There’s a hadithi I know. It’s about de earth en how it floats in space on the back of a kobe, na hapo zamani za kale pia watoto wa Gikuyu na Mumbi, walizaliwa kwenye Mukuru wa Nyagathanga. Hao dada tisa waliitwa Wanjiku, Wanjiru,

 Wanjeri, Wambui, Wangari, Wacera, Waithera, Nambi na Nyambura. Hadithi? Hadithi? Hadithi njoo…utamu kolea….

Leo hii epic ni ya nambi na Kintu as told by de Baganda as de hadithi of creashun.

According to this legend, Kintu was de first person on earth.

Kintu the Legend

Hapo zamani za kale, Kintu was de only person on earth. He lived alone with his cow, which

he tended lovingly. Ggulu the creator of all things lived up in heaven with his many children and other property. From time to time, Ggulu’s children would come down to earth to play. On one such occasion, Ggulu’s daughter Nambi and some of her brothers encountered Kintu who was with his cow in Buganda.

Nambi was very fascinated with Kintu and she felt pity for him because he was living alone. She resolved to marry him and stay with him despite the opposition from her brothers. But because of her brothers’ pleading, she decided to return to heaven with Kintu and ask for her father’s permission for the union.

Ggulu was not pleased that his daughter wanted to get married to a human being

and live with him on the earth. But Nambi pleaded with her father until she persuaded him to bless the union. After Ggulu decided to allow the marriage to proceed, he advised Kintu and Nambi to leave heaven secretly. He advised them to pack lightly and that on no condition were they to return to heaven even if they forgot anything. This admonition was so that Walumbe, one of Nambi’s brothers should not find out about the marriage until they had left, otherwise he would insist on going with them and bring them misery ( walumbe means that which causes sickness and death). Kintu was very pleased to have been given a wife and together they followed Ggulu’s instructions. Among the few things that Nambi packed, was her chicken. They set out for earth early the next morning.

But while they were descending, Nambi remembered that she had forgotten to bring the millet that her chicken would feed on. “I have left my chickens’ millet on the porch, let me return and fetch it,” she begged Kintu. But Kintu refused and said, “Don’t go back. If you do, you will meet Walumbe and he will surely insist on coming with you.” Nambi, however, did not listen to her husband, and leaving him on the way she returned to fetch the millet. When she reached the house, she took the millet from the porch, but on her way back, she suddenly met Walumbe who asked: “My sister, where are you going so early in the morning? Nambi did not know what to say. Filled with curiosity, Walumbe insisted on going with her. Therefore Kintu and Nambi were forced to go to earth together with Walumbe.

It did not take long for Kintu and Nambi to get children. One day, Walumbe went to Kintu’s home and asked his brother-in-law to give him a child to help him with the chores in his (Walumbe’s) house. But remembering Ggulu’s

warning, Kintu would not hear of it. Walumbe became very angry with Kintu for refusing him the simple favor he had asked. That very night, he went and killed Kintu’s son. Naturally, this caused a deep rift between them. Kintu went back to heaven to report Walumbe’s actions to Ggulu. Ggulu rebuked Kintu, reminding him of the original warning he had disregarded. Kintu blamed Nambi for returning to get the millet. Ggulu then sent another of his sons, Kayikuuzi, to go back to earth with Kintu and try to persuade Walumbe to return to heaven or if necessary return him by force.

On reaching earth, Kayikuuzi tried to persuade Walumbe to go back to heaven but Walumbe would not hear of it. “I like it here on earth and I am not coming back with you” he said. Kayikuuzi decided to capture Walumbe by force, and a great fight broke out between them. But as Walumbe was about to be

overpowered, he escaped and disappeared into the ground. Kayikuuzi went after him, digging huge holes in the ground to try and find his brother. When Kayikuuzi got to where he was hiding, Walumbe run back out to the earth. Further struggle between the brothers ensued but once again Walumbe escaped into the ground. The famous caves that are found today at Ttanda in Ssingo are said to be the ones that were dug by Kayikuuzi in the fight with his brother Walumbe. (Kayikuuzi means he who digs holes).

The struggle went on for several days and by now, Kayikuuzi was close to exhaustion. So he went and talked to Kintu and Nambi as follows: “I am going back into the ground one more time to get Walumbe. You and your children must stay indoors. You must strictly enjoin your children not to make a sound if they see Walumbe. I know he is also getting tired so when he comes out of the ground, I will come upon him secretly and grab him.” Kintu and Nambi went into their house, but some of the kids did not go in. Kayikuuzi once again went underground to find Walumbe.

After a struggle, Walumbe came back out to the surface with Kayikuuzi in pursuit. Kintu’s children who were outside at the time saw Walumbe coming and sreamed in terror. On hearing the screams, Walumbe went underground once again. Kayikuuzi was furious with Kintu and Nambi for not having followed his

instructions. He told them that if they did not care to do the simple thing he had asked of them, he was also giving up the fight. Kintu in his embarrassment had nothing more to say. So he told Kayikuuzi “You return to heaven. If Walumbe wants to kill my children, let him do so, I will keep having more. The more he kills, the more I will get and he will never be able to kill off all my children”. Ttanda, where the fight between Walumbe and Kayikuuzi allegedly took place is figuratively referred to as the place of death (i.e. Walumbe’s place).

So that is the legend of creation, and how sickness and death started. Nonetheless, Kintu’s descendants will always remain as Kintu said in his last words to Kayikuuzi. Hence the Kiganda saying “Abaana ba Kintu tebalifa kuggwaawo”. Which means that Kintu’s children (i.e. the Baganda), will never be wiped off the face of the earth.

More about Kintu @ http://www.buganda.com/kintu.htm

[Remixed excerpts from our open] source: http://www.africaresource.com/rasta/sesostris-the-great-the-egyptian-hercules/the-legend-of-kintu-bugandan-tradition/

Hadithi? Hadithi?

Nipe Mji?

in de werds of another sista I love, respekt en admire so….

unspoken sentiments

I have such admiration for the diversity of character amongst friends [rafikis].

There are the brutally honest, with no filters for hot, sterilizing tongues-the poison suckers who carry loads too painful for the weak,

the soft spoken listeners who take forever and a day to take a stand, they care less (i guess) about being counted anywhere- they’re everywhere.

There are the mediators, the monotony shakers, the promise keepers, the silence breakers, group facilitators, and those with the patience to explain it all, just one more time…

There are the knowers who need a nudge. The worriers who just won’t budge, nose divers, cautious survivors, carefree caregivers, and self-directed newcomers …in/Compatibilities cause for the most magical web of relations.

Some in the net work, some don’t, some seem like they can’t, while some seem destined, but one thing that I have found is that all are capable of communicating, and love appears to be the strongest coach.

In my life I have learned so many preparations of “truth”

sour, salty, sugar sweet, bland, like sand, enough to save a dying man

fire hot red pepper tears

congestion clears

At this point I can honestly confide: I give thanks for every serving.

U know how many truths u’ve read,

on the tip of my tongue

across my forehead,

in my heated connection,

in my nervous stance

in my silent absence

in my raging dance

and, so much more, behind my words, they hide

let the intelligences amongst us be our guide.

[ase, ase, ase…….]

By yene konjit

[daughta of de most high]

(Reposted with big love en respekt from) Chuka Nnabuife on why 2011 is the Year of Interesting Books Coming

NEXT year will be eventful in the African books section. Already publishers are introducing books they will release in the first half of the year. Amazon will put out a new anthology containing the works of Chinua Achebe, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, John Coetzee, Nardine Gordimer, Ben Okri and other Caine Prize winning writers. Ngugi wa Thiongo will also come out with a new book due for release in February 2011 on the Amazon list.

In Pambazuka Press, an about to be released book, No Land! No House! No Vote! Voices from Symphony Way, captures the tale of resilence while throwing the reader back to memory of the segregative Apartheid rule in South Africa.

The anthology of factual tales captured in both poetic and prose (media feature report format) narrates the several accounts of Cape Town, South Africa’s Symphony Way pavement dwellers who, like in film story, found themselves catapulted from their hitherto poor settlement to an better developed estate upon the end of the Apartheid only to be pushed out of the houses almost as suddenly as their fortune changed.

The publishers promote the work thus: “This anthology is written by shack-dwelling families in Cape Town who were moved into houses but soon afterwards evicted again. They organised the Symphony Way Anti-Eviction and here write about their experiences.

 “Many outside South Africa imagine that after Mandela was freed and the ANC won free elections all was well. But the last two decades have led to increased poverty and inequality. Although a few black South Africans have become wealthy, for many the struggle against apartheid never ended because the ethos of apartheid continues to live.”

The book follows several hundreds of shanty-dwelling families in Cape Town who, early in 2007, were moved into houses they had been waiting for since the end of Apartheid. But soon they were told that the move had been illegal and they were kicked out of their new homes. In protest, they built shacks next to the road opposite the housing project. And, soon a vibrant settlement of hundreds of ramshackled huts inhabited by organised protesting settlers blossomed there. It became known as Symphony Way. Home ground of Symphony Way Anti-Eviction Campaign, whose membership vowed to stay on the road until the government gave them permanent housing. Eventually, the tales from the protesting slum-dwellers turns out a warm, close-knit and eventful one – full of vibrant communal lives, simmering relationships, love, hate and blood ties. The book also rubs off some disturbing feeling that the robust but poor settlement was forcefully moved to make the country host last summer’s football’s World Cup without what the authorities deem an odd sight for tourists.

Promoters’ of the book who inform that its audience target include anthropologists, activists, campaigners, NGO-workers, academics, journalists, commentators state: “This anthology is both testimony and poetry. There are stories of justice miscarried, of violence domestic and public, of bigotry and xenophobia. But amid the horror there is beauty: relationships between aunties, husbands, wives and children; daughters named Hope and Symphony. This book is a means to dignity, a way for the poor to reflect and be reflected. It is testimony that there’s thinking in the shacks, that there are humans who dialogue, theorise and fight to bring about change.

Two Symphony Way evictees were featured in a Guardian article of 1 April 2010: Badronessa Morris: ‘The police treat us like animals. They swear at us, pepper spray us, search us in public, even children. At 10 o’clock you must be inside: the police come and tell you to go into your place and turn down the music. In my old home we used to sit outside all night with the fire.’

Jane Roberts: ‘It’s a dumping place. They took people from the streets because they don’t want them in the city for the World Cup. Now we are living in a concentration camp.’

No Land! No House! No Vote! Voices from Symphony Way set for release in March 2011 is available for ebook order in United Kingdom.

Another up coming book of interest from the same publishers is African Sexualities: A Reader, by Sylvia Tamale. In the work Ms Tamale probes, the perculiar traits of African sexualities with the aim “to inspire a new generation of students and teachers to study, reflect and gain fresh and critical insights into the complex issues of gender and sexuality.”

Promoters say the book seeks to open new frontiers of thinking about African notiopns of sex. African Sexualities stretches the space to several spheres of multidisciplinary scholarship.

The book with authors who are scholars, researchers, professionals, practitioners and experts from different regions of Africa and Africa’s Diaspora comes in themed sections, all introduced by a framing essay.”

The authors use essays, case studies, poetry, news clips, songs, fiction, memoirs, letters, interviews, short film scripts and photographs from a wide political spectrum to examine dominant and deviant sexualities, analyse the body as a site of political, cultural and social contestation and investigate the intersections between sex, power, masculinities and femininities. The book adopts a feminist approach that analyses sexuality within patriarchal structures of oppression while also highlighting its emancipatory potential.

“As well as using popular culture to help address the ‘what, why, how, when and where’ questions, the contributors also provide a critical mapping of African sexualities that informs readers about the plurality and complexities of African sexualities – desires, practices, fantasies, identities, taboos, abuses, violations, stigmas, transgressions and sanctions. At the same time, they pose gender-sensitive and politically aware questions that challenge the reader to interrogate assumptions and hegemonic sexuality discourses, thereby unmapping the intricate and complex terrain of African sexualities.

“The blend of approaches and styles enhances the book’s accessibility and usefulness for teaching as well as allowing for historical and textual contextualisation.”

It is written for audiences in the higher education and postgradute levels. Due date of emerging from press is June 2011.

Among other books coming from Pambazuka and Fahamu books are African Women Writing Resistance, An Anthology of Contemporary Voices an anthology of African-born contributors who “move beyond the linked dichotomies of victim/oppressor and victim/heroine to present their experiences of resistance in full complexity: they are at the forward edge of the tide of women’s empowerment moving across Afrika.”

My Dream is to be Bold, a feminist oriented work is among them as well as Dust from our Eyes an Unblinkered Look at Africa, a Joan Baxter tale of the diversity of Africa and the resilience and spirit of its people.

From Citizen to Refugee, Uganda Asians come to Britain by Mahmood Mamdani is another nostalgia awakening book to be expected. It dwells on the seriously embattled life of Asians in Uganda during the eventful dictatorial reign of the late Gen. Idi Amin in the 1970s. It is a re-publication of 1972’s original. The author, Mamdani, an eye witness, describes the feelings experienced by Uganda’s Asians and tells of their camps’ political culture.

[http://www.compassnewspaper.com/NG/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=71700%3A2011-year-of-interesting-books-coming&catid=54%3Aarts&Itemid=694]

http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Montreal+protesters+rally+support+WikiLeaks/3999493/story.html

(Painfully copy and pasted because I knew Moya would appreciate it.)

Black women are having a moment. In fact, we had several in 2010—not always positive (think Proenza Schouler’s “Act Da Fool” short and Gabourey Sidibe’s subpar ELLE cover), but almost always insightful (Sesame Street’s “I Love My Hair” video).

Whether it left us shaking our heads in disdain or nodding in agreement, we, without a doubt, had some much-needed discussion (e.g., Madame Noire’s “8 Reasons to Date a White Man” article and Tyler Perry’s “For Colored Girls”) and mobilized in ways that we hadn’t for years (from Philly-based designer Shavonne Deann staging a guerrilla runway show, to the “Fashion In Action!” march in protest of the lack of Black fashion directors in the magazine industry—both during fashion week). It’s up to each and every one of us to keep the momentum going right into the next year … and beyond.

Here at CLUTCH, we’re issuing a public declaration of our rights, demands, and just shit we will not stand for anymore.

  • * We will tell our own stories. There is just something to be said about Black women directing movies about Black women or Black women conducting studies about our own struggles. Perhaps it’s authenticity. Instead of complaining when we see distorted representations of our experiences, we vow to seek positions of power and/or find ways to support other Black women to do so, so that we can write our own narratives—not men, not Whites, not anyone else.
  • * We will not rely on the Internet (or any other form of media) to be our relationship mediator. One of the main reasons that the viral videos and special news reports on the state of Black relationships hit such a nerve is not because they perpetuated stereotypes we already knew existed, but because we weren’t already having these conversations openly, honestly and constructively with one another (i.e., men with women).
  •  * We will feel safe in our neighborhoods. When did it become acceptable for us to be afraid to walk home after dark? When did we become naturalized to the random acts of violence committed against us each day? It is not okay. And we will no longer let another catcall or invasion of our personal space go unaddressed—whether it’s speaking up to the perpetrator or alerting the nearby authorities. 
  •  * We will remember that we are human. Contrary to popular belief, we are not the mules of the world. We are not superhuman. We will allow our selves to hurt, so long as we allow ourselves to heal.
  •  * We will whip our hair. No matter if it’s long, short, permed, natural, or weaved, we will nurture what’s underneath. We will not pit women against each other because of our hair preferences. Hair is like religion. We each have our own rituals. We vow to respect each other’s rituals.
  •  * We will open our minds and hearts to love. We will embrace the possibility of finding a mate who is outside of our race, income bracket or height range. We will remember that these attributes are not measures of one’s character or compatibility.
  • * We will love ourselves and each other. We pledge to speak positivity into our lives and the lives of others. We will mentor other Black women and uplift them. We promise to acknowledge other women with a smile or a simple “hello” … and mean it. Sisterhood is essential for our survival.

(Source: clutchmagonline.com)

I,sista in solidarity note: ‘virtual’ communities of practice are going ‘viral’ with resistance, renewal and positivity….

You will not be able to stay home, brother.
You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out.
You will not be able to lose yourself on skag and skip,
Skip out for beer during commercials,
Because the revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be televised.
The revolution will not be brought to you by Xerox
In 4 parts without commercial interruptions.
The revolution will not show you pictures of Nixon
blowing a bugle and leading a charge by John
Mitchell, General Abrams and Spiro Agnew to eat
hog maws confiscated from a Harlem sanctuary.

The revolution will not be televised.
The revolution will not be brought to you by the
Schaefer Award Theatre and will not star Natalie
Woods and Steve McQueen or Bullwinkle and Julia.
The revolution will not give your mouth sex appeal.
The revolution will not get rid of the nubs.
The revolution will not make you look five pounds
thinner, because the revolution will not be televised, Brother.

There will be no pictures of you and Willie May
pushing that shopping cart down the block on the dead run,
or trying to slide that color television into a stolen ambulance.
NBC will not be able predict the winner at 8:32 
or report from 29 districts.
The revolution will not be televised.

There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down
brothers in the instant replay.
There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down
brothers in the instant replay.
There will be no pictures of Whitney Young being
run out of Harlem on a rail with a brand new process.
There will be no slow motion or still life of Roy
Wilkens strolling through Watts in a Red, Black and
Green liberation jumpsuit that he had been saving
For just the proper occasion.

Green Acres, The Beverly Hillbillies, and Hooterville
Junction will no longer be so damned relevant, and
women will not care if Dick finally gets down with
Jane on Search for Tomorrow because Black people
will be in the street looking for a brighter day.
The revolution will not be televised.

There will be no highlights on the eleven o’clock
news and no pictures of hairy armed women
liberationists and Jackie Onassis blowing her nose.
The theme song will not be written by Jim Webb,
Francis Scott Key, nor sung by Glen Campbell, Tom
Jones, Johnny Cash, Englebert Humperdink, or the Rare Earth.
The revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be right back
after a message about a white tornado, white lightning, or white people.
You will not have to worry about a dove in your
bedroom, a tiger in your tank, or the giant in your toilet bowl.
The revolution will not go better with Coke.
The revolution will not fight the germs that may cause bad breath.
The revolution will put you in the driver’s seat.

The revolution will not be televised, will not be televised,
will not be televised, will not be televised.
The revolution will be no re-run brothers;
The revolution will be live.

-Gil Scott-Heron, 1971

Posted from http://ifoundareason.tumblr.com/post/2111098383 , via

http://memoirsofjeang.tumblr.com/post/2334483534

 We have to admit that life, in a global view of tings, in the past few weeks en moons has been getting mysterious en mysteriouser, as more (open) secrets continue to be dramatically re-discovered, en the urgency of changing constitutions en shifting paradigms rises

 [read as: the elephant in the ‘political’ world is the symbolism of wikileaks latest ‘data’ dump and the ‘witch-hunting’ of Julian Assange and the Pandora of an advisory board and network. Even though there’s nothing new that those cables revealed so far…., that we haven’t already witnessed and understood from the U.S of A’s government’s assaults in ‘other’ indigenus lands already. The rest of the herd in dis story are the queer/trans Afrikans murdered in hate crimes, those that we can and can not YET  talk about]

as we re/claim the powah of silence, in the spaces between truth and propaganda….

I give thanks for our ancestors, for all the dismantling of the masters houses that has laid the foundation for us to continue rebuilding  learning communities…..I give thanks for warriors and god/desse/s of love that spread hope en abundance

and I pray that the lessons of the tragedies of those whose lives were taken brutally, those that we can name en the ones whose names we do not mention yet,  in public,  don’t have to repeat themselves….

because some of our truth remains as an open secret still, en those of us who know of heinous crimes, are tied by the consideration of the ethics of the ‘closet’ and the safety we need to maintain for our bredrin en dadas

the trouble with secrets is that they’re oxymorons,  in the spaces between oppression and radical transformation, one of the many questions lies in how we can use them most powerfully to co-create positive safe spaces that can mediate their passage into open dialogue

I give thanks for the mysteries of life/death/life cycles, and the continued resistance and renewal of knowledge coming (back) into riddin with these cycles…

http://www.blacklooks.org/2010/12/lesbian-activist-ncumisa-mzamelo-found-murdered/

This open letter, to my beloved peeps, is a eulogy for bredrin en dadas that are victims of hate (a litany of our collective resistance and survival).

Dis letter is another  call-out to networks of comrades, friends and relatives across many spaces to deepen and harvest our connecshuns with/in grassroots networks, amongst the intersections of social movements, wherever we find ourselves with rafikis, to co-create communities of liberatory pratice, and continue to hold to (ac)count all perpertrators of injustice…

http://notuhuru.com/?p=68

like, jus from the drama jus in the past few weeks,  top nominations of people to be charged with appropriately classified crimes,  include tom flanagan, raila odinga and the UN General Assembly Human Rights Committee

[http://www.nation.co.ke/oped/Opinion/Raila%20owes%20Kenyans%20an%20apology/-/440808/1066846/-/mnntwv/-/index.html]

julian assange’s life is in danger, and already we know of (+)1 ‘closeted’ person(s) brutally killed in Kenya in the last week, after the Prime Minister so shamelessly exploited hateful western constructions of homophobia that were institutionalised to suppress indigenus traditions, forbidden (but not forgotten) in neo-colonial regimes, funded by christian fundamentalists and defended by kin still….

the bigger point though isthe  not the culprits, because our thriving depends on the ones who facilitate positive transformation, ofcourse….

what continues to inspire en ground me, and many others, are the growing numbers of warriors joining circles and networks of liberatory causes and spreading healing en love in abundance….

so, dear beloved peeps, given all that we DO  have, how do we (continue to) co-create mo containers to harvest the powah of all those intersections of our diversity,across diverse spaces?

how do we transform the trauma of the latest events to galvanise our working on our own UNITY first, not only the continent but most significantly, with di diaspora?

Ẹni tí eégún ńlé kó máa rọ́jú; bó ti ńrẹ ará ayé, bẹ́ẹ̀ ní ńrẹ ará ọ̀run.

The person being chased by a masquerader should persevere; just as an earthling tires, so does the being from heaven.

(Perseverance solves all problems.)

Yoruba Proverb

ase, ase…..

Last night was one of those unexpectedly beautiful ones, where I reasoned, ate, danced and reconnected with mo people that I love, respekt and admire so, that not only I need to get to know much betta, [http://www.apaa.ca/]

yesterday was betta than I expected, breaking bread and praying with growing families. I am grateful for working, living, and communing in such human positive spaces. I give thanks for the mentors, healers, peacemakers, farmers, cooks, families and friends gathering to re/build healthy, loving sustainable communities

[real tox: between the lines/ hadithi kama/riddle of the sphinx /a spiral/ healing/litany of survival/ haiku/]

http://www.blacklooks.org/2010/10/the-mask-hides-nothing



weeks been manifesting in sync with the autumn season: full of metamorphosis, deep lessons, storyboarding en mobilising resources for (hibernation en) mo’ arts/educashun en community work

[real tox: we’re, in the spaces between, writing biomythdramas, shooting interviews with POCstars, revising the storyboard of the feature length documentary (from 32 stories to 9ish core characters ), organising fundraisers for a queer/trans youth arts collective to be implemented in May 2011 in East Afrika….big tings a gwaan en the fiya this time is divine]

the drama of the q_t werd is  (un)expected, deep/rooted in pan/afrikan tapestries, familiar/yet masked/with many faces/many acknowledge truthis/ over-rated yet

the stories we’re retelling in dub are the real tox we been having, and the real struggles we been facing in building solidarity among our communities/revolushunary village style

The folks in the  q_t werd are the tapestry of our quest to reclaim our ancestral memories en resituate global voices: afrikan/ queer/ trans/people of colour/ middle class/ poor/ en working class/youth/diversely-abled/artists/healers/farmers/mamas/babas/bredrin en dadas in solidarity/people we know……

you don’t need a weatherwomban to know which way the wind blows…the fiya en wota  dis’ time, on dis here earth of ours, is divine….

hadithi? Hadithi?

Hadithi njoo.

Giza ya?………Sahani ya?……..Nipe mji……..

Preface: Reflections of light

…..In a revolutionary manner, black women have utilised mass media (writing, film, video, art, etc.) to offer radically different images of ourselves. These actions have been an intervention. We have also dared to move out of our “place” (that is away from the bottom of everything, the place this society often suggests we should reside). Moving ourselves from manipulatable objects to self-empowered subjects, black women have by necessity threatened the status quo……This challenge to the status quo has generated serious anti-black female backlash that combines fierce racism ( en homophobia) with antifeminism…..this backlash requires that those of us who are aware be ever vigilant in our efforts to educate one another, and all black people, for critical consciousness. Backlash, from whatever source, hurts. It retards and obstructs freedom struggle. Intense attacks help create a context of burnout and despair.  

It is crucial that black women and all our allies in struggle, especially progressive black men, seize the day and renew our commitment to black liberation and feminist struggle….

blogger’s note: I give thanks for the sistas en mamas who pour their heart and soul into practising and teaching balance, truth, justice and love.  So, in honour of African Liberation Day, these healing words are excerpts from sisters of the yam: black women and self recovery by bell hooks & Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde. Ase. Ase. Ase. Ase O…..

 In her essay (Eye to Eye), Audre Lorde urges black females to put our struggle to self actualise at the center of our daily life. She taught us,

Learning to love ourselves as black women goes beyond a simplistic insistence that “black is beautiful”. It goes beyond and deeper than the surface appreciation of black beauty, although that is certainly a good beginning.

But if the quest to reclaim ourselves and each other remains there, then we accept another superficial measurement of self, one superimposed upon the old one and almost as damaging, since it pauses at the superficial. Certainly it is no more empowering.

And it is empowerment – our strengthening in the service of ourselves and each other, in the service of our work and future – that will be the result of this pursuit

We have known, and continue to know, the rewards of struggling together to change society so that we can live in a world that affirms the dignity and presence of black womanhood. In many ways Sisters of the Yam: Black Women and Self Recovery is a manifestation of that joy and an expression of the awareness that we must be ever vigilant – the struggle continues…..

 

 

Introduction: Healing Darkness

Living as we do in a white supremacist capitalist partriachal context that can best exploit us when we lack a firm grounding in self and identity (knowledge of who we are and where we’re coming from), choosing “wellness” is an act of political resistance. Before many of us can effectively sustain engagement in organised resistance struggle, in black liberation movement, we need to undergo a process of self recovery that can heal individual wounds that may prevent us from functioning fully…..

It is important that black people talk to one another, that we talk with friends and allies, for the telling of our stories enables us to name our pain, our suffering and to seek healing…..

I: Seeking After Truth

We have to consciously study how to be tender with each other  until it becomes a habit because what was native has been stolen from each other, the love of black women for each other. But we can practive being gentle with each other by being gentle with that piece of ourselves that is hardest to hold, by giving more to the brave bruised girl child within each of us, by expecting a little less from her gargantuan efforts to excel. We can love her in the light as well as in the darkness, quiet her frenzy towards perfection and encourage her attentions towards fulfillment…as we arm ourselves with ourselves and each other, we can stand toe to toe inside that rigorous loving and begin to speak the IMPOSIBBLE – to one another. The first step toward genuine change. Eventually, if we speak the truth to each other, it will become unavoidable to ourselves.

Audre Lorde, “Eye to Eye: Black Women, Hatred, and Anger”

Healing takes place within us as we speak the truth of our lives….commitment to truth telling is thus the first step in any process of self recovery…telling the truth about one’s life is not simply about naming the “bad” things, exposing horrors. It is also about being able to speak openly and honestly about feelings, about a variety of experiences. It is fundamentally not about withholding information so as to exercise power over others….

hence, it must be remembered that to be open and honest in a culture of domination, a culture that relies on lying, is a courageous gesture. Within white-supremacist capitalist partriarchal culture, black people are not supposed to be “well”. This culture makes wellness a “white” luxury. To choose against that culture, to choose wellness, we must be dedicated to truth. By giving up the illusory power that comes from lying and manipulation and opting instead for the personal power and dignity that comes from being honest, black women can begin to eliminate life threatening pain from our lives

II: The Joy of Reconciliation

Healing inner wounds makes reconciliation possible. Reconciliation is one of my favourite words. Evoking our capacity to restore to harmony that which as been broken, severed, and disrupted. The very word serves as a constant reminder in my life that we can come together with those who have hurt us, with those whom we have caused pain, and experience sweet communion.

To be at peace, black women, especially those among us who have been deeply wounded and hurt, must release the bitterness we hold within us. Bitterness is like a poison. When it’s inside us, it spreads even to the parts of the self that allow us to feel joy and a spirit of celebration. Yet many of us choose to hold onto pain through the cultivation of bitterness and an unforgiving heart….when we give ourselves love and peace, we can give these gifts to others. It’s really impossible to live a life in love while hoping that harm and hurt will come to others…

Again, I think it is important that we remember that forgiveness does not mean that we cease to assertively identify wrongs, hold others to account, and demand justice…..this is the true realization of justice – that we want what is peaceful and life sustaining for all and not just for ourselves.

…..we have to forgive with our whole hearts. If we forgive in words but continue to harbour secret resentment, nothing really changes. When forgiveness happens, when there is compassion, the groundwork for reconciliation is possible. For me that is the ultimate joy: That we learn that there are no broken bonds that cannot be mended, no pain that cannot be assuaged

III Touching the Earth

…..Collective black self recovery takes place when we begin to renew our relationship to the earth, when we remember the way of our ancestors. When the earth is sacred to us, our bodies can also be sacred to us……

Ase.O