Professor of Sociology at Essex County College, New Jersey, United States of America (US), Dr. Akil Kokayi Khalfani, has dismissed the pervasive notion that corruption is in the African blood, stressing that there are concepts that testify to the fact that this is a false depiction of the true African nature.
Dr. Khalfani, who is the Director of the Africana Institute at the College, listed the concepts that show the African spirit as far above board as Maat, Ubuntu, Iwa Pele, Nguzo Saba and Medew Nefer.
A Pan-Africanist, Dr. Khalfani said that while Maat (an ancient Kemetic or Egyptian concept) embodies seven precepts: truth, justice, righteousness, harmony, balance, reciprocity, and order; Ubuntu (South Africa) epitomises a consciousness of harmony and reciprocity. “We are, therefore, I am. I am, therefore, we are.”
Dr. Khalfani, who ran a vigorous campaign for election to the U.S. House to represent New Jersey’s 10th Congressional District in the November 2020 general election, noted further that the concept of Iwa Pele (from the Yoruba language) is a statement of good character, that the Nguzo Saba (Swahili term for an African American holiday) represents seven principles of African community and selfhood, while Medew Nefer (Kemetic) encompasses Divine speech, another connection to the idea of good character.
He said that given these characteristics, it was, therefore wrong to ascribe corruption to Africans, insisting that what was plaguing the continent was a consequence of direct or indirect European or other external influence or intervention, often masked as providing assistance. The people who argue that all Africans are corrupt, he insisted, focus on those who have fallen short of these ideals and not the systems of generational trauma, poverty and domination influenced by them.
According to him, “we need to practice Sankofa and rebuild on all of these traditional African concepts. This is not utopian or idealistic. This is a self reflection as a people. We must be introspective and grounded in the African spirit.”
He stressed that Africans must not continue to see European standards as the ideal, noting that much European acquired knowledge was gained in Africa. “In fact, many of their greats studied in Africa for decades. They have used our powerful traditions against us and we have been susceptible to these divisive attacks, even furthering their efforts.”
Dr. Khalfani said that George GM James’ book called “Stolen Legacy” documents much of this, insisting that “there are additional examples by Marimba Ani, W.E.B. Du Bois, Chancellor Williams, Cheik Anta Diop, and others,” pointing out that “we have our own standards to live by and where some individuals have fallen short of these ideals is where we take a different path built on a Pan Africanist foundation to redirect our energy and people to uplift Africa and her diaspora around the globe.”