African Political Thought by G. Martin

By G. Martin

Focusing on person political thinkers and starting with indigenous African political suggestion, the booklet successively examines African nationalism, African socialism, populism and Marxism, Africanism and pan-Africanism, concluding with modern views on democracy, improvement and the African state.

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According to Joseph Ki-Zerbo, “as a devout Muslim [Emperor Kanku Musa] expanded the influence of Islam. His brand of Islam incorporated elements of indigenous beliefs and magical rites imported from Arab countries. ”33 However, Islam significantly contributed to maintaining the cohesion (and thus the unity) of the vast, multiethnic Mali Empire. In Songhay, Askiya Muhammad Ture, who succeeded Sonni Ali Ber in 1493 by means of a coup d’état and ruled until 1528, acted as both a religious and secular leader and endeavored to achieve political and social integration according to the precepts of the Quran.

These biases—coupled with an insufficient knowledge of African culture and traditions—have sometimes led to an insidious “Arabization” and “Islamization” of African history, as well as to a “genealogical snobbery” whereby the only noble origins were deemed to be those of the East, preferably related to the Prophet, his family, or his companions. The pitfalls of African historiography are accurately identified by Dramani-Issifou: The oral transmission of their [African cultures and societies] knowledge, the implicit nature of their rich and ancient cultural life, means that factual evidence concerning them is often derived from external sources; in this instance, the evidence comes from Arab historiography which is marred by prejudice and by ideological assumptions which must be identified and clarified.

Chieftainship turns into kingship. The king consolidates his power through force. National solidarity disappears and decline begins. Decline leads ultimately to the disintegration of state and civilization if not checked by the appearance of a new group with ‘asabîyah (social solidarity). Such a new group is unlikely to rise within the state, however. Rather, a less advanced people with rising ‘asabîyah typically takes over the state and changes its manner of life—albeit temporarily. Eventually they also will generate the same processes that led to the decline of the state they conquered.

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