“One Heart, One Soul, One Mind, One Africa”
Magazine, The Immigrant Experience,Africa & Caribbean
Saturday, March 31, 2018 saw the birth of a new dawn in the Pan-African community in Los Angeles, California at the auspicious welcome reception for the African Union Ambassador to the United States Her Excellency Dr. Arikana Chihambori-Quao. While expressing gratitude for this inaugural event, Chairlady of the Pan African Diaspora Women’s Association (AU PADWA) Western Region organizing committee, Lady Alicia Hamilton expressed confidence in the leadership of Ambassador Arikana stating, “The best is yet to come as we unite under her leadership”.
Hosted at the Museum of African American Art in Los Angeles, Ambassador Arikana summarized her mission in these few words, “I have come to take you back to Africa the mother of all continents”. With those words she set out to give the most eye opening narrative about why it was important for all people of African descent to finally open their eyes and see a collective vision for themselves.
“ Africa will only develop with the help of its diaspora and its people” she said, “No one will do it for Africa until Africans come together for the interest of the continent and work hard to better their continent”.
An evening of great pride and enlightenment, the Los Angeles Pan African community witnessed in awe the birth of a new vision for Africa’s Diaspora. Ambassador Arikana was bold and to the point as she delivered the history and reasons for the source of Africa’s troubles tracing as far back as the 1885 Berlin Conference.
She acknowledged the challenges and woes of Africa thanks to her history of exploitation through slave trade and colonization and consistent exploitation of its raw materials. Her passionate and insightful delivery of a new path for people of African descent however garnered great applause from all present who all seemed to finally see a vision for the diaspora and the continent teaming together for a prosperous Africa.
In step with this new dawn for Africa and her diaspora and on the heels of the massive game-changing box-office success of Marvel’s all black cast movie Black Panther set in the fictional utopian country of Wakanda, Ambassador Arikana announced the birth of the AU’s 1st ‘Wakanda” village scheduled to be developed in Zambia where thanks to the collaboration of Robert Sichinga Jr., Honorary Consul for Zambia in California, President Edgar Lungu has already allocated land for the project.
The call to action for all Africans in the Diaspora is simple she reiterated, to contribute to a global fund that will finance the development of multiple Wakanda villages all over Africa. In order for most of Africa’s Diaspora to go back and live in Africa, we must first develop infrastructure that will receive and allow them to come home.
True to her vision about reshaping structures, Ambassador Arikana stressed that change for Africa must not be limited to the physical only. The mindsets of Africans need to be changed as well to accommodate sustainability and long-term development. Africans must therefore change how they perceive themselves and their continent. They must learn to love themselves after all the trauma they have been through, love one another and then finally love their continent. They must remember to remember where they come from and change their current colonial and enslaved mentality that constantly hinders their roadmap to great wealth and success.
Her fervent appeal for love of continent and heritage was a passionate and resolute exhortation of Africans’ collective sense of African dignity and sense of belonging which she summarized in these words, “You have your Mother Continent. The Mother where life as we know it, began. The Mother Continent that is the Mother Continent of ALL the World. They can splice it any way they care to. We are ALL Africans. And it’s time for ALL of you to become proud of who you are, and where you come from. Because you are the descendants from some of the most powerful, intelligent, sophisticated, highly adaptable, and totally indestructible Africans.That is the blood that is running through your veins, whether you like it or not, and I want you to know that, so you can stand up on the tallest mountain and proclaim who you are, a proud African, who must come together. One heart. One soul. One mind. One Africa.”
In conclusion Africans come from a great continent and are great people who must find their higher selves for this vision led by Ambassador Arikana to stick. An appeal was made for all leaders of African associations, groups, businesses, non profit organizations etc. to assist in creating an all-encompassing group that will be the liaison of communication and bridge between the continent of Africa and its diaspora. Without a forum for communication it is impossible for people of African descent to empower one another.
Janice Lewis Photo