Round table: "South-South cooperation: African diasporas' intellectual contributions

Monday, 06 June 2022

The Council of the Moroccan Community Abroad (CCME) organised, on Sunday 5 June 2022 at the Book Fair in Rabat, a panel discussion on the theme "South-South Cooperation: intellectual contributions of African diasporas". Mr. Anthony Ontita Mochama (Kenya), lawyer and journalist, Ms. Munira Abdullahi Hussein (Ethiopia), microbiology doctor and writer, and Ms. Toyin Bibitayo Ajao (Nigeria), doctor of political science and writer, participated in the discussion, which was moderated by the Moroccan diplomat and professor Mokhtar Ghambou.

 Mr Mokhtar Ghambous Kenyan diplomat and professor at Yale University (USA), explained how through his stays he was able to measure the richness of English-speaking Africa to which it will be necessary to open up in order to break this dichotomy with the Francophonie. Moreover, "African leadership calls on us to explore new areas, to give these countries the chance to show us their assets".

Introducing the theme of this meeting, he said that the Moroccan commitment to South-South cooperation is activated under the impetus of His Majesty the King, who calls on every occasion to put the African human being at the centre of all development policies. However, at the level of African organisations and individuals, "South-South cooperation still needs to be freed from ideology".

As the African dimension has always been anchored in our identity, "in recent years we have witnessed the pan-Africanisation of institutions in Morocco, which has become visible even in the names of some of them, such as the OCP Africa Group, the Bank of Africa, Marchica Med Africa...

For his part, Anthony Mr Ontita Mochama, a famous Kenyan journalist who wrote 12 books and several publications on Morocco, said he was delighted to meet up with Mr Mokhtar Ghambou who taught him a lot about Morocco from the explorations of Ibn Battuta to the exploits of King Mohammed VI.

He invited through his writings impregnated by the Moroccan leadership in the continent to fructify the bilateral cooperation between Morocco and Kenya on the issue of immigration. "Morocco's exemplary management of this issue is a model for all African countries".

As for the literature of the African diaspora, the Kenyan writer explains that it is necessary to "free ourselves from mental slavery and to draw on our history and tell it because we are still subject to Eurocentrism".

Ms Munira Abdullahi Hussein, a producer of literature for educational institutions, said that "in the past, we used to write our stories from a Western perspective but now we have to express our history through our own eyes".

This is the reason why : "we need to deconstruct the wrong images in society, deconstruct the discourse on Africa and know our history and the truth about some of the facts we still don't know about ourselves". She explains that as a country, Ethiopia brings together several ethnicities and cultures but remains disconnected from the world "without the efforts of the diaspora that make it known to the world".

In this sense, she invites us to "take advantage of the opportunity of networks to connect with each other and tell our stories by ourselves, because even today we do not know how to make our differences a strength to build our country".

On the other hand, Mr Toyin Bibitayo Ajao asserts that "African mobility, between African cultures, is even more enriching than that undertaken towards Europe or the United States" and that for a better assimilation in the host countries, we begin by doing a work of introspection and immersion in our culture of origin.

He said: "Our relationship to colonialism affects the way we look at ourselves. Within Africa itself, we have suffered apartheid and slavery, these are traumas that we should heal so that we do not carry them with us in the experiences we undertake within and outside our continent.

To do this, we must first connect with each other, as Africans and the African diaspora: "we must be the change we want to see. We live in mega cities, we are super connected to the world, we can no longer say that we don't have the means to know each other or to find each other.


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