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People, Locations, Episodes

Mon, 12.08.1958

The First All African People’s Conference Convenes

AAPC Program

*On this date in 1958, the first All-African Peoples' Conference (AAPC) was held. This gathering was partly a corollary and a different perspective to the modern African states represented by the Conference of Heads of independent Africa States.

The All-Africa Peoples Conference was conceived to include social groups, ethnic communities and anti-colonial political parties, and African organizations such as Labor Unions and other significant associations in the late 1950s and early 1960s both in Africa and the Diaspora such as Europe, North America, and South America. The All-Africa Peoples Conference was conceived to represent the position that Africa should be returned to the peoples and groups, such as ethnic communities, from who it was grabbed by colonialism. The idea was suggested in Accra, Ghana, in April 1958 by John Kale from Uganda.

This was at the end of the first Africa Heads of State Conference. Kale, then operating from exile in Egypt, who was one of the organizers of the first Africa Heads of State Conference, was already the initiating secretary (and later Chairman) of the African Liberation Committee, the Africa Executive of Afro-Asian Solidarity which had its secretariat in Cairo and shortly after the Africa representative on the World Peace Council on which he was the Vice President. For Kale, the main reason for the parallel organization to the then just-concluded independent African Heads of States was that it had brought together only nine then independent African states, excluding the majority of the African peoples in the non-independent countries and in the Diaspora.

The First All-Africa Peoples' Conference was attended by delegates from independence movements in areas still under European colonial rule, as well as by delegates from the independent African countries, including representatives of the governing parties of some of those countries. In the Conference's own words, it was open to "all national political parties and national trade union congresses or equivalent bodies or organizations that subscribe to the aims and objects of the conference."  

The Conference met three times: December 1958, January 1960, and March 1961, and it had a permanent secretariat with headquarters in Accra. Its primary objectives were independence for the colonies, strengthening the independent states, and resistance to neocolonialism. It tended to be more outspoken in its denunciations of colonialism than the Conference of the Independent African States, a contemporary organization composed of heads of state, which was relatively constrained by diplomatic caution.



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