THIS DAY IN HISTORY: 25th May 2009
5/25/2012 8:31:01 PM -
Today marks the third anniversary since the Pan Africanist organiser, Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem died unexpectedly in a car accident in Nairobi, Kenya.
That Taju, as he was fondly known, passed away on African Liberation Day will forever be a poignant reminder of his commitment and dedication to freedom, fairness and justice for ordinary African people.
Taju was born in Funtua, Katsina State, Nigeria on 6th January 1961. He was a man of many words which he shared on a regular basis through his weekly "Pan-African Postcards" that were published online in Pambuzuka News, and in several newspapers throughout Africa. A selection of his "Postcards" have been complied into a book "Speaking Truth to Power." Indeed my "This Day In History" posts are inspired by Taju, and another dedicated Pan Africanist writer, activist and colleague of Taju's, Olu Awoonor-Gordon.
Taju, like Olu, was also a man of action, he constantly reminded his fellow African academics and activists, "Don't agonise! Organise!" Taju used the various positions he held, which included General Secretary of the Pan-African Movement, Director of Justice Africa, Chair of the Pan African Development Education and Advocacy Programme, Chair of the International Governing Council of the Centre for Democracy and Development and Outreach Coordinator on the Millennium Development Goals in Africa, to promote his Pan Africanist passion which was very much grounded in improving things for ordinary people in towns and villages throughout Africa. His commitment to people based organisation led him to write in one postcard:
"It is now widely recognised that Pan-Africanism needs to leave the confines of conferences and executive mansions of our leaders and become part and parcel of all our lives, building from below upwards. A number of issues are clear. One, the heads of state want a union of states, while what we need is a union of peoples. If people are at the centre of the agenda many of the contradictions and anxieties the leaders are obsessed with can be confronted together instead of dealing with them individually."
Taju recognised, as many great sons and daughters of Africa before him, that Pan Africanism can only be achieved through political organisation at the level of the people. Thus, it remains the duty of those of us committed to continuing his legacy to take up and participate in the Pan Africanist struggle for freedom, fairness and justice for ordinary African people.
The following clip is one of several from a conference in memory of Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem.
"Always bear in mind that people are not fighting for ideas, for the things in anyone's head. They are fighting to win material benefits to live better and in peace, to see their lives go forward, to guarantee the future of their children." Amilcar Cabral