One of the recipients of the MoneyGram-sponsored “Afrika! Community Award 2017” is an organization that promotes Pan-Africanism from the German city of Munich but with a global reach. Femi Awoniyi writes on how a Diaspora initiative is making a positive impact on the worldwide community of people of African descent.
Four organisations emerged winners of the maiden edition of the “Afrika! Community Award” in May. One of the award recipients is the Arbeitskreis Panafrikanismus München e.V. (Pan-Africanism Working Group Munich or AKPM).
The human rights organisation will mark its 10th year anniversary, under the motto ‘Challenges of Global Resistance against Racism”, on 9-10 September in Munich.
The self-awareness of people of African descent as members of a group with shared, painful experiences of slavery, colonialism and racism is at the heart of the global Black community.
AKPM believes that this shared identity imposes on people of African descent a duty to work together to find solutions to problems arising from their collective history.
It was this conviction that led to the formation of the Pan-Africanism Working Group in 2007 with the objectives of promoting the unity of thought, purpose and action. Pan-Africanism is a worldwide intellectual movement that aims to encourage and strengthen bonds of solidarity between all people of African descent.
The flagship event of the organisation is the biannual Pan-African Congress which takes place in Munich and has achieved renown in Africa, Europe and the Americas. Topics of global interest are discussed at the special gatherings and resolutions issued.
This year’s event, the 6th Pan-African Congress, is dedicated to the International Decade of People of African Descent. In 2013, the United Nations General Assembly declared the years from 2015 to 2024 as the International Decade for People of African Descent in recognition of Black people as one of the most vulnerable groups exposed to discrimination worldwide. Racism towards Black people is a global phenomenon due to the violent history of European colonisation.
The 6th Pan-African Congress underlines the important contributions of people of African descent and supports efforts to preserve the historical memory of Black people. The event will also deliberate on the increasing racist tendencies in Europe, the new era of racism in global context and racism on the African continent itself.
Special Guest of honour at the 2017 Congress is Biram Dah Abeid, Mauritanian anti-slavery activist and laureate of the United Nations Human Rights Prize 2013, who will speak on his struggle to end slavery in his homeland on 9 September. As the son of freed-slaves, the human rights fighter has suffered immensely for his international activism against modern slavery in the conservative West African country, one of the few places in the world where slavery is still practised albeit in a clandestine form but with state support or indifference.
The German-American sociologist Vanessa E. Thompson will address the global problem of institutional racism through police violence on the first day of the Congress as well. Esther Stanford-Xosei, a legal consultant, is going to raise the question of reparation claims based on million-fold homicide and enslavement of people of African descent and the disastrous economic repercussions for Africa and its Diaspora as a result of the centuries of transatlantic human trafficking.
On 10 September, the historian Hakim Adi, one of the few Black professors in Great Britain, will deal with Eurocentric historiography and major efforts to rehabilitate African history and make it become more visible within the academic field.
“We want to make the congress accessible to a broad audience in order to raise awareness of global issues that particularly affect us as Black people. We are especially concerned with the issue of how to tackle increasing racism together effectively, in order to create a socially-just climate for all,” says Modupe Laja, spokeswoman and member of the organising team of the Pan-Africanism Congress. “The situation has grown particularly tense for Black people in the past few years. Increasing hostility towards African refugees has exposed Black people in general to everyday racism even more.”
With Modupe Laja