On June 4, 2011, a group of young African scholars will meet at St Antony’s College, Oxford, under the theme “Pan-Africanism for a New Generation”. They will engage with other academics, activists and policy makers to identify pan-African solutions to the contemporary challenges of globalisation and social injustice on the continent.
The Oxford University Africa Society (Afrisoc) will spearhead this initiative at a time when the African continent has once again occupied global attention for good and bad reasons. In the Ivory Coast, the world witnessed an electoral dispute develop into a full-scale civil war. Many watched helplessly, as a rebel group transformed into a Republican Army displacing all civil institutions amid wanton destruction to property and loss of human lives. In Libya, young people asserted their right to participate in the economic and political processes of their country. This has provoked an irresponsible state response that has not only placed the country on the brink of collapse but also provided a breeding ground for unwanted foreign intrusion and pillage of the country’s resources. In the midst of all this chaos, the new generation of young Africans has not relented on its quest for freedom and justice. In Egypt and Tunisia, many young people stood up to decades of repression and abuse and achieved what misplaced foreign policies and naked external opportunism have failed to attain. The tenacity of the “new generation” of Africa has done much to prove to the world that authoritarian rule has no future and that the only effective system of government is one that is based on the sovereign will of the people.