This blog is strategically mystic, personal and political.  I’ve been sharing pieces of a doc that we (a couple o’ dadas) officially started shooting dis’ summer, these bios of some of the 32 (en then some) folks that we love, respekt and admire so,  are a tapestry of all the brilliance and intersections in our diversity, en real tox on the struggle for afrikan liberation.

Dis blog is  the (un)official home of “The Q_t werd”: A caravan of us-people stories exploring bio/myth/ologies of (our vision) quests. The riddle of the sphinx is in the 4(+1) bredrin and dadas that are the crux of dis doc’

Preface: Reflections of light

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Introduction: Healing Darkness

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

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

I: Seeking After Truth

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

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

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

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

II: The Joy of Reconciliation

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

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

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

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

III Touching the Earth

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

Ase.O

These are  the true true stories of  sistas.in.solidarity (SIStas.I.S) in the ‘Q’ werd.

Their stories are not new, en we’ll share them (again en again en again) coz these are some of the one’s we’ve been looking for, the ones holding us up (en in their/arms), who we struggle with en whose legacies we’re inspired by, whose shoulders we stand on, en in whose bedrooms, farms, kitchens, business/es en classes we commune…..

these are symbols of ‘when things were cool…’ (as wota)  [Back in the Day(when ‘our’ wo/men ruled Afrika)sung byErykah Badu

sweet as honey, fine as may wine…..

 

A is for [Mama] Afrika….

We have a beautiful mother

Her green lap immense

Her brown embrace eternal

Her blue body everything we know

[from Alice Walker]

 

B is for (betwixt en between) big love (D.I.S fundraiser scheduled/for Black August month)

 

 

C is (for) the crux.

These interviews are with people we know (not well enough), that we love (en honour), that have changed not only us, but others, en throw wicked parties while they’re at it, coz what’s all the struggle(ing) for if you can’t wind down?….

the super/s/heroes of swagger: charysse robinson & mel fernandes are on our wishlist for D.I.S

 

D is Dadas in solidarity, doing our best to unite our people…

 E is for…elephant.memories……shine(ing).(a).light.for.the.wor(l)d

Are these the real Jews?

Story by ANTHONY NYONGESA

“Make sure you remove your shoes when we arrive at the main entrance into Jerusalem. It is a holy place and if you ignore my advice, you will be doing it at your own peril. You will receive no blessings and probably be cursed instead”, the boda boda (bicycle taxi) rider warns me as I get off.

We are approaching the compound where Elijah Masinde, the legendary Bukusu leader, self-proclaimed prophet and founder of the Dini ya Musambwa sect, hid in the early 1940s to avoid arrest by the colonial government.

The place has since been turned into a shrine by the Judah Israeli sect, whose members believe they are the real Jews. According to the sect, River Chesamisi – one of the river that runs down Mt Elgon on Kenya-Uganda border – is the “River Jordan” and every member must be baptised here.

“God revealed himself to Africans in 1920s and told them they were the Israelites,” says Moses Wafula, the high priest and self-styled representative of the Biblical Moses.

According to Wafula, “spirits” have shown that Jesus was an African, not a Semite.

“His second coming will be in Kenya, specifically in Bungoma, which is our area,” he claimed during an interview in “Jerusalem”, the church’s headquarters near Chesamisi High School, about 10 kilometres from Kamukuywa shopping centre.

To get to “Jerusalem” from the Bungoma-Kitale road, you can walk or hire a boda boda at Kamukuywa shopping centre since there are no public service vehicles on the Kamukuywa-Chesamisi route.

The sect is among the many independent religious groups that sprung up during the colonial days as an alternative to the mainstream churches, which had banned polygamy and female circumcision. It still encourages polygamy.

The sect’s offices are built above a tunnel where Masinde and other Africans considered dangerous by the colonialists hid for some time before they were captured and jailed.  

Immediately after Masinde’s capture in 1944, the tunnel was sealed. But it was re-dug by the sect members in 1998 and turned into a basement where religious implements are stored. It is here that the head of the church, Binti Zion Sarah Nafula, mediates with God on behalf of her people.

“Elijah Masinde, one of the founders of this church, came here as the Messiah to spread the gospel but began engaging in evil practices before he quit to form Dini ya Musambwa (Belief in Ancestors in the Bukusu language), which was banned by the colonial government.

“Under the umbrella of the Anglican African Israel church, Masinde was one of the six members filled with the “Spirit” to speak out against the devil and the colonial masters and they would hide in the tunnel whenever the colonial officers came looking for them,” explains Samuel Wanyama, Mfalme wa Israeli (King of the Israelites).

Later, Masinde and his colleagues formed Judah Israeli, only to abandon it after a short while to form Dini ya Musambwa.

Wanyama says that Masinde’s deviation from God’s work to form Dini ya Musambwa was a rebellion not only against his followers but also against God, and that was why he ended up being captured by the colonial forces in collaboration with African chiefs.

“Unlike in mainstream churches, where members fight for positions in the church, God anoints us through Binti Zion (Kiswahili for daughter of Zion),” says Peter Wafula, the church’s Kamukuywa branch chairman.

Twice a year, the sect members, dressed in flowing robes and their heads bent in supplication, climb Mt Elgon, which is 4,321 metres high, to offer sacrifices to God.

“We sacrifice doves, lambs and bulls that have not yet started mating. That is what God instructed his people to do,” offers Wafula, the high priest. They are supposed to make the offerings every month but only do so twice a year due to financial constraints, says Wafula.  

Before they set off for Mt Elgon, they slaughter a lamb in “Jerusalem” and smear its blood on the religious implements that are to be carried up the mountain.

On their way to the top, they bathe in the “living waters”, a warm spring on the mountain side that is believed to cure diseases and ward off bad luck in the community.

It is at this point that Binti Zion reads out the names of the followers who will make up the heavenly kingdom. Those whose names do not appear have to wait and see if they will make it to the heavenly kingdom during the next pilgrimage.

After several days on the mountain, the pilgrims head back to “Jerusalem” where they are welcomed with song and dance. After the celebrations, a bull is sacrificed at a special spot near the church building set aside just for that purpose.

“Jerusalem” is always a beehive of activity, with tourists, historians, journalists and other curious visitors thronging the compound to tour Masinde’s hideout -turned – shrine.  

In addition to the shrine, several huts have been built in the compound to house homeless families, widows and widowers, spouses separated from their partners, and elderly people who have no relatives to care for them.

“Before we give them accommodation, we try to establish whether or not the person is telling the truth about their having nowhere else to go,” asserts Wafula.

“Since time immemorial, this has been a place of refuge, that is why Masinde and others opposed to the colonial rule travelled all the way from Maeni in Kimilili to hide here,” he goes on to explain.

Unlike in other mainstream churches, the Juda Israeli sect operates on a very strict code of conduct. For example, a woman is not allowed to speak directly to a man inside the church. “If a female church member has a pressing issue to put across, she has to ask for permission to speak and that request must be made while kneeling on the floor,” says Ezekiel Waswa, a church official, adding that this is meant to enhance discipline in women.

“Our church seeks to maintain African culture not just in attire but also in deed. In the traditional African setting, women respected men and knelt whenever a man was talking to them or when giving men something, say water or food,” he asserts.

In another notable diversion from mainstream churches, the priest is not allowed to face the congregation while delivering his sermons, which take place on Fridays.

“It is only Jesus who will face his followers the way he did his disciples. No one in the church should face the congregation as is the case in mainstream churches. Those that do so will be held responsible for the sins of other church members on the day of judgment,” asserts Wafula.  

So, while delivering the sermon, the priest walks between the rows of seated members – men sit on the right side of the church while women sit on the left.

When they are not on duty, priests sit among the congregation, but never at the front or back of the church.

“Ours is a case of doing things simply, as instructed by the Bible. We are out to serve, not to be served,” says Waswa, who usually leads the pilgrims’ procession to Mt Elgon.

The land where the church and other houses are built was donated by local people, who were captured and beaten by white soldiers to reveal Masinde’s whereabouts when he started crusading against colonial rule. Those who donated land include Yonah Mukanda, Henry Khaemba and Joel Namanguva – all now dead.

Surprisingly, although Juda Israeli is one of the oldest sects in the country, it has only a few branches in Bungoma and Trans Nzoia districts, and one in neighbouring Uganda.

Publication Date: 04/02/2004
http://www.nationmedia.com/dailynation/nmgcontententry.asp?category_id=31&newsid=5459

blogger’s note: so no technically this story is not about elijah masinde. yes, it’s about judah israeli, en I assure you, there is a reason you’ve got to know about juda israeli if you want to know more about dini ya msambwa. so, if you’re still reading this story, then you have some background on a (supposedly) mysterious, elusive indigenous Afrikan religion, depending on who tells the story……like here’s another hadithi…..

2001-AUG-28: Kenya: About 300 members of the banned ‘Dini ya Musambwa’ (‘Religion of Tradition‘) faith group have refused to allow their children under five years of age to be vaccinated against polio. They believe that vaccinations are “ungodly.” They prefer to use traditional healing techniques. 

blogger’s note: en before you assume this is just history, read the truth in the signs, like in this hadithi…..

http://africanpress.wordpress.com/2007/10/15/scrambling-to-be-recognised-by-dini-ya-musambwa-kenya-sect/

The battle for the crucial Western Province vote has taken an unprecedented twist as Former Vice-President Musalia Mudavadi and Ford-Kenya chairman Musikari Kombo scramble over a notable prophesy on Luhya leadership.

With the Local Government minister accused of having overlooked its relevance, the ODM running mate appears to have stolen the region’s political grip from the noose of Kombo. Now the Ford-Kenya brigade has embarked on a belated move to visit the shrine of the Dini ya Musambwa prophet, the late Elijah Masinde, to seek blessings and guidance.

According to the Masinde prophesy made over four decades ago, the leadership of the Luhya community was to come from Lake Victoria. The Luhya were also to realise the presidency through the community’s third leadership.

Despite earlier requests by the Masinde family to the Ford-Kenya fraternity for consultation over various issues, the leaders never turned up.

But the political equation has suddenly changed, with Mudavadi becoming the running mate of ODM presidential candidate Raila Odinga, which has some bearing on Masinde’s prophesy.

Subsequently, Mudavadi last month visited Masinde’s shrine and held a lengthy discussion with the sect members and Bukusu elders, who endorsed him as the third Luhya leader.

They also gave him a baton as a symbol to lead the community.

But in a bid to restore their dwindling political fortunes, Ford-Kenya leaders plan to perform a ceremony at the shrine to appease the ancestors and seek blessings ahead of the General Election. Kanduyi MP Wafula Wamunyinyi said Kombo had sanctioned him to prepare the big cleansing ceremony to ensure they remain politically relevant.

But Masinde’s family has told Ford-Kenya to consult with them before visiting the shrine.

The family spokesperson, Mzee Lucas Watta, warned that the party leaders were not welcome to the shrine.

“We have blessed the Orange family and given Musalia the baton to be the third Luhya leader. We cannot alter this and Ford-Kenya must be ready to carry its own burden,” said Watta.

At an elaborate ceremony presided over by a prominent elder, Patrick Chaka, at the shrine, Mudavadi beat Kombo to the game by sitting on the special stool.

The late Masinde Muliro and the late Vice-President, Michael Wamalwa also sat on the stool signifying their new role as leaders of the Bukusu and the Luhya community as a whole.

Dini ya Musambwa myths

But Ford-Kenya allied politicians are putting up a spirited fight to reverse this notion. They argue that the Masinde prophesy is Bukusu-specific and not for the entire community.

Reacting, Bumula MP, Mr Bifwoli Wakoli, said: “I am a staunch Catholic and do not subscribe to the myths and legends of Dini ya Musambwa, which is a totally different religion.”

While acknowledging the existence of an ODM wave that is “quickly spreading around urban locations” in the former larger Bungoma District, Wakoli says he is not sure whether it is linked to the Masinde prophesy.

Nonetheless, the Ford-Kenya parliamentary whip maintains that his party still enjoys massive support in the rural areas.

Meanwhile, Mudavadi is expected to receive civic leaders from Narc-Kenya and Ford-Kenya from Malava constituency on Tuesday.

The Masinde factor aside, ODM hopes to take advantage of Ford-Kenya’s absence from the ballot paper in the December polls to win the Bungoma votes.

Mr Kibisu Kabatesi, ODM Presidential Campaign’s Director of Communications and Public Relations, says Ford-Kenya supporters had expected that their party would remain independent. But its being “consumed” by PNU has led to confusion and apathy.

It is probably because of this that a splinter party, New Ford-Kenya, led by Cabinet ministers Mr Soita Shitanda and Dr Mukhisa Kituyi hopes to ride on the voters’ apathy by offering an alternative.

Although a member party of PNU, New Ford-Kenya leaders will field candidates independently. The trick may just work considering that the party’s name resonates with that of the original Ford-Kenya party.

ODM’s popularity in the region, argues Kabatesi, is partly hinged on this development. He points out at the latest Steadman opinion poll figures, which indicate an increase of five points from 66 per cent to 71 per cent in favour of ODM in Western Province.

“This gain has mainly been made in the former Bungoma District, as the other parts of the Province are solidly Orange,” says Kabatesi.

Published by API/APN africanpress@chello.no tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.standard.ke

It’s been a hot minute since I shared my ‘personal’ thoughts, all contradictory en straight up as they’re evolving….the reasons ain’t too deep, I’ve been distracted with searching….I’ve been looking, en I mean  REALLY  looking for a really good job; the kind with benefits en at least a 6 months contract, that’s the dream, en as new as it is, it’s true to my surroundings

the other reality is that I’ve been hitting the streets, offering myself for ‘service to others’ through any pimp running a restaurant, so at least I could start getting cold hard cash at the end of each shift put in, the kinda dollars that will get my debt/s repaid, travel fare, en school fees saved up again…those dreams that are so close, yet so (seemingly) far away….

(but) I have a feeling, this week is gonna be IT…..the pundits have declared that we’re climbing out of the recession (though many more are still unemployed), the birds en bears have officially christened the ‘spring’ (though I prefer the transition of seasons in East Afrika), en even this reality doesn’t come close to capturing the hope that has seen me through surviving en the rewards that have sustained my growth, en are instigating (my) thriving….as simple as one project, one documentary, started out of necessity, en growing in scope en tenacity…as comforting as conversations with God/dess en communion with the earth en holy werd..

I’d been digging myself into deep holes with resistance en worry, making mountains out of road blocks, when all I needed to do was, simple, change….myself, before I even tried to think about how I could do better for others.

I did, change….I have had no choice but to…..one of those beauties of the universe. Everything that happens really is jus’ so, for a reason, en now that I’m happy again… I know that this is where I’m supposed to be (it’s not new)…. where every day gets better, en we get a lil’ closer to our visions.

 The truth about (our) stories is that they’re we all we have, en they’ve changed over centuries, but the fairy tale script remains embedded in our realities.

In the beginning, there was……en then there was a spark, fast forward to boy/girl meets cute. Linger in the chase & drama that ensues, mandatory finding one/self/ metamorphosis, en ….they live/d happily ever after. The end.

That’s one version. Another is where the years stretch with experiments, en settling in foreign cities. Where girl questions hir gender identity and rebels the only was s/he knows how, by any means necessary.

Re/inscribes language on hir body, en grows into the woman she had never imagined, dramatic segue to where woman meets wo/man.  Linger in the ‘cycling’ en metamorphosis that ensues, en they go on to marry several more queens en a king, en….live/d happily after. The end.

En an even older story goes that Oba en Oya vied for one man, Chango, who like Osun, loved many wo/men…en had a couple of loves of his life, en their descendants are scattered all over the world. En this is not the end, or anywhere near the beginning….

The beauty about stories is that we can have our heart’s desire in them, en with just the right amount of faith, magical dust, prayer en work, they come true. En if it’s true…..chant with me now J

So, for the next couple of moons, this blog is dedicated to dadas in solidarity.  Stories of researching afrikan hirstory.  Documenting the evolution of our film project, The Q werd. We’re collecting stories of queer/trans wo/men of afrikan descent, en going way back in time to re/cover what has almost been forgotten, all the betta to move forward (with)…..ever!

starting from the beginning, with indigenous afrikan creashun stories…from gulu en ngai to olodumare….hadithi! hadithi?!!!!!!!

Nilienda eldoret, isiolo, kaimosi, kiambu, kimililili, kisumu,  kitale, lamu, malindi,  nakuru, ngomeni, osogbo, thika, wajir, webuye……nipe mji, nitakupatia hadithi……leo ni ya mashairi kama makmende, en memes bigger than Wikipedia 😉

Recommended listening for this post  (songs of stories in the brewing pot called The Q werd)

  1. Asa – fire on the mountain
  2. Nneka – Africans
  3. Lamya – black Monalisa/empires
  4. K’naan– take a minute/waving flag
  5. Miriam Makeba – Mayibuye!
  6. Stella Chiweshe – mutambazve
  7. Daudi Kabaka – mchumba wangu
  8. P square –  no one like you
  9. Gyptian – butterflies
  10. GidiGidi MajiMaji – many names, many faces
  11. Queen Ifrica – lioness on the rise
  12. Ukoo Flani ft. Nazizi – hiphop halisi
  13. Weird MC – Riranwo

I remember this time last year, en the year before that, en think about where I yam now, en still wish there was a book or a cohesive, nurturing space where I could learn how to fulfill my dreams of love, life partnerships, pikney, en all the good tings’ that we’re looking for, all in one volume. (a case of wishes & horses)

I know its simple; that love is the answer.  That it starts with me, myself en I, en is hinged on sharing with others. I know that giving is priceless, but it’s the concreteness of today, the promises of yesterday for tomorrow, en years from now that I’m struggling to realise.

I give thanx that I have been blessed with gifts from so many, en that somehow, as betwixt as I yam between distant queer/trans communities, my chosen en true (true) homes, and between the disjunction of visionary ideals en under achieved realities…. there is the hope in how far we’ve come, en how many there are of us in this world, dreaming en working for similar bigger pictures (a case of communities of resistance all ova the world)

So I hold on to the faith that the answers really are all within us, that we are ‘not’ “the strange ones”. We are divine creatures and God/dess speaks through us. (Mayibuye!) So, I may not know much about where we’re going, but when it comes to down it, I really don’t need that book at all, I got the realities of many positive people to draw from, en on this here space, I got you, dear reader(s), who could share with me your thoughts on good living.

If there were to be 10 commandments on queer/trans relationships what would they be?

1.     “The Lord” doesn’t have to be your god. You can serve Great Goddess instead J

(as an Afrikan womyn who was raised in predominantly Christian environments, en converted to a few other Abrahamic religions before going ‘indigenous’, I hold strong to the belief that you have to be true to yourself, en why would I subscribe to ideologies that cast my ‘nature’ en choices as wrong en sinful? To each their own of course, but in my opinion, this may be one of the many gifts that queer/trans communities have for ‘others’…if we weren’t meant to be, then we wouldn’t be, but we’re here, we’re not even necessarily queer….chant with me now J )

2.   You can choose en have many god/desse/s en idols.

(Again, from an indigenous perspective, how could we ignore that monotheism, as all humanity, has its roots in Afrika? And from a pan-Afrikan perspective, there are countless manifestations of the Creator. When we dig deeper, what is reaffirmed is the multiplicity of relationships that we have to guide our re/building communities. In other words, in my opinion, it only makes sense that if you were blessed to have some cake, that you should eat it. Whether it’s monogamy, polyandry, polygamy or whatever form of non-monogamous relationship that you en your lover/s are trying to craft. The basics don’t change right? The most important thing in life IS to learn how to give en receive love…the rest is a matter of choice & consent)

3.   You shall not misuse LGBTTIQQ identities

This is a tricky one to negotiate, but it may be at the crux of many missed connections. What’s the rule of thumb of who/not to date? Can a dyke really have a life partnership with a ‘straight’ woman? Are bisexuals really the ones you gotta be worried about, or are they most of the ones on the down lo? Is it ethical for a ‘lesbian’ to go out with a pre-op trans man en outwardly acknowledge their gender identity, but still hold on to a preference for the biological woman?

 (en this is where I’ve got to state that I no longer identify as any one of those LGBTTIQQ identities, en I will continue to take up my right to speak about  LGBTTIQQ  experiences, because the truth is that is what I yam…but those names are not from  MY  culture….technically, as many afrikan conservatives tend to assert, lesbians/homosexuals don’t, haven’t & shouldn’t exist in Afrikan cultures……we’ve got many more of our own terms to draw from, most of which have been purposefully lost, but as long as we live, their memory is within us. So I’m going through conversion therapy, I used to be a lesbian but now I have been freed from my constraints ;)…..but if you ask me what my sexual orientation or gender identity is….I gotta tell you for now, I’m going to have to take a hot minute with that one, I’ll get back to you J….I’mma Afrikan womyn, that’s where I start.)

4.   Remember Pride!

If there is a universal this might be it, everyone should have at least a day of rest en divine communion, once a week.  it’s called healthy living.

5.   Honour your parents en your community

Many a queer en tranny can tell you sad stories about abuse & exile from their biological families because of who they ‘loved, en how they ‘looked’, en many more will tell you about the ways they have survived with chosen families en safe/r spaces. so, a good tip, as many grounded lesbians could tell you, given our penchant for processing en ‘cycling’ together, you shouldn’t just honour en respect the ‘relationship’ you’re in,(with yourself or your lovers) but the bigger point is family en friends that are in your life, that’s what will see you through rough en jood times.

6.   You shall not murder

En if the relationship you’re in makes you feel like screaming blue murder, or like you could be eaten alive en disappear….then get out, en get help.

7.    Re/define adultery

A good rule of thumb, if you didn’t agree to it, it’s cheating en karma’s a bitch.

8.   Don’t steal

9.   Don’t lie

10. You shall not covet (what is not yours).

Discuss.

we need to complicate the dominant discourse on martin luther king……

3 years after the watts rebellion, en exactly 1 year after MLK gave his well known speech at the Riverside church in New York, he was assassinated……..

empathetically we might ask ourselves why the dream speech has overshadowed in popular discourse, all the more complex analyses he attempted to present en for example, in the riverside speech…….

he said…my experience in the ghettoes of the north over the last 3 years, especially over the last 3 summers, as I have walked among the desperate, rejected en angry young men, I have told them that Moltov cocktails en rifles would not solve their problems, I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion, while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through non-violent action,

but they asked, en rightfully so, what about vietnam?

they asked if our nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence, to solve it’s problems, to bring (home) to bring about the changes it wanted…

their questions hit home en I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettoes without first having spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today,
my own government.

for the sake of these boys,
for the sake of this government,
for the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence,
I cannot be silent…

en so this was the King we were mourning, en we knew that he was considered a menace to the government, although now ofcourse he is the perhaps the most important figure in the pantheon of U.S Democracy, and as we know is praised by Progressives and Conservatives alike….

and so we decided to declare a day of mourning in Los Angeles, on April 5th….
en we had the audacity to declare a day of mourning for the entire city, en we took ourselves seriously….

without fanie lou hamer, barack obama is inconceivable, en I rarely hear that historical memory evoked in connection with what is seen as an uprecedented presidential election campaign…

but fanie lou hamer was not so much an exceptional individual, as she was a womyn who was willing to take the risk of becoming an agent en envoy of her people, en she was organically connected to all of those people who constituted the  freedom movement, many of whom ofcourse she did not know….

….need to think about what it means to build community, en how community nourishes the individual, perhaps more than the individual nourishes the community, certain insights, certain imaginations, certain aspirations en dreams elude individuals, but arise out of the ties that bind people to each other, the ties and relations that create community.

en so I like to use the term communities of struggle, or,  communities of resistance, not so much to refer to a group of individuals who bring their own individual capacities together to create a collective, I’d like to use these terms to point to something that is qualitatively different from the individual, a collective capacity that is so much more than the sum of individual capacities.

these communities of struggle produce collective subjects, the sense of community includes those whom we do not personally know, those who do not necessarily inhabit our physical communities, those who don’t necessarily live in the U.S, those who are barred from citizenship, undocumented immigrants for example…..aboriginal people, who still suffer….our community should embrace all of these peoples….

(see also the case of Ayiti, Cuba, DRC en Iraq….)