Definition of Pan Africanism

Pan-Africanism is an internationalist philosophy that is based on the idea that Africans and people of African descent share a common bond Pan Africanism therefore seeks the unity and autonomy of African peoples and peoples of African descent it is also a vision dedicated to fulfilling their right to self-determination African diasporas the global dispersion of people of African descent from their original homelands emerged through slave trading, labor migration, commerce, and war Imagining home through a collective identity and cultural identification with Africa Pan-Africanists mobilize for the continent restoration, prosperity and safety Pan-Africanism allows African and African Diaspora communities to transcend the status of ethnic minority or oppressed nationality by replacing it with the consciousness of being a nation within a nation Colonial degradation took many forms in the African world depending on the varying policies of Britain, Portugal, France, Germany, Holland, Belgium, or the United States These policies included direct military occupation, economic subordination through labor exploitation and the regulation of trade relations, cultural imperialism, indirect rule using traditional or even manufactured tribal leaders, promises of citizenship for select Africans and seemingly benevolent development programs The attitudes of imperial officials were far from monolithic Some insisted Africans were racially inferior and needed to be controlled through corporal punishment including rape and the chopping off of limbs others saw African peoples as primitive yet noble even potential equals someday with proper mentoring over time An idea of Africa as ”the dark continent” was created over time by both official intellectual and government institutions and popular culture Africa came to be seen as suffering from dependency complexes and as unfit for self-government Importantly, racist viewpoints did not always preclude recognition of African elites who could function on many levels as modern ”credits to their race” or alternatively as keepers of ethnic wisdom and traditions. Close engagement with such elites was inherent to the civilizing mission and a crucial component of “enlightened” imperial government An idea of Africa as ”the dark continent” was created over time by both official intellectual and government institutions and popular culture Africa came to be seen as suffering from dependency complexes and as unfit for self-government Importantly, racist viewpoints did not always preclude recognition of African elites who could function on many levels as modern ”credits to their race” or alternatively as keepers of ethnic wisdom and traditions Close engagement with such elites was inherent to the civilizing mission and a crucial component of “enlightened” imperial government

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