Dear Minister of International Cooperation, could you introduce yourself?
My name is Samantha Tendai Sibanda and I come from Bulawayo Zimbabwe but currently living and working in Beijing China for 12 years now. I am a single mother of 2. A 22-year-old son and a 14-year-old daughter. I would like to think of myself as a change maker but most people out there know me as an educator, entrepreneur, activist, broadcaster and philanthropist who is highly devoted and has a deeply ingrained passion and vibrant voice for growth, emancipation, leadership, human development and empowerment.
I am the Founder and Executive Director for Appreciate Africa Network an organization whose sole intent is to is to promote the values of African socio-cultural and economic contributions anywhere in the world starting from our base of operation in China. I am committed to addressing and solving social issues and injustices in Africa, China and elsewhere around the globe.
What is your vision of Panafricanism?
Over the years we have collectively grown to believe the world is free and yet if one looks beyond the surface, it may be surprising to note that the fetters and chains that once surrounded our nations have now stealthily chosen to exercise their dominion over a different territory; to shackle the territory of our minds.
This is the colony I believe our founding fathers struggled, fought for and gave their lives to liberate. To simply consider the blood, sweat and tears shed by our ancestors to have been for the lone purpose of emancipating solely African nations and peoples, would be a grave mistake, rendering their sacrifices as far too frivolous to be worthy of death.
Pan Africanism seeks far more than liberation, unity and empowerment of the children of African descent. As we fight for the freedom of Africa, we are fighting for the mental liberation of the rest of the world, breaking the bondage of the lies that told them “we are not all one”.
The Pan Africanist movement is exactly that: a MOVEMENT! Dynamic, roaring and loud! It is the song “Aluta continua!” played at its highest crescendo. The thunderous march of an army of professionals, diplomats, entrepreneurs, fathers, mothers and children banding together in the hope of finally setting this captive world free from the slavery of the stereotypes, discrimination, racism and inequality that have plagued both the African and non-African in chains for centuries past. Pan Africanism is God’s rescue mission not just for a united Africa, but rather for a united world!
Who is your favourite character in Pan-African history, and why?
To choose my favorite character in Pan African history would prove an extremely difficult task for me because to be honest …..I do not know her name. She is the unsung daughter of the soil ,the forgotten heroin whose bones were never found. We all know her ,dont we ?….The single mother who fought till she breathed her last in the hope that her four orphaned children would grow up in a world far better than she had ever known. The woman whose wisdom flowed through the ears of the founding fathers,whose cheers and war cries gave them reason to go on ,she is the woman whose prayers caused the guerillas to dodge bullets and walk through fire,the same woman whose picture perfect beauty compelled the heart of the veterans to keep beating as they hoped to make it home alive…. Walt Disney’s ideal warrior princess, our African queen, our Malaika. The list goes on and on of course but a prominent catalyst of the Pan African movement I could dare not forget is my former President his excellency the late Robert Gabriel Mugabe. My applause rings loudest at the thought of his overwhelming triumph over illiteracy. My story is the story of the 98 % of Zimbabweans who can now read and write due to the education policies implemented by “father Zimbabwe. His words :“Zimbabwe will never be a colony again !”will forever echo in my mind as I remember how he did more than most to emancipate the people of Zimbabwe from mental slavery. Like all leaders he may have made a few mistakes here and there, but that just proved he was human and that alone; side by side with his futuristic the ideologies of cooperate nationalization, Indigenization and black empowerment that lifted the nation to the boasting status of The breadbasket of Africa give me eternal hope that even ordinary people can do extraordinary things
With the onset of technology and investment in Africa, how do you see Africa in the 21st Century?
Karl Marx wasnt wrong when he said “history repeats itself” -from the very genesis of civilization,eternity past tells us the story of a time when traders travelled from far and wide to the melting pot of the traders paradise. It doesnt take a historical genius to see how from the the dawn of the Homo sapiens to the golden ages, all trading and technological routes converged at the place we Africans are proud to call home. The industrial revolution was no different as world powers all set their eyes on the prize that lay buried in the land flowing with milk and honey. This technological advancement did not only cause the nations to demand the minerals of our land, they also took with them a commodity far more precious than gold -the African people. As the curtains closed on the age of imperialism forever, a new 21st century sun rises and this time, Africa and its people are on the right side of history! Once again history has turned in our favour and all roads lead to the Motherland as technology awakens the young and old to possibilities never known before. We have already seen billion-dollar telecommunication giants rising as rays of first light and its only a matter of time before construction, travel and tourism, healthcare and engineering catch up to the brightness of midday. In my opinion focusing on STEM education will finally give us the head start we need to be more than just fertile agricultural land but rather the richest cultivating incubator of the worlds next best entrepreneurs, scientists and diplomats. No longer shall the term raw materials be the word used to describe our riches for we shall finally write the cook book of innovation for the rest of the world. Brace yourselves! We are here.
What are you planning to do in the future for the State of the African Diaspora?
A popular Harriet Tubman quote reads, “I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves”.
Despite the labeling of our world as a ‘global village’ – where an ever increasing wealth of technological development and modernization have done away with the pseudo-separation represented by the physical borders and boundaries that mark the parameters of our nations – the scars of our bondage as the human race seem to have cut deeper than any “declaration of independence” could ever heal.
I believe Pan Africanism has never sought to isolate or seperate Africa from the rest of the world, rather it has sought to awaken the world to all that Africa actually has to offer. The virtue of the African spirit flowing through me has found its culmination in the Zulu word “Ubuntu”. Which does not mean melanin or its lack but rather “humanity “, regardless of race color or gender. No one defined it better than my grandmother when she first told me “Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu” literally meaning “a person is a person only because of other people”. As the Minister of International Cooperation my vision goes beyond that of simply uniting the African Diaspora, rather i seek to unite the world for the sake of humanity though programs and activities that I will be sharing soon.