The event will take place from 17-20 August 2021 @ 11.30 Jamaica Time
Purpose:This virtual indaba is organized to honour the memory and legacy of PanAfricanist Marcus Mosiah Garvey and to reflect on his teachings and vision for a recreated Africa, that is the proud united home for African people wherever they happen to be. The get-to-gether aims at inspiring Africans to rethink and reposition Africa and Africans as an equal and respected member of the human family.
The Context: By way of background, Jamaica and South West Africa (now Namibia after independence in 1990) have had a long, brotherly and progressive relationship. It all started in the early 1920s when the consciousness of Marcus Mosiah Garvey, an African born in Jamaica was captured by the plight, suppression and the largely unnoticed struggle of the black population in South Africa and South West Africa. This lead him to establish branches of the UNIA/ACL, first in Lüderitz, then Windhoek and Walvis Bay , the prominent centres for international trading in Namibia.
Fast forwarding to 1990, Jamaica was clearly among the most visible frontline countries in the diaspora that was absorbed in the liberation struggle and in the advocation in the UN and other international fora of Namibia’s plight under the wretched apartheid system of South Africa. Jamaica’s presence in Namibia’s pre-independent preparations, through the UN and directly, was equally prominent. In consequence, Jamaica became one of the few, if not the first country to welcome Namibia, signed MOU of deeper cooperation, and opened its borders, free of visa to Namibians to live, study and work.
Relationship and its Progression: In appreciation, the Namibian President, Dr Hage Geingob in July, 2017 hosted Prime Minister Andrew Holness as the first Head of State or Government, from the Caribbean. During the occasion, Namibia and Jamaica renewed and extended the Cooperation agreement and among things, officiated at the renaming of a prominent street in the Capital city of Windhoek the honour of the Rt Excellent Dr Marcus Garvey. The PM’s very productive week-long visit was followed up in 2018 by a delegation lead by Senator Williams, Mayor of the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation who signed, among other things, a City-to City Twinning agreement and an MOU of cooperation.
A delegation to the KSAMC from Windhoek Municipality lead by the Mayor, Dr Job Amupanda is scheduled for mid September, 2021, during which time there will be an assessment of progress made on the MOU and adjustments made where necessary to improve and strengthen economic cooperation and relations
Garvey’s Lessons and Influence: This 134th Birthday of the Late Marcus Garvey is fitting occasion for our Continental and Diaspora celebration of this PanAfrican Legend. And we are fortunate to have the presence of Garvey’s biological son, Hon Dr Julius Garvey and H.E. Dr Sam Nujoma, Garvey’s spiritual son who literally translated translated into action Garvey’s lectures and vision when he became Namibia’s first and 3-term President. Dr Nujoma is alive, and very active as ordinary citizen No 1. He will be sharing is memory of Garvey and the inspiration and wisdom which made him not only loved but an effective and respected national, regional and Continental leader.
The Theme for the 134th Birthday Commemoration event is African Unity – the Spinal Chord. The spine and chord are reminders of what link the upper and lower body and the Notochord holds the spine and gives it its functionality. The chord being the symbolism of Africa’s values, traditions, the culture, music, rhythm and spirit of community and Ubuntu hold everything in place and gives the body its functionality. If the spine is weak, the body is paralyzed is unable to stand up the pressures that will come up. The chord is a reminder of our agility and resilience as a people and of our distinct commitment to communal and community improvement as distinct from individualism and materialism.
The Commemoration Event: The first day of the virtual symposium August 17, is devoted to Garvey himself, reflecting on what he stood for and his vision for a United Africa that is prosperous and self-reliant. Some 10 international speakers of renown from the Continent and the Diaspora will share their perspectives. This first session will be followed by a multidisciplinary panel of experts discussants to contemplate the implications for all of us who share Garvey’s vision of a United and vibrant Africa. The following 3 days (18-20August) will have speakers on specific aspects that Garvey emphasized in lectures, books and practice of what a prosperous, and Inclusive Africa should embrace through good leadership, governance and economics, education, science and technology, vocational and entrepreneurial skills for innovation, effective value added production and strategic trade and the restoration of African’s sovereignty, dignity, pride and belief in ourselves, and our rich legacy and future.
The Bottomline: At the end of the Session on Friday, a table of at least 4 resolutions with goals and targets will be developed and tabled. It is proposed that we transmit to the secretariats of the AU six regions and copied to the Heads of State and Governments in all Regions and the Caribbean for their appropriate decision and action. These resolutions will be drawn from the each of the sessions. More immediately, a book will be produced to reflect and capture for posterity, the views, remarks and the collective wisdom shared at the symposium.