March 2012


From Concrete. mud. cool wota. life.death.re/birth cycles to

*deep breaths. long stretches. hands on stomach….back. mi head*

I forget specific details even in long-groomed patterns nowadays en de bigger point of dis story is one I’ve not shared in public directly, yet living en working on fully from good health to crisis and intervention na la necesidad de resolver in these fundamentally linked ‘spheres’ that (so many of) we advocate and determine for ourselves en with our communities & governments.

Dis hadithi that we all share, our health, life en wealth, in such diverse – systemically [re]defined wid identity politics – ways, yangu already well archived by the ministry of health, emergency doctors, (goddess sent) healers, many bureaucrats, an Insurance company…a long list.

Imekuwa siku arubaini na moja (41 days) since an ‘accident’ of intersections, fruits & veggies, and de powah of metal en miracles variety. That day was quite significant, depending on where you look at it from. Was coming to the last hours of marking lifestrong celebrashuns of an honourable leader of emerging social justice movements in East Afrika –  Kato Kisuule en mi re-birth, with offerings [included as ‘extra’ indulgences] like apples, bananas, strawberries, sweet potatoes, a pumpkin, plums….which in turn literally saved mi life, but I getting ahead of dis story.

Hiyo siku was like a day out of time, one of those where from the moment I woke up early, everyting was moving slower in deep communion with mi biological, extended & spiritual family. In other words, that day was and forever will be real special.

Some mo’ context: was in de place of crossing over thresholds of grieving rituals not only for David Kato but other bredrin and sistren in solidarity, marking de spaces between de end of a year of ‘silence’ in honour of reclaiming indigenous Afrikan traditions en de beginning of another  epic year, when IT  happened.

As I was walking to (de rays of glorious sun on a path like the nile, from de crosswalk going directly to) mi destination, almost halfway across de final road, on mi right of way en all, an ‘accident’! turning to face it head on, mi bag of offerings were de sacrifice thrust to protect mi front, long seconds of divine song-movements, then a literal TIME OUT!  [wetin dey happen?]

Lying on de ground, [a womban pulling me to] sitting up, looking at where I was going/up, dazed en rooted, so close/resigned… [malaikas coming from de sight en sounds of IT] before everyting sped up to [on mi back for hours] radically slow down, en fundamentally transform not only de past moon but how I move in de world. [najua it could have been much worse lakini  it was a mo mysterious turn…]

*deep breaths. long stretches. hands on front. back. mi head*

magic of big upendo, chicken soup & cool wota.

pole pole ndio mwendo.

De next day was another miracle (mos def depending on where you look at it from), across oceans, in David Kato’s ancestral home – Uganda; the Minister of Ethics & Integrity, Simon Lokodo, raided a conference and closed down an LGBT capacity building workshop with comrades narrowly escaping. Good ting that truth don die, because one moon later Ugandan activists sued Scott Lively – infamous hate preacher [& one of the architects of the anti-homosexuality bill] .  Soon after, 4 warriors on de ground in Uganda also sued the Minister of Ethics & Integrity for infringing on their rights in breach of the constitution.

De spaces between those days to dis week, have been filled wid an intricately evolving relationship with mi body, pain, & healing, work.

Despite seeming to fall through de cracks of dis system en not having

photographed by Nicole for Nganga Mandaza

de go-to institutionalised centers of health as accessible as I have a right to, IT  gets ‘betta’.  I give thanks for all those who were sent to me, those around me whose nourishing gifts restore every siku, en infinitely grateful for de positive transformations en relationships that been growing with, in response to en despite of injustices of all kinds for they prepare me en we to harvest the cataclysms of yesterday with mo faith & hope.

[#Stop Hate #Anna Brown #Trayvon Martin #Alem Dechassa ]

Nashukuru wahenga wa hii ardhi, nashukuru wahenga wangu, wale najua, wale sijui, na wale wanaonijua deeper than ninayojijua … Naomba de continued guidance en protection of  nyinyi honoured wahenga

*deep breaths. long stretches. hands on back. to de heavens na ardhi.*  

Give thanks for getting another chance to walk pon dis earth and foh de potent reminder that I yam because we are, so what’s next?

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[What makes West & Central Afrikan traditions so pan-Afreekan? feel moved to  repost hadithi like these kwasababu, there’s de immense value in harvesting our similarities as we acknowledge & honour those memories  in our ‘bones’]

….Dead chickens, dogs, en flowers serve as a reminder of an aspect of Cuban life that is inevitable even after death, one that has become even more necessary since de periodo especial  economico (special economic period): la necesidad de resolver, or the need to “resolve” tings. Although de dictionary definition of de word resolver is “to resolve”, in Cuba, survival means “resolving” tings in de broadest senseof de word. “Tengo que resolverme alimentos” means “I have to find a way to get myself some food,” to solve de omnipresent problem of food shortages…..

Resolver also implies relying on an informal network of people, both living en deceased, from all parts of one’s life; de more people one knows, de more likely one’s needs will be resuelto, resolved, efficiently. In its earthly context, resolver  means surviving “on top” of de frequent wreckage en ruin of everyday life in Cuba. In its spiritual context, resolver  means helping those who have passed on to the next world to rest peacefully, en persuading de dead to treat de living with care en respect rather than malice en envy. Because the muertos “gave birth” to de santos (los muertos parieron al santo), de wahenga (ancestors) must be consulted first not only in Santeria but other pan-Afrikan ceremonies.

In de context of dis re/post, practitioners of Santeria believe that de dead can influence de living en must be treated with respect, awe en kindness. All people carry a number of dead spirits with them, en these spirits can be beneficent, malicious, or any combination thereof. Through divination (usually with coconut shells or cowrie shells), a Santero can determine de nature, number, en occasionally de specific identities of the dead spirits who accompany his godchildren.

These spirit guides can also be summoned up by misas espirituales (spiritual masses), which are led by practiced morteras (literally, “deaders”; often women, those who can communicate easily with the dead)…..Although de dead are not considered as powerful as de orichas, they allow de divine potential of de

2009 - Tdot

orichas (orishas/orisas) to manifest itself, en they are believed to be capable of intervening in de lives of humans to effect certain acts of good or evil…..

Talking with the dead takes time and practice, say de elders, but once you talk with them, you can see them, too. They always see you.

…..RELIGIOUS TOURISM: SANTERIA PAYS

…Since the beginning of the periodo especial economico in 1990, daily life in Cuba has become a constant struggle because of de increasing shortages in food, gas, electricity, transportation, en all sorts of material goods. The periodo especial economico is de official euphemism for de severe economic tailspin caused by de economic en political withdrawal of de former Soviet Union, which had for decades subsidized Cuba’s purchase of Soviet gas, oil, en machine parts, en had been paying roughly 3 times the world market price for Cuba’s sugar in an attempt to prop up de island’s failing economy. A chance to resolver one’s own personal oricha (orisha) becomes more attractive in this atmosphere of increasing hardship.

The chance to resolver  one’s material problems is directly related to de swelling ranks of Santeros and Santeras in Cuba: de chance to make some fula (Cuban/Kikongo slang for hard currency). Cubans aren’t the only ones who are becoming initiated into Santeria in

@godown arts centre

Cuba. Foreigners from Spain, Mexico, France, Canada, de United States, en other countries in Europe & South America arrive in Havana every moon for de seven-day initiation ceremony.

Cuba is fast becoming a primary destination for “religious tourism,” as it is considered an authentic source for de practice of Santeria, Palo Monte, Arara, en Abakwa…

  foh more of  dis check

[Chapter 7 – RESOLVER AND RELIGIOUS TOURISM IN CUBA Page 204 – 5…212….219 in

Divine Utterances      The Performance of Afro-Cuban Santeria by Katherine J. Hagedorn ]

Ugandan LGBT Activists Sue U.S. Evangelical  “Hate Preacher” in Federal Court

Lawsuit Charges Abiding Truth Ministries President Scott Lively with Persecution

[Lively Also Connected to New Anti-Gay Bill Passed in Russia]

March 14, 2012, Springfield, MA and New York –Today, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) filed a federal lawsuit againstAbiding Truth Ministries President Scott Lively on behalf of Sexual Minorities Uganda, a non-profit umbrella organization for LGBT advocacy groups in Uganda. The suit alleges that Lively’s involvement in anti-gay efforts in Uganda, including his active participation in the formulation of anti-gay legislation and policies aimed at revoking fundamental right from LGBT persons constitutes persecution. This is the first known Alien Tort Statute (ATS) case seeking accountability for persecution on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Uganda’s parliament has a pending bill, commonly known as the “Kill the Gays Bill,” that provides the death penalty for “homosexuality,” prison for failing to turn in someone suspected of being “homosexual,” and criminalizes advocacy around LGBT rights.

“Lively has been the man with the plan in this enterprise,” said Pam Spees, senior staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights.  “He long ago set out a very specific and detailed methodology for stripping away the most basic  human rights protections, to silence and ultimately disappear LGBT people. Unfortunately, he found willing accomplices and fertile ground in Uganda.”

Said Frank Mugisha, executive director of Sexual Minorities Uganda, “U.S evangelical leaders like Scott Lively have actively and intensively worked to eradicate any trace of LGBT advocacy and identity. Particularly damaging has been his claim that children are at risk because of our existence. His influence has been incredibly harmful and destructive for LGBT Ugandans fighting for their rights.  We have to stop people like Scott Lively from helping to codify and give legal cover to hatred.”

The Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill, first introduced to the Ugandan Parliament in 2009 and reintroduced in February 2012, enumerates degrees of ‘homosexuality’ and punishments ranging from imprisonment to the death penalty. The complaint filed today includes evidence of Lively’s participation in laying the groundwork for broad-based attacks on the LGBT community including portions of the bill intended to criminalize advocacy around LGBT rights as well as deprive gay activists of the right of freedom of assembly, the right of association and the right to be free from discrimination.

The bill’s sponsor, David Bahati, is a Ugandan politician and member of The Family, a powerful and secretive U.S.-based evangelical and political organization known in the U.S. for organizing an annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington.

Scott Lively has been working with anti-gay forces in Uganda since 2002. In March 2009, Lively, along with two other U.S. Evangelical leaders, headlined a three-day conference intended to expose the “gay movement” as an “evil institution” and a danger to children. Lively likened the effects of his advocacy to a “nuclear bomb” in Uganda and stated that he hopes it is replicated elsewhere. The Anti-Homosexuality Bill emerged one month later with provisions that reflected Lively’s input. As in Uganda, Lively aims to criminalize LGBT advocacy elsewhere and has worked with religious and political leaders in Russia, Moldova and Latvia to that end. He states he has spoken on the topic of homosexuality in almost 40 countries and advises that “the easiest way to discourage ‘gay pride’ parades and other homosexual advocacy is to make such activity illegal.” An anti-gay bill that prevents speech and advocacy around LGBT rights was passed and signed into law last week in St. Petersburg, Russia…

Sexual Minorities Uganda  v. Lively was filed under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS), which allows for foreign victims of human rights abuses to seek civil remedies in U.S. courts.

The lawsuit was filed in Springfield, Massachusetts, where Lively currently lives and continues his work. Upon the filing, a coalition of rights groups from Springfield marched from the federal courthouse to Lively’s coffee house, Holy Grounds, where they protested his anti-gay advocacy locally and around the world.

For more information visit CCR’s case page http://ccrjustice.org/LGBTUganda/

To read the complaint, visit  http://ccrjustice.org/LGBTUganda/complaint.pdf 

Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) is a non-profit non-governmental organization that works toward achieving full legal and social equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in Uganda.  It serves as an umbrella organization for many other sexual minority advocacy organizations in Uganda.  The mission of SMUG is to lead advocates in the fight for the recognition of same sex relationships and the removal of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. 

The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change. Visit www.ccrjustice.org and follow @theCCR .

banange! infinitely grateful for the hard work of upendo & coalition building invested by front line activists in Uganda na mashariki, [hadi magharibi, kusini na kaskazini ya bara,tukishirikiana na] comrades and allies, in de diaspora.

karibuni…..de commonwealth of nations tip?

An Open Letter to AmerIndia (abbreviated)

By Carla Moore & Mario Guthrie  [ soundtrack: d’bi  young.anitafrika & LAL]

xaymaca land of your naming
we say Jamaica  like you were never here
Jamaica 50
what of xaymaca?
in 50 years it was gone
I know not how I got here
indentured-servant-slave
but for staying
I apologise
you were a story
Taino
a thing a black child learned
Arawak
a part of Jamaica’s history
the part before the real part
I apologise.

Reblogged from http://jamaicawrites.com

Mi people, samahani (forgive me) for not having loved you relentlessly…

Somewhere, sometime I had forgotten, watu wangu, lakini no mas!

malaika kama wewe hunikumbusha ukweli, nashukuru unavyotufundisha kila siku na kazi yako.

pamoja tunafika na upendo, au siyo?

Barua ya upendo [in sheng]: from the great gran pikin of Haki na Amani

If my brother or sista from Ghana dey suffer or celebrate, in de spirit of dis ting called ubuntu, [not only] leo we embrace ‘Ghana/ia-nities’, harvesting the legacies of our youth [movements] en elders, standing on de shoulders of our wahenga, calling wetu na wa West Afreeka, wale tunaowajua kama Kwame Nkrumah, Osei Tutu, Nana Yaa Asantewaa, na Gran nanny of de Maroons, wale wahenga sijui, na wale wanaotujua deeper than we know ourselves, infinitely grateful for your continued guidance and protection.

Mungu abariki Afreeka. From our shores to de diaspora of righteousness, pamoja tutafika!

Chale na kwasababu leo ni leo, asemaye kesho ni muongo, how do we honour & nurture our relationship with the struggle of working on our own unity first in, dis quest of, the liberation of all Afrikan peoples?

Leo, nawaita living mashujaa wa Ghana, precious metaphors of de most valuable resources we got – watu wetu!  [wa]Malaika kama Ama Ata Aidoo, Dzodzi Tsikata, na Dr Rose Mensah-Kutin, Y’akoto & FOKN Bois, bless am!…. those with honourable, honourable, honourable upbringing, wale wanao spread upendo, hope & positivity in abundance, our healers, wakulima, babalawos, natural born witches & wizards, those among us who carry de sage secrets of loving kama……..

In de werds of Kenya’s national anthem……Natujenge taifa letu. Ee ndio wajibu wetu. Daktari, wakulima, walimu na waganga wastahili heshima [mi substitution]. Tuungane mikono. Pamoja Kazini. Kila sike tuwe na shukrani. Ase o……..

on the quest for a resurgent Afrikan womyn’s activism in Tdot

[some] tings that inspire, restore & sustain me[=we]: kama picha za yesterday, leo na kesho

  1. Dis kinda soul/fullfood strengthens en positively transforms not only me so…..stories of bredrin and sistas gathering in love & solidarity, invoking the spirit of intimacy with each other and those who wished they were t/here but couldn’t make it, god/desse/s calling names of honourable wahenga en elders, sharing multi-layered journeys of big sistas,mamas, and others in our rainbow soup spectrum of identities. nights like watching Sistas in the Struggle with de Network for Pan-Afrikan Solidarity. re/learning from walimu kama Angela Robertson. Yolisa Dalamba. Wariri Muhungi. Kim Crosby.Dionne Brand.Leleti Tamu.Dionne Falconer.Sherona Hall…..

De question that brought me to dis ‘afrikan liberation moon’ gathering was how it took me this long to see this documentary? How did i miss it in all mi research for women’s & sexual diversity studies & feminist philosophy courses back when I was in ‘university’? true say naming IT started in mi belly, took a night of dreaming en a day to put words to, even as I listened to & reflected on versions of these questions in the audience, reminders to re/locate miself – en on the boundaries of this not-for- profit industrial complex within which so many comrades gather – what are the possibilities in sharing more meaningful resources in concrete continental-diasporic exchanges?  Jana, the spaces between, was dancing with de recognition & acknowledgment of big sistas that been teaching, taking care of, liming with & advocating for we in ‘ritualised’ community spaces through generations. Womben that I been listening to, learning from,sharing & building in extended villages with almost de entire decade that I been ‘immigrated’ to Tdot, some – mentors, others that I’d never met before, all warriors on the frontlines of social justice movements, harvesting litanies of survival en notes to belonging…I yam grateful for the builders who maintain positive, safe/r spaces to deepen our connection with the responsibilities of taking care of not only ourselves

network for pan-afrikan solidarity

but others and honouring our ancestors en those yet to come, within dis fundamental context called ubuntu.

What do a film screening & panel discussion organised, in Tdot, by the Network for Pan-African solidarity, an African heritage celebration for Ibeji, have in common with a fundraising drive, organised on the continent, by Fahamu, and a Day to end violence against sex workers, other than, uses of the powah of coalition building or intersectionality?

These are precious tokens of de ‘hirstory-making’ postcards of yesterday that I will remember tomorrow.

2. Stories like these make me so happy….What do Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana, South Africa, Nigeria, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Japan, Belgium, Germany, Sweden, Canada, the Netherlands, the UK, and the USA have in common?

They are home to people who have joined the Friends of Pambazuka and made a donation in the past two weeks. To our new Friends, thank you for your support and welcome to community of Friends. You are the first of many.

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3. Hadithi like these make me smile so hard

The Water Bird

A water-bird once, in search of food, swallowed the King of the crabs, and the whole tribe of crabs were so enraged that they swore they would have their revenge.

‘We will find this horrible bird,’ they declared, ‘and nip off its legs. We shall not fail to find it, for its legs are bright pink in colour and its feathers are pink and white.’

But the water-rat overheard the crabs plotting and hastened to tell the water-bird.

‘Oh! Oh!’ cried the water-bird. ‘They will nip off my beautiful pink legs, and then waht will become of me? Whatever can I do?’

‘It is very simple,’ replied the water-rat. ‘If you stand on one leg, they will think you are some other creature.’

The bird thanked him and tucked up one leg. When the crabs came, they saw, as they thought, a very tall pink bird with one leg and a large beak.

‘Our enemy has two legs,’ they said. ‘This cannot be he.’ And they passed away.

Ahahahaha!

Reblogged from http://excentricyoruba.tumblr.com.

asante dada