Academic journal article Strategic Review for Southern Africa

Global Coloniality and the Challenges of Creating African Futures

Academic journal article Strategic Review for Southern Africa

Global Coloniality and the Challenges of Creating African Futures

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

This article grapples with the interconnected and intertwined issues of coloniality of power, knowledge and being as constitutive elements of global coloniality as a power structure which makes it difficult for Africans to create their own futures. The central arguments are articulated in five sections. The first section sets the scene on how global coloniality tried to disable African agency, how Africans were deliberately colonised mentally so as to make them reproduce coloniality as they tried to make history, and how Africans have been portrayed as 'bystanders' in the making of history. All this has direct and indirect implications on present day African struggles to create African futures. The second section unpacks and explains what Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri (2000) posed as the 'political constitution of the present' and what Noam Chomsky (2011) rendered as 'how the world works'. An analysis of both the constitution and workings of modern global power is an important intellectual task because global coloniality has direct implications on African initiatives aimed at creating African futures. The concept of coloniality of power is deployed in section two to assist in critical examination of the construction, constitution, architecture, configuration and workings/practices of the current asymmetrical global power structures.

The third section focuses on the pertinent issues of what Claude Ake (1979) described as knowledge for equilibrium that sustains the present status quo through colonisation of African imaginations of the future. The concept of coloniality of knowledge is mobilised and utilised to systematically interrogate epistemicides that enabled the dominance of imperial/colonial reason and explaining how these processes culminated in colonisation of African minds and destabilisation of African imaginations of the future.

The fourth section deals with the fundamental issue of racialisation of notions of being that make it hard for Africans to realise their full potential as active subjects capable of shaping their futures. The concept of coloniality of being is used to reveal the complex processes of subjection and subjectivity that play a role as Africans try to create African futures. The last section is the conclusion and it underscores the need to intensify the 'incomplete' struggles for decolonisation of the modern world system and deimperialisation of the current global orders so as to open the way for African people to create their futures unencumbered by global coloniality and its resilient racism ideologies.

2. The present as the future

The African Union's (AU) Agenda 2063 envisions an African future of pan-African unity, integration, prosperity, and peace. This vision is placed in the hands of African people as drivers and dynamic forces operating within the global arena. Pan-Africanism is identified as the overarching ideological framework for unity, self-reliance, integration, and solidarity (African Union 2013). This future will not be a game of chance. It will be a product of present day struggles ranged against coloniality of power, coloniality of knowledge and coloniality of being as constitutive elements of global coloniality.

Thus thinking deeper about the possibility of Africans creating their own futures, taking charge of their own destiny, and mapping their own autonomous development trajectory reminds one of Karl Marx's arguments about people making history but under circumstances they have not chosen. This is the situation within which Africans are struggling to create African futures. They are doing so within the context of global coloniality. This means that for the AU to realise its Agenda 2063 it has to struggle ceaselessly against global coloniality. Only after defeating global coloniality can the AU then lead Africans in creating African futures.

This is important precisely because, in a historical sense, the modern world system and its shifting global orders is largely a creation of Europeans and North Americans. …

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