the Q/T werd


Jana, marked an epic crossing of thresholds not only in my life but with youth leaders in mi hood, en warriors from (almost) all round de world, brought together by Rivers Through Time….najua I’ll be riding the magic of all de synergy abounding for de rest of mi maisha (life)

I have eaten. I am full…. It means I yam full inside for what we have shared. I feel good….When you truly see the Great Spirit in another, and then you may address the Spirit in thanks and celebration. So in this Great Spirit, I give thanks that we were brought together with sacred intentions and youth-led (in mentorship with honourable elders) organising at community arts festivals, na with (our own grassroots definitions of) Pride,

na (kwasababu wahenga walisema leo ni leo)

Today, I walked in spirit with Women’s Health in Women’s Hands, reflecting on the memories of all those honourable powahful teachers who continue to shape (not only) mi movements (but others) to fulfilling highest destinies. Nakumbuka all the times mi sistas en (gran) mamas saved so many of our lives, en held space for mi dreams to grow with their sage secrets of loving….warriors like Notisha Massaquoi. Alison Duke. Patricia Koine. Leleti Tamu. Yolisa Dalamba. Amai Kuda…..(dis litany of survival is for de powah of reclaiming memories in orality)

I recognise and acknowledge the mysterious reality of missing de festivities around Dyke March, de grand feast of a brunch at TRCC, de Christmas&NewYears-like reunion of growing chosen families and witnessing of so many others, missing all a dis as I continue taking mi health in own hands and honour the significant difference in mi ability to walk for long distances and withstand the assault of concrete on mi body.

But for a ‘mysterious’ accident, 4 moons (or 138 days) ago, I wouldn’t have been relearning mi ableism in de daily struggle of reconciling mi ritualised actions and patterns with the effects of being hit by a car as a pedestrian, systemically falling through the cracks of the system, yet constantly being saved & nourished by villages at the heart of what is Tdot renaissance

Tomorrow, will be de crowning of queer/trans pan-afrikan organising, right in de heart of pan-africanism in de diaspora, with our own Blockorama.

Mi cup is overflowing with de magic of malaikas (angels) who continue to advocate for, co-create, en share their gifs in abundance in sustaining our growing learning villages en communities.

These are what safe spaces na nyumbani (home) feels like, grown over years and centuries of lifetimes.

Afrika moja! Afrika Huru! Pamoja Tunafika!

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kuna hadithi najua kuhusu how the earth floats in space on the back of a turtle, au (or)

ilibadilika kuwa dunia hii tunayojua ilipoletwa kama loose earth in a snail shell, iliyochimbuka na kuku.

wapi mchanga iliguza maji, it became solid land na chikichi ilipandwa kuwa mikindani, na mnazi….

kila mara hii hadithi husemwa, inabadilika.

sometimes the change is in de details, of reclaiming pan-afreekan languages.

other times hiyo badilisho is in de order of events.

But in all the telling of the tellers, the world never leaves de kobe’s back, and de turtle never swims away.

hadithi njoo, ukweli njoo, utamu kolea…..

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!]

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?

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?

There’s a story I know bout de earth en how Kintu lived on it alone with his ng’ombe, until Nambi came, en everytime someone tells de hadithi it changes, some versions say she came with her ndugu, others say in the beginning, there was de fikra; she came alone, en then took him to see her baba, some modern Kenyan versions are reincarnated as Makmende, Abscondita Amerudi & Britannia Zimeisha.

Paukwa! Pakawa! Hadithi njoo, Uongo njoo, Utamu kolea….

Who among us carry the sage siri(secret)s of loving?

Leo ni leo asemaye kesho ni muongo, na asemaye ya wahenga ni?

Kuna another hadithi nakumbuka bout’ how…it was de Nubians who originated, and taught the Greeks to use, ceremonial meetings, processions, and liturgies: a fact which can be inferred from the obvious antiquity of such ceremonies in Nubia, compared with Greece, where they have [in comparison] been only recently introduced. The Nubians meet in solemn assembly not once a year only, but on a number of occasions, the most important en best

attended being the festival of A…st at Bubastis: second in importance is the assembly at Busiris- a city in the middle of the Delta, containing a vast temple dedicated to Isis, the Nubian equivalent of Demeter, in whose honour the meeting is held. Then there are the assemblies in honour of A….at Sais, of the Sun at Heliopolis, of Leto at Buto, and of A…at Papremis…

De kiboko (hippopotamus) is held sacred in de district ofPapremis, but not elsewhere…..Otters, too, are found in de Nile; they, and the fish called lepidotus, en eels are all considered sacred to de Nile, as is also the bird known as the fox-goose. Another sacred ndege is de phoenix; I have (not) seen a phoenix myself, (except) in paintings and (twice in d’bi young anitafrika’s play- benu)…it is very rare en visits the country (at least they say in Heliopolis) only at intervals of 500 years, on de occasion of the death of de parent-ndege.

To judge by de paintings, its plumage is partly golden, partly red, en in shape and size it is exactly like a eagle. There is a hadithi about de phoenix; it brings its parent in a lump of myrrh all the way from Arabia and buries de body in de temple of de sun. To perform dis feat, de bird first shapes some myrrh into a sort of egg as it finds, by testing, that it can carry; then it hollows the lump out, puts its baba inside en smears some myrrh over de hole. De egg-shaped lump is then jus of same weight as it was originally.

Finally it is carried by de ndege to de Temple of the Sun in Egypt…..

Such, at least, are some of de stories re/membered in dis series. How can we go out en plant these seeds (as ‘new’ year resolutions)?

[it is not coincidence that]…The Nubians were also de first to assign each moon en each day to a particular deity, en to foretell by the date of a wo/man’s birth, character, fortunes and the day of hir death – a re/discovery which Greek poets have turned to account. The Nubians, too, have made more use of omens en prognostics than any other nation; they keep written records of the observed results of any unusual phenomenon, so that they come to expect a similar consequence to follow a similar occurrence in de future.

The art of divination is not attributed by them to any man, but only to certain orisha….The practice of medicine they split up into separate parts, each doctor being responsible for the treatment of only one disease. There are, in consequence, innumerable doctors…..The Nubians are unwilling to adopt Greek customs, or, to speak generally, those of most other countries. There are however, notable exceptions, like in the case of Chemmis, a large town near Neapolis in de district of Thebes. In this place there is a square of enclosed ground sacred to Perseus de son of Danae; palm trees grow round it, and there is a stone gateway of great size surmounted by two very large stone figures. Within de enclosure is a shrine containing a statue of …guess who?

[multi-layered readings from The Histories by Herodotus]

How do we frame IT as we bring other people into the conversashun?

What other conversashuns if begun leo (today), could ripple out in a way that created new possibilities for de future of the United States?

Kwasababu, kama ni ukweli si mpya….na we are the mashujaa we’ve been looking for, au siyo?

Where are the diasporic en indigenus perspectives that honour Nana Buruku?

Kuna story najua, it’s about de earth en how it floats in space on de back of a kobe…en everytime someone tells de hadithi it changes, leo ni ya healing rituals kama ya kijiji yangu na ya Baba Malidoma Some na vijiji yake.

Hii hadithi imetoka The Healing Wisdom ya Africa…..

[Chapter 9] PREPARING FOR RITUAL
…One of de most striking tings that I have observed in conducting en participating in rituals with people in de West is de overwhelming baggage of assumptions that stand in de way of their involvement with ritual. Among these problems are de need for predictability en control en a fear of wot is actually going to happen. Reverence and trust that there is protecshun in de sacred space en an open mind willing to embrace all possibilities for healing are necessary before any ritual begins.

Almost everyone who has been involved in ritual with me agrees that ritual is like a journey. Before you begin, you own de journey; once de ritual begins, de journey owns you. My sense is that at de core of de problem for many Westerners is de desire to be in control, which is antithetical to ritual. To surrender de sense of control can be, for some, terrifying.

RITUAL FROM BELOW

…..Ever since Christianity unearthed de gods en goddesses’ en sent them far away above de clouds, many people in de West have been left standing on de ground feeling abandoned, staring longingly at de sky wondering when God will come. In contrast, indigenus people see de divine as arising from below. Indeed, de wahenga, who dwell under de earth en form a vast pool of energy, allow us to walk upon them. Thus de divine is right under our feet en directly connected to us through earth.

This perception calls for a significantly different attitude that encourages spontaneity en trust of one’s instincts, because it sees redemption en healing as rising like heat from de divine below. Ritual kwa hivyo follows an ascending principle, presuming that healing rises from under de earth en overtakes us.

In this context, spontaneity, improvisation, en even eccentricity are recognized as symptomatic of divine presence. No one can predict how an individual in whom Spirit has entered would behave, because no one really knows de behavioural psychology of Spirit. Kwa hivyo to expect attitudes en behaviour patterns similar to that which we are familiar is misleading….

Put simply, rituals are not, and cannot be, done mechanically. They require a level of involvement that is conscious en dynamic. It is de active participation of de people gathered that makes a ritual work. In part this means that one can’t approach ritual in an experimental or exploratory manner, for it may backfiya on you. It also means that it is betta not to do ritual at all than to do it badly. A bad ritual is one that resists the arrival of Spirit. It is one in which participants allow their own desires en preconceptions to compete with Spirit, particularly after inviting Spirits to come.

RITUALS AND SURRENDER

Participants need to understand that success in a ritual is proportional to de level of surrender that one can achieve. Because ritual is about change,  its success depends on how much change, en what change, if any, we are willing to invite. Modern culture is a culture of control. You are expected to be on top of tings, to take control en to show your command of IT. De result is often disastrous to de psyche. On de one hand, people show admirable dexterity in appearing cool. On de other hand, behind de sturdy look of a person perfectly in charge is often a soul adrift in a jungle of confusion en despair. A soul in despair is a soul denying access to de Spirit. A soul that dances with Spirit is a soul that has displaced ego en, in de interest of healing, has surrendered consciousness to Spirit.

Surrender is a difficult ting to achieve; it’s almost impossible to do it with words en discourse. The more de discussion about how to do ritual emphasizes surrender en letting go, de more conscious en unconscious resistance one generates. I have seen cases in which it took three days of painful en frustrating work to prepare people to truly attempt a ritual. This preparatory stage is most challenging because it opens potent issues of self-identity, integrity, protectiveness, en control.

As people begin to understand what ritual is, they realise their own ego has no place in it, that sacred space contains a tremendous amount of vulnerability. Then they begin to fear becoming lost in something that does not guarantee safety and security.


De latent mistrust of one another that exists among people does not help. In fact it makes people become more acutely aware of what de other may do to them if they lower their shield in de interest of healing en de other does not. In many ritual situations in de West, people have just met en have only had a few hours or days to get acquainted. De connecshun that develops in a few hours or a few days often does not go as deep as required to warrant de kind of trust that can carry people into a ritual space en promote healing.

But once inside a ritual, de ego is so vehemently challenged that it eventually collapses, leaving a person momentarily free to respond to Spirit spontaneously……Ase.

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