Culture is the New Currency; Key to New African Thought
Professor Anita M. Diop
Founding Executive Director, African Roots and Heritage Foundation
Professor of African American History, American History, West African History, HCC
Ambassador for the Sixth Region to the African Union (ACALAN) African Academy of Languages
Ambassador to African Languages Week Coordinating Committee
Key Words: Culture, Heritage, Currency, Power, Origin, Sankofa
Institutional Affiliation: African Roots and Heritage Foundation, Hopkinsville Community College
Key Words: Closed Societies, Wakanda, Self Determination, Self-Identification, Self-Love,
Praxeological Theme # 4 NAT on Heritage and Civilizations…
Civilization lies first in the mind- James Baldwin, Nobody Knows My Name, 1961
Long live the Spirit of Africa: The Africana Renaissance, the rebirth of a marvelous and glorious Africa! It is upon the shoulders of giants that we the current Pan Africanists posit write and advance the agenda of African unity for all Africans. In May of 2012 the African Union formally acknowledged and defined the role that the lost children of the Diaspora will play and are now rejoined with their African brothers and sisters in the ushering in the birth of the Africana Renaissance era.
Much like the Harlem Renaissance in America but much greater and broader in scope is the
backdrop for the New African Thought. This rebirth will be an explosion of culture and racial
pride, civil rights, and self-determination. The gathering of spiritual and folk material will
provide a rich source of artistic and intellectual imagination which will spearhead Africa into a
different direction than from their colonial past. Alain Locke called the Harlem Renaissance a
spiritual coming of age- New Negro Movement because the black community was able to seize
its chance for group expressions and self-determination, sociological development, and economic
Today there is a greater opportunity forged through collective Africana Renaissance. One by one each country in Africa and the Diaspora will complete and fill the cultural spaces with art, music, dance, literature, cinema, arts, crafts, religion, theatre, photography, videographers and other specializations- all things cultural. Thus, the Spirit of Africa is created through the Africana
Renaissance claiming cultural development and utilizing it as a tool for development, Culture is the New Currency. Cultural Currency when used as a tool to navigate African origins and reclaiming the traditions and heritage, when embraced aids the African to purge and decolonize the mind. This reorder of thinking erects (NAT) New African Thought Proper.
In this essay, I shall discuss the tenets of African Self-Determination, from the perspective of original culture and heritage as the road to power and development with NAT as the foundational basis for the future of Africa.
The Spirit of Africa is lively, the power rests within its people. Long Live the Spirit of Africa through New African Thought!
Culture is the first requisite and final objective of all development.
Leopold Senghor, speech given at First World Festival of Negro Arts, Dakar, Senegal, 1966
"Up, up, you mighty race! You can accomplish what you will." – Marcus Mosiah Garvey
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