CERDOTOLA (Center for Research and Documentation on Oral Traditions and Development of African Languages) under the leadership of Professor Charles Binam Bikoi, Executive Secretary and ARHF, (African Roots and Heritage Foundation) under the leadership of Professor Anita M. Diop, Executive Director enters into a partnership agreement to produce the CIC (CERDOTOLA INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE) 2002 Convention for a NAT (New African Thought) Conference to convene in Yaounde, Cameroon Central Africa, this October 25-28, 2022. This conference will draw scholars worldwide to participate in this historical event.
ARGUMENT – CONCEPTUAL NOTE
Africa is sorely missing in contemporary thought... and yet Africa does not lack Thinkers... What does this paradox hold? One of the plausible explanations lies in the fact that "African thought" is backed by thought from elsewhere... In fact, what is commonly called "African thought" would only be a thought by proxy or under trusteeship, a thought in tow, a thought in the bonds or chains of dominant thought...
This state of affairs is not without consequences. At best, it erases the “African presence”; at worst, it perpetuates a world order that has been defined for several centuries already, in which Africa is excluded from the orbit of the realities that matter, with the African man being relegated “out of history”.
This state of affairs quite naturally justifies the "international division of labor" set in motion following the transatlantic slave trade and then the colonial adventure sealed in particular by the Berlin Conference, which made Africa the "property" of a handful of old Europe’s powers, a vast reserve of raw materials, natural as well as human.
The end of formal colonization has changed little in this reality: colonialism was simply transformed into a subtler ogre, one that confiscates African peoples’ desire for independence, proves uncompromising with the bearers of demands for authentic independence, and secures its power to place at the head of the continent's institutions docile and faithful servants of the said "international division of labor".
Thus is trapped Africa’s liberation thought. For African thinkers to be recognized and celebrated their works must be sanctioned by “metropolitan” dispensaries. The best African writers of course identify themselves with these dispensaries, swear only by them, and often only translate "the voice of the master". The elites are (and are pleased to stay) on a leash by the circles that have ennobled them: universities, training schools, research institutes, multinational firms, secret societies, religious congregations, various networks. Many Africans thus put Africa’s intelligence at the service of supposedly “universal” causes which are turned against their own interests. Sad observation!
Caricatural as it may seem, this observation not only indicates the nature of the challenge but constitutes a call to meet the challenge. The presumed thinkers being in chains, African thought needs to free itself, to regain its autonomy... And all sectors, all domains, all fields of expression of the living African humanity are summoned for this purpose. Economy, Ecology, Health, Education, Politics, Governance, Scientific Research, Technologies, Communication, Organization, Religion, are in need of being carried... by an "African thought" other than this universal instrumental thought responsible for this specific Africa’s ill that is the absence of thought. It is characterized by the fact that all the reference points are borrowed and transported through the multiple extroversion instilled or installed in the mental schemas of the colonial systems on which many African elites are dependent.
The time of Break and Re-composition is knocking at the door of History, as a condition for the much-desired African Renaissance. Only a can assume the stakes and guarantee that Africa rises up to them.
This argument is enough to justify the 2022 INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE which CERDOTOLA convenes around the major objectives below:
• Enabling ideas to descend from the ethereal realms of the imaginary and extroverted metaphysical speculation, property of lecture halls and laboratories
• Reconciling vision, existence and action in favor of Africa
• Building ideologies of action and operationalisation of endogenous lived experience
• Irrigating the existence of African peoples with faith in their humanity
• Justifying the establishment of foundations of a competitive humanism of diversity and multi-polarity
• “Decolonizing” the act of thinking and liberating thought from its confiscation by philosophers and the order of “philosophy” locked in the sole sense of foreign schools
• Putting thought back at the heart and at the service of life as assumed wisdom, conceptualized action, planned dream, assumed project, enlightened praxis nurtured with African ethics and aesthetics.
The New African Thought thus posits itself as:
o Thought of renewal for Development without exclusion
o Thought of renewal to heal the ills of everyday life
o Thought as medicine for the compromised Aspirations of Peoples to ward off distress
o Thought as a system of production of innovative, inspiring and mobilizing ideas to contribute to the problematical, by Africa herself, of her Being-in-the-world.