It was precisely because Walter Rodney disagreed with this ahistorical, unscientific position that Tanzania became his finishing school. It is my position that the practice and experience of Tanzania served to reinforce his belief that Pan-Afrikanism was the only way forward for Africa – that individual African countries could not achieve development as neocolonial mini-states and, further, that the class struggle was the locomotive on which we would arrive at the socialist Union of African States.
The thing that got to me was that he was not content with calling me a “black bastard”, as the rest of his ilk would have done. For those people, it is the word “black”, when attached to “bastard”, that holds the potent abusive quotient. In a manner of speaking, “bastard” is merely the packaging, the lead piping; the word “black” is the incendiary element in the pipe-bomb of racial abuse. Indeed, “black” for them is a term of abuse, which is why the pure racist, the bona fide article, is loath to use the word “black” to describe a black person they happen to be “fond of”. In such rare cases, they use “coloured”, or even “African”, in its stead.