Négritude Movement In Africa;5 Facts You Must Know

We will discuss Négritude Movement in Africa here,Africa’s struggle against Western cultural imperialism was first given conceptual formulation by Edward W. Blyden, when he articulated the ninctccnth-ccntury theory of blackness. In his efforts to combat racist mythologies.. Blyden “focused on ‘the virtues of black civilization’ and promoted the concepts of ‘blackness’ and ‘Negro Personality,’ thus inventing positive new myths about race and the black personality.”40 This concept of blackness was to be followed later by twentieth-century

Négritude Movement In Africa;5 Facts You Must Know

But Africa’s cultural struggle against Western imperialism, to which Cabral and other contemporary writers refer, also has its historical roots in the cultural nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Of particular interest arc the most prominent reactions against Europeawill discuss and assess the impact which these cultural movements have had on African Christian thought and “a cultural phenomenon cultural domination as expressed in the two cultural-political concepts—negritude and African personality. I n with a political facet.”*5 Therefore, like African Personality among English-speaking Africans. Negritude as a cultural-political concept among French-speaking Africans was a revolt against Western imperialism, particularly against French policy toward African cultures. ”

In anglophone Africa, African Personality also became a driving force behind the African revolution, and was aimed at reviving “the cultural and spiritual unity of the African people, and to promote research into every’ aspect of [African] heritage.”47 According to Nkrumah, the spirit of a people can only flourish in freedom, and he underscores the fact that African Personality can find full expression and be meaningfully projected in the world society only when “the liberation and unification of Africa is completed.

Thus, by the second half of the 1960s. the stage was set for African Christians in both Catholic and Protestant churches and in francophone and anglophone areas to pursue their respective perspectives on Africanization. The initiative now became African, and the theses of the new models of conversion and theologizing were integrated, with emphasis on the new premises of the doctrine of African independence —Negritude and African Personality.

Explaining one of these new models, V. Y. Mudimbe has shown how a theology of incarnation, for instance, emphasized “negritude and black personality as expressions of an African civilization, African history with its own symbols as a preparation for Christianity, and … the experience of slavery, exploitation and colonization as signs of the suffering of God’s chosen ones.

The most striking feature of these intellectual positions,” continues Mudimbe, ‘‘resides in the theoretical distinction between the program of political liberation which should permit a transformation of the traditional civilization and that of rethinking Christianity as an integral part of the local culture.’ Mudimbe then proposes three major trends that contributed to the development of a theology of incarnation. These are;

  • (a) A strong interest in the Africanization of Christianity insofar as it would permit a divorce between Christianity and Western history.
  • and culture and would introduce African features into the church.
  • (b) A search for an African clement in the field of theology and religious activities, which might keep pace with the ideological objectives for political and cultural autonomy. This trend mainly characterizes Roman Catholic African theologians.
  • (c) A vigorous interest in traditional religions, leading to the supposition that in general anthropologists’ and missionaries’ works arc neither dependable nor acceptable. This encourages new programs and projects which will be the responsibility of African scholars.68
  • Having analyzed the roles that pan-Africanism and African nationalism played in the political sphere and Ncgritudc and African Personality played in the cultural realm to combat racism, exploitation and colonialism and to promote African theology, I will now examine the impact that political and cultural factors in the black struggle for liberation have had on the emergence of Black theology in South Africa.

by Abdullah Sam
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