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African Union Agenda Aspiration 5: Goal 16 of the African Union Agenda 2063

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Africa with a strong cultural identity, common heritage, values and ethics seeks to inculcate the spirit of Pan Africanism; tapping Africa’s rich heritage and culture to ensure that the creative arts are major contributors to Africa’s growth and transformation; and restoring and preserving Africa’s cultural heritage, including its languages.

Some historians and philosophers promoted erroneous  thinking that influence formal curricula. For example, David Hume (1711- 1776), a Scottish enlightenment philosopher, historian, economist, and essayist, who is best known today for his highly influential system of philosophical empiricism, skepticism, and naturalism, based his notions of Africa's "absence of civilization" on his own idea that the continent had no indigenous script. No writing, no history. He was wrong.

Much of Africa's rich history was maliciously destroyed and artifacts were looted during the colonial era. Elginism is taking cultural treasures, often from one country to another (usually to a wealthier one) and it is associated with today's debates over “cultural patrimony” or “cultural property,” which is an object or material with cultural, historic, or traditional importance to a certain group, nation or the wider region. Cultural vandalism has severe negative effects on world affairs, African history, and the art society because many artifacts are destroyed when they are torn out of their cultural & spatial context. Consequently, scholars are unable to retrieve valuable historical information because they can only deal with fragmentary remains instead of a complete unified object.

Until fairly recently, many commentators on Africa bought into the narrative that African societies had no tradition of writing or organized systems that can inspire today's development. But Africa had a rich pre-colonial history with with advance systems.

The Harlem Renaissance, also known as the "New Negro Movement," blossomed from 1918- 1937 as an intellectual, social, literary, and artistic expression that promoted the African-American cultural revival. It is considered the most influential movement in African American literary history. Embracing a range of interests but not dominated by any, the expressions sought to re-conceptualize “the Negro” and away from white thoughts that engineer relationships among black people and in regards to their heritage. All of these produced intense debates with enormous impact on subsequent black literature and consciousness worldwide.

During the Great Migration over 175,000 African-Americans moved to Harlem that had become a particularly fertile place for cultural experimentation and key to artistic revolution and authentic expression in an extraordinarily diverse black social world in which no one group could monopolize cultural authority.While not confined to the Harlem district of New York City, the Harlem neighborhood in the borough of Manhattan was considered the symbolic capital of this cultural awakening. Black intellectuals from Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and other cities, where they had their own intellectual circles, discussion groups, and theaters, also converged in Harlem or resettled there.

From the 1930-1950s, French-speaking African and Caribbean writers living in Paris protested against French colonial rule and the policy of assimilation. Their works influenced the African Renaissance with the Négritude Movement as a framework of critique and literary theory that promoted African consciousness.

The major initiators: Léopold Sédar Senghor who became the first President of Senegal;  Martinican poet Aimé Césaire (top right);  and Léon Damas of French Guiana. Négritude intellectuals negated colonialism and argued for the importance of the African Renaissance and Pan-African ethics among people of African descent worldwide. As Senghor wrote, "Négritude transcends the deep divisions within and between Arabs, Africans, and the African Diaspora by recognizing a common racial thread." It counteracted European ideology that considered people of color as inferior to the whites with an assertion of a self-defined identity for people of African origin.

From a political standpoint, Negritude ignited literary movements that responded to global politics and was, in part, influenced by the Harlem Renaissance.

Currently, there is no institutional links or institutionalized programs that formerly connect African and Historical Black communities. On the 400th Year  since Slavery and the 100th Year of the first Pan African Congress in 1919 in Paris, the discourse will focus on the links and guided by pertinent indicators in Goal 16.

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