Saturday, August 4, 2007

Sorry for the long break between posts. I am working on a big story that I am currently investigating. Its horrible and horrendous, however I won't reveal it until I can fully corroborate the allegations of the piece. When its posted, we will have to work to finding a solution.

On a more celebratory note, we at UJAMAA have just about made 1000 hits!! It isn't much , but it feels brilliant. I would like to thank all of you frequent visitors and contributors and I hope that together we will will create a positive future.

In recognition of this milestone I would like to start a small meme. I would like you all to submit the Greatest Africans of all Time. People who have either contributed to the greatness of the continent or indirectly influenced it. They don't necessarily have to stem from the continent, but also be members of the diaspora.

Just post a comment of your contribution and I will add it to the list on this post. The target is a list of 1000!

Try and post women as well. I am really interested in people's ideas of the Greatest African Women.

**After considering a comment made by wayne, this list will now comprise of the most influential Africans. If their influence was negative there will be (-) in front of their name. However, I would still like to urge you to contribute names of people who have been of positive influence.

1. Julius Kambarage Nyerere
2. Nelson Mandela
3. Dambudzo Marechera
4. Albertina Sisulu
5. Wangari Maathai
6. Chaka
7. Kwame Nkurumah
8. King Moshoeshoe
9. Lucky Dube
10. Alpha Blondy
11. Kofi Annan
12. Antjie Krog
13. Wole Soyinka
14. Steve Biko
15. Ngugi wa Thiongo
16. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
17. Freddie Mercury
18. Maria Mutola
19. Haile Selassie
20. Goapele
21.(-) Ian Smith
22.(-) King Leopold of Belgium
23.(-) Post independence Robert Mugabe
24.(-) Mobutu Sese Seko
25.(-) Idi Amin
26. Pre-independence Robert Mugabe
27. Salim A Salim
28. Shabaan Robert
29. Bi Kidude
30. Fela Kuti
31. Obafemi Awolowo


Black Shepherd said...

i raise a question: how does one define an african?

hj said...

Well that is an interesting question. I would define an African very subjectively, as someone defines him or herself as an African. I would say that Antjie Krog is as African as Wole Soyinka. However, I would not say that Toni Morrison is as African as Ngugi Wa Thiongo.

Make sense? Any views?

Rapidly going nowhere said...

Is it a matter for debate or definition? Is hj more African than me? Is hj more human than me? Isn't identity by definition a personal thing?

I think this is the most African blog on the block though. Keep it up.

Rapidly going nowhere said...

Getting back to the question:

Sadly I can think of great African women that no-one ever heard of, and I suspect that applies to the whole continent. Women are in many cases the unsung hero's of the continent.

Off the top of my head I would vote:
Albertina Sisulu, which shows my bias
and Wangari Maathai.

There are many many more.

Black Shepherd said...

for now, until later:


king moshoeshoe

kwame nkrumah

lucky dube

hj said...

@rapidly going nowhere
I believe definition is definitely a personal choice, yet I also feel when trying to categorize someone from the public arena you need to be aware of the apparent contradictions of that figure in public.

More generally, should that really be an issue? Is someone who loves Africa an African or just a vocal fan?

It feels horrible to breakdown identity and allegiance like this, but what other choice do we have?

As African as I AM, there are many who would disagree just because I am muhindi. Is that an issue?

Let me know your thoughts.

wayne said...

???Freddie Mercury????
I know he is from Zanzibar, BUT????

wayne said...

if you are interested in "negative" influences, how about:
Ian Smith
King Leopold of Belgium
Robert Mugabe (can be positive if considered only in the context of near term to independence - last 10 years of so, very negative)
Sese Seke Mobutu (negative)
Idi Amin

or would you rather stick to only the good influences

hj said...

I know that many will disagree with some of my suggestions for the greatest Africans, however, similar to the debate sparked by Black Shepard, I think the definition of an African is subjective. I break it down into three essential elements, which in essence could be applied to any nation or continent.
Element 1: origin
Element 2: Services rendered
Element 3: Personal adoption of a nation.

Element 3 is probably the most subjective, however, I feel it is extremely important, for really isn't a national or patriot someone who chooses to be one? So in that sense, I feel Freddie Mercury is an African as he falls under element 1. Obviously if there are others who disagree, let it be known, the debate can and should go on.

In reference to Africans who have had a negative impact on the continent, I wasn't really looking to mention them, however I think it would be fair to say that they were influential.

I will put (-) in front of a name if their influence was negative.

Black Shepherd said...

freddie mercury is PERSIAN!


Black Shepherd said...

as proof of my previous comment.
the wikipedia article says mercury was the child of two parsis from india. "Pārsī, IPA: [ˈpa(ɾ).si]), sometimes spelled Parsee, is a member of the close-knit Zoroastrian community based primarily in India. Most Parsis outside of India identify India as their home country. Parsis are descended from Persian Zoroastrians who emigrated to the Indian subcontinent over 1,000 years ago"

btw; if we are going to be putting negatives in there....

charles taylor

and I dont believe mugabe was ever good, in any time period. just power hungry and deceptive.

wayne said...

@black shepherd
you said "and I dont believe mugabe was ever good, in any time period. just power hungry and deceptive."
I agree with you, but I did want to give some lee way, for those who still, in their hearts, believe he was some kind of African hero. The atrocities he committed in Matebeland against his own people (mostly, however against Ndebele, not Shona) was a crime against humanity, simply because they (Ndembele) chose to not support the forerunner of Zanu-PF. He did, whatever his motives and means, stand against Ian Smith and helped end a very sad page of history of brutal white dominance (by some whites - not all) in then Rhodesia. I have many (black) Zimbabwean friends who lived side by side in peace with white Zimbabweans and had deep friendships with them that cut across all skin color boundary's.
I agree with the addition of Charles Taylor to the negative list. There are probably others in the history of the last 20-30 years in West Africa that need to be added (including the DeBeers Company) to the negative list.

wayne said...

how about adding Bishop Tutu of SA?

Black Shepherd said...

good call wayne. tutu should be in there. I am having a mind blank. Who would have thought out of ONE THOUSAND opportunities, we can only come up with just 30. this list needs to be filled.

pkb said...

Hakeem Olajuwon
Dekembe mutambo

not so much for political activism, but they repin' da continent .

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