LETTER: Where is pan-Africanism’s pantheon today?
Adekeye Adebajo and Kwame Anthony Appiah may have differing views on the matter
Adekeye Adebajo’s most recent column came across as a plug for his new, 38-chapter book (“Prophets, poets and philosophers of the pan-African pantheon”, November 29).
He argues that pan-Africanism was a reaction to the European plagues of slavery and colonialism when, among other atrocities, between 12-million and 15-million Africans were forcibly transported to the Caribbean and Americas.
However, considering Africa today, Adebajo must admit that his pantheon hasn’t enjoyed much success. Whereas previously Africans were forced onto ships bound for the Americas, now they pay to risk their lives crossing the Mediterranean for a better life in the very place Africa’s plagues originated.
What did his prophets miss? French heroes are buried in their pantheon. But one member of Adebajo’s group is very much alive. I once spent an evening with Kwame Anthony Appiah, during which I learnt two things: Drambuie and highbrow conversation don’t mix, and my intellectual capacity would forever be vastly inferior to his.
Appiah’s views on this conundrum are certain to be illuminating.
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