“How indeed would a living understanding come to those, who have fled knowledge of the source?” (Ayi Kwei Armah in Two Thousand Seasons).
It is that month again when European conquerors and conquered Africans in conquered Azania/ “South Africa” celebrate their heritage. The hegemony of multiculturalism and nonracialism both in “South Africa” and around the globe accounts for the dominant way ideas such as heritage and culture are interpreted. Liberal constitutionalism in “South Africa” is promoting the notion of diversity in culture and its common celebration. While culture and heritage are inextricably connected, heritage will be treated as a manifestation of culture. This makes culture to be foundational to heritage. Although in “South Africa” we have other cultures, we will focus on Africans/Abantu and Europeans/abelungu, whose cultures are dominant and fundamentally different. It becomes self-evident to note that the heritage of these racial and cultural groups is also fundamentally different. These two racial and cultural groups are analyzed in terms of the irreconcilable native and settler antagonism.
Cheik Anta Diop in his book Civilization or Barbarism, discusses the origin of humanity by foregrounding Africa as the “cradle of humanity”. Although this book is very significant as a scientific text on the origin of humanity, it is in The Cultural Unity of Black Africa, that Diop develops what Vulindlela Wobogo designates “Diop’s two-cradle theory”. We will confine ourselves to discussing the relevant characteristics of the two cradles which are the foundation of the “heritage of antagonism” in “South Africa” since conquest in the wars of white settler colonization. In terms of Diop’s two cradle theory Africans belong to the southern cradle, which is characterized among other things by, hospitality, xenophilia and optimism while the Europeans belong to the northern cradle whose main traits are xenophobia, aggression, and pessimism. According to Diop the African Grimaldi who were isolated in the glacial environment in what would later be known as Europe, underwent a genetic transformation which resulted in them losing melanin thus becoming Caucasians/Europeans of the northern cradle. This glacial environment due to the scarcity of resources was foundational to the emergence of the culture and heritage of racism, war, and conquest which account for the conquest of 1652 in “South Africa”. These two fundamentally different cradles are the foundation of the “heritage of antagonism” between the Africans and Europeans as non-Africans in “conqueror South Africa” since they underlie the culture and being of the Africans and Europeans before conquest since 1652. It is in this sense that the northern cradle is the basis of the racist being and historicity of the Europeans and the Maafa they inflict on Africans which is the European “heritage of barbarism”. The “South African heritage of antagonism” was introduced by conquest in the form of land dispossession since 1652 which is reflective of the northern cradle as explained above. Arguably the first attempt at conquering Azania by European conquerors occurred during the Battle of Salt River in 1510. The Portuguese under de Almeida attempted their first military conquest which resulted in their embarrassing defeat by the Indigenous people. The Dutch settlers under VOC/Dutch East India Company continued with the wars of land dispossession around the late 1600s, these wars were completed by the British settlers around the late 1800s with the destruction of the last African kingdoms.
The naïve generosity or “ruinous openness” of some Africans because of the hospitality of the southern cradle, when encountering the white settlers partly explains the success of land dispossession. This naïve generosity manifested itself with some Africans coming to the aid of the ship-wrecked Europeans and believing that the Europeans’ presence is a temporary stay. These Africans did not realize (and still do not to this day) that these Europeans are nothing but the “destroyers” who operate based on the northern cradle. But of course, this naïve generosity was partly overtaken by the sentiment of Africa for the Africans “in the wake” of the display of the “heritage of barbarism” by the white settlers. While the sentiment of Africa for the Africans traces its origin to the catastrophic encounter between the Africans and the Europeans, in “South Africa” it reached its apex between 1920-1930 with the Garvey movement. The Garvey movement and the sentiment of Africa for the Africans reached its summit with Enoch Mgijima’s Israelite movement which was a continuation of the earlier Ethiopian movement fighting for the end of the white settler colonial world. This was viciously suppressed by the South African government under Smuts leading to the Bulhoek massacre in the 1921. This movement is the culmination of the pursuit of “historical being” in the sense of destroying the white settler world and restoring Azania in terms of Africa for the Africans thus Europe for the Europeans. It is important to note that while the Garvey movement galvanized the sentiment of Africa for the Africans, this sentiment has indigenous roots. This is how Mazisi Kunene in a compilation and translation of a much older Zulu heroic epic poem called Emperor Shaka captures it “Through a vision I saw nations emerging from the ocean. Once as the sea lay calm, throwing off only trembling waves. A strange race emerged from the ocean… He reported to the Assembly: O my lord, the country is infested with bad bugs. We have encountered a race of red ants”. Kunene continues further by stating that “Have you correctly judged these bloodthirsty foreigners? Such people dig deep into a nation’s life. They strip the wealth and power that once was its greatness”. Here we have an encounter of the antagonism between an African-being-in-the-world as a “heritage of civilization” and a European-being-in-the-world as a “heritage of barbarism” in a yet-to-be-fully-conquered Azania. It is these two fundamentally antagonistic heritages which shaped the humanity of Africans and the inhumanity of the Europeans to this day in “conqueror South Africa”. Since this “heritage of antagonism” was founded on the loss of Azania “in the wake” of conquest in the wars of colonization since 1652, it can only be eliminated through the restoration of land to the Indigenous conquered people on the basis of Chimurenga as a revolutionary war of liberation .This must be based on Fanonian violence seeking to end the native and settler antagonism to usher in a post-conquest Azania without non-Africans, after destroying “South Africa”. Liberal constitutionalism in its celebration of diversity through multiculturalism and nonracialism can only postpone but not eliminate this “heritage of antagonism”. The sentimental and abstract celebration of cultural diversity will never erase the “heritage of barbarism” of the white settlers as abelungu (who are not African/Abantu and never will be). The “heritage of liberation” of Africans/Abantu to restore Azania as celebrated by the likes of Lembede as “heroes’ day” is irreconcilable with the “heritage of racism” of the successors-in-title to conquest (all contemporary white settlers) despite the madness of the “Rainbow nation”. For the Palm race (Africans) and the Pumpkin race (Europeans/white settlers) do not share the same humanity, heritage and destiny and never will.
“Blacks are still hopelessly naïve if they do not yet understand that the whites never did, and do not now, intend to include Blacks in the doctrine of human equality.” (Chancellor Williams in The Destruction of Black Civilization).