“Each generation must discover its mission, fulfill it or betray it, in relative opacity” -Frantz Fanon
The above quote by Frantz Fanon comes from one of his most prominent and classical writings titled The Wretched of The Earth in which he critically articulates the plight of all oppressed persons in the twentieth century. Fanon is regarded as one the most influential writers and analysts of the psychological effects of colonialism and the need for black emancipation from European colonial imperialists and also played a pivotal role in influencing Bantu Stephen Biko’s philosophy of the 1960s-1970s, the Black Consciousness Movement, which was instrumental in the dismantling of apartheid in South Africa.
Africa’s history of 500 years of colonial and racial oppression have undeniably played a crucial role in shaping the current state of South Africa and the African continent as a whole. With Ghana becoming the first African state to gain its independence from Great Britain in 1960, and South Africa being the last in 1994, African states have embarked on a journey to rediscover themselves outside their former colonialist governments.
Africans have embarked on a journey termed The African Renaissance (the re-birth of the continent) – a concept that calls all African people and nations to overcome their current challenges which confront the continent and achieve cultural, scientific and economic renewal and free itself from all colonial chains.
In South Africa, following the first democratic elections after the end of apartheid, and was clarified with the then deputy president Mbeki’s famous I Am An African speech in May 1996 following the adoption of the new South African Constitution in which he says, ‘’I am born of a people who are heroes and heroines. Patient because history is on their side, these masses do not despair today because the weather is bad, nor do they turn triumphalist tomorrow when the sun shines. Whatever circumstance they have lived through and because of that experience, they are determined to define for themselves who they are and what they should be.’’
As we celebrated Heritage month in South Africa this September, we ought to ask ourselves whether we have- as Fanon puts it- ‘discovered our mission’ and have we fulfilled or betrayed it as the current generation.
Moving forward in our African heritage, and realising our African destiny and marching toward an African revolution, it is relevant at this point to borrow from the words of Thabo Mbeki when he said, ‘’Whatever the setbacks of the moment, nothing can stop us now. Whatever the difficulties, Africa shall be at peace … let us err today and say – nothing can stop us now.’’ We are marching towards an African Revolution.