still able to support Africa with doctors to serve in
communities that local trained doctors are averse to serving. What is this
moral force then that drives Cuba to commit to such internationalist solidarity
obligations and with so much conviction and success? Cuba is a success.
success of Cuba is the triumph of scientific socialism or Marxist discipline
and it is this cardinal light of success that imperialist and capitalist
America seeks to stifle and blow out of existence. That Cuba under sanctions
has a far better health and education provision and delivery system than the
almighty United States is a lesson to us all in Africa and it is this lesson
that America and its NATO allies seek to obliterate from our consciousness. And
they have almost succeeded as most African leaders take for granted the
internationalist solidarity obligations that the leadership and people of Cuba
have committed themselves to with such conviction. Our gathering here must
recognise, celebrate and salute Fidel Castro and the indomitable people of
Cuba. Cuba is Marxism triumphant! Cuba is the triumph of scientific socialism!
Scientific Socialism is the nemesis of imperialism and capitalism. Cuba is the
nemesis of the United States. Cuba is the nemesis of neo-colonialism! Scientific Socialism is the nemesis of
neo-colonialism, the last stage of imperialism as Nkrumah wrote and taught us.
The Cuban revolution broke the vice and stranglehold of neo-colonialism and if
Cuba has triumphed African Scientific Socialism can and must triumph in our
collective sense of responsibility to the cause of African Unity as propounded
by the Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah.
together we have to pedagogically engage our people to understand that, the
best social philosophy for the rapid and speedy development of Africa rests
with our own model of scientific socialism. Nkrumah has defined this scientific
socialist path in his praxis and writings referred to now as Nkrumaism. The
ideology for the total political and economic liberation and unification of
Africa is Nkrumaism.
you for your attention.