[As I look pon de pikin, Bredrin, sistas en elders in mi villages, I yam deeply grateful that spirits brought us together, for they saved not only my life, but have profoundly positively transformed the lives of so many others. dis hadithi ni ya hii upendo for jamii yetu.

revised excerpts from Welcoming Spirit Home – Ancient African Teachings to Celebrate Children and Community written by one of our sacred leaders, Sobonfu Some.]

In de kijiji, community life is built upon spirit. We know that spirit is constantly present. Spirits bring us clarity, provides inspirashun, allows peace, en gives us all de blessings we need. In a sense, spirit is so incorporated in de fabric of community that it is impossible to disassociate de two. The presence of spirit in community makes it possible for de community to be the guiding light of de tribe….

SPIRIT IS A PART OF US

In my kijiji we do not feel we need solitude. We can have our personal time while we are talking to somebody else. We can have our meditation time while we are in de community context. There is no need to be separated from de group to have solitude. Solitude already exists within the group – it’s a part of de whole. When we start to divide or separate it means that something in de whole is not working for us. Because we have permission to be ourselves within community, we have no need for solitude.

Kwasababu spirit is a continuous part of each of us, it is not necessary for us to take time out to sit quietly en meditate to get close to spirit. Spirit is always with us.

It is common, in my country, to see two people talking and then, simultaneously, pause. In that pause many tings can be happening. They can be meditating, or they can be having personal time to “tune in.” But people will never say, “I have to go be alone.” It’s a foreign concept – it just doesn’t fit.

If you say you need to be alone in our kijiji, people will wonder, “What is it that is not working for you that you have to be alone? What is happening that I should know to support you?”

A changing Afrika has brought alot of pressure in the maisha of our people. Every year when I return nyumbani I find that a new aspect of modern life has been brought into de village. However, many tings such as family, community, en leadership structure remains the same.

We don’t have a leader or chief whom everybody follows. Instead of leaders, our guides are spirit and de wahenga. This is difficult for many people to understand, but the lives of everyone in our community are built upon de foundashun given to us by spirit en de wahenga.

This forces us not only to be our own police but also to take responsibility and to be accountable. It is not up to an individual to take care of someone’s wrongdoing; rather, it is up to de spirit en de wahenga. And, kwasababu we don’t like reporting to these forces, we make sure that we don’t fall into our own traps.

When conflict does arise, people do not run away or move to a new community. They see de conflict as a timely zawadi/gif sent by spirit to clear obstructions in their lives. Conflict is a way to boost closeness in their intimate lives with others. Without conflict to crack open hidden thoughts, meanings, and energies, en without de means of dealing with conflict, a community is bound to stagnate en eventually cease to exist. Conflict, in a sense, is de barometer of a community. The way we deal with conflict tells us about our state of maturity en where we are as individuals as well as community.

The ruling forces that exist in de Dagara tribe are spirit en de wahenga, kwasababu they are able to see past, present, and future, because they are able to be impartial at all times. Human beings are subject to judgements, influences, and mind changes; wahenga or spirits are not. An individual who has committed a crime will most certainly be put in the spotlight by de wahenga. This happens, for instance, when a person is seen by a diviner (a person who sees past, present, and future; a holy person), en de wahenga expose de crime to de diviner. It is then the diviner’s role to let de person know that de diviner also knows about de crime. It is not, however, de diviner’s responsibility to “punish” de person for the criminal act. If de individual seeks the help of de kijiji, de kijiji will make itself available to de individual. In de event, de criminal refuses to admit what happened, de kijiji will then turn de matter over to spirit en de wahenga. This way of dealing with matters, because it does not have a human-based justice system or any kind of hierarchy within de system, is often looked upon by anthropologists as a primitive way of leadership.

CONTRIBUTING TO THE WHOLE

De community concept is based on de fact that each person is invaluable and truly irreplaceable. Each person has a zawadis to give, a contribution to make to de whole. The kind of zawadis a person brings, the kind of being a person is, is very unique to him, hir or her en is valued by the community……

I know that the concept of community with spirit as its guide may be difficult to understand. As you continue to read these excerpts from books by sacred leaders of our vijiji, you will re/discover a deeper understanding of how to incorporate this concept into your own life and community.

In recent times, the word “community” has been misused and battered, so it does not always bring positive connotations….When you go the cities of Africa and you inquire about going to the vijiji, many people, especially young people, are baffled at the idea of Westerners wanting to be associated with what they call “deep Afrika.” They look at you as if you are crazy. For them it is incomprehensible that a person who was born and raised in a city in de modern world would want to abuse themselves with de mediocre kind of life that one has in a kijiji. They understand that education and schooling is a means of learning to forget about Africa and its community lifestyle, including everyting involved with it.

There are people who were not born in Afreeka – en who are not of Afrikan descent – who are far more Afrikan than some people who were born and raised in Africa. It is an irony, because so many Afrikans are now negating the whole Afreekan culture while many others want to be immersed in it…..

CREATING A SENSE OF COMMUNITY

Community is de spirit, de guiding mwangaza ya kijiji, wapi watu wanakuja pamoja to fulfill a specific purpose, and to take care of one another. The goal of community is to make sure that each member is heard en is properly giving de zawadis he or she has brought to this dunia. Without this giving, community dies. And without community, individuals are left without a place where they can contribute. Community is that grounding place where people share their gifs en receive from others……ase.

hadithi? hadithi? are you ready for diasporic encounters indigenus narratives?

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