African govts urged to work together for slavery reparation

Prof. Kwesi Yankah (second from left) with the other speakers at the opening ceremony. Photo: Michael Ayeh

Prof. Kwesi Yankah (second from left) with the other speakers at the opening ceremony.
Photo: Michael Ayeh

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West Indies, Professor Hilary MacDonald Beckles has cautioned African governments against acts and commentaries that disrupt global efforts to seek justice on the harsh slavery regime meted to Africans years ago.

To this end, he has called for a collaborative and united front, devoid of divisive postures, in the fight for reparation for Africans who endured years of torture from slavery.

“It is imperative for leaders of the continent to lead the global fight for accountability. Africans were the victims of the cruelest acts of terrorism and perpetrators of the acts must be pushed to be responsible. We need one voice to make this a reality,” he added.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Second Kwame Nkrumah Pan-African Intellectual and Cultural Festival in Accra yesterday, Professor Beckles said time was running out for Africans to seek reparation for the brutish treatment people of the continent were subjected to.

Organised by the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, the five-day event, on the theme “The Global Africa 2063: Education for Reconstruction and Transformation”, would bring together activists all over the world to reflect the foundations of former President Kwame Nkrumah’s idea of a common Africa.

It was also to stimulate those who will be the fore-frontiers of Pan-Africanism and discuss ways to transform the educational system in Africa.

Professor Beckles explained that Pan-Africanism offers the best platform and consensus to uproot and fight injustice against Africans, saying that western propaganda that implicates Africans as actors of the slavery was a ploy to avoid calls for compensation to the victims.

The 20th Century, he noted represent the right moment for African governments to join the Caribbean region in demanding for reparation from the perpetrators of slavery as it would underscore the current global stand for accountability in all spheres of the human race.

The Caribbean, the Vice-Chancellor noted would not relent on its efforts to demand compensation adding that the region was presently considering the International Criminal Court (ICC) as a means of getting justice.

In a speech read on his behalf, President Nana Akufo-Addo reiterated the need for African scholars to reorder their priorities in efforts to reconstruct and transform education on the continent.

To this end, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government, he noted was fully in support of Agenda 2063 as outlined by the African Union, with a commitment to “A shared strategic framework for inclusive growth and a global strategy to optimise the use of Africa’s resources for the benefit of all Africans.”

In furtherance of the Agenda, which would help to revitalise higher education for Africa’s future, President Akufo-Addo urged for the development of the action plan that ensures collaboration between African universities in research, curriculum development and graduate student teaching and mentoring.

 

By Claude Nyarko Adams and Elvis Andoh

 

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