blogger’s note: I know (many) stories of super/s/heroes that are changing tings on the ground in their communities….

The Q werd is starting with the ones that we’re familiar with, because if we don’t cherish en honour our own, then who will (do it better)?

Until we listen to the lionesses, the tales of hunting will be weak,

These are some of the (many) stars of the Q werd. The people are real. Na hadithi ni kweli pia….leo ni ya Millicent Gaika, Anelisa Mfo na Ndumie Funda of LulekiSizwe LBT

check out http://www.lulekisizwe.com 

 

A lesbian was allegedly beaten and raped repeatedly for five hours by a man who told her he wanted to “turn her into a woman”.

With both eyes swollen and bruised, stitches above her left eye and open wounds on her neck, Millicent Gaika, 30, of Gugulethu, haltingly told how a man she had known for years attacked and raped her repeatedly on Friday night. Her voice was husky from screaming.

Gaika alleged her attacker “acted like an animal who wanted to kill”.

He has been arrested and will appear in the Philippi Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.

On Friday just after 10pm Gaika and her friends were walking home after spending the evening at a friend’s house in NY1. As they approached their home, a man, one of many tenants on the site, apparently asked Gaika for a cigarette.

She stayed to smoke with him while her friends walked on. A few minutes later, the man refused to pass the cigarette to Gaika and walked into his room.

When she followed him he allegedly locked the door. “He started hitting me and I fought back. Then he started doing what he did to me. He pulled off my clothes and pushed me down on the bed. He did it more than once. He was holding me down, strangling me and pushing his hands hard on to my neck.

“I thought he was going to kill me; he was like an animal. And he kept saying: ‘I know you are a lesbian. You are not a man, you think you are, but I am going to show you, you are a woman. I am going to make you pregnant. I am going to kill you.'”

Gaika said the man had never openly objected to her sexuality before. “He was very nice to me – I’d known him for years. I hate him now. I am just angry. I was swearing at him while he was doing this to me. I just wished I could die. I hate what he has done, he makes me sick.”

About 4am, after five hours of Gaika being raped, a neighbour knocked on the man’s door and demanded to know who was in the room with him.

A friend of Gaika’s who asked not to be named said: “The neighbour heard something and he insisted that the man open the door. Then he broke the window and the two men started fighting. Other neighbours came and eventually broke down the door and saw what was happening. The rapist wanted to run away, but we kept him there until the police came. Millicent was on the bed. She was only wearing her sweater and it was full of blood.”

The attack was not the first one. After she was raped by four men in 2002, Gaika told herself that it would never happen again and got her life back on track.

 Gaika said the four men had been convicted and were sentenced to between 10 and 15 years. “But after a few years, they got out and that was too little time… I saw them walking around here in Gugulethu again. I was angry but I got through it and I wasn’t scared. But this time it was worse, much worse. Now I am scared, I don’t trust men. I don’t know if I am ever going to be okay after this because I thought I was going to die.”

Ndumi Funda, the founder and director of Lulekisiswe Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Women’s Project in Nyanga, was at Gaika’s house (yesterday) and said she was “deeply hurt and traumatised” by the news.

“This needs to be stopped. We know of so many that this happens to and nothing is done about it. How many more young lesbian women must die?”

The project was formed more than two years ago and has various awareness programmes. It also has a centre to help women like Gaika.

It was started after Funda’s fiancee and other lesbians they knew died of Aids-related illnesses; they had contracted HIV in homophobic attacks.

Last month, Weekend Argus reported that the rape and murder of gays and lesbians had taken on “crisis proportions” and was not restricted to townships.

According to a report by international group ActionAid, there were reports of 10 new cases of lesbians being raped every week in Cape Town alone.

Gugulethu police spokesman Captain Elliot Sinyangana confirmed the incident and said a 40-year-old man had been arrested.

He will remain in custody until his court appearance.

Written by melanie Nathan in San Francisco

http://lezgetreal.com/?p=31434

 

blogger’s note: corrective rape, out here in the West, is usually associated with South Africa, and conjures talk on the discrimination & fear that African lesbians face in their lives, couched in human rights frameworks en (not-so) critical analysis …..there are very few I’ve talked with who’ve  associated the term with say, Pride Toronto, but I think what they’re doing to queers of Afrikan descent is, depending on one’s subjective perspective ofcourse, is worse.

bredrin (one of the warriors who’s featured in the Q werd) posted on facebook recently….. Pride Toronto doesn’t give a fuck about black people. And I say, amen! to that. 

See when (the devil in) the man was ‘allegedly’ assaulting Millicent Gaika, he ripped her apart like he said he wanted to, he told her exactly what he thought, that he wanted to turn her into a woman, that she was a slut, he fucking RAPED her, en it’s ‘signified’ as corrective. At least we know him for the devil that he is….and we can agree, without a doubt, that shit ain’t kosher.

Now Pride Toronto, that’s a much more sinister story, a case of  devils we know masque(e)rading as leaders of the community, hardly even bothering with camouflage, a corporate-ized story of class divides and white supremacist ideologies  that are couched in token nominations [read: as necessary as Victor Mukasa’s nomination last year was its rendered superfluous by all the ways that the Committee HASN’T  come through for the queer/trans Afrikan communities in Tdot…….like, look at the ongoing dispute over Blockorama, and we’ll definitely be talking back about  OUR experiences at Pride last year]

The truth is, most of the organising for queer/trans rights in Afrika is being done by people of Afrikan descent, and there are still many gaps to be filled, and conscious allies to be recruited.

For many in the movement on the continent, the issues are simpler and  more direct, than the fragmented post-modern queer theorising dykes en fags who will systematically get paid way more (en creatively) to sustain their professional queer-ism.

For many of us on the continent,  it’s a matter of being able to survive while doing this work, as in concretely (as necessary as it is for more afrikans to take up space in discourse on gender & sexuality), no lengthy dissertations on the wear en tear on the soul or preferred acronyms in our rainbow soup of identities.  We need food to eat, money to travel from Point A to C (en back again), safe spaces, allies who are willing to do hard work themselves, we need to be decriminalised and protected by the State, and our issues need to be framed in our own words.  And as necessary as all the talk is, to make it plain, we need more than empathy, encouragement, tolerance or worse yet, charity & sympathy.

And we are not JUST advocating for queer/trans rights, many (more) of us are struggling for the liberation of ALL Afrikan peoples, and it’s been critically analysed to heaven and back….we need to work on our OWN  unity first. Fafanua.

Drawing attention to oneself is an act of courage and one that cannot be emphasized enough, especially if the victim is one whose rape is termed   “corrective rape” where the odds are, that the victim could be re-victimized again and again.  Years ago, Lesbians would never have come forward to tell their stories, but now with the unrelenting support and loving assistance from an extraordinary human being, Ndumie Funda, a lesbian woman living in a South African Township, near Cape Town, women and lesbians are telling their stories, willing to be named, photographed and to stand up on our pages to say:- “This is what happened to me!”

In 2007, Anelisa Mfo then a 23 year old lesbian mother from Emkonto, an informal settlement in South Africa, was walking in along a street in Nyanga when she was attacked by a man who pointed a gun at her yelling “slut ,bitch” –while he brutally raped her with a gun to her head.  Anelisa is agreeable to her name being published and story being told. There are many heroes in this story…

Anelisa together with two friends courageously identified and pursued charges and the perpetrator was caught and sent to prison for ten years.  After her HIV test proved negative in a country where HIV/AIDS is epidemic, Anelisa felt much relief even though still suffering from the cruelty of the crime.   While Anelisa was dealing with this trauma she had no idea that her five year old daughter was also raped in the Eastern Cape, by her sister’s boyfriend.

At the time Anelisa had no shelter, no employment, no money, no job, was disowned by her family because of her sexuality and a child who suffered so unimaginably.

In September, 2008, on the anniversary of her attack, Anelisa tried to kill herself. She poured paraffin over her entire whole body and set herself alight.

When LulekiSizwe LBT, Womyns Project, which had recently formed to help lesbian victims of rape, heard about her story the small unfunded group ran to the hospital in JOOSTER, where Anelisa lay clinging to life in an ICU, with no friends and no family to help.

“Because we don’t have resources yet we went to Triangle Project , they help us with counseling for Anelisa and her daughter pay for transport for Ndumie and Anelisa to travel to hospital and food parcel,” Ndumie Funda, founding Director of LulekiSizwe, informed Lezgetreal.  “We then approached IAM for a shelter and they were also a good help. Now the tough part comes who can look after her? There was no one, but I have looked her since that day,” said Ndumie the director of LulekiSizwe LBT volunteered herself to look after Anelisa.    “Like a nurse doing everything for her, feeding, cooking, washing Anelisa and her laundry- not to forget the good team of us that we have at LulekiSizwe LBT every day to relieve me.”

We received donations from the straight community at the time and so we could hire a nurse who was also helping with the dressings.

“Now,” says Ndumie, “Through prayers and care, Anelisa has recovered from her burns and has her daughter with her. We are currently trying to get some funding to get Anelisa and her daughter a home.”

Anelisa is breathing through a pipe – she cannot use her nose anymore – this is the very sad story of ANELISA.

Donations for LulekeSizwe to –

c/o Melanie Nathan
nathan@privatecourts.com
Private Courts, Inc
P.O. Box  1108
Woodacre, CA 94973

to be continued……kesho, on resistance from the margins

Blogger’s note: hadithi? hadithi? Nipe mji? Nilirudi nyumbani, coz home is where the heart is, en I was blessed to learn (more) from babas (of Afrika) that spoke (big) love en truth, like Amilcar Cabral, Baba Tajudeen, Cheikh Anta Diop, Dedan Kimathi, El Hajj Malik El Shabazz, Elijah Masinde, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, Julius Nyerere, Kwame Nkrumah, Marcus Garvey, Ngugi wa Thiong’o,…there are many kings (in the Q werd)….this post is from one of them……..

a non-fictional short story by Onyango Oloo

http://demokrasia-kenya.blogspot.com/2010/04/yes-from-apathetic-facebook-20.html 

 Claire M is a beautiful, ebony complexioned, twenty-something petit-bourgeois British accented Kenyan employee of a certain tech firm who commutes daily between her middle class neighbourhood in Nairobi’s east end and her posh upscale office in the capital city’s west end.

She is also a very good friend of mine.

Vivacious should be her middle name, so effervescent is Claire’s good natured spirit.

We met purely by happenstance about two and a half fortnights ago.

There she was, slightly after ten in the pm, sitting next to me on the Number 33 matatu on a Furahiday, Embakasi bound.

A spontaneous conversation sprung up in a matter of minutes and within days we were certified Facebook friends who turned out to be residing within mere hectares and baby wails of each other.

A few days ago, I hooked up with her and one of her girl friends for an evening after work beer sip upstairs at the Verandah, across the street from the Stanley-the old Cameo cinema for old Nairobi hands.

In the course of our random chat, she casually mentioned that she had seen my status update on Facebook urging Kenyans to vote Yes come the Referendum on the proposed new constitution.

“I am NOT voting and YOU can’t make ME!” she declared with an air of finality which startled me, being totally unexpected.

I didn’t even know she had seen my earnest online constitutional exhortation in the first place.

“Remember the last time in 2007, I woke up very early in the morning and voted for Raila and look what happened! We Kenyans started killing each other! Over WHAT? I am NOT voting for ANYONE! And you can’t FORCE me!”

Yawa Maembe”, I tried to butt in, gently pointing out that this time around Kenyans were not voting for anyone, just for the long sought after constitution, twenty years in the making and stained with our blood, sweat and tears.

“Well, the only person I will be voting for is the Man Upstairs. And in case you didn’t know, the world is COMING TO AN END. All the signs are there.

Have you looked at

Jay-Z’s latest CD?

Or wondered why Beyoncé Giselle Knowles calls herself

Sasha Fierce these days?

How about that thing with Kanye West and Taylor Swift?

or Rihanna’s new outfit?

There you go.”

Let me hasten to add that Claire M is perfectly SANE and quite intelligent, in case you were wondering.

At this point she reached deep deep into one of those humungous mobile ward robes that women call handbags these days

and fished out a slim volume with a silky, smooth, soft, shiny glossy black cover featuring a smiling handsome African man on the cover.

The booklet was captioned He is Coming.

I think the author was referring to the world famous dreadlocked Holy Nazarene nicknamed JC, but the image was more reminiscent of one of those Nollywood hunks that litter our television screens and have taken over our DVDs these days.

“You see this?” she said, thumping mercilessly on the poor innocent book.

“It is all in HERE. Tell him Sheila!” she said, turning to her bemused best friend who had been staring, wide mouthed, as this delirious conversation unfolded amid quaffs of this or that variety of Kenyan malt product among the trio of us.

“I am not particularly religious”, I offered, meekly.

“The last time I stepped into an actual Church to formally worship was waaay back in May or June 1982”, I explained, shocking Claire M, who was not even conceived back then when

Shalamar,Ray Parker Jr, Odyssey, The Whispers, Kool and the Gang, Lakeside,

and the Gibson Brothers ruled the world’s disco floors with their curly kits, afros, box tops, bomber jackets and tight jeans-the future Retro/Old Skool gear and wear of decades to come.

Earth, Wind and Fire

“You mean you DO NOT BELIEVE IN GOD???!!!”

Reluctant to start another raging, never ending Kenyan sectarian edition of the Crusades right there at the Verandah-a veritable den of iniquity if I ever saw one- I carefully skirted the religious inquisition, side-stepping a possible urban, nocturnal lynching at the hands of an irate, determined and capable potential Kenyan female executioner by reverting back to the need for a Yes vote among all Kenyans with a functioning brain.

“Well, like I said, WE are NOT voting, are WE, Sheila?” Claire M hissed defiantly, turning to her hapless bosom buddy for solidarity and assurance.

“And you can write that on that BLOG of yours! And tell the WORLD that Claire M said SO! It is NO for ME and THAT is THAT!”

“Are you SURE????!!”

I tried to verify, knowing how far around the world the Kenya Democracy Project blog travels these days.

This morning I got an update from my Neo website counter which informed me that the blog had reached 11,950 cities in 186 countries around this

Blue Marble.

“Yes! And I am waiting to read it!”

So Claire M, in sunny Nairobi, here you go.

You did insist and demand that I put your views on this blog of mine.

And I am sending you a link via my Facebook wall so you can read this on your mobile phone my Kenyan digital sister. I will also email you the URL so that you can carefully jot down the put downs and rebuttals for our next Verandah soiree.

My generation and this Twittered, Digged, RSS Word Pressed Facebooked Twenty First Century Viral Marketed Kenyan Generation of Claire, Sheila and Co. Ltd are Worlds Apart I tell you.

It is like Mercury and Uranus.

Back in the 1980s-Yes, when David Onyango Oloo was still a deceptively innocent looking, fresh faced, slim, twenty something student cum political prisoner and not this bloated twenty first century Kenyan Rip Van Freaking Winkle with sprinkles of salt on my head and chin- it was a badge of honour among the Kenyan youth to be political, to be conscious, to be democratic, to be patriotic, to be militant, to be vigilant, to be a voter.

These were the days of Daniel arap Moi and his side kicks like Okiki Amayo, Kariuki Chotara, Mulu Mutisya, Jackson Angaine, Ezekiel Bargentuny, Sharrif Nassir, Philip Leakey, Stanley Oloitiptip, Krishan Gautama and John Joseph Kamotho.

The days of one party rule.

The days of detention without trial.

The days of the one finger salute.

Not that finger you are thinking of.

The KANU one finger is what I am talking about.

The days of silence, the days of terror and the days of fear.

The days of Fuata Nyayo.

The days of KANU Tawala, Tawala.

The days of fake peace, counterfeit love and non-existent unity.

And also the days of defiant university student demonstrations and courageous lecturers’ symposia.

Not to forget fearless editorials.

The era of George Anyona and Jaramogi Oginga Odinga.

The hey days of Willy Mutunga, Al-Amin Mazrui, Micere Mugo, James Orengo and Ngugi wa Thiong’o.

The political coming age of the Njeri Kabeberis and Mwandawiro Mghangas.

Some university students declared in public kamkunjis that it was time for Kenya to be ruled by Marxist-Leninists.

Others were abducted off trains to be charged with sedition because they had dared to draft in their hand written chicken scrawl, earnest essays about the role of youth in fighting for democracy and justice in this country.

Still others were thrown down flights of stairs by angry secret police torturers for celebrating the attempted overthrow of the Moi dictatorship.

Back in those seemingly long forgotten days, Kenyan youth, Kenyan students, Kenyan post-independence patriots yearned passionately to kick the status quo’s hind quarters swiftly, repeatedly and viciously.

Back in those yesteryears, Kenyan students and youth spoke out loudly in protest when spooky sycophantic fascist neo-colonial comprador politicians led by our current septuagenarian head of state wanted to declare Kenya a de jure one party dictatorship.

And back then, there were no cell phones, leave alone the internet, forget email accounts, scratch Messenger, ICQ, online forums, chat rooms, Facebook or Twitter.

Back in that recent technological Stone Age, when you spoke of a telephone you was either referring to an old gloomy looking black contraption which had a PADLOCK firmly attached to it or a relative of the same intimidating device trapped in an outdoor cage, looking like a forlorn statue which required you to feed it with numerous coins if you wanted to talk to anyone for a few hurried minutes- at the top of your lungs, obliviously unaware that science and technology had already carefully considered your vocally needs to communicate clearly and therefore taken care of the volume and modulation functions in that teleinstrument.

But we were MORE networked and pumped up those days-politically speaking that is.

If there had been a proposed draft constitution waiting to be passed as the country’s supreme document, Kenya’s militant and patriotic youth would have already formed kilometre long queues, snaking around entire villages-urban and rural- to vote YES, YES, YES! months before the actual referendum!

What a contrast that generation of mine is to the apathetic, blasé, cynical, bored out of their skulls, hip hopping techno Kenyan chini kwa chini ohangla wiggling genge kapukaring smoked out dazed raggamuffins of the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand and Ten who have more passion for Arsenal and Man U than for freedom or socialism; Kenyan youth who know more about the subliminal Satanic sub texts in Rihanna’s latest dress than which reproductive rights side to take on the raging debate about where life begins; Kenyan youth who can recite the last 98 minutes of the last episode of Lord Of The Rings or the 23rd Season of Sex in the City verbatim from their photographic memories while being totally clueless about the actual contents of the Bill of Rights in our new constitution; Kenyan youth who can tell you the exact alcohol percentage in a bottle of Kingfisher or Smirnoff Red, but totally blank out when you ask them about what percentage women of seats have been allocated in the projected Senate chamber.

Do I sound harsh, bitter, angry, judgmental?

You tell me.

Forgive me for this Cardinal Sin of having seen Better Scenes for Kenyan Youth in this very country, in this, my very own pays natal.

But frankly some of us, aging grey beards, the Kenyan youth of yesteryears, expect more, much, much more, from our younger siblings, cousins, nephews, nieces, and for some of us now delving into our fifth decade of existence, our own sons and daughters.

We expect them to reap the harvest of our blood stained youthful endeavours for a more democratic dispensation.

We expect them to be more emboldened about defending our social justice gains.

We expect them to be more conscious than us, their prehistoric predecessors.

And yes, Claire M, that is why I expect YOU to VOTE YES for the new constitution come the referendum.

And I am talking to you too, Sheila.

But first, you have to register as voters my two Kenyan sisters.

And you can do it electronically these days you know.

So Claire M, there you have it.

You did ask me to write this, didn’t you?

Onyango Oloo

Nairobi, Kenya

 blogger’s note: braap! and those are the confessions of an angry afrikan baba, I hear where he’s coming from, those are my peers he’s talking about, apathy seems to be/coming a hall mark of our generation, but if you know where to look, then you will find those youth fulfilling the mission of their times…

(some) Facts. Many Catholic scholars now deny that there was ever a female pope, but the legend of Pope Joan persists. Even the church accepted Joan’s pontificate as historical fact, up to the beginning of the 17th century.

Her portrait appeared in a row of papal busts in Siena Cathedral, labeled Johannes VIII, femina ex Anglia:

John VIII, an Englishwoman.

Pope Joan was first mentioned by her contemporary Anastasius the Librarian (d.886).

 Scotus’s chronicle of the popes listed her:

“A.D 854, Lotharii 14, Joanna, a woman, succeeded Leo, and reigned two years, five months, and four days.”……

Pope Joan many not have been so apocryphal as she is now portrayed. Part of the church’s most carefully hidden history shows that there were women in high ecclesiastical positions up to the 12th century, when they began to be deposed in Europe…….

The Papess of the Tarot Decks was often called Pope Joan. When the first Tarot decks were being (re)produced, Joan’s pontificate was universally accepted as historical fact. The card-Papess’s three-tiered tiara was the same as the headdress shown on engravings of Pope Joan…..

(but) whether Pope Joan existed or not, a curious Vatican custom arose in the wake of her legend. Candidates for the papacy had to seat themselves naked on an open stool, to be viewed through a hole in the floor by cardinals in the room below. The committee had to make its official announcement:

Testiculo habet et bene pendentes,

“he has testicles, and they hang all right.”

It seemed important that “Holy Mother Church” must never be governed by a Holy Mother….

[Blogger’s note: Pope Joan’s is a herstorical landmark in the Tdot of the Q werd. a real gender bender…….excerpt/ed from Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, Barbara Walker, p. 475]

Na bado, ni kweli kama hadithi ya……

 Juno

…had many attributes or emanations which are sometimes erroneously viewed as separate Goddesses. Juno Fortuna (Fortune), Sospita (Preserver), Regina(Queen of Heaven), Lucina(Celestial Light), Moneta (Advisor/Admonisher), Martialis (mother of Mars), Carprotina/Februa(love), Populonia (mother of the people), en so on, through many other Junos….

Among Juno’s sacred symbols were the peacock, the cowrie shell, and ofcourse, the lily, or lotus, universal yonic emblem. With her sacred lily, Juno conceived the God Mars without any assistance from her consort, Jupiter; later to be called the Blessed Virgin Juno.

The three-lobed lily that used to represent her parthenogenetic power was inherited by the ‘virgin’ Mary, who still retains it.

[The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets: p.484, Juno.]

To be continued….

Blogger’s notes:

I, Sista.In.Solidarity, will tell you not only my story, but those of bredrin en sistren, of elders en ancestors, for the sake of our children en those yet to be born….

because we [‘ve probably heard many parts of these hadithi before, we already] KNOW, but if our children are the future re-incarnate, then how satisfied are we with our (supposedly)  civilized trend of forgetfulness?

Hadithi? Hadithi? Nipe hadithi?

The Q werd is a mystic, organic en (us)people-driven hadithi caravan of video diaries. Nothing like the L word, in many ways like I love U People, with a continental twist…….the crux of the series is big love en big mobilizing for, and, within (pan) Afrikan communities (en with our allies)

Hadithi? Hadithi? Nipe mji?

Nilienda meroe, hapo wahenga waliniambia hadithi ya Isis, Oshun, Oya, na Yemoja.

The (inaugural) hadithi ya i,S.I.S, is from the Q werd blog of the day,

http://bedsofpurple.wordpress.com/orishas/

These are some of her parts…..

 “Yemaya is one of the most powerful Goddesses found in the many African-Caribbean traditions. Her name is Yemaya, or Ymoja as she was known to the Yoruban people of West Africa.

She is the Mother of the Ogun River and was also referred to as the “Mother of the Waters”. This is because she is said to give birth to the world’s waters – that new springs would appear whenever she turned over in her sleep, and that springs would also gush forth and turn into rivers wherever she walked.

Together with Oshun and Oya (the guardians of the River Niger), Yemaya was said to be “supreme in the arts of mystic retribution”, and protected her people “against all evil”.

Yemaya is a merciful Goddess who women called upon for aid during childbirth, and the Goddess to whom her people prayed to for fertility, especially by women who have trouble conceiving. According to legend, she birthed 14 of the Yoruban Gods and Goddesses (also referred to as “orishas”). This came about through her being raped by her own son. After this ordeal, Yemaya lay a curse upon him, causing him to die. However, when this happened, the Goddess chose to die as well, and went upon a mountain peak. As she died, the bursting of her uterine waters caused a great flood which, in turn, created the oceans, and from her womb, the 14 orishas were born.

 When the Yoruban people were enslaved, their Goddess went with them, sustaining them with life even in the face of the darkest times, in the new world. When her people were brought to the Americas, Ymoja became known as Yemaya, the “Mother of the Ocean”, for this was the first time that her people had came into contact with the ocean. As the Yoruban people were not allowed to practice their beliefs in this new world, they merged their deities with images of Catholic saints, and subsequently created a number of new religions – Santeria in Cuba, Voudoun in Haiti, Macumba in Brazil, and Candomble in Bahia. Within all these differing religions, Yemaya is still revered as a powerful deity.

To the Brazilian Macumba, she is known as Imanje, the Ocean Goddess of the Crescent Moon. In Cuba, there are many variants to her name – while Yemaya Ataramagwa was the wealth Queen of the Sea, she was also the stern Yemaya Achabba, the violent Yemaya Oqqutte (violent aspect), and the overpowering Yemaya Olokun, who could only be seen in dreams. To the people of Haiti, the Goddess is known as Agwe, and as La Balianne to the people of New Orleans.

Being a Goddess of the Sea, Yemaya is often depicted as a beautiful mermaid, or wearing seven skirts of blue and white. The cowrie shell is sacred to her and her places of worship are the seashores, or large rivers that flow into the sea. In Brazil, where she is referred to as “”Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception”, crowds still gather today on the beach of Bahia to celebrate Candalaria, a ceremony in which offerings of soap, perfume, and jewellery are thrown into the sea in honour of Yemaya. Letters of requests to the Goddess are thrown also. The people wait to see if their offerings are accepted by the Goddess, or returned to them upon the waves. It is believed that the Goddess would wash away the troubles of her followers with her waters, the waters of the womb of creation and dreams.

Colours attributed to Yemaya are blue, silver and white. Symbols are the six-pointed star, an open shell, the Moon, and bodies of water. Stones are turquoise (and other light blue crystals), pearl, mother-of-pearl and coral. The trout lily and sea lavender are her flowers, while sandalwood, tea rose, lilac and frangipani are her fragrances. She is also said to be fond of melons.”

To be continued…..

 Additional reading:

Did you know?….. mami wota in our stories

In a political ploy probably designed to legitimize her reign, after inheriting her father’s expanding colonial kingdoms at the age of 17, the Macedonian (Greek) Cleopatra IV and her 10 year old brother (Theos Philopator)-Ptolemy XIII, installed as the new rulers of Egypt, in imitation of the African queen mothers, reputedly built herself a (now destroyed) Mammisi shrine at Erment (Upper Egypt), when giving birth to her first son. She even had inscribed in her shrine the traditional priestly attributes including depicting herself giving birth to Julius Caesar’s son, being assisted by the seven Netjers (divine African ancestors, including Isis and Osiris). However, lacking the ancestral connection to the divine spirits, she thought she could fake it by trying desperately (without success) to obtain the sacred prophetic poems of the Eastern Masses, authored by the great Sibylline (Mami) prophetesses’. Undeterred, she ordered her conquered African subjects to address her as the “New Isis.” Ironically, she met her demised when she was fatally bitten by one of the sacred asp (serpents). (Walker 1983, p.573, Britannica 1974, Vol. 6, p.484, Vol 8, p. 386, Vol. I p. 261, VIII p.282, Nicholson, p.264,269,Lindsay 1971, p. 384).

[original source: http://www.mamiwata.com/mami.htm]

 

“Our appeal is straightforwardly based on the need for clemency as an essential element in the attainment of that healing process which the present national leader swore to embark upon, on taking oath of office. Without being superstitious, we cannot but observe how a 10-year cycle of blood-letting appears to have become an incubus on the very life of the nation’s Armed Forces – 1966, 1976 and now 1986. You possess the will to break this jinx. You have the moral duty to exercise that will.”

– Chinua Achebe, J.P Clark and Wole Soyinka in a petition to General Ibrahim Babangida at Dodan Barracks on March 4, 1986

blogger’s note: you probably already know this story, references to ancient Afrikan cultures are all over the net en the world….so here’s another one of them…of the gran (primeval) mama of us all  (emphasis on ‘the capital’ in the Q werd)

Adapted from http://www.ancientegyptonline.co.uk/hathor.html

Hathor is one of the most ancient Egyptian goddesses. She was known as “the Great One of Many Names” and her titles and attributes are so numerous that she was important in every area of the life and death of the ancient Egyptians. It is thought that her worship was widespread even in the Predynastic period because she appears on the Narmer palette. However, some scholars suggest that the cow-headed goddess depicted on the palette is in fact Bast (an ancient cow goddess who was largely absorbed by Hathor) or even Narmer himself. However, she was certainly popular by the Old Kingdom as she appears with Bast in the valley temple of Khafre at Giza. Hathor represents Upper Egypt and Bast represents Lower Egypt

She was originally a personification of the Milky Way, which was considered to be the milk that flowed from the udders of a heavenly cow (linking her with Nut, Bat and Mehet-Weret). As time passed she absorbed the attributes of many other goddesses but also became more closely associated with Isis, who to some degree usurped her position as the most popular and powerful goddess. Yet she remained popular throughout Egyptian history. More festivals were dedicated to her and more children were named after her than any other god or goddess. Her worship was not confined to Egypt and Nubia. She was worshipped throughout Semitic West Asia, Ethiopian, Somlia and Libya, but was particularly venerated in the city of Byblos.

She was a sky goddess, known as “Lady of Stars” and “Sovereign of Stars” and linked to Sirius (and so the goddesses Sopdet and Isis). Her birthday was celebrated on the day that Sirius first rose in the sky (heralding the coming innundation). By the Ptolemaic period, she was known as the goddess of Hethara, the third month of the Egyptian calendar.

Hathor was also the goddess of beauty and patron of the cosmetic arts. Her traditional votive offering was two mirrors and she was often depicted on mirrors and cosmetic palettes. Yet she was not considered to be vain or shallow, rather she was assured of her own beauty and goodness and loved beautiful and good things. She was known as “the mistress of life” and was seen as the embodiment of joy, love, romance, perfume, dance, music and alcohol.

Hathor was especially connected with the fragrance of myrrh incense, which was considered to be very precious and to embody all of the finer qualities of the female sex. Hathor was associated with turquoise, malachite, gold and copper. As “the Mistress of Turquoise” and the “lady of Malachite” she was the patron of miners and the goddess of the Sinai Peninsula (the location of the famous mines). The Egyptians used eye makeup made from ground malachite which had a protective function (in fighting eye infections) which was attributed to Hathor.

As the “lady of the west” and the “lady of the southern sycamore” she protected and assisted the dead on their final journey. Trees were not commonplace in ancient Egypt, and their shade was welcomed by the living and the dead alike. She was sometimes depicted as handing out water to the deceased from a sycamore tree (a role formerly associated with Amentet who was often described as the daughter of Hathor) and according to myth, she (or Isis) used the milk from the Sycamore tree to restore sight to Horus who had been blinded by Set. Because of her role in helping the dead, she often appears on sarcophagi with Nut (the former on top of the lid, the later under the lid).

She occasionally took the form of the “Seven Hathors” who were associated with fate and fortune telling. It was thought that the “Seven Hathors” knew the length of every childs life from the day it was born and questioned the dead souls as they travelled to the land of the dead. Her priests could read the fortune of a newborn child, and act as oracles to explain the dreams of the people. People would travel for miles to beseech the goddess for protection, assistance and inspiration. The “Seven Hathors” were worshiped in seven cities: Waset (Thebes), Iunu (On, Heliopolis), Aphroditopolis, Sinai, Momemphis, Herakleopolis, and Keset. They may have been linked to the constellations Pleiades.

However, she was also a goddess of destruction in her role as the Eye of Ra – defender of the sun god. According to legend, people started to criticise Ra when he ruled as Pharaoh. Ra decided to send his “eye” against them (in the form of Sekhmet). She began to slaughter people by the hundred. When Ra relented and asked her to stop she refused as she was in a blood lust. The only way to stop the slaughter was to colour beer red (to resemble blood) and pour the mixture over the killing fields. When she drank the beer, she became drunk and drowsy, and slept for three days. When she awoke with a hangover she had no taste for human flesh and mankind was saved. Ra renamed her Hathor and she became a goddess of love and happiness. As a result, soldiers also prayed to Hathor/Sekhmet to give them her strength and focus in battle.

Of course, Thoth already had a wife, Seshat (the goddess of reading, writing, architecture and arithmetic), so Hathor absorbed her role including acting as a witness at the judgement of the dead. Her role in welcoming the dead gained her a further husband – Nehebkau (the guardian of the entrance of the underworld). Then when Ra and Amun merged, Hathor became seen as the wife of Sobek who was considered to be an aspect of Amen-Ra. Yet Sobek was also associated with Seth, the enemy of Horus!

She took the form of a woman, goose, cat, lion, malachite, sycamore fig, to name but a few. However, Hathor’s most famous manifestation is as a cow and even when she appears as a woman she has either the ears of a cow, or a pair of elegant horns. When she is depicted as entirely a cow, she always has beautifully painted eyes. She was often depicted in red (the color of passion) though her sacred color is turquoise.

It is also interesting to note that only she and the dwarf god Bes (who also had a role in childbirth) were ever depicted in portrait (rather than in profile). Isis borrowed many of her functions and adapted her iconography to the extent that it is often difficult to be sure which of the two goddesses is depicted. However, the two deities were not the same. Isis was in many ways a more complex deity who suffered the death of her husband and had to fight to protect her infant son, so she understood the trials and tribulations of the people and could relate to them. Hathor, on the other hand, was the embodiment of power and success and did not experience doubts.

While Isis was merciful, Hathor was single minded in pursuit of her goals.

When she took the form of Sekhmet, she did not take pity on the people and even refused to stop killing when ordered to do so.

to be continued……