By: Izzy Craig
The Life of Pixley Seme
The Significance of Pixley Seme
Although his contributions are often downplayed, the Anti-apartheid movement would have been completely different if not for Seme. His speech, “The Regeneration of Africa,” was later delivered in England, which caused people from all over to comprehend that once Africa was free from its colonial overlords, it had the potential to play a large role in international affairs. Seme was brilliantly gaining international support long before others had even considered it. His unification of the African provinces and the creation of the SANNC was not found to be extremely significant at the time due to World War I and a lack of funding, but it did spark the formation of the ANC later on. In response to the Land Act of 1913, Seme established a newspaper, Abantu-Bathoeme, which was extremely useful in bringing Africans together from all over to fight the oppressive government. His distant fathership to the ANC allowed the organization of mass resistance to the race based system, and later the freeing of all South Africans. Without Seme, this group may not have ever been created, and the possibility of freedom would have been a distant dream. Even after he was pushed away from the ANC by the younger, more energetic generation because he was deemed too conservative, he still was a mentor to Anton Lembede, who later would create the National Congress Youth League. Seme continued to work behind the scenes in order to help his country, proving his devotion to the cause and his lasting contribution to the freedom of the nation.
Excerpts From "The Regeneration of Africa"
"I would ask you not to compare Africa to Europe or to any other continent. I make this request not from any fear that such a comparison might bring humiliation upon Africa. The reason I have stated: a common standard is impossible."
"Mr. Calhoun, I believe, was the most philosophical of all the slave-holders. He said, once that if he could find a black man who could understand the Greek syntax, he would then consider their race human and his attitude toward enslaving them would therefore change... If any such were now among the living, I could show him among black men of pure African blood those who could repeat the Koran from memory, skilled Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, Arabic and Chaldais—men of great wisdom and profound knowledge."
"The African already recognizes his anomalous position and desires a change. The brighter day is rising upon Africa. Already I seem to see her chains dissolved; her desert plains red with harvest; her Abyssinia and her Zululand the seats of science and religion, reflecting the glory of the rising sun from the spires of their churches and universities, her Congo and her Gambia whitened with commerce; her crowded cities sending forth the hum of business; and all her sons employed in advancing the victories of peace—greater and more abiding than the spoils of war. Yes, the regeneration of Africa belongs to this new and powerful period!"
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Seme, Pixley Ka Isaka. "The Regeneration of Africa." Columbia University. United States, New York. 5 Apr. 1906. African National Conference. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.