''When I won the Rhodes scholarship from Nigeria to study at Oxford University in 1990, an alarmed uncle exclaimed: ''That thing is dripping with blood. Cecil Rhodes was a bloody imperialist!'' My thoughts at the time were more practical: to get a good education at a world-class institution,'' writes Adekeye Adebajo.
Fifteen years ago, Kenyan political scientist Ali Mazrui described the relationship between the United States and the Third World as a ''dialogue of the deaf''. Mazrui noted that Americans are brilliant communicators but bad listeners. This view aptly highlights the difficulties the US faced in seeking to win support at the United Nations for its controversial invasion of Iraq in 2003.
The Live 8 campaign by Bob Geldof, the narcissistic fading rock star, ''to make poverty history'' was naively admirable but also somewhat disturbing to watch. Here was a dynamic individual who was helping to perpetuate the stereotype of the ''dark continent'' as a helpless place of poverty and disease which the white musical missionaries of a new age would help to overcome.
Western pundits have dominated the debate on United Nations reform, while African leaders have not focused attention on these crucial efforts. A group of civil society leaders from the continent tried to remedy this when we met in New York and thrashed out an African civil society response to the December 2004 report A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility.
The Kenyan political scientist, Ali Mazrui, was the intellectual father of the concept of Pax Africana in the 1960s. The idea is simple: Africans should, through their own efforts, consolidate, establish and enforce peace on their own continent. In the post-apartheid era, Pax Africana needs to be redefined to fit the needs of a new age, writes Adekeye Adebajo.
Rumours of a rift between Nigeria's Olusegun Obasanjo and South Africa's Thabo Mbeki have been much exaggerated. These reports were particularly widespread after the Commonwealth summit in Abuja last December and were picked up in the Mail & Guardian earlier this year. Adekeye Adebajo and Chris Landsberg comment.
The new chairperson of the African Union, Alpha Konare, must wield a strong broom and clear out the deadwood from his secretariat, recruit competent staff and establish accountable financial systems that could absorb and efficiently use large donations and grants from external funders.