ANC and Ethiopianism
Time to reflect on our gains and challenges
May 26, 2010 Edition 1
This year’s Africa Day celebration in Parliament was themed “Building and Maintaining Peace through Sport in Africa”.
Parliament must be commended for hosting the important event, which took place just a few days before the kick-off of the biggest sporting event on the planet – the World Cup.
Football has for ages served as a uniting sport for people of all races throughout the world.
It has brought hope during extreme difficulty; unity where there was division; courage in the face of systematic injustice; faith in what looked impossible; and victory over subjugation.
Given the continent’s history of conflict and instability, the World Cup must foster peace in Africa, and should be used to usher in a new era of unity and stability in the continent.
We are confident that this prestigious world event will not only leave a lasting legacy for South Africans, but for the continent as a whole. It is for this reason that we have called this event an “African World Cup”.
This year’s marking of this important day on the calendar of the African continent takes place two years after violent attacks targeted mainly at foreign nationals in communities in Gauteng and other parts of the country.
While those attacks were generally xenophobic in nature, they also bore some ethnic undertones as they were also targeted at South Africans.
The ANC and government moved swiftly to decisively quell the attacks and ensured that those behind the attacks were isolated by society and arrested.
As we celebrate this important day, we must as a nation and continent continue to consolidate our social stability and reaffirm our efforts to build a human rights culture. We must, through words and deeds, shun such ugly and repulsive acts both within our borders and elsewhere on the continent.
On Africa Day we must reaffirm our solidarity with the rest of the continent.
We will continue to empower our people to become their own liberators from poverty and underdevelopment.
The establishment of the AU and the adoption of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad) were confirmation that Africa was focusing on developmental issues to create a better life for all.
While Africa continues to record successes on many fronts, we are also mindful of the many challenges still faced by the continent.
Extreme poverty characterised by the lack of access to basic education, health care and adequate nutrition remain some of the main challenges facing the continent.
The spread of diseases, especially HIV/Aids, continues to threaten Africa’s efforts to attain peace, stability and prosperity.
Parliament must use the Africa Day celebration to acknowledge the continent’s achievements and to take stock of challenges it still faces.
It is important to use that opportunity to reflect on the roots of the renascent ideology and its future.
We must use the celebration to recall that the founders of African nations were spiritual and religious people, guided by the desire to create non-racial, non-sexual, united and democratic and prosperous societies in which the value of all citizens was measured by their shared humanity.
Africa is a great continent that gave birth to human civilisation. It gave birth to sciences and philosophy which shaped modern sciences and society.
More specifically, Africa gave birth to humanity itself – sciences such as geometry, astronomy, astrology and mathematics.
Africa also gave birth to spiritual philosophy of humanism (Ubuntu/Botho) which gave the modern world a universal value system that took root during the European Renaissance, which was inspired by the recovery of Khemeti.
It is therefore not surprising that the founders of modern African nations appealed to the glory of ancient Ethiopia and Africa to propagate their (notion of) equality of Africans to other races.
The African Renaissance is an ideal that came from the people and must be rooted among the people to succeed.
To understand it we must remember that Africa was ravaged by the slave trade and colonialism.
These two inhumane systems virtually killed Africa.
For us to understand and nurture the renascent movement we need to understand its underlying ideas and motives.
African people were not only uprooted from their continent and enslaved abroad, they were denied their humanity and treated as second-class citizens in state and church, including cultural institutions.
Africans remember their disposition to associate with one another for mutual benefit. In the Americas, three types of organisations were established as a result of this disposition.
These organisations were the Prince Hall or African Masonic Lodges, and Ethiopianism that included Sylvester Henry Williams, founder of Pan Africanism, Booker T Washington founder of the Tuksgee Institute and mentor of John Langalibalele Dube – the founding president of the ANC.
The others were WEB du Bois and Marcus Garvey as well Richard Allen, founder of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church.
The father of African Ethiopian Theology, Reverend Mangena Mokone, founded the Ethiopian Church of South Africa, which became the 14th district of the AME.
The AME was established in 1892.
In the same year Dube foretold the rebirth of Africa in his public lecture entitled Upon my Native Land.
In that lecture he foretold a rebirth of a spiritual, humane and prosperous South Africa.
The affiliation of the Ethiopian Church to the AME was concluded in 1896. From that year onwards many African students were offered bursaries to study in African/American colleges, where they were profoundly influenced by Masonic teachings of Prince Hall, Ethiopianism and Pan Africanism.
In 1898 Bishop Turner of the AME Church came to South Africa and ordained many priests in the Ethiopian Church.
The Pan African Movement took shape in 1900 when Williams convened the First Pan African Conference at which Du Bois delivered a keynote address. In that address Du Bois foretold that the colour line would be the greatest problem of the 20th century. The conference also condemned the atrocities perpetrated on African people during the Anglo-Boer war.
After the conference some delegates, including Williams, came to the Cape where they joined Bishop Copplin of the AME Church and other AME officials who propagated both Ethiopianism and Masonic teachings.
Ironically, the Pan Africanists used Masonic teachings and Ethiopian theology to promote universal brotherhood and sisterhood while Cecil John Rhodes and his followers used Masonic teachings to justify the suppression and exploitation of African and other races.
It was this racially discriminatory ideology that inspired the Boers and Britons to conclude the Treaty of Vereeniging which reconciled Boers and Britons on the basis of social exclusion of African people.