2010 Marks the 50th anniversary of Independence in 17 African nations, setting the stage for Africa as a continent to look deep within our history, to wake up & to make this decade Africa’s decade of fulfilling the change that was to come with independence. There was something in the air in 1960, a leap year where many in the continent of African leaped into their independence as British Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan, stood in independent Accra, Gold Coast (modern day Ghana) on January 10, 1960 & declared “The wind of change is blowing through this continent. Whether we like it or not, this growth of national consciousness is a political fact.“.
1960 was also a time when America was experiencing its own wind of change, as an Irish Catholic named John F. Kennedy announced on January 2nd that he would be running for president of the USA & subsequently went on to win the presidency on Novemeber 8, 1960, becoming the youngest man to be elected as president of the USA , the first & only Catholic & the first Irish-American, something that most Americans at that time thought could not be done. The nation at the time was broken, divided & knew that they needed & had to accept change. The 1960’s also heralded in the wind of change toward the Black civil rights movement when four black students held a sit in at a segregated Woolworth’s lunch counter on February 1st in Greensboro, North Carolina, paving the way for many more nonviloent protests against segregation resulting in the original four protestors sitting down at the Woolworth counter five months later on July 25,1960, becoming the first Black people to be served lunch at a Woolworth counter. 1960 was also the year after the victory of the Cuban Revolution led by Che Guevera & Fidel Castro when Castro began to nationalize all national & foreign property & businesses in a new socialist government seeking to end class & economic disparity by sharing the wealth amongst all of its citizens while shunning western democracy & capitalism. 2010 also marks the 50th anniversary of the Great Chilean Earthquake on May 2, 1960 which is to date the most powerful earthquake ever recorded, rating 9.5 & resulting in a tsunami. Today on February 27, 2010, a magnitude 8.8 earthquake, the strongest quake in South America since the 1960 great Chilean earthquake has hit Chile with the whole world sending out prayers & hope that a tsunami will not ensue as the wind of change continues.
There is just something about 2010 in its mimicry & 50th anniversary of certain historical events worldwide, which brought about significantly historical changes in the 1960’s that seem to be resurrecting & forcing a new tide of change in this new decade. Whether planned by mortal man or not, I don’t think there is any coincidence in the fact that the World Cup (Africa’s sport) will be held on African soil for the first time in football’s professional westernized history at a time when all eyes are on Africa, a time when a large majority of the continent will be celebrating a half century of independence, a time when many of the most influential African players are leading the charge in western football clubs with relentless racism, a time when many of the world’s greatest players will be returning home to play for their birth & ancestral nations & a time when it is realistically possible for an African country to win the world cup on African soil. There is an erupting wind of change with new found freedoms in the world sparked in Africa & being pushed by yet another symbolic election for change with a new mindset & attitude toward the world in America where its citizens in their frustration of being tired of being sick & tired will determine the direction of the nation.
Ironically 2010 marks the 53rd anniversary of Independence of the African nation that started the wind of change toward independence in Africa with a dream of seeking independence for the entire continent consisting of 53 nations. Although Ghana became the first sub-Saharan Africa nation to attain Independence on March 6 1957, July 1st 1960 actually marked the day when Ghana became a republic asserting its full rights of autonomy with Dr. Kwame Nkrumah as its first President & Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom ceasing her reign as the head of state. With this newly found freedom, autonomy & financial reparations from the United Kingdom, Dr. Nkrumah set out to create the United States of Africa, where all 53 African nations would gain their autonomy from their colonizers toward a goal of economic freedom & a vision of empowerment fortified in Pan-Africanism , with the Black star nation leading the march & setting the standard through leadership & financial assistance. Leading the charge with Dr. Nkrumah were fellow Pan-Africanist Patrice Émery Lumumba, Sekou Toure & Jomo Kenyatta, perhaps the most feared African leaders in the eyes of their colonizers. in hopes of symbolically fulfilling Dr. Nkrumah’s dream of uniting the 53 nations of Africa let’s look “Forward Ever, Backward Never” with hope that Africa’s unity on African soil does not start & end at the World Cup in South Africa.
The 17 African Nations who will be celebrating their 50th anniversary of Independence: