In January 2014, a group of Africans from many physical, spiritual, and political locations began conversations around the deteriorating state of our Continent, the fundamentalisms that divide us and the multiple forms of violence that harm us. Initially spurred by the violent laws enacted in Nigeria and Uganda against Africans who are non-conforming in terms of their sexual orientation and gender identity and expression and African women, we put this statement together to mobilise and re-engage ourselves and others around a platform to re-imagine and transform Africa in the tradition of our liberation struggles and spirit of our ancestors. We use the title Mayibuye iAfrica – a slogan from the liberation struggle in Southern Africa meaning ‘bring back Africa’ – to call for self-determination, diversity and justice and a return to our traditions of resistance. We hope you will join us.
On this African liberation day, we, the undersigned, note with grave concern the continent-wide deepening crisis including, growing militarism, the crisis in democracy, an expanding neoliberal economic order, deepening patriarchy, homophobia, transphobia and heterosexism, amongst others.
We especially note the worsening social and economic conditions of those who have been dispossessed of dignity and autonomy over their lives, bodies, lands and natural resources, and denied rights to access shelter, food, water, education & healthcare.
We call the attention of all freedom loving people across the Continent and around the globe, to the pervasive and debilitating violence faced by those who are pushed to the margins because of divisive and unjust laws and policies, and poor practices by our own governments, who do not respond to their people but to financial interests. We condemn and resist attempts to homogenise Africa‘s multiple legacies into legalised hatred and discrimination.
We rise up and come together as Africans globally, working for a continent where self-determination, as well as physical, emotional, social and economic wellbeing are guaranteed to all. We come together to condemn and resist all forms of violence and militarism, including inter-community and state sponsored violence such as is currently rife in the Central African Republic and Kenya; systemic violence against Africans based on their actual or assumed sexual orientation and gender identity, as in Nigeria and Uganda; and endemic violence against women, girls and gender non-conforming persons, as witnessed in the abductions of girls and lack of adequate response in Nigeria.
We remind ourselves of the critical contributions that Africans have made across history in defining and defending principles of justice, solidarity, liberation and diversity. We salute all Africans who speak and have spoken in defence of these principles.
We stand for a return to Africa in every respect:
Re-imagining our lives outside neo-colonial power.
Breaking free from the structures, systems and individuals who disappear our history and traditions of democratic principles and respect for humanity, and who erase our cultures of agency, resistance, creativity and people power.
Reclaiming and upholding the rich legacies and cultural norms of collectivity, freedom, self-determination and ubuntu.
Taking individual and collective responsibility to fight globally and locally against the impoverishment and dispossession of the majority of African people.
Fighting for an end to violence and militarisation that destroys and harms us all.
Fighting for an end to the greed and oppressive power responsible for the destruction of our lands and the Earth.
We recognise, affirm and insist that Africa needs:
Economic and environmental justice to claim and redistribute power, to redistribute land and put our vast resources to the benefit of our people and the healing of mother Earth.
To eradicate militarism and all forms of violence, including the violence of oppressive laws and of poverty.
Racial and ethnic justice.
The transformation of the politics of sex, sexuality and gender, the rightful access to affirming and responsive institutions and services, and the restoration of spaces free of fundamentalisms in order to practice our religions and participate in our cultures.
Africa needs Africans who are imagining and building a future of freedom. We believe that Africans, in our multiplicity, have the potential to transform the world.
We, the undersigned, recommit ourselves to working actively for the Africa we want.
mayibuye.pledge AT gmail.com
Deadline: 23 May 2014
Publication date: The statement, with the list of signatures, will be published on Africa day, 25 May 2014.