||This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. The specific problem is: Tone has a feel of original research; footnotes need to be integrated into the text. (May 2014)|
|Born||4 October 1949
|Alma mater||Wayne State University (1975)|
|Notable works||Africans and African Americans: Complex Relations – Prospects and Challenges (2009)
Africa 1960 – 1970: Chronicle and Analysis (2009)
Godfrey Mwakikagile (born 4 October 1949) is a prominent Tanzanian scholar, writer and specialist in African studies.
He was born in the town of Kigoma in western Tanganyika – what is now mainland Tanzania – on 4 October 1949 and was baptised Godfrey on Christmas Day, 25 December 1949, as a member of the Church Missionary Society (CMS) among whose supporters was Scottish explorer and missionary-doctor, David Livingstone, of the London Missionary Society.1
According to his autobiography, Godfrey Mwakikagile was born at Kilimani Hospital and lived with his parents in one of the government houses for government employees in Mwanga, on a street with the same name, in the town of Kigoma when his father worked as a medical assistant at the same hospital. He later moved to Ujiji with his parents where his sister Maria was born at a Roman Catholic hospital.
He was, according to his birth certificate, baptised by Reverend Frank McGorlick (from Victoria, Australia), a Scottish minister of the Church Missionary Society in Kigoma his parents belonged to. But he was brought up as a member of the Moravian Church at Kyimbila in Rungwe District in what was then the Southern Highlands Province in colonial Tanganyika, as he stated in his books, Life in Tanganyika in The Fifties and My Life as an African: Autobiographical Writings. The pastor of Kyimbila Moravian Church was his great uncle, Asegelile Mwankemwa, who was the younger brother of his maternal grandmother Tungapesyaga (Tunga); they were the only siblings.3 He was named Godfrey by his aunt, Isabella, one of his father's younger sisters.
His mother, Syabumi Mwambapa (her maiden name), was brought up by her uncle Asegelile Mwankemwa. She lived with him after her parents died. She was also brought up by her elder brother Johann Chonde Mwambapa, a teacher, who was thirteen years older than she was. She was the youngest in their family and lived with him until she got married. Johann Mwambapa was also the father of Brigadier-General Owen Rhodfrey Mwambapa who was the head of the Tanzania Military Academy, an army officers' training school, at Monduli.
Godfrey's father, Elijah Mwakikagile, attended Malangali Secondary School, one of the top schools in colonial Tanganyika. His classmates at Malangali, where he was head prefect, included Jeremiah Kasambala who became a cabinet member in the first independence cabinet under Prime Minister (later President) Julius Nyerere, and John Mwakangale who, during the struggle for independence in the 1950s, became one of the leaders of the independence movement in Tanganyika. Elijah's maternal uncle, Simon Mwaibanje who was the younger brother of his mother, paid for his education.
As Godfrey Mwakikagile stated in his autobiographical works, he moved to Rungwe District in 1955 with his parents when he was 5 years old after living in different parts of Tanganyika – Kigoma, Ujiji, Kilosa, Morogoro, and Mbeya – where his father worked as a medical assistant for the British colonial government.
In a country with an acute shortage of doctors, medical assistants played a critical role in the provision of vital medical services. Well-trained, they were, in many cases, a substitute for doctors during colonial rule and even after Tanganyika won independence. In fact, when Tanganyika won independence from Britain on 9 December 1961, it had only 12 doctors. As John Iliffe stated in his book, East African Doctors: A History of the Modern Profession (Cambridge University Press, 1998, p. 128): "Medical assistants, normally with three years of medical training, and often much practical experience, had become the core of colonial medical systems."
But they were few in colonial Tanganyika, a vast expanse of territory of about 365,000 square miles with millions of people to serve. According to John Illife, there were only about 300 medical assistants in January 1961, in the whole country, the same year Tanganyika won independence. Tanganyika had a population of 12 million during that time.
During German colonial rule, Amani Research Institute was world-renowned for its research in a number of areas including tropical medicine (for malaria and other vector-borne diseases among others), as well as biological and agricultural sciences and had highly trained scientists. It excelled in high-quality research and retained its international reputation under British rule after Germany lost its colony (Deutsch-Ostafrika – German East Africa – renamed Tanganyika) in World War I.
His father also worked in Handeni and then in Tanga before moving to Kigoma four months before Godfrey Mwakikagile was born. Coincidentally, it was also in what is now Tanga Region where Godfrey's paternal grandfather, Mwakikagile, died. Born and brought up in Mwaja, Kyela, in the Southern Highlands Province (now Mbeya Region), his grandfather went to work in Tanga and Muheza and worked there for a number of years. He died in 1937 and was buried at Power Station, Muheza, in the northern part of what was then known as the Coast Province.
Rungwe was the home district of Godfrey Mwakikagile's parents. Both were born and brought up in Rungwe District and were members of an ethnic group indigenous to that part of Tanzania.4
Rungwe District, ringed by misty blue mountains, is close to the border with Malawi and is located in the Great Rift Valley north of Lake Nyasa. And what is now Kyela District bordering Malawi was once a part of Rungwe District.
Godfrey Mwakikagile went to school in Tanzania and in the United States.
Tanganyika united with Zanzibar in 1964 to form Tanzania.
Godfrey Mwakikagile attended Kyimbila Primary School (up to Standard 4) near the town of Tukuyu and Mpuguso Middle School (up to Standard 8) in Rungwe District in Mbeya Region in the Southern Highlands; Songea Secondary School (up to Standard 12 or Form Four) near the town of Songea in Ruvuma Region, and Tambaza High School (up to Standard 14 or Form Six) in the nation's capital Dar es Salaam.5
After finishing high school in November 1970, he joined the National Service in January 1971, which was mandatory for all those who had completed secondary school, high school, and university. He underwent training, which included basic military training, at Ruvu National Service camp in the Coast Region. After that, he went to another national service camp in Bukoba on the shores of Lake Victoria in the North-West Region bordering Uganda. The region was later renamed Kagera Region. Ugandan military ruler, Idi Amin, attempted to annexe the region when he invaded Tanzania in October 1978.
Godfrey Mwakikagile once worked as a news reporter at the Standard, which was later renamed Daily News, and as an information officer at the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in Tanzania's capital Dar es Salaam before going to school in the United States in November 1972.6
He first joined the editorial staff of the Standard as a junior reporter when he was still in high school, in Form Five (Standard 13), in 1969.7
Coincidentally, his editor at the Daily News, Benjamin Mkapa, who also helped him to go to school in the United States, years later became president of Tanzania and served two five-year terms (1995–2005).8 He was the third president in the nation's history since the country won independence from Britain in 1961. Before then, Benjamin Mkapa served as Tanzania's minister of foreign affairs, among other ministerial posts, and as high commissioner to Nigeria and Canada, and as ambassador to the United States. He also served as press secretary to President Julius Nyerere and was later appointed minister of information and broadcasting before assuming other cabinet posts in the following years.
The president of Tanzania during that period, Julius Nyerere who led the country from 1961 to 1985, was the editor-in-chief of the Daily News. But his role was only ceremonial rather than functional.
It was just a coincidence that he went to Aquinas College where he ended up being taught by someone who had worked in Tanzania years before. He did not know anything about Professor Marin before then and met him at Aquinas College for the first time.
Professor Marin once worked as an economist for the government of Tanzania in Dar es Salaam in the late sixties and early seventies. He went to Tanzania in 1968 and served as an adviser to the government on capital mobilisation and utilisation. Before then, he worked as an economist for the United States federal government. He was appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson to serve on Wage and Price Control during the mid-sixties. President Johnson appointed Professor Kenneth Marin as a member of the White House Consumer Advisory Council. 11
In 1966, Professor Marin was a member of a US State Department evaluation team that was assigned to review various performances in the economic and political arena in six South American countries. 12
Years later, one of his students, Godfrey Mwakikagile, also ended up writing about economics, among other subjects, mostly about Africa. And coincidentally, Mwakikagile's first book, Economic Development in Africa, was also about economics.13
Godfrey Mwakikagile came into prominence in Tanzania and elsewhere after he wrote a major book about Julius Nyerere not long after the former Tanzanian president died.14
He is considered by many people, including those who have reviewed his books about President Nyerere in different newspapers, magazines and academic journals in a number of countries, to be an authority on Nyerere and one of his most prominent biographers.15
One scholar who cited Godfrey Mwakikagile as an authoritative source on President Nyerere was Professor David Simon, a specialist in development studies at the University of London and Director of the Centre for Development Areas Research at Royal Holloway College at the university. Professor Simon published excerpts from Godfrey Mwakikagile's book on Nyerere in his compiled study, Fifty Key Thinkers on Development, published in 2005.16
During that time and thereafter, Professor David Simon was also the editor of the scholarly Journal of Southern African Studies and was on the editorial staff of another academic publication, the Review of African Political Economy.
Godfrey Mwakikagile's works have been getting serious attention among many people including academics in many countries who have also reviewed some of his books in scholarly journals.
His first book, Economic Development in Africa, was published in 1999 and he has maintained a steady pace since then, writing books, as demonstrated by the number of titles he has on the market. He is one of Tanzania's most well-known authors and one of Africa's most prolific.
He has written more than 40 books (since 1999) mostly about Africa during the post-colonial period, and has been described as a political scientist although his works defy classification. He has written about history, politics, economics, as well as contemporary and international affairs from an African and Third World perspective and is known for such works as Nyerere and Africa: End of an Era, and Africa and the West.17
Both have been favourably reviewed in a number of publications including the highly influential West Africa magazine (founded in 1917 and based in London) which reviewed two of his books in the same year; a rare accomplishment in such a major publication.
The books were reviewed by West Africa magazine editor Kofi Akosah-Sarpong, a Ghanaian who also once was a visiting lecturer and scholar-in-residence at the University of Botswana. They were excellent reviews.
Godfrey Mwakikagile's book, Nyerere and Africa: End of an Era, his magnum opus and probably his most well-known title, was reviewed by West Africa magazine in 2002 three years after Nyerere died of leukaemia in October 1999 at the age of 77.18
It was also reviewed by a prominent Tanzanian journalist and political analyst, Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala of the Daily News, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in October 2002 and is seen as a comprehensive work, in scope and depth, on Nyerere.19
Others who have reviewed the book include Professor A.B. Assensoh, a Ghanaian teaching at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, in the United States. He reviewed the first edition of Nyerere and Africa: End of an Era in the African Studies Review, an academic journal of the African Studies Association, in 2003.
The same book was also reviewed by Professor Roger Southall of the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), formerly of Rhodes University, South Africa, in the bi-annual interdisciplinary publication, the Journal of Contemporary African Studies (Taylor & Francis Group), 22, No. 3, in 2004. Professor Southall was also the editor of the journal during that period.
The first edition of Nyerere and Africa: End of an Era was published in November 2002, and the second, an expanded edition, in January 2005. The third edition, also an expanded version, was published in November 2006. The fourth edition, also expanded, was published in December 2008. And the fifth edition was published in 2010.
The book has also been cited by a number of African leaders including South African Vice-President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka in one of her speeches about African leadership and development in which she quoted the author. 20
She was the main speaker at a conference of African leaders, diplomats and scholars at the University of the Western Cape in South Africa in September 2006 when she gave her speech.
Although his books have been able to get the attention of some African leaders, it is impossible to know if they have had any influence on any of them. But the mere fact that they are cited by them shows that he is taken seriously as an author, not only in Tanzania but in other African countries and elsewhere.
One of Godfrey Mwakikagile's books, Africa and the West, which is a sweeping survey of the continent before the advent of colonial rule and during the colonial era as well as after independence, was also reviewed by West Africa magazine in its edition of 21–27 January 2002.21
The book, which was published in 2000, has been described as an appeal to Africans to respect their cultures, values and traditions and take a firm stand against alien ideas which pollute African minds and undermine Africa. It is also a philosophical text used in a number of colleges and universities in the study of African identity, philosophy and history. It is also a strong condemnation of the conquest of Africa by the imperial powers.
West Africa magazine, in its January 2002 edition, also described Godfrey Mwakikagile as an author who articulates the position of African Renaissance thinkers.
But in spite of his passionate defence of Africa, past and present, Godfrey Mwakikagile is also highly critical of some Afrocentric scholars who propagate myths about Africa's past and even reinvent the past just to glorify the continent, claiming spectacular achievements in the precolonial era in some areas where there were hardly any or none; for example, in advanced science, technology and medicine. They also inflate achievements in some areas.
He contends that true scholarship requires rigorous intellectual discipline and entails objective enquiry and analysis of facts and evidence including admtting failures and shortcomings; a position he forcefully articulates in his books Africa and The West and Africa is in A Mess: What Went Wrong and What Should be Done, among other works.
It is a position that led one renowned Afrocentric Ghanaian political analyst and columnist, Francis Kwarteng, to describe Godfrey Mwakikagile as a "Eurocentric Africanist" in his article, "End of the Dilemma: The Tower of Babel," on GhanaWeb, 28 September 2013, in which he discussed the role and the question of race, religion, and ethnicity in Ghana's politics and, by extension, in a Pan-African context including the African diaspora; which is a wrong characterisation of Mwakikagile since all his works are written from a purely African, not a Eurocentric, perspective.
In his article, Francis Kwarteng also cited one of Godfrey Mwakikagile's books, Ethnic Politics in Kenya and Nigeria, in his analysis of the role of ethnicity in national politics in Africa:
"Wole Soyinka...rightly admits in Of Africa that if America, a racist country at that, can elect a person of African ancestry, a black man of Luo ethnicity, president, then, he sees no reason Kenya shouldn't learn from that—that precedent....Soyinka believes Kenya's democratic process must allow enough political space for the accommodation of ethnic diversification, so that qualified minorities can also partake in leadership positions, principally the presidency....But Soyinka's Nigeria has its own fair share of problems, a cornucopia of them. A truism flies across Nigeria's social and political landscape that Hausas are born natural rulers....Yet Nigeria has about 250 ethnic groups. So, what defines the criteria for Nigeria's multiethnic exclusivism from the presidential pie?....This is not unique to Nigeria, however. The same thing happened in Ghana and Uganda, producing the likes of Idi Amin. This phenomenon is captured in the Eurocentric Africanist Godfrey Mwakikagile's Ethnic Politics in Kenya and Nigeria."
In another article on GhanaWeb, 15 October 2013, Francis Kwarteng also stated:
"We all know how Western material culture and unholy spiritualism are destroying Africa. Corruption in Africa is proliferating like cancerous cells in the body politic. Corrupt African politicians collaborate with Western banking officials to secrete the people's money in Western banks, monies, which, however you look at it, either fortunately for the West or unfortunately for Africa, are reinvested in Western national economies. So, in the long run Africa becomes positively poorer and the West negatively wealthier. Analytically, this runs counter to the central thesis of Rodney's How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. In fact, it's what the Eurocentric Africanist Godfrey Mwakikagile calls 'Africa in a Mess.' This inverse relationship of economic bilateralism is unhealthy and must be critically addressed by Africa."
It is a case of Africans themselves, especially the leaders, contributing to the underdevelopment of Africa. Bad leadership including corruption in African countries is one of the subjects Godfrey Mwakikagile has addressed extensively in his books, especially in Africa is in A Mess: What Went Wrong and What Should be Done, The Modern African State: Quest for Transformation, Africa After Independence: Realities of Nationhood, Africa at the End of the Twentieth Century: What Lies Ahead, and Statecraft and Nation Building in Africa: A Post-colonial Study. He contends that bad leadership is the biggest problem most African countries have faced since independence, and everything else revolves around it.
Africans of all ideological stripes agree corruption is one of the biggest problems African countries face. It is even acknowledged by some leaders. And a number of African scholars including Godfrey Mwakikagile have addressed the problem, proposing solutions to a seemingly intractable problem. As Francis Kwarteng stated in "A Political Coin of Three Sides: What Do We Actually Want?", GhanaWeb, 8 November 2013:
"Today's leadership has failed to show moral and social leadership in the face of mounting national crisis. Indeed corruption threatens the very future of the youth....President Mahama's book (My First Coup D'état) must be read in tandem with Wole Soyinka's The Open Sore of a Continent, Ali Mazrui's The African Condition: A Political Diagnosis, Molefi Kete Asante's Rooming in the Master's House, and Godfrey Mwakikagile's Africa is in A Mess: What Went Wrong and What Should Be Done and Africa After Independence: Realities of Nationhood. In fact, these bibliographies must be included in every secondary school curriculum as well as the curricula of teacher training institutions across the country. We may then use them as bibliographical platforms to ask students to come up with comprehensive solutions to our myriad national problems."
As he stated in another article, "Africa Must Practice Its Own Democracy: A Moral Necessity," GhanaWeb, 17 October 2013:
"We were not the first to raise this question; others had before us! Celebrated prescient leaders like Kwame Nkrumah made this philosophical mantra part of their political platform, so were others ― Patrice Lumumba, Amilcar Cabral, etc. Literacy scholars like Chinua Achebe, and Ngugi wa Thiong'o; international economists like Dambisa Moyo and Yaw Nyarko; political scientists like Ali Mazrui, Godfrey Mwakikagile, and Mahmood Mamdani; legal experts like Shadrack Gutto and Randall Robinson; world-renowned anthropologists and linguists like Cheikh Anta Diop and Théophile Obenga; and Afrocentrists like Molefi Kete Asante, Chinweizu, Maulana Karenga, and Ama Mazama had made similar arguments in the past few decades―via their prolific scholarship, organizations, and political activism."
One of the problems Africa faces in nation building is how to achieve unity in diversity in countries composed of different ethnic groups and threatened by ethno-regional loyalties and rivalries. It is one of the subjects Godfrey Mwakikagile has addressed in his books.
He has written extensively about ethnicity and politics in Africa in the post-colonial era and how the two phenomena are inextricably linked in the African political context. He has used case studies in different analyses of the subject in different parts of the continent. One of his books, Ethnicity and National Identity in Uganda, has been described by Tierney Tully as "a great book, but very dense." A reviewer on amazon, UK, has described it as a "very studious book about Uganda's history, politics, ethnic groups and social structure."
His other books on the subject include Identity Politics and Ethnic Conflicts in Rwanda and Burundi: A Comparative Study; Burundi: The Hutu and The Tutsi: Cauldron of Conflict and Quest for Dynamic Compromise; Civil Wars in Rwanda and Burundi: Conflict Resolution in Africa; Ethnic Diversity and Integration in The Gambia; and Belize and Its Identity: A Multicultural Perspective, a scholarly work on the Central American nation founded by the British colonial rulers and African slaves as British Honduras and which, culturally and historically, is considered to be an integral part of the Afro-Caribbean region, hence of the African diaspora. Although written by an African, the book is an important part of Afro-Caribbean literature.
One American journalist who interviewed Godfrey Mwakikagile described him as an independent scholar who was also a widely read and highly regarded author.
Godfrey Mwakikagile responded by saying that he was just an ordinary African, like tens of millions of others, deeply concerned about the plight of his continent.
But there is no question that he is a serious writer whose writings are widely read even if he considers himself to be just an ordinary African like millions of his brethren across the continent and elsewhere.
In his book, African Political Thought (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), Professor Guy Martin has described Godfrey Mwakikagile as one of Africa's leading populist scholars who refuse to operate and function within the limits and confines of Western ideologies – or any other external parameters – and who exhort fellow Africans to find solutions to African problems within Africa itself and fight the syndrome of dependency in all areas and create a "new African." He goes on to state that all these African-populist thinkers are academics and deal strictly with ideas, without being directly involved in politics, although most of them are political scientists.
Professor Martin states in his book that some of the most prominent African-populist scholars include Senegalese scientist, historian and Egyptologist Cheikh Anta Diop (1923–1986), Nigerian political scientist Claude Ake (1939–1996), Burkinabé historian Joseph Ki-Zerbo (1922–2006), Tanzanian scholar Godfrey Mwakikagile, Kenyan political science professor, Mueni wa Muiu, and Daniel T. Osabu-Kle, a professor of political science from Ghana. He goes on to state that all these scholars are also ardent Pan-Africanists and, for reasons explained in his book, he has devoted chapter eight exclusively to the thoughts, concepts and ideas of only four scholars: Mwakikagile, Ake, Osabu-Kle and Muiu. Professor Guy Martin is also the author of Africa in World Politics: A Pan-African Perspective (2002); co-editor, with Chris Alden, of South Africa and France: Towards a New Engagement in Africa? (2003); and, with Mueni wa Muiu, co-author of A New Paradigm of the African State: Fundi wa Afrika (2009).
Godfrey Mwakikagile is also featured as a major African author and scholar in the Dictonary of African Biography, Volume 6 (Oxford University Press, 2011), edited by Harvard University professors, Emmanuel K. Akyeampong and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. As Professor Ryan Ronnenberg who wrote a profile of Mwakikagile in the Dictionary of African Biography (pp. 365–366) stated:
"Godfrey Mwakikagile's childhood in the closing stages of Tanzania's colonial period made a significant impression on him. He witnessed colonial oppression firsthand, and the racist ideology that upheld it....Indeed, the ideas of Pan-Africanism embraced by the early Nyerere government would resonate with Mwakikagile deeply, as he early on came to possess a deep and abiding respect for Africans and African Americans who preserved their culture in the face of racist ideology and institutions. In his introduction to Africa and the West (2000), he wrote, 'Much as the conquest of Africa led to the denigration of the African personality, leading many Africans to hate themselves by despising their heritage; an equally intense but opposite reaction was caused by this very invasion and conquest of our continent.'
Mwakikagile embraced Tanzania's independence, and the independence of the African continent as a whole, with fierce pride. 'I was too young to play a role in the independence movement, but old enough to know what Mau Mau in neighbouring Kenya was all about, and who our leaders were: from Kwame Nkrumah in Ghana to Julius Nyerere in Tanganyika; from Nnamdi Azikiwe in Nigeria to Jomo Kenyatta in Kenya and Patrice Lumumba in Belgian Congo' (Africa and the West, 2000)
His experience also inspired his thinking regarding Africa and its relationship to the Western world, which led to several academic works dedicated to the subject.
Mwakikagile's early works focused on pressing issues in African studies, particularly the theory and realisation of development in Africa. Economic Development in Africa, published in 1999, uses the rich case study of Tanzania's transition from socialism to free-market capitalism as a foundation for broader conclusions concerning the continent's development failures.
Mwakikagile writes about Africa as a whole in such a way as to suggest that he possesses not only a keen understanding of the way things are, but also a deep understanding of the way they should be. The arcebically titled Africa Is in a Mess: What Went Wrong and What Should Be Done reflects on the decades since independence with pragmatism and regret, observing the loss of both leadership and ingenuity as the continent's intellectual elite settle abroad, while suggesting how this process might be reversed.
In fact, as the years have passed, and as those early optimistic moments after independence have slipped away, Mwakikagile has taken it upon himself to write about why Africa has fallen short of its vision.
Mwakikagile has translated his experience as a youth in colonial East Africa and his adulthood in postcolonial Tanzania into provocative scholarship concerning topics vitally important to African studies.
Deeply invested in the ideas of Pan-Africanism that guided the Nyerere government, Mwakikagile has brought this perspective to bear upon a variety of crucial areas of scholarship, including postcolonial development, the African diaspora, and the late Julius Nyerere's career."
Kofi Mensah, one of the people who reviewed Godfrey Mwakikagile's book Africa is in A Mess: What Went Wrong and What Should Be Done on amazon.com wrote the following about Godfrey Mwakikagile: "He was one of the most promising intellectuals of our generation, and one of the most inspiring, to emerge out of the seventies, when he graduated from university."
In one of his lectures, Professor Abdul Karim Bangura of Howard University, a Sierra Leonean, cited Godfrey Mwakikagile as one of the major African thinkers. He used Godfrey Mwakikagile's book, The Modern African State: Quest for Transformation, among other works by different scholars, in his lecture, "The Democratic Project and the Human Condition across the African Continent" in January 2013 at Howard University and stated that his lecture was "based on the analyses of major African thinkers" who include Godfrey Mwakikagile.
Godfrey Mwakikagile has also been invited to give lectures at different universities because of the books he has written. And his role as a public intellectual has been demonstrated in other ways. For example, he has been sought for interviews by BBC, PBS (America's public television network), and by Voice of America (VOA), among other media outlets. This is documented in the interview he had with the American journalist.
The interview, which focused on Julius Nyerere as a leader and on other subjects about Africa, is reprinted in its entirety in one of Godfrey Mwakikagile's books, Nyerere and Africa: End of an Era.
Although he has been exposed to Western cultures, was educated in the Western intellectual tradition and even lived in the United States for many years, his perspectives and philosophical conceptions have undoubtedly been shaped by his African upbringing and are deeply rooted in African cultures and traditions. And he rejects the notion that Africa was a blank slate until Europeans came to write on it.
He passionately argues that the history written about Africa by Europeans when they first went to Africa and even during colonial rule as well as after independence is not African history but the history of Europeans in Africa and how they see Africa and Africans from their European perspective or perspectives.
He also contends that traditional Africa has produced philosophers and other original thinkers whose knowledge and ideas – including ideas at a high level of abstraction – can match and even surpass the best in the West and elsewhere in the world. He forcefully articulates that position in his book, Africa and The West.22
And although he sees Africa as an indivisible whole, he also argues that all nations, include those in Africa, have different national characters. He looks at the concept of national character in the African context in one of his books, Kenya: Identity of A Nation, and makes a compelling case for this idea which is sometimes highly controversial. The work is, among other subjects, a study of comparative analysis in which the author looks at the national characters of Kenya and Tanzania, thus demonstrating that nations do indeed have different national characters and have been that way throughout history.
Kenyans themselves have had to grapple with questions of identity, ethnic versus national, and how to reconcile the two for the sake of national unity, peace and prosperity. As Dr. George Nyabuga, a lecturer at Nairobi University, stated about Godfrey Mwakikagile's book, Kenya: Identity of a Nation, in his article, "Politics of East Africa," in Oxford Bibliographies, 29 November 2011:
"Ethnicity, identity, conflict, power, democracy, corruption, and governance are often mentioned as issues of interest when examining not only African but also East African politics. Sometimes these issues make it difficult for people within the countries of East Africa to develop appropriate characteristics with which to identify themselves. This is perhaps the issue that Mwakikagile tries to examine as many nation-states grapple with their multiple identities. However, in most instances many people identify with their ethnic groups whose consequences for politics in Africa are sometimes deleterious. In Kenya, ethnicity has been the cause of numerous conflicts, most recently the post-election violence of late 2007 and early 2008."
Tanzania is one of the few countries on the continent which have been spared the agony and scourge of ethnic conflicts, unlike Kenya which Godfrey Mwakikagile has used for comparative analysis in looking at the identities of the two neighbouring countries. In his books, including Nyerere and Africa: End of an Era, he has also explained how Tanzania has been able to contain and even neutralise tribalism unlike other countries on the continent. As Keith Richburg, who travelled and reported on many African countries when he was The Washington Post bureau chief based in Nairobi in the 1990s, stated in his book, Out of America: A Black Man Confronts Africa:
"One of my earliest trips was to Tanzania, and there I found a country that had actually managed to purge itself of the evil of tribalism. Under Julius Nyerere..., the government was able to imbue a true sense of nationalism that transcended the country's natural ethnic divisions.... Tanzania is one place that has succeeded in removing the linguistic barrier that separates so many of Africa's warring factions. But after three years traveling the continent, I've found that Tanzania is the exception, not the rule. In Africa..., it is all about tribes."
One of Africa's most prominent political analysts, Kenyan columnist Philip Ochieng, articulated the same position. As he stated in his article, "Mwalimu Nyerere's Bequest to Mkapa a Tall Order," in one of Kenya's main newspapers, the Daily Nation, Nairobi, 16 October 1999:
"Tannzania (is) the most united country in Africa. This unity and sharp national consciousness was contributed to by (the) life-works of the Teacher (Mwalimu Nyerere).... He insisted on uniform Kiswahili throughout the Republic. During the three years that I worked in Dar es salaam I rarely heard any tribal language spoken."
As he stated in another article, "Africa's Greatest Leader," in The East African, Nairobi, 19 October 1999:
"(Under President Nyerere) Tanzania became the African country with the highest degree of national self-consciousness and has almost annihilated the bane of Kenya that we call tribalism.... At a time when Nairobi was drowning in crude elite grabbing, Dar es Salaam was a Mecca of the world's national liberation movements, and a hotbed of global intellectual thought.... Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere is the most successful leader that Africa has ever produced since the European colonial regime collapsed 50 years ago."
And as one Kenyan reviewer of There Was a Country, a book about Biafra by Chinua Achebe who considered Nyerere to be the role model for African leaders, stated in his review: "Nyerere succeeded in creating the only non-tribal country in Africa where there is no tribalism..... I have seen... tribalism in Kenya and know how it works. And surely enough, we also have violence in almost every election we have because of tribalism."
President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia also said in a television interview that Nyerere was her role model. Wole Soyinka also considered Nyerere to be a role model other African leaders should emulate.
Godfrey Mwakikagile has written extensively about tribalism and contends that it is one of the biggest problems Africa faces and is the source of instability in many countries on the continent, including civil wars.
He undoubtedly has strong convictions but does not neatly fit into any ideological category. He expresses strong Pan-Africanist views in his writings and sees Africa as a collective entity and one organic body and has strongly been influenced by staunch Pan-Africanist leaders such as Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, Ahmed Sekou Toure and Patrice Lumumba whom he also strongly admires.23
He says Africa does not have leaders of that kind any more.
He also strongly admires Thomas Sankara as a man of the people like Nyerere and contends that among the new breed of African leaders, Sankara – who has been described as the African Che Guevara – showed great promise but was eliminated by some of his so-called compatriots working for France and other Western powers before he could realise his full potential the same way Lumumba was, eliminated by the United States and Belgium. Godfrey Mwakikagile has written about Thomas Sankara in his book Military Coups in West Africa Since The Sixties and in African Countries among other works.
But some of his critics contend that he overlooks or glosses over the shortcomings of these leaders precisely because they are liberation icons and played a leading role in the struggle for independence and against white minority rule in Southern Africa.24
He also seems to be "trapped" in the past, in liberation days, especially in the seventies when the struggle against white minority rule was most intense. But that may be for understandable reasons.25
He was a part of that generation when the liberation struggle was going on and some of his views have unquestionably been shaped by what happened during those days as his admiration for Robert Mugabe, for example, as a liberation icon clearly shows; although he also admits in his book, Nyerere and Africa: End of an Era, that the land reform programme in Zimbabwe could have been implemented in an orderly fashion and in a peaceful way and without disrupting the economy.
But his admiration for Mugabe as a true African nationalist and Pan-Africanist remains intact; a position that does not sit well with some of his critics although he does not condone despotic rule as he clearly states in his writings.
He admires Mugabe mostly as a freedom fighter and liberation hero who freed his people from colonial rule and racial oppression and exploitation, and as a strong leader who has taken a firm and an uncompromising stand against Western domination of Africa.
And by remarkable contrast, his contempt for African leaders whom he sees as whites with a black skin also remains intact. He mentions Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda as a typical example of those leaders.
He has written about Dr. Banda and other African leaders, among other subjects, in his book, Africa After Independence: Realities of Nationhood.26
Godfrey Mwakikagile also contends that only a few African leaders – Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, Ahmed Sekou Toure, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Ahmed Ben Bella and Modibo Keita – strove to achieve genuine independence for their countries and for Africa as a whole and exercised a remarkable degree of independence in their dealings with world powers. And Mugabe is the only African leader today who fits this category, in spite of his shortcomings.
According to Ben Bella, the six leaders – Nkrumah, Nyerere, Sekou Toure, Nasser, Modibo Keita and Ben Bella himself – constituted what came to be known as "The Group of Six" within the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). In an interview in Switzerland in 1995 with Jorge G. Castañeda, the author of Companero: The Life and Death of Che Guevara, Ben Bella said the six leaders worked together secretly within the OAU on a number of issues including the Congo and African liberation, excluding other African leaders. It is a subject Godfrey Mwakikagile has also addressed in his book Nyerere and Africa: End of an Era.27
Godfrey Mwakikagile's background as a Tanzanian has played a major role in his assessment of many African leaders because of the central role his country played in the liberation struggle in the countries of Southern Africa, and not just in South Africa – the bastion of white minority rule on the continent.28
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is one of the African leaders who have had strong ties to Tanzania, Godfrey Mwakikagile's home country, since liberation days. Others with strong ties to Tanzania include Thabo Mbeki, former president of South Africa; Joaquim Chissano, former president of Mozambique; and Sam Nujoma, former president of Namibia.29
Tanzania, then known as Tanganyika, was also the first independent African country Nelson Mandela first visited when he secretly left South Africa for the first time in 1962 to seek support from other African countries for the liberation struggle in his home country. And Julius Nyerere was the first leader of an independent African country he met when he went to see him in Dar es Salaam during that time. It was also Nyerere who authorised the government of Tanganyika to give Mandela a travel document that enabled him to go to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to attend a conference of African leaders and to go to other African countries. Mandela wrote about that in his book Long Walk to Freedom.
In those days, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, was the headquarters of all the African liberation movements, under the leadership of President Julius Nyerere, and Godfrey Mwakikagile got the chance to know many of the freedom fighters who were based there when he worked as a young news reporter in the nation's capital.30
They included Joaquim Chissano who was the head of the FRELIMO office in Dar es Salaam and who later became the minister of foreign affairs and then president of Mozambique when his country won independence after 500 years of Portuguese colonial rule.31
Many other freedom fighters who were based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, also went on to become national leaders in their respective countries after the end of white minority rule in Southern Africa. And they all still have strong ties to Tanzania even today.
In his seminal work, Nyerere and Africa: End of an Era, Godfrey Mwakikagile has written extensively about the liberation struggle, and the liberation movements, in Southern Africa in what is probably one of the best accounts of that critical phase in the history of Africa. He has also, in the same book, written an excellent analysis of the Congo Crisis during the turbulent sixties.
Godfrey Mwakikagile has also written a book about the struggle against apartheid and the end of white minority rule in South Africa and on the prospects and challenges the country faces in the post-apartheid era. The work is entitled, South Africa in Contemporary Times.
The years he spent on the editorial staff at the Standard and the Daily News were critical to his future career as a writer. Those were his formative years, and had he not become a news reporter, his life, and his career as an author, might have taken a different turn.
As he states in Nyerere and Africa: End of an Era, he was first hired by renowned British journalist David Martin who was the deputy managing and news editor of the Tanganyika Standard. The managing editor was Brendon Grimshaw, also British who, in the seventies, bought Moyenne Island in the Seychelles and became its only permanent inhabitant. Brendon Grimshaw also played a major role in recruiting Godfrey Mwakikagile as a member of the editorial staff at the Standard.32
It was a turning point in Godfrey Mwakikagile's life.
That was in June 1969 when he was a student at Tambaza High School in Dar es Salaam. He was 19 years old and probably the youngest reporter on the editorial staff at the Standard during that time.
The Standard which was renamed Daily News in 1970 was the largest English newspaper in Tanzania and one of the largest and most influential in East Africa. And it served Godfrey Mwakikagile well, not only in terms of providing him with an opportunity to sharpen his writing skills but also – after it became the Daily News – in helping him to go to school in the United States where he became an author many years after he graduated from college.
David Martin, when he worked at the Tanganyika Standard and at the Daily News, and thereafter, was the most prominent foreign journalist in Eastern and Southern Africa in the sixties and seventies. And he wrote extensively about the liberation struggle in the region for the London Observer and for BBC.
He knew and worked closely with all the leaders of the liberation movements including Robert Mugabe, Dr. Eduardo Mondlane, president of FRELIMO, who was assassinated in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in February 1969; and Mondlane's successor Samora Machel who died in a mysterious plane crash in 1986 when he was president of Mozambique.
The plane crashed on the South African side of the border with Mozambique and the apartheid regime was suspected of having caused the "accident." He was succeeded by Mozambique's foreign affairs minister, Joaquim Chissano, as president.
David Martin was also very close to many Tanzanian leaders including President Julius Nyerere, and President Benjamin Mkapa who was also his close friend for many years since the sixties when they worked together in the media.
President Mugabe delivered an official condolence message and David Martin was accorded a state-assisted funeral in recognition of his works exposing apartheid South Africa's destabalisation campaign in neighbouring countries, racial brutalities and injustices under white minority regimes throughout Southern Africa and for his outstanding role as a champion of racial equality.
The report of his death which included President Robert Mugabe's long message of condolence on behalf of the government and the ruling party ZANU-PF was published in the Zimbabwean government-owned newspaper, The Herald, 22 August 2007, headlined, "President Mourns David Martin."33
Another report on David Martin's contributions as a journalist when he reported extensively on the liberation struggle in Southern Africa, and on his support for regional integration of the countries in that part of the continent after the end of white minority rule, was published in the same paper on 24 August, headlined, "Martin – Man of Many Talents."34
Zimbabwean government leaders including cabinet members, Tanzanian officials, war veterans who fought for Zimbabwe's independence during the liberation struggle in the sixties and seventies, and diplomats, attended the funeral, according to The Herald, Harare, Zimbabwe, 25 August 2007, in a report headlined, "Martin Laid to Rest."35
David Martin often said he credited his education to the 10 years he spent working as a journalist in Tanzania and was inspired by President Nyerere and by the liberation leaders and movements based there. He interviewed many of those leaders many times during the liberation struggle and thereafter.
In his book Nyerere and Africa: End of an Era, Godfrey Mwakikagile has written about David Martin and the role he played as a journalist during the liberation struggle in Southern Africa. But David Martin was also instrumental in opening the door for Godfrey Mwakikagile into the world of journalism, writing everyday, after which both became successful writers.36
As Godfrey Mwakikagile himself has stated in his books including Nyerere and Africa: End of an Era, Africa after Independence: Realities of Nationhood, The Modern African State: Quest for Transformation, Military Coups in West Africa Since The Sixties and in Africa is in A Mess: What Went Wrong and What Should Be Done and others, his background as a news reporter which included meeting deadlines when writing news articles prepared him for the rigorous task of writing books.37
Criticism of post-colonial Africa
Godfrey Mwakikagile lived and grew up under the leadership of Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere, a legendary figure, liberation icon and staunch Pan-Africanist and one of the most influential and most respected leaders Africa has ever produced, whose socialist policies he has also defended in his writings because of the egalitarian ideals they instilled in the people of Tanzania enabling them to build a peaceful, cohesive nation in which they saw themselves as one people and equal in terms of rights and dignity as fellow human beings in spite of the poverty they endured under ujamaa, Nyerere's African version of socialism.
Yet, in spite of his admiration for liberation icons, he also is highly critical of African leaders from the same generation who led their countries to independence, contending that most of them did not care about the well-being of their people; a position he forcefully articulates in his writings.38
He gives them a lot of credit for leading the struggle for independence and contends that they were very successful in mobilising the masses and the elite and in fuelling nationalist sentiments to end colonial rule. But he also bluntly states that they were, in most cases, a tragic failure in terms of nation building and national development during the post-colonial era.
They fostered divided loyalties along ethnic and regional lines, practised tribalism, and pursued wrong policies. They embraced and adopted imported -isms especially Marxism and other alien ideologies while ignoring indigenous knowledge, institutions and systems of thought – which are relevant to African conditions, local circumstances and historical experience – in the quest for development. They formulated unrealistic development plans and programmes, launched unnecessary capital-intensive projects just for demonstration effect, and underused human capital including abundant labour for labour-intensive projects.
They mismanaged the economy, squandered resources, stole from the people, raided national coffers, bankrupted the treasury, enriched themselves, institutionalised corruption, instituted the highly centralised state as an oppressive apparatus for mass regimentation although it also served as an effective instrument of mobilisation of resources and manpower that was unfortunately misused or wasted in most cases. And they tortured, imprisoned and killed their critics and opponents, muzzled the opposition and stifled dissent instead of encouraging cross-fertilisation of ideas across the spectrum which could have led to formulation of better policies critical to nation building and economic development, as he clearly states in his books, Economic Development in Africa, Africa After Independence: Realities of Nationhood, The Modern African State: Quest for Transformation, and Africa is in A Mess: What Went Wrong and What Should Be Done.
It is an assessment, and a disillusionment with African leadership, that is shared by his fellow Africans. As Wole Soyinka stated when he saw Nigerian leaders assume power in October 1960 after the end of colonial rule, with pomp and ceremony, he became apprehensive about the future and knew, from then onwards, the enemy was now within, not without. The enemy was the new African leaders who went against everything they had fought for, totally ignoring the wellbeing of their people. Assumption of power was only a means to enrich themselves and trample on the rights of their fellow countrymen.
Godfrey Mwakikagile belongs to a generation that preceded independence and was partly brought up under colonial rule. He even wrote a book, Life in Tanganyika in The Fifties, about those years.
Independence meant a lot to him as much as it did to his fellow Africans. He even attended the independence celebrations when Tanganyika attained sovereign status under the leadership of Julius Nyerere. He witnessed the flags changing at midnight when the Union Jack was lowered and the flag of the newly independent nation of Tanganyika went up. As he states in his autobiographical writings, he vividly remembers attending the independence celebrations with his uncle Johann Chonde Mwambapa, popularly known as Chonde, in the town of Tukuyu. His uncle took him on a bicycle to Tukuyu, four miles north of their home area, to witness the historic occasion, as he stated in his book, My Life as an African: Autobiographical Writings. The celebrations were held on a football (soccer) field. He was 12 years old.
Early in his life when he was a teenager, he developed strong Pan-Africanist views under the influence of Julius Nyerere and other Pan-Africanist leaders such as Kwame Nkrumah and Ahmed Sekou Toure. He still holds those views today, crystallised into an ideology for a new African liberation and forcefully articulated in his writings. He writes as an African more than anything else, not just as a Tanzanian. As Professor Guy Martin states in his book African Political Thought (pp. 8, 6) about Godfrey Mwakikagile and other Pan-Africanist theorists and thinkers, their individual national identities are secondary to their primary identity as Africans and even irrelevant when they articulate their position from a Pan-African perspective: "Note that all these scholars are dedicated Pan-Africanists and many would shun the reference to their nationality, preferring to be simply called 'Africans'.... Some of the most prominent Africanist-populist scholars include... Godfrey Mwakikagile.... Chapter 4 is a survey of Pan-Africanism as a political and cultural ideal and movement eventually leading to African unity.... The chapter first shows how the Pan-Africanist leaders' dream for immediate political and economic integration in the form of a 'United States of Africa' was deferred in favor of a gradualist-functionalist approach.... The chapter then analyzes the reasons for the failure of the Pan-Africanist leaders' dream of unity... and surveys past and current proposals for a revision of the map of Africa and a reconfiguration of the African states put forward by various authors such as Cheikh Anta Diop, Marc-Louis Ropivia, Makau wa Mutua, Arthur Gakwandi, Joseph Ki-Zerbo, Daniel Osabu-Kle, Godfrey Mwakikagile, Pelle Danabo, and Mueni wa Muiu.... Chapter eight reviews the ideas and values for a new, free, and self-reliant Africa put forth by African academics who have the best interest of the people at heart and thus advocate a popular type of democracy and development. However, unlike the populist-socialist scholars, these African-populist scholars refuse to operate within the parameters of Western ideologies – whether of the socialist, Marxist-Leninist, or liberal-democratic persuasion – and call on Africans to get rid of their economic, technological, and cultural dependency syndrome. These scholars are also convinced that the solutions to African problems lie within Africans themselves. Thus they refuse to remain passive victims of a perceived or preordained fate and call on all Africans to become the initiators and agents of their own development.... For the reasons stated previously, the chapter will focus exclusively on the last four scholars mentioned: namely, Osabu-Kle, Ake, Mwakikagile, and Muiu."
One of Godfrey Mwakikagile's critics has described him as "a shrewd intellectual in defence of liberation icons" and accuses him of not being intellectually honest about leaders such as Nyerere, Nkrumah and Sekou Toure for not criticising them harshly for their failures because he admires them so much as staunch Pan-Africanists.39
In a way, some people may see him as a complex character not always easy to understand, although he articulates his position clearly and forcefully.
Some of the confusion among his readers about his position on African leaders of the independence generation has to do with his own background since he was an integral part of that generation in the sense that he witnessed the end of colonial rule and the emergence of the newly independent African states although he was not old enough to have participated in the independence struggle himself.40
He admires the leaders who led their countries to independence, yet he is highly critical of them in most cases for their failures during the post-colonial period. He became disillusioned with the leadership on the continent through the years, filled with broken promises, and not long after the countries won independence. He admires many aspects of Nyerere's socialist policies in Tanzania, yet concedes the policies were also a failure in many cases. And he strongly favours fundamental change in African countries, yet he is nostalgic about the past.41
His advocacy for fundamental change is articulated in many of his writings including The Modern African State: Quest for Transformation, which was published in 2001 and which is also one of his most well-known books.
In his review of the book, Ronald Taylor-Lewis [born of a Sierra Leonean father], editor of Mano Vision magazine, London, described it as "a masterpiece of fact and analysis."42
The book has also been reviewed in other publications. Tana Worku Anglana reviewed Godfrey Mwakikagile's Modern African State: Quest for Transformation in Articolo and described it as "unbiased literature."43
Other people have also cited the book in their different analyses of the African condition. They include Dr. Elavie Ndura, a professor at George Mason University in Virginia, USA, who used Godfrey Mwakikagile's book, The Modern African State: Quest for Transformation, among other works, in supporting her central thesis in her study, "Transcending The Majority Rights and Minority Protection Dichotomy Through Multicultural Reflective Citizenship in The African Great Lakes Region," in Intercultural Education, Vol. 17, No. 2, published by Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, in May 2006.
Professor Elavie Ndura, a Hutu from Burundi where her family experienced genocide, taught for many years at a number of schools in the United States, including the University of Nevada-Reno and George Mason University.
Ethnic conflicts in Rwanda and Burundi between the Hutu and the Tutsi is one of the subjects Godfrey Mwakikagile has addressed extensively in his book, The Modern African State: Quest for Transformation.
In many of his writings, Godfrey Mwakikagile focuses on internal factors – including corruption, tribalism and tyranny by African leaders – as the main cause of Africa's predicament, but not to the total exclusion of external forces.
And the position he articulates in his writings on many issues is cited by other people to support their arguments in their works. One of the works in which Godfrey Mwakikagile is cited and quoted is a compiled study by Professor Robert H. Bates of Harvard University, When Things Fell Apart: State Failure in Late-Century Africa: Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics, published by Cambridge University Press in February 2008.
Godfrey Mwakikagile is also quoted by Professors Robert Elgie and Sophie Moestrup in their book, Semi-Presidentialism Outside Europe: A Comparative Study – Routledge Research in Comparative Politics, Routledge, 2007; Mueni wa Muiu and Guy Martin in A New Paradigm of the African State: Fundi wa Afrika, Palgrave Macmillan, 2009; Minabere Ibelema, The African Press, Civic Cynicism, and Democracy – The PalgraveMacmillan Series in International Political Communication, Palgrave Macmillan, 2007; James Crawford and Vaughan Lowe in British Yearbook of International Law 2005: Volume 76, Oxford University Press, 2007, and in other works.
Others who have cited Godfrey Mwakikagile and his works include Professor Robert I. Rotberg, director at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government and president emeritus of the World Peace Foundation. He used Godfrey Mwakikagle's book Ethnic Politics in Kenya and Nigeria, among other works, to document his study, Crafting The New Nigeria: Confronting The Challenges, a book that was published in 2004.
Other researchers and scholars who have cited and quoted Godfrey Mwakikagile in their works include Gabi Hesselbein, Frederick Golooba-Mutebi, and James Putzel, in their study, "Economic and Political Foundations of State-making in Africa: Understanding State Reconstruction", Crisis States Research Centre, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK, 2006; E.M. Poff, "Liberal Democracy and Multiethnic States: A Case Study of Ethnic Politics in Kenya," Ohio University, 2008; PJ McGowan, "Coups and Conflict in West Africa, 1955 – 2004: Part II, Empirical Findings," Armed Forces and Society, Sage Publications, 2006; Christopher Richard Kilford, in his doctoral dissertation, "The Other Cold War," Queens University, Canada, 2009; Martin P. Mathews, in his book, Nigeria: Current Issues and Historical Background, Nova Science Publishers, New York, 2002; Michael Kweku Addison, "Preventing Military Intervention in West Africa: A Case Study of Ghana," Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, USA, 2002; Isidore Okpewho and N Nzegwu, in their book, The New African Diaspora, Indiana University Press, 2009; C.M. Brown, S. Reader and G. Lober, "US National Security Interests in Africa and The Future Global War on Terrorism (GWOT)," Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, USA, 2005.
Nigerian scholar Adaobi Chiamaka Iheduru of Wright State University also used Godfrey Mwakikagile's books, Relations between Africans and African Americans: Misconceptions, Myths and Realities, and Africans and African Americans: Complex Relations, Prospects and Challenges, to complement her research for her doctorate in psychology. Her dissertation was "Examining the Social Distance between Africans and African Americans: The Role of Internalized Racism."
Another Nigerian scholar, Rotimi T. Suberu, a lecturer of political science at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, used Godfrey Mwakikagile's book Ethnic Politics in Kenya and Nigeria, among different works by other scholars, in his analysis, "Federalism and Ethnic Conflict in Nigeria," published in the African Studies Review 46, No. 2, September 2003, pp. 93–98.
Godfrey Mwakikagile's book Ethnic Politics in Kenya and Nigeria was also used by Dickson Onwuka Uduma, a Nigerian, who earned a master's degree in development and international relations from Aalborg University in Denmark. He wrote a thesis on Nigerian federalism and how it attempts to accommodate ethnicity and nationalism, at the same time, entitled, "Ethnic Identity Politics: Nigeria as a Case Study," and drew on the work of Godfrey Mwakikagile and other scholars.
Jimmy Ssentongo, a Ugandan, used Godfrey Mwakikagile's book, Ethnicity and National Identity in Uganda, among other works by other scholars, to write his doctoral dissertation, “Ethnicity and Socio-Economic Exclusion in Uganda: Perceptions, Indicators and Spaces for Pluralism with Specific Reference to Cosmopolitan Kampala,” which he completed at the University of Humanistic Studies, Utrecht, Netherlands.
Professor Michael Vickers, University of Oxford, in his book Ethnicity and Sub-Nationalism in Nigeria: Movement for a Mid-West State (Oxford, UK: WorldView Publishing, 2001), also cited Godfrey Mwakikagile, among other scholars, to document and support the central thesis of his book.
Gerald Anietie Ignatius Akata, a Nigerian, used Godfrey Mwakikagile's book, Military Coups in West Africa Since the Sixties, together with the works of other scholars, to complete his PhD dissertation in education, "Leadership in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria: A Study of the Perceptions of Its Impact on the Acquired Leadership Skills of Expatriate Nigerian Postgraduates," at East Tennessee State University.
Another scholar, Paul K. Bjerk, an American, used some of Godfrey Mwakikagile's works, including Nyerere and Africa: End of an Era, in his research for his doctoral dissertation at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His dissertation was "Julius Nyerere and the Establishment of Sovereignty in Tanganyika." Professor Bjerk also taught at Tumaini University in Tanzania for three years before he went to teach at Texas Tech University.
Prince Kwasi Bediako Frimpong, a Ghanaian, also used Godfrey Mwakikagile's book, Nyerere and Africa: End of an Era, to complement his research for his thesis, "Nrumahism and Neo-Nkrumahism," to earn an M.A. degree from the University of Louisville, Kentucky, USA.
Professor Ronald Aminzade of the University of Minnesota also used Godfrey Mwakikagile's books, Nyerere and Africa: End of an Era, and The Union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar: Product of The Cold War?, among other works by other scholars, in his research for his book, Race, Nation and Citizenship in Post-Colonial Africa: The Case of Tanzania, Cambridge University Press, New York, 2013. As he states in his book concerning the union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar which Godfrey Mwakikagile has addressed extensively and which is also one of the subjects he has tackled in his work Race, Nation and Citizenship in Post-Colonial Africa: The Case of Tanzania:
"There is considerable disagreement among scholars about why Tanganyika chose to unite with the residents of a relatively small island off its coast. One compelling account highlights the role of foreign powers, especially the United States, which was worried about communists in Zanzibar's government and feared a 'Cuba off the coast of Africa' would spread revolution throughout the African continent. The Union did take place at the height of the Cold War, amid rumours of a Cuban presence on Zanzibar....
An alternative account of the creation of the Union was that it was a victory for African unity and pan-African solidarity. This view is forcefully argued by Godfrey Mwakikagile, who contends that the Union was an African initiative and an expression of Nyerere's pan-African commitment rather than a product of Cold War pressures....When Nyerere urged the Tanganyikan Parliament to approve the Union, he emphasised it was a first step toward a united Africa. It demonstrated that 'a single Government in Africa is not an impossible dream, but something which can be realised....If two countries can unite, then three can; if three can, then thirty can' (Nyerere, “The Union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar,” Freedom and Unity, p 292).
In justifying the Union as part of an effort to promote Pan-Africanism, Nyerere emphasised the commonalities between the mainland and the islands, including a common language and historical and cultural ties.... Nyerere further portrayed the Union as a product of 'the overall desire for African unity,' arguing that 'those who welcome unity on our continent must welcome this small move toward it.' 'It is an insult to Africa,' he said, 'to read cold war politics into every move toward African unity' (ibid)....
Support for the merger with the mainland from Abdulrahman Babu and Kassim Hanga, the two Marxist-Leninists who generated the most concern on the part of Western governments, suggests that the union was also not simply the product of a Western anticommunist conspiracy engineered by the United States and Great Britain." – (Ronald Aminzade, Race, Nation and Citizenship in Post-Colonial Africa: The Case of Tanzania, pp. 99 – 100, 101, 102).
Godfrey Mwakikagile's book, The Union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar: Product of the Cold War? cited by Professor Ronald Aminzade, is a strong rebuttal to the argument that Cold War politics provided probably the only context in which the merger of the two East African countries took – and could have taken – place as if union of African countries is impossible unless it is externally engineered.
The union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar and the Zanzibar revolution are subjects Godfrey Mwakikagile has also addressed in detail in two of his other books: Why Tanganyika united with Zanzibar to form Tanzania, and Africa in The Sixties.
Mwakikagile's books have been used by other scholars in their research in different academic disciplines.
German scholar Christa Deiwiks of ETH Zurich, a university in Zurich, Switzerland, where she also earned a master's degree in comparative and international studies, used Godfrey Mwakikagile's book, Ethnic Politics in Kenya and Nigeria, a comparative study, in her research for her doctoral degree which she obtained from the same university. Her dissertation was "Ethnofederalism – A Slippery Slope Towards Secessionist Conflict?"
Godfrey Mwakikagile is also cited in the work of Dr. Stephen Macharia Magu, Political Economy, Social Development and Conflict in Africa.
Richard L. Whitehead used Godfrey Mwakikagile's book, Tanzania under Mwalimu Nyerere: Reflections on an African Statesman, together with the works of other scholars, to write a dissertation for his PhD at Temple University, USA. His dissertation was "Single-Party Rule in a Multiparty Age: Tanzania in Comparative Perspective."
Others who also have cited Godfrey Mwakikagile in their studies in different analytical contexts include Rajend Methrie, "South Africa: The Rocky Road to National Building," in a book, Andrew Simpson, Language and National Identity in Africa, Oxford University Press, 2008; Valéria Cristina Salles, "Social Representations Informing Discourse of Young Leaders: A Case Study of Tanzania," University of Cape Town, 2005; L.B. Inniss, "A Domestic Right of Return? Race, Rights, and Residency in New Orleans in the Aftermath of Katrina," in the Boston College Third World Law Journal, Boston, Massachusetts, USA, 2007; Eric M. Edi, in his book, Globalization and Politics in the Economic Community of West African States (Carolina Academic Press Studies on Globalization and Society), Carolina Academic Press, 2007; James John Chikago, in his book, Crossing Cultural Frontiers: Analysis and Solutions to Poverty Reduction, 2003; James Kwesi Anquandah, Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, and Michel R. Doortmont, in their book, The Transatlantic Slave Trade: Landmarks, Legacies, Expectations, Sub-Saharan Publishers, Accra, Ghana, 2007; Luciana Ricciutelli, Angela Rose Miles, Margaret McFadden in their book, Feminist Politics, Activism and Vision: Local and Global Challenges, Zed Books, London, 2005; Emmanuel Ike Udogu, in his book, African Renaissance in the Millennium: The Political, Social, and Economic Discourses on the Way Forward, Lexington Books, New York, 2007; and others.
Godfrey Mwakikagile's books have been used by many other scholars in different analytical contexts in a number of countries in the Third World and in industrialised nations.
And his diagnosis of – and prescription for – Africa's ailments has also been cited by scholars and other people for its relevance in other parts of the Third World. As Dr. Hengene Payani, a political scientist at the University of Papua New Guinea in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, stated in his review of Godfrey Mwakikagile's book Africa is in A Mess on amazon.com, "the book is excellent, honest and thought-provoking and is relevant even in the context of Papua New Guinea, a country which has been ruined by greedy politicians." He also contacted Godfrey Mwakikagile to congratulate him for his work.
Although he has written mostly about Africa, and as a political scientist or as a political analyst, his works cover a wide range of scholarship including American studies.
One of Godfrey Mwakikagile's books, Black Conservatives in The United States, was cited by Christopher Alan Bracey, a professor of law and African-American Studies at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, in support of his research when he also wrote a book about black conservatives entitled Saviors or Sellouts: The Promise and Peril of Black Conservatism, from Booker T. Washington to Condoleezza Rice, published in February 2008. Dr. Michael L. Ondaatje, a lecturer at The University of New Castle, Australia, also used Godfrey Mwakikagile's book on black conservatives, among other works by other scholars, for his doctoral dissertation on the rise of black conservative intellectuals in the United States. He earned his PhD from the University of Western Australia and wrote a book, Black Conservative Intellectuals in Modern America (University of Pennsylvania Press 2009) in which he cited Godfrey Mwakikagile's work to complement his research. The book is based on his doctoral dissertation.
But there are limitations to the role played by people like Godfrey Mwakikagile in their quest for fundamental change in African countries. Their contribution is limited in one fundamental respect: They are not actively involved with the masses at the grassroots level precisely because of what they are. They belong to an elite class, and the concepts they expound as well as the solutions they propose are discussed mainly by fellow elites but rarely implemented.
This should not be misconstrued as unwarranted criticism of Godfrey Mwakikagile's writings or the role he plays in the quest for fundamental change in Africa. It is mere acknowledgement of the limitations he faces in his attempt to accomplish this task in conjunction with his brethren across the continent.
Still, there is no question that in many cases, only a few members of the African elite have played and continue to play the role of intellectual activists like Dr. Walter Rodney who wrote his best-selling book, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, in the early 1970s when he was teaching at the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania; coincidentally during the same period when Godfrey Mwakikagile was a member of the editorial staff at the Daily News in Tanzania's capital Dar es Salaam. In fact, it was one of his colleagues at the Daily News, renowned Kenyan journalist and socio-political analyst Philip Ochieng, who edited Walter Rodney's book, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. The book was published by Tanzania Publishing House (TPH), Dar es Salaam, in 1973. Ochieng also wrote a feature article, "How Africa Developed Europe," in the Daily News in 1972, about Rodney's book, not long before the book was first published by Bogle-L'Ouverture Publications, London, that year.
In an interview with one of Kenya's leading newspapers, the Daily Nation, Nairobi, on 6 July 2013, where he worked as an editor and columnist, Philip Ochieng, who coincidentally was also a close friend of Barack Obama Sr., the father of US President Barack Obama, stated that it was he who edited Rodney's book when he was working at the Daily News in Dar es Salaam in 1972. As he stated:
"Walter Rodney was my friend and I even edited his seminal work How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Dar es Salaam was the world headquarters of intellectual debate those days."
One of the revolutionary thinkers who was drawn to Tanzania was Che Guevara who, a few years earlier, stayed in Dar es Salaam for many months from October 1965 to early March 1966 after his attempts to help Lumumba's followers fight Western-backed forces in the former Belgian Congo failed. He also wrote his famous book, The African Dream: The Diaries of the Revolutionary War in the Congo, when he was staying in Dar es Salaam during those months.
It was also in the same year Che Guevara left Tanzania that Walter Rodney, who strongly admired Che, first arrived in Dar es Salaam to teach at the University of Dar es Salaam. He taught at the university from 1966 to 1967. He then left Dar es Salaam and went to teach at his alma mater, the University of the West Indies, Mona campus, Kingston, Jamaica. In October 1968, the Jamaican government banned Rodney from teaching at the university. He was declared persona non grata. He returned to Tanzania to teach at the University of Dar es Salaam and taught there from 1969 to 1974 before going back to Guyana, his home country, in the same year. He was actively involved in intellectual debates in Dar es Salaam, and at Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda, where he famously debated renowned Kenyan academic, Professor Ali Mazrui, whose ideological orientation sharply differed from Rodney's. Mazrui was teaching at Makerere during that period. He was the head of the political science department and dean of the faculty of arts and social sciences.
Walter Rodney also founded and led a discussion group at the University of Dar es Salaam whose members included Yoweri Museveni who was a student at the university during that period and who later became president of Uganda. Museveni was also one of Rodney's students.
Before returning to Tanzania from Jamaica in 1969, Walter Rodney was actively involved with the masses when he taught at the University of the West Indies in Kingston. He was expelled from Jamaica because of his political and intellectual activism and went to teach at the University of Dar es Salaam in a country where his views and his role as an activist intellectual found acceptance under the leadership of President Julius Nyerere who was a superb intellectual himself and who was acknowledged as one even by some of his critics such as Professor Ali Mazrui.
In his book, On Heroes and Uhuru-Worship: Essays on Independent Africa, and in some of his other writings, Professor Mazrui described Nyerere as the most original thinker among all the leaders in Anglophone Africa, and Senegalese President Leopold Sedar Senghor in Francophone Africa. Mazrui also described Nyerere as the most intellectual of the East African presidents, an attribute which enabled Walter Rodney to thrive in Tanzania as an intellectual activist.
And in an interview with The Gambia Echo in February 2008, Professor Mazrui said:
"Intellectually, I admired Julius K. Nyerere of Tanzania higher than most politicians anywhere in the world. Nyerere and I also met more often over the years from 1967 to 1997 approximately. I am also a great fan of Nelson Mandela. By ethical standards Mandela is greater than Nyerere; but by intellectual standards Nyerere is greater than Mandela."
Professor Ali Mazrui also paid glowing tribute to Nyerere when Nyerere died in October 1999. In his article "Nyerere and I," Ali Mazrui had this to say about Nyerere: "He was one of the giants of the 20th century.... He did bestride this narrow world like an African colossus."
Professor Walter Rodney himself was a great admirer of Nyerere as a leader and as an intellectual even before he went to Tanzania to teach at the University of Dar es Salaam.
After Rodney left Tanzania in 1974 and returned to Guyana, he continued to be actively involved with the workers at the grassroots level until he was assassinated in June 1980 by a government agent when Guyana was under the leadership of Prime Minister Forbes Burnham.
Most African intellectuals don't do that. They don't work with the masses at the grassroots level. And that severely limits their role as agents of dynamic and fundamental change in Africa.44
African writers like Godfrey Mwakikagile and other intellectuals are also severely compromised in their mission because most African leaders don't want to change. Therefore they don't listen to them—in many cases the entire state apparatus needs to be dismantled to bring about meaningful change.45
But, in spite of the limitations and the obstacles they face, many African writers and other intellectuals still play a very important role in articulating a clear vision for the future of Africa. And Godfrey Mwakikagile's writings definitely fit this category because of his analysis of the African condition and the solutions he proposes, although he is not a political activist like other African writers such as Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o in neighbouring Kenya or Wole Soyinka in Nigeria.
But even they had to flee their homelands, at different times, for their own safety, in spite of the courage they had to contend with the political establishment in their home countries, and sought sanctuary overseas although that has not been the case with Godfrey Mwakikagile and many other Africans who once lived, have lived or continue to live in other countries or outside Africa for different reasons.
Writers like Godfrey Mwakikagile and other members of the African elite have a major role to play in the development of Africa.46 They do have an impact on constructive dialogue involving national issues. But it is not the kind of impact that reverberates across the spectrum all the way down to the grassroots level precisely because they are not an integral part of the masses, and also because they are not actively involved with the masses to transform society.
So, while they generate ideas, they have not been able to effectively transmit those ideas to the masses without whose involvement fundamental change in Africa is impossible, except at the top, recycling the elite. And while they identify with the masses in terms of suffering and as fellow Africans, many of them – not all but many of them – have not and still don't make enough sacrifices in their quest for social and political transformation of African countries. And Godfrey Mwakikagile is fully aware of these shortcomings, and apparent contradictions, in the role played by the African elite. He's one himself.
Yet, he has not explicitly stated so in his writings concerning this problem of African intellectuals; a dilemma similar to the one faced by the black intelligentsia in the United States and which was addressed by Harold Cruse, an internationally renowned black American professor who taught at the University of Michigan for many years, in his monumental study, The Crisis of The Negro Intellectual. The book was first published in 1967 at the peak of the civil rights movement, five years before Godfrey Mwakikagile went to the United States for the first time as a student.
But that does not really explain why Godfrey Mwakikagile has not fully addressed the subject, the dilemma African intellectuals face in their quest for fundamental change, especially in his books – The Modern African State: Quest for Transformation, Africa is in A Mess: What Went Wrong and What Should Done, and Africa After Independence: Realities of Nationhood – which are almost exclusively devoted to such transformation in Africa in the post-colonial era.
African leaders have failed Africa. But African intellectuals themselves have not done enough to help transform Africa into a better society.
Still, Godfrey Mwakikagile belongs to a group of African writers and the African elite who believe that the primary responsibility of transforming Africa lies in the hands of the Africans themselves, and not foreigners, and that acknowledgement of mistakes by African leaders is one of the first steps towards bringing about much-needed change in African countries; a position he forcefully articulates in his writings. For example, Political Science Professor Claude E. Welch at the State University of New York-Buffalo, in his review of one of Godfrey Mwakikagile's books – Military Coups in West Africa Since The Sixties – published in the African Studies Review (Vol. 45, No. 3, December 2002, p. 114) described the author as being merciless in his condemnation of African tyrants.
The same book was also cited by James C. Owens of the University of Virginia in his article, "Government failure in Sub-Saharan Africa: The International Community's Response," in the Virginia Journal of International Law, 2002. He used Godfrey Mwakikagile's book, Military Coups in West Africa Since The Sixties, among other works, to document the failure of leadership in many African countries in the post-colonial era.
And that is valid criticism of African leadership in post-colonial Africa by Godfrey Mwakikagile. Corrupt and despotic rulers don't deserve mercy. They don't deserve sympathy. They are not entitled to it. They have destroyed Africa.
In what is probably his most controversial book, Africa is in A Mess: What Went Wrong and What Should Be Done, Godfrey Mwakikagile strongly criticises most of the leaders of post-colonial Africa for tyranny and corruption, and for practising tribalism, a common theme in the works of many African writers and other people including well-known ones and many African scholars in and outside Africa. But his book stands out as one of the most blunt ever written about Africa's rotten leadership.
Unfortunately, because of its vitriolic condemnation of most African leaders during the post-colonial era, the book has been cited by some people, who obviously have not read it well if at all, as a clarion call for the re-colonisation of Africa (because things are so bad, colonial rule was better) although the author says exactly the opposite in his work.47
One of the people he has quoted in his book articulating a similar position is Moeletsi Mbeki, the younger brother of former South African President Thabo Mbeki and head of the South African Institute of International Affairs, who said in September 2004 that Africans were better off under colonial rule than they are today under African leadership in the post-colonial period.
Mbeki also said African leaders and bureaucrats are busy stealing money and keeping it in foreign countries while colonial rulers built and maintained the infrastructure and ran their African colonies efficiently. He was quoted by BBC Africa in a report, on what he said, entitled "Better Colonial Times" published on 22 September 2004.
Yet in spite of all that, Godfrey Mwakikagile unequivocally states in his book, Africa is in A Mess, that he does not support any attempt or scheme, by anybody, to recolonise Africa, but also bluntly states that African countries have lost their sovereignty to donor nations and multilateral institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) dominated by Western powers including those who once colonised Africa and are therefore virtual colonies already.
He also contends that African countries have really never been free in spite of the instruments of sovereignty they are supposed to have. He also warns about the dangers of the Second Scramble for Africa by the industrialised nations which are busy exploiting Africa's resources for their own benefit and contends that globalisation is in many ways a new form of imperialism.
Yet he has wrongly been portrayed, along with some prominent African and European scholars including Professor Ali Mazrui, Christoph Blocher, Mahmood Mamdani, Peter Niggli, and R. W. Johnson as someone who advocates the recolonisation of Africa.48
Godfrey Mwakikagile says exactly the opposite in his book Africa is in A Mess.
In fact, the title, although not the sub-title, comes from President Julius Nyerere who said exactly the same words in 1985: "Africa is in a mess."
Godfrey Mwakikagile explicitly states that in his book, saying he got the title from Nyerere's statement and felt it was appropriate for his work, although the tone and content might be disturbing to some people. He is brutally frank about the continent's deplorable condition.
But the book echoes the sentiments of tens of millions of Africans across the continent who live in misery and those who are frustrated by lack of fundamental change in African leadership notorious for corruption and other vices including tribalism and tyranny as Godfrey Mwakikagile bluntly states in his work.
His fellow Africans who have reviewed the book on amazon.com and elsewhere in different publications and on the Internet strongly support the author and share his concerns about Africa's plight and the misguided leadership the continent has had to endure for decades since independence.49
One African reviewer, Khadija Mona Kabba, a member of Sierra Leonean President Ahmed Tejan Kabba's family, also contacted the author to congratulate him for writing such an honest book, as she stated in her review of the book on amazon.com. And she provided an additional perspective, as an insider, that shed more light on Africa's predicament in her review of Godfrey Mwakikagile's book, Africa is in A Mess, and said she was going to work with him on a joint project about Africa.
And in the same book, Africa is in A Mess, Godfrey Mwakikagile is also highly critical of Western powers for ruthlessly exploiting Africa even today in collusion with many African leaders.
His harsh criticism of bad leadership on the African continent prompted Ghanaian columnist and political analyst Francis Kwarteng to put him in the same category with George Ayittey, a Ghanaian professor of economics at The American University, Washington, D.C., and author of Africa Betrayed and Africa in Chaos, among other books. As he stated in his article, "Great Lessons From Dr. Yaw Nyarko's Work," GhanaWeb, 8 January 2014: "Prof. Ayittey's intellectual assault on Africa is, probably, no different from Godfrey Mwakikagile's."
Yet there is a clear distinction between the two African scholars, reinforced by Godfrey Mwakikagile's ideological orientation and strong Pan-Africanist views which separate him from Professor George Ayittey who does not share the philosophical conceptions, in a Pan-African context, of prominent Pan-Africanist leaders such as Nkrumah and Nyerere the way Mwakikagile does.
Godfrey Mwakikagile's books have also been reviewed in a number of academic publications, including the highly prestigious academic journal, African Studies Review, by leading scholars in their fields. They include Military Coups in West Africa Since The Sixties which was reviewed in that journal by Professor Claude E. Welch of the Department of Political Science at the State University of New York, Buffalo; and Ethnic Politics in Kenya and Nigeria reviewed by Nigerian Professor Khadijat K. Rashid of Gallaudet University, Washington, D.C.50
His other books have also been reviewed in the African Studies Review and in the Journal of Contemporary African Studies. They include Nyerere and Africa: End of an Era and The Modern African State: Quest for Transformation which were reviewed in the African Studies Review; and Nyerere and Africa: End of an Era which was also reviewed in the Journal of Contemporary African Studies.
See also an analysis of Godfrey Mwakikagile's book, Ethnic Politics in Kenya and Nigeria, in A. Simpson and B. Akintunde Oyetade, "Nigeria: Ethno-linguistic Competition in the Giant of Africa," published in Language and National Identity in Africa, Oxford University Press, 2007, pp. 172–198; and Godfrey Mwakikagile's Military Coups in West Africa Since The Sixties in P.J. McGowan, "Coups and Conflict in West Africa, 1955 – 2004: Part II, Empirical Findings," in Armed Forces & Society, Sage Publications, in 2006.
For more reviews of his books, see also Expo Times, Sierra Leone; The Mirror, Zimbabwe, and other publications including those featured on the Internet.51
He has also written about race relations in the United States and relations between continental Africans and people of African descent in the diaspora. His titles in these areas include Black Conservatives in The United States; Relations Between Africans and African Americans; and Relations Between Africans, African Americans and Afro-Caribbeans.
Professor Kwame Essien of Gettysburg College, later Lehigh University, a Ghanaian, reviewed Godfrey Mwakikagile's book, Relations Between Africans and African Americans: Misconceptions, Myths and Realities, in Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society, Volume 13, Issue 2, 2011, an academic journal of Columbia University, New York, and described it as an "insightful and voluminous" work covering a wide range of subjects from a historical and contemporary perspective, addressing some of the most controversial issues in relations between the two. It is also one of the most important books on the subject of relations between Africans and African Americans.
The book has also been discussed on different forums on the Internet. It was also the subject of a radio talk show in the United States when it was first published. The talk show was on WCLM, Richmond, Virginia, and the book was discussed three different times in April and May 2006. It was the station's Book Club Choice and generated a lot of interest. The show was broadcast nationwide and could be heard on the Internet worldwide. Listeners were invited to call in and participate in the discussion. The main guests who discussed the book were Professor Adisa A. Alkebulan, an African American, of San Diego State University, and Professor Albion Mends, a Ghanaian, of Central Missouri State University, also known as the University of Central Missouri. The host of the show said she received hundreds of emails from different parts of the United States and other countries on the subject of relations between Africans and African Americans when the book was being discussed.
Godfrey Mwakikagile's books are found in public and university libraries around the world and have been adopted for class use at many colleges and universities in the United States and other countries. Most college and university libraries in the United States have his books.
Titles by Godfrey Mwakikagile:
- Economic Development in Africa, 1999
- Africa and The West, 2000
- The Modern African State: Quest for Transformation, 2001
- Military Coups in West Africa Since The Sixties, 2001
- Ethnic Politics in Kenya and Nigeria, 2001
- Nyerere and Africa: End of an Era, 2002
- Africa is in A Mess: What Went Wrong and What Should Be Done, 2004
- Tanzania under Mwalimu Nyerere: Reflections on an African Statesman, 2004
- Black Conservatives: Are They Right or Wrong?, 2004
- Nyerere and Africa: End of an Era: Expanded Edition with Photos, 2005
- Relations Between Africans and African Americans: Misconceptions, Myths and Realities, 2005
- Life in Tanganyika in The Fifties: My Reflections and Narratives from The White Settler Community and Others, 2006
- African Countries: An Introduction, 2006
- Africa After Independence: Realities of Nationhood, 2006
- Life under Nyerere, 2006
- Black Conservatives in The United States, 2006
- Africa and America in The Sixties: A Decade That Changed The Nation and The Destiny of A Continent, 2006
- Relations Between Africans, African Americans and Afro-Caribbeans: Tensions, Indifference and Harmony, 2007
- Investment Opportunities and Private Sector Growth in Africa, 2007
- Kenya: Identity of A Nation, 2007
- South Africa in Contemporary Times, 2008
- South Africa and Its People,2008
- African Immigrants in South Africa, 2008
- The Union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar: Product of The Cold War?, 2008
- Ethnicity and National Identity in Uganda: The Land and Its People, 2009
- My Life as an African: Autobiographical Writings, 2009
- Uganda: The Land and Its People, 2009
- Botswana Since Independence, 2009
- Congo in The Sixties, 2009
- A Profile of African Countries, 2009
- Africans and African Americans: Complex Relations – Prospects and Challenges, 2009
- Africa 1960 – 1970: Chronicle and Analysis, 2009
- Nyerere and Africa: End of an Era, Fifth Edition, 2010
- Zambia: Life in an African Country, 2010
- Belize and Its Identity: A Multicultural Perspective, 2010
- Ethnic Diversity and Integration in The Gambia: The Land, The People and The Culture, 2010
- Zambia: The Land and Its People, 2010
- Belize and Its People: Life in A Multicultural Society, 2010
- The Gambia and Its People: Ethnic Identities and Cultural Integration in Africa, 2010
- South Africa as a Multi-Ethnic Society, 2010
- Life in Kenya: The Land and The People, Modern and Traditional Ways, 2010
- Botswana: Profile of A Nation, 2010
- Uganda: Cultures and Customs and National Identity, 2011
- Burundi: The Hutu and The Tutsi: Cauldron of Conflict and Quest for Dynamic Compromise, 2012
- Identity Politics and Ethnic Conflicts in Rwanda and Burundi: A Comparative Study, 2012
- The People of Uganda: A Social Perspective, 2012
- Uganda: A Nation in Transition: Post-colonial Analysis, 2012
- Obote to Museveni: Political Transformation in Uganda Since Independence, 2012
- Uganda Since The Seventies, 2012
- Civil Wars in Rwanda and Burundi: Conflict Resolution in Africa, 2013
- Peace and Stability in Rwanda and Burundi: The Road Not Taken, 2013
- Africa at the End of the Twentieth Century: What Lies Ahead, 2013
- Statecraft and Nation Building in Africa: A Post-colonial Study, 2014
- Africa in The Sixties, 2014
- Remembering The Sixties: A Look at Africa, 2014
- Restructuring The African State and Quest for Regional Integration: New Approaches, 2014
- Africa 1960 – 1970: Chronicle and Analysis, Revised Edition, 2014
- Post-colonial Africa: A General Study, 2014
- British Honduras to Belize: Transformation of a Nation, 2014
- Why Tanganyika united with Zanzibar to form Tanzania, 2014
1. Godfrey Mwakikagile, Life in Tanganyika in The Fifties, ISBN 9789987160129, New Africa Press, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 2009, p. 19. See also, G. Mwakikagile, My Life as an African: Autobiographical Writings, ISBN 9789987160051, New Africa Press, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 2009, p. 21.
2. Life in Tanganyika in The Fifties, p. 20; My Life as an African, p. 367; The London Review of Politics, Society, Literature, Art & Science, Volume 9, 24 September 1864, p. 341: "To open up this central African plateau to a legitimate and profitable trade with England and to European colonization is the leading feature of Dr. Livingstone's scheme." See also Philemon A.K. Mushi, History and Development of Education in Tanzania, ISBN 9789976604948, Dar es Salaam University Press,Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 2009, p. 64; Bella Walters, Zambia in Pictures, Lerner Publishing Group, September 2008, p. 77; Joseph F. Conley, Drumbeats That Changed The World: A History of The Regions and Beyond Missionary Union and the West Indies Mission, 1873 – 1999, ISBN 087808603-X,William Carey Library, Pasadena, California, 2000, p. 60; A. T. Dalfovo, et al.,eds., The Foundations of Social Life: Ugandan Philosophical Studies,ISBN 1565180070, The Council for Research in Values and Philosophy, Washington, D.C., 1992, p. 110.
3. Life in Tanganyika in The Fifties, p. 21–22. See also My Life as an African, p. 23; Life in Tanganyika in The Fifties, p. 58.
4. My Life as an African, p. 87.
5. Life in Tanganyika in The Fifties, pp. 44, 77, 122; My Life as an African, pp. 47, 48, 78, 89, 92, 117, 119, 138, 154, 172, 175; Tanzania under Mwalimu Nyerere: Reflections on an African Statesman, ISBN 9780980253498, New Africa Press, Pretoria, South Africa, 2006, pp. 15 – 16.
6. "Newsman Leaves for America," Daily News, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 7 November 1972, p. 3; Life in Tanganyika in The Fifties, pp. 122 – 123; My Life as an African, p. 176.
7. My Life as an African, pp 89 – 90; "Newsman Leaves for America," Daily News, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 7 November 1972, p. 3; Life in Tanganyika in The Fifties, p. 56.
8. "Newsman Leaves for America," Daily News, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 7 November 1972, p. 3; Life in Tanganyika in The Fifties, p. 123; My Life as an African, p. 90.
9. Wayne State University Alumni, 1975; My Life as an African, pp. 76, 86, 120, 140, 164, 188, 190, 192, 246, 250, 266, 281; Godfrey Mwakikagile, Nyerere and Africa: End of an Era, ISBN 0980253411, Fifth Edition, New Africa Press, 2010, Pretoria, South Africa, pp. 86, 491, 509–511, 658, 664–665.
10. My Life as an African, pp. 306, 328; Nyerere and Africa, p. 649.
11. "Former CUNA (Credit Union National Association) chairman Ken Marin dies," Credit Union Times, Hoboken, New Jersey, 8 January 2008. See also My Life as an African, p. 306; Nyerere and Africa, p. 649, 664.
12. My Life as an African, p. 328. Nyerere and Africa, p. 664; "Former CUNA (Credit Union National Association) chairman Ken Marin dies," Credit Union Times, Hoboken, New Jersey, 8 January 2008; Credit Union Times, 4 December 2012.
13. Godfrey Mwakikagile, Economic Development in Africa, ISBN 978-1560727088, Nova Science Publishers, Inc. Huntington, New York, June 1999.
14. Godfrey Mwakikagile, Nyerere and Africa: End of an Era, Fifth Edition, ISBN 0980253411, New Africa Press, Pretoria, South Africa, 2010; Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala, "Three Years After Mwalimu Nyerere: Nyerere: True Pan-Africanist, Advocate of Unity," Daily News, Special Edition, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Monday, 14 October 2002, p. 19.
15. F. Ng'wanakilala, "Three Years After Mwalimu Nyerere: Nyerere: True Pan-Africanist, Advocate of Unity," Daily News, Special Edition, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Monday, 14 October 2002, p. 19; A.B. Assensoh, review of Nyerere and Africa: End of an Era, in African Studies Review, Journal of African Studies Association; Kofi Akosah-Sarpong, "Nyerere's Vision," in West Africa, 25 November – 1 December 2002, p. 41.
16. David Simon, ed., Fifty Key Thinkers on Development: Routledge Key Guides, ISBN 9780415337908, Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, London, New York, 2005.
17. amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and other book sellers.
18. Kofi Akosah-Sarpong, "Nyerere's Vision," in West Africa, 25 November – 1 December 2002, p. 41; K. Akosah-Sarpong, "Back to The Roots," in West Africa, 21–27 January 2002, p. 43.
19. F. Ng'wanakilala, "Nyerere: True pan-Africanist, advocate of unity," in "Three Years After Mwalimu Nyerere, " in the Daily News, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Monday, 14 October 2002, p. 19.
20. Godfrey Mwakikagile quoted by South African Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka in "Address Delivered by the Deputy President, Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka at the Third Annual Julius Nyerere Memorial Lecture at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa." Issued by the Presidency through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Pretoria, South Africa, 6 September 2006.
21. Kofi Akosah-Sarpong, "Back to The Roots," in West Africa, 21–27 January 2002, p. 43.
22. Godfrey Mwakikagile, Africa and The West, ISBN 9781560728405, Huntington, New York, 2001, pp. 1–46, and 201–218.
23. Godfrey Mwakikagile Nyerere and Africa: End of an Era, ISBN 0980253411, Fifth Edition, New Africa Press, 2010, Pretoria, South Africa. For Mwakikagile's Pan-Africanist views and perspectives, see also Professor Eric Edi of Temple University, in his paper, "Pan-West Africanism and Political Instability: Perspectives and Reflections," in which he cites Godfrey Mwakikagile's books, Military Coups in West Africa Since The Sixties and The Modern African State: Quest for Transformation.
24. Kwesi Johnson-Taylor, "Author, a shrewd intellectual in defence of liberation icons," book review of Nyerere and Africa: End of an Era, amazon.com, 21 February 2006.
25. Nyerere and Africa: End of an Era.
26. Godfrey Mwakikagile, Africa After Independence: Realities of Nationhood, ISBN 9789987160143, New Africa Press, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 2006, pp. 86, 91, 168–171; Godfrey Mwakikagile, Africa 1960 – 1970: Chronicle and Analysis, ISBN 9789987160075, New Africa Press, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania,2009, p. 510; Roger Pfister, Apartheid South Africa and African States: From Pariah to Middle Power, 1961 – 1994, ISBN 1850436258, International Library of African Studies 14, Tauris Academic Studies, an imprint of I.B. Tauris & Co. Ltd., London, New York, 2005, p. 40; Joseph Hanlon, Beggar Your Neighbours: Apartheid Power in Southern Africa, ISBN 0852553072, James Currey Ltd., London, UK, and Indiana University Press, Bloomington, Indiana, USA, 1986, p. 237; Mwesiga Baregu and Christopher Landsberg, eds., From Cape to Congo: Southern Africa's Evolving Security Challenges, ISBN 1588261026; ISBN 1588261271, Lynne Rienner Publishers, Inc., London, UK, and Boulder, Colorado, USA, 2003.
27. Jorge Castaneda, Companero: The Life and Death of Che Guevara, ISBN 9780679759409, Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York, 1998, p. 277; Nyerere and Africa: End of an Era, pp. 156, 158, 737.
28. In May 1963, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) was founded in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The OAU chose Tanzania to be the headquarters of the African liberation movements under the auspices of the OAU Liberation Committee which was based in Tanzania's capital Dar es Salaam.
29. Nyerere and Africa: End of an Era, pp. 209, 223, 224, 252, 254, 255, 404, 487–489, 503.
30. Life in Tanganyika in The Fifties, pp. 92 – 93. See also Nyerere and Africa: End of an Era, pp. 10 – 12, 65, 314, 363, 375, 484.
31. Nyerere and Africa: End of an Era, pp. 224, 487–488; "Newsman Leaves for America," Daily News, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 7 November 1972, p. 3.
32. Nyerere and Africa: End of an Era, pp. 360, 486. See also, "Brendon Grimshaw Dead," Seychelles Nation, Victoria, Seychelles, Thursday, 7 July 2012; "Brendon Grimshaw is dead," Daily News, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 7 July 2012.
33. "President Mourns David Martin," The Herald, Harare, Zimbabwe, 22 August 2007; David Martin (April 1936 – August 2007) – 40 years of service to African liberation," Southern African Research and Documentation Centre (SARDC), Harare, Zimbabwe.
34. "Martin – Man of Many Talents," The Herald, Harare, Zimbabwe, 24 August 2007.
35. "Martin Laid to Rest," The Herald, Harare, Zimbabwe, 25 August 2007.
36. Nyerere and Africa: End of an Era, pp. 486, 500, 569; My Life as an African: Autobiographical Writings, pp. 89, 156, 176, 375–376, 378.
37. Nyerere and Africa: End of an Era; Godfrey Mwakikagile, Africa after Independence: Realities of Nationhood, ISBN 9789987160143, New Africa Press, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 2006; The Modern African State: Quest for Transformation, ISBN 9781560729365, Nova Science Publishers, Inc., Huntington, New York, 2001; Military Coups in West Africa Since The Sixties, ISBN 9781560729457, Nova Science Publishers, Inc., Huntington, New York, 2001; Africa is in A Mess: What Went Wrong and What Should Be Done, ISBN 0980253470, New Africa Press, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 2006.
38. Africa is in A Mess: What Went Wrong and What Should Be Done, ISBN 0980253470, New Africa Press, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 2006; Africa After Independence: Realities of Nationhood, ISBN 9789987160143, New Africa Press, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 2006; The Modern African State: Quest for Transformation, ISBN 9781560729365, Nova Science Publishers, Inc., Huntington, New York, 2001; Military Coups in West Africa Since the Sixties, ISBN 9781560729457, Huntington, New York, 2001; Military Coups in West Africa Since the Sixties, ISBN 9781560729457, Huntington, New York, 2001. George B. N. Ayittey, Africa Betrayed, Palgrave Macmillan, New York, ISBN 9780312104009, 1993, p. 294.
39. Kwesi Johnson-Taylor, "Author, a shrewd intellectual in defence of liberation icons," in his review of Godfrey Mwakikagile's book, Nyerere and Africa: End of an Era, on amazon.com, 21 February 2006.
40. Life in Tanganyika in The Fifties, pp. 7 – 8.
41. Life in Tanganyika in The Fifties, pp. 31 – 32. See also Africa is in A Mess and Africa and The West.
42. Ronald Taylor-Lewis, in his review of Godfrey Mwakikagile, The Modern African State: Quest for Transformation, in Mano Vision, London, Issue 23, October 2001, pp. 34 – 35. See also Professor Catherine S.M. Duggan, Department of Political Science, Stanford University, in her paper, "Do Different Coups Have Different Implications for Investment? Some Intuitions and A Test With A New Set of Data," in which she cites Godfrey Mwakikagile on fundamental changes in African countries. See also Godfrey Mwakikagile, cited in Christopher E. Miller, A Glossary of Terms and Concepts in Peace and Conflict Studies, p. 87; and in Gabi Hesselbein, Frederick Golooba-Mutebi, and James Putzel, "Economic and Political Foundations of State-Making in Africa: Understanding State Reconstruction," Working Paper No. 3, 2006.
43. The Modern African State: Quest for Transformation, op.cit.; Wole Soyinka, The Open Sore of a Continent: A Personal Narrative of The Nigerian Crisis, ISBN 9780195119213, Oxford University Press, 1997; Chinua Achebe, The Trouble with Nigeria, ISBN 9789781561474, Fourth Dimension Publishing Co., Enugu, Nigeria, 2000.
44. Henry Augustine Brown-Acquaye, African Developments in Doldrums, ArtHouse, 2008, p. 81; M.I.S. Gassama, in West Africa, 21–27 March 1994; G. B.N. Ayittey, Africa Betrayed, p. 295; Peter Anassi, Corruption in Africa: The Kenyan Experience, Trafford Publishing, ISBN 9781412034791, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, 2006, p. 209.
45. Ibid. See also Ismail Rashid, a Sierra Leonian in exile in Canada, in the New African, London, May 1992, p. 10; Rashid Ismail in G.B.N. Ayittey, Africa Betrayed, op.cit., p. 295. See also George B.N. Ayittey, Africa in Chaos: A Comparative History, ISBN ISBN 0312217870, Palgrave Macmillan, 1997; Wole Soyinka, in a speech at Wellesley College, Massachusetts, quoted by Zia Jaffrey, "The Writer in Exile as 'Opposition Diplomat,'" in the International Herald Tribune, 2 May 1997, p. 24; Africa is in A Mess, pp. 63 – 64; Peter Anassi, Corruption in Africa: The Kenyan Experience, p. 209; Peter Anyang' Nyong'o, in Popular Struggles for Democracy in Africa (London: Zed Books, 1987), pp. 14 – 25.
46. Ibid. Alfred A.R. Latigo, The Best Options for Africa: 11 Political, Economic and Divine Principles, ISBN 9781426907678, Trafford Publishing, Victoria, BC, Canada, 2010, pp. 114 – 115; Senyo B-S.K. Adjibolosoo, The Human Factor in Developing Africa, ISBN 027595059-X, Praeger Publishers, Westport, Connecticut, USA, 1995, p. 64; John Mukum Mbaku, Institutions and Development in Africa, ISBN, Africa World Press, 2004, ISBN 1592212069, p. 236.
47. Dr. Kenday Samuel Kamara of Walden University in his abstract, "Considering the Enormity of Africa's Problems, is Re-Colonization an Option?" in which he cites Godfrey Mwakikagile's Africa is in A Mess and related works by other African leading academic authors including Professor Ali Mazrui, and Professor George Ayittey's Africa in Chaos. See Mwakikagile's book on the subject, Africa is in A Mess: What Went Wrong and What Should Be Done. See also Tunde Obadina, "The Myth of Neo-Colonialism," in Africa Economic Analysis, 2000; and Timothy Murithi, in his book, The African Union: Pan-Africanism, Peacebuilding and Development.
48. Professor Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni, a Zimbambwean teaching international studies at Monash University, South Africa campus, in his abstract, "Gods of Development, Demons of Underdevelopment and Western Salvation: A Critique of Development Discourse as a Sequel to the CODESRIA and OSSREA International Conferences on Development in Africa," June 2006. Professor Ndlovu-Gatsheni advances the same argument Godfrey Mwakikagile does and cites Mwakikagile's work, Africa is in A Mess, to support his thesis. See also Floyd Shivambu, "Floyd's Perspectives: Societal Tribalism in South Africa," 1 September 2005, who cites Godfrey Mwakikagile's Ethnic Politics in Kenya and Nigeria, in his condemnation of tribalism in post-apartheid South Africa; Mary Elizabeth Flournoy of Agnes Scott College, in her paper, "Nigeria: Bounded by Ropes of Oil," citing Godfrey Mwakikagile's writings including Ethnic Politics in Kenya and Nigeria; Professor Eric Edi of Temple University, in his paper, "Pan West Africanism and Political Instability: Perspectives and Reflections," in which he cites Godfrey Mwakikagile's books, Military Coups in West Africa Since The Sixties and The Modern African State: Quest for Transformation.
49. Professor Claude E. Welch, Jr., in African Studies Review, Vol. 45, No. 3, December 2002, pp. 124–125; and Ethnic Politics in Kenya and Nigeria, reviewed by Nigerian Professor Khadijat K. Rashid of Gallaudet University, Washington, D.C. in African Studies Review, Vol. 46, No. 2, September 2003, pp. 92 – 98).
51. Godfrey Mwakikagile in Expo Times, Freetown, Sierra Leone, and in The Mirror, Harare, Zimbabwe, 2002.