I give thanks for today, yesterday en tomorrow, for doors closing balanced with others opening, blue-skying en cool wotas, nashukuru upendo na imani tunayo… nashukuru the continued guidance and protection of de ancestors of dis land, wale wahenga wangu ninaowajua, wale sijui, na wale wanaonijua deeper than ninayojijua….inifinitely grateful for de blessings of dis week, for dis counting down to de first anniversary of #To David With

Love, coming into an ‘epic’ year of mi twenties, and celebrations of Afrikan Heritage (or Black History) Moon, like Dinner, Performances & de first tambor for Ibeji at de Children’s Peace Theatre. Big tings’ a gwaan wid dis ting called ubuntu….

So, in the spirit of intimacy and de spaces between recovering from rituals en preparing for mo ceremonies, this hadithi kuhusu Toque de Santo is transcribed from Divine Utterances: The Performance of Afro-Cuban Santeria, written by Katherine J. Hagedorn.

Dear Katherine, asante sana for sharing your re/learning. And deeply grateful to mi Tdot teachers for offering the kind of priceless educational programs not only I’ve been looking for, in grassroots universities, across borders. Asante Baba Gee & Baba Falo, Sista Leopard & Mama (wa) Amani Theatre, Prof Ausar & Papa John.  Na asante for (re)birthing dis post mi goddess mama No.3 –  Beth, who not only gifted me dis book we’re sharing with you, but co-creates en maintains sacred spaces with other honourable elders to remember the sage secrets of loving en continue fulfilling our highest destinies.

Asante akina baba, mama na watoto wa Afreeka. Nashukuru bredrin and sistren in solidarity….

[pamoja tukifafanua ukweli wa Anaa na]  TOQUE DE SANTO: Evoking the Orishas

A toque de santo (or tambor) is de main public religious performance of Santeria [en other traditions], de popular name of de [looked pon as] polytheistic religious tradishun that grew from Afrikan and European roots during the four long centuries of de slave trade in Cuba. Toque refers to de verb tocar (to play) en to de specific noun toque (rhythm), as well as to de general noun toque, meaning de event itself; santo refers to de deities
called santos (orichas or orisas) who are evoked by de toques. Although de performance of Santeria includes other ceremonies involving music en dance (such as festive bembes en guiro ensembles), toques de santo require the use of de sacred bata drums, en are thus considered de most divinely powerful of all de religious ceremonies of Santeria.

the warriors

The origins of de toque de santo lie in de Atlantic slave trade. Cuba imported de bulk of its slaves during the nineteenth century. Most of de Africans captured en sold into slavery who were landed in Cuba came from a curved corridor of present-day West Afrika stretching from Guinea down to Angola, en a significant plurality of these came from Nigeria, Benin, Ghana, Togo, en Cameroon. These Afrikan regions share some formal characteristics in their monotheistic religious traditions, which, under, de chaotic en brutal conditions of slavery in Cuba, gradually developed by de end of de nineteenth century into what became known as Santeria.

One of de most powerful similarities among de many West Afrikan mono & polytheistic traditions thrown together in Cuba during de nineteenth century was the evocation of deities through de performance of specific praise songs, drum rhythms, en gestures. Toques de santo can be interpreted as a distillation of more than a century of diverse, divine per formative intent.

In present-day Cuban Santeria, toques de santo are ritual drummings, typically held as offerings to appease orichas or santos. These drumming ceremonies may also be offered to de santos to change de objective circumstances of one’s life…..

Although de deities of Santeria may communicate with humans through divination, prayers, en dreams, they relish de communicative powah afforded them through music en dance. Each santo or oricha “owns” certain melodic gestures, rhythms, dance movements, en praise songs, as well as specific colours, numbers, animals, foods, en natural phenomena. They respond readily to songs en dances that incorporate these associative representations-such as, in de case of de salt-wota deity Yemaya (whose name is said to mean “Mother of Fishes” in Cuban Lucumi), a dance that imitates de undulation of de waves, or a song that evokes de powah of de sea en its creatures. De main goal of these rhythms, songs, en dances is to summon (or goad) de santos to earth, so that de deities may soothe those who are grieving, heal those who are sick, rebuke those who have acted unwisely, bless those who appear to be deserving, en set de tone for de next few weeks or moons in de community.

For a toque de santo to be successful, however, each participant must know how to behave, how to engage correctly de divine potential of de ceremony. What are de “rules of engagement” at a toque de santo or tambor? How does one know when to dance (or sing, or become possessed) en how? Are there different ways of participating in Afro-Cuban religious en folkloric events, and, if so, how does one discriminate between them?….

De rules of engagement in religious and folkloric performances seem to shift in accordance with de goal or intent of de event, en with de expectations of de religious practitioners. In a toque de santo, for example, de aim of de ceremony is to summon one or more orichas to earth, so that de deities may address de needs of de community through specific blessings, healings, en advice. In this case, de “rules of engagement” for each participant in a religious event are determined by socioreligious desire en necessity.

In the events presented by de Conjunto Folklorico Nacional de Cuba, by contrast, de goal of a performance is primarily aesthetic excellence-de perfect (or near perfect) execution of dance steps, percussive rhythms, song phrases, en gestures of a toque de santo in accordance with norms established by “folkloric” schools of performance. In de CFNC, then, the “rules” of participating are determined by one’s ability to maintain a uniform standard of performance of specific rehearsed musical en physical gestures.

Yet the genres of “religious Afro-Cuban performance” en “’folkloric’ Afro-Cuban performance” inform each other, “use” each other, en at times even inhabit de same sphere of sacred intent (see de page on ‘a is for….’ de architecture of syncretism in santeria: remixed).

This sphere of sacred intent is most often constructed by resurrecting de memory of de sacred in both folkloric en religious performances. And in both types of performance, de memory of de sacred is translated through de body. De body is where “sacred” en

“secular” meet, where de boundaries are blurred, en it is this liminal space that is both powahful en disruptive because it calls into question de per formative categories implied by de terms “sacred” and “secular” en forces de participants to renegotiate their respective “rules of engagement.”….

SACRED KNOWLEDGE AND COMPETENT ENGAGEMENT

Protectors of (not only) Cuba’s Afrikan heritage and representatives of its future, ritual musicians hold de key to an analysis of the toque or tambor, and control de first stage of engagement….

TOQUE ETIQUETTE AND SACRED INTENT

Engaging appropriately in a toque de santo, then, requires de competent use of sacred knowledge…Toque etiquette varies widely from casa templo (house of worship) to casa templo, but what is much less variable is de philosophy that informs de rules of etiquette for each particular “house.” “Tradition” might vary from house to house on de same block, from city to city, en from country to country, but what keeps religious practice unified is de overriding theology that invents it, en de santo families that are cocreated en enlarged each time a new creyente is initiated into de religion…….

PERFORMING THE REGLA DE OCHA

In order to be a good drummer in the Conjunto Folklorico, according to Alberto, one must not only have de religion, one must respect its rules. When de author of the excerpts of dis book asked Alberto who decided de content of de Conjunto Folklorico’s performances, he responded that there were different departments that could influence de decision, such as research, management, percussion, chorus, dance, the board of directors—but that ultimately Rogelio Martinez Fure, the asesor or artistic advisor to de group, made de final decision. Immediately afterward, however, Alberto began talking about de new dancers (thos who had attended the aficionado schools) who did not appreciate the religious basis of the folkloric toques, and how these young people considered the Conjunto Folklorico’s performances to be art, without any religious aspect…..

Alberto sees his religion not only as someting beyond compromise, but also as a source of powah en authority in de aesthetic skirmishes that he en his colleagues may face on a daily basis. His religions informs en is inseparable from his work [as it is with not only me, but many others]. When Katherine Hagedorn asked Alberto about de connection between his religion en his work, however, he said there was none. “My job is over here [right hand], and mi religion is over here [left hand]. This [his job] has nothing to do with this [his religion]. We don’t tell de secrets of our religion in the Folklorico. That would be impossible-because then it wouldn’t be my job, it would be mi religion.”

Alberto sees himself, en creyente drummers in general, as true representatives of de religion. In this sense, he acts as a preserver of his religious tradition, although he claims that his work and religion are totally separate. He is an absentee guardian of the authenticity of de folkloric renditions of his religions, which is to say that he does not allow his religious persona to participate actively in de folkloric performances but de passive knowledge of what that religious persona would require during a religious ceremony is allowed to remain, and it safeguards de remnants of the performance’s spiritual dignity…..

The drummers in de Conjunto Folklorico are de main actors in de negotiation process between the sacred and secular aspects of performance…How  religion is “brought” to art seems to revolve around the paradoxical and elusive (yet not rhetorical) questions regarding the differences and separations between the two……

Hadithi? Hadithi? Hadithi Njoo….

Sahani ya?

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(creative writing in memory of Grace Mera Molisa – by briar wood)

In this season of vegetables, the year you left us behind

The Second Melanesian Festival swells Vila

from vanuatu back to mama afrika

Black Brothers sing to wantok women

in the solid dark at Independence Park

a fourteen-man string band and one green guitar

rocking everybody at the gallery opening.

 

Between broken English and beginner’s Bislama

I explain to people of the ples I am studying your poetry –

but some hear pottery and give me directions

to the Kaljoral Senta where I admire

red mats of Ambae, dyed, matanaho,

precise, incised fragments of Lapita

black stone publishing

and join the large group gathering to watch

women  from  Wusi, Espiritu Santo

who have been working in secret all week

shaping layers from volcanic black sand,

applying designs – waves, fishbones,

pikinini fingers gripping the carefully shaped lips

putting on a red slip, sprinkling with seawater

the firmed earthenware exterior turned upside down

as the bundles of fronds and branches

piled high on a platform of hot river rocks

burns, flaring up with a flourish

in a process usually performed at dawn.

So your poetry has come through

that blaze of themes, critiques and dreams,

tempered words, fused to a brilliant black

and packed with your country’s colours –

graceful containers, holding the future’s truth.

Your poetry inspires,the pots are firing.

[excerpts from one of her poems – Co-operation]

We need each other
You need me. I need you.
Impossible to love so easy to hate!
It does matter that at least we try.
We play our role. We do our share.
Co-operation. On every level. Any level.

Ashanti folk tales

Anansi had six sons, each of whom possessed a special powah!

There were Akakai, whose name meant “Able to see Trouble”;

Twa Akwan, meaning “Road Builder”;

Hwe Nsuo, meaning “Able to Dry up Rivers”;

Adwafo, meaning “Skinner of Game”;

Toto Abuo, meaning “Stone Thrower”; and

Da Yi Ya, meaning “Lie on the Ground Like a Cushion

One day Kwaku Anansi went on a long journey. Several weeks passed, and he failed to return. Akakai, the son who had the ability to see trouble, announced that Anansi had fallen into a distant river in the middle of a dense jungle, and the brothers passed through it to the edge of the river. Hwe Nsuo, who had the powah! to dry up rivers, dried up the river and they found there a great fish which had swallowed Anansi.

Adwafo, the skinner of game, cut into the fish and released his father. But as soon as they brought Anansi to the edge of the river, a large hawk swooped down out of the sky, caught Anansi in his mouth, and soared into the air with him. Toto Abuo, the stone thrower, threw a rock into the sky and hit the hawk, which let go of Anansi. And as Anansi dropped toward the earth, Da Yi Ya threw himself on the ground like a cushion to soften his father’s fall. Thus, Kwaku Anansu was saved by his six sons and brought home to his village.

Then one day when he was in the forest, Anansi found a bright and beautiful object called Moon. Nothing like it had ever been seen before. It was the most magnificent object he had ever seen. He resolved to give it to one of his children.

He sent a message to Nyame, the Sky God, telling him about his discovery. He asked Nyame to come and hold the moon, and to award it as a prize to one of Anansi’s sons – the one who had done the most to rescue him when he was lost in the river. The Sky God came and held the Moon. Anansi sent for his sons.

When they saw the Moon, each of them wanted it. They argued The one who had located Anansi in the river said he deserved the prize. The one who had built the road said he deserved it.The one who had dried up the river said he deserved it. The one who had cut Anansi out of the fish said he deserved it. The one who had hit the hawk with the stone said he deserved it. The one who had cushioned Ashanti’s fall said he deserved

it. They argued back and forth, and no one listened to anybody else. The argument went on and on, and became a violent squabble.

Nyame, the Sky God, didn’t know who should have the prize. He listened to the arguments for a long time. Then he became impatient. He got up from where he sat and went back to the sky, taking the Moon along with him. And that is why the Moon is always seen in the heavens, where Nyame took it, and not on the earth where Anansi found it.

Another version of the same folktale, from Ayiti to Mama Afreeka, with big love …..

Nananbouclou and the Piece of Fiya!

In ancient times only the deities lived in the world. There were Shango…Ogun…Agwe….Legba…. and others. Their motha was Nananbouclou; she was the first of all the God(desse)s.

One day Elegba came to the city and said: “ A strange thing has happened. A piece of fiya has fallen from the sky.” The deities went out with Elegba, and he showed them where the piece of fiya lay, scorching the land on all sides. Because Agwe was the deity of the sea, he brought the ocean in to surround the piece of fiya and began to discuss how they could take it back to the city. Because Ogun was the deity of ironsmiths, he forged a chain around the piece of fiya and captured it. But there remained a problem of how to transport it. So Shango, fastened it to a thunderbolt and hurled it to the city. Then they returned.

Nananbouclou, the motha of the gods, admired what they had found. And she said,

“This is  indeed a great ting.” But the gods began to quarrel over who should have it.

Elegba, the messenger, said: :It was I who discovered it. Therefore it belongs to me.”

Agwe said: I brought the ocean to surround it, and keep it from eating up the earth. Therefore, it should be mine.”

Ogun said: Did I not forge a chain to wrap around the fiya and capture it? Therefore, I am the proper owner.”

And Shango said: who brought the piece of fiya home? It was I who transported it on a thunderbolt. Therefore, there is no doubt whatsoever, it is mine. They argued this way back and forth. They became angry with one another.

At last Nananbouclou halted the argument. She said: “ This ting that has been brought back is beautiful. Bu

t before it came, there was harmony, and now there are bad words. This person claims it, that person claims it. Therefore, shall we continue to live with it in our midst?

Nananbouclou took hold of the piece of fiya en hurled it high into the sky.

There it has remained ever since. It is known by the name of Baia-cou. It is the evening star.

[revised excerpts from: A Treasury of Afro-American Folklore: The Oral Literature, Traditions, Recollections, Legends, Tales, Songs, Religious Beliefs, Customs, Sayings and Humour of Peoples of African Descent in the Americas]

.


It’s that time of the year again in Turtle Island when black history month is ‘officially’ commemorated, where the reality is for Afrikans, every day en night (no matter how westernised or ignorant of our true true cultures we are), is about our (diverse) Afreekan stories……

so dis’ moon, like every other, not only I but so many mo’ others, are blogging with the rhythm of reclaiming ancestral legacies, and for the struggle of Afreekan liberation, as we have been doing from time…

As we give thanks for all the blessings, for the spreading waves of hope, love and positivity in abundance…in solidarity with the spirit of truth, justice and salaam driving the grassroots revolushuns in Egypt (formerly known as [parts of] Nubia!), Sudan, Tunisia, Uganda, Ayiti, en around the world…

The bigger point (as) is the ‘speciality’ of dis’ blog, we gonna re-DO [re-tell], take steps back [co-create]…..so we can give thanks for yesterday, today and tomorrow…. and revision our ways forward in the most loving, sustaining and sustainable ways…

hadithi? hadithi? hadithi njoo….

Reposted from http://bulletsandhoney.wordpress.com/

Generation Disaster

This opinion originally run in the East Africa on January 28, 2008 under the title,

The problem with Kenya’s politics is the old guard

The next revolution in Kenya will not be a violent one,

contrary to the bloodletting presently underway. Rather it will be the rejection of the generation of men from whom the leaders of this country have been drawn.

The major politicians were in politics long before the majority of Kenyans were even born and who even today enjoy inordinate sway in the country. President Mwai Kibaki was born in 1931. Ex-president Daniel arap Moi was born in 1924.

They are still doddering on, unable to relinquish the reins of the power they have held onto tightly for half a century.

Theirs is a generation steeped in tribal arithmetic, in a cynical nationalism; their values have infected those thousands of young people who are roaming the countryside in a killing frenzy.

The young men throwing stones and shooting arrows and the youthful riot policemen opposite them lobbing tear gas and firing live ammunition are fodder for the failed politics of a generation of old men who may just take all of us to the grave with them.

I was raised to respect my elders and there are many whom I indeed respect.

But the time has come to assess in the broadest and most personal terms how the generation of leaders that took this country from independence to the bloody and dangerous

present has performed.

The oldest were born in the 1920s and the youngest of the lot in the 1940s — opposition leader Raila Odinga, who was born in 1945 is the youth wing of this generation. They can be counted as a single generation in the sense that their vision of what constitutes Kenya and their role in it is widely shared.

This generation has played and continues to play a prominent role in politics, in our intellectual life and in the business community.

While there are many among them who are capable and well intentioned, the defining characteristic of this generation is failure

in leadership.

It is not enough to lay the blame on a few individuals. These prominent wazee (old men) have defined for us the content of our politics and the ethics of governance. They are our very own Boomer Generation except that the boom in this instance is the sound of our dreams and aspirations exploding. It is time we named them Generation Disaster.

It is a popular pastime to compare Kenya’s performance in economic and human development terms with that of the Asian Tigers such as South Korea and Malaysia. How often I have heard it said that these countries in economic terms were neck and neck with Kenya in the 1970s, only for them to surge ahead in the past three decades while Kenya trod water and in many instances retreated on the advances it had made.

The approximately 3 per cent of Kenyans who are above the age of 65 and from whom the bulk of Generation Disaster is drawn, have led us to an average life expectancy of 55 years compared with South Korea’s 77 and Malaysia’s 72 — according to the online Institute World Guide, which allows country comparison of economic data.

The economic numbers are even more dire. Kenya’s gross domestic product of $38 billion as of 2005 is only a fraction of Malaysia’s $287 billion and South Korea’s $1 trillion. Per capita, Kenyan citizens have only 12 per cent of their Malaysian counterparts’ income and 6 per cent of the South Korean GDP per capita of almost $23,000. At the turn of the century, 40 per cent of Kenyans were unofficially unemployed compared with fewer than 4 per cent of Malaysians and South Koreans.

These statistics, we can suppose with reasonable confidence, have deteriorated in the past three weeks and they mean that Kenya can count itself first among equals only if compared to the Congos and Guineas of this world. Our leaders’ vision is only to be lauded if compared with countries that have experienced genocides and decades-long civil wars.

Yet this generation, which touts its anti-colonialist credentials, its Kennedy Airlifts (the US scholarship programmes of the 1960s), its Makerere (university) pedigree and its ambassador-at-30 mentality has only managed to take us from one disaster to the next.

I grew up hearing about the inferiority of one tribe as against the other, in jokes that now seem like macabre warnings of a day when they would become deadly serious. My elders were ever focused on their belly buttons. Not for them to learn from the experiences of other countries — especially the disasters that were unfolding around us and sending refugees by the thousands into our country.

Their language was a curious construction. “The Kikuyu are now in power,” they would say even though I hardly saw a penny from this so-called power. “The Kalenjin have taken power,” they complained as President Moi stepped into State House, “They will finish us now for sure.” “The Luos can never rule this country; the Kikuyus are thieves; the Luhyas don’t know how to take power…”

This language is what has given birth to the present crisis and has underpinned the governance of this country since Independence.

Such a leap into the illogical, for our generation of leaders, is the very basis of logical thinking when it comes to apportioning power and privilege among themselves. It has served them well, this spokesman-of-the-tribe role.

It is the position that has enabled all those Mercedes Benzes to be bought from the proceeds of Goldenberg, Anglo Leasing and the dozens of financial schemes to rob the Treasury in the name of fulfilling the privileges of tribal mandarin.

Though they developed these roles before the majority of us were even born, their thinking has infected us all. Say what you will about the opposition, it too is a gathering of “spokesmen of the tribe” challenging a government largely constituted from similar material.

The one thing that such politics will not deliver to this country is the kind of vision and leadership that led

South Korea and Malaysia from poverty to wealth.

We may continue chasing “those people” from one area or the other and supporting the powerful on the basis that they are “our people,” but perhaps we only need to remember that the cost in lives is borne by individuals.

What does it matter that there is a Kikuyu president when you are a Kikuyu living in Nairobi’s Mathare slum? This generation of wazee has infected the country with its self-serving obsession with ethnicity as politics and politics as ethnicity. It has lived longer than most Kenyans can expect to live and yet it refuses to exit the stage.

Generation Disaster has repeatedly turned down opportunities to appeal to our better natures. It has chosen advancement from enmity rather than from strengthening our bonds.

Fear and suspicion are its stock in trade. These wazee sap on the blood of the young and seek gratification of their lust for power even if it leads to the destruction of this fragile, injured thing we call Kenya.

Why exactly should we respect this generation that has lived longer than most of us can expect to live and yet refuses to exit the stage, like an ill-mannered guest who insists on staying an extra night?

[hii ni hadithi ya some of the legends of the Q_t werd, kama ya Namutebi,

reposted from http://www.newvision.co.ug/PA/8/25/489410]

By Elvis Basudde

BORN poor, poorly educated, a victim of child abuse, pressed at an early age into dull and unpaid jobs, Sylvia Namutebi, 33, popularly known as ‘Mama Fiina’, recovered by her own efforts from these handicaps and from ill-health. 

From a deep remote village in Mukono where she was toiling from morning to evening, Namutebi was determined to make a meaningful life when she boarded a bus to Kampala while still a teenager.

She now works in a shrine at Katwe, where I met her for an interview.
Namutebi smiles as she smokes a pipe in her shrine. She is surrounded by about 50 people mainly women, singing, praying and smoking pipes. She shakes my hand and introduces herself as ‘Musambwa’ “ How is The New Vision?” she asks.
To me, she does not look like a Musambwa. I have always known Musambwa to mean evil spirit. But she did not look evil at all. Okay, I have never seen a Musambwa, I am a God-fearing man.

With her introduction, I had to sit up and think again, because it is rare to find people of Namutebi’s social status (a tycoon) who would proudly call themselves “Musambwa.”

Realising how mesmerised and unsettled I am, she laughs lightly and quickly assures me that the people around are friendly, harmless and love visitors.

And as I talk to her, I wonder how this typical village woman with no formal education and at such an age could accumulate so much wealth. Her colleagues call her a billionaire.

Namutebi was recently crowned the first woman ‘President of Traditional Healers in Uganda’ (Uganda N’eddagala Lyayo), replacing the late Ben Gulu. She beat four men to take the most coveted office in the local industry of traditional medicine.

Speaking during the crowning ceremony, Robert Sebunya (former minister of health in Buganda government) who represented the Vice-President, hailed the traditional healers and encouraged them to smoke the pipe.

Namutebi’s assets are estimated to be worth sh2b. The 5ft 3inches feet tall, ‘not so sophisticated-looking’ Namutebi has a fleet of commercial lorries, omnibuses (taxis), over 400 boda boda, shops on William and Luwumu streets and at Mukwano Arcade in Kampala.

Namutebi also owns commercial buildings at Kajjansi, Makindye and Najjanankumbi. She is also the brain behind New Progressive School in Seeta, a school that caters for over 200 orphans and unprivileged children. 
Last month, during a Nigiina (gift circle) function that was held in Makindye, Namutebi surprised people when she donated a new car to a Nigiina ‘bride’. That is Namutebi for you.

Surprisingly, Namutebi is a very ordinary woman who does not brag about her achievements. Appearance can be deceptive.
If you meet her and she tells you she is the person behind all these projects, you would call it a lie.

However, Namutebi attributes her meteoric rise to hard work and to her gods – Musambwa Musamya and Lubaale Nagadya. She says she is the principal medium of Musambwa Musamya.
Some people though, allege she has acquired her wealth as a result of going under the lake, a thing she dismisses as hogwash. She said she has worked hard and has profited from her efforts.

“I have travelled a tough road to get here. It has not been easy, but a lot has to do with my tough upbringing and suffering which became an inspiration. The injustices my stepmother inflicted on me helped me see things in their true perspective and not to take life for granted,” she stresses.

She says she relates to the poor since her upbringing was rough. She knows what it is like to struggle through life. He mother died when she was just five years old.  She sees her in pictures and only has a blurred memory of how she looked like.

“My father was a no- nonsense person but he didn’t care much about me. He never valued me and used to take me for granted. They used to call me “Ekyaana,” meaning  a foolish child,” she reminisces.

She adds: “ I didn’t want people to suffer the way I suffered. That is how I became renown, by helping people especially orphans, paying their fees and taking care of th

em. Every Friday, I go on the streets and give children food and clothing.”

When Namutebi came to Kampala

in 1986, she was a little girl who stayed with her uncle in Ndeeba, from where she later got married and got her first daughter called Fiina, the reason they call her Mama Fiina.

In 1994, Namutebi teamed up with a friend called Mumbejja Nakayenga and both worked under the scorching sun, selling polyethylene bags (buveera) on veran

dahs of Kampala, mainly around Nansagazi shop near the former UTC bus park.

After some time, Namutebi left the business after her friend left for kyeyo in the US. She then started selling lesus, but it was like jumping from a frying pan into fire since the sunshine continued harassing her as she walked from one place to another looking for customers.

After seven years of gruelling perseverance –– working under the sun in the open, Namutebi got her big breakthrough around 1996. She graduated into selling children’s clothes. She would fly to Nairobi, China and Dubai to buy the items. She has never looked back ever since.

Listeners of Radio Star FM, Radio Simba, CBS, and Sapientia are familiar with the voice of “Mama Fiina O’womundeeba. She is always on air on these stations, contributing ideas on social and political issues. And for her love for President Yoweri Museveni, people have given her all sorts of names; Museveni’s witchdoctor or Museveni’s woman.

She says she joined politics in 1996 when she made her first call on Star FM and spoke out the good things Museveni had done, disproving those who were criticising him. She says apart from politicking and overseeing her business, she spends more time in her shrine where she cleanses people of their troubles and gives them luck.

“People throng here with all sorts of problems. They come to smoke the pipe and ask for blessings and luck. I cure various diseases and I am also a traditional birth attendant. Nobody smokes this pipe and remains the same,” she says, pointing to the pipe as she smokes.

She says she is an extraordinary witchdoctor, the present medium of Musambwa Musamya, and the god who gives blessings. She says she was appointed Musambwa while still in her mother’s womb.

She did not go for education due to reasons she calls “mystical”, but that her god blessed her with tremendous wealth. “I perform tasks that Musambwa instructs me to do. I heal people,and give luck and blessings,” she says. Namutebi was born in 1972 to Paul Mukalazi in Mukono.

She is the second born out of five. She is married to Ismail Sekidde, a businessman and “a good Christian,” as he calls him. They have two children aged nine and seven years. Namutebi employs over 60 workers in her various businesses.

“My immediate plan is to construct a huge hospital for traditional healers. I have already bought land for sh40m in Mityana for the project. I also want traditional healers to have offices and stops operating from those poor shrines,” she said.

[hadithi ya the Q_t werd ni ya Bredrin en dadas in solidarity, speaking truth to powah!

ni ya(le ya) kale,

Hadithi? Hadithi?

Hadithi njoo…. ..

Giza ya?

Sahani ya?

I’m sharing what connects me to others, stories that are close(st) to home –  the realities not only of bredrin and dadas on the continent, en in the diaspora, but all our living relatives…sharing moments of silence, deep breaths, cleansing tears, communion with loved ones and prayers for forgiveness for  those who saw David Kato as an enemy….forgive us (Great) Mother, for those sins we know and don’t know about, and those we are yet to commit…bless wale wanaospread upendo in abundance….ase….

 

From Gay Uganda – http://gayuganda.blogspot.com/2011/01/kato-david-kisule.html

I am in shock.

Literal shock. Just heard that one of our members, a prominent gay activist, an out and out man, who has been at the forefront of the gay rights movement in Uganda, David Kato Kisule was murdered. Dead, a blunt instrument to the skull.

Dead. In Lugazi Hospital at the moment.

What to do? Shock. Shock, shock.

So, I write, to try and express that which I feel. But, what can words express?

Kato. A disturbed friend. One of our very special brand of radical activists. He used to say that he was one of the very ‘out’ if not the first out gay man in Uganda.

And, yes, he was one of the people whose photo appeared in the Rolling Stone, one of the three plaintiffs who sued, and won the court case.

Yes, I am paranoid. I wonder whether it had any bearing. Whether that had bearing….!

Impossible, most likely, to prove cause and effect. We just don’t know. And, we are most likely to strike out in our grief at the nearest enemy.

But, is it a coincidence?

Gosh.

——-

Shock indeed.

Just settled down. Apart from trying to inform lots of other people who have already received the news. I have to settle down, get some rest, and then prepare for work tomorrow. Cannot just bounce off just like that.

But, I need to settle down. The shock, the realisation of all the things we fear, and brush off, and hope never ever to face. But, one of our own is gone.

Gone in a violent way. Gone, for reasons that I am as yet to know, or figure out… Oh gosh.

—-

More settled now, but no less shocked. That is what it does to you, a sudden death like this.

David was apparently killed in his home, by a person or persons unknown. Yes, there is a suspect, or suspects. Problem with investigations in Uganda is the fact that what is not verified will always remain in the realms of conjecture.

What remains is that we have lost one of our most prominent firebrands. Indeed, he was on the front page of the Rolling Stone with Bishop Ssenyonjo. Remember, the one with the caption to ‘Hang Them’.

And yes, he was one of the three who sued the Rolling Pebble, and won.

 

[I,s.i.s note: and for those us still living…..]

A LITANY FOR SURVIVAL

For those of us who live at the shoreline
standing upon the constant edges of decision
crucial and alone
for those of us who cannot indulge
the passing dreams of choice
who love in doorways coming and going
in the hours between dawns
looking inward and outward
at once before and after
seeking a now that can breed
futures
like bread in our children’s mouths
so their dreams will not reflect
the death of ours:

For those of us
who were imprinted with fear
like a faint line in the center of our foreheads
learning to be afraid with our mother’s milk
for by this weapon
this illusion of some safety to be found
the heavy-footed hoped to silence us
For all of us
this instant and this triumph
We were never meant to survive.

And when the sun rises we are afraid
it might not remain
when the sun sets we are afraid
it might not rise in the morning
when our stomachs are full we are afraid
of indigestion
when our stomachs are empty we are afraid
we may never eat again
when we are loved we are afraid
love will vanish
when we are alone we are afraid
love will never return
and when we speak we are afraid
our words will not be heard
nor welcomed
but when we are silent
we are still afraid

So it is better to speak
remembering
we were never meant to survive

– Audre Lorde, The Black Unicorn

Ase, Ase, Ase…….


[I,S.I.S prayer:

I give thanks for yesterday, today and tomorrow…..

give thanks for all the love and resources shared not only here in

[dis’ (almost) world wide matrix of the] internet, but in ‘real’ time,

with rebuilding sustainable villages in diverse communities and spaces.

Bless my family, friends, and enemies, and I pray not to have enemies… Bless all our living relatives…

I give thanks for the positive resistance, transformation, and renewal in 2010, and the exciting (not-so) new possibilities of 2011…

Nashukuru Mama Afreeka na dunia, nashukuru orisha…..

[I give thanks for the guidance of our ancestors, give thanks to the orishas… ]

Bless the motherless and fatherless, bless those sick in hospital, Bless those who spread positivity in abundance… Bless our youth, elders, en those who are yet to come, and I pray that we continue to come into our right destinies. I pray for forgiveness…for health, long life, happiness and prosperity not only for myself, but others….. Bless dis earth o…..ase, ase……. ]

As years of (pan) Afreekan renaissance go, werd on the ground, and the love spreading in abundance are clear signs that big tings’ been going on in the past years, en the fiya dis time is in our quest to share resources with folks we love, respekt and admire so, for our cherished collectives….these are the contexts and storyboards of the q_t werd….

(Is) Kenya’s new port the end of lamu’s cultural heritage? http://pambazuka.org/en/category/features/69659

Indigenus encounters diaspora hadithi

Pan-afrikan postcards

Of living legends

Na nia yetu

 

[I,S.I.S note: reposted with big love en respekt, in the spirit of bredrin en dadas in solidarity]

http://transgriot.blogspot.com/2010/12/kwanzaa-black-trans-style-ujima.html