The Fourth Steve Biko Annual Lecture given by Ngugi wa Thiong’o at
University of Cape Town, South Africa, 12th September 2003.
Consciousness and African Renaissance: South Africa in the Black Imagination
When Vasco da Gama set foot at the Cape in 1498, it was part of the general period of what has come to be known as the European renaissance, the founding moment of Capitalist modernity and Western bourgeois ascendancy in the world. It was also the beginnings of the wanton destruction of many city civilisations along the coasts of Africa, East Africa in particular. In 1994 Nelson Mandela as the first black president of the Republic of South Africa at a meeting of the OAU in Tunis recalls the destruction of Carthage by the generals of an earlier empire and says: “where South Africa appears on the agenda again, let it be because we want to discuss what its contribution shall be to the making of the new African renaissance. Let it be because we want to discuss what materials it will supply for the rebuilding of the African city of Carthage.”  Continue reading