History

Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika! Lord, Bless Africa!

June 24, 2017

     The Schiller Institute’s June 24 conference in Berlin was blessed with the performance of a richly polyphonic setting—by Schiller Institute member Benjamin Lylloff—of the most famous hymn in Africa, Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika (Lord, Bless Africa). The video of this premiere performance of the setting, with Lylloff conducting, may be viewed here. Composed in 1897 by Enoch Mankayi Sontonga (ca.1873-1905), a school teacher near Johannesburg, it became a song of defiance against colonial rule across Africa. Today it is the national anthem of Tanzania in a Swahili translation. In South Africa, it is conjoined with the Afrikaans anthem, Die Stem van Suid Afrika (The Call of South Africa), to form the national anthem.
     Lylloff drew his inspiration from the choral setting by Australian musician and musicologist, Karl Aloritias, who had also established the text in consultation with a researcher in South Africa whose parents had fought and died in the liberation struggle. The text—which begins in isiXhosa, then transitions to isiZulu and then to Sesotho—is provided here with an English translation.

Nkosi sikelel’ iAfrika
Maluphakanyisw’ uphondo lwayo
Yizwa imithandazo yethu
Nkosi sikelela, thina lusapho lwayo
Nkosi sikelel’ iAfrika
Maluphakanyisw’ uphondo lwayo
Yizwa imithandazo yethu
Nkosi sikelela, thina lusapho lwayo
Woza Moya (woza, woza Moya)
Woza Moya (woza, woza Moya)
Woza Moya, oyingcwele
Usikelele thina lusapho lwayo
Morena boloka sechaba sa heso
O fedise dintwa la matshwenyeho
Morena boloka sechaba sa heso
O fedise dintwa la matshwenyeho
O se boloke, o se boloke
O se boloke, morena se boloke
Sechaba sa heso, sechaba sa Afrika
Nkosi sikelel’ iAfrika
Lord, bless Africa
May her spirit rise high up
Hear thou our prayers
Lord bless us, Lord bless us
Lord, bless Africa
May her spirit rise high up
Hear thou our prayers
Lord bless us, your family.
Descend, O Spirit
Descend, O Spirit
Descend, O Holy Spirit
Lord bless us, your family.
Lord, save our nation
Stop wars and suffering.
Lord save our nation
Stop wars and suffering.
Lord, Protect our nation
Lord, save our nation
Protect the nation of Africa
Lord bless Africa

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Victory at Adwa- A Victory for Africa

Lawrence Freeman

March 1, 2017

     The battle of Adwa is probably the most renowned and historic battle in Ethiopian history. This celebrated victory by the Ethiopian army helped define the future of their nation, as one of only two non-colonized countries in Africa. The defeat of a European colonial empire by an African country, following the “Scramble for Africa” after the 1884-1885 Berlin conference a decade earlier, is not only a source of enduring pride and nationalism for Ethiopians, but also an inspiration to other Africans, who took up the fight for independence six decades later. Some historians suggest that this victory also led to the idea for the Pan-African movement. As a result, it is no surprise that on May 25 1963, Ethiopia under the rule of Emperor Haile Selassie was a founding member of the Organization of African States-OAS.

     Adwa, also known as Adowa, and in Italian Adua, was the capital of the Tigray region in northern Ethiopia. A late comer to grabbing territory in Africa, Italy began colonizing Somaliland and Eritrea in the 1880s. It was from the vantage point of Eritrea from where Italy launched its campaign against Ethiopia. The immediate pretext of the invasion was a dispute of Article 17 of the 1889 Treaty of Wuchale. Italy insisted that the treaty stated that Ethiopia had to submit to its imperial authority, thus effectively making Ethiopia a colony of the Kingdom of Italy. The Ethiopians resisted Italy’s military enforcement of its version of the treaty, leading to the outbreak of war in December 1894, with the Italian imperialists occupying Adwa and moving further south into Ethiopian territory. On March 1, 1896, King Menelik II, who, commanded a force of over 70,000, defeated the Italian army, killing 7,000 of their soldiers, wounding 1,500, and capturing  3,000 prisoners, routing their enemy, and forcing them to retreat back to their colony of Eritrea. It has been speculated that, if Menelik had pursued the retreating Italian troops, and driven them off of the continent, it might have prevented a second Italian invasion. On October 3, 1935, Italy led by fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, launched its second military incursion into sovereign Ethiopia territory. Five years later in 1941, Ethiopia once again drove the Italian invaders out of their country. The 1896 defeat of a European nation, considered an advanced country, by Ethiopia, viewed as a backward Africa country, led to riots on the streets of Italy and well deserved consternation in the capitals of European powers. 

     Without taking the time now to review the ninety years of Ethiopian history following this famous battle, the military defeat of Ethiopia’s dictatorial Derg Regime in 1991 brings us to the beginning of contemporary Ethiopia. When the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front-EPRDF assumed control of the government in 1991, it was led by the now deceased, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who initiated the economic policies that have guided Ethiopia for over 25 years. It was Meles Zenawi’s intellectual leadership, in particular his understanding of the indispensable role of the state in fostering economic development that distinguishes Ethiopia today from all other sub-Saharan African nations. For him the state was not “a night watchman,” but rather an active participant promoting economic growth for the benefit of its people. Ethiopia is a poor country. with a population approaching one hundred million, not endowed with rich mineral or hydrocarbon resources, and repeatedly struck by drought. Yet it has emerged in recent years with a rapidly growing economy. This is the result of Zenawi’s legacy that created a leadership with a self-conscious commitment to use the powers of the state to build an integrated infrastructure platform, which has served to drive the economy forward. This is clearly evident in Ethiopia’s Growth and Transformation Plans I and II, which set ambitious economic goals five years into the future, along with its proposed thirty year road construction plan. Since the EPRDF took over the responsibility of governing the nation, more than thirty new universities have been created, graduating more students that can be easily employed. 

     In collaboration with China, Ethiopia operates the first electrified train in sub-Saharan Africa, traveling 750 kilometers in seven hours from Addis Ababa to Djibouti, establishing a port to export Ethiopia’s products. Their highway system consisting of toll roads, highways, and all weather roads will connect their light manufacturing industries to the port in Djibouti via their new rail line.   As a result of coherent policy planning in energy infrastructure, the Gibe III hydroelectric power plant has now added 1,872 of megawatts to the country’s electricity grid, and over the next two years, the Ethiopian Grand Renaissance Dam (GERD) will add an additional 6,000 megawatts, making Ethiopia the second largest producer of power in sub-Saharan Africa, behind South Africa.  The next step to develop the Horn of Africa is for Ethiopia, Sudan, and Kenya to extend their rails lines to become the eastern leg of an East-West railroad. Thus would transform Africa by connecting the Gulf of Eden/Indian Ocean with the Atlantic Ocean , creating an economic corridor that would literally revolutionize the economic power of the continent; contributing to the ending of poverty, hunger, and war.

     One cannot deny the success of Ethiopia’s unique path of development, nor can one omit the important role contributed to this process by Ethiopia’s successful resistance to foreign occupation; thus never having to suffer the dehumanizing effects of colonialism.

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Meles Zenawi: The Neo-Liberal Paradigm Is Dead 

Here are excerpts taken by Lawrence Freeman, from an unpublished 2006 preliminary draft by then-Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, entitled, “African Development: Dead Ends and New Beginnings.” 

From the Introduction: “The political and economic renaissance of Africa is an issue that continues to preoccupy Africans’ and non-Africans alike. Various methods of achieving such a renaissance have been proposed. Most of these proposals are variations of the dominant neo-liberal paradigm of development. My argument is that the neo-liberal paradigm is a dead end, is incapable of bringing about the African renaissance, and that a fundamental shift in paradigm is required to bring about the African renaissance.”

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Tribute To  Ambassador Kofi Awoonor of Ghana, Who Challenged IMF, World Bank and UN Policies Towards Africa

Lawrence Freeman

November 1, 2013

A tribute to the late Ghanaian Ambassador Kofi Nyidevu Awoonor, slain in the terrorist attack at the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya Sept. 21, was held in New York City on Oct. 29. Entitled, “I Will Say It Before Death Comes,” the memorial was organized by the Multicultural Communications Cooperation and Development Inc., and the African Development Institute. Awoonor, a novelist, literary scholar, diplomat, political activist, and acclaimed “Poet of Ghana,” was not afraid to publicly criticize the policies of the World Bank, IMF, and United Nations.

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Commemoration of  50th Anniversary of the African Union

Donielle DeToy

June 4, 2013

Fifty years ago, on May 25, 1963, African leaders representing 32 newly created nations gathered in Addis Abba, Ethiopia, to form the Organization of African Union (OAU). The President of Ghana, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, a founding father of the OAU, presented a clear and necessary vision of a united Africa joined together for the common cause of independent banking, economic cooperation, and large infrastructure projects

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IN MEMORIAM:  PROFESSOR SAM ALUKO
  

by Lawrence Freeman

March 3, 2012

      A giant of Africa, Professor Sam Aluko of Akure, Nigeria, passed away peacefully on February 7, 2012, in a London Hospital at the age of 83. Nigeria, and the African continent, has lost one of its greatest sons, but the rest of the world will also suffer from his absence.
     Professor Aluko was the only competent African economist I ever met. He was respected beyond the borders of Nigeria for his steadfast and vocal opposition to the murderous policies of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, both of which are squatting in Abuja today, still directing Nigeria’s failed economy.
     My acquaintance with Professor Aluko, as I always called him, began one morning in the mid-1990s while he was eating breakfast at a hotel in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria. I introduced myself to him, and that initiated a wonderful friendship and collaboration that has lasted over these many years. Professor Aluko, after studying the writings of Lyndon LaRouche, became actively involved in our international movement overnight. He participated in many activities with the LaRouche movement and contributed articles to Executive Intelligence Review. He spoke at two major international conferences in Bad Schwalbach, Germany, organized by the founder of the Schiller Institute, Helga Zepp-LaRouche: Winning the Ecumenical Battle for he Good, in May 2001; and How to Reconstruct A Bankrupt World, in March 2003. He also participated in a conference in January 2001 in Khartoum, Sudan, entitled: Peace Through Development Along the Nile Valley Basin in the Framework of a New, Just World Economic Order, with Mr. and Mrs. LaRouche, along with scholars and government officials from Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan, as well as myself.
     Professor Aluko was the embodiment of what sociologist David Riesman called the inner-directed personality. Once Professor had proved to himself that he was right, he would not succumb to peer group pressure nor be a slave to popular opinion, a quality I greatly admired. He also did not hesitate to speak out to criticize government officials of his nation when he knew their policies were wrong, which often got him in trouble. When Professor Aluko accepted the chairmanship of National Economic Intelligence Committee (NEIC) from 1994 to 1999 under General Sani Abacha, he was severely criticized, even rebuked, by many shortsighted Nigerians. Ironically, he refused a position in the elected government of President Olusegun Obasanjo, years later, following Abacha’s death. He accepted the chairmanship of the NEIC in the Abacha regime because he was given the freedom to improve the economy, which he fully intended to do, with no concern for what people thought of the head of state. Professor Aluko continued to insist that the economy was better under Abacha than in subsequent governments, to the consternation of Obasanjo, who reacted foolishly by attacking Professor Aluko as senile, which he certainly was not. In fact, it is reported that in the final days before his death, Professor Aluko wrote a memo to the Ondo State government on how to the improve revenues of the state.

     Unlike the majority of people in society today, Professor Aluko always acted on the basis of principle, even when it caused hardship to himself and his family. He was immoveable once he set his mind on a course of action and, as everyone knew, he was incorruptible. He was always motivated by the good he could do for society, and never for personal gain. These are the qualities that I so much admired in Professor Aluko, who I could always count on for blunt, honest reports on conditions in Nigeria when we talked. I, in turn, would brief him on Mr. LaRouche’s assessment of global strategic developments. He was always eager to hear what “Dr. LaRouche” had to say. When a disgruntled former member complained to him that the youth were taking over the LaRouche organization, he admonished this individual by telling him: Of course they should–they are the future! Professor Aluko knew a thing or two about youth and the future, having a family that included 20 or so grandchildren (who’s counting?), that he loved to have around him.
     Once, when I walked into the NEIC office in Abuja, upon hearing my voice, he shouted out: Ah, that must be my American spy. Needless to say, I accepted the title happily.

     Unfortunately, today, with terrible conditions afflicting countries throughout the world, and especially, the horrific conditions of life for over 70% of Nigeria’s 160 million people, the absence of a Sam Aluko, with his powerful intellect, will have an enormous impact on us all. Until the end, he remained upset about the current state of affairs in Nigeria. For me, it will take time to overcome the grief caused by his passing, but I also feel special, that in my lifetime, I was privileged to know Professor Sam Aluko. Thank you so much for that gift, Sam. Alas, it is now time for me to say good-bye to my old friend.
 
[Professor Sam Aluko was born August 18, 1929, in Ekiti State; studied economics at the London School of Economics between 1955 and 1959; taught economics at the University of Ife (Nigeria) and the University of Nigeria at Nsukka from 1959 to 1966; visiting scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University (USA) 1962; appointed Professor of Economics at the University of Ife in 1967; served as Economics Advisor to the Government of Ondo State, 1979-1983.]

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Kick The British Out of Africa!

Lawrence Freeman gave the presentation below in Khartoum to a conference organized by General Union of Sudanese Students following the indictment of President al-Bashir by the ICC. 

Lawrence Freeman 

April 5-7, 2009

“We could end all of the manipulated conflicts in Africa that are borne from shortages of the necessities for human life. The conflicts arise because people are not permitted to live with the full rights and dignity that each human being is entitled to. Some may say that the kind of generational long-term infrastructure projects that I have just outlined are a dream, a mere nice idea, but that it is impossible, that it will never happen. Others may ask, what good does it do for us now? I maintain that it is the only hope for Africa.
“First of all, it is the only way to guarantee a future for the children who will be born tomorrow, and a generation
from now. This approach to infrastructure as a driver is necessary to stimulate our minds, to get us to think big thoughts, to dare us to imagine a continent where people’s daily existence is not dominated by simple survival. Yes, we need to survive, and do what is necessary to maintain our existence, but we must do it with a vision of the future that provokes our imaginations, and stimulates our minds.” 

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Amb Mubako: Zimbabwe Acts To Resolve the Issue of Land Ownership

Dr. Mubako is the Zimbabwe Ambassador to the United States. He was interviewed by Lawrence Freeman on May 27. (The references to “whites” refers to the British and Rhodesians who occupied Zimbabwe for 90 years.)

Amb Mubako: Well, Zimbabwe was colonized by the British in 1890. They came to Zimbabwe from South Africa, then Cecil John Rhodes, and originally he was looking for minerals. But when he didn’t get enough minerals, he turned land, and began grabbing land from the Africans, and driving them off into reservations—what we call communal areas. And he took the best land for his settlers, most of the land—to the extent that, at independence, they reserved for themselves about 45% of the land, which has now been reduced to about 30% of the land, of the whole of Zimbabwe, but which constitutes about 70% of the best farming area in the country. And this land is owned by 4,500 farmers only, and many of the farmers are not, in fact, living in Zimbabwe. Some of them pay live in England, sit in the House of Lords, and there are rumors that even some of the ministers in Britain own land in Zimbabwe today.

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Roosevelt’s `Grand Strategy’ to Rid the World of British Colonialism: 1941-1945

Lawrence K. Freeman

Printed in The American Almanac, July 14, 1997

Two Opposing World Views: The Case of Africa

In Africa, Roosevelt saw, as we can unfortunately still see today, the horrendous, abysmal conditions of life which have resulted from British rule. When Roosevelt visited British Gambia on the West African coast in 1943, and saw the appalling conditions there, it created a strong image in the President’s mind of the truly ugly nature of British colonialism. He later spoke about it in his press conference:

“I think there are about three million inhabitants, of whom, one hundred and fifty are white. And it’s most horrible thing I have ever seen in my life…. The natives are five thousand years back of us. Disease is rampant, absolutely. It’s a terrible place for disease.“And I looked it up, with a little study, and I got to the point of view that for every dollar that the British, who have been there for two hundred years, have put into Gambia, they have taken out ten. It’s just plain exploitation of those people.”

He told his son after his visit to Bathurst (now Banjul), the capital of Gambia, that workers were paid only fifty cents a day. “Besides which,” he added,

“they’re given a half-cup of rice. Dirt. Disease. Very high mortality rate…. Life expectancy–you’d never guess what it is. Twenty-six years. These people are treated worse than livestock. Their cattle live longer!”

Roosevelt threatened the British, that he would expose what they were doing in Gambia:

” … if you Britishers don’t come up to scratch–toe the mark–then we will let all the world know.”

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The History of the Nile Region

Muriel Mirak-Weissbach

June 9, 1995

     The rich history of Sudan presents many paradoxes, primary among them, the paradox of its relationship with Egypt. Throughout ancient history, the culture of dynastic Egypt and that of the Nubians were intertwined, at times in conflict, at times at peace. During the periods of peaceful coexistence, if not actual alliances, both cultures prospered, the arts and literature flourished, regardless of which nation was the ruler.  It was in fact under the reign of a Sudanese pharaoh, Piankhy (or Piye), in the XXVth dynasty, that Egyptian culture, which had fallen into decay, was renewed; monuments were built, and a great age in sculpture was inaugurated.  When, however, outside forces invaded, as in the case of the Assyrians, Egypt and Sudan were set against each other.  Egypt’s continuing efforts to subjugate Sudan led to repeated invasions and conquests, each time driving the Sudanese power into retreat, in rump kingdoms, moving further south. The Sudanese, regardless of the pressures, held on to their independence, albeit in reduced form.

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