There were many who were skeptical of Marcus Garvey’s “Back to Africa” movement, and of the impact that it would have on people of African descent. The doubters have been proven to be 100 percent wrong. The importance of “Back to Africa” is still growing, and sometimes in unexpected ways.
Coming back to Africa refers not only to a physical presence on the continent by those who had settled or traveled there as a way of returning to their source, but most importantly for people of African descent it refers to a spiritual linkage with Africa through an awareness of our roots. By giving me the opportunity to foreword this book, Adao Pinto offered me one more trip to Mother Africa, to my roots. Titinga Frederic Pacere, a Burkinabe solicitor, writer, poet and griot found the best way of expressing this linkage when he wrote, “If the branch is to grow, it must honor its roots.”
Reading the The Truth of My Journey by Adao Pinto brings you to the core of the wisdom embedded in this proverb. In describing his journey, the author reveals the roots that are the source of his strength and his resilience that is the inspiration of his life. This is the story of a man of modest origin who made it all the way to his capital city and then lived the dream of travelling the world to meet powerful men and women. Readers may recognize some of themselves in the life of Adao Pinto, whose journey to success was full of obstacles and pitfalls.
This book comes at the right moment to inspire the large number of African youth searching for their place under the sun. An awareness of their roots and cultural identity, along with determination and commitment, are necessary for them to succeed in a globalized world. Adao Pinto has managed to put together in a very harmonious way his personal story and the complex historical events that took place in his country, the Republic of Angola. The colonial past, the struggle for independence, decolonization, civil war and cold war are all part of his narrative.
For me this has been another profound discovery of an Africa where millions of people have been fighting to end injustice and for a better quality of life. Resilience in this fight is one of the shared values of black people throughout their history in Africa and as enslaved people abroad. The steps taken by Adao Pinto therefore remind me of the history of my own family, which I immortalized in a book entitled Die Free: A Heroic Family History. It’s the story of my great, great grandfather Sandy Wills, who escaped from his slave master and joined the United States Colored Troops to fight valiantly until the end of the American Civil War in 1865. He was a slave turned soldier, and he died free because of his choice to fight for freedom. To “die free” should be the spirit we want to cultivate. To die, as Adao Pinto writes, “free from hunger, free from ignorance, free from want, free from fear, free from any form of discrimination, free from injustice, free from any complex of inferiority or superiority.” To die free requires the kind of spirit displayed by Adao Pinto in his life, and I thank him for giving me the opportunity to foreword this book. It’s a way of consolidating the bridge between the African continent and its diaspora, while inspiring the youth and our future generations.