Padkos: Pan-African Heritage of Struggle – Firoze Manji on Amilcar Cabral (24 September)

Church Land Programme is privileged to host Firoze Manji on Heritage Day, 24th September, from 10:30am till lunchtime at the CLP office.

Firoze Manji, of the Pan-African Baraza, has recently co-edited an amazing book on Amilcar Cabral – “revolutionary, poet, liberation philosopher, and leader of the independence movement of Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde” (Manji, 2013). Based on that new book, Claim No Easy Victories: The Legacy of Amilcar Cabral (co-edited with Bill Fletcher Jr. and published to mark the 40th anniversary of Cabral’s assassination), Firoze will share some thoughts on the heritage of Cabral’s political thought and praxis for us here and now.  Firoze and his colleagues have been gracious hosts and key supporters of emancipatory struggles from our corner of the African continent, and it’s a real pleasure to re-connect with him.

Kenyan-born Firoze Manji is a strong, thoughtful advocate and organiser of a progressive pan-africanism, rooted in long traditions of pan-african thought and popular struggle. Manji currently works with ThoughtWorks as director of the Pan-African Baraza. Prior to this, he was based in Dakar as head of the documentation and information centre of the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA). Many of us will remember him as the founder and former editor-in-chief of the prize-winning pan-African social justice newsletter and website, Pambazuka News, and he was the founder and former executive director of Fahamu – Networks for Social Justice, a pan-African organisation with bases in Kenya, Senegal, South Africa and the UK.

We look forward to seeing you all on Heritage Day for good conversations, music, food and drink. In the meantime, snack on the attached padkos serving. Here Firoze responds to a question he was asked recently on Sahara TV: “”Why have there been so many despotic governments in Africa since independence? Is there something about Africa that leads to undemocratic regimes?”

In a way that resonates strongly with our own thinking about a politics ‘at-a-distance’ from the state, Manji’s answer points out that post-independence states tended to leave the basic colonial structures, powers and coercive machinery, largely untouched. He concludes that the memory of those revolutionary thinkers, like Cabral and others, who insisted on fundamental transformation rather than simply occupying existing structures of power, resonates in recent struggles – for example, “in the early months of the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, … were the beginnings of processes that signalled the potential of alternative forms of state power”.

Note that Firoze Manji will also address an informal gathering hosted by the Paulo Freire Project at 4pm on Tuesday 23rd at the University Club.


Manji: Despotic governments in Africa

Introduction to Amílcar Cabral (English & Zulu)

The Legacy of Amilcar Cabral