At a time when the past and present empires of the West are turning against neo-liberal globalization, from which they have derived so many benefits at the expense of the rest of the world, this volume foregrounds the imperative of forging Pan-African unity in ways that can reposition the continent to be an active player in global affairs. The volume highlights the travails and triumphs of Pan-Africanism as an ideological and intellectual force on which the struggle for freedom in Africa has been anchored over the past two centuries. The volume is historically informed, rich, balanced and insightful. By linking the past to the future, this volume holds a great potential to contribute to discourses and policies that can foster an integrated continent capable of achieving inclusive development.
—Samuel Ojo Oloruntoba, Thabo Mbeki School of Public and International Affairs, University of South Africa
This is a timely contribution to the study of the ambiguities of Pan-Africanism, African unity and the institutional cooperation that Africa’s states built up in the post-colonial era. In studying the multifarious expressions of Pan-Africanism this volume privileges views from within the African continent rather than the diaspora, giving voice to grass-roots perspectives that have been neglected in studies of the inter-state cooperation after independence. Citizens’ views, the role of labour in the unity project and issues of culture in Pan-African cooperation come to the fore. The institutionalisation of African unity is re-analysed in its complex interplay with global forces, especially the violence of the Cold War and the liberation struggles in southern Africa. The volume reassesses the transformation of the OAU into the African Union, discussing human rights, notions of African-ness and the state of Pan-African archives. A must for those studying the complexities of Africa’s international networks.
—Klaas van Walraven, African Studies Centre, Leiden University, the Netherlands
The OAU and AU have for too long been on the sidelines of historical scholarship on twentieth-century Africa. This volume not only brings together an important, rich, and multidisciplinary collection of essays that delves into some of the most significant moments in these organizations’ histories, but also pushes its readers to think more broadly and deeply at the changing nature and institutional history of pan-Africanism on the continent. There is little doubt that Visions of African Unity will become a cornerstone for future studies of these two pivotal international organizations.
—Jeffrey Ahlman, Smith College, USA