It is probably heartening that at a time when people in Africa are getting more and more reclusive, there is a small crop of them that still talks vigorously about Pan-Africanism.
For the author and others of his age, Pan-Africanism was the panacea when they grew up and they embraced the concept with near religious zeal as it formed the subject of heated and often passionate debate in schools and colleges.
In fact, not to be a Pan-African in the '60s and '70s, was the equivalent of being non-intellectual, someone out of touch with the dominant paradigm and therefore a person to be pitied. But things have since changed drastically such that to be a Pan-Africanist today, is to struggle with ideas that many people receive with angled mouths.
So, when a friend brought up the question of popularizing the African Union (AU) anthem recently, the author was kind of taken aback. Come to think about it. Here was a journalist who often writes about Pan-African issues and to be honest, he also didn't know even the first line of the song!
So, why load it on others to know the anthem? Fine, the anthem is a highly venerated hymn but perhaps before we get there, do the other AU symbols invoke similar inspiration, admiration and a sense of ownership when they so glaringly flash past our eyes?
To be honest, I have seen the AU emblem many times and it simply appeared to me like a mere graphic piece of artistic creation! But the AU emblem is actually the embodiment of the hopes and aspirations of the people Africa, past, present and future told in simple circles.
The palm leaves shooting up on either side of the outer circle stand for peace. The gold circle symbolizes Africa's wealth and bright future and, the green circle stands for African hopes and aspirations.
The plain map of Africa without boundaries in the inner circle signifies African unity while the small interlocking red rings at base of the emblem stand for African solidarity and the blood shed for the liberation of Africa.
Is there room for xenophobia there? The AU anthem has beautiful and highly inspirational words. It is a wonderful vehicle for forging unity, combating bigotry and enshrining love among the people of Africa as true brothers and sisters. Yet, it is a tool that is often never used!
In the digital world, there is no need to reproduce the anthem here but the author has felt compelled to present the first stanza.
If you, dear reader knew it before, then you beat him but equally fail because your neighbour brother or sister doesn't know it! Hear those words: Let us all unite and celebrate together The victories won for our liberation Let us dedicate ourselves to rise together To defend our liberty and unity.
The friend suggested the anthem be sung in schools every morning and at all political meetings as well as the many seminars and workshops held almost daily in Africa.
The author agrees that Africa has perhaps ignored for rather too long a very important means for enhancing human rights, encouraging freer migration across the continent and fighting poverty.
Indeed, if we fail to promote the anthem, then the map of Africa without boundaries in the heart of the AU emblem shall for a very long time to come serve only as an inquisition on our frailties and the scared ideals we crave but never attain.
Copyright Tanzania Daily News. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com)., source News Service English