Afrocentricity — an idea whose time has come

Asante’s latest publication whose cover picture is that of a busy Africa Unity Square along Jason Moyo Avenue in Harare

Asante’s latest publication whose cover picture is that of a busy Africa Unity Square along Jason Moyo Avenue in Harare

Lovemore Ranga Mataire The Reader
PROFESSOR Molefi Kete Asante, who is in Zimbabwe for an Afrocentricity International conference, is an African luminary who has been cited by the African Union as one of the top scholars of African descent who have contributed immensely in working towards the reclamation, restoration and re-correction of Africa’s distorted historical and civilisational legacy.

In recognition of his efforts in promoting African unity worldwide, the African Union invited him to give a keynote address at the conference of intellectuals of Africa and the Diaspora in Dakar in 2004.

Against all odds, the African-American scholar has pioneered a number of international scholarly projects aimed at rebutting the Eurocentred negative and stereotypical depiction of Africans as inferior beings.

Prof Asante is the progenitor of Afrocentricity, an ideological and intellectual movement that calls on Africans to be Afrocentred in their perception of the world and harness Africa’s rich historical and cultural heritage as the foundation and critical reference point for African development and unity.

At the core, Afrocentricity seeks to evoke a sense of pride in the African by debunking historical myths that have for years maimed the African mind that he cannot forge ahead without the benevolent hand of the former colonial masters.

It is Afrocentricity that later gave birth to Afrocentricity International, an organisation seeking to enshrine African history, culture and consciousness as the central narrative for bringing into existence a new vision of African unity.

Born in Vadosta, Georgia, in a family of 16 children, Prof Asante is also a poet, dramatist and painter whose work has been cited by journals such as the Metices, Journal of Black Studies, Journal of Communication, American Scholar, Daedalus, Western Journal of Black Studies and Africological Perspectives. He is also cited by the Utne Reader among the 100 leading thinkers in America in 2001 and Transition Magazine called him “one of the most important professors in Black America.” Prof Asante has appeared in several films including 500 Years Later, The Faces of Evil, and The Black Candle.

Prof Asante was inducted into the Literary Hall of Fame for Writers of African Descent at Gwendolyn Brooks Centre at Chicago University in 2004.

The current chairperson of the Department of African-American Studies at Temple University, Philadelphia in the United States, Prof Asante is regarded by his peers as one of the most distinguished contemporary scholars who has published 74 books.

Some of his recent published books include As I Run Toward Africa, The African-American People, Maulana Karenga: An Intellectual Portrait, An Afrocentric Manifesto, Cheikh Anta Diop: An Intellectual Portrait, Handbook of Black Studies (co-edited with Maulana Karenga), Encyclopaedia of Black Studies (co-edited with Ama Mazama) and Erasing Racism: The Survival of the American.

The second edition of his high school text, African-American History: Journey of Liberation, is used in more than 400 schools throughout North America. His attachment to Zimbabwe is reflected in The History of Africa: The Quest for Eternal Harmony, a 2015 publication whose cover picture is of a busy Africa Unity Square along Jason Moyo Street in Harare.

Asante has been recognised as one of the 10 widely cited African-Americans.

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