Change Your Colonial Name Campaign 

The I am an AfriCan Foundation is an AfriCan Consciousness Movement that seeks to contribute into the Decolonize Africa Project. The foundation, established in March 2015, launched a campaign that encourages black people who have colonial names to file applications with the Department of Home Affairs in request to remove these names from their identities.

The campaign is at the center of redefining the self in the terms set by the African people in post independent Africa. It is of importance that black people disrupt the neo-colonial formations that are seeking to legitimize the imperial impositions that turned us against our being.

Changing a colonial name is one corrective step towards eliminating colonial cultures that undermine the virtues and the essence of African traditions. Whilst decolonization is a broad concept that alludes to vast facets of this phenomenon, it is also important that our focus on the macro-decolonization project does not, by any chance, render the minor issues as less important. I frankly and sincerely argue that the self has to be awakened and revived. 

The sad reality is that Europeans themselves have never embraced Africanity in its entirety. They do not give their children African names because they had thought that Africans and everything that comes with them cannot be recognized and does not fit into humanity.

The larger question that comes with the decolonization project is that it cannot materialize if the subjects that are seeking it have not recovered and recollected themselves into the image that was the initial formation. Although, it can be argued, recapturing pre-colonial African formations is a huge task, with lingering doubts that they may be tainted; I believe that there are Africans origins that we can still bring to life. 

The campaign gained its momentum when media houses have it a platform so that people can weight in and provide constructive criticisms. To our surprise, people applauded the intiative and encouraged the foundation to take a firm stance and continue spreading the message.

The campaign will continue to reach out to millions who have the will wholeheartedly to be part of a deep and meaningful project. 

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#ChangeYourColonialNameCampaign

Dear black people

I will begin our polite request to you by quoting a Tunisian activist who once said “in order for the colonizer to be the complete master, it is not enough for him to be so in actual fact, he must also believe in its legitimacy. In order for that legitimacy to be complete, it is not enough for the colonized to be a slave; he must also accept his role”. Albert Memmi

Memmi points out the robust project of our former colonizers who ensured, throughout the countless decades, that we unconsciously sink deep and accept white supremacy in its totality. He also brings forward the idea that Africa’s colonizers inferably believed in black subjugation which intensified and enhanced the colonial project in regions of the African continent.

Colonization was a well-crafted socio-political and economic strategy to redefine Africa in the perspective of unjustifiably foreign lenses.

Colonialism has ripped us off our humanity. It has dehumanized us! Raped our languages. Completely changed us! It has made us rebel against our own African indigenous values. It took away our true black being.

But we cannot continue like this in post-colonial independent Africa.

We therefore would like to invite and appeal to all black people who are not comfortable with their colonial names to visit the nearest Home Affairs Office and file an application to change these names.

Decolonizing Africa!

Yours faithfully

I am an AfriCan Foundation Ambassador

Female president it is

The question whether South Africa is ready for a female president should receive definite responses. We are ready to be led by women. We were even ready a decade ago.

We must always revisit the socially constructed perception of women in our African context. Women have kept Africa alive.
Women have given life to families.

Women have rebuilt the African household which has received attacks from foreign concepts aimed to destabilize it.

Women have nurtured the nation with pure African values of goodwill and Ubuntu.

Women have driven the campaign to eliminate corruption in our society.

It was women who marched in 1956 to protest against pass laws.

It was a woman who gave love and wisdom to King Shaka Zulu KaSenzangakhona.

Malibongwe igama lamakhosikazi.

#YoungBlackGirlConversation

One girl with courage is a revolution. But if all the girls in Africa share the same heroic courage for the continental cause, we would be free from any doubt that the Africa Revolution will materialize. With that in mind, the Young Black Girl Conversation is a series of events that are aimed at conscientizing young black girls from the ages 8 to 13.

The first session of the series was designed to awaken the inner courage that will be necessary for our quest for a redefined Africa. In addition, these conversations are a direct challenge to the droughtiest school curriculum that we have in South African classrooms. As much as we cannot escape the construction of an integrated South Africa, but at the same time, we cannot be deprived of a deserved opportunity to free ourselves from the Euro-American models.

We cannot allow a wounded society to be marred furtherer. This is why the I am an AfriCan Foundation is committed in ensuring that conversations like these are given the right platform to be heard. The first session of the Young Black Girl Conversation covered a few but very important issues that surround the young black girl.

The first topic was decolonizing the mind:

Decolonizing the mind 

It may not be perceptible by the eye of the collective but there still exist colonial matrices of power in post independent Africa that portray themselves in the deeper thoughts and imaginations of the African people. One may argue that it is not necessary as yet to enrol the young girls in a psychological cleansing of this nature. It may be true, to a certain extent. But listening to some of the girls’ responses, one could tell that they have already been socially engineered in a Euro-American centrism. 

One girl said that wearing a black skin can work against a person in society or even the household. She said that parents can tease you by describing you as ‘mnyamane’ which literally means ‘black’. However, in this instance, it is used to degrade a person who is darker than the ordinary dark. Sadly, girls like these are likely to seek for cosmetics that would white their skin in order to curb the teasing in the household. This proves that we cannot waste any more time but enforce Afrocentrism into the minds of these young girls. We cannot afford to produce alienated Africans who are socially engineered to hate themselves but like the Europe that blatantly rejected them.

African beauty

The Young Black Girl Conversation also looked at African beauty. What I had anticipated as an outsider is that it would be very difficult for the young girls to even have an imagination of African beauty because it is not readily available in the world they are exposed to. The hair and the dark skin were the appropriate tools that represent and reinforce African beauty. The girls were told history of the colonial psychological warfare which was aimed at discouraging African people from embracing their native beauty.

The conversation took a stance to promote African beauty among the girls. In the promotion of African beauty in its true face, the deconstruction of Euro-American centricism in our space will take place.

Black girlhood, school, education, reading and the household

The other issues that we were looked at were education; the importance of school in their holistic development as young girls; reading books that will enhance their imaginations; and their responsibilities in the household.

The girls were grateful for the initiative. They expressed their excitement to be part of a movement that made them aware of issues that could have led into their demise. 

Izwe Lethu!!

Revisiting the Freedom Charter

Why should we celebrate the Freedom Charter when it is not implemented in its entirety? Out of the 10 clauses, only a few can be evidently traced in the policies that we have adopted since the dawn of our democracy. The following are the clauses that the Congress of the People adopted into the Charter which was held on the 26 and 27 of June 1955:

1. The people shall govern. 

An important clause that emphasized the collective governance of our country. ‘The people shall govern’ means that the people shall vote for a leader whom they perceive as suitable to advance the socio-political and economic causes of the masses. In addition, it also means that the voice of the people should inform the policies that are adopted by government. Do we see that in our current government?

2. All national groups shall have equal rights.

Plurality of our society poses a challenge in how the subjects should be treated. This clause means the complete elimination of superior groups in our society. Is everyone treated the same in South Africa? Are black people treated the same as white people?

3. The people shall share in the country’s wealth.

The minerals beneath the soil and the land still remains in the hands of the minority. The Freedom Charter called for nationalization of mines, banks and industrial monopolies. Can this be seen in the policies of the government of the day?

4. The land shall be shared among those who work it.

We have seen a lot of documents aimed at redistributing the land back to its rightful owners. It is a sad reality that less than 20% of the land has been returned to the people. White farmers are still comfortably claiming ownership to stolen property. 

5. All shall be equal before the law.

Is justice served? Did Apartheid agents plead guilty and jailed for the atrocities they committed after admitting before the TRC? Were the government officials arrested for the mass corruption in the procurement of Arms? Have we dealt and arrested white farmers who continue to exploit black people in our country side? Are police who have sinned and acted against their oath in jail? 

Is Oscar Pistorious in jailed for murdering his girlfriend? Did the Marikana commission serve justice to the victims?

6. All shall enjoy human rights.

Section 18 of our Constitution guarantees the freedom to association. People in KwaZulu Natal have been shot for associating themselves with certain political parties. Have we protected this right enshrined in the Constitution?

7. There shall be work and security.

The Labour Act establishes the overall setting in a work place. It gives employees the right to associate themselves with any union. It guarantees workers the right to organise themselves and to collective bargaining. If we are truly honest and have committed into the Freedom Charter, then why are we looking at alarming statistics of unemployment; exploitation even in professions?

8. The doors of learning and culture shall be opened.

One of the greatest set back in our society is illiteracy. Millions of South Africans cannot write their names yet they are walking on gold. Students are turned away at university because their studies cannot be accommodated by the fiscal budget. Universities are extremely expensive. Young poor black people cannot afford to pay even the registration. Are doors freely opened in higher learning institutions?

9. There shall be houses, security and comfort.

We are a banana republic. We have compromised security to the extent that friends of government officials can utilize our security national key points for their weddings. Communication amongst citizens is traced by those who have access to the communication channels. Are we safe? Are we secured?

10. There shall be peace and friendship.  

Xenophobic attacks directly challenge this clause. We have shown no remorse in our wild acts. We have murdered and burnt our brothers and sisters who come from other African countries. 

As much as we need to always qualify our argument by looking at the period we have had in power, but we could have done better. The Freedom Charter is not the document of the collective but that of specific individuals.