four seasons

Hadithi? Hadithi?

Hadithi njoo, uongo njoo, utamu kolea.

Pale zamani za kale palitokea…..

 

THE STRANGER

ONCE upon a time the King of Uganda went to Koja to see his herd of cows, and while he was there a strange thing happened.

The people near Mount Elgon saw a white patch high up on the mountain, and they said: “It is snow.” But the patch moved down the  mountain side, and they said: “It is a cloud.” But still it moved on, and when it reached the foot-hills they saw that it was a flight of snow-white birds.

No one had ever seen such birds before; they flew on over the plain towards the Lake, right across the Great Lion River, which is really a country all to itself.

People lived in the river on little islands made of reeds and papyrus, one house on each island and a canoe tied up near the door, and they have no roads; the river is their only road when they go to the banks to buy and sell.

They have their own customs and their own language. The birds did not stop on the river islands; they flew right over into Busoga till they came to the Nile, and then they crossed the Nile and flew right over the forests and hills of Kyagwe till they came to Koja, where the King was, and they settled down on the herd of cows.

All the people marvelled to see these snow-white birds, and the King said: “This is a good omen; something fortunate will happen to the country.” Then he went back to the capital and the Katikiro met him and said: “A stranger has arrived in the country; he is different from any man we have ever seen, and he has a little child with him.”

The King commanded them to bring the stranger before him, and when he came he asked him questions, but he knew no language that the chiefs knew, only a few words of Swahili, which were no use.

At first the people thought he ought to be killed, for they said: “He is different from any man we have ever seen; perhaps he  is a spy sent to prepare the way for some enemy who will eat up our country.”

But the King remembered the white birds and said: “I will not kill him; he will bring good fortune to the country.”

Then he called an old chief whom he loved and trusted and said: “Take away this man, and take care of him and his child; teach him Luganda and our customs; some day he will bring us good fortune.”

So the old chief took the stranger to his home and gave him a house to live in and a garden, and boys to wait on him, and an old woman to take care of the child, for she was a little girl, and every day he taught him Luganda, and they became great friends, and at last he was able to speak, and the chief took him to the King.

Then the King asked him many questions about his country and his people, and what his name was, but when he said it no man could pronounce it, it was too difficult.

And every day the King called him, and the people all knew that the stranger was the King’s friend, and they called him “Mugenyi,” which means “Stranger,” because they could not pronounce his name.

The little girl grew up different from all the other children in Uganda. She had long golden hair and blue eyes, and a skin like milk, and she grew strong and big, and the people loved her and called her “Joy” or “Snowbird”; but her father said: “Her name is Sorrow.”

After some time the King heard that a great army was marching against his country, and he collected his soldiers and made his chiefs generals over them, and prepared to march to Budu, where the enemy was advancing.

Then Stranger said: “I will go with you and teach the chiefs how to build a great fort, and we will stop the enemies of the King from crossing the border.”

So the King gave him the command of the army, and they marched to Budu and built a great fort and drove back the

enemy and killed thousands of warriors, and when those who were left saw Stranger commanding the Baganda they were afraid, for he wore strange clothes made of barkcloth, and they said: “He is a wizard; we cannot fight against him.”

So the enemy was utterly beaten, and the Baganda went back to their homes victorious.

Then the King was much pleased and gave Stranger many presents and cows, and the old chief loved him more and more, and they swore the oath of friendship, which is the most sacred oath in the world.

As the years went on the old chief noticed that his friend looked sorrowful and sad, and that he sat alone on the hill-side looking over the Great Lake, with only little Sorrow near him, and that he often looked at the child with eyes that were full of tears, and one day he said to him:

“My brother, I am grieved to see you so changed. Cannot you tell your sorrow to me, your great friend?” And Stranger said:

“Come away with me to the hill-side and I will tell you.”

So the two friends and little Sorrow set out at sunset, and when they reached a shady spot on the hill-side overlooking the Great Lake they sat down, and the child chased butterflies and picked flowers round them.

For a long time they were silent, and then Stranger spoke: “I came to you a stranger, full of sorrow, and you made me welcome, and I learnt your language and your customs, and your country became my country, and I never meant to leave Uganda, but now I look at my little child and I know that I was wrong; I must return to my own people, for a girl must be brought up by the women of her father’s tribe.”

Then he told the old chief who he was and all his history, and the old man listened silently, for though he had often wondered, all these years, he had never asked questions.

Little Sorrow came and sat on her father’s knee, and soon she fell asleep, and the moon rose over the lake, and the stars twinkled in the dark sky, and still the two friends sat on the hill-side while Stranger poured out his history.

And the old chief said: “You are right; a girl must be brought up by the women of her father’s tribe.” The next day they went to the King, and told him Stranger’s decision, and the King was very sorrowful and said to the old chief: “Is it well?” And he answered: “It is well.”

All the chiefs and people were very sorry when they heard that Stranger was going, and brought them many presents, and Sorrow said good-bye to all her friends, and the old chief saw them safely across the borders of Uganda. And when he returned to the capital he found everyone talking of Stranger and the little girl, and telling each other about them, and wondering who they really were and where their country and home really was; but the old chief alone was silent, for he alone knew the real history of Stranger and the secret of his life, and sometimes in the evening he would climb the hill-side and sit where he had sat with his friend, and the tears would roll down his cheeks, for he knew that he would never see him again.

And if you go to the province of Budu you will see the fort which Stranger helped the King to build, for the ruins are still there, and the  snowbirds never left Uganda, you will always see them with the cows; but if you ask about little “Joy,” whom her father called Sorrow, the people will shake their heads and say: “Perhaps there was a little girl, perhaps it was a spirit, perhaps it was only a snowbird–who knows?”

Only the old chief ever knew who Stranger really was, and a Muganda will never betray the secret of his friend.

[reposted from http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/baskerville/king/king.html#XXI]

A special thank you to Sokari Ekine at Black Looks for organising this statement.

“We the undersigned wish to express our deep sadness at the murder of Ugandan human rights defender David Kato on 26th January 2011.  David’s activism began in the 1980s as an Anti-Apartheid campaigner where he first expressed a strong passion and conviction for freedom and justice which continued throughout his life.   David was a founding member of Sexual Minorities Uganda where he first served as Board member and until his death as Litigation and Advocacy Officer and he was also a member of Integrity Uganda, a faith-based advocacy organization.

David was a man of vision and courage. One of his major concerns was the growth of religious fundamentalism in Uganda and across the continent and how this would impact on the rights of ordinary citizens including lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered / Gender Non-Conforming and Intersex  [LGBTIQ] persons.   Years later his concerns were justified when the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill backed by religious fundamentalists was outlined in 2009.  David was also an extremely brave man who had been imprisoned and beaten severely because of his sexual orientation and for speaking publicly against the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

Many African political and religious leaders in countries such as Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Zambia, Gambia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Malawi and Botswana, have publicly maligned LGBTIQ people and in some cases directly incited violence against them whilst labeling sexual minorities as “unAfrican”.

In October 2010, the Ugandan tabloid, Rolling Stone published the names and photographs of “100 Top homos” including David Kato.   David along with two other LGBTIQ activists successfully sued the magazine on the grounds of “invasion of privacy” and most importantly,  the  judge ruled that the publication would threaten and endanger the lives of LGBTIQ persons.

The court did not only rule that the publication would threaten and endanger the lives of LGBTIQ persons but it issued a permanent injunction against Rolling Stone newspaper never to publish photos of gays in Uganda, and also never to again publish their home addresses.

Justice Kibuuka Musoke ruled that,

“Gays are also entitled to their rights. This court has found that there was infringement of some people’s confidential rights. The court hereby issues an injunction restraining Rolling Stone newspaper from future publishing of identifications of homosexuals.”

Every human being is protected under the African Charter of Peoples and Human Rights and this includes the rights of LGBTIQ persons.   We ask the governments of Uganda and other African countries to stop criminalizing people on the grounds of sexual orientation  and afford LGBTIQ people the same protections, freedoms and dignity, as other citizens on the continent.”

Anengiyefa Alagoa,                           Things I Feel Strongly About

Anthony Hebblethwaite                    African Activist

Barbra Jolie,                                     Me I Think

Ben Amunwa,                                   Remember Ken Saro-Wiwa

Bunmi Oloruntoba,                           A Bombastic Element

Chris Ogunlowo,                              Aloofaa

Eccentric Yoruba,                             Eccentric Yoruba

Exiled Soul                                       ExiledSoul

Francisca Bagulho and Marta Lança,         Buala

Funmilayo Akinosi,                          Finding My Path

Funmi Feyide,                                   Nigerian Curiosity

Gay Uganda,                                     Gay Uganda

Glenna Gordon,                                Scarlett Lion

Godwyns Onwuchekwa,                My Person

Jeremy Weate,                                   Naija Blog

Kayode Ogundamisi                         Canary Bird

Kadija Patel                                          Thoughtleader

Keguro Macharia,                             Gukira

Kenne Mwikya,                                 Kenne’s Blog

Kinsi Abdullah                                  Kudu Arts

Laura Seay,                                       Texas in Africa

Llanor Alleyne                                  Llanor Alleyne

Mark Jordahl,                                   Wild Thoughts from Uganda

Matt Temple                                     Matsuli Music

Mia Nikasimo,                                  MiaScript

Minna Salami,                                  MsAfropolitan

Mshairi,                                               Mshairi

Molisa Nyakale                                 Molisa Nyakale

Ndesanjo Macha                               Global Voices

Nyokabi Musila,                               Sci-Cultura.

Nzesylva,                                          Nzesylva’s Blog

Olumide Abimbola,                           Loomnie

Ory Okolloh,                                     Kenyan Pundit

Pamela Braide,                                  pdbraide

Peter Alegi,                                                 Football is Coming Home

Rethabile Masilo,                                        Poefrika

Saratu Abiola,                                   Method to Madness

Sean Jacobs,                                     Africa is a Country

Sokari Ekine,                                    Black Looks

Sonja Uwimana,                               Africa is a Country

Spectra Speaks,                                Spectra Speaks

TMS Ruge,                                        Project Diaspora

Toyin Ajao                                        StandTall

Tosin Otitoju,                                   Lifelib

Val Kalende,                                     Val Kalende

Zackie Achmat,                                 Writing Rights

Zion Moyo,                                          Sky, Soil and Everything in Between

[ i,S.I.S intro: Hadithi? Hadithi? Hadithi njoo! Giza ya?  Nilienda Harare, Jinja, Kakamega, Kampala, Kimilili na Webuye, hapo (pamoja na) Bredrin en dadas in solidarity: tunajenga nyumba, tunalima, tunamshukuru mungu [na tunapokula na watoto] wetu, wazee hutusimulia hadithi ya moyo wa afrika…..

Hadithi? Hadithi? Check dis’ ‘Bukusu’ narratives reposted from the Lumboka Star]

BEMU LUMBOKA: MUMANYE MULI, KIMIENYA NE SELUKHO
By Prof. Julius Wangila Mukhwana. Australia.

Babandu befwe balomanga bali “Buli selukhoo, Namwenya kwayo.”

Sekali kario bana befwe, namwe mukhaulilakho murio? Bemu Tolondo ye Lumboka, mwama khuloma kamakali khu Bakhupi-etungu ewefwe eyo, ne khukhwoola e Buluhya, baiba bakali busa buli eselukho yinyokha.

Mwateka mwakanakana khuima engila ekhola kimienya kiefwe kibeho khubuli selekho yichaayo erekeresia nio nayo emanya kakabaho khaale namwe mataayi aho. Sindu ngesio sibaho, andi kimienya kiekamatungu nikio babefwe bapanga nebakhina kamabeka, ne basuna singorio, ne betikita, nebafumia nicho babaya, namwe nebakhebulila nibo beraana nabo bakwaa mububukoo, andi kimienya ekio kisiliho. Muchuba muhenje chingila nga mwakachula. Liakila naboola ndi mukhebusie kakandi khubakhupi e-tungu babandi nelisubila mbo semundolela bubi tawe.

Nga mwabakhebulila, sebali “Waske Musungu ne Nyongesa Mukanda, Fwoti, nende Laisa bong’eene ta.” Mwebilila Omulagu Chelobani khurura e Cheputais namwe khane e Wamono. Mumukhebulila? Owamwekesia khukhupa e guitar naye kaba Laisa. Khuli ne kimienya kimikali kisomesia buli mundu ne khukhilaho kili kia marehemu Wasike Musungu. Lundi kilimo bifuno.

Usually the music reflects, at times, the social concerns, politics, and developments of the artist’s society including his/her/hir own life experiences. May I furnish you with some more information on what you provided concerning the following:

Omuliuli Laisa bewa Temba, kumwenya kwewe mbo “E-Bung’oma mu Spinning” was based on the Government promotion of home craft and women education in our district that was (first North Nyanza and later Elgon Nyanza)……

In various villages during 1950’s – 1960’s and location centres at that time, women congregated and were urged to attend regularly to sew

table clothes, crotchet, make their own dresses and sweaters, cooking, etc. Those who performed better went on for upgrading at Bungoma Homecraft Centre. From there they were selected to attend the Kenya Institute of Administration at Kabete.

Ne wekesia Laisa khukhupa e guitar kaba wandaaye William khwa Ben Maka. He had a big head as someone said. But he was not 5ft 4ins as reported in Lumboka.

He was nearly my height 5ft 9ins. Nomwene kaba omwiwana Musonge, khu Basonge be Wachipo. Semwalomakho Masinde Nalobile tawe, namwe abundi mwaloma nebilile. Nayee khukhwama e Makheele, Kamusinga Anglican Church.

Ali omusoreri wembeelanga babandu kumwenya mbo “Omukhana Sarah Khatioli.” Nomwene kafwa lulumbe nilwo balanganga Kimilili bali “Nylon.”

It was, perhaps a precursor to what today our people everywhere call “Bwembeo.”

Ne okundi niye mwebilila kaba Peter Wekhomba Mwangale. Naaye kemba kumwenya mbo “Bayinda be Kimilili” when he was a student in Uganda. Wamwikisia khukhupa e guitar kaba wandaaye omukhulu Absalom Wekhomba Omukinyikeu wa 44. Omuloosi wamwibula niye waba omukhulu.

Peter’s song soured relationship between him and his father. The father felt that as a staunch Quaker, he had been shamed by the son for playing a guitar recording a song in tribute to him and others as farmers. Many Christian families or parents felt the same at that time e.g. Mwinamo’s father in Liranda in Isukha, disowned him for same reason.

However, Masinde Nalobile, Laisa ne Peter Wekhomba baba Babanyange 1950 – 1948.

In that category of their music, there was another remarkable artist at the Coast, called Fadhili Williams. He sang the original “Malaika Nakupenda, malaika…..”

Another very famous artist was Omutachoni Lusamoya from Ndivisi. Kumwenya kwewe nikwo babandu bakhiina for a long time was “Munandi.” It was the equivalentof “Bumping.”

Okundi kaba Lutubula from the same place. Naye kapanga “Limoyi”. But Omukananachi Kilikinji owe bawa Matere wa Lumonya khurura e Kamukuywa, naye oyo kapanga sinanda sichanula (the cordion) nende syekhumunwa (the harmonica). Yaba naaye kimienya kiewe kiaba bali “Ekorasi” ye Lulumbuchu (the waltz).

The reason for this was the second world war influence. Our people who were conscripted into the army (King’s African Regiment) to serve in this war as pioneers (Panyako) brought back memories of the music they experienced being danced to by the British soldiers. Related to this, the squatters on European farms across Kamukuywa river and the music they played and danced to imitating their masters, was Waltz. The returned soldiers with their squeaky boots-on danced waltz.

Hence, the common saying in Bukusu that “Yaba neba kenda, biraro bilomaa busa bili miaa, khamusini, miaa khamusini.”

So omusakhulu Kilikinji mirrored that generation’s music. It’s popularity among the Bakananachi to Bakinyikeu caused Kilikinji to continue playing even for Babanyange generation. I listened and danced to a few of his live music performances at one of the Kimilili location festival events during 1950 – 1956. These events or functions used to feature older artists like Kilikinji and younger artists like Laisa and Masinde Nalobile.

The promoter of such social activities was a community social worker, my cousin, Emanuel Nabwana under the direction of Major Ryland, a British colonial Community Development Officer from Kakamega. He taped the artists’ music. A nationally well known musician of Kilikinji’s generation in Kenya, was Paul Mwachupa, from the Coast. He sang “Simba Matata, and Simba..” in 1940’s and 1950’s. He died three to four years ago aged in late 80’s.

Before the generation of Bakananachi, a very notable artist was my grand father, Omukolongolo Munyatibu Machio Silenge, “Wapanga Litungu.” Almost no Mukananachi and Mukikwameti in Bukusu would say that they never heard of him.

It is said by our clans men that he started playing “Litungu” (the harp) at the age of 10. He was the only one in Bukusu who played an eleven stringed harp. In his adolescent years, Nabongo Mumia (King Mumia) had him play before him and his visitors. From then onwards, they said, Kuka Machio regularly entertained mainly “Nabongo Mumia and his royal family members at Elureko (the present Mumias). Sometimes his father Silenge Mukhasokho would refuse his adolescent son to travel that far to delight the king with his talented blend of music. This would annoy the king and cause him to order that the boy music artist be brought to play.

When he was initiated into manhood through circumcision in 1906, Machio was ordered by the king to live near-by so he could entertain the king’s family and visitors daily within a short notice. He was given a farm at e-Matungu (that is now under the current Mumias sugar cane plantation).

The mosquitoes became a nuisance for him. So in 1912, he settled at Kibisi and Bituyu (the present Bewa Silenge and Nebolola) in Kibingei and Kimilili locations.

Kibisi was considered close to Shibachi’s settlement in Teremi, and Bituyu was close enough to Waluchio’s and Murunga’s homesteads in Kimilili since they were the rulers (kind of governors representing Nabongo Mumia) in that part of Bukusu. From this base, he moved around with other royal family members playing his music. He entertained mostly Murunga and Waluchio and their families.

These were the princes, the king’s brothers who had established their rule over Babukusu in the East with Kimilili town as their headquaters. Machio’s music was inspirational and informative. Thus far, uncle Pascal Nabwana told me one evening in 1962 before we left for Gatundu the following morning. He was to visit his old friend, who had been released from detention and restriction and was now relaxing at home among his people. That was the future Prime Minister and President of Kenya, Jomo Kenyatta.

Pascal Nabwana told me, “Papa, oli kukao Machio karakikha khukhupa litungu, naye we chimbeengele afundeela, kukao embaa ali “Nikhaala ne mubolela ndi silibaao, nanywe muli ta. Khubolela mwana Shihundu, Basoreri enjeeyi balikho bakhaaba. Ewe lilaakho elala. Nyanga niyo Babukusu balikhu-kalukhaanakho, olindeeba, Naluliingo….”

After Machio repeated the chorus twice, and as he started the third one, Waluchio stopped him. Pascal said that he would have struck Machio’s harp down breaking it, had it not been for Murunga’s intervention. The overall senior chief/ruker grabbed Waluchio and told him, “Lekha omwana wa Silenge embee kumwenya kwewe. Enywe rekeresia niko kumwenya kuboola.”

According to uncle Pascal’s narrative, Machio finished his song. Then played three more that evening before Murunga and his royal family members retired to sleep. He also ordered Machio to go and rest, presumably to sleep, too. In those days, Babukusu were organising themselves to rebel and overthrow the Bawanga rule and dominance over them. Within six months, Pascal explained, Bukusu delegation went to Kakamega to petition the Colonial Administrator. They demanded that a ruler be selected from their own Babukusu tribes men.

The name they put forward, as a possible candidate, was rejected by the colonial authority. They wanted someone literate and conversant with government affairs. The delegates then argued that if that was what was required, they proposed Omukolongolo Namutala Mayeku. He was then a young man working as an office messanger and Kiswahili interpreter in the Colonial Administrator’s office in Kakamega. Murunga and Waluchio returned to Elureko as Namutala was installed the Chief of Kimilili. After that Gatundu visit, I went home at Kibingei towards the end of the month. I told my father about our visit and above all, the story that was narrated to me by uncle Pascal Nabwana. Arising from my father’s confirmation of it, I realised how instrumental my grandfather had been in the struggle to overthrow the Bawanga dominance and rule through his music.

It made sense then why each time adults inquired of who I was when I was growing up, and I said son of “Henry Mukhwana Machio.” Then the usual statement that came back as a reply was, “Khaane ewe Omwichukhulu wa Machio Silenge, owapangaa Litungu.” Trust me, I tried to access Machio’s music tapes and failed.

I would, therefore, appreciate immensely, if any of you guys in Lumboka, have accessed or know how to uncover such music that colonialists taped and never showed to our music artists of the generations of yesterday [and even still today…..]

posted by The LUMBOKA Star @ Monday, December 13, 2004

Not in our name…….

Read the latest statement from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights on the case of Munyaradzi Gwisai, Hopewell Gumbo and 43 other Zimbabweans who have been charged with treason:

Gwisai bemoans torture as Muchadehama challenges placement of activists on remand

Detained social justice activist Munyaradzi Gwisai on Thursday 24 February 2011 lamented the torture sessions to which suspects are subjected by state security agents as tragic and inexpressible.

Gwisai, who testified before Harare Magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi during an application for refusal of placement on remand for the 45 human rights activists filed by defence lawyer Alec Muchadehama disclosed in court that he, together with other activists, were subjected to torture sessions during their detention by the police at Harare Central Police Station.

Gwisai said the torture sessions were aimed at securing confessions from the activists which would implicate them in the commission of treason, a charge which they are facing in court.

In narrating his ordeal, Gwisai said he was tortured together with five other detainees in a room in the basement at Harare Central Police Station by nine state security agents who included some police officers who had arrested them.

During the torture sessions, which were recorded on video, the detainees were asked to recount what had transpired during their meeting which was held on Saturday 19 February 2011 in central Harare.

Gwisai said each of the six detainees received a series of lashes which were administered while they lay down on their stomachs. He added that he received between 15 and 20 lashes as the police and his tormentors sought to obtain confessions from him and the other detainees.

Gwisai said the pain which he endured and suffered as a result of the torture sessions was “indescribable, sadistic and a tragedy for Zimbabwe”.

The University of Zimbabwe labour law lecturer said it was extremely difficult for him to sit and walk because of the torture sessions he underwent together with other detainees.

Gwisai said the meeting held on Saturday was held to discuss ISO business and issues of democracy and constitutionalism and not to plot the toppling of the government as alleged by the police and prosecutors. He added that the meeting which was attended by HIV/AIDS activists was also meant to commemorate the life of a deceased HIV and AIDS activist, Navigator Mungoni.

Earlier on Muchadehama outlined the detainees’ complaints against the police.

The detainees’ lawyer said the arrest of his clients was unlawful as they were not advised of the reason/s for their arrest. He also advised that they were over-detained in filthy and stinking police cells. He said the detainees only knew of the treason charge when they finally appeared in court on Wednesday 23 February 2011 and no warned and cautioned statements were recorded in relation to the treason charge.

Muchadehama told the court that the police extensively subjected his clients to severe interrogation sessions where they attempted to coax some of the detainees to turn against their colleagues and be considered State witnesses.

He said some of the detainees were assaulted, brutalised and tortured while in police custody. The defence lawyer said the torture sessions were administered through assaults all over the detainees’ bodies, under their feet and buttocks through the use of broomsticks, metal rods, pieces of timber, open palms and some blunt objects.

In his application for refusal of remand Muchadehama argued that the facts as outlined by the State did not constitute the commission of an offence.

The matter continues on Monday 28 February 2011 when prosecutor Edmore Nyazamba, who applied for the placement of the detainees on remand, cross examines Gwisai. In the meantime, all 45 will remain incarcerated in remand prison in Harare and at Chikurubi Women’s Prison for the women detainees.

Source:  http://www.kubatanablogs.net/kubatana/

[ Reposted with overflowing love, respekt en in solidarity with our freedom fighters, healers, peacemakers and youth coming into their right destinies…..In a ‘blog/post-a-day’/series exploring quests of self-en-collective discovery of the powah! of harvesting the intersections of our diversity….

Our basic inquiry: What do we benefit from (wholly) pursuing the vision(s) of ‘a’ United States of Afrika?  And what is it about revolushuns and the urgencies of injustice in ripple effects?

In how many countries not only in North Africa and the Middle East, but all ova di world, will it take protests of indigenus massives not against flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities of darkness to spread the spirit of hope, positivity, truth, justice and love in abundance and institute democracies? ]

Introduction

We are calling for a circle and invite you to join with us. We yearn for safe spaces within which to be authentic, trusting, caring and open to change. We are searching for a way of life that embraces wisdom and compassion as its core principles.

By “wisdom” we mean deep insight into the interdependence of all phenomena, into the ways we are connected and how the strength of each one of us is vital to the whole. By “Compassion” we mean the deep feeling that comes when we recognize our soul’s reflection in another person, when that other person’s pain or joy becomes our own.

We know that the place to begin is within our own hearts and minds…….we want to share our efforts in self discovery, grassroots activism and spiritual inquiry in the company of kindred spirits….

so we invite you to come sit with us in a circle, meeting heart to heart, re-learning from each other’s life experiences and honouring the values that sustain our lives.

This is a place for deep truth telling, for practising a way of relating to each other that can become the norm for all our relationships. This is also a place for recognizing our own unique talents and abilities.

We will pass the talking stick and take turns speaking to our basic inquiry:

How can we continue to survive, hope, dream and thrive during dis time of global tumult? Can you listen from the heart without judgement, without resistance, to the urgencies of a soul longing to be heard? Can you speak from the heart, expressing your truth as you best know it? and will you choose your words carefully, with sensistivity to their impact? Can you express gratitude to those who bear witness to your werds?

Will you sit in silence and wait for deeper thoughts and feelings to rise?

Can you give voice to dis (not-so) new form of community pressing to be re-born?…….

The Ten Constants

No two wisdom circles are alike, yet there are elements that all wisdom circles share.

The wisdom circle is shaped by a set of guidelines called The Ten Constants.

This format has been inspired by councils of indigenous peoples, informed by the legacies of our ancestors and support and dialogue groups, and drawn from our own experience.

We’ ve also investigated group relations theory, mediation techniques and circle-forming traditions such as juma(a) khutbas and Quaker meetings.

We want to help you re-create and sustain your own circle, using the Ten Constants.

A set of guidelines, they also reflect the intentions of a wisdom circle – the shared values and deep purposes common to all wisdom circles, no matter what their individual aims are.

For example, expressing gratitude and acknowledging our interdependence are basic to every wisdom circle. Because it’s useful to learn “the basics”   in any endeavour, we’ve devoted a blog post to each of the constants. We ask you to read these posts slowly.

The better you grasp the constants, the more confidence you will feel in leading and participating in your own group

[revised excerpts from Wisdom Circles: A Guide to Self Discovery and Community Building in Small Groups]

[i,S.I.Sprayer: I give thanks for yesterday and tomorrow, I pray that the blessings of yesterday carry into tomorrow… I give thanks for jamii, bless my family, and all those show share their love with and pray for me, and those around me ….. I give thanks for the continued guidance and protection from my ancestors, give thanks for the fruits of co-creating big love gatherings with Bredrin and dadas in solidarity (collectives like Black Queer Resistance and Women’s Health in Women’s Hands); give thanks for the honour of  witnessing My Barbarian and sharing space with community as envisioned en invited by Post-Living Ante-Action Theater (PoLAAT)  in “The Chamber” of  Buddies in Bad Times Theatre,  give thanks for the spaces between celebrashun, vigils,  wisdom circles and all the wondrous possibilities being dreamed, organised and manifested by those spreading love, hope and positivity in abundance….I pray for help in forgiving my enemies, help to love my enemies, and to turn enemies into friends…so much tings to pray for….I pray to be humble, loving, and strong…pray for knowledge and wisdom, and for peace….bless the motherless and fatherless, bless those who are sick, bless our youth coming into their right destinies, bless our elders, bless our freedom fighters and peace makers, bless our healers, bless dunia yetu…]

I

in the shadows of blue volcanos

the broken fingers of ancestors strum

koras emitting frankincense

 

II

i sleep with a Senegalese blanket

of turquoise sound over me

it stops the helicopter blades from slicing up my peace

spirits sitting upon an orchard of notes

sprinkling my dreams

with promise

as i wait on this celestial cocoon for silver wings

remembering the lesson

dealt

in the sacred mud

 

III

each morning i read the newspaper

and weep into a pot of coffee

i muffle my whispered screaming

with the music of the masters

i find religion there

rocking in ecstasy

to the heartbeats of loved ones

i open my door and

begin swinging like young Muhammad Ali

i rest between rounds

on a bus stop bench facing east

i fight to knock out the nightmare

in broad daylight

the bus driver is a Sufi saint

who only lets you ride

if you got incorrect change

the Zen bell has rung

[Poet Kamau Daáood is the author of The Language of Saxophones: Selected Poems of Kamau Daáood (Citylights Publishers). He is a native of Los Angeles where he co-founded, with legendary drummer Billy Higgins, the World Stage Performance Gallery, a nonprofit arts institution. Kamau recorded the critically acclaimed album Leimert Park(M.A.M.A. Records), winner of the Josephine Miles Pen Oakland Award.

He was awarded the Durfee Foundation Artist Fellowship, California Artist Fellowship, Cave Canem Retreat/Workshop Fellowship, to name a few of more than a dozen such honors. Kamau has performed his work at countless venues such as Dunya and North Sea Jazz Festival in Holland, Earshot Jazz and Bumbershoot Festivals in Seattle, the Steppenwolf Theater and Guild Complex in Chicago, the Getty and MOCA museums in Los Angeles, the National Black Arts Festival in Atlanta, and the Schomburg Center in Harlem. His early development began as a young member of the Watts Writers Workshop and the Pan African People’s Arkestra, under the direction of pianist Horace Tapscott.

He is part of the Trummerflora Collective, an independent group of music makers that embraces the pluralistic nature of creative music as an important means of artistic expression for the individual and the community and provides an atmosphere that nurtures the creative development of its members.]

The Petition

We the undersigned condemn in the strongest possible terms the murder of Mr David Kato the Ugandan gay rights campaigner. We wish to state emphatically that homosexuality is neither a sin nor a social or cultural construct. It is a biological given. Homosexuals are human beings like everybody else. Scientific research has been helpful in clearing the fog of ignorance entrenched by some religious texts in regards to homosexuality. Our opinions of homosexuality must change for the better just as our opinion of slavery has changed even though it was endorsed by those same religious texts. All violence against gays and people deemed to be gay in Africa must cease forthwith.

We call on the government of Uganda to find and prosecute all those involved in the murder of Mr Kato, including the newspaper that called for the hanging of gays. We also call on African governments to learn from the South African example by expunging from their laws all provisions that criminalize homosexuality or treat homosexuals as unworthy of the same rights and entitlements as other citizens. African states must protect the rights of their citizens to freedom and dignity. Homosexuals must not be denied these rights.

Undersigned:

1. Wale Adebanwi, PhD, University of California, US

2. Diran Adebayo, Writer, UK

3. Kayode Adeduntan, PhD, University of Ibadan, Nigeria

4. Biola Adegboyega, University of Calgary, Canada

5. Shola Adenekan, Editor, The New Black Magazine, UK

6. Pius Adesanmi, PhD, Carleton University, Canada

7. Akin Adesokan, PhD, Indiana University, US

8. Joe Agbro, Journalist, Nigeria

9. Anthony Akinola, PhD, Oxford, UK

10. Anengiyefa Alagoa, Writer, UK

11. Ellah Allfrey, Deputy Editor, Granta Magazine, UK

12. Alnoor Amlani, Writer, Kenya

13. Ike Anya, Public health doctor and writer, UK

14. Bode Asiyanbi, Writer, Lancaster University, UK

15. Sefi Atta, Writer, US

16. Lizzy Attree, PhD, University of East London, UK

17. Damola Awoyokun, Writer, UK

18. Doreen Baingana, Writer, Uganda

19. Igoni Barrett, Writer, Nigeria
20. Tom Burke, Bard College, US

21. Jude Dibia, Writer, Nigeria

22. Chris Dunton, PhD, National University of Lesotho, Lesotho

23. Ropo Ewenla, PhD, Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria

24. Chielozona Eze, PhD, Northeastern Illinois University, US

25. Aminatta Forna, Writer, UK

26. Ivor Hartmann, Writer, South Africa

27. Chris Ihidero, Writer, Lagos State University, Nigeria

28. Ikhide R. Ikheloa, Writer, US

29. Sean Jacobs, PhD, New School, US

30. Biodun Jeyifo, PhD, Harvard University, US

31. Brian Jones, Professor Emeritus, Zimbabwe

32. Martin Kiman, Writer, US

33. Lauri Kubuitsile, Writer, Botswana

34. Zakes Mda, PhD, Ohio University, US

35. Colin Meier, Writer, South Africa

36. Gayatri Menon, PhD, Franklin and Marshall College, US

37. Valentina A. Mmaka, Writer, Italy/South Africa

38. Jane Morris, Publisher, Zimbabwe

39. Mbonisi P. Ncube, Writer, South Africa

40. Iheoma Nwachukwu, Writer, Nigeria

41. Onyeka Nwelue, Writer and filmmaker, India/Nigeria

42. Nnedi Okorafor, PhD, Writer, Chicago State University, US

43. Ebenezer Obadare, PhD, University of Kansas, US

44. Juliane Okot Bitek, Writer, Canada

45. Tejumola Olaniyan, PhD, University of Wisconsin, US

46. Ngozichi Omekara, Trinidad and Tobago

47. Akin Omotosho, Actor and filmmaker, South Africa

48. Kole Omotosho, PhD, Africa Diaspora Research Group, South Africa

49. Samuel Sabo, Writer, UK

50. Ramzi Salti, PhD, Stanford University, US

51. Brett L. Shadle, PhD, Virginia Tech, US

52. Lola Shoneyin, Writer, Nigeria

53. Wole Soyinka, Nobel Laureate for Literature

54. Olufemi Taiwo, PhD, Seattle University, US

55. Kola Tubosun, Writer, Fulbright Scholar, United States

56. Uzor Maxim Uzoatu, Writer, Nigeria

57. Abdourahman A.Waberi, Writer, US /Djibouti

58. Binyavanga Wainaina, Writer, Kenya

59. Ronald Elly Wanda, Writer & Lecturer, Marcus Garvey Pan-Afrikan Institute, Uganda

60. Kristy Warren, PhD, University of Warwick, UK

61. Cornel West, Princeton University, US

[reposted from http://thingsifeelstronglyabout.blogspot.com/2011/02/writers-and-academics-against.html ]

give thanks for all those spreading love, hope, and positivity in abundance….bless them and their families, and all those around them….mo powah! to our unity 🙂