The National Coalition for Blacks for Reparations in America (NCOBRA) and the Pan-African Institute for the Study of African Societies (PAISAS) have signed an MOU as part of a process of strengthening relations between Africa and its Diaspora. Here is the document:
MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING (MOU)
THE NATIONAL COALITION FOR BLACKS FOR REPARATIONS IN AMERICA (N'COBRA)
THE PAN-AFRICAN INSTITUTE FOR THE STUDY OF AFRICAN SOCIETY (PAISAS)
N'COBRA is based in the United States of America (USA). N'COBRA's founding meeting, September 26, 1987, was convened for the purpose of broadening the base of support for the long-standing reparations movement. Organizational founders of N'COBRA include the National Conference of Black Lawyers, the New Afrikan Peoples Organization, and the Republic of New Afrika. N'COBRA has individual members and organizational affiliates. It has chapters throughout the United States and in Ghana and London. It is directed in the USA by a Board of Directors. Its work is organized through nine national commissions: Economic Development, Human Resources, Legal Strategies, Legislation, Information and Media, Membership and Organizational Development, International Affairs, Youth and Education.
In September 2003, N'COBRA formed a 501(c) (3) corporation, N'COBRA Legal Defense, Research and Education Fund. The mission of this 501(c) (3) is to develop and implement projects to educate and seek reparations for Africans and People of African descendant. As a 501(c) (3) it would not engage in lobbying.
The reparations issue is growing momentum. An organization in the forefront of the African Reparations Movement is N'COBRA (National Coalition for Blacks for Reparations in America).It brings together private individuals, not-for-profit human rights organizations, legal professionals and concerned citizens in a coalition that ensures that both the United States government and corporate entities that profited from the African slave trade make restitution to the descendants of African slaves.
N'COBRA's mission for African reparations is not limited to the United States. Its International Affairs Commission is part of a worldwide effort to legally enforce restitution for African descendants all around the world. N'COBRA attended the meeting in Durban in South Africa for the World Conference Against Racism.
What strategies does N'COBRA utilize and endorse?
Since its inception N'COBRA has embraced public education, mobilization, organization, and more recently, transformation, to obtain reparations. It has organized town hall meetings and rallies in cities throughout the United State of America, bringing long-time reparations advocates, the newly converted, and skeptics together to talk about the necessity of reparations to obtain racial justice. Its members and leaders have participated in conferences, radio and television programs and people's tribunals discussing conditions that require reparations and strategies for moving forward. N'COBRA utilizes a periodic membership newsletter 'Reparations Now!; a quarterly news magazine 'Black Reparations Times' and a website, www.NCOBRAonline.org,to inform the public about the Reparations movement.
Black businesses are asked to support Reparations, principles of cooperative economics, and a code of professional responsibility by which they agree to service their customers with the utmost integrity and quality of service. N'COBRA also joins in direct actions organized by other groups.
Under the leadership of its International Affairs Commission, N'COBRA works closely with Africans, African descendants and supporters of reparations for Africans and African descendants throughout the world.
N'COBRA understands the status of Africans and African descendants in the United States, throughout the Diaspora, and on the Continent is based on the same or similar crimes against humanity. N'COBRA acknowledges that the success of the movement for reparations for Africans anywhere advances the movement for reparations for Africans and African descendants everywhere.
1. The aims and objectives of the Pan-African Institute for the Study of African Society (PAISAS) are to develop a center of excellence dedicated to the in-depth study of African society and it’s Diaspora. Among others the Institute shall:
2. Action and conduct research in African realms of traditional ways of knowing, behavior and actions
3. To promote Afrikology in the context of the study of the cultures, traditions, religion and the political economy of African society for the benefit of humanity
4. Document constraints to transformation of the socioeconomic conditions of the African people at home and abroad
5. Be a clearing house for research and information on African society in Africa and its Diaspora, in line with Africa's contribution to the world knowledge and cultural systems, whilst restoring the role of the African woman
6. Co-operate with and where possible and necessary, perform any other functions, activities and pro grams relevant to the aims and objectives of the Institute, including the identification of PAISAS revenue sources, income generation to fund PAISAS, as well as the establishment of commercial businesses.
In the long term PAISAS aims to link knowledge production to meeting the needs of global society .The Pan-African Institute for the Study of African Society (PAISAS) is dedicated to study, research, document and provide public education on in depth Pan-African issues. The study of Pan-African issues focuses on history, culture, language, traditional knowledge systems, politics, leadership, economy and on matters/issues affecting the well-being and development of the African people.
The research agenda will target the biographies of African leaders in politics, science, arts, sports, business and other human endeavors. A Pan-African collection of major works of Africans and people of African descent shall be created to provide reference materials on Pan-African issues.
Public education on Pan Africanism will target the Youth to educate/enlighten them on in- depth Pan Africanism in order to create a broader outlook for their Pan-African world. Why the Youth? It is common knowledge that the Youth are the leaders of tomorrow, but what type of leaders will we have if they are not knowledgeable about Africa? As much as we need to groom our Youth to become good leaders of tomorrow, we have to pay equal attention to educating them on African issues.
Despite the good feel talking about 'Africa rising', the truth is that Africa remains the laggard of the world. The African condition has to be located within the trajectory of dependency and under development. Unlike Asia and other regions which were part of European Empires, Africa continues to be caught in the vicious cycle of economic dependence, poverty, wars, pandemics, inequality and other debilitating conditions.
What needs to be done to move Africa forward
PAISAS believes that Africa must first and foremost come to terms with itself: its weaknesses, its strengths and its potential. PAISAS will make its contribution towards African introspection, synthesis and progress. PAISAS welcomes the opportunity of working with N'COBRA to jointly realize these objectives.
PROSPECTS FOR JOINT WORK N'COBRA/PAISAS
The key link of Africa with its Diaspora reached its high point in 2002 with the conversion of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) into the African Union Commission (AUC) and the adoption by th
AUC of the African Diaspora as the 6th Region of Africa. This was the product of a long struggle which had commenced with the enslavement of Africans, first by Arabs and later by Caucasians. The western enslavement resulted in Africans being transported across the Atlantic to the Caribbean, the Americas and Europe. It was the struggle of these Africans for freedom and equality that gave birth to Pan Africanism.
At the 2002 AUC Heads of State Summit in Durban, South Africa it was agreed to integrate the diaspora into the AUC on the basis of equality. However this decision was not honored in its implementation.
Since then the Diaspora has found itself increasingly marginalized and the key linkage of Africa with its Diaspora has been deliberately weakened. The last eight years has raised questions as to the future of the unity movement. Those who hold that without the integration of the Diaspora, Africans stand as a house divided, seek ways and means to address the damage, to repair and restore.
Apart from the political work to reverse the current trend, organizations such as N'COBRA and PAISAS will initiate programs to strengthen the key link and to work jointly on projects towards integration.
This document serves as a statement of intent, to be followed up by both parties to elaborate concrete activities of joint work. N'COBRA has a wealth of experience in reparations. PAISAS is a new structure, less than one year old, based in a country where genocide took place and reparations is a matter of on going public concern.
PAISAS recognizes that being based in the USA N'COBRA would be in contact with African American Adults and Youth with experiences in ICT and other various forms of western technologies, who would wish to share their expertise by coming to Namibia to train young Namibians. In the realm of culture, older African American musicians and jazz artists could come to Namibia to share and exchange their skills with Namibian Youth.
Another area would be the training of Namibian Youth in taxation, accountancy, possibly international law, and other disciplines that would enhance training of Namibian Youth in serving the nation.
Other areas of cooperation could be in agriculture and mining. The United States of America has entered into agreement with the Republic of Namibia to import Namibian beef and other such items as dates, grapes, and diamonds, to name a few. N'COBRA, through its International and Economic Development Commissions, could work with PAISAS in exploring ways of importing these and other US approved items into the USA.
This MOU is a non-binding statement of the Organizations' mutual understanding of their proposed collaboration framework, and is not intended to create any legally binding obligations on either Organization but, rather, to facilitate further discussions regarding general areas of cooperation.
In witness whereof, the individuals signing this MOU have the authority to sign on behalf of its respective organization in the capacity indicated to execute this MOU.