Overcoming Africa’s North-South Divide

The late President Mobutu Sese Seko of former Zaire once declared that the North African countries, which pride themselves on their Arabic descent, should be excluded from the then Organization of African Unity. Mobutu’s rule was, of course, deeply flawed, but he was not alone within the pan-African movement in such thinking. The antagonism between the blacks of sub-Saharan Africa and the inhabitants of the continent’s north remains a reality that impedes the prospect of any union between them.

Northern hostility, separatism, and racism toward the southerners are at the center of this split. However, in our current era of political correctness, outright separation between the north and the south remains unmentionable.

In declaring that Egypt was an Arab republic, President Gamel Abdel Nasser was falsifying history, erasing 3000 years of a culture neatly intertwined with black Africa. Indeed, for nearly three centuries, from 950 to 663 BC, black pharaohs and queens such as Tii from the “land of Kush” – today’s black Sudan – ruled Egypt. More grotesquely, when the Americans decided to finance a film on the life of Anwar Sadat, the Egyptians objected because the actor chosen to play Sadat was black.

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