Afrocentricity: An important feature of Pan-Africanism By Dr Edward Yusuf Mitole


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Pan-Africanism

…. According to Botchway (2017:50), “Historically, Euro-centric Christianity provided ideological and institutional support to European enslavement and colonialism of the African peoples, and psychologically alienated many from their original mental and cultural personality.” He focuses his discussion on a case study of Joseph William Egyanka Appiah in the Gold Coast who would later be known as “Prophet Jemisimiham Jehu-Appiah” (Botchway, 2017:50). According to Botchway (2017:49-50), “he initiated nationalist philosophies and liberation theologies to reform Euro-centric Christianity into an Afro-centric one to salvage aspects of indigenous African cultural beliefs and practices”, and therefore, left the Methodist Church and established the first native African church, Musama Disco Christo Church (Botchway, 2017).

Prophet Appiah regarded his church as an Afrocentric one which was birthed and managed by Africans, and founded to reinstate African beliefs, practices and traditions to Christianity because “Europe had made it Euro-centric to serve European cultural and political interests and to control African societies.” He encouraged largely the use of African musical instruments like donno, mpintin, akasa, totorubento, mfiritwuwa, ebibindwom (Black African Songs), which made use of Fante lyrics (Botchway, 2017:63). This demonstrates the importance of Afro-centricity as a feature of the Pan-African tradition, helping place the African tradition above the Euro-centric Christianity, which seeks to demonise our values and traditions as African people.

Again, according to Talburt (2017:240), “Therefore, evangelical Pan Africanism was a key feature of Black resistance in which people used religion as a form of political protest.” The religious wing of Marcus Garvey’s Universal Improvement Association, the African Orthodox Church, was established. According to Olisanwuche (1982:74), “Though a born Catholic, Garvey set up an African Orthodox Church with Archbishop Alexander McGuire, a West Indian theologian, at the head” as “an expression of religious autonomy among black Americans” (Platt, 1989:474)….

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