For The People

Professor Kahinde Andrews on Black Radicalism

Coming from a family tradition of radical politics with both parents being Pan Africanist, and having to explain himself when in conversations on politics and on the subject of Black Radicalism, it soon became clear to the scholar, Professor Andrews, that the notion of black radicalism is the most misunderstood political ideology. He then decided to write a book on the topic, titled Back to Black: Black Radicalism for the 21st Century. The author saw it necessary to correct the misconceptions surrounding the misconstrued topic. The notion has been linked to terms such Black Nationalism, racism and even to intentions to separate races. According to the writer, it is none of these things, “Black radicalism has to do with Black people as nations surpassing national boundaries, connecting to Africa and it does not seek to separate black people into particular groupings”.

Professor Kahinde Nkosi Andrews, from Birmingham in the United Kingdom (UK) is the first and only Professor of Black Studies in the UK. He has a PhD in Sociology and Cultural Studies from the University of Birmingham in the UK, a MA in Social Research from the same University and a BSc in Psychology from the University of Bath which is also in the UK. He is the founding member of an Organisation called Harambee of Black Unity. A version of the Marcus Garvey movement, the purpose of the organisation is to unify black people in the diaspora of black liberation and advancement of people in the African continent. “The movement encompasses sections in health, education, and economics focusing on grassroots independence,” he explains.

During his visit to South Africa, he explains that the topic for the book was birthed from his thesis research paper which also formed some parts of his book. ‘I wrote the book for about a year although it comprises of several years of experiences in my life and politics”.

In his book, the running focus is on black radicalism and how is it used in the 21st century. Although black radicalism is an umbrella term for a variety of movements pertaining to racial oppression, Professor Kahinde emphasises the importance of identifying specific issues in dealing with or solving pertinent problems in black communities and intensely accesses the approaches and methods on how to succeed in the task of solving these problems.

In the book he deals with the fallacies of post slavery freedom and apartheid, “Not one single country in the African continent is independent,” says Professor Andrews, “We are confusing political representation with independence, Africa can never be independent and liberated if there is no economic freedom,” he states.

According to the author, the logic of black revolution is African revolution, with Africa being the only continent that can sustain itself. Africa is powerful on its own because of its rich agriculture, minerals, and other resources. The problem, according to Professor Andrews is that Africa does not have economic freedom. Everything is owned by Europe, Britain, China and other western countries. If Africa can create a completely different economic system which redistributes wealth within its region and operates in a different manner, then it could slowly be on the path to independence, “What is needed is an organisation that is not national but global. With technology and the internet, a mass global organisation that strives for African liberation is possible,” he remarked further.

The unwavering and futuristic academic’s objective in penning down the book become eminent in his exploration of African history in politics, slavery and colonialism and how he connects the dots on how Africa and black people across the globe came to be in the state. In his view, it is exactly that which still requires action, as black people are still suffering from injustices across the globe. He further outlines a tradition that somewhat provides a revolutionary alternative to the status quo.

Though he and his book have been criticised by some individuals and publications, the Guardian in the UK described his book as “A new survey of western black radical thought, which is lucid, fluent and compelling. Andrews’s attacks on western black radicalism make for highly readable blows. You might not agree with Andrews, but we need him”.

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