By Charlayne Hunter-Gault Not long ago, I wrote an article for the Paris-based magazine, Africa Report, about the broken ties between African Americans and Africans. I described how the two groups had worked in harmony to end apartheid in South Africa some two decades ago, which raised hopes for a pan-African future.
But, I wrote, “The momentum was not sustained. Perhaps that was because South Africa was unique: [Apartheid] was about racism, something to which African-Americans and their political allies could relate.”
I went on to quote several African Americans who had been involved in that struggle, including Salih Booker, now head of Global Rights, a human rights advocacy group. Booker earned his anti-apartheid spurs demonstrating in the streets of Washington, D.C., calling for sanctions against the apartheid regime. Booker told me the connection between Africans and African Americans was at its lowest ebb, and was surprised by the lack of interest in Africa.Booker continued:
“It is ironic because now you would think at this moment in history, when all of Africa has finally achieved political independence and the rise of African Americans in terms of influence and power positions, you would think at this moment in history, pan-Africanism could be at its height. But it’s just the opposite.”