The New African Movement which stretched over a century from about 1862 (Tiyo Soga) to 1960 (Ezekiel Mphahlele) consisted of writers, political and religious leaders, artists, teachers, scientists who called themselves New Africans, specifically New African intellectuals, to distinguish themselves from the Old Africans since they were engaged with creating knowledge of modernity (new ideas, new perspectives, new objectives, new formulations) rather than consolation and satisfaction in the old ways of traditional societies.
It was Pixley ka Isaka Seme (1880-1951) who invented the idea and concept of the New African Movement with his great manifesto of 1906 (“Regeneration of Africa”, Journal of African Society, vol. 5, 1905-1906, pp. 404-408) which pronounced the historical necessity of creating and forging of a complex “New African modernity” whose central nature would be liberation and decolonization by challenging, contesting and decentralizing the hegemonic form of “European modernity” that was occupying the cultural geography and the social topography of the territory that was four years later to be known as the Union of South Africa.
The African National Congress was the political practice of the New African Movement, and likewise, the New African Movement was the intellectual and cultural expression of the African National Congress. However, there were other New African intellectuals, political and religious leaders who belonged to the latter intellectual movement but aligned themselves with different political organizations.
In this highly laudable exposition . . . Ntongela Masilela . . . develops a thesis on modernity. No other South African intellectual has ever undertaken this task . . . pursuing with a passionate sense of purpose . . . a set of ideas in search of a larger philosophical concept.
—Ezekiel Mphahlele (1919-2008), author of Down Second Avenue, The African Image, Voices in the Whirlwind and Other Essays, and other books.
[A] Masterpiece and great research.
—Mazisi Kunene (1930-2006), author of Shaka Emperor The Great, Anthem of the Decades, Zulu Poems, The Ancestors & the Sacred Mountain, and seven Zulu anthologies published in South Africa.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
NTONGELA MASILELA is a South African scholar and intellectual who presently resides in Bang Na, Bangkok, Thailand. He has taught at various universities in different parts of the world: University of Nairobi in Kenya; University of Lodz in Poland; Summer Academy of Dance in Arezzo, Italy; University of Koblenz-Landau in Germany; University of California in Irvine (UCI); University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA); and Pitzer College in Claremont, California.
History, Politics, Literature/AFRICA