by Raad Sharar
The scars of colonialism run deep. Even after the independence of the vast majority of African states from their colonisers, the reality of returning to pre-colonial times is nothing short of utopian.
Colonialism has brought about significant changes in society, culture, and behaviour, in addition to the myriad exploitative and inhuman acts experienced by the African people. These changes have forced a disconnect between the African people and their heritage. The damage caused by colonialism still feeds this disconnect today under the guises of free-market economics and neo-liberalism. Against this stark backdrop, the question arises: “Who are we to become, disconnected from our roots and our opulent heritage?”
The launch of the Afrik-Akili Declaration creates a platform for conversations about Africa, its heritage, its limitless vessels of knowledge, and most importantly, it sets out to remind Africans and the world about the continent’s role as the cradle of humanity and the birthplace of the first civilisations. The declaration aims to reconnect Africans with their heritage, allowing the African people to envision a new way of being human while strongly holding the belief that anyone disconnected from their roots cannot flourish.
The Afrik-Akili Declaration puts forward ten principles to inspire and motivate meaningful connection between the people of Africa, as well as Africa and the world. The proclamation’s principles speak of Africa as the continent that gave birth to humanity and highlights that we all share a common humanity. It incorporates themes of interconnection between past and future generations, sustainable and circular use of Africa’s natural resources, connectedness to, and respect for, Earth, nature and people, recognition of the scientific innovations and traditions of Africa, and the centrality of a living systems approach.
The launch event for the declaration took place on 9 August 2022 and was formally opened by Chief Hamish Arries, Goab of the Koi and San nations and was led by panellists including Dr. Mamphela Ramphele, the Co-President of the Club of Rome, several other African Club of Rome members, Solomon Ndondo, a youth educator and counsellor from Zimbabwe and Dr. Fidelis Allen, Professor in the University of Port Harcourt.
The panellists spoke passionately and with resonance about their perception of the Afrik-Akili Declaration and the important influence it could have on the future of the African continent.
“We are here today to launch the Afrik-Akili as a declaration, which is an invitation by the Club of Rome, together with its partners, to all of humanity, to witness the symbolic occasion of Africa, reclaiming her place in the world, as the mother continent, the cradle of humanity and the cradle of the very first human civilization. The declaration is an invitation to the human family to engage with Africa. The Africa we sense, and we are proud of, so that we might together, remember, and learn anew and become human again. African people at home and abroad, I invite you to drink again, from the well of wisdom, and the rich knowledge heritage of our mother continent. Embrace it, hear its songs and its melodies, dance to its rhythms and be joyful.” – Dr. Mamphela Rhampele, Co-President of the Club of Rome.
“…so, we should embrace our brothers and sisters (colonial thinkers) abroad. But we must also say to them, you have done our mother a great injustice, you have taken from the soil, the many minerals. Please think about what you have done. Look into our communities, into our townships and see what you have created. And the time is now, with this ubuntu methodology, this thinking this declaration, come back and correct your wrongs. And we will embrace you because we love you as our children. You are born from us and come back to us.” – Chief Hamish Arries of the Koi and San nations.
Alongside rich contributions from the panellists, the launch also served as a platform where the audience, representing diverse backgrounds and ages, engaged in open conversation with the speakers about Africa and its future.
It is intended that the Afrik-Akili Declaration will serve as a foundation for future actions that are envisioned for the African continent and also as a guide for current efforts there.
We invite you to sign the declaration and join us in this holistic and transformative journey. To further engage with the Afrik-Akili Declaration please contact: email@example.com.
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