Ademola Araoye. 2021. The Ghettos of Pan-Africanism. Foreword by Essop Pahad. Austin, Texas: Pan-African University Press (PAUP). i–xv, 238 pp., paperback. Price not stated. ISBN: 978-1-943533-53-4.
Professor Ademola Araoyes’s The Ghettos of Pan-Africanism benefits tremendously from contributions from a foreword written by Essop Pahad, a distinguished retired South African politician as well as an essay, sub-titled “In Defense of Pan-Africanism” (pp. 1–4), which is contributed to the book by the Nigeria-born distinguished History Professor Toyin Falola, who occupies University of Texas at Austin’s Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities.
South African Presidency’s former Minister Pahad, points out how his search for academics to write for his Pan-African quarterly led him to Nigeria-born Professor Araoye. Among several details, he did point out:
I was most fortunate to make contact with Ademola Araoye, who was just completing his work for the UN in Liberia. Ademola became a prolific contributor whose articles demanded true emancipation of black humanity, which required the dismantling of the current construction of ‘Africa’, which he describes as no more than 56 little, mostly unviable, enclaves. (Foreword, p. xiii).
In his foreword, Pahad provides pieces of very important facts; for example, he informed his readers: “The first Pan-African Conference [Congress] was held in Paris in 1919, and up to 1945, five such conferences [congresses] were held.’ (p. xiv). Touching directly on The Ghettos of Pan-Africanism, Pahad informed readers of the book: “This book fires a salvo that is necessary as part of the continued debate on where Africa is headed and how best to get to this destination.” (p. xv).
In his defense of Pan-Africanism, Professor Falola saw it (Pan-African) as an ideological movement “and perhaps, as a philosophy, [that] has existed since the 19th century to strengthen the bond and solidarise Africans both within the continent and the diaspora”, (p. 1). Paying a glowing tribute to Ghana’s late President Kwame Nkrumah for re-lighting the torch of Pan-Africanism upon the former Gold Coast attaining its independence from the United Kingdom to become Ghana. For Nkrumah’s political vision of Pan-Africanism, Professor Falola stressed:
His [Nkrumah’s] vision of Pan-Africanism quickly became the forefront of Pan-Africanism in Africa – the idea of a United States of Africa that advocates Africa’s regional integration and unity; what [Ademola] Araoye rightfully recognizes as political consolidation in his book, The Ghettos of Pan-Africanism. (p. 1).
Describing himself as a renowned Pan-Africanist, Professor Falola points out how projects like that of Araoye’s work trigger flusters of excitement in him, adding: “This work’s importance or contribution to knowledge is significant for being a worthy apology of Pan-Africanism – restating the place, position, and goals of Pan-Africanism in an era where misconstruction, misinformation, and deflection have become the norm,” (p. 1). In further heaping praise on The Ghettos of Pan-Africanism, Professor Falola pointed out that “one inhibition identified in his [Araoye’s] work is that the proposal concept of Afro-continentalism seemingly shut the door of Africanism on its diaspora, something I, like several others, can relate to, albeit in its political implications,” (p. 3).
Apart from The Ghettos of Pan-Africanism’s acknowledgments (pp. vii–x); the foreword (pp. xiii–xv); “In Defense of Pan-Africanism” (pp. 1–4), readers of the book have been treated to 12 substantive chapters (pp. 5–230), and a very useful subject index (pp.231–238). Professor Araoye, who currently serves as Director of Abuja Leadership Center a TETFund Center of excellence in Public Governance and Leadership at the University of Abuja, Gwagwalada, FCT, unambiguously informs his readers that his book, The Ghettos of Pan-Africanism, “has its sources in the debilitating absurdities of a lived life at different levels as a black man; critically as a citizen of one and the largest of the mechanical political compartments of the depraved African universe and, secondly, s one unit item of a depreciated humanity in a hostile global universe,” (Acknowledgments, p. vii).
The Ghettos of Pan-Africanism is a very useful publication that can be utilized for several aspects of African Studies in general as well as African History and Politics in particular in undergraduate and graduate (or postgraduate) classrooms. Also, researchers of Pan-Africanism should find it to be a very essential research tool.