GBETOWO IN ‘ABLODENUDZRADONATOTRO’:
TOWARD THE PAN-AFRIKAN REPARATIONS FOR GLOBAL JUSTICE VICTORY OF MAATUBUNTUMAN
By Mawuse Yao Agorkor of the
ABLODENUDZRADOSAFO Global Ewe Community of Practice for Pan-Afrikan Reparatory Justice (ABLODENUDZRADOSAFO-GECOPPARJ)
and the VAZOBA Afrika and Friends Networking Open Forum.
This is a presentation giving a basic outline explanation of the ‘Pempamsie’ planning of, and the groundwork being done to effect, people’s self-empowering Pan-Afrikan Reparations for Global Justice within the Ewe-Fon-Adza kindred communities of the Gbetowo nationality in West Afrika as their own self-determining contributions towards the victorious building of the MAATUBUNTUMAN Pan-Afrikan Union of Communities. There is well emphasized the crucial importance of Cognitive Justice to understanding what Reparations mean as ‘Nudzradonatotro’ to the Gbetowo. Proceeding from this ‘Nudzradonatotro’ conceptualization, the presentation highlights its cardinal exposition of the view that Reparatory Justice will be utterly meaningless to partitioned indigenous Afrikan communities like the kindred Ewe-Fon-Adza communities in present-day Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria, unless the Maangamizi criminality of the European imperialist neocolonially imposed borders of Coloniality, that are a huge part of the still persisting legacies of the infamous 1884-1885 Berlin Conference, are completely dismantled in the total national and social liberation course of effecting true Pan-Afrikan Reparations for Global Justice. Hence the great attention given to explaining the contributions being made by the ABLODENUDZRADOSAFO-GECOPPARJ, under the auspices of its parent formation, the ABLODEDUNOVISIHA Gbetowo Global Union for Pan-Afrikan Community Regeneration (ABLODEDUNOVISIHA-GGUPACOR) to the remarkable works of the Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide Campaign (SMWeCGEC), and the Global Afrikan People’s Parliament (GAPP); that is, Gbetowo contributions to putting a full stop to the Afrikan ‘Hellacaust’; in order to achieve the definitive victorious building of MAATUBUNTUMAN, out of the unification of ‘Sankofahomes’ throughout the continent, together with ‘Maatubuntujamaas’ all over the World, wherever is thriving the diaspora of Afrika.
Honourable Chairperson, Distinguished Guests and Fellow Participants;
With great pride I bear, in the Afrikan Personality dignity required by such a humbling big responsibility, the immense honour of representing not only my own primary organization, the ABLODEDUNOVISIHA Gbetowo Global Union for Pan-Afrikan Community Regeneration (ABLODEDUNOVISIHA-GGUPACOR); but also, and indeed, to be more precise, mine is the honour of representing our ABLODEDUNOVISIHA through one of its Grassroots Academia branches, the ABLODENUDZRADOSAFO Global Ewe Community of Practice for Pan-Afrikan Reparatory Justice (ABLODENUDZRADOSAFO-GECOPPARJ), which is most relevant to this 19th-21st September 2018 Colloquium of the International Network of Scholars and Activists for Afrikan Reparations (INOSAAR). It is noteworthy to register the fact that, among others, I do also represent here the VAZOBA Afrika and Friends Networking Open Forum; as well as the West Afrikan Grassroots Preparatory Action Coordinating Committee of the International Network of Scholars and Activists for Afrikan Reparations (WAGPACC-INOSAAR). When we started being drawn as early as in October 2016, by the Pan-Afrikan Reparations Coalition in Europe (PARCOE), based in London, United Kingdom, into discussions and preparatory work for the building of INOSAAR, we on the ground in West Afrika gave careful thought to a considerable number of bittersweet lessons from our own chequered previous as well as still ongoing current experiences.
WAGPACC-INOSAAR: Our Rationale
We of ABLODEDUNOVISIHA and VAZOBA are among those who proudly regard ourselves as the Scholar-Activists of the Grassroots Academia of our Communities of Resistance for Pan-Afrikan Reparatory Justice throughout the continent and diaspora of Afrika! We take immense pride in the Decolonizational furtherance of Cognitive Justice by doing our Scholar-Activist work mainly in our own indigenous Afrikan languages, utilizing creatively our own indigenous Afrikan knowledges, including spirituality, capacities, skills, cultural processes, tools and various other instruments, infrastructures and mechanisms to carry out appropriate mass conscientizational work by way of Popular Education, giving priority to Action Learning and similar mural and extra-mural endeavours of Lifelong Learning, among the ordinary masses of our Afrikan people at home and abroad. We unapologetically storm into this September 2018 colloquium space of INOSAAR, in the Republic of Benin, as non-state acting grassroots subaltern Scholar-Activists, coming from mainly the so-called hard to reach nooks and crevices of our Afrikan Communities of the Wretched of the Earth, from our own Lifelong Learning spaces of the Poorest of our poor Afrikan Communities of Resistance. For, it is the Reparatory Justice interests of such impoverished Afrikan Communities of Resistance that many in the ivory tower citadels of the Establishment Academia ignore, with some even contemptuously denying the very existence of ourselves and the distinctive interests of Intersectionality we independently represent both on the continent and in the diaspora of Afrika today! So we are coming from having had, since 2016, to do very serious thinking for ourselves about how best to make the INOSAAR endeavor worthwhile to ourselves and, most importantly, fruitfully beneficial to the ordinary masses of Afrikan people in and beyond our own communities all over the World. It is such thinking that has gone into creating the WAGPACC-INOSAAR as our own autonomous space for grassroots thinking and action by non-state actors promoting, from the ground upwards, not topdown but rather from “the bottomless pit”, in our own community interests, what we regard as authentic Pan-Afrikan Reparations for Global Justice in West Afrika.
The WAGPACC-INOSAAR is an autonomous networking Bloc of grassroots formations that are prioritizing the agency of the ordinary masses of Afrikan people by promoting, advocating and safeguarding respect for their own self-determined vital best interests, views and contributions in the groundup participatory democratic building of INOSAAR. This is being done so as to ensure things are scrupulously carried out in ethical accord with the fundamental principles of the International Social Movement for Afrikan Reparations (ISMAR), so as to enhance its advancement, in organic link with the Peoples’ Reparations International Movement (PRIM), towards the Rendezvous of Victory of holistic Pan-Afrikan Reparations for Global Justice. This is necessary to ensure the vigilant defence within and beyond INOSAAR of the inalienable right of the grassroots of our deprived Communities of Reparations Interest (CORIs) in West Afrika to independently project, articulate and effect their own perspectives and endeavours of Afrikan Reparatory Justice by their own sovereign People’s Power; and to assert the real weighty massive strength of their Civil Society collective intellect and might, against overt and covert attempts to impose the topdown elitist diktat of governments and other state actors upon them to the detriment of their own best interests and also against the principles and ethical norms of the ISMAR and the PRIM. We are seeking to reinforce and consolidate the autonomy of the WAGPACC-INOSAAR and review our own work programme during and in the aftermath of this September 2018 INOSAAR Conference in Benin.
With this very necessary clarification, may we go on to express our profound gratitude to Dr. Nicola Frith, Professor Joyce Hope Scott, Kofi Mawuli Klu, Esther Stanford-Xosei and, of course, also to the energetically dynamic Zeguen Moussa Toure, one of the co-founders and now a Co-Vice-Chairpersons of the WAGPACC-INOSAAR, currently based in Cotonou here in the Republic of Benin, where as a political refugee he is in exile from his country of birth, Cote d’Ivoire; our immeasurable “Akpega” to all such outstanding persons who have kept our hopes in INOSAAR alive and displayed exemplary leadership, together with all others we are unable to mention individually, in bringing us to this impressive event; yes, to this event of what, to us, ought to be a historical landmark celebration of Afrikan Rootsgrounding enstoolment of the special collective chieftaincy of INOSAAR as a potentially formidable iron-component of the Academic Column of both the International Social Movement for Afrikan Reparations (ISMAR) as well as of its interconnected Peoples’ Reparations International Movement (PRIM).
We are in Xogbonu/Hogbonu/Aja Ile!
Being an Ewe Scholar-Activist Advocate for our Gbetowo indigenous community rights, may I seize this opportunity also to highlight one more very important thing in this introduction to my presentation. It is vital for me to do so as my sacred Scholar-Activist duty of great importance to our ABLODENUDZRADOSAFO, which is a Reparations-focused Lifelong Learning and Action Research agency operating under the auspices of the broader ABLODEDUNOVISIHA Gbetowo Global Union for Pan-Afrikan Community Regeneration (ABLODEDUNOVISIHA-GGUPACOR). With long pent-up emotions of ABLODEDUKO Afrikan Personality pride, I too embrace the “Woezor” in this Xogbonu (or Hogbonu, also known as Aja Ile) city of so-called Porto Novo in the Republic of Benin; yes, to be true to the principles of Pan-Afrikan Reparations for Global Justice, let me uphold one of the Decolonizational Best Practice norms of our ABLODEDUNOVISIHA and VAZOBA by choosing to call this Afrikan place, not by the misnomer of so-called “Porto Novo” which marks it out as one of the most appalling crime scenes of the Maangamizi, that is by its still European imperialist-imposed obnoxious name of Coloniality, but rather by its own indigenous Afrikan original names of Xogbonu, or Hogbonu or Aja Ile, which better dignify it in what ought to be its truly majestic Afrikan sovereignty! Though not surprising that “Porto Novo” is still being officially misused for this place in this supposedly independent modern country of Benin, it is still shocking that little is being made of the fact that it is one of the European imperialist colonially carved out nation-state crime scenes of the Maangamizi which is prolonging the ‘Hellacaust’ criminality of Genocide and Ecocide in its continuing partition and division of our closely related familial Ewe-Fon-Adja kindred communities of the Gbetowo in West Afrika that are also to be found in Togo, Ghana and Nigeria!
To Kalelaklefiaga Agadza and Kalelaklenyonufiaga Hangbe: Our glorifying Salutations!
Without diminishing our boiling Gbetowo Black Rage concerning this continuing Maangamizi criminality, it is to an extent soothingly heart-warming to us that some of us are for the very first time setting our feet upon this holy soil that is part of the sacred homeland of our Gbetowo; a most wonderful homeland to which we proudly trace the glorious footsteps of our revered ancestral Heroes and Sheroes such the legendary Pan-Afrikan Abolitionist giants Kalelaklefiaga Agadza Audati Trudo and Gbetolaklenyonufiaga Na Hangbe of magnificent Dahome!
We do not have enough opportunity right now to properly tackle the lots of nonsensical Afriphobic racist mudslinging seeking to belittle the towering gallant role of Kalelaklefiaga Agadza Audati Trudo not only in our Gbetowo but also Afrikan and World History. Despite indisputable eye-witness testimonies of even critical-minded European travelers, like the British Royal Navy surgeon John Atkins and the British trader Bulfinch Lambe, who both had experienced contemporary life in those times in Dahome, and arguments brilliantly advanced by renowned historians of the illustrious stature of the likes of I.A. Akinjogbin and Basil Davidson, there are those who still keep spinning highly questionable concoctions from the figment of their own prejudiced imaginations in order to speculatively attempt to tarnish the image of Kalelaklefiaga Agadza Trudo. Even though he was hailed as such by Anti-Slavery campaigners in Britain and elsewhere, the image of Kalelaklefiaga Agadza as a self-motivated indigenous Afrikan Abolitionist Freedomfighting Chief appeared to be too damaging to the White Supremacy racist narrative to be allowed to stand without even deceitful vilification. So the Big Lies mudslinging continues against the glaring evidence to the contrary!
The Question of Afrikan Complicity
This is most noteworthy in relation to some of the points being made in this INOSAAR Colloquium here about Afrikan complicity in the Maangamizi, in connection particularly with its phase of Chattel Enslavement. Those con-tricksters who come on get-rich-quick capitalist fortune-hunting trips to West Afrika from the Diaspora to try various dodgy scams, with the sinister purpose of guilt-tripping us here on the continent of Afrika by spinning distorted half-truths about Afrikan complicity in the Chattel Enslavement phase of the Maangamizi, only in order to criminally extort from gullible chiefs and other ignorant traditional leaders and obscurant politicians undeserved goods and services for their own greedy individualistic and narrow cabalistic self-enrichment, ought to be resolutely challenged, mercilessly exposed and severely punished by all true Pan-Afrikan Reparationists at home and abroad! Among the weapons we must sharpen for use against such unscrupulous con-tricksters and their gangsteric cabals is comprehensive knowledge about the whole truth of the global Maangamizi Experiences of our Afrikan people at home and abroad, of all our communities throughout the continent and diaspora of Afrika.
There is a lot of one-sided accusatory finger-pointing at Afrikans born on the continent by some of those born in the diaspora about complicity in the Maangamizi crimes of Chattel Enslavement, with the often repeated chanting of “Dem sell we” and “you also owe and therefore have to pay us reparations”! This is where comes in handy literally the Afrikan Wisdom saying that when you are pointing one accusing finger at somebody else, be mindful that all the rest of your fingers on that same hand are actually pointing at your own self! So, apart from the notorious sambos and other “runaway slave-catching” goon squads even from among renegade Maroons in Jamaica and other Caribbean islands, lots of true stories abound about Afrikan Heritage individuals and their families elsewhere throughout the so-called Americas who got involved in Chattel Enslavement crimes as the so-called ‘owners’ of their fellow enslaved Afrikans in the diaspora! Writing about such “Rogues in the Gallery of Black History”, Professor Henry Louis Gates Jnr, as the Director of the W.E.B. DuBois Institute for African and African-American Research at Harvard University and Editor-in-Chief of “The Root”, drew upon the works of some of the most outstanding Afrikan Heritage historians, including the renowned likes of Joel A. Rogers and Carter G. Woodson, to provide convincing evidence (see the article “Did Black People Own Slaves?” by Henry Louis Gates Jnr); which are buttressed by the writings also of illustrious Jamaican historians like Richard Hart and Arnold Bertram (see the article “Jamaica’s Black And Coloured Slave Owners” by Arnold Bertram at http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/news/20170801/arnold-bertram-jamaicas-black-and-coloured-slave-owners ). As for the present-day examples of the traitorous Black-Skin-White-Masked Elite involved in Afrikan complicity in the Maangamizi crimes of our contemporary era, that is in the criminality of Neocolonialism, we must, with all intellectual honesty, engage in critical examination of the questionable track-records not only of those “Men and Women of the Hegemon” of the ilk of Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo of Ghana and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, but also of the Libyan Carnage-Wreaker Barack Hussein Obama of the USA and the Maangamizi Denier at Durban Baroness Valerie Ann Amos of the United Kingdom! Let therefore all the deceitful one-sided accusatory finger-pointing stop so that we all can rise together throughout the continent and diaspora of Afrika higher above the scams of con-tricksters in sincere promotion of genuine Pan-Afrikan Reparations for Global Justice!
These points are of crucial importance for me to emphatically make at this INOSAAR Colloquium here in Xogbonu/Hogbonu/Aja Ile, in the Republic of Benin. Nevertheless, mindful of the challenges of translation from the English into the French languages that are not our own indigenous Afrikan mother tongues, and since the time given us is grossly inadequate to do real Cognitive Justice to my topic, may I suggest a way out: that is, to advise all those who are genuinely interested in my whole contribution to ask the key organisers of this colloquium for a full written copy of my presentation. I believe Dr. Nicola Frith is the one person to contact in particular in order to obtain such a full written copy of my presentation. May I therefor proceed by selecting a number of cardinal points for highlighting. On the whole, my outline of such cardinal points are as follows.
Bringing into the Global Justice Limelight the Maangamizi Agony of the Gbetowo Nationality
Gbetowo is the collective umbrella name of the Gbe Language-speaking indigenous nationality of all people of the Ewe-Fon-Adza communities now home-based in West Afrika. Among the noteworthy historians from these communities who have been writing about their people from a wide diversity of perspectives are the likes of F. Akoli, D. Amenume, Francis Agbodeka, G.K. Nukunya, Komi C. Kudzodzi, Charles M.K. Mamattah and Kodzo Gavua. The Gbetowo are to be found mostly in the countries of Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria, divided by the artificial borders drawn rather arbitrarily, far away at the 1884-1885 Berlin Conference on the Scramble for and Partition of Afrika by the colonizing powers of Euro-Amerikkkan Imperialism. Minoritised in these imprisoning Bantustan nation-states of Neocolonialism that are part of the geopolitical prison-industrial complex of the Global Apartheid Coloniality of White Supremacy Racism, the Ewe-Fon-Adza communities of the Gbetowo nationality are extremely marginalized, severely discriminated against and brutally suppressed; they are repressed with the structural violence of Euro-Amerikkkan Imperialism which keeps on being dispensed through its African puppet quislings in the governmental organs and other structures of the state machinery in these countries of West Afrika today. Becoming more conscious and therefore increasingly rising up more militantly in defence of their human, peoples’ and Mother Earth rights as indigenous communities of Afrikan people, the Gbetowo are making their presence at home and abroad to be felt and therefore getting more visibly seen in the battles for participatory democratization that are growing in the countries of Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria respectively.
There are diverse politico-ideological and organizational tendencies within the Ewe-Fon-Adza communities at home and abroad; with most at present still merely asking for democratic reforms and improvements in their situation in the countries of Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria; while a vocal minority of others continue agitating for complete secession and some demanding various kinds of autonomy to strengthen the Gbetowo identity and national self-determination. Among all of these groupings, our ABLODEDUNOVISIHA Gbetowo Global Union for Pan-Afrikan Community Regeneration stands out for a unique position creatively advocating defence of the human, peoples’ and Mother Earth rights of the Ewe-Fon-Adza communities in unification as indigenous Afrikan people’s rights by way of championing Pan-Afrikan Reparations for Global Justice! Accordingly, ABLODEDUNOVISIHA is following its own ABLODENUDZRADONATOTRO conceptualised and designed ‘Pempamsie’ Pan-Afrikan Reparatory Justice Plan of Positive Action and therefore working diligently from the grassroots in promotion of the Pan-Afrikan liberatory unification of the Ewe-Fon-Adza communities into an autonomously self-determining national polity of ABLODEDUKO; an autonomous ABLODEDUKO polity that will initially remain inside and grow organically within but also transcendentally across the borders of the countries of Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria; such an ABLODEDUKO will systematically, methodically but gradually be constituted from the organic naturing of ‘Sankofahomes’ from within the Ewe-Fon-Adza Communities of Reparatory Justice Interest (CORJIs); gradually integrating with ‘Maatubuntujamaas’ as Afrikan Heritage Communities for National Self-Determination (Maatubuntujamaa-AHCNSDs) in the diaspora of Afrika, such ‘Sankofahomes’ of the Ewe-Fon-Adza Communities of Reparatory Justice Interest on the continent will become the Gbetowo ABLODEDUKO component building blocks of the future MAATUBUNTUMAN Pan-Afrikan Union of Communities!
ABLODENUDZRADONATOTRO’ as the Gbetowo’s own Cognitive Justice conceptualization and projection of Pan-Afrikan Reparations from their own Nunyansa indigenous knowledge perspective.
Every community’s own understanding of Reparations through its own indigenous knowledge perspectives and the self-determining strategy and tactics shaped accordingly is itself a Cognitive Justice prerequisite to its own definitive achievement of its appropriate holistic Reparatory Justice. This is exactly what our Gbetowo vibrantly display through our own Nunyansa indigenous knowledge conceptualization of Reparations as our own ‘ABLODENUDZRADONATOTRO’ self-determining Community Repairs for Rootsgrounding Change. The scholar N.K. Dzobo emphasizes the great importance the Ewe devote not to the mere acquisition of simply Knowledge as “Nunya”, but more to its Gbetowo own creative advancement through their own practical Lifelong Learning Experiences into the Wisdom of “Nyansa”; hence the concept of “Nunyansa”! We must all be mindful of the fact that Reparations would be incomplete if we failed to grasp the necessity for advancing knowledge in the praxis of unifying theory and practice into Wisdom and take into account the radical Changemaking for the better aspect of such advancement to effect true civilizational Progression. So therefore we must repair with a crystal-clear view to visionary radical Changemaking for the betterment of our whole communities. That is why we enthusiastically embrace the holistic definition and comprehensive exposition of Black self-empowering Reparations for our Afrikan people and all Black Humanity that was brilliantly advanced by Professor Chinweizu at the 27th to 29th April 1993 First Pan-Afrikan Conference on Reparations for African Enslavement, Colonization and Neocolonization held in Abuja, Nigeria.
As ABLODEDUNOVISIHA, we are progressing from the Ewe-Fon-Adza Nunyansa conceptualization and programmatic ‘Pempamsie’ design of true Pan-Afrikan Reparatory Justice as ABLODENUDZRADONATOTRO. We are making such advancement by becoming increasingly highly conscious, in the light of what Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah argued in his “Consciencism”, of the fact that such progression of ours must have as its foundation the ultimate maximum concentration of our own Afrikan people’s indigenous knowledge power in order to best formulate the collective intellectual basis for the creativity of our Gbetowo’s own unique contributions to the successful building of the MAATUBUNTUMAN Pan-Afrikan Union of Communities. That is why we are doing so with our characteristic Gbetowo Reparatory Justice grand vision of ABLODENUDZRADONATOTRO, arising from the Nunyansa fertility creativity of our Ewe-Fon-Adza community radical imaginations; so much so that we are glocally thinking and acting with a clear Wakanda-style futuristic view; that is, the view to taking all Humanity along our adventurous flight upon the Sankofa wings of MAATUBUNTUMAN building, to courageously soar, with the greatest possible pyramid-building audacity learnt from our revered Ancestors, well beyond current horizons upwards to the loftiest glorious heights of our definitive Pan-Afrikan Internationalist Rendezvous of Global Justice Victory.
The Ewe-Fon-Adza Community indigenous Empowerment Mechanisms
Our Ewe-Fon-Adza communities intergenerationally inherit inalienable traditional core value systems of knowledge, culture and spirituality, a wholesome World outlook and ways of life and wellbeing that give us a uniquely distinctive Gbetowo community spiritedness, identity and ethos in contribution to what Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah called the Afrikan Personality. The aforementioned systems contribute immensely, by the Nunyansa ways and means of Sankofa progression, to create, regenerate and advance various indigenous community empowerment mechanisms. Long before the disastrous colonial imposition of the Maangamizi criminality of Eurocentric Miseducation, there has been far more Cognitive Justice appropriate, meaningful and fruitful Education, training and capacity building in various aspects of Community Regeneration, Participatory Democratic Citizenship and Sustainable Development through the enforcement of the cultural values, principles and best Nunyansa practices of indigenous Gbetowo civilizational self-progression. This at large had tremendously improved and at best transformed the political and socio-economic lives of the Gbetowo nationality in the past.
Professor Ansa K. Asamoa is among those outstanding Ewe Scholar-Activists who have given quite interesting radical descriptions and exposition to the political and socio-economic historical journey of the Ewe-Fon-Adza communities of our Gbetowo nationality. Other noteworthy interesting expositions on our Gbetowo cultural practices have been made by the likes of F.K. Fiawoo, S. Mote, G. Nukunya, Kofi Nyidevu Awoonor, N.K. Dzobo, A.K.P. Kludze, E.Y. Egblewogbe, J.G. Kodzo-Vordoagu, Kafui Aku Ofori, Kofi Agawu and Godwin Agbeli. The proper continuity of such works necessitates, as our ABLODENUDZRADOSAFO Scholar-Activists are arguing, with the unanimous support of the entire ABLODEDUNOVISIHA, the systematic innovative development of complexes of mural and extra-mural education, seeking to harmonise the wide diversity of the endeavours of those operating in relevant spaces of the Establishment Academia as well as of the Grassroots Academia; so as to strive better for the glocal unification of all the Cognitive Justice endeavours of the Gbetowo and other Afrikan communities throughout the continent and diaspora of Afrika into a global Pan-Afrikan Reparatory Justice whole of Maangamizi resistant Educational Repairs! This is what shall contribute to advancing the efforts we are glocally making in exercising our own agency of popular democratic educational creativity, with modest but groundbreaking cutting-edge initiatives like the Grassroots InterLinks for Global Citizenship Action Learning (GILOGCAL); in order to galvanize similar Global Academy Commons building efforts of formations like the Afrikan Reparations Transnational Community of Practice (ARTCoP), through its work on developing the International Social Movement for Afrikan Reparations Academy (ISMARA), in collaboration with the Global Justice Institute of the Global Justice Forum (GJI-GJF), the CAFA Archival Resources Action Team (CARAT), the May Day Rooms (MDR), the Peoples’ Internationalist Fora for Inter-Community Lifelong Learning (PIFICOLL), the Peoples’ Academy of Action Learning (PAAL) and the Global Citizenship Educational Campaign for Curricula of Pluriversality (GCECCOP). We would like to see the INOSAAR as a whole playing a catalyzing role in support of these endeavours by more vigorously promoting and utilizing its remarkable Principles of Participation to harmoniously draw various progressive forces from both the Establishment Academia and the Grassroots Academia all over the World into even critical but yet constructive engagement with such endeavours of ours.
It is through such mainly groundup endeavours that our ABLODENUDZRADOSAFO is, with the support of its mother formation, the ABLODEDUNOVISIHA, making various interesting contributions from here in West Afrika to advancing the cause of Pan-Afrikan Reparations for Global Justice. Basically much attention is being channeled towards grassroots sensitization and mobilization, as for example through open activities of mass conscientization like the annual 1st August SANKOFAAPAE Pan-Afrikan Reparatory Justice International Libation Ceremony that is held in Accra, Ghana, since 2016, in link with the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March on the same date every year in London, United Kingdom.
Another remarkable endeavor of ABLODENUDZRADOSAFO is its contribution to building, through VAZOBA, a strong relationship with a very select grouping of Afrikan Chiefs and other uniquely distinguished traditional leaders who are organizing themselves as the Global Afrikan Family Reunion International Council (GAFRIC). Our ABLODEDUNOVISIHA as a whole is supporting the ABLODENUDZRADOSAFO and VAZOBA in assisting the GAFRIC not only to build capacity but also to advocate for total liberation of Afrikan communities at home and abroad, with a view to having our diasporan brothers and sisters keen on Rematriation/Repatriation to having better opportunities for more knowledgeably and responsibly exercising their right to our Mothercontinent of Afrika, their right of return, in order to reunite with their families at home in the proper ways and means of true Pan-Afrikan Reparations for Global Justice. In very historic statements to the 17th March 2018 INOSAAR Conference in the Birmingham City University, two outstanding paramount chiefs in Ghana who are leading co-founding members of the GAFRIC, Togbe Adza Tekpor VII, the Osie of Avatime, and Nana Kobina Nketsia V, the Omanhen of Essikado, not only hailed the emergence of INOSAAR but also outlined areas of cooperation in working conjointly in better meaningful pursuit of Reparatory Justice for Afrikans and all other peoples of our common Humanity. We of ABLODENUDZRADOSAFO, and of the entire ABLODEDUNOVISIHA as well as the VAZOBA, have the mandate to once again reiterate to this 19th to 21st September 2018 INOSAAR gathering in Xogbonu/Hogbonu/Aja Ile here in the Republic of Benin, everything written in both statements by our two GAFRIC chiefs in furtherance of Positive Action upon them. This also relates to all the other endeavours we have been discussing and promoting through INOSAAR-RepAfrika and INOSAAR as a whole.
Among all the voices sounding calls for Afrikan Reparations, the increasing number and diversity of which are welcome to us for enriching public discourse on this key matter decisive in resolving all other issues in our contemporary World, we of the ABLODENUDZRADOSAFO are in accord with all our colleagues of the ABLODEDUNOVISIHA, the VAZOBA and the WAGPACC-INOSAAR in prioritizing and giving our greatest attention to the subaltern voices of those Frantz Fanon called the Wretched of the Earth throughout and beyond the continent and diaspora of Afrika. We do so because of our immense faith in the ability and capacity of the masses of our Afrikan people outside the corridors of currently existing machinery of state, yes, the ability of the most impoverished of the masses of our Afrikan people, like all other peoples of the World, to make History, even to do what to some may appear the impossible, as James Baldwin pointed out. We are of the strongest conviction that it is the masses of our Wretched of the Earth that shall exercise agency and play the most decisive role in taking our Pan-Afrikan Reparations for Global Justice Struggle to its definitive Rendezvous of Victory.
May we therefore conclude with an appropriately relevant axiom that Kofi Mawuli Klu and our VAZOBA colleagues of the Forum of Nkrumaist Thought and Action (FONTA) keep on reiterating to us in everything to do with all our Pan-Afrikan Reparations for Global Justice endeavours: “Do we mobilise and rely on the People in the Struggle against Imperialism in all its forms, or do we relegate the role of the masses of the People to a secondary place in this Struggle? I say that only the masses of the People can ensure Victory in our Struggle! ” From the 10th May 1965 Speech by Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah at the Fourth Afro-Asian Solidarity Conference in Winneba, Ghana.
Akpega na mi kata!!!
MAWUSE YAO AGORKOR
Email: Mawuse.email@example.com and Vazoba.firstname.lastname@example.org
Mawuse Yao Agorkor is a Social Justice Financial Management Practitioner and Pan-Afrikan Lifelong Learning for Global Citizenship Educationist based in Accra, Ghana, in West Afrika. His rich expertise is being glocally channeled into vibrant Scholar-Activist involvement in and engagement with various organisations, networks and campaigns in and beyond Afrika. Being a vigorous defender of human, peoples’ and Mother Earth rights, and therefore an energetic Eco-Justice promoter of Agriquacultural Lifestyles social enterprising, Mawuse’s main business occupation is working as the Chief Executive Officer of the NUNYANSABOME Pan-Afrikan Green Revolutionary Organic Permacultural Eco-Gardens (NUNYANSABOME-PAGROPEG). Considerable time of his is also devoted to serving as the General Secretary of the VAZOBA Afrika and Friends Networking Open Forum (VAZOBA-AFNOF); as well as the Principal Organising Secretary of the ABLODEDUNOVISIHA Gbetowo Global Union for Pan-Afrikan Community Regeneration(ABLODEDUNOVISIHA-GGUPACOR), under the auspices of which he plays a leading role in coordinating the ABLODENUDZRADOSAFO Global Ewe Community of Practice for Pan-Afrikan Reparatory Justice (ABLODENUDZRADOSAFO-GECOPPARJ). It is from these positions that he contributed to co-founding not only the SANKOFAAPAE Pan-Afrikan Reparatory Justice International Libation Ceremony in Accra, Ghana, but also the West Afrikan Grassroots Preparatory Action Coordinating Committee of the International Network of Scholars and Activists for Afrikan Reparations (WAGPACC-INOSAAR). He assists in glocally facilitating activities of the NKRUMAHDANFO Friends of Kwame Nkrumah International (NKRUMAHDANFO-FOKNI), the Pan-Afrikan Forum of Ghana (PAFOG), the Global Afrikan Family Reunion International Council (GAFRIC), the Global Afrikan People’s Parliament (GAPP), the Peoples’ Internationalist Fora for Inter-Community Lifelong Learning (PIFICOLL) and the Grassroots South-North Internationalist Forum (GRASSNIF). He is currently working together with the All-Afrikan Networking Community Link for International Development (AANCLID) and the Jubilee Debt Campaign (JDC) in the United Kingdom on implementing the Positive Action Programme for Pan-Afrikan Liberatory Tackling of International Debt (PAPPALTID). Among the numerous innovative endeavours of Lifelong Learning Mawuse is co-organising in collaboration with various organisations, universities and other institutions and networks of mural and extra-mural education all over Afrika and the World is the Grassroots InterLinks of Global Citizenship Action Learning (GILOGCAL).
Mawuse Yao Agorkor is a Social Justice Financial Management Practitioner and Pan-Afrikan Lifelong Learning for Global Citizenship Educationist based in Accra, Ghana. He works mainly as the Chief Executive Officer of the NUNYANSABOME Pan-Afrikan Green Revolutionary Organic Permacultural Eco-Gardens (NUNYANSABOME-PAGROPEG). Considerable time of his is also devoted to serving as the General Secretary of the VAZOBA Afrika and Friends Networking Open Forum (VAZOBA-AFNOF); as well as the Principal Organising Secretary of the ABLODEDUNOVISIHA Gbetowo Global Union for Pan-Afrikan Community Regeneration (ABLODEDUNOVISIHA-GGUPACOR), under the auspices of which he plays a leading role in coordinating the ABLODENUDZRADOSAFO Global Ewe Community of Practice for Pan-Afrikan Reparatory Justice (ABLODENUDZRADOSAFO-GECOPPARJ). It is from these positions that he contributed to co-founding not only the SANKOFAAPAE Pan-Afrikan Reparatory Justice International Libation Ceremony in Accra, but also the West Afrikan Grassroots Preparatory Action Coordinating Committee of the International Network of Scholars and Activists for Afrikan Reparations (WAGPACC-INOSAAR). He also plays leading roles in glocally facilitating activities of the Pan-Afrikan Forum of Ghana (PAFOG), the Global Afrikan Family Reunion International Council (GAFRIC), the Global Afrikan People’s Parliament (GAPP), the All-Afrikan Networking Community Link for International Development (AANCLID), the Peoples’ Internationalist Fora for Inter-Community Lifelong Learning (PIFICOLL), the Jubilee Debt Campaign (JDC), the Grassroots South-North Internationalist Forum (GRASSNIF) and various other formations, including the innovative Lifelong Learning creativity groundbreaking Grassroots InterLinks of Global Citizenship Action Learning (GILOGCAL).
This article was revised on 29/06/18
“The use of law as one of the most important instruments of our Afrikan struggle for reparations, indeed the need to locate our claim to restitution for the damages caused by gross violations of Afrikan sovereignty must raise immediately for us the essential questions of whose Framework, whose Law and whose Justice
Kofi Mawuli Klu ‘Charting an Afrikan self-Determined Path of Legal Struggle for Reparations’, A draft paper for presentation to the 11th December 1993 Birmingham Working Conference of the Africa Reparations Movement, UK, 1993
In the above paper jurisconsult Kofi Mawuli Klu advocates the need for Afrikan people to chart our own self-determined path of legal struggle to enforce and secure reparations. However, this requires decolonisation and repair of the law, legal system and processes. Ahead of his time, Klu asserted the self-rehabilitation and healing in a Fanonian sense that comes about through Afrikans exercising agency in the shaping, making and implementation of international law. This model has subsequently been referred to as international law from below by various legal scholars. Klu affirms seven principles which should be followed in charting an Afrikan self-determined path of legal struggle for reparations. These include:
*Legal Consciousness is the sum of views and ideas expressing the attitude of a group or people toward law, legality, and justice and their concept of what is lawful and unlawful. Legal Consciousness therefore traces the ways in which law is experienced and interpreted by specific individuals and groups as they engage, avoid, or resist the law and legal meanings. Legal consciousness also entails the process by which a group or people concretize their political goals and demands and the means by which they try to give them universal force in the form of laws and policy. It follows that legal consciousness is a form of social consciousness and closely related to political consciousness.
Building on this unrivaled foresight, the ‘Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide‘ Petition concludes by stating that it “will also galvanise grassroots work towards establishing glocal sittings of the [Ubuntukgotla] Peoples International Tribunal for Global Justice (U-PITGJ) as part of a series of actions which will put a full stop, by way of holistic and transformative reparations, to all acts of Genocide/Ecocide against Afrikan people.”
What is an International Peoples’ Tribunal?
An international peoples tribunal is a process initiated by communities and/or civil society groupings which seeks to establish whether a state, international organisation, corporation, or less frequently specified individuals have committed breaches of international law or of another body of law or norms, (such as national law, Afrikan law, indigenous law of peoples’ law); which involves the presentation of evidence and arguments to a body of people deemed competent to adjudicate on relevant issues in the best interests of the communities themselves, nations or humanity as whole. In light of documentary and other forms of evidence presented to tribunal members in formal proceedings, it presents a reasoned set of findings based on an evaluation of such evidence and they can also pass judgements. There is however considerable variation in in the emphasis and practice of such tribunals which are also described in various terms such as a people’s tribunal, people’s hearing, or tribunal of conscience.
Seizing back Afrikan people’s power to define, make, shape and advocate for legal strategies and processes in our own best interests and in accordance with Afrikan forms of law and jurisprudence, the term Ubuntukgotla has been chosen to give culturally competent expression to the increasingly popular notion of an international people’s tribunal.
The U–PITGJ is a court of peoples humanity interconnectedness. The term is comprised of the Afrikan terms ubuntu and kgotla. A Kgotla is a Tswana traditional institution of participatory democracy, i.e. peoples assembly or court in Botswana which has a number of functions including:
(1) enabling public debate and consultation on policy and legislation;
(2) being a judicial institution in which cases are heard providing access to justice;
(3) soliciting views from the community on government actions and decisions or those of any other interest group; and
(4) facilitating the means to come to an agreement or key issues pertaining to the health and well-being of the community.
The term ubuntu which translates as: “I am because of who we are” is a concept from the Southern Afrikan region which means literally “human-ness”, and is often understood to mean”humanity towards others”. It is also considered, in a more philosophical sense, to mean “the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity. In Southern Afrika, ubuntu has come to be used as a term for a kind of humanist philosophy, ethic or ideology, also known as Ubuntuism or Hunhuism propagated in the re-Afrikanisation process of these countries during the 1980s and 1990s.
The U–PITGJ is being developed as a site of an activist ‘doing of law’ which also includes knowledge-production and praxis on making, enforcing and implementing just law. Although like other peoples tribunals, it may be perceived as a deviant or even illegitimate ‘institution’ within the institutional landscape of dominant forms of law.
Civil society (peoples’) tribunals initiated by citizens of conscience and oppressed groups have emerged to fill the normative vacuum created by the gap between the ideals, of justice and access to justice. In this regard, people’s tribunals are seen as more effectively responding to the failures, exclusions and mendacity of existing domestic and international state and state sponsored institutions apparatuses to provide effective redress for human, peoples and Mother Earth right violations and atrocities committed, despite having formal power and jurisdiction to do so. They do so by: asserting the rights of peoples (and people) to articulate law that is not dependent on endorsements by states for its legitimacy; as well as utilising, interpreting and developing international and other forms of law.
People’s tribunals can critique the content of existing international law where such law perpetuates oppressive power relations. Oftentimes, peoples’ tribunals have resulted in a greater democratisation of international law-making from below and provided additional accountability mechanisms for the exercise of and abuses/misuse of power by states and international organisations. They have been used by many different peoples and special interest groups.
For example, in 1993 the indigenous people of Hawaii developed the Ka Ho‘okolokolonui Kānaka Maoli-Peoples’ International Tribunal Hawai‘i in which the United States and the state of Hawai‘i were put on trial for crimes against the original people of Hawai‘i, the Kānaka Maoli. A video has been made of this tribunal which we recommend you view. It can be found here.
The Ka Ho‘okolokolonui Kānaka Maoli Tribunal features a panel of international judges that was convened to hear the charges, which included genocide, ethnocide, the taking of their sovereign government and the destruction of their environment. The Tribunal judges and prosecutor/advocates came from Japan, Aotearoa (New Zealand), Jordan, Korea, Afrika, the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Cree, Cherokee, Shawnee and Creek nations. It traveled to five islands to see and hear firsthand the words and personal experiences of witnesses, many of whom faced arrest and eviction from native lands. At the end of ten days, the Tribuanal called upon the United States and the world to recognise the fact that Hawaian sovereignty has never been extinguished. It also called for the restoration and return of all lands to which Kānaka Maoli have a claim.
Peoples’ tribunals are formed to take up a variety of cases that may fall under the following, sometimes overlapping, categories:
In most cases, peoples’ tribunals arraign individual states, international organisations, corporations or combination of these. In some cases peoples’ tribunals ‘put on trial’ named individuals.
See ‘Peoples International Tribunals and International Law‘, edited by Andrew Byrnes, and Gabrielle Simm, Cambridge University Press, (2018) pp. 16-17 for more info.
How will the U-PITGJ operate?
As a people’s tribunal, the U-PITGJ derives its power from the voices of Afrikan heritage community victims and survivors, and also those of national and international civil societies with relevant knowledge and expertise to establishing and providing evidence on the concrete manifestations of the Maangamizi including the genocide of Afrikan heritage communities. The U-PITGJ will have the format of a formal human rights court,however, it is not a criminal court in the sense that individual persons are indicted. In the first instance, the prosecutors will indict the state and institutions of the UK, based on the proofs presented of responsibility for the widespread and systematic crimes against humanity committed in the current phase of the Maangamizi. It is expected that, as support for and the influence of the U-PITGJ grows, it will be also be able to build the capacity to address other instances of genocidal crimes that have been perpetrated on other peoples who have experienced European settler colonialism, conquest and invasion. This is why it is important to recognise the interconnections between the International Social Movement for Afrikan Reparations (ISMAR) and the Peoples Reparations International Movement (PRIM).
The proof presented will consist of documents, audiovisual materials, statements of witnesses and other recognised legal means. The power of the U-PITGJ will be to examine the evidence, develop an accurate historical and scientific record and apply principles of international law to the facts as found. It is expected that the chosen judges will produce a verdict based on the material presented and call upon the Government of the UK to realise that so far they have failed to take legal and moral responsibility for the victims. This verdict can also be used as a basis for an United Nations resolution and other actions on these crimes.
How can the U-PITGJ contribute to Afrikan people’s empowerment and healing?
Volunteer researchers required to contribute to a people’s history-making process of securing reparatory justice!
If you are a law or politics student or have other relevant skills and experience and you are interested in using your knowledge and skills to support Afrikan people’s struggle for holistic redress and secure Afrikan Reparatory Justice, you can become a volunteer researcher. We are looking for volunteer researchers who would like to join the SMWeCGEC research team in preparations for establishing the APPCITARJ and the U-PITGJ. If you would like to get involved, please contact: Afrikan Reparations Transnational Community of Practice (ARTCoP) on email@example.com or PARCOE on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07751143043.
Support from movement lawyers is also welcome!
If you are a social justice advocate, legal practitioner or cause lawyer and would like to offer pro-bono advice or support to this community-led initiative; are willing to build equitable relationships with people and organisations challenging historical and contemporary injustice; and are prepared to respect the approach of social justice/community lawyering,*please also get in touch as above.
*Community lawyering has many variants: collaborative lawyering, community, lay lawyering, cause lawyering, social justice lawyering, political lawyering, critical lawyering, rebellious lawyering, movement-lawyering etc. The common thread among them is that the clients, not the lawyers, play a central role in resolving the issues that have an impact on their opportunities to succeed. It is: lawyering that is community-located, community-collaborative, community-directed and based on the collaboration of lawyers, clients and communities in which they live; and transforming law and lawyering to address the inequalities experienced by subordinated and underserved groups. The legal system in the UK and other Westernised countries is very individualistic. It tends to atomise and depoliticise disputes, which work against a community organising model. Furthermore, the facilitation of individual rights has not benefited the long-term needs of communities, especially impoverished communities, especially where such impoverishment is as a result of intergenerational injustice. The Sargent Shriver National Centre on Poverty Law (USA) defines “community lawyering” as a “process through which advocates contribute their legal knowledge and skills to support initiatives that are identified by the community and enhance the community’s power.”
Similar to the different schools of thought in community organising, community lawyering has many different strains. However, what sets lawyers who adopt community lawyering apart from each other boils down to their answers to the following three questions: Who do you work with? What do you do for them? And how do you work together? Similar to community organising, the answers to these questions vary depending on the political orientation of the lawyer and the theory of social change they ascribe to. By combining legal recourse and community organising, it is possible to utilise “community lawyering” as a social change strategy.” This approach engages lawyers who are prepared to de-emphasise litigation as the primary tool for advancing social justice. Instead, community lawyering encourages such lawyers, in collaboration with communities, their groups, activists and organisers, to critically and creatively examine non-traditional forms of advocacy such as facilitative leadership, institution-building, community organising, collective action and other grassroots actions including strategic litigation, media events, community education workshops and public demonstrations. This is done as a way of addressing the legal and non-legal problems of their clients.
Community lawyering can also be described as a more participatory process that fosters collaboration between lawyers and their community (group) clients, rather than fostering—if not perpetuating—the dependency that most clients have on their lawyers to solve their legal problems in a conventional lawyer-client relationship.
The role of a “community lawyer” entails working in partnership with one’s community clients and utilises multiple forms of advocacy, to address their individual as well as systemic problems. Community lawyering practitioners recognise that their clients are partners—not just in name—but in leadership, control and decision-making. Through collaboration, lawyers can support Afrikan Heritage Community groups in building their own resources and community capacities to advance their own interests in effecting and securing reparatory justice in a self-determined and self-directed manner.
Another critical component of community lawyering is creating race-conscious cultural competence—a set of beliefs, values, and skills built into a structure that enables one to negotiate cross-cultural situations in a manner that does not force one to assimilate to the other. The goal of race-conscious community lawyering is to support lasting structural and systemic changes that will bring about holistic reparatory justice for racialised groups.
Movement-lawyering is a specific form of community lawyering but the lawyers work in collaboration with grassroots movements. This lawyering recognises that community members and organisers have expertise that should be valued. In fact, movement lawyers should also be engaged in a process of political study and growth collectively with movement-organisers that are aligned with particular community struggles. Here are some tips for lawyers that are aligned with movements and are particularly relevant to how lawyers can best support communities, their activists and organisers who are engaged in reparatory justice struggles as part of the ISMAR.