Unity needed to end racism

Johannesburg -During a visit to Washington DC in 1962, Cameroon’s founding president, Ahmadou Ahidjo, informed president John F Kennedy of his displeasure over racism in the US.

Ahidjo praised the leadership of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the oldest African-American civil rights organization, for its willingness to unite with Africa “to fight against the evils of racial discrimination, injustice, racial prejudices, and hatred”.

He later wrote that: “Each time a black man [and woman] is humiliated anywhere in the world, all Negroes the world over are hurt.” President Ahidjo called for a united front between Africans and African-Americans to confront racism. He was not the first post-colonial African leader to make such a request.

Ghana’s founding president Kwame Nkrumah’s Pan-Africanism was a message about black upliftment and unity, and his close ally, Sekou Touré of Guinea advocated similar objectives. Those calls for a crusade against racism were deeply rooted in the best of African nationalism.

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