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.” !!!!