Mozambique, Seychelles reminds us why ‘One Africa’ may be unattainable

Filmmaker, Pamela Adie, intended to visit Mozambique and return with an amazing travel experience with stories to tell. She told stories, but they are the kind almost everyone frowns at.

Pamela’s story is not news to Nigerians and is quite elaborate and you can almost assume you were there with her, wondering why you are being kept against your will, your passport seized, and you’re deported from an African country.

We may want to use words like harrowing, and be right. But she went through a traumatic experience and had to assume, at some point, that it was personal. But, it’s not personal, there are others who have visited the country from Nigeria and other African countries too.

Her experience only brings us to remember that a united Africa, where a Nigerian can visit South Africa or anywhere in Africa is not fraught with unknown difficulty is possible. I mean, she says she did all the research.

In 2018, South African far-left leader, Julius Malema, argued that Africans can find indigenous ways to address their challenges and unite under a single state. It was supposed to be called the United States of Africa (USA).

He proposed the elimination of borders created by colonialists and the promotion of tolerance among Africans. He may be right but, the request is too steep. This is why.

Nigeria alone has 525 languages, some have gone into extinction, but we can still argue that over 350 still have native speakers. In a USA, there is going to be a proposal to adopt a single language, and the adoption of such a language, if at all accepted by speakers of the other 2,000 African languages, would require an extraordinary amount of effort, especially funding. Besides, imposing an alien language on a group, say Swahili on the Hausa people, is an attempt to erase their identity. 

There are diverse cultures in Africa. So many and so different that thinking of USA will give room for doubt. It will also make people ask questions as to which is better than the other. Colonisation already set the fire and brought totally different people together. The talk of the adoption of one culture will make people assume their own cultures will go into extinction and reignite the fire.

African cultures have different economic preferences. When Africa decides to unite in one single entity, then conversations on which economic leaning will be adopted. It is going to cause chaos. No traditional African society was the same in its approach to commerce and trade as the other, and those values stand until today. 

On the other hand, there is an argument that African nations bear more similarities than differences, and there is progress towards a united Africa – considering the African Union, AUDA-NEPAD, the Regional Economic Communities, the AFC, AfDB and Afreximbank. These are structures creating the frameworks and the fabric; the many continental agreements that cover trade, peace and security, governance and democracy in Africa that will lead us to that dream of a united Africa.

Besides, the African Union has an agenda.

AGENDA 2063 – Africa’s blueprint and master plan for transforming Africa into the global powerhouse of the future. Agenda 2063 encapsulates not only Africa’s Aspirations for the Future but also identifies key Flagship Programmes which can boost Africa’s economic growth and development and lead to the rapid transformation of the continent.

Malema’s ask is different from the AU’s. The AU’s is possible – 54 countries doing 54 wonders. Malema’s is impossible, and Pamela’s story is an example. There are also stories about Seychelles:

There are good stories too though.

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