Cultivating Senegambia: A nation of thinkers


‘The challenge of our history 

is being undertaken’

There couldn’t have been a better time than this period of crises to undertake this urgent challenge of our history. But first, what is the challenge of our history? Fundamentally, the challenge of our history is to regain control of our own economic and political destiny to assure the present and subsequent generations of Africans a life of prosperity, dignity and happiness.


Before breaking new grounds (in addition to the grounds already tilted for us by the pioneers of African liberation) to plant new seeds for a revolutionary nation, we must take internal inventory of what’s in stock, so as to plant effectively. This time around, we will not “sow lion teeth and harvest fleas”. We will reap what we sow. 

We must begin from a position of preparedness, a resolute confidence of a people determined to win with an unwavering patience of a farmer experienced in the art and science of cultivating.

We are engaged in a process to erase the poisonous and ruinous ideas we have about ourselves in relation to the rest of the world. These ideas are deeply embedded in our BRAINS and daily reinforced by backward institutions of ignorance and superstitions.

Everything starts in the brain; it’s all in the mind. You can only think of things that come to mind. And it’s not by accident that nature positioned our brains in a skull and in an upright position. The brain is a creation for thinking, to process ideas, thoughts, feelings and most important, to ask questions: who, how, why, what, when and where? Deprived of its basic functions and paralyzed by FEAR; the brain adapts and surrender to ignorance. It is in this pit of ignorance that we must emerge from and reclaim our brains from the clutches of the oppressor. The attainment of freedom cannot coexist with ignorance.


‘The way you live determines how you think’

We must begin with history because everything and everyone has a history. First, the conditions of poverty relegated to Africa and African people are not normal by any stretch of the imagination. “God” has nothing to do with our misery and poverty. But in our heads, we accept it as something normal to see Africans in wretchedness. We must create the conditions for critical thinking by breaking with old ideas and backward traditions. The social consciousness of humanity is still at gutter level so much so that some of us have forgotten we have a brain. A conditioned life is not worth living and it’s through revolutionary insights and innovations that we can overturn our conditioned lives.

Undertaking this challenge of our history requires a profound understanding of the history of the world, which is deliberately excluded in the curriculum and syllabus taught in conventional schools let alone Qur’anic schools (dara). We must understand that it’s through these highly organised institutions that our ability to think critically is undermined and constantly suppressed to maintain the status quo.

After clearing the rubble off our path and exposed the deep rot in this system, we must begin to build alternative institutions to liberate our conditioned brains from the oppressive grip of backward traditions, blind faith religion and the mis–education system.


Overturning the conditioned colonial mind

The starting point to overturn this conditioning is to re-establish the historical fact that, there is no thought process foreign to Africa and Africans, be it dialectics, philosophy or psychology. Before thinking became a threat to the Greeks and other European ruling classes, punishable by drinking poison, Africans in ancient Khemet (Egypt) provided refuge for many renegade Greek philosophers. Therefore, this despicable behaviour of these neocolonial tyrants; their morbid fear of thinking, is nothing but learned behaviour from the imperialist oppressor nations.

Only a thinking mind can unlock and liberate historical knowledge from our conditioned colonial education and pave the revolutionary path of the present into a proud – future Africa. The thinking mind need not return to the past (dellu chosan) but move forward with the liberated knowledge of our past.

Only a thinking mind can conquer tribalism and reinforce our commonality. Tribalism, the most inflammatory and divisive social ill, second only to religion must be uprooted from our society. Equally, only a thinking mind can conquer blind faith and its consequences; the senseless and reactionary violence it breeds.

First, tribalism makes no biological sense; it is not a genetic expression as in blood type, but a social creation that is held hostage in the ‘lower brain’ via language (a medium of communication) to organise communities and effectively serve the needs of the people. Once released from the lower brain, tribalism will wither away and give way to a more revolutionary nation that will champion our collective interest as Africans.

Can any tribalist explain how he or she became a Wollof, Mandinka, Kikuyu or Bamileke other than speaking the language associated with the tribe?

Secondly, tribalism makes no philosophical sense because it betrays the rational principles of humans’ ability to rise above ignorance; the basis for the senseless violence manifested in tribal conflicts. Lastly, tribalism only seems to make political sense because of its potential exploits by the predatory politicians who subsist on tribal ignorance to maintain the status quo for their narrow selfish interests. Those who have nothing to offer us, always resort to mean – spirited ignorance to sabotage reasoning.

I agree with Cheick Anta Diop, that slavery re-tribalised Africa. If tribe is a common occurrence in human societies, why is it extinct in some societies, particularly European societies but continues to wreak havoc in enslaved and oppressed countries, particularly in Africa? Slavery united all of Europe and the United States of America for the rape, plunder and pillage against Africa and consequently dismembered Africa into  non –  viable ‘tribalist nations’.  Therefore, our freedom and liberation will never come to fruition when we continue to speak in 54 different African voices.

Only a thinking nation can see the benefits of unity and the eradication of the imaginary borders that separate us from each other. These neocolonial borders made us become afraid of each other but accommodating to the oppressor. Only a thinking mind can envision a Sene–Gambia and ultimately a united Africa. In the midst of all this madness for secession in Mali, Sudan and elsewhere, we dare to raise the flag for unity, the only future for Africa.

One Africa, one nation! Viva Sene–Gambia!


By Ousainou Mbenga