By Sainey Faye
AMILCAR CABRAL – 1924-1973, A REVOLUTIONARY AFRICAN HERO
Remembering Amilcar Cabral (Abel DjassI) “KAABU NYANGCHO” -1924-1973
JANUARY 20TH, 1973 …On this date Amilcar Cabral, one of Africa’s greatest revolutionaries was killed by Portuguese Colonialist agents in
Conakry, Guinea.A true Pan-Africanist and an outstanding theoritician of the anti-colonial, anti-imperialist struggle; Cabral’s loss was mourned by many freedom loving people around the world. Born in September 12, 1924 –
he led a war of liberation in Guinea Bissau, as leader of the PAIGC – one of several armed liberation movements against the fascist Portuguese colonial apparatus.
Portugal, a brutal and ruthless colonizer waged war against his and our people; using all kinds of weapons; including chemical weapons. Many Africans in neighboring states of Guinea Conakry, Gambia, Senegal/Casamance volunteered to fight with the PAIGC. Some became Commanders and/or high in the military ranks of the liberation army.
Whilst Senegal was a launching site and had centers of recruiting and logistics etc. Conakry, Guinea was the main headquaters and training grounds for militants.
It was also through such routes of infiltration to his residence and headquaters that such harm was inflicted – making his murder carried out by traitors and lackeys.
He was killed by Inocencio Kani, who was hired as infiltrator, an agent in the PAIGC working for the Portuguese imperialists.
He wrote extensively about the struggle in Guinea Bissau in particular, and Africa in general and elsewhere where liberation wars were being waged. The most popular books of his that are widely read are :-
(1) “Unity And Struggle”
(2) “Return To The Source”
(3) ” Revolution In Guinea: African Peoples Struggle”
On ‘National Liberation And Culture’…he notes: “Culture, despite whatever may be the ideological or idealistic characteristics of its
manifestations, is therefore an essential element of history, like a flower that springs forth from a plant.”
Amilcar Cabral, must be read to help us understand more some aspects of what Colonialsm, Neo-Colonialism and Imperialism in the past and the present are; says the late Kwame Ture who lived, worked, and studied him in Conakry.
Cabral was a founding member of the MPLA of Angola, and helped also – FRELIMO of Mozambique. He worked as strategist, theoritician, combattant and/or advisory member of the revolutionary executive council. Even in Guinea, Conakry he worked with the PDG and other anti-imperialist, anti-colonialist forces. He probably was the one of few warrior scholars and revolutionaries, who committed class suicide after graduating from Portugal and abandoning the priviledges accorded to his class then by the Portuguese colonial administration. The role he played in the early formation and cor-ordination with the other African liberation movements, makes him better known as a true Pan-Africanist revolutionary freedom fighter, who saw the struggle as a continental one, and not singular at all at the time. Ghana, had his back and gave him all the support, no wonder he worked with Nkrumah, consulting and strategising with him, until he died. Read up on the eulogy, he gave on the death of Dr. Nkrumah; to understand this true, revolutionary Pan-Africanist.
His clear analysis about political movements, political parties, and united Fronts, are more valuable today; than ever before, especially in this stage of Neo-colonialism – the final stage of imperialism.
The confusion is more profound and excercebated by the lack of political ideological clarity; and the clarity between Socialism and Capitalism. Cabral was a Socialist.
On the Movements and Parties, he does a good job in addressing how in Africa and elsewhere similar, but unlike Europe and the West; the transformation of mass political movements after their liberation struggle became a whole new experience. Unlike their sister states or cousins in their neighbouring states; who didn’t have to fight long protracted wars to gain political independence, the struggle became far more tougher. Navigating between a monolithic ideology, and a non monolithic ideology in a political struggle is and can be confusing and dangerous; if the masses don’t understand it – and many didn’t.
He reminded our freedom fighters about some of the goals and objectives of the liberation struggle.
“We are fighting so that insults may no longer rule our countries, martyred and scorned for centuries, so that our peoples may never more be exploited by imperialists not only by people with white skin, because we do not confuse exploitation or exploiters with the colour of men’s skins; we do not want any exploitation in our countries, not even by black people.”
On his last visit to the U.S.A. he was warmly welcomed in Harlem New York, where
Pan-Africanists, and supporters of the African liberation movements came out in numbers to meet him and honour him. African Americans, the clergy, activists, student militants, the intelligentsia, ordinary folks who heard or read about him standing up and fighting a war of liberation – winning day by day and month by month could not could control the joy, emotions, and admiration for this “KAABU NYANGCHO.” May be they just didn’t know that ” Nyanchos ” would rather die in battle than accept servitude.
And in a speech he made to the crowd that came to see him, and hear him speak the overwhelming applause was very huge. He said:
“You can be sure that we realize the difficulties you face, the problems you have and your feelings, your revolts, and also your hopes.
We think that our fighting for Africa against colonialism and imperialism is a proof of understanding of your problem and also a contribution for the solution of your problems in this continent. Naturally the inverse is also true.
All the achievements towards the solution of your problems here are real contributions to our own struggle. And we are very encouraged in our struggle by the fact that each day more of the African people born in America become conscious of their responsibilities to the struggle in Africa.
We think that all you can do here to develop your own conditions in the sense of progress,
in the sense of history and in the sense of the total realization of your aspirations as human beings is a contribution for us. It is also a contribution for you to never forget that you are Africans.”
‘The Weapon Of TheorTheory’
In his monumental speech on the ‘ The Weapon Of Theory’ at the Tricontinental Conference of 1966, in Havana, Cuba he made some observations in one of several paragraghs on the struggle. He notes :-
“On the question of the effects of imperialist domination on the social structure and historical process of our peoples, we should first of all
examine the general forms of imperialist domination. There are at least two forms: the first is direct domination, by means of a power made up of people foreign to the dominated people (armed forces police, administrative agents and settlers); this is generally called classical colonialism or colonialism in indirect domination, by a political power made up mainly or completely of native agents; this is called neocolonialism.
In the first case, the social structure of the dominated people, whatever its stage of development, can suffer the following
consequences: (a) total destruction, generally accompanied by immediate or gradual elimination of the native population and, consequently, by the substitution of a population from outside; (b) partial destruction,
generally accompanied by a greater or lesser influx of population from outside; (c) apparent conservation, conditioned by confining the native society to zones or reserves generally offering no possibilities of living, accompanied by massive implantation of population from
The two latter cases are those which we must consider in the framework of the problematic national liberation, and they are extensively
present in Africa. One can say that in either case the influence of imperialism on the historical process of the dominated people produces
paralysis, stagnation and even in some cases regression in this process. However this paralysis is not complete. In one sector or
another of the socio-economic whole in question, noticeable transformations can be expected, caused by the permanent action of some internal (local) factors or by the action of new factors introduced by the colonial domination, such as the introduction of money and the development of urban centers.
Among these transformations we should anticipate a progressive loss of prestige of the ruling native classes or sectors, the forced or voluntary exodus of part of the peasant population to the urban centers, with the consequent development of new social strata; salaried workers, clerks, employees in commerce and the liberal professions, and an instable stratum of unemployed. In the
countryside there develops, with very varied intensity and always linked to the urban milieu, a stratum made up of small landowners. In
the case of neo-colonialism, whether the majority of the colonized population is of native or foreign origin, the imperialist action takes
the form of creating a local bourgeoisie or pseudo-bourgeoisie, controlled by the ruling class of the dominating country.”
Cabral died at the young age of 48, but left a legacy for Africans, and all oppressed
peoples of the world some lessons; that are still learned and shared; as one of the most articulate theoreticians of the worldwide liberation struggle of the masses.
From Africa, to Cuba, to Latin America, Asia, and elsewhere; his writings are stiil widely
read and studied; by those who want to understand the African condition, especially
colonialism, settler colonialism, Imperialism, and Neo-colonialism. Africa, Guinea Bissau and mankind have lost a true “NYANGCHO.” !!!!
Thank you brother Sayni Faye for always honoring the historic dates of Great African Revolutionaries. Indeed Father Amilcar Cabral was the most shining one of his period.
May I also remind the audience that president De Santos of Angola hails from Guinea Bissau and joined the MPLA of Angola movement at an early age rising to become its Commander in Chief. If there is a true pan-african country in the true sense of the word, it is Angola who accepted a Bissau-Guinean son to be its leader.
No matter how long it takes Imperialism is a self-destruct system that extinct all around the world except its last vestiges in Africa. Future African generations will certainly dig its grave in the continent. As Dr. ML King said, we may not live to witness it but, but we will reach the mountain top.
I hereby salute my “Hero” AMILCAR CABRAL of Guinea Bissau [RIP]. This gentleman is the type of leader we require in Today’s Africa, not all those fake so called revolutionaries or Africanist. Love for your country, culture, Tribes and your continent is not optional, it is a MUST which many of us do not understand, why it is a must. Must of the true Revolutionaries died without healthy Bank account or assets. Because, they spent most of their energy to free their people from mentally and economical slavery, as we are all witnessing in the Gambia under the fake Africanist leader, so called president Yaya Idol worshiper Jammeh.
How is this historical figure a “NYANCHO”. please can someone elaborate. White people won’t allow us to learn our own history. We are all victims.
I can also add that most of these pan africanists never have a good relationship with the West. Therefore, i want to know where Jawara fit in this equation who was in power for 30 years and cannot build a single high for the poor people. Jawara had one of the best relationship with the imperial masters.
Malang…Both Jawara and Jammeh qualify to be called Neo-colonial agents because they inherited and continued the same structures that were put in place and left behind by the colonialists…..
In fact, Jammeh is a far worse Neo-colonial agent than Jawara because he entrapped our nation more into the imperialist system by burdening us with expensive loans, to put a few structures up and live an extravagant lifestyle…
Pan-Africanism is not about big mouths and foul mouthing the West, but rather, it is about destroying the structures of the colonial/Neo-colonial state and replacing them with nationalist structures that best suits the needs of the people….rather than the (foreign) creditors and multi-nationals….
Cabral, like Nkrumah, identified, not forces from abroad, but the “enemy” within, as the greatest challenge that we faced (at the time) and will continue to face, to realising our dream of total liberation and its benefits..
He said…..” We note, however, that one form of struggle which we consider to be fundamental has not been explicitly mentioned in this programme, although we are certain that it was present in the minds of those who drew up the programme. We refer here to the struggle against our own weaknesses.Obviously, other cases differ from that of Guinea; but our experience has shown us that in the general framework of daily struggle this battle against ourselves — no matter what difficulties the enemy may create — is the most difficult of all, whether for the present or the future of our peoples. This battle is the expression of the internal contradictions in the economic, social, cultural (and therefore historical) reality of each of our countries. We are convinced that any national or social revolution which is not based on knowledge of this fundamental reality runs grave risk of being condemned to failure… ”
What great foresight is contained in these words of wisdom from a great man…
The contradictions within our various countries, perpetuated and aggravated by various neo-colonial agents, either in the government or outside government (albeit unconciuosly for.many) and often, exploited by the neocolonial system to engineer desired situations, is the result of enlightened leadership absence across the continent..
Speaking about imperialism at the same event, Cabral made the following observations…
“We will not repeat here what has already been said in the assembly. We will simply state that imperialism can be defined as a worldwide expression of the search for profits and the ever-increasing accumulation of surplus value by monopoly financial capital, centered in two parts of the world; first in Europe, and then in North America. And if we wish to place the fact of imperialism within the general trajectory of the evolution of the transcendental factor which has changed the face of the world, namely capital and the process of its accumulation, we can say that imperialism is piracy transplanted from the seas to dry land piracy reorganized, consolidated and adapted to the aim of exploiting the natural and human resources of our peoples.”
Thus, is it clearly shown that all forces that seek leadership in our various countries, but wish to adopt development strategies that are wholly and totaly dependent on foreign (capital) investments, are nothing but agents of neo-coloniasm and imperialism…
The irony though, is that whilst we celebrate departed great Africans like Nkrumah, Lumumba, Saikou Touray, Amilcar Cabral and many others, who all opposed capitalism and favoured Socialism, as an economic system for.our continent, we redicule and mock living individuals who show the same socialist inclination….An irony indeed, isn’t it..?
Amilcar Lopez Dacosta Cabral, was indeed, a great African, who possessed all the attributes of great leaders, thus making him a rare gem, in a world devoid of (genuine) great leaders.. He was articulate, well educated, knowledgeable, has great understanding of his subject, genuine, humble, charismatic and had an intoxicating influence on those he met, wherever he went..
Cabral sacrificed everything and dedicated his life to the total liberation of the oppressed people, because like his contemporaries of that ers, he understood what (first) colonialism and (later) the twin evils of imperialism and neo-colonialism meant for the African masses, in particular, and dominated people everywhere..
Such was his understanding of the triple evils of colonialism, imperialism and neo-colonialism, that he predicted (so to speak) with an almost prophetic wisdom and scientific precision, the predicament of the continent today…
In a speech that became known as “The weapon of theory”, delivered in Havana, Cuba, in 1966, Cabral warned….
“It is sufficient to recall that in our present historical situation — elimination of imperialism which uses every means to perpetuate its domination over our peoples, and consolidation of socialism throughout a large part of the world — there are only two possible paths for an independent nation: to return to imperialist domination (neo-colonialism, capitalism, state capitalism), or to take the way of socialism. This operation, on which depends the compensation for the efforts and sacrifices of the popular masses during the struggle, is considerably influenced by the form of struggle and the degree of revolutionary consciousness of those who lead it….”
This warning, lays to bare, the very root causes of Africa’s economic and political malaise and the consequent economic, political and social problems that the people are faced with since independence..
The lack of that (revolutionary) conciuosness in many of our post colonial and independence leaders, which is a prerequisite to understanding the nature of imperialism; its economic, political and financial institutions, and how it works, and where this conciuosness has been reached, the absence of a genuine desire to lead (rather than rule), is the biggest problem of our continent…