Africans in Norway got together to commemorate Africa liberation day. The celebration which took the form of a dinner, symposium and live performance of a musical ensemble called Queendom was organized by the African Centre for Information and Development (ACID) in collaboration with Daru Salam Centre and Pan African Women’s Organization (PAWA). The theme for the day was; combating racism and enhancing peaceful co-existence in Norway.
There were speakers from different backgrounds and organizations. Mr. Akhenaton de Leon from Organization Against Public Discrimination (OMOD) said racism is not usually acknowledged in Norway, meaning Norwegians don’t accept that racism exists in the Nordic country. But according to him despite denials racism and discrimination are visible in various forms either by the police in carrying out their duties or in the job market. He shared a video showing a black immigrant being physically manhandled by the Norwegian police. Akhenaton lamented that diaspora Africans can only combat racism and public discrimination by organizing themselves and speaking up against it.
Mr. Kebba Secka of Daru Salaam Centre while speaking on lessons learned and the way forward for the liberation said African leaders need to respect democratic institutions in place. He said many of them instead of respecting these institutions manipulate them to strengthen their grip on power and perpetuate their reign. Mr. Kora Sallah of Gambians in Solidarity work, Stockholm spoke on the need to develop a master plan in the struggle against racism. Mr. Sallah said racism is being institutionalized and it has followed a trend that was well planned and programmed to annihilate the African race. He lamented the transportation of millions of Africans to Asia and the Americas in the days of slavery. “The fact that we are here in Europe is no coincidence, we are a defeated people from the richest continent on earth” he said. Mr. Sallah also reiterated that in the struggle against racism African people need to regain their consciousness and build institutions and organizations that are of a high standard.
Mr. Kofi Klu Executive commissioner, PANAFRIINDA, UK spoke on combating Afriphobia in Europe. He said African organizations in Europe should connect with those on the African continent. He also warned such organizations to be very cautious because the system is such that we are programmed to destroy ourselves. Other speakers included Christine Mungai of PAWA and Aisha Suleman of Development Fund, Oslo. They both spoke on women empowerment and how can women effectively collaborate with men in the struggle for a meaningful liberation. The occasion was graced by their excellences the Ambassador of South Africa and a representative of the Moroccan Embassy in Norway. Delicious African dishes were served and there was an interlude of music and poetry by the Queendom musical group. As the day wraps up one is tempted to ask Africa liberation day was commemorated but are we really liberated? The various speakers point to the fact that there is a lot that needs to be done and the way we carry out this struggle would determine how liberated we would be tomorrow. A Gambian woman in the struggle for liberation in the 1960s gave us a food for thought as chronicled by Raya Dunayevskaya in her book; women’s liberation and the dialectics of revolution “The struggle is to remove ourselves now from the conditions of slavery towards freedom. For this struggle we must display integrity. Otherwise, before we get ourselves out of slavery we would again be brought into another.”