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Matt Rosenberg

Definition of Pan-Africanism?

By July 26, 2003

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I received a great question asking for the definition of Pan-Africanism. Since it's not a regular geographic term, I searched online and found this discussion reply:

"There is not a set definition of Pan-Africanism...[It] is an idea. Pan-Africanism grew out of 19th century efforts to end slavery and the slave trade. At this time blacks worldwide were being oppressed. Slavery existed in America, South America, and the Carribean. Also the colonization of Africa (born out of the Berlin Conference of 1884 & 85) had begun. As a result of these events black people world wide began to realize that they faced common problems (slavery, colonization, and racism), and that it would be to their benefit to work together in an effort to solve these problems. Out of this realization came the Pan African Conferences of 1900 (London), 1919 (Paris), 1921 (London, Brussels, Paris), 1923 (London), 1927 (New York), and the last official one was in 1949. Some of the most influential blacks of the time participated in these meetings: Slyvester Williams, W.E.B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, Kwame Nkrumah, etc. The belief that people of African descent throughout the Diaspora (meaning spread throughout the world) share a common history, culture, and experience and should stick together. This belief is the principle idea behind Panafricanism. Bringing black people throughout the world together because of our common culture. Pan-Africanism can be expressed through history, literature, music, art, film, clothing, and food."


January 30, 2007 at 2:05 pm
(1) Ramb says:

Very short and interesting…..was also helpful in clarifying some grey areas

March 29, 2007 at 4:47 am
(2) Mugechi Nyoike says:

I agree, that pan africanism is not a common term in geography. How can we explain about such thoughts or idea using the geographic thoughts?

April 2, 2007 at 7:14 pm
(3) Osia Kopiyo says:

I think that Panafricanism has adopted different definations from time to time.During the Precolonial period, It was an effort to unite africans that were taken hostage as slavery..During the colonial period, It became a political idea that was an option believed to be better for the continent of africa and Post colonial defination suggests much of it as a movements for the rights and freedom of africans..forum for the restoration of african culture..

April 27, 2007 at 6:55 pm
(4) Abdurrahman Nelson says:

For an in depth view od Pan-Africanism in action go to fudaa.blogspot.com.

Basically, Pan-Africanism is about geo-politics as it relates to the African Continent and the Arabian Peninsula. All Africans and people of African descent are Africans and belong to the African Nation, according to Osagyfo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the first President of the Republic of Ghana and Co-President of the Union of African States. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_of_African_States.) As you can see on my blog, people of African descent is understood to include all of the Arabs, who are descended from the union of the Prophet Abraham (Peace and Blessings be upon him) and Hagar, an African woman (May Allah be pleased with her). This has brought Pan-Africanism into contention with the zionist movement because the oppression of the Arabs of Palestine amount to the racist oppression of Africans in general.

The objectives of Pan-Africanism has changed over time, but not the essence. For instance, while the Pan-Africanist Moveement was once concerned mainly with anti-colonialism, it is now mainly focused on the actual politcal unififcation of Africa and Arabia.

Furthermore, Pan-Africanism has a very definite economic conponent. Economic Development has always been a major concern of the new African states emerging from long periods of economic exploitation. In many ways, Economic Development goes hand-in-hand with the process of political Unification. It makes use of ideas and theories taken from socialism and capitlaism, plus the tradtional economic principles of African societies. On this basis, I have proposed a concept called Nkrumahist-Tureist Economics. Toureism refers to President Ahmed Sekou Toure, the firstpresident of the People’s Revolutionary Republic of Guinea and the Co-President of the Union of African States. Pan-Africanism is also influenced by Nasserism. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nasserism. and, http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2000/499/profile.htm

July 24, 2007 at 10:19 am
(5) Reinfrida John says:

Panafricanism was a very good idea of the africans found in CARIBERIAN.Africans wanted to be free from explotation, humiliation andopression.

July 25, 2007 at 12:32 pm
(6) Walo says:

Pan-Africanism can be defined as a movement of peoples of African descent(both at home and in the diaspora)to enact in the politico-military and socio-economic domains.
In other words it involves connecting,collectivism of association and owning out destiny as a people and as a race.

September 13, 2007 at 6:23 am
(7) Samuel Gyasi says:

Can africa occupy all blacks if this idea should gain it vision

December 13, 2007 at 8:58 am
(8) xolisa says:

To me Pan Africanism is about entrenching African values and to fill black people, internationally, with knowledge and pride regarding their blackness. History, as recorded by the colonisers and imperialists has never been on our side and it goes to such an extent as to become religious. I am not an athiest, but from the first contact that Africans made with the peoples of European descent, they have not only undermined our ways but defined our ways as barbaric. Culture and tradition are not cast in stone and they are subject to the rigorous processes of change, evolution. What I am driving at is that Pan Africanism is about owning the destiny of Africa, as it transcends religion, politics and economics.It is what Africans can decide for themselves in crafting their destiny and mark in history.

December 19, 2007 at 6:24 pm
(9) Janine Biology says:

Hey matty boy! hows the mrs?im really glad that i now know all about pan-africans! thanks your a really great friend!have a date to prom yet? call me?

February 8, 2008 at 7:43 am
(10) david says:

im clared that i found information pertaining the idea of pan africanism.

December 1, 2008 at 4:01 pm
(11) yasien mohamed says:

We have revived the Panafricanist Movement in South Africa. We need to network, can you be of ab assistence?

January 29, 2009 at 12:47 pm
(12) Elia Mdemu says:

Succeessfully the question was answered,but we need if possible the reasons for pan-africanism to fail to unite African States.

February 3, 2009 at 9:18 am
(13) luyanda says:

As I do not want to be contrary with the latter utters, the only contribution that I will leave is one. Pan finalism is not about what you believe alone rather the belief that certifies all those who contribute under the topic or whets do ever you call it.

“All fingers are not the same, if you cut the bigger ones to make all equal that communism, and if you stretch the smaller ones to be equal that is socialism but if you do nothing about the situation that is capitalism”

Very importantly is to look at the essence of the matter as it is the only way to comprehend the situation in hand.

it has been the worst of times for those who were willing to put their hands on the block cause of craving to better themselves. Hence i will like to honor their presency on the eras that were not in. I am so not disappointed to not read an Anglo sex comments here in this issue and hence imperative to show that we not selective in any given way or will try to suffocate those willing to contribute to the issue on hand.

I thank you

February 11, 2009 at 10:15 am
(14) density says:

what are the effects of pan africanism?

February 16, 2009 at 10:07 am

Pan-Africanism has played a great role in liberation of the oppressed, humiliated and segregated people in the world. it has contributed into also development of struggle for the peoples rights in the world. nowdays it aims at unification of Africa, brings cooperation among the African counties.

April 7, 2009 at 11:10 am
(16) Lubabalo Mgqatsa says:

Pan Africanism was there before even it was written in the books as the way africans do things,beacase as an ideology it is humanistic in approach,socialistic in content,Africanistic in orientation and democratic in form,and Africans are the only people who can bring peace and stability in the world because they do not have desire in the land of other poeple.

September 24, 2009 at 8:38 am
(17) acheampong emmanuel says:

what are the contibution of the following people to pan africanism,syvester williams, w.e.b. du bois,marcus garvey, kwame nkrumah.

October 8, 2009 at 5:17 am
(18) Don Abner says:

Good discussion indeed. Lets keep it up.

November 23, 2009 at 6:30 am


September 19, 2010 at 1:55 pm
(20) bengy says:

Africa must really come togather to build the nation so all Africans can move from one state to another…………Simply to say Africa for Africans by so doing we can build a better Unite State of Africa

September 26, 2010 at 4:07 pm
(21) Raymond says:

It would be a great idea joining together of all African continents,but on a contrary this is a hard task to achieve because it’s a common knowledge that some of our Africa leaders are greedy and will not allow this to be…

January 18, 2011 at 4:54 pm
(22) Jeremiah says:

Does Pan Africanism still Exist, and if it does what are the Justifications and how is it fighting for the present Africa’s sustainable economic development?

October 21, 2011 at 3:55 am
(23) Alfonce Chipeta. says:

Pan-africanism, was the movement of african people aganst exploitation, oppression and humiliation so as to get equal rights. the main aims were to get independence, to secure equal rights, to secure self government, and to obtain unity and solidarity among all Africans.

December 8, 2011 at 4:03 pm
(24) mecha says:

it was very oky i can say because its very similar alot which is understanderble you have written it

January 17, 2012 at 3:31 am
(25) Eshetu Tuffa Sida. says:

A given phenomena can be created ,developed&transformed in parallel with the existing socioeconomic and world political
situation.Our continent AFRICA is also the part and parcel of to days world that needs to be in parallel at the same time.
yesterday should be modified to spear head to day’s problem
with this context Pan-African ism needs to polish it self and appraised too.

February 21, 2012 at 3:17 am
(26) samuel ng'ang'a says:

Am convinced that as far as people of African origin exist,pan-africanism is alive!It seems to me that it is a pronounced wake-up call for all peoples of african origin to unite to chat their own course of destiny by unearthing all their potentials for the benefit of mankind through correcting and breaking any inflictions and damages put upon them by the Europeans in their (african people) evolution”

February 29, 2012 at 12:40 pm
(27) tsebaot says:

i think the ideas were breif and easy to understand, pan afiricanism was one of the resisitance movements which restored african’s independence and it means a lot to the african people. I think this types of disucisions often raised.

March 4, 2012 at 7:46 am
(28) tsebaot says:

sorry i wanted to say this types of issues should be raised often.

March 12, 2012 at 5:03 pm
(29) kyenjap judith baba says:

Pan-Africanism has created in Africans home and abroad the need for a communual life that will lead us all to a better tomorrow.
thank you for trying to give a more elaborate detail on pan-Africanism it was of great help to me when i was writing my final paper.

March 17, 2012 at 11:42 am
(30) Fox.B says:

what does people in Africa do to gain their political independence?

October 6, 2012 at 4:22 am
(31) beauty says:

i think e explanation was okay. thank ya

November 8, 2012 at 2:38 am
(32) Persephone says:

But, what does the Pan mean within the Pan Africanism?


January 10, 2013 at 8:30 pm
(33) festo matongo says:

pan africanism
this was the movment of black africans in america whom were sent many years ago and the first African to reach in America as slave was in 1352…… so they were tochoured and discriminated that is why the intiated the movement so as to get out of plight.

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