The closing day of the Pan African Conference weekend (#PAC70) held in Manchester, saw a collection of “rich presentations” which addressed sensitive issues and dispelled myths in the black community.
With speakers on the bill including British journalist and poet Akala, author Sai Murray, Editor Kadija George and race relations activist and politician Lee Jasper, the day sealed what some attendees concluded as a “productive weekend of progressive discourse”.
The room was teeming with such anticipation that you’d think a concert was due to ensue. Speaking on education – in particular racism within education – Akala came on and highlighted that teachers tend not to share the same experience as the black youth they teach.
On a different note, Kadija spoke about the importance of women and the Pan African Conference’s role, whilst Murray encapsulated the need for climate change and justice.
Making reference to his own personal experience, 30-year-old Akala made an organic and grounded speech citing that teachers tend to perpetuate the stereotypes of young black males because they do not understand the youth nor have walked in their shoes. The poet later summed up that the gap between education and black youth.
He also outlined that “nobody is beyond criticism. There is no point revering Marcus Garvey and Malcom X as if they were gods because they were not. They didn’t get everything right. We should stop romanticising Africa and slavery”.
Expanding on the latter point, the poet later told TNT that “There is a reality on the ground in Africa. There are men from Xhosa who don’t like men that are Zulu, and that goes back 400 years. To expect them to adopt this ‘one love, we’re all black’ notion is a bit naive and unrealistic”.
When asked on the success of the entire conference, the event’s manager Colette Williams told TNT that, “despite all the obstacles to bring this together, there have been numerous positive elements to take from this. Fractions of people from different backgrounds attended; traditionalists, educationalists, young and old. There were also those who didn’t really know about #PAC70, or why we commemorate the most significant congress in our history”
“What’s encouraging and satisfying to see is the appetite and thirst demonstrated by the young people here. They know things need to change; and they are looking”.
TNT News Yasin Chinembiri