When Teodora Gomes, an immortal leader within the African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau (PAIGC), spoke there most likely wasn’t a dry eye in the room. Comrade Teodora was speaking to a room full of voting delegates present at PAIGC headquarters in Guinea-Bissau, West Africa, for the first Party Congress for the All African People’s Revolutionary Party (A-APRP). There was A-APRP participation within the room from chapters and organizing areas in Guinea-Bissau, Azania (South Africa), Kenya, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Canada, and the U.S— a pan-African vision in the making.
Widely regarded and respected within the PAIGC, A-APRP, and every corner of the revolutionary Pan-Africanist world, comrade Teodora’s life embodies every element of the pride and dignity that fuels our movement for freedom and self-determination. From being a leading military combatant against Portuguese colonialism in Guinea-Bissau to being a leading militant within the PAIGC and the General Union of Guinea-Bissau Women (UDEMU), comrade Teodora’s words that day (along with the words of PAIGC President Domingos Pereira and other PAIGC militants) should have captured the imagination of every African, living or not, who expressed concern for African forward progress.
Comrade Teodora said that she had dreamed of that day, Saturday, January 14, 2023, since she was a little girl living under Portuguese colonialism. She said her dreams had been realized because African people from all over the world were in Guinea-Bissau to elevate our struggle for Pan-Africanism— the total liberation and unification of Africa under scientific socialism. She has been working toward the objective that she described during the almost 80 physical years she has inhabited the planet. She told the participants that regardless of where we were born or lived, Africa is our home and it is our responsibility to carry our Pan-African work forward for future generations. And as further illustration and evidence of the PAIGC’s commitment to our revolutionary Pan-Africanist vision, we were treated to receptions all around the city of Bissau. Hundreds of people at each stop expressed support for the PAIGC/A-APRP and Pan-Africanism. Making it crystal clear each time that comrade Teodora’s words reflected the intentions of the African masses.
Comrade Teodora and all of the people of Guinea-Bissau provided all the inspiration required to dive right into this historic Congress meeting. We understood our mission. We all know the history of the great Pan-African Congresses, especially the 5th Pan-African Congress of 1945, and all of the work around this objective that has occurred over the last 120 years. The importance of the moment that the people of Guinea-Bissau expressed to us was clear. There have been very few instances, beyond the work of the Universal Negro Improvement Association, where Africans from so many countries have come together to chart a single unified vision for our collective future.
From that moment forward, our focus was to conclude our work there with solid direction on how to move forward and we believe that objective was accomplished. The delegates represented two long years of active and intense work, involving party militants everywhere, in studying and prioritizing the focus of the Congress. The results were the expansion of our ideological identity to that of Nkrumahism/Tureism/Cabralism to officially add the name of Amilcar Cabral to our ideology, recognizing his immortal contributions to our ideological foundation and his role in co-founding the A-APRP.
There were also sweeping changes to our structure within the A-APRP that are designed to facilitate a tighter focus on Africa and better critical organization of our pan-African work everywhere we organize. Another priority was to raise our support for our All African Women’s Revolutionary Union (A-AWRU) resulting in strong efforts to ensure that women’s votes and voices are heard in everything the A-APRP does.
Obviously, we are well aware that the real work begins after leaving and settling back within our respective areas. A lot of our decisions will need further clarification and organization. The struggle will continue. All of us understand that. There is no progress without that struggle. What we also left the Congress understanding is that all of us have a responsibility. We are tasked, along with every African organization and individual, with doing everything we can to guide us closer collectively to Pan-Africanism. I can say with complete confidence that after 39 years of active work within the A-APRP, I left Guinea-Bissau with a greater focus on contributing to our work than ever, and I’ve always had a very strong focus on this work. I believe I can say that for all of us. The work will be intense, but it’s also clear that this work will be done and as a result, imperialism’s days are most certainly numbered. The days when our youth everywhere can express themselves within an environment of respect and dignity are calling to us from everywhere within this galaxy.