PostAfricanism vs Fanonism

Although the current global age in its most crucial structural orientations, has turned viscerally anti-Fanonian, Fanon remains, especially among the intellectual left, a key intellectual and moral authority still sponsoring the seeming perpetuation of the anti-colonial/decolonial outlook not just in Africa but in the rest of the Third World. Similarly, even though the ideology of Africanism [ie, an abiding faith in the existence of a specific African interpretation of life, of the modern world and our place in it, leading to the strong ideological preference for an African path to development, African solutions, African Renaissance etc] has notoriously failed to produce the outcomes we want, Africa has not felt any need to somehow question, redefine or transcend Africanism. This research sets out to make a case for why Africa, in its own developmental interests, should endeavour to overcome both Africanism and Fanonism. The new philosophy through which Africa could identify [and rethink itself out of] the traps and burdens of both ideologies is called PostAfricanism. PostAfricanism is about re-diagnosing constitutive ills of most Africa-centred anti-colonialist ideologies and then finding newer strategies of thinking, feeling and imaging that can help Africa rethink itself and the modern world more adaptively and self-empoweringly. PostAfricansim expresses the strong desire to lift Africa out of the many unseen anti-progress patterns of thoughts and action embedded within some of our preferred models of self/world interpretation. While most Afrophiliac ideologies and Fanonian decoloniality continue to promote the anachronistic feeling that the colonial route through which Africa entered modernity was an error and the source of our woes, in the PostAfrican turn, modernity, no matter the route taken to it, is wholly appropriated as the inescapable horizon for all mankind living in the 21st century. Not only is it that we Africans are condemned to be modern if we must grow but it is the inability or refusal to adapt performatively to the modern, rather than the persistence of coloniality, that could be the source of our many discomfitures in globalising modernity. In both Africanism and Fanonism, alienation was understood as forced estrangement from old cultural roots caused by the colonial cultural bomb [Ngugi]; in PostAfricanism, alienation is re-inscribed no longer as loss of old native roots but as inability, refusal or unwillingness to fully adapt to the global modern. Symptoms of such refusal/inability range from persistent underdevelopment to terrorism.

In this research, I will, using the postAfrican paradigm, show the many ways in which Fanonism aggravated by the malignant Afrophilia of many thought leaders, may be impairing our capacity to become full-fledged subjects and co-creators of modernity.

Project leader(s):
  • Denis Ekpo (Department of Foreign Language and Literature, University of Port Harcourt)

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