13 August 2020 - NW1418
Hill-Lewis, Mr GG to ask the President of the Republic
Whether, with reference to the posting of a picture of the late President of Zimbabwe, Mr Robert Mugabe, on the official Twitter account of The Presidency on Africa Day on 25 May 2020 and a quote attributed to him reading Africa is for Africans under the banner headline that reads The Africa We Want, he (a) associates himself with the controversial Presidency of Mr Robert Mugabe and (b) agrees with the position of the statement of the late Mr Mugabe as it was quoted in the official tweet; if not, what did he mean by offering his tacit endorsement of the slogan; if so, what are the relevant details?
On the occasion of Africa Day 2020, the Presidency Twitter account posted several banners from the African Union (AU) paying tribute to African leaders who had been instrumental in the struggle for independence and continental unity.
In addition to the late President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, the Presidency joined the African Union in paying tribute to Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Ahmed Sekou Touré of Guinea, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana and Oliver Reginald Tambo of South Africa.
All of these leaders are deserving of recognition for their roles as leaders of national liberation and as champions of African independence, unity and development.
The slogan ‘Africa for Africans’ is rooted in the history of our continent. For centuries, the land, resources and even the people of Africa were exploited for the benefit of others. There was the transatlantic slave trade, where as many as 12 millions Africans were enslaved to enrich Europe and the Americas. There was the colonisation of the continent, in which the wealth of Africa was expropriated for the benefit of European colonial powers. In the latter part of the 20th century, Africa became a site of contestation between global powers during the Cold War.
‘Africa is for Africans’ is therefore an expression of the collective aspirations of the AU Agenda 2063, which is a call for African unity, self-determination, freedom, progress and collective prosperity. It is an expression of the call by Agenda 2063 for self-determination and for African progress that is ‘driven by its own citizens’.
Just as the South African Constitution declares that ‘South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity’, so it follows that Africa belongs to all who live in it, and it is they who should determine its destiny and benefit from its wealth.
If Africa is not for Africans, then who is it for?