Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute (TMALI)
The following books are by recommendation of former President and Patron of TMALI, Mr Thabo Mbeki as a means to empower properly, to act as conscious activists for the victory of the African Renaissance, the African youth must learn the habit and discipline of reading, asking questions and daring to challenge all supposedly ‘established truths’.
The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte by Karl Marx should challenge to us always to understand that history, even as an ‘academic’ discipline, is about the general (multi-disciplinary) development of human society. This means that we must constantly seek to understand human African and global society in all its elements.
The Highland Clearances by John Prebble tells an evocative story about land dispossession in Scotland, which parallels land dispossession in South Africa, (and representative of colonialism in general where such dispossession took place). This illustrates the inherent ‘functioning’ of capital, regardless of national boundaries. This emphasises the international/universal role of ‘capital’ as the central driver of the process of ‘globalisation’.
The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution by C.L.R. James is about the African Diaspora in Haiti and combines a definitive account about Africa’s place in the then ‘global political economy’, the role and place of slavery in this regard, and, of great importance, the role and struggles of the Africans once they were integrated in the world economy, (through the African slaves), in helping to determine world history and the shape of human society. The majority of the slaves who rose in rebellion successfully to establish the very first Black Republic were first generation African slaves.
Damming the Flood: Haiti and the Politics of Containment by Peter Hallward follows this account immediately, graphically to relate a contemporary story about Haiti. It tells the story that Haiti, given its historic place in the centuries-old ‘globalisation’ process, has, to this day, continued to pay a price for having served in thevanguard in the struggle to achieve genuine African liberation.
In Search of Enemies: A CIA Story by John Stockwell tells both a particular and generic story abut how the dominant world powers would act and have acted specifically to perpetuate African dependence, in their interest. It is important that Africans, victims of the machinations must understand how those who would deny us our independence operate.
The Price of Power: Kissinger in the Nixon White House by Seymour Hersh provides a vivid example in this regard, which includes the confirmation of the constancy of the strategic objectives of the major Western powers, regardless of which political party is in power.
Civilization or Barbarism: An Authentic Anthropology by Cheikh Anta Diop. The preceding books in this list inevitably present us, the Africans,as ‘victims’ of history. This is based on an assertion that has informed European historiography for a long time that we are objects rather than makers of history. However this book presents a well-argued African case, advanced by the modern African intelligentsia, that as Africans we have been makers of history. It is important that as Africans we understand this reality.
Black Athena: The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization by Martin Bernal. The scientific works carried out by the African intelligentsia as represented in Civilization or Barbarism: An Authentic Anthropology has been confirmed by some among the European intelligentsia. This book confirms the historically vital finding that African thought, etc, is a central contributor to the evolution of all human society, including inherited modern thought and practice.Thus can we, the Africans, legitimately claim not only that Africa is the very (generic/genetic) origin of all humanity, but also that we played our own rightful role in terms of defining human behaviour in all its important elements.
The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon. In the end, all our important studies which seek to ‘understand the world’, must empower us to make a determination about how we must act to change this ‘world’, for our benefit as Africans. This means that we must understand ourselves and our own responsibility to ourselves, precisely as makers of history. This book challenges us to undertake this task,acting honestly in this regard. Building on this, we have a duty further to expand our understanding of our reality, ourselves and our possibilities.
Africa Must Unite by Kwame Nkrumah The eminent Pan-Africanist, Kwame Nkrumah, speaking for his generation, made bold to present Africa with many strategic tasks which are contained in the book, all of which we must examine closely. In this regard, relating to their relevance and practicality, we must make every effort to understand everything which would give us the possibility to achieve sustained success.
“Having understood everything we will based on a study of all the preceding books, we must answer and act on the question – what is to be done to advance the Renaissance of Africa? Thus will it be possible for us practically to answer the question – what is our imperative, progressive and people-centered agenda, and what African forces exist that must lead the quest informed by the all-Africa and mass demand – Africa Must Unite!”