oral tradition


 stories like these nourish we so, check how our Tdot is…

growing en sustaining wisdom circles with ancient rhythms at the Pikin Amani Theatre (aka. Peace Gardens).

Shango Thunder Drummers are having new workshops to practise for Solstice festivities on Thursday June 21st.

What’s IT About?

(Pan-) African Drumming workshops

Prepare to participate in the Summer Solstice drum circle with  FREE drumming workshops

Instruments are limited. Bring your drums & other percussion instruments if you have them.

No experience or prior knowledge required.

 When is IT?

Mondays June 11th & June 18th, 7-9pm

Where?

Children’s Peace Theatre at 305 Dawes Road

Contact info

To sign up for workshops, email alixa@childrenspeacetheatre.org

or please call 416-752-1550 for details

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If I yam because we are, then sisi ni Wafreeka,

litanies of  survival & de legacies of our wahenga.

Na ni ukweli ,  #we are trayvon martin, alem dechassa & anna brown

#we are sakia gunn, david kato, & eudy simelane

….and when we speak we are afraid
our words will not be heard
nor welcomed
but when we are silent
we are still afraid

Kama vile Adrienne Rich alisema

“Until we can understand the assumptions in which we are drenched we cannot know ourselves.”

Na kwasababu ni muhimu kukumbuka, where there is a woman there is magic. If there is a moon falling from her mouth, she is a womban who knows her magic, who can share or not share her powahs. A mwanamke with a moon falling from her mouth, roses between her legs en tiaras of Spanish moss, this womban is a consort of de spirits. (ase)

[ntozake shange, sassafrass, cypress & indigo]

I give thanks for god/desse/s kama hawa, who know the truth, carry sage secrets of loving, en share their gifs abundantly. For sacred spaces like a righteously inspiring Sankofa night co-created by pan-Afreekan youth leaders from de Onyx Society & I Get Out 2.0  that sistas of dis collective organised in acknowledgement & celebration of black females .

I yam nourished,  mi cup overflowing wid healing upendo because we harvesting de wealth of our diversity en working on our unity so much mo.

…….so we continue speaking, remembering we were never meant to survive.

[asante sana Mama Audre Lorde, pamoja tunafika!]

[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 ]

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.

To all our other readers: we hope you will accept our invitation to join us in helping to build and support movements for social and political transformation. To do this we need to keep Pambazuka strong, free and independent.

The tribe of Friends is growing, but it is not complete. We need the rest of you – across the African continent and around the world to show what Pambazuka News means to

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If you think that Pambazuka is important, if you find what we do useful, if you like the materials we publish in Pambazuka News, then join the Friends of Pambazuka with a donation today.

Together we will celebrate and support African voices for freedom and justice. Together we will dare to invent the future.

Don’t take Pambazuka for granted. Become a Friend of Pambazuka. To find out more, write to us at friends@pambazuka.org

Read our appeal at http://pambazuka.org/en/category/features/80176

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

Paukwa! Pakawa! Hadithi? Hadithi?

Kuna hadithi najua kuhusu Re/presenting the Wild [is the moon] Woman Archetype

In (not only) my experience, lead performers teach improvisational possibilities, ways to think about improvising on the archetypal structure, but only after the neohphyte has reached a basic level of performative

competence; that is, only after the student understands the basic aural, visual, and gestural components of a given archetypal praise song, rhythm or movement. This notion of a constantly moving target calls  into question what one might call the body of material to be taught. What happens when that body does not remain constant?  The implication is that what is being taught (and learned) is not necessarily a fixed repertoire of songs, patterns, dances, and the like, but rather a way of hearing and performing and conveying the structures that inform these chants, rhythms, and gestures in a meaningful way. What is being taught, ultimately, after the student learns to imitate the teacher’s gestures, is how to perform differently from one’s mwalimu.

sacred space

This idea of imitation leading to (improvisatory) difference is directly connected to the notion of performative intent. One learns the basic rules of performance and engagement with the other performers in order to know how to interpret and bend those appropriately. If one does not have the initial feel for a rhythm, for example, how can one improvise successfully from it?……

Rogelio Martinez Fure, the asesor (artistic advisor) of the Conjunto Folklorico…..A gifted student of both Argeliers Leon and Fernando Ortiz, his artistic vision has guided de Conjunto Folklorico for most of its institutional life, from  through the mid-1960s, en then again throughout the 1980s and 1990s. In a July 1992 interview, Martinez Fure stated that he considered Ortiz to be the single greatest influence on his institutional and intellectual work.

Infact, Martinez Fure’s well-known book Dialogos imaginarios, written in the mid-1970s and published in 1979, is an “imaginary dialogue” with Fernando Ortiz about the ideology and uses of “folklore”. Even in the first chapter of his book, Martinez Fure promotes the idea of stimulating the transformation and development of folklore, by “cleaning up the folk”…[the bigger point is] One cannot escape the massive influence of Fernando Ortiz in Cuba….and this post is a tribute to legends of dis diaspora of righteousness and imaginary conversations with honourable elders like….

It is useful to compare Martinez Fure’s vision and critique of [the uses of] folklore (and Afro-Cuban, or what Alberto calls “black”) with that of the responsible (head) of the CFNC  percussion department, Alberto Villareal,

Katherine Hagedorn asked Alberto about his understanding of the term folklore as it related to the work of the Conjunto Folklorico during a September 1992 interview. Alberto’s vision of folklore, like that of Fernando Ortiz, refers specifically to the religious performance traditions of Cuba`s African-based population:

We [the members of Conjunto Folklorico] are looking for a way for folklore to be a principal source in Cuba, because really, from the point of view of art, the principal source for Cuba is the Conjunto Folklorico Nacional….So every time that Cuba`s folklore is to be represented in other countries, they send us……Ofcourse, folklore has always been a little bit off to the side, which can be understood as the attempt to eliminate it by people who don`t understand how the Conjunto Folklorico was founded. There have been people who have wanted to eliminate the Conjunto, too, because they said we are religious, we are black – but now they know they can`t eliminate the Conjunto. Because no country can eliminate its folklore [emphasis mine]. To represent a country`s folklore is like representing its flag. They have finally realised this. So, for this reason, there has been more of an effort to educate foreigners than Cubans on the part of the Conjunto……

But if, as Mercedes Cros Sandoval (1979) asserts, Santeria is a “mental health care system” for the shock of exile, what does it mean that sacred intent is confused and conflated with criminal intent? Is it simply the

collision of cultural values, or is there something theologically valid about seeing crimes and misdemeanors in diverse pan-Afrikan rituals?

The physicality of sympathetic magic, in which one sheds the blood of a bird instead of the blood of a human, works because the stand-in or metaphor can be disassociated from the primary source only in a limited way before it loses its ritual and symbolic powah: blood is blood and flesh is flesh; wine and bread won`t do.

It is precisely the blood sacrifice that riles up nonpractitioners. In Hialeah, Florida, in Miame-Dade County (home to hundreds of thousands of exiled Cubans), only in 1993, after years of litigation, did the Church of the Lukumi Babalu-Aye (an institution dedicated to the practice of Santeria, led by obba Ernesto Pichardo Pla) finally win its case: the Supreme Court ruled that the animal sacrifice practiced in Santeria was protected under the Constitution`s basic freedoms of religious expression. In Cuba, even until the early 1980s, religious practitioners of Santeria were routinely arrested on their way to initiations….An important subset of the prisoners of colour who were freed and subsequently directed toward the United States in the 1980 Marielito exodus from Cuba were practitioners of Santeria…..

CUBA AND THE ATLANTIC SLAVE TRADE:

Only de relative recent en conscious emphasis on Cuba’s Afrikan origins has allowed its scholars to begin to come to terms with its history of annihilation and exploitation. Walterio Carbonell’s Critica: Como surgio la cultura nacional (1961) marks a turning point in the postrevolutionary Cuban understanding of de history of slavery. Carbonell suggests that de slave revolts, oral culture, en religious traditions of nineteenth-century and twentieth-century Afro-Cubans were de real roots of the Cuban revolution, thus implying that the legitimate successors to de revolution were, in fact, Cuba’s long-oppressed black population. Carbonell’s work was immediately banned and its author imprisoned, so threatening did de young revolutionary government find his suggestions….[na bado]

It is useful to consider Cuba’s role in de Atlantic slave trade to gain a more nuanced understanding of how de prevailing attitudes about Cuba’s black population at the turn of the twentieth century might have been influenced by de events of de nineteenth century. Some of de first enslaved African peoples landed on Cuban shores in 1511, en under Spanish rule, Cuba continued to import slaves until the early 1870s. The indigenous Arawak and Taino peoples were annihilated by Spain’s invasion en colonization of de island during the first two centuries of de slave trade.

Spain then imported African, Asian and Yucatecan labourers to “replace” the indigenous peoples who were to have worked on Cuba’s sugar, tobacco, and coffee plantations….

RE/LOCATING AFRO-CUBAN FOLKLORE

Widely varying interpretations of Cuba’s racial composition have fueled both prerevolutionary and postrevolutionary constructions of twentieth (& 21st) century Cuban identity…..of immediate importance here is that the conditions of nineteenth- and early twentieth century Cuban blacks are evoked and carefully shaped first as a socioeconomic nadir from which to improve, and later as  de basis for de revolution’s preliminary ideas of a national Cuban culture, many of which were manifest in the Teatro Nacional and the Conjunto Folklorico, along the lines of the performative structures set up by Ortiz na wahenga wetu…..

pamoja tunafika from the diaspora of righteousness to de Afreekan shores, sharing mo resources in cracking these codes to freedom, kwasababu The most important thing is to give the people confidence, to help them understand that they can at last define their own happiness, to enable them to decide on their own aims and understand the price to be paid. [Thomas Sankara]

hadithi hii imetoka Divine Utterances: The Performance of Afro Cuban Santeria  by Katherine Hagedorn

Paukwa! Pakawa! Hadithi njoo……

Kima lived in a great mti (tree) on a riverbank. In de mto (river) there were many mamba.

A Crocodile watched de Kima for a long time en one day she said to her son: “My son, get one of those monkeys for me. I want de heart of a Kima to eat.”

“How am I to catch a Kima?” asked de lil Crocodile. “I do not travel on land, en de Kima does not go into de wota.”

“Put your wits to work, en you’ll find a way,” said the mother.

And de lil Crocodile thought en thought.

At last he said to himself: “I know what I’ll do. I’ll get that Kima that lives in a big tree on de riverbank. He wishes to go across de river to de island where de fruit is so ripe.”

So de Crocodile swam to de mti where de Kima lived. But he was a stupid Crocodile.

picha hii imechorwa na max dashu

“Oh, Kima,” he called, “come with me over to de island where de fruit is so ripe.”

“How can I go with you?” asked de Kima. “I do not swim.”

“No-but I do. I will take you over on mi back,” said de Crocodile.

The Kima was greedy, en wanted de ripe fruit, so he jumped down on de Mamba’s back.

“Off we go!” said de Crocodile.

“This is a fine ride you are giving me!” said de Kima.

“Do you think so? Well, how do you like this?” asked de Crocodile, diving.

“Oh, don’t!” cried de Kima, as he went under de wota. He was afraid to let go, en he did not know what to do under wota.

When de Crocodile came up, de Kima sputtered en choked.

“Why did you take me under wota, Mamba?” he asked.

“I am going to kill you by keeping you under wota,” answered de Crocodile. “My mother wants Kima heart to eat, en I’m going to take yours to her.”

“I wish you had told me you wanted mi heart,” said de Kima, “then I might have brought it with me.”

“How queer!” said de stupid Crocodile. “Do you mean to say that you left your heart back there in de tree?”

“That is what I mean,” said de Kima. “If you want mi heart, we must go back to de tree en get it. But we are so near de island where de ripe fruit is, please take me there first.”

asiyefunzwa na mamaye hufunzwa na ulimwengu

“No, Kima,” said de Crocodile, “I’ll take you straight back to your tree. Never mind de ripe fruit. Get your heart en bring it to me at once. Then we’ll see bout going to de island.”

“Very well,” said de Kima.

But no sooner had he jumped onto de bank of de river than-whisk! Up he ran into de tree.

From de topmost branches he called down to de Crocodile in de wota below:

“Mi moyo is way up here! If you want it, come for it, come for it!”

Dis hadithi, from India, is among the Best Loved Folktales of The World. I heard similar versions of it from mi papa, who had plenty Kima tradishuns to share. For not only those hadithi but all the time he took teaching, protecting, providing for en playing with me en de village in pikneyhood, I yam infinitely grateful.

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