Views, ideas, inspiration, vision and practical tips for a better more prosperous Malawi

Artificial African Boundaries

This is an extract from a page in honour of Kanyama Chiume on Facebook. I’ve reposted it here because it echoes a lot of what I believe. Further, it’s undeniable that our economies are struggling in Africa not only because of corruption, illicit financial outflows and all of the other evils, but also because we do not trade with each other enough, and critically, we are not sufficiently united in the way that say China is united, or how the majority of South American countries are united.

Kanyama-NyerereWhen African nationalists worked together for the benefit of all. That is self-evident in this letter written by Julius Nyerere of Tanganyika to Kanyama Chiume in 1960, when the latter was exiled in London during the State of Emergency in Nyasaland. From the London office, Chiume had the task of keeping NAC party alive at international stage, at a time when it was banned from operating in Nyasaland and some of its leaders chased out of the protectorate while others were detained after Operation Sunrise (Kamuzu Banda along with Masauko Chipembere, Dunduzu Chisiza and Yatuta Chisiza were languishing in jail in Gwelo, Southern Rhodesia).

This letter, found at the British National Archives in London by Prof. Azaria Mbughuli, a historian at Spelman College, shows the extent of cooperation between African freedom fighters. Prof Mbughuni adds:

“The letter is yet another reminder of how Africans are interconnected. The artificial boundaries we hold on to so dearly are just that: artificial. We have come to accept them as a reality. Nyerere and Chiume worked closely through PAFMECA/PAFMECSA, both espoused Pan Africanism as an ideology of unity and a tool for liberation. If one looks really closely at Chiume’s story, you realize the foolishness of the colonial boundaries. Born in Nyasaland, Chiume lived in Tanganyika from age 8 with relatives, went to school in Tanganyika, attended school inTabora with the likes of Kambona, taught in Dodoma (resigned his position in 1955), collaborated with TANU in the mid-1950s, 60s, basically throughout most of his political carrier; and off course, eventually married a Tanzanian. TANU provided regular support to Nyasaland African Congress in the late 1950s through him. I came across a peculiar situation in early 1950s where Nyerere is asking Odinga of Kenya to help him talk to the Luo in Tanganyika because they did not want to join TANU! You have ethnic groups split by artificial boundaries; it is no surprise that people from different “territories” worked closely together to demand freedom and independence.”


About Sang N.

Writer, Entrepreneur & Activist. Interests: History, Entrepreneurship, Business, Motors, Architecture, Aviation, Travel, Food and Art.


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