afrikan herstory


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…..

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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!]

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.

There’s a story I know bout Kwanzaa, en how it floats in history on the back of Maulana Karenga, standing on de shoulders of El Hajj Malik El Shabazz, Marcus Garvey, Sojourner Truth en their mamas. Na kuna hadithi nyingine najua kuhusu mama wa Kwanzaa, na leo hii tasfiri ni ya NIA.

Hadithi? Hadithi? Giza ya? (reposts from) The Healing Wisdom of Afrika

CREATION NA ELEMENTS TANO

For the Dagara, cosmology begins with de hadithi of creashun. In de beginning, there was no earth as we know it. In its place was a burning planet, a ball of fiya combusting at high speed. Kwa hivyo, moto is de first element of de Dagara wheel. Moto is present in everyting, en everyting needs moto. It was not until dis moving en burning sphere encountered a huge body of wota that tings began to change. Maji became de second element in de cosmological wheel. De shock resulting from de collision of moto na maji not only slowed de combustion process, but also chased moto into de underworld, leaving de surface as a hot steamy place, fertile for de breeding of all kinds of life forms. This surface, hospitable to life, is what is known as dunia/earth, which constitutes the third elemental principle of de Dagara cosmological wheel. The various hard components of de earth provide structure en connecshun en are known as mineral or mawe (stone), the fourth element in de cosmological wheel.

Meanwhile, a steam of great density formed de atmosphere around de dunia. (These images translate imperfectly into Western terms; think of them as poetic rather than scientific descriptions.) As de steam expanded, its pressure began to subside. The reduction of atmospheric pressure was conducive to de birth of maisha, en thus de fifth element, vegetative nature, came into being.

Maisha, as not only Dagara people but many others say, began underwota. Thus, every living form on de dunia got its maisha signature in de wotas en continues to live intimately with maji. It is as if de original encounter between moto na maji established de conditions for maisha by producing a nurturing environment.

Earth came to life as a result of de marriage between those two primal elements, en in turn Dunia brought forth mo maisha, which she continues to sustain.

[The idea that we all came from maji is important because it implies that maji ni maisha, a concept we will return to from Jan 20 -27 with students of Baba Malidoma Some na #To David With Love.]

As de pressure of de steam produced by de encounter of maji na moto continued to subside, beings that were conceived in maji looking like worms moved to dry land en continued to evolve. When de atmospheric pressure at last stabilised, de diversification of maisha slowed to an almost imperceptible state. Today, for instance, amphibious animals like crocodiles, sea lions, and seals are said to be beings that didn’t complete their journey out of maji. Their development was suspended when de atmospheric pressure stopped where it is today. On de other hand, beings who came out of de maji earlier evolved into higher-dimensional spheres, allowing them to move back en forth in time en space. They embody our future. Birds are considered among de most ancient animals because they moved kwanza from de maji to de land, then continued to evolve to flight. Some elders say that, if tings had continued to change, ndege

would have made it to other dimensions.

One might ask where this primal maji came from. De elders, from their spiritual understanding, would say that it came from de Other World en spilled into de dunia at a moment when de veil between de two worlds was thinned – the moment when de original Earth flew too close to de Other World. One might say that some kind of distortion occurred as de cool liquid Other World en de hot burning Dunia passed too closely by each other. De distorted space sucked maji out of de moist Other World en threw itself onto Dunia.

From this perspective, maji is de presence of de Other World on our planet. The element moto is the doorway to de wahenga, lakini maji is de doorway to de Other World, de kind of world that is referred to as de  world of de kontomble en de other nonancestral spirits.

This is why shamans can walk into de Other World through de waterways. Infact there are countless places in maji where these same veils still  remain active. These veils are umbilical cords, de gateways linking our world to others.

The connecshun to de ancestral world that is found in de element moto is different from de connecshun with other beings en other intelligences. De Spirits call de kontombli en de spirits of de wahenga do not live in de same place, they don’t share de same geography, yet they can communicate with each other……

One might wonder how other worlds to which our world is linked were created. Indeed, de Dagara cosmology does not limit itself to this earth world but touches on others. This is because our world belongs to a family of worlds without which it seems it cannot sustain itself. These Other Worlds were created in ways opposite to the way ours was created.

In de creashun hadithi, they came into being when their vast cool maji were hit by moto……….apparently, if de pressure of de atmosphere of our world had continued to evolve, it would have been easier for humans to journey into these worlds en back.

Therefore spirituality-our efforts to enhance en advance our contact with de world of Spirit – is seen from an indigenus perspective as de continuation of human evolushun……..

THE FIVE ELEMENTS AND RITUAL

Ritual is for de purpose of restoring balance, de essence of health, to individual en community. It serves no purpose to know de origin or functional meaning of these cosmological elements if de ultimate reason is unconnected to ritual. To de extent that ritual is born out of de understanding of de cosmological wheel, de elements are its molecular tools whose proportion to one another must be monitored en restored when needed. The procedure for dis is ritual.

Fiya rituals rekindle de connecshun to de ancestral moto en de moto within vision. Wota rituals cleanse en reconcile, restoring peace. Earth rituals ground en comfort, bringing a sense of nyumbani en belonging. Mineral rituals restore memory en light up a sense of knowing. Nature rituals restore de natural self en open us to de magic en wonder around us.

When a group of people gathers to conduct a ritual, in an indigenus context, people who embody each of de elements become de gatekeepers for dat particular element in de ritual en for de part of de ritual pertaining to that element.

As we’ve seen from posts of moons ago, a gatekeeper is a healer who by his or her nature is able to bridge this world of Spirit to be brought into de physical world. The gatekeepers of each element are those people whose genius, whose essential character, embodies de zawadis of that element. By virtue of de fact that you carry a certain zawadi, you are given a special relationship with de element from which that zawadi originated, en in this sense, you are a gatekeeper. You stand between de rest of community en that portion of the natural world that corresponds to your element en all that is represents symbolically…

Swagger

A person’s zawadis, when they emerge, make de carrier of de zawadi a servant to a particular gate, en because they are servant to that particular gate, we call them gatekeepers. Though every person embodies one element in particular, all elements must be present in each person.

Not only de Dagara people have developed this notion of gate keeping, of overseeing something vital to de healthy functioning of de community, in order to satisfy people’s innate desire to serve. By serving de gateway to an elemental aspect of de natural world, a person allows de qualities en resources that element represents to be brought to the community, giving de community wot it needs to blossom fully…….ase

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