inayofuata ni another straight-up so inspiring kinda hadithi that it got reposted-as-is, kwasababu sharing is caring, and it is betta to speak our truth, remembering we were never meant to survive…..

To counter some aspects of popular native literature that portray native people as stoic or create characters who speak pidgin English, we are pleased to be able to include some poems that give tender insight into the world of a Lakota mama. The fact that they were written by

the late Isabelle (Ten Fingers) Kills Enemy, a respected Lakota holy woman whom Tilda Long Soldier met in the early seventies, reveals a deeply touching side of a holy womban.

Isabelle’s daughter Valentina Janis explained that during the years when her mama was most active as a healer, she was not around her much and went to only a few of her ceremonies. Valentina shared what she could and then said, “ You know, there is something about my mom that not many people know. She loved to write poems and songs and she even wrote her own music.” Here is a poem on the loss of a child:

SINGING TO HEAVEN

On a moonlight

In a dream, lil’ darling

Dream denotes so you will be gone-gone-gone

From this whole wide world of living.

Just memories you are leaving

Singing, winging your way to heaven

Singing, winging your way to heaven

In this dream world

We’re happy, little darling

Missed you soon from our midst you’re gone-gone-gone

In vain your name we were calling

Searching then we heard your singing.

-RISING WIND (ISABELLE TEN FINGERS), 1906-84

Mother, daughter, granddaughter-these holy womben we met or learned of were not the isolated, childless crones of popular literature. Valentina also showed us a set of songs her mama had composed on staff paper. Not only could this womban, a reservation full-blood born on April 18 1906, write poetry in English but she had also acquired all the skills involved in songwriting.

Cultural anthropologists tell us that shamans were the first poets, artists and songwriters of the human race. They also point out that high intelligence and being multitalented were almost prerequisites to this sacred calling. At the end of her life, Isabelle wandered into the Badlands near her home. Her body was not found for some time.

BEAUTY OF MY MAMA’S PRAYERS

My dearest memories of Mama

As she trod along life’s way

Serenely she paused and stood there

At the altar she knelt and prayed

There’s a sweet strangeness when

Mama prayed for you and me.

And the peace and love on her face

Was like the glowing dawn of day.

The sunlight seemed brighter

Round her

When my mama knelt and prayed.

Like rainbow o’er the flowers that grow

Beauty of my mama’s prayer

Like singing or a river that flows

Beauty of my mama’s prayer

Like breezes o’er my fevered brow

When life is low, and the joy of love on her face.

Was like the glowing dawn of day.

The sunlight seemed bright around her,

When my mama knelt en prayed.

-RISING WIND (ISABELLE TEN FINGERS)

Ese.

[excerpts from Healers, Dreamers, and Pipe Carriers – Medicine Women of the Plains Indians –  Walking in The Sacred Manner

by Mark St.Pierre & Tilda Long Soldier]

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My pride was filled with lessons in humbleness en healing synergy, divine thrills like brunching at the Toronto Rape Crisis Centre, jumpin in with di women’s health in women’s hands float/limin down yonge street @ di dyke march, gettin fed some mo @ di centre en a catchin a tan, drummin to Shango beats,  serving blackness yes!, playing with village pikney en greeting di new year with Swagger….these are wot safe spaces felt like.  I give thanks for growing within such rich en vibrant communities where not only I, but so many others can harvest di labour of god/desses organising celebrashuns of our truth.

Di spaces between last weekend na Pride, in di ‘other’ heart of downtown were  also filled with di challenges of re/claimin space n reconciling di diversity in our rainbow nations na overwhelming spectacles of ‘di corporashun’ n whiteness.

I experienced many kwanzas, missed di trans march on Friday for my first ‘straight’ Blocko in di diaspora, na pili, missed di Pride parade for the third time [in di lookin at a decade that ai’ve been in tdot] foh di first event that keeps me involved in dis beautifully evolving mess, volunteerin @ Blockorama.

We also experienced ‘new’ kinds of violence, small tings like a group of 3 sittin in a park deliberately shooting their wota guns @ 3 of us walking thru di same space on our stroll through di jungle, gettin ‘be wise what you wish for’ syndrome wot with being ‘back on di block’ en all yet progressively mo fenced in with less trees en mo concrete, mo ‘first-time’ faces en less elders, no Rob Ford en di brotha dat my dada spit on after taking in hate-filled diatribes on di streetcar that hit home that much mo’ given di timin en all.

The bigger point is, we’re still recoverin….but already I can see di rest of di summer mo than making up for di Pride that was. Weekends spent feasting in parks with bredrin en sistren in solidarity en @ Afrofest, di Peace is Possible Parade, Caribana n Wild Wota Queendoms, these are what betta times are made of.

The q_t werd : has evolved into dis’ present incarnation from its seeding, in Tdot en Vancouver,

five years ago…

[en in the spaces between, from before, long long long ago, there were 9(+1) dadas na baba na mama

Hadithi? Hadithi? Hadithi njoo…..Sahani? ya…….Giza? ya……..]

Dis’ doc (in the works of becoming a series) is the love child of revolushunary villages

(rebuilding en dialoguing) in Hamilton, Tdot, Nairobi, Joburg & Kampala.

Dis’ is our nekkyd truth, a.k.a  real talks, about these visions we have on our quest of re-educating not only ourselves, but others, in the practice of freedom n’ liberation: where every moon is afrikan hirstory month, every day i(nvolve)s building solidarity within our diversity n peacemaking

[In the spaces between: we develop as a collective with all the means we have, our biomythdramas, inspired by the artists who’ve studied and performed (with the core principles being developed by d’bi young of) anitafrika! dub theatre, nourished by our ancestral memories, nurtured with the legacies of indigenUS en pan-afrikan warriors]

Dis’ is us, no apologies or excuses, jus’ as is, on a journey of  healing(selves) en re/claiming our destinies.

Hadithi? Hadithi?

Hadithi njoo…

So like we’ve blogged  en said before, dis’ documentary/series is a work in progress: like we have a summer’s worth of footage,  yet we’re still developing the storyboard, still deciding (the rest of) our core characters from the 32 (and then some) stories we collected, still trying to get another camera, laptop and editing software, funding, jus’ to start….the bigger point is we hustling to manifest our dreams of a video project and (going) back-to afrika movement/s

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ke67lHxPf8A&feature=related]

So far we’ve got our ABCDE/Fn’G’s (H! ….to P will debut in November )

a is for afrika [is for anitafrika dub theatre! is for amai kuda is for audrey mbugua…..]

is the crux of dis’ here doc

En b is for black august [is for blockorama en blockobana is for bredrin en dadas in solidarity]

Are (some of) the visions of our quest

C is for colour spill productions  [is for cee swagger is for cea walker is for chan mubanga]

Some of the real/live legends of this doc

D is for Dini Ya Msambwa: our ancestral memories

En E is for (the spaces between) Elijah Masinde and Elijah Wilson

That’s wussup.

Hadithi? Hadithi? Hadithi njoo…..Sahani? ya……Giza? ya……

Kesho (kutwa) on the Q/t werd, F n’ G en people we’re learning from, who’re educating others in the practice of freedom and reclaiming indigenous afrikan knowledge systems.

Notes On creativity, compassion and courage:

  1. Creativity: recently, many mo friends have been questioning and sharing with us, [the storytellers behind The Q/t werd and Nekkyd,] what they think our art is about; we have heard en documented many ideas on the ways to build solidarity among QPOC communities, from a pan-afrikan perspective, yet we haven’t ‘officially’ fleshed out where we coming from and headed yet with this epic of a feature length documentary and series.

reality is, our visions (in dis here epic of a quest) have undergone deep transformashun: in the last 3 year(s) we have crossed different worlds and not only survived, crashed en burned, revived en thrived, but metamorphosed into the kipepeo of our wild dreams. our experiences of rebuilding villages are not what we expected them to be, they have surpassed our wildest fantasies en remind us of heaven on earth; now, alhamdulilah(t) we are grateful for the growing, loving communities, for all the healing and prayers in sacred spaces

in dis’ place here, in the diaspora, we found the source of Mama Afrika again, in her people.  In our ancestral legacies en mestizoed religions,  speaking black into (our +ve) blood.memories, breaking ugali with bredrin en dadas in prayer en solidarity.

the q_t werd is personal, political en religious:

personal like what you get when a documentary filmmaker/storyteller gets married to other artist/dadas, en where dem and their village produce a (dark) comedy series on lesbian, queer & trans (pan/afrikan) communities & a feature documentary on their ‘personal’ efforts to mobilise resources for queer/trans communities in East Afrika by designing the curriculum and fundraising for a queer/trans youth arts collective (QTYAC) in Kenya & Uganda. [that’s wassup]

the political is, we are far from where we started: individually and collectively, even though we’re back to the storyboard stages again, we’re still in the spaces between (post) production en grant writing.

Our hadithi remains the same, we are still on this (vision) quest to continue (coming into) fulfilling our (right) destinies, still creatively funding our activism, art and village building through strategically chosen jobs and “fly-by-night” ventures.

The bigger point is that, the religious piece is the big(ga) hadithi, our nekkyd truth is the crux of our salvation and healing wise is,  us dreaming of (going) back home with all our first world privileges, friends and families.

2. Compassion: Over a moon ago, we received the best advice we ever got from a wise afrikan womban’s reading of our quest/ion/s. We were reminded that love and truthfulness would have to determine our way of expressing ourselves and that we jus HAD (no choice but) to lovingly and sincerely communicate our thoughts to those around us.

the truth is, we don’t have any ‘official’ funding for our (art) work, and yet we have still been audacious (and over ambitious) enough to work on submitting, not only, a documentary to the Inside Out & Mpenzi before the end of this year, but designing the curriculum and mobilising (people)  resources for QTYAC, to be run in Kenya & Uganda from May – August 2011.

Technically, the ‘boring’ or exciting stuff (depending on where you look at it from), that there are nuff people interested in getting move involved with/in our communities back at home, we’re trying because we CAN and if we don’t then folks who don’t know betta than us will prolly try to help us OUT  for themselves, we’re doing all a dis’ organising  because there’s sayings that go like we have mo to work with, in dis place here in the FIRST  world,  to serve our communities betta;

3. Courage: a love story

Skeleton woman

– A Tale of the Inuit –

She had done something of which her father disapproved, although no one any longer remembered what it was. But her father had dragged her to the cliffs and thrown her over and into the sea. There, the fish ate her flesh away and plucked out her eyes. As she lay under the sea, her skeleton turned over and over in the currents.

One day a fisherman came fishing, well, in truth many came to this bay once. But this fisherman had drifted far from his home place and did not know that the local fisherman stayed away, saying this inlet was haunted.

The fisherman’s hook drifted down through the water, and caught of all places, in the bones of Skeleton Woman’s rib cage. The fisherman thought, “Oh, now I’ve really got a big one! Now I really have one!” In his mind he was thinking of how many people this great fish would feed, how long it would last, how long he might be free from the chore of hunting. And as he struggled with this great weight on the end of the hook, the sea was stirred to a thrashing froth, and his kayak bucked and shook, for she who was beneath struggled to disentangle herself. And the more she struggled, the more she tangled in the line. No matter what she did, she was inexorably dragged upward, tugged up by the bones of her own ribs.

The hunter had turned to scoop up his net, so he did not see her bald head rise above the waves, he did not see the little coral creatures glinting in the orbs of her skull, he did not see the crustaceans on her old ivory teeth. When he turned back with his net, her entire body, such as it was, had come to the surface and was hanging from the tip of his kayak by her long front teeth.

Agh!” cried the man, and his heart fell into his knees, his eyes hid in terror on the back of his head, and his ears blazed bright red. “Agh!” he screamed, and knocked her off the prow with his oar and began paddling like a demon toward shoreline. And not realizing she was tangled in his line, he was frightened all the more for she appeared to stand upon her toes while chasing him all the way to shore. No matter which way he zigged his kayak, she stayed right behind, and her breath rolled over the water in clouds of steam, and her arms flailed out as though to snatch him down into the depths.

Agh!” he wailed as he ran aground. In one leap he was out of his kayak, clutching his fishing stick and running, and the coral white corpse of skeleton woman, still snagged in the fishing line, bumpety-bumped behind right after him. Over the rocks he ran, and she followed. Over the frozen tundra he ran, and she kept right up. Over the meat laid out to dry he ran, cracking it to pieces as his mukluks bore down.

Throughout it all she kept right up, in fact, she grabbed some of the frozen fish as she was dragged behind. This she began to eat, for she had not gorged in a long, long time. Finally, the man reached his snowhouse and dove right into the tunnel and on hands and knees scrabbled his way into the interior. Panting and sobbing he lay there in the dark, his heart a drum, a mighty drum. Safe at last, oh so safe, yes, safe thank the Gods, Raven, yes, thank Raven, yes, and all bountiful Sedna, safe… at…last.

Imagine when he lit his whale oil lamp, there she – it – lay in a tumble upon his snow floor, one heel over her shoulder, one knee inside her rib cage, one foot over her elbow. He could not say later what it was, perhaps the firelight softened her features, or the fact that he was a lonely man… but a feeling of some kindness came into his breathing, and slowly he reached out his grimy hands and using words softly like a mother to child, began to untangle her from the fishing line.

Oh, na, na, na.” First he untangled the toes, then the ankles. “Oh, na, na, na.” On and on he worked into the night, until dressing her in furs to keep her warm, Skeleton Woman’s bones were all in the order a human’s should be.

He felt into his leather cuffs for his flint and used some of his hair to light a little more fire. He gazed at her from time to time as he oiled the precious wood of his fishing stick and rewound the gut line. And she in the furs uttered not a word – she did not dare – lest this hunter take her out and throw her down to the rocks and break her bones to pieces utterly.

The man became drowsy, slid under his sleeping skins, and soon was dreaming. And sometimes as humans sleep, you know, a tear escapes from the dreamer’s eye; we never know what sort of dream causes this, but we know it is either a dream of sadness or longing. And this is what happened to the man.

Skeleton Woman saw the tear glisten in the firelight and she became suddenly soooo thirsty. She tinkled and clanked and crawled over to the sleeping man and put her mouth to his tear. The single tear was like a river and she drank and drank and drank until her many-years-long thirst was slaked.

While lying beside him, she reached inside the sleeping man and took out his heart, the mighty drum. She sat up and banged on both sides of it: Bom Bomm!…..Bom Bomm!

As she drummed, she began to sing out “Flesh, flesh, flesh! Flesh, Flesh, Flesh!” And the more she sang, the more her body filled out with flesh. She sang for hair and good eyes and nice fat hands. She sang the divide between her legs, and breasts long enough to wrap for warmth, and all the things a woman needs.

And when she was all done, she also sang the sleeping man’s clothes off and crept into his bed with him, skin against skin. She returned the great drum, his heart, to his body, and that is how they awakened, wrapped one around the other, tangled from their night, in another way now, a good and lasting way.

The people who cannot remember how she came to her first ill fortune say she and the fisherman went away and were consistently well fed by the creatures she had known in her life under water. The people say that it is true and that is all they know.

[from women who run with the wolves: myths and stories of the wild woman archetype]

http://www.blacklooks.org/2010/08/james-baldwin-precious-lord-take-my-hand/

Wahenga walisema, it is not taboo to go back and fetch what you forgot.

So the series starts before the turn of this century, not so long ago that many would have forgotten the major events in their lives, back in our youth’, when we analysed, questioned and instinctively rebelled, all the way to our growing (up) present selves, and our (collective) visions of the future.

Season one features 31 (+3) biomyth monodrama hadithi.

It only makes sense that we re-introduce ourselves, share the truth about our stories;

So we’ll start somewhere in the middle with these hadithi. In this place here, now…..

There are 4 afrikans (A,D,M en T) behind not only the q/t werd but, principally, the series that inspired dis’ quest for unity (with)in our diversity, Nekkyd.

There are also the growing villages, and the energies of many more who are weaving indigenUS & pan-afrikan narratives of ancestral memories and legacies; this tapestry includes those who are rebuilding healthy, loving, sustaining and sustainable communities.

[ between the lines: in The Q-t Werd is a vision of fundraising for yet another grassroots collective, bredrin en dadas in solidarity whose mission is to work on our own unity first by mobilising & sharing (capacity building) resources with grassroots groups working with queer/trans communities and sex workers in East & South Afrika.  Our inaugural project is the Queer/Trans Youth Arts Collective set to run in Kenya & Uganda from May 2011]

hapo zamani za kale, kulikuwa na (m)wana wa Obatala, Ogun, Olokun na Yemoja…….

hadithi no. 14 is for (the spaces between) nneka en nneke in

neKKyd: Each episode is a different journey inside Nneke’s (Tsholo Khalema) world as her wry observations take us into the mind of a screwed up, loved up, lustful queer world.

Being a lesbian is tough, Being a black immigrant Afrikan lesbian trying to fit in…

well lets just say, to survive you gotta know the RULEZ TA BEIN’ A STUD!

NEKKyD explores the world of Nneke Dumela and her earth-shattering lust for the gorgeous and sassy women

Hadithi no.13 is for Medusa en Molisa

bio(myth)drama: on using a pseudonym

molisa nyakale is a name that comes from my family. It is the name of my great-great-great-grandmother on my father’s side, and a mark-er of my true true home….claiming this name was a way to link my voice to an ancestral legacy of womban speaking

Molisa is originally from the Shona, maybe even the Ndorobo. Partially re/constructed from mawu-lisa. I first read about her in the stories of sista outsiders.

Nyakale was given to me in a marriage vow; I chose to keep the name but rejected the suitor’s proposal.

10 years ago: I was in my last year of high school, full of possibilities and already getting used to rebelling with (self)righteous causes….I was excited to go to the next level, pursue freedom where I thought I was surely bound to get it, in uni.

9 years ago: I was in my first year of university @ the United States International University – Africa,

I had fantasised about this land of (queer) dates, milk en honey/when I got out of ‘here’, dreamed of growing up and getting a loft of my own, like the one that Alex had in Flashdance, where I would grow passion fruit in the backyard and be surrounded by big city scapes; I (en)visioned driving a car like the one that Vanessa Williams drove in Dance with Me, but all that dramatically changed when I finally realised one of my big dreams.

8 years ago: I landed in Tdot –  Canada.

Bio/facts: Timelines that point not only to geographic locations, but also vastly different worlds betwixt en between ideologies, traditions and wealth

7 years ago: I was in my ‘first’ year of university at University of Toronto – Mississauga

Fiction/myths: lie in the names we’ve chosen, and (un)mask(ing)s discarded en nurtured in our quest to wholeness.

Facts: The village is necessary in re/locating our afrikan stories, the baba en mama of this biomyth-drama inspired and trans/formed by bredrin en dadas channelling the truth of their own stories in the practice of arts for revolushunary change en healing.

Bio/drama: My name/s have been rebellions, running to visions of betta lives. I first experimented with sounding alternate realities with word! when I was about 10 years old, from Henrialovna en Henrievna to Nyakale

4 years ago: the seeds of the Q/t werd were planted at the Inside Out festival with hadithi yetu!, and in Vancouver with 31 stories

2 years ago: the Q/t werd travelled to great rivers and re/discovered their source

Over a year ago: the Q/t was reborn in the Ngong Forest Sanctuary.

This year: we launched Nekkyd & The Q/t werd in ‘foreign’ lands, aka. these spaces that are our homes (for) now, documenting our individual and collective quests to continue fulfilling our destinies with bredrin en dadas in solidarity & colour spill productions…..

Hadithi no.3 is for cee as the crux, in swagger; en cea walker in “i”

These are (some of) the legends of the q/t werd…..

[blogger’s notes:  this post is NOT an official peace theatre release. just another sista outsider view on what’s going on in her hood, like with…..]

The Space Between –  the final frontier

60 children and youth and 12 of Toronto’s finest artists were on a mission to explore faith and reason, to seek out truth and understanding

To boldly go where no Theatre has gone before

Director: Liz Pounsett

Music Director: Brownman

Visual Arts Director: Jerry Silverberg

Artistic Director: Karen Emerson

This year, the 10th annual peace camp gala performance & peace is possible summer workshops were supported by a (core) collective of womben + one man, from karen emerson, susan ryan, liz pounsett, jessica salloum, angela chau, vivian sofia mora, sharon vanderveen, merril matthews to Abdul & Alixa @ the (place formerly known as the childrens) peace theatre

[blogger’s notes: disclaimer – the term collective is used strategically/loosely en creatively, the people didn’t come together specifically to work as a collective, didn’t necessarily even work as a collective, there were ofcourse boys & men involved in the work, and depending on where you look at it from, the folks mentioned are just a fraction of ‘the core’]

there was an honorary granma en granpa during the camp, the space was even visited by a few healers during rehearsals, en blessed with a joyous graduation in a celebration of the talents of many children, youth en the rest of us who worked together, and individually for (more than) 3 weeks on the production of the space between: the final frontier & the (ultimately postponed) peace is possible parade.

We will share our stories all through (the sacred moon of Black) August, in a photo & video diary of the spiral journey of n0t only the peace theatre, from 2009 to 2010, but more significantly for this place here, the re-birth of the q/t werd

http://fourwomen.wordpress.com/

But before that, I’ll tell you (part of) the story of how the (children’s) peace theatre was born, where its come from, and where this place is going….. as an institutional body, a (vision of a ) collective, and in our individual, unique journeys that intersect/ed in the heart of what we’ve dubbed as the peace forest, betwixt en between, crescent town, good wood and park vista, close to scarborough village, ideologically not that different from regent park, intrinsically connected to jane & finch, and originally from afrika.

Hadithi? Hadithi? Hadithi njoo!

Uongo njoo! Utamu kolea!

Sahani? ya mchele! Giza? Ya…….

Once upon a time, there was a turtle on whose back the world turned, underneath that turtle, was another turtle, and underneath that turtle another turtle, or so one version of a creation story goes, the bigger point is, we were born of the great goddess, came from mama afrika, and a decade ago to be exact, the children’s peace theatre was founded by Robert Morgan, en a growing in/visible collective of youth, supporters, and our communities at large…

The first peace camp was “ At The Crossroads”….the gaps and (mis)steps in our journey are the spaces between mo’ people (not) knowing about us, and mo’ folks working ‘with the group in educating in the practice of freedom, using the arts for social change, and rebuilding heathy, sustainable communities

As Robert (one of the founders of this place formerly known as the children’s peace theatre) has said:

“We place children and youth centre stage, not because they are cute or candid, but because they display humanity’s capacity to evolve, even in the harsh conditions of the current times. Young people are demonstrating an instinctive desire to move away from the dominant culture of self-interestedness and aggression, and are moving instead towards building relationships and community due to an innate desire to seek stability, safety, and peace. It is also evident that young people have the imagination and the energy that will be necessary to establish a new culture of peace. Watching young people from very different backgrounds cross paths, encounter conflict, and find creative ways of making the conflict evolve in positive directions, gives me the audacity to believe that peace is possible.”

coming soon…the space between (us and mama afrika), in the (evolushun of the) Q/T werd