In a continent where everything is “supposedly” bad, it’s refreshing to exchange dialogue with Young African leaders that see things differently from what you see, hear and read about. Before, I used to think issues of Pan Africanism were of those that are elderly and academia’s. Along the years, I began to familiarize with this ideology and movement that encourages the solidarity of Africans worldwide. It is based on the belief that unity is vital to economic, social, and political progress and aims to “unify and uplift” people of African descent. I sat down with Pan Africanist, Richard Mahomva, a 24 year old Politics and Public Management Student at the Midlands State University in Zimbabwe. The Young leader highlights on the struggle of self-assertion, mental slavery, how he uses his writing skills and initiatives to address the importance of Pan Africanism.
Richard Mahomva: Thanks for the honour as well, 10 years back, the struggle of self-assertion was key in my teenage. At some point I became some little rebel, with loads of non-conformity to what was seen as right, like being religious you know! Asking myself ‘who am l.’ The question conceived a consciousness about being African in an undiluted manner and the burdens that came along with that. Through a book loving background, I became aware of slavery, colonisation in this modern age. Let alone discovered that myself like any African l was plagued by a colonial past. So from that time until my later high school years l was largely occupied with unthinking the colony in me and my other Black-folks. Trying to even ‘unGhetto’ myself as it were. Found a strong escapism from the ghetto conditioning -circumference with poverty of course through literature.
Gilmore Tee: Tell us about your background and inspiration.
Richard Mahomva: I was born in October 1990 at Mpilo Hospital in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. I was raised in Phelandaba, not Pelandaba as it were. My schooling was in Bulawayo and furthered my secondary grades at a mission school called Gloag High. I was and am still inspired by the peripheral placement of our people since colonialism until this day. It is such marginalisation, strife and the feeling of being lost that causes me to want to be better and join hands with those of a like-mind to liberate the wailing souls we carry in this modern “HOUSE OF HUNGER” as Marechera plainly put it out. So I am inspired by the ray of hope outside that house.
Richard Mahomva: When I got to university, I found out that African discourses were not well appreciated in the study of social-science and humanities critical theory. Therefore, l took it upon myself to publish a book that will seal the vacuum and contribute to the overall body of knowledge as far as the triumph of our idealism as a people are concerned. Moreover I am looking forward to be an authority in African identity trends in the academia.
Gilmore Tee: Talking about authority how has the book impacted society from when it was launched?
Richard Mahomva: My University, Midlands State University has shown much appreciation to it. There have been opportunities of getting it republished in the USA for a university readership and it has been reviewed in various academic fora.
Gilmore Tee: You recently published a second book as a follow up and what’s the scope?
Richard Mahomva: By publishing am sure you are referring to books that have come out of the Leaders for Africa Network- LAN Readers stable? If that is the case, Yes! I have published a lecturer at the Midlands State University (MSU) writing on the nationalist evolution in Zimbabwe. We have also published the National Arts Merit Awards nominated Shards by Cynthia Marangwanda. Currently I am co-editing a thick volume reviewing Zimbabwe’s political landscape and this one is titled “The Post-1980 Chimurengas’ Explained.” It will be out soon.
Richard Mahomva: I believe in engagement, I strongly acknowledge that alone l can’t go far. I believe you and I have work and when we are idle nothing moves. So work is my escapism not alcohol or anything.
Gilmore Tee: Is there space for Young Leaders in Africa as a whole?
Richard Mahomva: There is vast space for situation changers in any given context. In the early 20th century we had Garvey. Then with the cascade of the revolution to the motherland we had our own Nkrumahs, Nyereres and Nkomos, so it’s a matter of time this generation’s icons are in the making to quote Haile Selassie, “Africa awaits its creators to those home and abroad.”
Gilmore Tee: Do we have African Leaders that we are proud of and can look up to?
Richard Mahomva: Yes we do have, one particular example of an outstanding leader is Thabo Mbeki and his ideas of African renaissance. I have huge amounts of respect towards him.
Gilmore Tee: What is your take on Africa being a “doomed” continent?
Richard Mahomva: Africa is a doomed continent owing to Western development at the expense of our under-development. However after a negotiated pathway towards Post-colonialism, Africa’s new source of hope, the uhuru torch bearers became a prototype of the past oppressor, craft illiteracy being their additional governance disadvantage. So Africa’s doom is way older and contemporary than her current inhabitants, you and i.
Gilmore Tee: In your opinion, are there enough acknowledgements on African achievers?
Richard Mahomva: Let us not cite examples from afar, Strive Masiyiwa is an example of how genius is viewed as competition. In Zimbabwe, the incredible Marechera was seen as a mad man just like Fela Kuti in Nigeria. We have great economists, but they are not consulted in determining the economy. The army decides the economies of many countries in the continent.
Gilmore Tee: Besides being recognised outside, is Africa acknowledging and celebrating its own?
Richard Mahomva: We celebrate you when you die; it took the Late Vice President of Zimbabwe, Joshua Nkomo to die so that he could become Father Zimbabwe. So we don’t celebrate our own. Nelson Mandela is celebrated by the West.
Gilmore Tee: In your own capacity, how have you changed society’s perspective of allowing youths to take charge?
Richard Mahomva: I founded a Youth – centered think-tank called Leaders for Africa Network. We encourage research and youth networking to tackle contemporary issues on African renaissance.
Gilmore Tee: You have 2 books down the lane, where to from here?
Gilmore Tee: Africa is …
Richard Mahomva: … a home you and I have a task to beautify. Let’s tide her up.
The beauty of this interview is the highlights on how we ought to acknowledge those that have paved way for us and expect young Africans to take the rod forward. Lest we forget, Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta, Sierra Leonean I. T. A. Wallace-Johnson, Kwame Nkrumah, Tanzanian, President Julius Nyerere, Zimbabwe’s Joshua Nkomo, as well as Amy Ashwood Garvey (Marcus Garvey’s first wife). The idea that people of African descent have common interests and should be unified, will allow growth in every capacity.
Picture Credit: Richard Mahomva | Google
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