Kwame Nkrumah's Contribution to Pan-Africanism: An Afrocentric Analysis.
AUTHOR: ZIZWE POE
UNIVERSITY OF SANKORE PRESS, 2010
The revised edition of Kwame Nkrumah s Contribution to Pan-Africanism: An Afrocentric Analysis by Zizwe Poe demonstrates an unprecedented critical and meticulous analysis both of Kwame Nkrumah's political vision and of the idea of Pan-Africanism, which encompasses African/African American history, politics, and sociology. By thoroughly examining extensive primary and secondary sources related to Kwame Nkrumah, especially from the mid-1940s to the mid-1960s, Poe, an Africology (African American Studies) trained professor of history, argues that Nkrumah's political, social, and cultural views, leadership style, activism, and initiatives not only contributed to existing Pan-African ideas, but also served as a crucial foundation to the future construct of Africa and the African diaspora.
The volume consists of nine chapters with two or three sections per chapter. Chapters One and Two delineate the framework and foundation of Poe's research including the explanation of key terms and existing scholarship on Kwame Nkrumah's life and work; while this structure may be initially perceived as "dissertation-like," Poe's detailed explanation of the research method and theory using eloquent yet precise prose and a direct manner provides readers with a thorough comprehension of Poe's complex and intricate ideas throughout the volume. This extensive and necessary background, in combination with extensive bibliographic and historical documents and personal details about Kwame Nkrumah, thus underscores Poe's central argument that Kwame Nkrumah's vision serves as the agency for the Pan-African initiatives. Poe concludes the volume with a prospect for the African world by arguing for Nkrumahist ideology as pragmatic strategies to enhance Pan-African agency. As such, this volume presents not only mere historical research on the contribution of an influential African leader, but also a case for the legacy of Kwame Nkrumah as a catalyst for future advancement.
The virtuosity of Kwame Nkrumah's Contribution to Pan-Africanism lies in three multi-layered objectives. First and the foremost, Poe's careful and scrupulous analysis of Pan-Africanism draws on clear and detailed evidence from a multifaceted array of sources. Poe includes, but does not limit himself to, popular 20th century Pan-Africanists such as Marcus Garvey, George Padmore, Sekou Toure, W.E.B. DuBois, and Julius Neyere; he combines analysis of organizations such as the Pan-African Congress, the United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), and numerous others during the Nkrumah era, but also incorporates sources on the ancient Kemetic ideas of African culture, personality, and unity, offering strong evidence from the unification of lower and upper Kemet circa 3000 B.C.E. Encompassing the works and ideas of the African world in combination with geographically inclusive sources from North America, the Caribbean, and the African continent from Ghana and Liberia, to Ethiopia and Libya, Poe constantly emphasizes the connection to and central nature of Kemet; Poe applies his Afrocentric historiography even to small examples of terminology, such as how the prevailing notion of "academy" in the Eurocentric model differs from the one in the Kemetic society. Such a far-reaching Pan-African vision of time and space is unparalleled in any other scholarship on either Pan-Africanism or Kwame Nkrumah.
Secondly, the elasticity and comprehensiveness of this research raises some critical questions about the validity of traditional academic disciplines with regard to in-depth African-related research; in addition to the geographic expansiveness discussed above, Poe reaches across disciplinary boundaries in a way that calls into question the usefulness of those boundaries in the first place. Poe encourages readers to analyze sources and bring in critical arguments from an Africological interdisciplinary perspective, which is the core of African American Studies and other ethnic studies. Though Poe's work exemplifies traditional historical research that involves thorough investigation of extensive primary and secondary source documents, it also incorporates theory and methodology from political science, philosophy, and sociology from an African-centered orientation, which is the foundation of Black Studies. In other words, the book will be well-utilized in any of these traditional programs and fields in addition to the recent area studies, such as African Studies and World Studies.
Lastly, one must address the most compelling attribute of Kwame Nkrumah's Contribution to Pan-Africanism, that is the practicability of Poe's main argument on Pan-Africanism and Kwame Nkrumah as philosophical foundation and strategic model of optimal agency for African initiatives. The volume provides a clear and pragmatic alternative to the Eurocentric view of history and the reality of colonialism, neocolonialism, and African independent movements; Poe includes corrective stratagems for the existing language of colonization and decolonization using a clear identification of practical intellectual frameworks, terms, and concepts. Poe emphasizes that Pan-Africanism "is a strategy" (p.46) that "serves as a guide to the empowerment of an African nation" (p. 45); further, he notes that "Nkrumahism, as a system of ideas, vitalized the impetus for social change" (p.4). While the theoretical bases of Pan-Africanism and Nkrumahism have been well established throughout the chapters, in terms of facilitating critical thinking and empowering the African community, the volume incites readers to conceptualize such Pan-Africanism and Nkrumahism as praxis for community action and discussion, which, Poe suggests, would lead to a careful and complete understanding of the African world from both a global and Afrocentric perspective.
Kwame Nkrumah's Contribution to Pan-Africanism can be best utilized in advanced undergraduate and graduate courses in African and/or world history, Black/ African politics and society, and African leadership. Despite its obvious contribution to the development of Black Studies/Africana Studies, in addition to traditional academic disciplines and programs, this volume also appeals to any readers in any community who are interested in African history, global social and political movements and culture, and the sheer advancement of human knowledge and potential and progress of society and culture. Should a translation be provided, readers throughout the world, especially those on the African continent and in the diaspora, can expand their intellectual capacity to understand the strength and resiliency of the African humanity, as well as the agency of advancing the African world.
SUZUKO MORJKAWA, CHICAGO STATE UNIVERSITY
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|Publication:||The Western Journal of Black Studies|
|Article Type:||Book review|
|Date:||Mar 22, 2013|
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