#PAC70 off to a ‘touchy’ start

It was a night of discussions that cut too close to the bone of controversy, as a host of black panellists at Manchester Metropolitan University chaired the 70th anniversary of the 1945 Pan African Congress (#PAC70).

The panel included the ever-passionate and animated School Psychologist Dr Umar Johnson, Clinical Director Rameri Reshkhi Moukam, Literary activist and Editor Kadija George and Professor of History of Africa Hakim Adi.

This was the opening night of the #PAC70 weekend – Africa in the World. International guest speakers are expected to converge in Manchester for workshops, performances and interactive discussions on contemporary issues faced by the black community. Topics include #BlackLivesMatter, Neo-Colonialism, Economics and Women in the struggle. The latter, in particular, is what brought on disgruntled voices from the audience and on the panel.

It was a structured night that saw a succession of short films with students from Manchester answering questions: Who are we? Where do we come from? Where are we now? Where are we going? This was the #PAC70’s Youth Question Time.

Things got slightly heated when a young lady in the audience posed a question to Dr Umar Johnson about black feminism. Following Dr Umar Johnson’s argument for separating Black feminism from white feminism, “They [white people] will only help you in their struggle against the white man. They gain from the numerical benefits of having you. Beyond that, they do not care about your struggle, so we need to realise that we are not fighting the same fight”, Dr Johnson said.

When questioned by a member of the youth on his stance on feminism, Dr Johnson reiterated his point to the woman, before citing “do not get emotional; let’s stay logical here”. Naturally, the audience’s energy dipped and more asked to speak to other panellists as Dr Johnson was deemed, as one member said, “too passionate”.

The conference continues in various other venues over the weekend with guests including hip-hop artist and poet Akala and many more. The movement remains: to celebrate the monumental event in history of the liberation of Africa and the African Diaspora.

TNT will update you as the events develop.

TNT News Yasin Chinembiri

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