Magazine article New African

People, Not Leaders, Are the Masters: A New Pan-African Civilian-Led Movement Is Determined to Fight for African Dignity and Justice and This Time, It Is Not Waiting for Governments to Take the Lead but Expects Leaders to Bow to the Wishes of the People in Whose Name They Govern

Magazine article New African

People, Not Leaders, Are the Masters: A New Pan-African Civilian-Led Movement Is Determined to Fight for African Dignity and Justice and This Time, It Is Not Waiting for Governments to Take the Lead but Expects Leaders to Bow to the Wishes of the People in Whose Name They Govern

Article excerpt

Africans Rising for Justice, Peace & Dignity, a new pan-African movement of civil society organisations, formally launched on Africa Day in May 2017. Africans Rising imagines a movement that will 'foster an Africa-wide solidarity and unity of purpose of the Peoples of Africa to build the Future we want--a right to peace, social inclusion and shared prosperity'.

The incipient movement is attempting to build this shared prosperity from the bottom up, developing ideas that have emerged from several civil society fora since 2015, that culminated in the Kilimanjaro Declaration in Arusha, Tanzania at the end of August 2016.

The declaration focused on a number of areas: expanding space for civic and political action; fighting for women's rights and freedoms; enabling struggles on the right to equality and dignity, especially around education, jobs and youth-led actions; demanding good governance and empowering the fight against corruption; and finally, demanding climate and environmental justice.

By formally launching on 25 May (Africa Day, but formally African Liberation Day), Africans Rising also intended to comment on the prevailing state of justice, peace and dignity so far achieved by African governments.

On this day, many African countries celebrate the hard-fought achievement of their freedom and independence from the depredations of European colonialism. However, in too many African countries, that independence has not lived up to expectations--so much so that people such as the former South African DA leader, Helen Zille, have come to openly and shamelessly talk about the 'benefits' of colonialism.

Beyond the ravings of Zille, however, there are some really important things we need to reflect upon about the nature of the freedoms we enjoy as Africans. One of the most shocking and shameful developments in the last 20 years, is the risks that many Africans are willing to take to cross the Mediterranean Sea, in order to get to Europe, where they believe they will be able to get jobs, and live their lives with dignity.

Taking control

Two hundred years ago, Africans were enslaved and taken against their will in the most horrendous conditions, to the plantations in the Americas. …

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