Africa: WE CANNOT REMAIN SILENT!

Protesters outside the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya on June 2, 2020.
5 June 2020

Dakar — Africans in Africa and Around the World in Solidarity With African-American Sisters And Brothers

A group of African singers, artists, academics, journalists, civil society and business leaders touched by the tragic killing of George Floyd issued a solidarity statement condemning police brutality and calling for renewed and increased relationship between Africans everywhere and African Americans. They are calling on the public to sign a Change.org petition they have posted.   

In these strange moments of uncertainty and fear, the news from America has broken our hearts. We cannot remain silent! We cannot remain deaf and blind to the plight of our African-American brothers and sisters. We are shocked by the brutal murder of George Floyd by police officers. The unbearable sight of George Floyd suffocating under the knee of a police officer in uniform looks like a return to the dark ages. George Floyd's agony and death crowns a long litany of screams and supplications, adding one more atrocity to a chain of brutalities and racist killings. — It has revived in us the old wounds of our souls and summoned painful, shared memories.

We cannot remain silent because we know how much we have in common with our brothers and sisters in our global black community - our African Diaspora. We know how your ancestors continued the resistance and the struggle for emancipation and dignity during the solitary traumas lived in the hulls of slave boats and the humiliation of plantations, and on the islands of freedom they built through the ages. That is the determined struggle for civil rights that you continue to wage fearlessly. Africans on the continent and around the world are grateful to African Americans and black leaders, writers, and thinkers for sharing with our elders the emancipatory idea of Pan-Africanism and for being connected with our struggles against colonialism and, of course, apartheid.

No, we cannot remain silent with the cruel killing of George Floyd and the cries of citizens, black and brown and white, in the streets of cities in America and in other continents, declaring to the world that Black Lives Matter.

We African people are 1.3 billion strong.

How can we be silent when we know that your long walk to real freedom echoes the struggles of yesterday and resonates with the struggles we are waging here in Africa, your mother continent? We are waging these struggles to advance our common causes: democratic freedoms, dignity, equality, social justice, the rights and well-being of women and all minorities, the integrity of leaders and institutions, economic independence, and finally the control of our cultural and historic destiny.

We cannot remain unmoved when we also have good news to share with our African American brothers and sisters; news that goes beyond the clichés, rebukes all forms of racial profiling, and updates old beliefs into fresh reality: a new Africa is truly emerging before our eyes. A resilient Africa carried by our communities and a dynamic and enterprising civil society, animated by a generation of young people and women determined to lift the continent from the fatality of despair, and create a future of unity in freedom, dignity and abundance. Together, we are the soldiers of hope engaged in the building of a new African nation, deeply rooted in our strongest cultural heritage, with the ideological and intellectual contributions of African-American achievements. In this spirit, we the people of Africa are one people, and one nation. We are a 1.3 billion strong nation stretched out over a whole continent, and with you in the African Diaspora, we are millions more. Together we can build the global African nation. It will be our nation, and we will name squares and schools after the countless other heroines and heroes of African descent. In memory of our common ancestry, the new Africa will be conceived as our common home.

"We the people of Africa are one people, and one nation - 1.3 billion strong," say a group of African singers, artists, academics, journalists, civil society and business leaders in a solidarity statement with African Americans.

We cannot remain silent!

We cannot remain indifferent because we have so many projects to initiate. One common element of our societal (and economic) project will be to revisit together — with courage and honesty — our shared history. But we will go beyond the recent history and look at the Africa we lost. Our history did not begin with the tragic period of slavery.

We will explore the distant lands of our forgotten kingdoms and empires, the glorious destinies of our noble leaders, the scientific, technological and social advances that have shaped the evolution of our societies and have largely gone unacknowledged. Our common work should be to finally put at the center of our concerns the education and training of our children so that they are better prepared to face the complex challenges of what will certainly be a complex future.

Humanity originated on our continent.

Finally our common task could be to develop mutually beneficial economic partnerships among those of us on the continent and those in the Diaspora, in order to create the conditions for true independence. And while we break our silence, we will claim our rightful place in human destiny. In these decisive moments when humanity is confronted with an existential threat linked to climate change, health pandemics, and a life-threatening rise of social inequalities, we must come together.

We have never forgotten that humanity originated on our continent. At this critical and fragile moment when humankind feels that it has reached a tragic impasse, it is our duty to help humanity build a better and more sustainable future for itself and for planet Earth, through the path of our founding values —'ubuntu' and 'nitté' (our shared humanity), wisdom, equality, respect, solidarity, and brotherhood and sisterhood, so that our human family finally reconciles with itself in peace.
Today, in the memory of George Floyd and millions of other black lives who mattered, we Africans in Africa, mourn our loss and honor a rich moment of shared connection.

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Signed:

Youssou Ndour
Akon
Salif Keita
Baba Maal
Didier Drogba
Dikembe Mutombo
Samuel Etoo
Djimon Honsou
Ameenah Gurib-Fakim
Lamido Sanusi
Princess Esther Kamatari
Precious Motsepe
Rama Yade
Paolo Gomes
Prof. Abdoulaye Bathily
Zeinab Badawi
Isha Seesay
Amadou Mahtar Ba
Alain Foka
Denise Epote Durand
Frannie Leautier
Bineta Diop
Hafsat Abiola
Hassan Ba
Pierre Thiam
Angelle Kwemo
Amadou Gallo Fall
Dr. Ebrima Sall
Prof. Achille Mbembe
Prof. Fatou Sow
Prof. Muhammadou Kah
Prof. Issa Shivji
Prof. Alioune Sall
Prof. Penda Mbow
Prof. Paul Tiyambe Zeleza
Prof. Francis B. Nyamnjoh
Prof. Hakim Ben Hammouda
Prof. Mahamadou Lamine Sagna
Prof. Jean-Bernard Ouedraogo
Dr. Marema Toure Thiam
Prof. Felwine Sarr
Prof. Alioune Tine
Prof. Dzodzi Tsikata
Hawa Binta Ba
Abdarahmane Wone
Prof. Elisio Macamo
Prof. Demba Moussa Dembele
Prof. Mame Penda Ba
Prof. Shamil Jeppie
Prof. Ousmane Kane
Kako Nobukpo
Edem Adzogenu
Richard Bona
Dr. Natasha Issa Shivji
Dr. Bouchra Sidi Hida
Dr. Salwa Beheiry
Prof. Jimi O. Adesina
Momar Nguer
Alain Nkontchou
John Githongo
Fatima Karume
Prof. Mamadou Goïta
Prof. Brahim El Morchid
Dr. Tijan M. Sallah
Fatou Jagne Senghor
Dr. Stigmata Tenga
Dr. Ebrima Ceesay
Prof. Abdoulie Saine
Samba Bathily
Mamadou Kwidjim Toure
Prof. Ousmane Thiare
Prof. Jainaba M. L. Kah
Dr. Assan Jaye
Linus Gitahi
Mame Demba Sy
Debo Adesina
Rebecca Enonchong
Moustapha Mellouk
Prof. Bernard Founou Tchuigoua
Dr. Tendai Kadenhe Mhizha
Prof. Noel Magaloire Ndoba
Coumba Toure
Babacar Ngom
Amadou Diaw
Didier Acouetey
Harouna Ly
Mamou Daffe
Hamet Aguemon
Seynabou Dia
Masego Madzwamuse
Sefa Gohoho
Obi Asika
Dr Edgard Gnansounou
Dr Omotola jalade Ekeinde
Mariama Ba
Amandine Rushenguziminega
Halima Mahomed
Prof. Malick Ndiaye
Prof. Emmanuel Akyeampong
Prof. Carlos Cardoso
Ben Murray Bruce
Ibrahima SY
Amidou Anne
Alex Anfruns
Dr. Mouhamadou Hady Ba
Coumba Ndoffene Diouf
Prof. Fatou Sarr Sow
Neil Coleman
Prof.  Yash Tandon
Aicha Bah Diallo

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