African News

Historian disputes president Wade over concept of African Renaissance

By Kemo Cham
Cheikh Tidiane Gadio, the immediate former Foreign Minister and close ally of Senegal’s President Abdoulie Wade, has criticised the president’s recent remark attributing the idea of the African Renaissance to former South African President Thabo Mbeki.
While defending the establishment of his controversial monument in the face of unrelenting attack by religious leaders across the country, President Wade recently attributed the origin of the concept of African Renaissance to former President Thabo Mbeki. This apparently offended some concerned individuals, not least the former Senegalese Foreign Minister. As a historian, Mr Gadio feels history had been distorted by the president’s comment.
At a ceremony marking the centenary of an historic Senegalese figure, Alioune Diop, Gadio questioned the authenticity of the president’s remark attributing the authorship of the concept of African Renaissance to the former South African president.
“Assigning authorship of the concept of the African Renaissance to Thabo Mbeki is a serious historical error that is chilling,” he said.
Describing the situation as a voluntary forgetfulness, Gadio added, “The players are still there, and we allow ourselves to forget them voluntarily. The authorship of this concept comes up as Cheikh Anta Diop and Alioune Diop, who remain the true fathers of the African Renaissance. When we are told that in 1990 Thabo Mbeki spoke of the African Renaissance, we forget that it was in 1948 that Sheikh Anta Diop produced a text on this concept.”
Gadio stressed that “the concept of African renaissance is so serious that we should not reduce it to a statue or monument.

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