According to ‘Google Images’, the front-figures of pan-African leadership are Kwame Nkrumah, Malcolm X, Steven Bantu Biko, Frantz Fanon, Wole Soyinka, Nelson Mandela, Muammar Gaddafi, Haile Selassie, George Padmore, Walter Rodney, Patrice Lumumba and Marcus Garvey.
This despite the fact that Google – thanks to its cookies (or something) – usually seems to know to include some feministic results in my searches. On this occasion it is crystal clear: the image of pan-Africanism according to Google is unquestionably male.
But, however salient Google is in shaping today’s knowledge, let’s not take it as an authority on the matter (nor the similar Wikipedia search that I did). And by the way, the matter in the article is the conspicuous absence of women in the pan-African discourse. So here is Dzodzi Tsikata, vice president of Africa’s premier, pan-African social science research organisation, the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA), writing in Feminist Africa. She says:
It is well known that women were active in the pan-African movement and in the anti-colonial struggle, that we made substantial contributions and faced many challenges working in male-dominated movements. We have been able to do this in spite of having to survive all the constraints of our male-dominated societies. We need to restore women – those on the continent as well as the better-known women of the African diaspora – to their rightful place in the pantheon of pan-African leaders.