Blogger’s Notes: On big love, black skin (masque/e/rading under) white masks, and dadas in solidarity
The good(s): (on) The Q werd
The stories aren’t jus’ about queens & queers & trannies of Afrika(n./ descent)… if we used (jus’) ONE word to describe The Q werd, it would be LOVE [for (mama) Afrika, our ancestors, bredrin en sistren, our children, and those yet to be born].
These dedications are (personal, spiritual AND political) intended to question and raise awareness of our Afrikan stories, and invoke knowledge/able responses that will help fill the gaps
[coz as little as we may claim we re/member of our true true stories, we know otherwise…
that if it’s true, it’s not new.
To make it plain….
there are no blanks at this time of our ( very-long ) existence on earth: every space has already been re/filled, history revised en stamped with the blood of many of our people.
dis’ earth mapped out en recalibrated according to the powers that be……
so, then what about the rest of US….are we not living proof of the brilliance of truth ?
Many questions (still) will be explored as the Q werd unfolds…..how do we build solidarity not only within our communities, but with conscious allies? In what ways is our freedom tied to the liberation of all oppressed peoples? Knowing that there is so much that we have lost already, how many more compromises are we willing to make to go on trying to survive off borrowed currencies?
En if it’s up to the people to liberate themselves, then how can you (en I) make (y)our contribution to society more meaningful?
A dada, who I was blessed to meet en work with years ago now, (one of the many goddess womyn that I love, respekt en admire, that has taught me through their critical analysis en practice of big love), posted a message on her face book profile (not-so) recently, that has been reverberating for moons going on years now….
I’m sick and fucking tired of surviving!
En as I’m getting the shit I need together, to go on to THRIVing, as I’m taking care of my own responsibilities, (en)visioning the United States of Afrika, in our lifetime, en trying to atone for MY own negligence and sins, I dream better every night, knowing that (at the very least) I’m trying, en I’m (slowly) changing, en I’m becoming the woman I want to be, en using my strength in the service of my vision (quotes from another goddess…..Audre Lorde)
so I may not be on the continent, may not be a politician, teacher, filmmaker, I may not be an activist (no more), may not be working (for money) for any N.G.O, but I still have a role to play in working for MY communities en MY families, en in re/educating not only myself, but others….
en talk is cheap, but it’s also necessary…all the betta for us to get an over/standing of our journeys and needs…… Like on this blog, we’re looking for super(s)heroes [read/ers: artivists, fundraisers, program volunteers & afrikan stars]….for this epic (series) of ‘The Q werd’ in the pipeline (read: grassroots mobilisation en guerrilla style shooting all through the summer moons)
Take a minute. Think about it…listen to/read some of the hadithi we’re retelling, en remember the stories we’ve told are the ones we haven’t made up to try to set the world straight. Take any one of these stories, do with them as you will. Re/post it. Forget it. But don’t say in the years to come that you would have lived your life differently if only you heard this story. You’ve heard it now.,,,,
We warn you, we have not just begun, we are using the arts for revolushunary change, planning on putting our actions where our preach-talk is – (steeped) in (pan) Afrika (n. landscapes….holla back en let us know how we can share resources. Afrika moja! Afrika huru!
Nilienda Bungoma, Kaimosi, Kimilili, Webuye, kweli nilitembea, nanilistaajabu ya musa, nipe mji! nitakupatia hadithi…..
The bad is when we are alien to ourselves, and nowhere is it more apparent en (seemingly) entrenched than in our religions…..it is no coincidence that Kenya officially has the most Christian sects in the world, or that many indigenous afrikan religions survived the onslaught of slavery, Christianity & colonialism through syncretism with the ‘big boys’….jesus doesn’t have a copyright on being ‘the Christ’, and devils have been known to masquerade as ‘men of God’
There’s a saying at home, Mkono usioweza kuukata, ubusu……kiss the hand you cannot cut…know what I mean? The truth is I, like many others have been afraid en distracted for so long, procrastinating, backing down, compromising, breaking promises, breaking down….. en I have also been changing. The beauty en hope in losing one’s way is that you know the ‘right’ path when you find it….it’s simple really. Like the bible states somewhere in the palimpsest of our stories….. to I & I be true. So,
This post ain’t about proselytizing, the truth is, it shouldn’t really matter what religion one practises, the bigger point is what we practice en work (at) every day that makes things better for not only ourselves, but for others……
en if we spent more time figuring out how to harness our (people) power and share our resources equitably, then we wouldn’t have to be concerned about the ‘devils’ among us…..why waste any more time with bad symbolisms? Let’s jus’ move forward with the angels en super s/heroes, no?
These words are not my own, the sentiment is in the irony of the second story….
For those readers in Africa, a word of advice from the get-go: enjoy your beer now and wear your mini-skirts often because such joys – if that is what they are to you – might not last long.
Let me explain by introducing my new favourite pastor, Rev. Dr David Githii, head of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA). He argues that Kenyan government buildings harbour many satanic symbols and that Kenya is a country reeling under ‘the great influence of devil worship’.
Four years ago, he was quoted in the East African Standard saying that “the two snakes at the entrance to the Kenyan House of Parliament, the huge Masonic star at the entrance to the High Court, the frogs and tortoise signs in the High Court must be demolished.” Presumably because they are signs of the devil. Nor did his investigations into the insidious nature of Lucifer stop there.
It turns out that Kenya’s national rallying call, Harambee, which means pulling together, is actually a religious invocation: Haree means hail, while Ambe is a Hindu Goddess (ahem, a mere 2 years ago, when in high school, we used to call parties harees, as in ‘we are off to haree at carni’. Little did we suspect that we were deep in the Gujarati). It came into usage in Kenya courtesy of the Indians who built the Kenya-Uganda railway and would chant the phrase as they toiled under the gaze of man-eating lions.
Some of the symbols that have come under suspicion for promoting devilry and general evil include ‘a compass and square on the grilles at the entrance to St. Andrews Church, Masonic coffins on the church’s 30 windows and celestial globes on stairs leading to the main sanctuary.’ (See more here) Other symbols on the chopping board are the old church’s spiral which is a spear on top of a hut.
Rev. Githii’s faction has been opposed by one made up of some of the more prominent business leaders in the congregation who according to the press contend that “the targeted symbols and designs have been in the PCEA churches for more than a century and were simple Scottish internal decor engravings and patterns on stained glass windows with links to Freemasonry but not necessarily satanic.”
This faction, perhaps unknowingly, is clutching to the legacy of the Overseas Presbytery of the Church of Scotland which for almost half a century (until 1956) run the affairs of the church and only relinquished direct control in 1975 when the first African senior minister was installed. The glass stained windows that are the subject of Rev. Githii’s righteous wrath are a tangible connection to the colonial ‘history’ of the church. The faction that supports their maintenance shall eventually lose because it is unknowingly in the path of a historical tsunami.
In the past, I have argued that African Christianity is approaching an epochal break with its European roots. The separation of the moral domain of the Kenyan and of the European is the fundamental moment in decolonisation. It should not be a surprise that it is taking place within the church; an institution built on the possibility of transcendence much more so than any secular decolonisation idea. You are more than the sum of your parts in the church. In a moment you can be made whole: transformed from sinner to believer, from sickness to health and witness the dead brought to life. Whether this is true or not matters less than the extent to which it is believed.
During the brief encounter between the peoples in Kenya with European colonialism, there were periodic attempts to spurn the ‘white man’s ways’. Whether it is the Mau Mau or Lukas Pkech, a young Pokot man who was a follower of Elijah Masinde’s Dini of Msambwa and launched an armed rebellion against the British, religious belief has been ground zero in taking on the European yoke which crucially has been based far more on notions of moral superiority than on the Maxim gun.
The Rev. Githii’s of the world are going much further than Pkech who said ‘don’t listen to this man, he is our enemy. Haven’t we a god? We pray to you Jehovah. Who is Jesus? The wazungu say he is god but how could he be if he died?’ (quoted in Bethwell Ogot’s amazing essay in Mau Mau and Nationhood) Today’s rebels are not merely dissenting against colonialism, which is history anyway, they are remaking a moral house from the foundation up. This necessitates that they strive against the latest notion of European moral superiority: secular humanism. And they are taking this fight to the heart of the enemy.
In May 2005, while in the United States, Reverend Githii severed his denomination’s relationship with the National Capitol Presbytery and the Presbytery of Detroit over their ordaining of practicing homosexuals. He spurned the $300,000 in funding that his church receives from the PCUSA writing, “We find it unfortunate for you to question the inspiration of the Bible as the Word of God. This contradicts the message that the Western missionaries gave to us when our people first heard the gospel from them.”
In 2003, his counterpart in the Anglican Church, Bishop Simon Oketch, was almost beaten up by two Church of England colleagues on a London street. He had infuriated them over his uncompromising opposition to the appointment of the gay American pastor, Rev. Gene Kelly, as Bishop of New Hampshire. The Nigerian Anglicans, the largest congregation in that church followed suit by breaking longstanding links with the mother church in a rejection of its prerogative over them. Homosexuality is only the lightening rod. All manner of progressive civil freedoms will come under attack, most focusing on gender roles and sexuality.
There is irony in this. The western church has allowed the mores of secular society not because of reaching an enlightened understanding but by trying to stay relevant to a largely apathetic western public. Only in those areas where it retains a conservative ‘reactionary’ character has it thrived. The African church, rather than rebelling, seems to be saying: “You the progressives are the ones who are rebels who must be cast out of the house of God.”
This is a message that is gaining resonance in Africa where the church is growing faster than almost any other part of the world outside Mongolia. The explosions of sectarian violence worldwide leaving people in need of belonging and security; the march of democracy, which will reduce the power of the authorities to call the tune; and the proliferation of the means of communication will all combine to shrink the secular space and enlarge that of the believer. The nation, throughout all the countries in Christendom, has been erected on the foundations of the church. It will be no different in Kenya.
That Rev. Githii is willing to take aim at a national symbol such as Harambee is proof that his campaign shall not be limited to dissing the western church. Rather than participate in direct politics, the Kenyan church shall eventually absorb politics into the moral space that it is busy carving. Its strictures on the private will be so much stronger than the ideas that maintain the public sphere, creating an immense pressure – and possibly even violence aimed at unbelievers or the immoral etc. What now only seems to be a campaign for souls will eventually colonise increasingly larger parts of the public sphere.
The fact that the ‘centre’ – the collection of individuals and institutions that define national power – is so ideologically feeble and so dependent on western aid and political ideas will only hasten this process. Like Archbishop Rowan Williams who could only look on in helplessness and surrender as the Nigerians and Kenyans threatened to tear the Anglican Church to pieces over the issue of homosexuality, the Kenyan ruling classes will come to mime the moral positions advocated by the most popular of the churches.
I say enjoy your beers and mini skirts for the moment because they may not be with you in similar form for very long. Already, sectors of the government are taking a harsher line on drinking and other ’sin’ products all in the name of public safety and health. But it will soon become noticeable that as bars begin to close ever earlier, churches will stay open later.
In time, this trend will probably make for an intolerant and constricted social space, but one that will for the first time create the basis of a politics connected to the moral lives of a majority. Through fire and brimstone, laws and regulations that reduce all manner of secular freedoms – that I for one enjoy – a nation shall begin to take shape. Or at least that is what I hope.
Blogger’s note: That’s bad enough, but THIS is (an even sadder version of) the bad & ugly.
Another case of us denying kind/dred, eating our own, and desecrating the bones of our ancestors.
Taken from http://www.religionnewsblog.com/5478
Americans Got it All Wrong (read: (this) Afrikan got the crux of IT wrong)
Francis Ayieko. Dec 29, 2003.
Although the report says that the people of East African countries enjoy enormous religious freedom, it criticises Kenya for “frequently harassing and periodically arresting and detaining” members of Mungiki.
[blogger’s note: read – the government also systematically targets activists, community workers, poor people, and freedom fighters under the guise of anti- Mungiki /terror/ism]
While the State Department may have every right to criticize any government that has no respect for the religious freedom of its people, its criticism of Kenya for allegedly harassing members of the outlawed sect is obviously misplaced.
That the report turns a blind eye to the many violent incidents members of the sect have been implicated in reeks of betrayal. Should the Government just watch as Mungiki kill and maim innocent Kenyans?
Since its activities came to light in the 1980s, the sect has been blamed for killing scores of people in Nairobi, Murang’a, Nyeri and Laikipia. In Nakuru, relatives of at least 20 people killed in Nakuru by the sect members are still struggling to come to terms with the loss. Is that what religion advocates?
The State Department’s assessment of religious freedom, especially with regard to its handling of Mungiki, may be weird but it has a precedent in Kenya itself.
Only four months after the Government banned the sect along with 17 other organisations in March last year (after Mungiki members were implicated in the massacre of 28 people in Nairobi’s Kariobangi Estate), the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK), released a report which praised some of the Mungiki practices and beliefs as “progressive”.
Titled “Mungiki Movement in Kenya: Religion-Political Analyses”, the report hailed the sect for preaching self-reliance, hard work and independence.
It was very unfortunate that the NCCK, the largest and oldest umbrella body for Kenyan protestants, considered female genital mutilation and tobacco-sniffing as the sect’s only “retrogressive practices”.
Claims by the NCCK official during the launch of the report that Mungiki members had been dismissed and dealt with violently was a very unfortunate move by a religious leader.
But the fact that the US State Department regards Mungiki as one of the religious groups in Kenya is proof of the muddle that religion has turned into. While religion may have played a role in the formation of the sect, observers believe that it is no longer a key characteristic of the group.
It claimed to espouse a return to Kikuyu traditional religion and cultural practices, much like the Tent of the Living God of Ngonya wa Gakonya. But today, its members are free to join any religion.
With its national co-ordinator Ndura Waruinge’s conversion into Christianity a few weeks ago, it should dawn on most sect members that it is time for soul-searching. It appears there is an inner cry in most Mungiki sect members for a religious attachment. This was seen last year when they decided to woo Muslims to become their allies. It failed.
Had it stuck to its initial mission of being a religious group that does not espouse the Western culture without being violent, no one would have bothered the sect. This is because cults and sects are hardly a new idea in Kenya.
The Nomiya group founded by “messiah” Elisha Adet in the 1920s is probably the oldest. But the largest was Dini ya Musambwa of Elijah Masinde. Though Masinde was known for violent brushes with the law between the 1940s and the 1960s, his followers never engaged in the kind of atrocities associated with Mungiki.
The only ugly legacy Masinde, who died in 1987, left for his followers was a deadly religious concoction on which he himself lived.
In Kenya, which is said to have more than 600 registered denominations and several hundred more that are unregistered, cults and sects seem to be a permanent feature. But Mungiki, which is now a group of ruffians, should never be regarded as one of them.
Mr Ayieko is the editor of EndTime News, a monthly Christian newspaper…….
en the crux (of the matter) is our solidarity. dadas in solidarity is the ‘dream’ of the Q werd, a coalition group seeded in response to the anti homosexuality bill tabled in Uganda last year…….if we can stop the bill, then we can deliver (more) services to our community, starting with using what we (already) got, the bigger point is we, dear readers, are the ones we’re looking for…..it’s not yet uhuru, but there WILL be peace for those willing to fight for it……
to be continued…..
Discography – (some) soundtrack (adaptations) of the Q werd
- Asa – 360 degrees, Fire on the Mountain
- Ayo – is this supposed to be love
- Bob Marley – Buffalo Soldier/Kaya/Zimbabwe
- Brenda Fassie – Nakupenda/Vulundlelas/Wedding Song
- Hanifah Walidah – Do you mind?
- K’naan –Somalia/Take a Minute/ Waving Flag
- Lamya – Empires/Lady Borderline
- Me’shell Ndegeocello – Beautiful
- Nneka – Africans, Beautiful, Changes, Gypsy, Warrior, Love: No longer at Ease trailer
- Sade – Soldier of Love/Sweetest Taboo/
- Shi Wisdom – just one of those nights
- Stella Chiweshe – mbira classics
- Weird MC – Riranwo