Please note where you see different spellings of Afrikan this is because we in the SMWeCGEC use the spelling of Afrikan with a K but have preserved the spelling of African with a C when that is used by others.
Today we in the Stop The Maangamizi Campaign and our educational arm the Maangamizi Educational Trust were participating stakeholders to the historic establishment of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on African Reparations (APPGAR) which was launched in the British Houses of Parliament (via an online AGM) at 10.30am this morning, Wednesday 20th October 2021. The APPGAR is chaired by Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP, the Vice Chairs are Marsha De Cordova MP and Caroline Lucus MP, the Assistant Secretary is Sir Peter Bottomley.
On behalf of the Stop the Maangamizi Campaign, the Maangamizi Educational Educational Trust will be sharing the running of the Secretariat for the APPGAR. Other organisations who will also be part of running the secretariat are the Glocal Afrikan Reparations Forum of London, (GARFOL) and The African Foundation for Development, (AFFORD).
The APPGAR will be officially launched on 27th October 2021.
Esther Stanford-Xosei, Chair of the Maangamizi Educational Trust and Coordinator General of the Stop The Maangamizi Campaign who was honoured to speak at the AGM made the following speech:
My name is Esther Stanford-Xosei and I speak as the Chair of the Maangamizi Educational Trust (MET) which is the educational arm of the Stop The Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide Campaign (SMWeCGEC). Because of the historic importance of the AGM of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on African Reparations (APPGAR) today, the MET/SMWeCGEC has agreed a written speech from which I shall read.
First of all, we would like to acknowledge countless generations of Afrikans in the International Social Movement for Afrikan Reparations (ISMAR) on whose shoulders, struggles and sacrifices we stand, whom since the mid-1700s in the UK specifically, have advocated for holistic reparations. In this regard, we particularly highlight the role of people like Ottobah Cugoano and other members of the Sons of Africa.
This idea for the APPGAR comes out of the campaigning efforts of the Stop The Maangamizi Campaign and our charitable educational arm, the Maangamizi Educational Trust. Maangamizi is the Kiswahili term for the continuum of chattel enslavement, colonialism and neocolonilaism.
We have been pleased to see this campaign develop with the solidarity of elected officials which has resulted in ‘Atonement and Reparations for the United Kingdom’s Transatlantic Traffic in Enslaved Africans‘ motions in the London boroughs of Islington and Lambeth in July 2020 as well as Bristol City Council on March 2nd of this year.
We see the establishment of the APPGAR as a continuation of the work of the late Bernie Grant MP who was the first member of the British Houses of Parliament to take up the issue of Afrikan Reparations following on from the ‘First Pan-African Conference on Reparations for Chattel Enslavement, Colonisation & Neocolonisation’ which took place in Abuja, Nigeria in 1993 and resulted in the establishment of the organisation known as the African Reparations Movement UK as well as the Abuja Proclamation Early Day Motion 1987. It is in continuity of this work that we in the Maangamizi Educational Trust and the Stop the Maangamizi Campaign take our duties within the secretariat of the APPGAR very seriously. For this parliament has played a major role in legalizing, historical and contemporary injustices against Afrikan people worldwide including the passing of the Slave Compensation Act of 1837, which compensated our enslavers rather than Afrikan people. It has been very instrumental in legalizing our dehumanization, and continues with justifications being provided by this government for the discriminatory impacts of its extractivist policies in the Global South to supposedly avert the climate and ecological crises.
Our ‘overstanding’ of the term reparations is the conceptual framework offered by Professor Chinweizu in his Reparations and A New Global Order: A Comparative Overview paper presented at the 1993 Abuja Conference of systemic and ‘holistic repairs’ of every type, social, cultural, political, economic, environmental as well as the United Nations Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to A Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law. The specific meaning given to Afrikan Reparations as advocated by Professor Maulana Karenga is that Reparations are a process of the repairing and remaking of a people who are in the process and practice of repairing, renewing and remaking the world.
In terms of our MET/SMWeCGEC vision of the APPGAR, we see its purpose as: “bringing together parliamentarians, campaigners, communities and other stakeholders to examine issues of African Reparations; explore policy proposals on reparations and make recommendations to Parliament on how to redress the legacies of African enslavement, colonialism and neocolonialism today“. In this regard, a key objective of the APPGAR being to facilitate, work towards establishing the UK All-Party Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry for Truth & Reparatory Justice (APPCITARJ) which is a key demand contained in the Stop The Maangamizi Petition and forms one of the main purposes of the ‘Atonement and Reparations for the United Kingdom’s Transatlantic Traffic in Enslaved Africans’ motions being passed by local and city councils.
People of Afrikan Heritage have been denied their right to be heard on what we mean by reparations, and what solutions we are already working on as part of Community Self-Repairs so that is what we are calling for a mechanism which can facilitate the dialogue between Afrikan Heritage Communities and the British State and society; which for us is the APPCITARJ. We therefore see this APPGAR as an important step in the process towards establishing such a mechanism of such vitally necessary dialogue. For it is only then that we can truly make appropriate policy and other programmatic types of redress by way of remedies to repair ourselves here in the UK and extending into the Afrikan Heritage Communities globally; and in the process also catalyze the repair of the entire British society and of course, of all peoples and societies, within and beyond in the UK.
It is necessary for the APPGAR to invite people to honest dialogue on this issue of Afrikan Reparations, because this struggle to effect and secure holistic reparatory justice, like all our struggles, begins with the need for, as advocated by Professor Karenga, a clear conception of what we want, how we define the issue and explain it to the world and what is to be done to achieve it. However, on this we should be guided by Afrikan Heritage Communities and the movements they have created to effect and secure holistic reparatory justice which have been operational over centuries.
We in the MET/SMWeCGEC want to emphasize that the grassroots of our Afrikan Heritage Communities across the world should be driving this work. It is up to this APPGAR to demonstrate that there is a leadership that will be of service to our communities at this time when there are big questions about what kind of leadership we have and even some of the state and non-state actors active on issues of reparations, being heavily scrutinised in terms of their credibility and commitment to our people in what some see as a tendency to want to make elitist deals under the guise of reparations which do not benefit the masses of the people. We should all be clear that Afrikan Heritage Communities have a right to participate in reparations programme and policy development and must be in the driving seat of such processes best summed up in the mantra: Nothing About Us Without Us for Anything About Us Without Us is Against Us. Furthermore, participation rights are individual and collective human rights under customary international law. They are enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and further established in states’ legal obligations as spelled out in the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
That is why for us in the MET/SMWeCGEC, the emphasis should be on Afrikan Heritage Communities Self-Repairs as was recognised in the Bristol ‘Atonement and Reparations’ motion which states: reparative justice should be driven by Afrikan Heritage Communities experiences, voices and perspectives to ensure that advocacy messages not only reflect but also respond to the real needs of the community in order to recognise inequalities. Also, that Afrikan Heritage Communities in collaboration with wider stakeholders, should be supported to develop their own glocal ‘reparations plans‘ to tackle issues of community disrepair as a result of the Maangamizi, locally, nationally and internationally. These issues of disrepair rooted in conquest, dispossession, structural racism as well as intergenerational oppression and trauma include in the UK: gun and knife crime among young people, kidnapped and missing children, the discriminatory impacts of the criminal justice system, the education system and the issue of Afrikan heritage maternal death-rates and inequalities of primal health of people of Afrikan heritage and ancestry etc as a result of the continuing impacts of the Maangamizi.
Research of people like Professor Carlton Waterhouse shows that much of the reparations policy-making, scholarship and public discourse pays little attention to the quality of past reparations programmes implemented around the world and whilst the emphasis is placed on former and contemporary wrongdoers to make apology, recompense, or other types of restitution, very little attention is paid to results, the end result of any reparations process should be the restoration and recovery of those that have experienced enduring injustice and harm, as well as the critical role that communities and individuals suffering from past abuses should play in establishing those programmes in order to re-establish their personal well-being and societal standing. Similarly, a lot of attention gets placed on state initiated reparations programmes; but this is based on a false and outmoded notion of international law as just being about the law of nation-states or governments rather than peoples and/or affected communities.
As much as this APPGAR has been centuries in the making, we must also recognise the context within which this struggle to effect and secure holistic reparatory justice is unfolding as historian Professor John Henrik Clarke advocated, we must be conscious of what political and cultural time of day it is given our locations as Afrikan people on the map of human geography. At a time when the extent of the Maangamizi is now imperilling all life on Planet Earth and some of us are threatened with literal extinction; an approach to effecting and securing holistic reparatory justice is required which brings about Planet Repairs which means: when safeguarding the rights of past, present and future generations; the need to proceed from a standpoint of Pluriversality that highlights the nexus of reparatory, environmental and cognitive justice in articulating the impetus to repair holistically our relationship with, and inseparability from, the Earth, Environment and the Pluriverse. Such an approach recognises there is urgent need for us all to compel the stopping of the Maangamizi of Neocolonialism and its inbuilt manifestations of genocide and ecocide and for Afrikan Heritage Communities to engage in deep and transformative adaptation given the certainty of intensifying climate and ecological crisis which is already impacting all life support systems as we know it rapidly-changing Planet Earth; doing so in ways and means that repair and transform our existing failed institutions in all spheres of people activity, locally, nationally and internationally. Such repair and transformation being anchored in the ancient Afrikan ethical imperative of Serudj ta, i.e., healing, repairing and remaking the World, making it more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
For these reasons, an essential part of our communities self-defence is transformative adaptation which is also about us beginning to make Pempamsiempangos, an Adinkra symbol, which encapsulates the necessity to knit and sew together in readiness for our community self-repairs; these are Glocal Afrikan Reparations Plan for Planet Repairs Alternative Progression being drawn up locally, nationally, internationally as well as globally. Alternative Progression plans become necessary given the contested nature of currently dominant processes of globalized development as highligted in Pluriverse: A Post Development Dictionary, given its structural roots in the Maangamizi, modernity, capitalism, state domination, and exclusively masculinist values which have often ended up being instead maldevelopment.
Finally, it is important to note that we who have been struggling to effect community self-repairs over centuries have built up an extensive knowledge base about the kind of system-change reparatory justice policy and programmatic measures are required. It follows that reparations education and conscientisation is part of the preparation for effecting and securing reparatory justice and this requires the APPGAR to also facilitate intense study about this issue as well as recognising that there is such a thing as reparations ethics. In this regard to acknowledge the INOSAAR Principles of Participation which promote equity between the knowledges produced by Afrikan Heritage Communities on Reparations and all other stakeholders.
We in the MET and the SMWeCGEC commit to disciplined, proactive work in the APPGAR secretariat and in fulfilment of this vision and we are keen to work equitably with partners who recognise the principles of Afrikan agency in determining what is best for our people.
We thank Bell Ribeiro-Addy for taking up this challenge by taking this historic step in initiating this APPGAR and agreeing to chair it and of course also to all of you who have agree to be the other executive officers.
We look forward to supporting and working with you all in the APPGAR.
The orginal proposal for the APPGAR as proposed by the MET can be found here.
“Accepting our responsibility and obligation to our Ancestors for ensuring that the African identity is proclaimed, maintained and developed; and that Africa is restored to its rightful place at the centre of world politics; call upon all people of African origin in the Caribbean, Africa, Europe, the Americas and elsewhere to support the movement for reparations and join forces with a view to forming a strong united front capable of exposing, confronting and overcoming the psychological, economic and cultural harm inflicted upon us by peoples of European origin.”
Birmingham Declaration, Africa Reparations Movement (UK), 01/01/94
“Reparations is a process of the repairing and remaking of a people who are in the process and practice of repairing, renewing and remaking the world”
Professor Maulana Karenga, Black Power Encyclopaedia: From “Black is Beautiful” to Urban Uprisings, 2018