The Pan-African Congress Movement (PACM) in the UK will observe Africa Liberation Day (ALD) in various cities, notably London and Birmingham, over the weekend 25- 27 May 2013, as it has done annually over many decades.
This year, celebrations take on an added significance as it is 50 years since the predecessor of the African Union (AU), the Organisation of African Unity, constituted Africa Liberation Day in 1963. The AU has also designated 2013 the ‘Year of Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance’.
This year, as in previous years, PACM publicity for its programme to mark ALD, warns that it is ‘STRICTLY AN AFRICAN FAMILY EVENT!’ This raises a number of issues which are seldom debated in communities that constitute the Global African Diaspora in the UK.
I well recall attending an ALD event in Manchester some years ago at which I was due to speak. As I arrived at the venue, I witnessed an altercation at the entrance which, as I soon discovered, had to do with the observance of that warning and differing interpretations of what constitutes ‘the African family’.
An elder who had lived in Manchester since the end of the Second World War and was one of the few people who had distinct recollections of the 5th Pan African Congress he attended in Manchester in 1945, turned up at ALD with his wife of some 40+ years. The event organisers welcomed him warmly, but clearly had a problem with his wife joining him. She was white English. This led to an argument which I joined, making it very clear that I was not going to stick around, let alone deliver my talk, if both the elder and his wife were not allowed to attend the event. Read the rest of this entry →