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Review of 'Speaking Truth to Power: Selected Pan-African Postcards' the week of the anniversary of the first year of Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem's passing, Amir Demeke reviews , a compilation of Tajudeen's weekly Pan-African Postcards. Describing the book as 'a well-balanced meal', Demeke stresses: 'For those who read for enlightenment, find a copy of the book and turn on the light.'

While the world celebrated the first anniversary of the life and legacy of Dr Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem at London’s Amnesty International Human Rights Action Centre, Africanists on the continent have taken a moment to reflect on the impact of a man who was for many the flag-bearer of global Pan-African thought. I sat this weekend to read the latest compilation book of Tajudeen’s postcards, 'Speaking Truth to Power', in order to appreciate the essence of the man who dedicated his adult life to African liberation. The former United Nations Millennium Campaign deputy director for Africa and director of Justice Africa lost his life on 25 May 2009 in Nairobi en route to launch a maternal health campaign in Kigali.

'Speaking Truth to Power' is a well-balanced meal from the novice to expert Pan-Africanist, and reads with the pace and tone of a man committed to African people over political alignment. From urging African leaders to hasten toward continental unity to charging men to play critical roles in ending violence against women, Tajudeen illustrates his acute awareness of the most pressing issues in contemporary African affairs. Of particular relevance today are the articles, 'Every day should be a woman’s day', 'Africa without borders' and 'Africa Day: who says slavery is dead?' The first article mentioned reminds readers that 'the world cannot be a better place if women’s conditions are not better in it' and calls for true liberation and equality across gender. The second postcard applauds the efforts made within East Africa to drive socio-political and economic integration, particularly with Rwanda and Burundi joining the East African Community. In the third, which was posted exactly four years ago today, Tajudeen does not fail to bring our attention to the essential question for every person moving toward a better Africa. Speaking from the land of the greats, Tajudeen returns repeatedly on his day, Africa Day, with a clear demand: 'You need to ask yourself whether by your action or inaction you are part of the problem or part of the solution. Happy Africa Day!'

'Speaking Truth to Power' is a good book for those who want a broad-spanning look into the mind of a true Pan-African leader. For those who read for enlightenment, find a copy of the book and turn on the light. For those with differing views, grow more committed in your stance only after giving Dr Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem your time and your ear. The man who simply said 'Don’t agonise! Organise!' becomes clearer through the compilation.

A copy of 'Speaking Truth to Power' is available at the National Library in Gikondo, Rwanda, but you may also find this Pambazuka Press book at the Librairie Ikirezi in Kigali, Storymoja in Nairobi, Fountain Publishers in Kampala, A Novel Idea in Dar es Salaam or online at the Pambazuka Press website. Pambazuka Press, dubbed the progressive pan-African publisher, disseminates analysis and debate on the struggle for freedom and justice in Africa through the voices of the peoples of Africa and global South.


* Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem's 'Speaking Truth to Power: Selected Pan-African Postcards' is available now from Pambazuka Press.
* Amir Demeke is an international correspondent with Black Power Media ('Nothing more, nothing less'), an independent media group that centres on the experiences and liberation of African people.
* This review was originally published by Black Power Media.
* Please send comments to [email protected] or comment online at Pambazuka News.