June 16, 2020   |   by admin

In his famous “I am an African,” speech, which he delivered at the adoption of the The Republic of South Africa Constitution Bill in , Thabo Mbeki seeks to. Thabo Mbeki’s I Am An African speech was echoed in night vigils, In poetry and history, former president Mbeki dared to tell Africans that we. Nope, it’s not former South African’s president Thabo Mbeki’s most memorable speech. It is in actuality the beginning of an iconic speech in.

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I am an African, and I set my pride in my race over against a hostile public opinion. Men have tried to compare races on the basis of some equality. In all the works of nature, equality, if by it we mean identity, is an impossible dream! You will find no two afrcan alike.

“I am an African” an iconic speech by a former president of the ANC

The scientists tell us there are no two cells, no two atoms, identical. Nature has bestowed upon each a peculiar individuality, an exclusive patent from the great giants of the forest to the tenderest blade. Catch in your hand, if you please, bu gentle flakes of snow. Each is a perfect gem, a new creation; it shines in its own glory — a work of art different from all of its aerial companions. Man, the crowning achievement of nature, defies analysis. He is a mystery through all ages and for all time.

“I am an African” by Thabo Mbeki, South African President. | The African Way

The races of mankind are composed of free and unique individuals. An attempt to compare them on the basis of equality can never be finally satisfactory. My thesis stands on this truth; time has proved it. In all races, genius is like a spark, which, concealed in the bosom of mbwki flint, bursts forth at the summoning stroke.

It may arise anywhere and in any race. I would ask you not to compare Africa to Europe or to any other continent. I make this request not from any fear that such comparison might bring humiliation upon Africa.

The reason I have stated,-a common standard is impossible! Come with me to the ancient capital of Egypt, Thebes, the city of one hundred gates. The grandeur of its venerable ruins and the gigantic proportions of its architecture reduce to insignificance the boasted monuments of sm nations. The pyramids of Egypt are structures to which the world presents nothing comparable.

The mighty monuments seem to look with disdain on every other work of human art and to vie with nature herself. All the glory of Egypt belongs to Africa and tyabo people. These monuments are the indestructible memorials of their great and original genius.

I could have spoken of the pyramids of Ethiopia, which, though inferior in size to those of Egypt, far surpass them in architectural beauty; their sepulchres which evince the highest purity of taste, and of many prehistoric ruins in other parts of Africa. In such ruins Africa is like the golden sun, that, afrrican sunk beneath the western horizon, still plays upon the world which he sustained and enlightened in his career.

He will tell of a race whose onward tide was often swelled with tears, but in whose heart bondage has not quenched the fire of former years. Calhoun, I believe, was the most philosophical of all the slaveholders. He said once that if he could find a black man who could understand the Greek syntax, he would then consider their race human, and his o toward enslaving them would therefore change.


What might have been the sensation kindled by the Greek syntax in the mind of the famous Southerner, I have so far been unable to discover; but oh, I envy the moment that was lost! And woe africwn the tongues that refused to tell the truth! There are many other Africans who have shown marks of genius and high character sufficient to redeem their race from the charges which I am now considering. Man knows his home now in a sense never known aj.

Many great aan holy men have evinced a passion for the day you are now witnessing mbekii prophetic vision shot through many unborn centuries to this very hour. Science has searched out the deep things of nature, surprised the secrets of the most distant stars, disentombed the memorials of everlasting hills, taught the lightning to speak, the vapors to toil and the winds to worship-spanned the sweeping rivers, tunneled the longest mountain range-made the world a vast j gallery, and has brought foreign nations into one civilized family.

This all-powerful contact says even to the most backward race, you cannot remain where you are, you cannot fall back, you must advance! A great century has come upon us. No race possessing the inherent capacity to survive can resist and remain unaffected by this influence of contact and intercourse, the backward with the advanced.

This influence constitutes the very essence of efficient progress and of civilization. From these heights of the twentieth century I again ask you thao cast your eyes south of the Desert of Sahara.

I Am an African – Wikipedia

If you could go with me to the oppressed Congos and ask, What does it mean, that now, for liberty, piem fight like men and die like martyrs; if you would go with me to Bechuanaland, face their council of headmen and ask what motives caused them recently to decree so emphatically that alcoholic drinks shall not enter their country — visit their king, Khama, ask for what cause he leaves the gold and ivory palace of his ancestors, its mountain strongholds and all its august ceremony, to wander daily from village to village through all his kingdom, without a guard or any decoration of his rank — a preacher of industry and education, and an apostle of the new order of things; if you would ask Menelik what means this that Abyssinia is now looking across the ocean — oh, if you could read the letters that come to us from Zululand — you too would be convinced that atrican elevation of the African race is evidently a part of the new order of things that belong to this new and powerful period.

The African already recognizes his anomalous position and desires a change. The brighter day is rising upon Africa. Already I seem to see her chains dissolved, her desert plains red with harvest, her Abyssinia and her Zululand the seats of science and religion, reflecting the glory of the rising sun from the spires of their churches and universities. Her Congo and her Gambia whitened with commerce, her crowded cities poej forth the hum of business, and all her sons employed in advancing the victories of peace-greater and more abiding than the spoils of war.


By this term regeneration I wish to be understood to mean the entrance into a new life, embracing the diverse phases of a higher, complex existence. The basic factor which assures their regeneration resides in the awakened race-consciousness. This gives them a clear perception a, their elemental needs and of their undeveloped powers. It therefore must lead them to the attainment of that higher and advanced standard of life.

The African people, although not a strictly homogeneous race, possess a common fundamental sentiment which is everywhere manifest, crystallizing itself into one common afriacn idea. Conflicts and strife are rapidly disappearing before the fusing force of this enlightened perception of the true intertribal relation, which relation should subsist among a people with a common destiny.

Agencies of a social, economic and religious advance tell of a new spirit which, acting as a leavening ferment, shall raise the anxious and aspiring mass to the level of their ancient glory. He has refused to camp forever on the borders of the industrial world; having learned that knowledge is power, he is educating his children.

You find them in Edinburgh, in Cambridge, and in the great schools of Germany. These return to their country like arrows, to drive darkness from the land.

I hold that his industrial and educational initiative, and his untiring devotion to these activities, must be regarded as positive evidences of this process of his regeneration. The regeneration of Africa means that a new and unique civilization is soon to be added to the world.

The African is not a proletarian in the world of science and art. He has precious creations of his own, of ivory, of copper and of gold, fine, plated willow-ware and weapons of superior workmanship.

Civilization resembles an organic being in its development-it is born, it perishes, and it can propagate itself. More particularly, it resembles a plant, it takes root in the teeming earth, and when the seeds fall in other soils new varieties sprout up. The most qn departure of this new civilization is that it shall be thoroughly spiritual and humanistic -indeed a regeneration moral and eternal!

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“I am an African” by Thabo Mbeki, South African President.

Ladies and gentlemen, the day of great exploring expeditions in Africa is over! See the triumph of human genius to-day! Yes, the regeneration of Africa belongs to this new and powerful period!

Like some great century plant that shall bloom In ages hence, we watch thee; in our dream See in thy swamps the Prospero of our stream; Thy mbrki unlocked, where knowledge in her tomb Hath lain innumerable years in gloom. Then shalt thou, walking with that morning gleam, Shine as thy sister lands with equal beam.

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