“How can he be considered great, since he has been a philosopher for so long and has never yet disturbed anybody? (Nietzsche in Untimely Meditations, p 194)
“…it is only by means of the common characteristic of being German that we can avert the downfall of our nation which is threatened by its fusion with foreign people and win back again an individuality that is self-supporting and quite incapable of any dependence upon others” (Fichte in Addresses to the German Nation, p 4)
This title is informed by a Garveyite attempt to marry Lorenzo Veracini’s postulation (in a “radically” revised form) in Decolonising settler colonialism, namely, “kill the settler in him and save the man” with James Baldwin’s short story called “Going to meet the Man”. The first part of this title also reverberates with what I esteem to be the fundamental essence of Poqo/APLA’s philosophy of De-colonisation which is embodied very well by the slogan “one settler one bullet” and its political praxis which unfolded mainly around the 1960s.
Regarding the second part of the title of these “notes”, “the man” to be met is the white man who historically epitomises the vicious violence this European anthropo-ontological category “the man” unleashes on the “the man-not” to deploy Tommy J Curry’s term in The Man-not. “The man” here is a European anthropo-ontological category (in the sense of the European particular idea of being human and understanding of being in the world) which gains its coherence and stability through its “genocidal posture” towards “the man-not”. We take seriously the analysis in Resisting State Violence by Joy James that at the core of white supremacy is genocide. This is of course in line with what Patrick Wolfe calls the logic of elimination of settler colonialism in Settler colonialism and the elimination of the native.
The third part of the title of these “notes”, namely, “Dispatches”, is derived from the title of one of the great Tony Martin’s books, The Jewish Onslaught: Dispatches from Wellesley Battlefront, while Notes of a native son is a title of one of James Baldwin’s short pieces in which he grapples with his “integrationist anxieties” as explicated by Harold Cruse in The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual. The difference between James Baldwin’s integrationist native son and our “native” son as Garveyites will become transparent as the discussion unfolds. What is of significance regarding the third part of the tile of these “notes” is “the native”. The etymological and philosophical significance of which will be disclosed in the first section of these “notes”. These “notes” are divided into two sections, I now turn to the first section.
The native and its discontents.
“Blacks are still hopelessly naïve if they do not yet understand that the whites never did, and do not now, intend to include Blacks in the doctrine of human equality.” (Chancellor Williams in The Destruction of Black Civilization, p 301)
“But the more authentic question was not whether the slaves were human. It was rather what sort of people they were and could be. Slavery altered the conditions of their being, but it could not negate their being” (Cedric Robinson in The Historical Archaeology of the Black Radical Tradition, p10)
In Discourse on Colonialism, Aime Cesaire posits that colonialism seeks to “thingify” the colonised. If the “middle passage” inaugurates in its “wake” an anti-black world in which the black is not human but a tangible thing/commodity, then the Afro-pessimists have “internalised” this “thingified status” in their conceptual apparatus – We are not joining the club. The “its” in the title of this section is not meant as a suggestion that we too have “internalised” the “thingified status” of the native. This is because our fundamental point of departure is that, despite conquest since 1652 and the “political ontology”( in the sense of the construction of the relations of beings in terms of the interest of power of the white settlers, for example the idea of white settlers as superior human beings and the natives who are dismissed as a “child race” that is either subhuman or not human at all as imagined by the white settlers) of white settler colonialism, the Indigenous conquered people remain human on their own terms (they are still Abantu/Batho). Because we believe that Wade Nobles is correct in defining power “ as the ability to define reality and impose it on other people as if it is their own definition”, our analysis is firmly grounded in the vehement rejection of “white settler colonial power-to-define”. This vehement rejection should be followed by the destruction of the material reality of white settler colonialism which is premised on “white settler colonial political ontology”. By the latter we mean a “historical phenomenon” in which categorical relations which due to asymmetrical power are transformed into structural relations in which race and domination are the societal principle and mode of organisation.
It is fair to argue that despite the geographical difference in their experiences, Afrikan people in the Diaspora and on the continent suffer “collective degradation” in the form of Maafa at the hands of whites (due to their lack of power as the great Amos Wilson always pointed out, for instance in Black Power). This means that, it does not matter what whites think and say about Afrikan people, provided that they cannot translate their racist fantasies into a corresponding material reality something, which due to their power, they have been doing for the last many “centuries of anomie”, euphemistically called European Modernity.
This section will provide an etymological and philosophical analysis of the word and the category( in the sense of a socially constructed particular being) “the native” and its relation to white settler colonialism as it unfolded in “South Africa” since unjust conquest in 1652. We will not concern ourselves in these “notes” with the so-called “native question”. This is because it is our view that the so-called “native question” is nothing but a “forgery” of the white settler “racial regime”, to deploy Cedric Robinson’s concepts in Forgeries of Memory and Meaning. Because it is a fabrication by the white settlers, to say that it is racist is to be redundant. We will thus turn the tables around on the white settler racial regime and discuss “the white settler question” and how to resolve it (thus methodically speaking, we will proceed by way of description and then prescription). Here we concur with Richard Wright that there is no “Negro problem but the white problem”. The reason for this is simply that the fundamental problem in “South Africa” is the presence of whites, their identity, and their idea of reality and structure of racial domination based on unjust conquest since 1652, all of which are not only un-Afrikan but are anti-Afrikan (thus the impossibility of a “white Afrikan” despite the “existence” of the “Afrikaners” who are nothing but “white counterfeiters”).
In discussing the correlation between white settler colonialism and the native, we will critically analyse the relation between history and the emergence of categories. To paraphrase Cedric Robinson, we will critically explore the relation between white settler colonial “racial regime” and “the invention of the native”. As far as white settler colonialism is concerned the category native denotes a member of the “uncivilised” Aboriginal race as well as a non-European sub-person, to utilize Charles Mills’ concept in Kant’s Untenmensch. This is the white settlers’ politico-ontological classification of the native. The category native in the sense of a member of the “uncivilised” Aboriginal race is “echoed” by the “Natives” Land Act of 1913. For the purposes of this essay this will be the native in the first sense (politically speaking). The category native in the second sense is a non-European sub-person (socio-ontologically speaking). These two senses of the category native are the politico-ontological constituent elements of white settler colonial discourse which justified conquest in 1652 and sustains it today, despite the “loud nonsense” of the “white destroyers” Liberal constitutionalism and Human Rights Ideology”. “Uncivilised” here implies “without law and government”; of course as understood by white settlers in their colonial imagination. This is linked to the racist argument of the lack of reason on the part of the native as imagined by white settlers (thus sub-personhood) which has ramifications such as the attribution of “ontological defectivity” to the native and the complementary inhumane treatment of the native by whites.
We will follow Welsing in The Isis Papers, where she regards racism as white supremacy. This is because whites need white supremacy and white supremacy needs whites. This implies that, revolutionarily speaking, to be anti-white supremacy one has to be anti-white, physically speaking and not merely socio-ontologically. White settler colonialism is a structural/systemic manifestation of white supremacy in South Africa. The fundamental philosophical anthropology of white settler colonialism is the systemic and systematic doubting of the human beingness of the Indigenous conquered people, and the political praxis of the former is the material reality of white settler colonialism in the form of a dialectical relation between white privilege and the racial domination and exploitation of the Indigenous conquered people.
The category native in the first sense (political sense, namely the existence of a political order through ideas such as sovereignty, law and a form of government) is indicative of the white settlers’ “grudging concession” to “native title”. Here the white settlers seem to concede to the prior existence of sovereign title to territory of the Indigenous people before “conquest”. “Grudging concession” because this concession is accompanied by its negative antithesis, namely, the “terra nullius” doctrine or the empty land thesis (the historical “forgery” of the Bantu migration around the same time as the arrival of whites and their “racial regime”). There is a reason why the terms, namely, native title, conquest, and terra nullius are in inverted commas. This is because these three terms constitute some of the elements of the doctrine of Discovery which rationalised white settler colonialism, as explained by Robert J Miller in SYMPOSIUM: The future of international law in indigenous affairs.
Etymologically, the word native bears connotations of birth. Genealogically speaking the condition of possibility for the existence of both white settler colonialism and the category native in both senses is conquest since 1652 in unjust wars of colonialism. Thus, 1652 marks the “horrible date” of the birth of the native in both senses. But we must bear in mind that the native as representative of the Indigenous people existed for thousands of years before the “two thousand seasons” of the “white destroyers” to paraphrase Ayi Kwei Armah in Two Thousand Seasons. Cheik Anta Diop demonstrated this very well with the origin and first contribution to civilization by the African Grimaldi in Civilization or Barbarism. The difference between the category native in both senses as constituted by white settler colonialism and the native as representative of the Indigenous people is that the former is a “work” of white settler colonial racist “Social Imaginary” while the latter is a “signification” of an Indigenous “Social Imaginary” to paraphrase Cornelius Castoriadis in Imaginary Institution of Society. Put simply, the category native in the latter case is Umuntu/Motho, while in the former case, in both senses, is an ontological “forgery” (to rely on Cedric Robinson’s term) by the white settler “racial regime”. In other words, as Umuntu/Motho the native had many “moments before the master” and his “season of anomie” to borrow Wole Soyinka’s title of one of his novels.
Anthropo-ontologically speaking the category native in the first sense signifies a “grudging concession” that the native is a being whose prior birth since time immemorial as a human, though defective (a la colonial imagination), is a “tie that binds”, to paraphrase Makhosezwe Magubane, this native to the land. The “Natives Land” Act of 1913 epitomises this anthropo-ontological sense of the native. Since the above argument is true, from the perspective of the black radical tradition we are “within our rights” (we are being sarcastic here) to pose the question: was there an “epistemological rupture” when the ANC changed its name from the South African “Native” Congress to the African National Congress (note not nationalist) and its civil rights pursuits? Or have its founders always been “civilised natives” who accepted that “white settlers are here to stay” and thus wanted only to be granted rights within the white settler racial regime? This questions are germane because we believe that this pursuit led to the abandonment of the pursuit of the reclamation of “native title” (with the exception of the Garveyite/Africanist Lembede’s period) but to its watered down version (the current one informed by the break with Lembede’s Africanism through the current one’s “Freedom Charter”) called “land redistribution” within a Liberal constitutional citizenship framework (leading to historical “forgeries” such as “we the people of South Africa” and the “land belongs to all who live in it/South Africans” a la the “Freedom Cheater” to use Motsoko Pheko’s term). The Indigenous conquered people are “cheated” of their “native title” by the “civilised natives” who have accepted that “whites are here to stay” (in the name of the so-called “broad nationalism”) – as if this catastrophic and contingent historical fact is immutable and irreversible. What these “civilised natives” call “freedom” is nothing but inclusion into a reconfigured white settler colonialism (in the sense of the so-called “new” South Africa based on a non-racial constitutional democratic order) through a “negotiated” change of “the terms of order” of white settler colonial “racial regime”, to rely on Cedric Robinson in The Terms of Order. Land is the foundation of power, “freedom” without power is a meaningless illusion. What the Indigenous conquered people need is power as opposed to “freedom” and “equality”; which are “the terms of order” of a racist Liberal constitutionalism (which, misleadingly claims to be “non-racial”, thus making its racism more efficient and deadlier). Race-first De-colonisation as our alternative mode of decolonising white settler colonialism, on the other hand, seeks to reject through a “Chimurenga” (Indigenous conquered people’s politics must be wrested from the rampant judicialization under the hegemony of the current self-styled supreme constitution), “the terms of order” of white settler colonial “racial regime” and restore a Post-conquest/-settler Azania based on Indigenous people’s terms as an autonomous Afrikan nation.
As already alluded to above, the category native in the second sense denotes a non-European sub-person. Non-European here signifies not/not-yet “human”, not/not-yet Christian and therefore barbaric. This is because, due to “the role played by the missionaries in conquest” to paraphrase Nozipho Majeke’s title of her book, since 1652, Europeanization, “humanization” Christianisation and “civilization” amount to the same violent process of white cultural warfare. An Indigenous conquered people’s counter-discourse to the category native in the second sense and the resultant process of epistemicide is the philo-praxis of Ubuntu/Botho.
We will not for the purpose of this short “notes” delve into the very important and sophisticated philosophical explication of this philo-praxis as proffered by Ramose in African Philosophy Through Ubuntu. For the purposes of these “notes” we want to register the fact that Abantu/Batho “negated the negation” of their humanity as epitomised in the category native in the second sense. This they did by simply stating and believing firmly that indeed “makgowa ga se batho” (loosely translated as whites are not human). Thus, they have proven not to be Afro-pessimist. This is because African philosophically speaking, they fundamentally reject a reality as defined by whites/makgowa in which as Abantu/Batho they are regarded and treated, in this order, as not human and instead they turned the tables around and defined whites/makgowa on their Indigenous terms as not Abantu/Batho and therefore not human. That is how the Indigenous conquered people negated “the normativity of whiteness and white recognition” (to use Lewis Gordon’s terminology in Black Aesthetics, Black Value) and maintained their Ubuntu/Botho. This is an instantiation of “combative epistemology” (which, among other things, renders whiteness exotic/not-native and thus “not normal”) to paraphrase Archie Mafeje’s title, Africanity: A combative ontology.
This first stage of changing “categorical relations” is the epistemological and ontological foundation (in the sense of the idea of or particular understanding of reality and of being in the world) of the De-colonisation of white settler colonialism, which should be followed by a corresponding change in “structural relations” which should when successful lead to a “structural rupture” with 1652 (thus Black Power replacing white power). And this is how, the present writer believes, Poqo/APLA’s revolutionaries prosecuted their political praxis of “one settler one bullet” by destroying whites and their racism, in this order. This is because how you define something influences how you relate to and behave towards it. Marimba Ani demonstrated very well in Yurugu that European thought, which is structured by its power and control-obsessed cultural asili (the germinating seed of a culture), explains why the Europeans behave the way they do towards the cultural Other/Afrikan people. With this firmly in mind we now turn to the last section of these “notes” where we discuss our alternative mode of De-colonisation by and for Afrikan people and the “fate” of whites.
Race-first De-colonisation: so much worse for the whites?
“Racial regimes are constructed social systems in which race is proposed as a justification for the relations of power” (Cedric Robinson in Forgeries of Memory and Meaning, p 188)
“For the white people, still masters of this world, do not have to yield. They have never changed their real attitude toward black people during all the passing centuries, and there is absolutely nothing upon which to base the belief that they will change in the centuries to come” (Chancellor Williams in The Destruction of Black Civilization, p 301)
It is important to note at this stage of our analysis that in the title of this section we use the category “whites” as opposed to “white people”. A perceptive reader who has closely followed our argument will comprehend without difficulty the philosophical distinction between these two categories. Thus, as far as Abantu/Batho are concerned, this case of “whites” as opposed to “white people” is a case of “no humans involved” to echo in reverse Sylvia Wynter. After all, it is “the man” as a representative and acting on behalf of “whites”, in Sylvia Wynter’s piece, who reduces Afrikan people to the human-not/” the man-not”, thus “no humans involved”.
Patrick Wolfe once posited that “settler regimes are difficult to change”. Lorenzo Veracini on the other hand, interestingly, stated that “settlers carry colonialism in their bones”. Both these white thinkers provide us with only a historical and political analysis of settler colonialism and not a philosophical critique of whites in terms of their culture and worldview as we do in these “notes”. We, as the “Indigenous people” conquered in unjust wars of colonialism since 1652, firmly assert and believe that “makgowa ga se batho” (loosely translated as whites are not human). The logical question to pose in the light of the above is: how do you decolonise white settler colonialism? This problem of how to decolonise white settler colonialism is the thematic of this last section of our “notes”.
Wolfe also posited that settler colonialism is characterised by the “logic of elimination”. Veracini on the other hand, again interestingly, postulated that settler colonialism is characterised by the statement “you go away”. We will in this section, from the perspective of the black radical tradition, specifically Garveyism and Africanism, discuss settler colonial studies’ postulations, incorporate them where they are useful and offer an alternative where they prove useless. Our fundamental pivot for this purpose is the logic of elimination.
For our purposes we will reframe the logic of elimination by reducing it to two aspects, each with its two elements. The first aspect is the physical one, which consists of the following elements: expulsion and killing in cases of resistance. The second aspect is the socio-ontological one, which comprises of “going native” and “saving the man” as its two elements.
Our fundamental argument is that the first aspect of our reframed logic of elimination captures and was historically embodied and practiced by Garveyism and Poqo/APLA’s revolutionaries. Garveyism embodied the first aspect and particularly the element of expulsion through the well-known Afrikan revolutionary slogan “Africa for the Africans, those at home and abroad”. Poqo/APLA’s revolutionaries translated into political praxis the first aspect especially its second element through the slogan “one settler one bullet”. In Azania, Muziwakhe Lembede is an African philosopher and an Africanist who faithfully echoed Garveyism. The present writer would like to acknowledge the heavy influence of, and to register his deep admiration for, this Afrikan and Africanist warrior.
“Race-first philosophy of De-colonisation” as our alternative mode of decolonising white settler colonialism is firmly and solely based on the first aspect of the reframed logic of elimination and both its two elements as already alluded to above. This philosophy is informed by the radical idea that to de-colonise white settler colonialism we must “de-settle” all whites/white-settlers, and not to pursue and encourage their conversion and assimilation. The question of the practicality of this “thesis of de-settlement” is dismissed as nothing but “white settler and black bourgeois anxiety” which are reflective of their “affective attunement” to whiteness and the racial regime’s status quo.
In other words, if the fundamental nature of settler colonialism in its logic of elimination is genocide and the occupation of the territory of the native and the violent “instruction” “you go away”, then our Race-first philosophy of De-colonisation seeks to turn the essence of settler colonialism’s logic of elimination against whites/white-settlers. Put simply, the fundamental objective of our alternative mode of de-colonisation is to restore sovereign tittle to territory and epistemological autonomy by expelling all whites/white-settlers and killing those who stand in the way of our efforts to recover the territory (we don’t have to rely on the principle of recoverability in terms of the Just-war doctrine to accomplish this national liberation struggle’s fundamental objective). This Race-first philosophy of De-colonisation should be the ideological foundation of another Chimurenga to restore Uhuru in a Post-conquest/-settler Azania (the land of black people without whites/white-settlers, literally).
Our radical point is that this Chimurenga must be literally anti-white to be thoroughly anti-white supremacy/power. This radical point is indicative of “Afro-pessimism” which is based on an African-centred philosophy, namely, that whites “will not”, and “not cannot”, “disrobe their whiteness and settlerness” which are informed by the power and control-obsessed European cultural asili, their binary-opposition-based and de-spiritualised European worldview as argued convincingly by Marimba Ani in Yurugu. Based on this philosophy, we confine ourselves to the historical and political fact of the persistent “will to power” of whites and not their ontological potential to change for the better (their supposed change for the better, if or when it happens, must do so in Europe among other Europeans lest they “self-destruct”, as they seem to need it among themselves – what with their history of internecine wars based on “internal racism” which is “temporarily suspended” by the presence and domination of the “cultural Other”/Afrikan people). We concur with Cedric Robinson in Black Marxism that racism is endemic to European civilization. Thus we firmly hold the view that whites are irredeemable/not-worthy-of-redeeming (only Afrikan people who are victims of white supremacy are deemed to be redeemable and therefore worthy of a second chance to reclaim their Afrikaness). The point is not to waste our time trying to rescue or destroy the endemically racist European civilization (its “internal racism” will take care of this…), but rather to restore Black Power through which we can make/force whites to leave us alone. (Thus Europe for the Europeans and Afrika for the Afrikans). The radical and fundamental question is not whether whites can change for the better but rather what do you do with whites who clearly don’t-want/resist to change as you would like them to? For our purposes, philosophically speaking, their change for the last “two thousand seasons” has been a conservative one; namely, a change that conserves through strategic reconfiguration their white power and global white supremacy.
Concurring with Marimba Ani we posit that, historically and politically speaking, it is the cultural asili of whites which is the basis of white power/supremacy, hence their “not willing” to destroy this asili and thus change for the better. This reflects their bio-cultural survival thrust as a racial collective group in the world among other racial collective groups, to which they have always been hostile. Welsing in The Isis Papers has demonstrated with conviction that these “white destroyers”, to deploy Armah’s term in Two Thousand Seasons, want by any means necessary to preserve their racial, cultural identity and power. The few “race-traitors” who now and then “go native” are mere insignificant exceptions which have co-existed with global white supremacy. To focus on and celebrate them is to miss “the totality of white power”; they are a mere “entertaining” diversion.
Once all whites/white-settlers are completely “de-settled”, there will be more than enough room for some of our fellow Afrikan people in the Diaspora to come back and physically “re-commune” with the land of their living-dead. Our Race-first philosophy of De-colonisation is informed by the historical example of the Haitian Revolution. The opening of the Haitian empire to be a home for all the black people brutalised by whites is the living-dead’s revolutionary tradition that we wholeheartedly embrace and that our philosophy of De-colonisation seeks to continue. Because this process of “de-settlement” is based on Garveyism, it will have to be taken to its logical conclusion by being extended to the Arab-occupied parts of the Afrikan continent. The Arabs are not Afrikan but are conquerors who invaded Afrika around 639/40 AD. Thus Afrika as a whole is under siege both in the North and the South. When settler colonialism is theorised it is important from a Garveyite perspective to deal with the Arabs who just like their counterparts in the South of the continent are not Afrikan but are what Chancellor Williams in The Destruction of Black Civilization calls Asiatics. They are both conquering foreigners from the continent of Asia. After all, Europe is not a continent but a part of Asia. The cartographic inflation of Europe reflects white supremacy and thus white-superiority-inflected collective self-representation. As Garveyites the “civilizational differences” between the Arabs and whites and their conflicts are not important, but what matters is that they are both not Afrikan, are anti-Afrikan and conquerors of Afrika to be dealt with in terms of Black Power.
The second aspect of the reframed logic of elimination consists of “going native” and “saving the man” as its two elements. As Garveyites, our radical submission is that this second aspect together with its two elements is based on what Ayi Kwei Armah aptly calls “ruinous openness” or what I designate “naïve generosity”. As Garveyites we take seriously Garvey’s advice that in a world of wolves one cannot be a sheep and expect to survive. From a “return to the source” perspective, we should use the memory of the Afrikan founders (with Black Power) of the 18th Dynasty of Kemet (the land of the blacks/ the so-called Egypt), as a weapon, who expelled from Afrika settler colonisers called the Hyksos who also conquered and ruled over the living-dead. Following Ifi Amadiume’s notion of “historical depth” in Re-Inventing Africa, we can clearly discern the fact that “the destruction of black civilization” by settler colonisers (most of whom came as visitors and then turned into conquerors) has been going on for more than “two thousand seasons”.
The idealism that white settlers will abandon settler colonial sovereignty by returning the land to its rightful owners and thus “disrobing their whiteness and settlerness” is captured by Sobukwe’s metaphor of the tree and Biko’s table metaphor. We think that we have to look at the political contexts within which these offers of “ruinous openness” were made to whites. The 1960s and 1970s in “South Africa” represent white settler colonial periods during which the military power (white power) of the “white destroyers” was at its apex. If this is true, then the logical question to pose is: were these offers of “naïve generosity”, despite Poqo/APLA’s political praxis based on “one settler one bullet” a public transcript (ideas and acts of resistance which are regarded by the dominated as genuine in their relation to those who dominate over them) or a hidden transcript( ideas and acts of resistance on the part of the dominated which are meant to deceive the dominant group)? If it is the former then both Sobukwe and Biko mastered the hypocrisy of whites or what Marimba Ani calls “rhetorical Ethic” and turned it against them as we want to turn the logic of elimination against these “white destroyers” (this can only happen when one thoroughly studies the thoughts and mind of whites, but not with the view to redeem them). In other words, in their context of domination by whites, they mastered very well the “arts of resistance” to paraphrase David Scott and “were not what they seemed” as Robin D. G. Kelly would put it. If these offers of “ruinous or naïve Afrikan humanism” were hidden transcripts, then we, as Garveyites, respectfully disagree with both in this regard and consider the effects of epistemicide even regarding some of our great minds. We choose to heed the urgent call to practice what the great John Henrik Clarke called “the selfishness of survival”.
The second element of the second aspect of our reframed logic of elimination is Veracini’s “kill the settler in him and save the man”. While the first element of this second aspect is “going native” in the sense that there is an orientation of converting to the culture of the Indigenous people by white settlers (superficial and opportunistic in many instances, what with “whites” who embrace Afrikan culture and thought and still hate Afrikan people), Veracini’s postulation in our view is one in which white settlers remain European only in another form. In other words with Veracini’s case of “saving the man” we have a case of “trans-formation”; that is a change of form through a subtle retention of substance. After Sylvia Wynter’s critique in On How We Mistook the Map for the Territory of the hegemonic “overrepresentation” of Western “man” as the human as such, as Garveyites we remain “hermeneutically suspicious”( a suspicion based on our heritage which is the epistemological foundation of our reflections) of the category “man”. Following Marimba Ani’s critique of European thought, we “suspect” the operation of the ideology of Universalism with regard to “Veracini’s man”. How can we, as Afrikan people, take lightly the subtle imposition and internalisation of Western concepts and categories after Oyeronke Oyewumi’s critique in The Invention of Women and Nkiru Nzegwu in Feminism and Africa: Impact and Limits of the Metaphysics of Gender? Kwasi Wiredu’s call for conceptual decolonisation is heeded as we embark on “due reflection” with regard to “the man”. Anthropo-ontologically speaking, “the man” and Umuntu/Motho are not philosophical equivalents. “The man” is the European species of being human and has a distinctive mode of being in the world which is informed by the particularity of European values, norms and interests usually masquerading as universal in terms of European cultural Imperialism. Because “the man” is a European phenomenon, Diop’s Northern cradle’s heritage in The Cultural Unity of Black Africa should be factored in, in comprehending the man’s “attunement”/affective disposition to the world and to “the cultural Other”, to deploy Heidegger’s term in Being and Time. Due to the European worldview and culture, which we argue “the man” is immersed in, we “suspect” that “the man” will replace through the back door the settler who is “killed” and removed through the front door in Veracini’s decolonisation of settler colonialism.
From the perspective of the black radical tradition, our point is to “decolonise” Veracini’s idea of decolonisation of settler colonialism, not to redeem it of course but by demonstrating in terms of African philosophy that his idea of “saving the man” is irredeemably flawed as far as Afrikan people are concerned. Based on Sylvia Wynter’s and Marimba Ani’s critique, Afrikan people vehemently reject the idea and prospect of co-existing with “the man” in a Post-conquest/-settler Azania based on Isintu/Setso which is foreign to “the man”.
For us, “the man” will still be umlungu/lekgowa in another form and in terms of our Race-first philosophy of De-colonisation umlungu/abelungu/lekgowa/makgowa are not Abantu/Batho. The fundamental essence of this philosophy is a reality defined by Abantu/Batho in which whites/white-settlers and “the man” are not human. It is not just a question of empirical description which reduces whites/white-settlers and “the man” to a phenotype, as reflected in statements such as “the pumpkin race and those through whose ears pass the rays of the sun” to quote Mazisi Kunene in Emperor Shaka. But rather it is the particular “white mode of being in the world”, to quote Chabanyi Manganyi in Being Black In the World, of makgowa/abelungu, how they relate to the world and other beings in the world based on power, control and domination due to their European cultural asili and worldview. The particular white reality as defined by makgowa/abelungu which encourages this “white mode of being in the world” is un-Afrikan and to be more precise anti-Afrikan.
By way of conclusion, in line with our Race-first philosophy of De-colonisation, after expelling all whites/white-settlers and killing those who resist expulsion (especially those who on the basis of a racist delusion/”right of conquest” regard Azania as “their fatherland” as explained very well in The Rise of Afrikanerdom by Dunbar Moodie), we will “eliminate” the idea and prospect of co-existing with “the man”. But as Garveyites, with Black Power in Post-conquest/-settler Azania, we are “going to meet the man” and this time as his equal in terms of economic and military power to stop him from reducing our fellow Afrikan people in the Afrikan Seed/Diaspora to the human-not/ “the man-not”. Thus, as Garveyites De-colonisation means the restoration of Black Power, as explained by Chinweizu, in the sense of building a super-state on the continent which will be based mainly on economic and military power to protect the life and dignity of all Afrikan people on the globe currently dominated by whites and soon to be dominated by their fellow Asians. For us, Race-first Pan-Africanism (Garveyism), as excellently explained by Tony Martin, is not just an ideology which informs our national struggle for liberation in “South Africa”, but it is also the social philosophy and the fundamental organizing principle of Post-conquest/-settler Azania. As internationalist Azanians at home with racial national self-consciousness of “the ties that bind us” with our fellow Afrikan people abroad we are “going to meet the man” to make it clear that:
“…. just as it is a crime, routinely punished by white power, for blacks to kill whites, it must be made equally a crime, routinely punished by Black Power, for whites to murder Blacks. Hence whites must be taught that they can no longer murder blacks with impunity” (Chinweizu in Pan-Africanist Wisdom since Boukman, p 21)
“…if the natives were to rise and sweep every white person…. into eternity, there would still be left a fearful balance to their credit” (E D Morel in The Black Man’s Burden, p 122)
Because we believe that the Azanian struggle for national liberation is inter-generational, these “notes” were written (mainly but not only) in memory of Sharpeville and the Poqo revolutionaries, may their spirit, as the living-dead, be avenged one day by the living and the yet-to-be-born. Izwe Lethu…
By Masilo Lepuru