With much pride in the post-emancipation period Africans have sung ‘First of August come again.’ This is a reminder of the struggle that finally broke the physical chains of bondage on 1st August 1838, but 179 years later there’s still a way to go to secure other forms of emancipation.
Having had the opportunity to visit and interact with many predominantly African communities, I am acutely aware of what the African family has had to live with. The stench of hardship, deprivation, marginalisation, a negative public image, criminalisation, and demonisation linger. Some among us have been agents or pawns in a system of turning on their own in pursuit of self-interest. But this must not be seen as evidence that Africans are lesser, or are incapable. This must be used as reminders of what Africans must not be and must strive at all costs to avoid.
If ever the time is ripe, it is now for Africans to be the change we want to see and deserve. It is time to take our rightful place in this nation, to be equal partners with other groups. Historical struggles that led to success when people came together for common cause must see this power used to secure our advancement and upliftment. This power must also be used to hold all who act on our behalf accountable, even as we so hold ourselves to conduct our lives in a manner that would be of honour to the race.
Up, you mighty people! The struggle must continue for mental, economic, political and social emancipation. An investment in you is an investment in equality, society’s growth and development.