20140907_153010“There must be those among whom we can sit down and weep and still be counted as warriors.”
― adrienne rich

as tdot (la ciudad) mourns de passing of (loving amani warriors kama) nahom berhane, wish u peace n rest…

in spaces between honouring ancestors, ours en of dis land

spirit led / to come back


it is not taboo to go back for what you (/we) forgot – sankofa

 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


Children’s Peace Theatre at 305 Dawes Road

Contact info

To sign up for workshops, email

or please call 416-752-1550 for details

Hadithi ya emerging mashujaa wa mashinani [in diasporic sheng]

Kuna storymoja najua bout de dunia en how it floats in space on de mgongo wa kobe, na

kila mara hii hadithi husimuliwa inabadilika, sometimes it’s in de voice of de storyteller, saa zingine it’s in de details, lakini katika hadithi hizi zote, de dunia never leaves de kobe’s mgongo….

hadithi ya amani na upendo not only for ourselves na jamii wetu but for [wa] jirani na marafiki [ni kweli] huleta Baraka…..

au [in other werds], Ifa husema… Omi o! Ota o!…

Hadithi like these make me so happy to be a citizen [wa Nairobi] in Tdot [de diverse hub]

Check dis holistic renaissance movements…..

NOTICE: On the April 27th and 28th 2012 from 12pm to 6pm each day, The Permaculture Project (in partnership with Occupy Gardens) people will converge on Childrens Peace Theatre at 305 Dawes Road to participate in a weekend Convergence.

Activities of the permaculture living Convergence are: Planting food gardens in the City of Toronto in various locations, Holding panels, A picnic on the Lakeshore and on the steps of City Hall. We will go for a beautiful walk through Toronto expressing our thoughts and suggestions for Toronto and the GTA!

The public is invited and encouraged to join us! This notice is to alert all the necessary parties of our lawful and peaceful day of action.

 This exciting 3-day convergence weekend will include:

  • Mass Seeding of the city with Occupy Gardens leading the way!
  • Rallies and Marches throughout the city on topics such as: 1. Economy and Environment and why our current system is unprepared, 2. Leadership and Values diminished and concrete ways to move forward, 3. Marches across the city to show at-risk areas and what’s happening…*** Rallies: will be strategic panels and offer a large audience the ability to see and hear, by use of posters, signs, megaphones/mics and painting pictures and posing critical questions in an organized and respectful way.
  • Informal Critical Workshops for how to take action on topics such as: 1. Legal Literacy for a day of action, 2. Media Literacy – how to assess what the media will see, 3. Tactical and Strategic Mobilization.
  • Healthy, local food at our Food Market throughout the weekend – provided by citizens of Toronto and supported by serious local grassroots groups.   

Sunday, April 29 – The final day of the convergence will present

Market of the Diaspora

Music, Movement and Conversation – exploring the cycles of oppression in our communities of colour.

What does it sound like when the silenced speak?

What does it look like when the tribes reconvene?
What does it feel like when our roots find the river underneath?
When we share the fruit of our heritage and plant our elders’ seeds?

Throughout the day, experience live theatre, music performances and artwork from local artists, participate in storytelling, workshops and eat healthy, local food.

The Market of the Diaspora is an event to open conversations with respect to social, race and food justice, to illuminate our individual and collective strengths, to remember, reconnect and recreate our communities. This eclectic gathering reflects a way of life stemming from the roots of our traditional knowledge and brimming with the seeds for our shared future.

Reposted [na big upendo] from [en in solidarity with]    

Pamoja Tutafika!

[kwa hivyo, what unique contribution can we we each make and what seeds might we plant this weekend that could make the most difference to de future of  zawadi exchange networks?]

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!]

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
but for staying
I apologise
you were a story
a thing a black child learned
a part of Jamaica’s history
the part before the real part
I apologise.

Reblogged from

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?

I give thanks for today, yesterday en tomorrow, for doors closing balanced with others opening, blue-skying en cool wotas, nashukuru upendo na imani tunayo… nashukuru the continued guidance and protection of de ancestors of dis land, wale wahenga wangu ninaowajua, wale sijui, na wale wanaonijua deeper than ninayojijua….inifinitely grateful for de blessings of dis week, for dis counting down to de first anniversary of #To David With

Love, coming into an ‘epic’ year of mi twenties, and celebrations of Afrikan Heritage (or Black History) Moon, like Dinner, Performances & de first tambor for Ibeji at de Children’s Peace Theatre. Big tings’ a gwaan wid dis ting called ubuntu….

So, in the spirit of intimacy and de spaces between recovering from rituals en preparing for mo ceremonies, this hadithi kuhusu Toque de Santo is transcribed from Divine Utterances: The Performance of Afro-Cuban Santeria, written by Katherine J. Hagedorn.

Dear Katherine, asante sana for sharing your re/learning. And deeply grateful to mi Tdot teachers for offering the kind of priceless educational programs not only I’ve been looking for, in grassroots universities, across borders. Asante Baba Gee & Baba Falo, Sista Leopard & Mama (wa) Amani Theatre, Prof Ausar & Papa John.  Na asante for (re)birthing dis post mi goddess mama No.3 –  Beth, who not only gifted me dis book we’re sharing with you, but co-creates en maintains sacred spaces with other honourable elders to remember the sage secrets of loving en continue fulfilling our highest destinies.

Asante akina baba, mama na watoto wa Afreeka. Nashukuru bredrin and sistren in solidarity….

[pamoja tukifafanua ukweli wa Anaa na]  TOQUE DE SANTO: Evoking the Orishas

A toque de santo (or tambor) is de main public religious performance of Santeria [en other traditions], de popular name of de [looked pon as] polytheistic religious tradishun that grew from Afrikan and European roots during the four long centuries of de slave trade in Cuba. Toque refers to de verb tocar (to play) en to de specific noun toque (rhythm), as well as to de general noun toque, meaning de event itself; santo refers to de deities
called santos (orichas or orisas) who are evoked by de toques. Although de performance of Santeria includes other ceremonies involving music en dance (such as festive bembes en guiro ensembles), toques de santo require the use of de sacred bata drums, en are thus considered de most divinely powerful of all de religious ceremonies of Santeria.

the warriors

The origins of de toque de santo lie in de Atlantic slave trade. Cuba imported de bulk of its slaves during the nineteenth century. Most of de Africans captured en sold into slavery who were landed in Cuba came from a curved corridor of present-day West Afrika stretching from Guinea down to Angola, en a significant plurality of these came from Nigeria, Benin, Ghana, Togo, en Cameroon. These Afrikan regions share some formal characteristics in their monotheistic religious traditions, which, under, de chaotic en brutal conditions of slavery in Cuba, gradually developed by de end of de nineteenth century into what became known as Santeria.

One of de most powerful similarities among de many West Afrikan mono & polytheistic traditions thrown together in Cuba during de nineteenth century was the evocation of deities through de performance of specific praise songs, drum rhythms, en gestures. Toques de santo can be interpreted as a distillation of more than a century of diverse, divine per formative intent.

In present-day Cuban Santeria, toques de santo are ritual drummings, typically held as offerings to appease orichas or santos. These drumming ceremonies may also be offered to de santos to change de objective circumstances of one’s life…..

Although de deities of Santeria may communicate with humans through divination, prayers, en dreams, they relish de communicative powah afforded them through music en dance. Each santo or oricha “owns” certain melodic gestures, rhythms, dance movements, en praise songs, as well as specific colours, numbers, animals, foods, en natural phenomena. They respond readily to songs en dances that incorporate these associative representations-such as, in de case of de salt-wota deity Yemaya (whose name is said to mean “Mother of Fishes” in Cuban Lucumi), a dance that imitates de undulation of de waves, or a song that evokes de powah of de sea en its creatures. De main goal of these rhythms, songs, en dances is to summon (or goad) de santos to earth, so that de deities may soothe those who are grieving, heal those who are sick, rebuke those who have acted unwisely, bless those who appear to be deserving, en set de tone for de next few weeks or moons in de community.

For a toque de santo to be successful, however, each participant must know how to behave, how to engage correctly de divine potential of de ceremony. What are de “rules of engagement” at a toque de santo or tambor? How does one know when to dance (or sing, or become possessed) en how? Are there different ways of participating in Afro-Cuban religious en folkloric events, and, if so, how does one discriminate between them?….

De rules of engagement in religious and folkloric performances seem to shift in accordance with de goal or intent of de event, en with de expectations of de religious practitioners. In a toque de santo, for example, de aim of de ceremony is to summon one or more orichas to earth, so that de deities may address de needs of de community through specific blessings, healings, en advice. In this case, de “rules of engagement” for each participant in a religious event are determined by socioreligious desire en necessity.

In the events presented by de Conjunto Folklorico Nacional de Cuba, by contrast, de goal of a performance is primarily aesthetic excellence-de perfect (or near perfect) execution of dance steps, percussive rhythms, song phrases, en gestures of a toque de santo in accordance with norms established by “folkloric” schools of performance. In de CFNC, then, the “rules” of participating are determined by one’s ability to maintain a uniform standard of performance of specific rehearsed musical en physical gestures.

Yet the genres of “religious Afro-Cuban performance” en “’folkloric’ Afro-Cuban performance” inform each other, “use” each other, en at times even inhabit de same sphere of sacred intent (see de page on ‘a is for….’ de architecture of syncretism in santeria: remixed).

This sphere of sacred intent is most often constructed by resurrecting de memory of de sacred in both folkloric en religious performances. And in both types of performance, de memory of de sacred is translated through de body. De body is where “sacred” en

“secular” meet, where de boundaries are blurred, en it is this liminal space that is both powahful en disruptive because it calls into question de per formative categories implied by de terms “sacred” and “secular” en forces de participants to renegotiate their respective “rules of engagement.”….


Protectors of (not only) Cuba’s Afrikan heritage and representatives of its future, ritual musicians hold de key to an analysis of the toque or tambor, and control de first stage of engagement….


Engaging appropriately in a toque de santo, then, requires de competent use of sacred knowledge…Toque etiquette varies widely from casa templo (house of worship) to casa templo, but what is much less variable is de philosophy that informs de rules of etiquette for each particular “house.” “Tradition” might vary from house to house on de same block, from city to city, en from country to country, but what keeps religious practice unified is de overriding theology that invents it, en de santo families that are cocreated en enlarged each time a new creyente is initiated into de religion…….


In order to be a good drummer in the Conjunto Folklorico, according to Alberto, one must not only have de religion, one must respect its rules. When de author of the excerpts of dis book asked Alberto who decided de content of de Conjunto Folklorico’s performances, he responded that there were different departments that could influence de decision, such as research, management, percussion, chorus, dance, the board of directors—but that ultimately Rogelio Martinez Fure, the asesor or artistic advisor to de group, made de final decision. Immediately afterward, however, Alberto began talking about de new dancers (thos who had attended the aficionado schools) who did not appreciate the religious basis of the folkloric toques, and how these young people considered the Conjunto Folklorico’s performances to be art, without any religious aspect…..

Alberto sees his religion not only as someting beyond compromise, but also as a source of powah en authority in de aesthetic skirmishes that he en his colleagues may face on a daily basis. His religions informs en is inseparable from his work [as it is with not only me, but many others]. When Katherine Hagedorn asked Alberto about de connection between his religion en his work, however, he said there was none. “My job is over here [right hand], and mi religion is over here [left hand]. This [his job] has nothing to do with this [his religion]. We don’t tell de secrets of our religion in the Folklorico. That would be impossible-because then it wouldn’t be my job, it would be mi religion.”

Alberto sees himself, en creyente drummers in general, as true representatives of de religion. In this sense, he acts as a preserver of his religious tradition, although he claims that his work and religion are totally separate. He is an absentee guardian of the authenticity of de folkloric renditions of his religions, which is to say that he does not allow his religious persona to participate actively in de folkloric performances but de passive knowledge of what that religious persona would require during a religious ceremony is allowed to remain, and it safeguards de remnants of the performance’s spiritual dignity…..

The drummers in de Conjunto Folklorico are de main actors in de negotiation process between the sacred and secular aspects of performance…How  religion is “brought” to art seems to revolve around the paradoxical and elusive (yet not rhetorical) questions regarding the differences and separations between the two……

Hadithi? Hadithi? Hadithi Njoo….

Sahani ya?


People and cultures embody one or several of the five elements knowingly or not. The most commonly seen elements at the level of cultures are fiya en wota. Indigenous cultures identify with wota. They are mostly peace en harmony seekers. On the contrary, modern cultures identify with fiya. They challenge everyting en everyone at de risk of cosmic disruption.

Within these cultures, individuals are born embodying one of these elements as their essence en carrying de rest at a variety of levels as support elements. No one can be just one element without the presence of the other four. Your essence is your genius. Your destiny is to allow your genius to come wrapped out in the colors of your character.

A person with vision en passion who is always active en involved in countless activities embodies fiya. A person with deep focus who tends to seek peaceful solution to conflicts, who always sees harmony instead of discord, embodies wota. A person who tends to take care of others, accepting them as they are, embodies earth. A person with great social skills, who is always drawn to connect with others en who holds the stories of others, embodies mineral. Finally, a person who can’t stand phoniness, who finds it impossible to pretend, who can only be himself or herself, embodies nature……


We mentioned earlier that maji encountered moto to produce de positive changes that generate life. The fiery earth was cooled and firmed, which allowed it to support maisha, en so became a whole realm to which maji could now give life. We are in this story the pikney of maji. Any person who understands the value of being the parent of a pikin knows that this is a great benefit. Maji can claim us as her children. We can say that we come from Earth, but Earth didn’t exist until maji showed up, so maji can lay claim to anyting that is alive. Without maji, nothing can be purified, nothing can be authentic. Wota allows us to maintain the kind of consciousness that links us to de Other World, en hence we see in so many mythologies the idea of maji as the “wota of life”, with maji crucial to de spiritual experience en de spiritual journey…..

The element maji reconciles en quiets down that which is trapped in the crisis of combustion….Maji seeks to cleanse, reconcile, and balance that which is in agitation, emotional disorder, and self-danger. When maji succeeds, it restores or enhances maisha where there was de threat of death. Hence de connection between maji na maisha…..


Because Earth is our deep center, it is the center of rituals concerning de building of a home. It is appropriate to dwell on the ritual of house building among not only the Dagara people, but Pan-Afrikan tribes, to highlight its relevance to community and de sense of belonging.

Among the Dagara, because the house is the most visible symbol of the earth, home is sacred. Similarly there is a link between home and relationships, especially the relationship between de family en de community. This is why building a home is a very serious ritual undertaking. It is as if building a house is building a relationship……

The nyumba is a direct extension of the relationship between members of a family en de kijiji. The breaking of de new ground must, therefore, be undertaken with de presence of community. The gradual move is made necessary because the process of shifting de location of de relationship is a delicate one. The extensive set of rituals serves the purpose of allowing de existing relationship between de family en de community to be transferred safely to a new locashun, a new ground…


…..The principal task of a community is to maintain balance, a state in which all five elements are functioning smoothly, echoing one another. To achieve this requires great diligence on de part of a community. This effort need not be undertaken through the application of sophisticated theories of economics or social welfare. It is first necessary to determine which elements are troubling the community. We will have ample space to explore this in the coming moons. It is sufficient for now to know that there is an elemental way of understanding social and economic problems, and that there is a way to resolve these problems with ritual.

The elemental wheel exists in each person just as it is present in each clan and in every community. This means that each person, on a smaller scale, must maintain a state of balance at all cost. Each person needs to keep de wotas of reconciliation flowing within de self in order to calm the inner fiyas en live in harmony with others.

Each person needs to nourish the ancestral fiya within, so that one stays in touch with one’s dreams en visions. Each person needs to be grounded in de earth, to be able to become a source of nourishment to de community. Each person needs to be remember de knowledge stored in one’s bones – to live out one’s own unique genius. And each person needs to be real, as nature is real, that is, without pretense, keeping in touch with a sense of mystery en wonder en helping to preserve the integrity of the natural world. To be out of balance in any of these areas is to invite sickness to come dwell within….

Individual healing can be seen as a protection of life’s energetic wheel, for only when all of the individuals in a community are healthy can there be health in the community itself…..

The spiritual cosmology of an indigenous people like the Dagara does not involve worship; rather, it is paradigm for understanding based on careful observation of and a long and intimate relationship with the natural world that surrounds us. The five elements of the Dagara medicine wheel reflect this cosmology, en in symbolic form contain the wisdom of de ancestors…..

K’a te sankun koro siun a ti tieri’

ti kuti zumon

Ka ti tuon gnin a ti vla zie ti ti sao deu

“May all ancestors join force to wake up our spirit

and put good thoughts into our psyche. Then we shall see the good

that awaits us and accept it.”


[re/posted from The Healing Wisdom of Africa by Baba Malidoma Patrice Some.

And there’s another hadithi I know, in our quest for reclaiming relevant cosmology, some aspects of everyting shared so far is also explained in….]

Jesus Christ [aka. Obatala] and the Liberation of Women in Africa

By way of illustration en beginning [of the ‘Makmende Amerudi’ series], I will discuss [en re/member] here three quite “common” perceptions of Christ as understood by Afreekans, en their implications for womben.

Firstly, there is the very popular conception of Obatala as the personal saviour en personal friend of those who believe in him. Quite contrary to the view that Christ demands their subjugation-whether politically, socially, or culturally-many Afrikans have come to perceive that Jesus desires to accept them as they are, and to meet their needs at a very personal level. They have come to accept Jesus as the friend of the lonely and healer of those who are sick, whether spiritually or physically….

Secondly, another popular image of Obatala is that which seems to blend Christology with pneumatology. Obatala is seen as de embodiment of de Spirit, de power of God, en the dispenser of the same to those who follow him. This image of Obatala is particularly popular in the so-called independent churches. In our search for a feminist Christology, it may be pertinent to note that, by and large, the patrons of these movements are womben, among other marginalised peoples. It is also noteworthy that, in these movements, where the powah of the Spirit (of Obatala) is accentuated, wo/men are peculiarly articulate en much less inhibited and muted than in established ‘churches’….

A third face of Obatala, also re/presented in the New Testament, is the conception of Obatala as an iconoclastic prophet. Jesus stands out in scripture as a critic of the status quo, particularly when it engenders social injustices en marginalization of some in society. This is the kind of Christ whose “function” of “iconoclasm” is thought by many participants in the African independent churches to be “incarnated” in their founder members whom they sometimes hail as “Black Messiahs.” These prophetic leaders in Africa have emerged in continuity with the prophetic role of Obatala as the champion of the cause of the voiceless, and the vindicator of the marginalised in society….

In conclusion, I would suggest that in de Afrikan womben’s quest for a relevant Christology, aspects of the above three images of Mwari/Obatala would form some of de defining characteristics of the Christ whom womben confess…

It goes without saying that, along with formulating a relevant Christology, women would also need to be on de alert, en to be critical of any “versions” of Christology that would be inimical to their cause. They would have to reject, like others before them, any Christology that smacks of sexism or any other form of oppression that functions to entrench lopsided gender relations. Only in so doing would Afreekan womben be able confidently to confess Christ as their liberator, as a partisan in their search for emancipation…..

[Source: Teresa M. Hinga – Feminist Theology from the Third World: A Reader]

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