The Beautiful Ones Have Indeed Been Born: The Emergence of the Development States of Southern Africa, After Colonialism, Represents the Rise of An
Chair/Convener: Dr. Wayne Edge
Discussant: Dr Bertha Osie Hwedie
Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you’re a man you take it. Malcolm X
Ghanaian writer Ayi Kwei Armah, noted in his novel 'The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born', that ‘no one born during colonialism and minority rule, could truly be considered beautiful,’ because most African leaders of the time were busy imitating, and trying to win the approval of the European colonialist, who had dominated their societies for generations. 'The Beautiful Ones', are those Africans born after the reign of terror and deprivation known as colonialism and minority rule. Armah's central thesis is that; because it exists within a social, political, and cultural context, informed by local opinion, and not by external considerations, Africa’s beauty is derived from its own unique values, in and of itself: it need not imitate. Since Post-colonial African leaders were busy trying to prove their very humanity to Europeans, this made them dependent upon the opinions of foreigners for their internal sense of Africa’s value. Like ritual behavior, the imitative character, exhibited by the early Post-colonial African rulers, was a kind of sickness.
This panel will serve as a brief case study of four southern African nations transformation, from countries engaged in the liberation struggle, to nations emerging as Development States. Political Scientist, Cedric Robinson, in his work ‘Black Marxism’ The Making of the Black Radical Tradition’, noted that ‘what racist Europe feared most is the emergence of an alternative civilization, and in the past these civilizations have come from Africa.’ Based on the logic of both Armah and Robinson one extremely important hypothesis should be tested, ‘as the states of southern Africa are being transformed into Development states, are we witnessing the emergence of an alternative civilization?’ In short, ‘the Beautiful One’s Have Been Born.’ Now, what is their agenda?