Could Pan Africanism have existed before Colonialism?

Uganda Peoples Defense Forces (UPDF) forces saluting during a parade.

Pan Africanism was an attempt to create a sense of brotherhood and collaboration among all people of African decent whether they lived inside or outside Africa, most people believe and think that the concept of pan Africanism started with the struggle to decolonize Africa from the colonial/ white man rule. This is because the notion only became popular since the entire continent was facing the same problem created by a similar foreign enemy. The movement existed way back only that it did not have the title “Pan-Africanism.” Concepts and phrases like Ubuntu in South Africa that emphasized on oneness and togetherness among the indigenous Africans was already an existent methodology. Phrases in Acholi, and Lango northern Uganda like Ripe, (togetherness) Which sparked a sense of communal togetherness with all the luo consisting of multiple tribes that stretches as far as the Jaluo In kenya. Phrases like Abantu which means people and an extract of Bantu a group of the Bantu-speaking people uniting those in central and some parts of east Africa.

Uniting Africans in the sub Saharan region was not a new thing and had happened or rather attempted to happen in the past. Originally there were ancient kingdoms like the Bachwezi Empire that was so big and covered huge circumferences under a united elite rule.  The Chwezi Empire also known as the Empire Of The Sun was so massive that it was centered in the great lakes region covering areas of the modern day Uganda

African civilization was so properly structured that the different indigenous tribes were united and kept on making intermarriages to strengthen the bond and ties to the dynasty. This was around 900AD and 1300AD but as time went on more Africans got enlightened and the small elite ruling class could not contain an eminent revolution hence the collapse of empire and creation of multiple kingdoms across the region. The current Buganda, Bunyoro, Toro, Rwanda, Busoga, Nandi, Acholi, Burindi, Malawi and many more.

Knowledge in ancient Africa was a privilege for only a few; a small class of people was lucky to have access to this and with knowledge came power. It made them invincible among the locals and walked/ marched on the face of the Earth as gods since majority were peasant farmers. People even believed as ancient myth dictates that the Bachwezi were not humans but gods who did not die but disappeared from the face of the earth. The way African civilization was structured then, the people had many mystic beliefs and it was the fear of such beliefs that made them fall in line. These wise men who championed these beliefs were so influential that they could command the masses to do anything. For instance,

the Maji Maji rebellion in Kenya, a prophet kinjictire managed to convince the masses and championed a resistance that would go down in history as the most disastrous against the British rule in east Africa.

The people were told and believed that by anointing them with sorghum oil and water their bodies would be bullet proof many believed this and then there was the massacre of the African people. The elite class had the capacity to manipulate and control the people in an unprecedented way.

If the masses could unite then under such backward beliefs, imagine what an educated African race is capable of. It is no secret that the new breed of African nationalists are hungry for economic prosperity. The ACFTA has opened doors for innovation and its up to we the young generation to seize and take charge of these opportunities.

(To Be Continued…)


Published by Thomas Lamony

Lawyer, Writer, Environmentalist, APS/Special Duties-State House Uganda, Artist of the mind. "There is no end to the writing and reading of books, neither is there an end to human evolution." The mind is a kitchen, cook something.

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