So then, the term Renaissance doesn’t really gel with all of that; and so it remains, for the time being, a fragile idea, shared by a dedicated few. Then again, ideas and ideals that bring about greatness and great change, is usually started by one. Much like Ghandi’s “be the change” saying – a model that is noticeably void in society today.
“A dream is not a dream until it is a dream of a community” – Khoi San saying
So anyway, here is the clinical definition and description of what the African Renaissance is and how the Renaissance Foundation (RF) hopes to go about achieving its goals:
[It’s pretty ‘wordy’ I know, but intellectuals will always put it a certain way. Note: furtherance in this context alludes to what all Africans want the world to know about us, as appose to what the media from outside quarters has fed the world.]
- · “The South African chapter of the African Renaissance is to build a social movement of the African people for the implementation of the vision of the Africa Renaissance throughout South Africa. “
- · “African Renaissance Youth Movement is to mobilize the dynamism of the youth towards the forging of youth commitment to the African Renaissance as an engine for identity formation that embraces and celebrates our African roots using indigenous knowledge systems as a driving force.”
- · African Renaissance Organization of Southern Africa is to build a powerful social movement with an African Renaissance philosophy in the southern African region.
What occurred through colonization was that many Africans fail to identify with their own heritage and culture, effectively disowning it because they were led to believe it was inferior to all others.
Liberation movements fought physically for our freedom, but the after hundreds of years of pain, war, annexation, migration and subjugation et al, the mental scars run deep, and will only be fully absolved through the next generations; but it’s crucial that the current and future generations retain their heritage.
- “Give us sanctuary in the blood of our people.” A message from a Khoi San chief… He knew war was coming (with British settlers) and that survival was unlikely. Fully prepared to die, he sent portions of the tribe to all parts of the country to seek shelter with any who’d accommodate them, with the goal being that, though the tribe would be all but wiped out, there would be a small part of them within the generations to come – an attempt to continue living through and in the children of all the peoples of our nation. Ultimately there are still portions of first nation people living in the Northern Cape, as well as those that fled further north into Namibia.
So, there are many facets to the vision, concept and philosophy of African Renaissance, but at the heart of it lies the desire to preserve, and to then grow the consciousness of the African people (All Africans including the diaspora), to positively express ourselves and take action, to eventually correct the wrongs of our past and turn our weaknesses into strengths…
… This is a vision that can only be executed if ALL Africans are united.
(Another part in realizing this vision is the formation of the African Union to seek, at the very least, political independence in the road to establishing safety, peace and security across the continent. As many know, the complexities within Africa are vast, and thus the best suited to resolve our issues, are ourselves.
Although the RF is run by many people, an undeniable driving force in its inception has been apartheid struggle icon and poet/novelist Dr. Wally Serote)
Definitions are taken as defined by the Renaissance Foundation (2012).
If you're skeptical about the term African (especially since there are so many people from different religions, races, creeds and countries within this continent, we take inspiration from Thabo Mbeki's speech "I am an African" - poetic it may be, but it perfectly encapsulates the beauty, complexity and diversity of what makes us Africans. For the speech, click here