Africa: Part of Mankind
Our first task is to know ourselves, who we are and what we are. We have no need to be apologetic about our being. We have no need to prove our being. We have no need to prove ourselves, least of all to the ex-colonialists. We are part of the human species; we (i.e. our States) are born at a particular stage of development, the product of a particular conjuncture of historical forces in the development of mankind. In the context of world economy that has long outstripped its national boundaries, and a highly developed means of communication, no one country or people can live in isolation, uninfluenced by the processes that are actually world-embracing. Africa is part of that world, with all its contradictions, its convulsions, its uneven development. We cannot escape the logic of this situation.
We cannot retreat into an isolated limbo of our own blackness. We have to face up squarely to our problems as they are, to the enormous problems of belonging to that world. As an inseparable part of it we have our contribution to make, though, due to the accident of history and the machinations of imperialism, we belong to a backward continent that has a big leeway to make up. This does not mean that we have to be slavish imitators of a civilisation that is in the process of playing itself out; nor does it mean that we require centuries to catch up. The very fact of belonging rules this out. What we have to bear in mind is that there is no need to go outside the mainstream in search of something uniquely African or some other mystique as a way out of our difficulties. Mankind possesses a body of knowledge which is our heritage. It has accumulated an arsenal of ideas from which we can draw our weapons to forge the path of our development. But first of all we must clearly define which of the ideas are suitable for our progress. To do this we must be aware of our position and how and why it came about.