dear toronto,

If this open letter to tdot is to stay true to its mission, it has to start with (re)acknowledging where we’re at, on turtle island & where we coming from, mama afrika. It’s also only natural that in speaking truth to power, we share that we are in our final stage/week of developing & organising for

  1. The Spaces Between [produced by the Peace camp],
  2. Peace is Possible Parade &
  3. summer workshops at Crescent Town Public School  with Full Circle, Regent Park Camp, Balmy Beach, Learning for Life, Seeds of Hope…..

The ‘official’ werd on the ground is

The Children’s Peace Theatre of Toronto will be holding its 10th annual Summer Peace Camp from July 5-24, 2010. Under the direction of Liz Pounsett and musical direction by award-winning jazz artist Brownman with the artistic direction of Karen Emerson.

A group of 60 children and youth will work alongside professional artists to create a theatrical collaboration called ‘The Space Between’.

This is bound to be the most provocative of Peace Camp productions as the children explore faith and reason and how these concepts affect our lives personally and globally. It confronts head on the issues associate with the interplay of faith and reason with the level of honesty, humor and energy only children and youth can impart. The Space Between is sure to be visually stunning, thought provoking and full of surprises].

http://www.peacetheatre.org/

We’re inviting Tdot, all our friends and visitors, to come with their pikney and friends, join us on Friday July 23rd and Saturday July July 24th in the PIP Parade and the gala performance of the Space Between.

So ofcourse we should first tell you the story about the source of this peace theatre.

Hapo (si) zamani (sana) ya kale

In 2000, the Hannon-Shields Centre for Leadership and Peace reclaimed parts of the Massey Goulding Estate and under the ‘official’ leadership of Robert Morgan, launched the Children’s Peace Theatre (PT)

As Robert 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.”

http://books.google.ca/books?id=hfBaL4-ei2AC&lpg=PP1&ots=wjbLnY-b6-&dq=once%20upon%20a%20time%20there%20was%20a%20little%20girl%20healing%20power%20of%20fairy%20tales&pg=PA7#v=onepage&q&f=false

[10 years later, the ‘un-official’ werd on the ground on the opening ceremony  is: join us in a prayer circle on Friday July 23rd @ at 7:00am , in the heart of the peace forest.

The ‘official’ plan of the day is the Peace is Possible parade @ 11:00am, and the 2nd matinee of the spaces between which will begin @ 1.00pm, in the outdoor amphitheatre of the Peace Theatre @ 305 Dawes Road.]

[this subjective perspective on the process of manifesting justice, truth, reconciliation en peacemaking; is after many moons of ‘unofficially’ re/claiming the grounds of the peace forest,  since I came back from ‘home’ [aka. in another place, not here…], en in the years before, with osain as my colleague, en his home as my office. Close to eshu, obatala, ogun, oshun, oya en all the orishas.

I am deeply grateful for now ‘officially’ being part of that divine, growing team that is blessed, honoured and privileged to work here, [job soon dun, but it’s a contract with possible extensions of renewal nonetheless, and all the fertile spaces between metarmophoses, healing rituals & building solidarity with people of all faiths, all nations, with one prayer.

I give thanks for the artists, caregivers, comrades, elders en youth, peer educators, healers and peace makers, friends of PT, who contribute their energy, talent & time to rebuilding our communities, with our children, using arts for revolushunary social & spiritual change, sharing our healing stories with the 3c’s of PT]

I pray for health and prosperity, not only for myself but for others. I pray for humbleness, for myself and others. Please forgive my sins, those that I know about, and those that I don’t know about, those I am yet to commit, and those of others. Inspire those without hope, and strengthen those without faith. I give thanks for the cool wotas, the sun, moon, and stars, for the birds, and our trees. Bless all our living relatives.Onikpite]

I give thanks for our continued re/learning of faith in the true (true) ways of the ‘natives’ of port credit Mississauga, for our deepening connecuns with egun,

Bless taylor creek park en all our neighbours en visitors. Bless the ancestors betwixt en between, all around  crescent town, goodwood, thorncliffe, dentonia park, jane&finch, parkdale, regent park, in all our enclaves, trees, en living relatives, in these diverse hoods.

PIP song

I give thanks for the burning, metamorphoses en (for) the spaces between spreading big love en positivity in our communities.  I give thanks that the fiya this time feels like ‘the revolushun’ is with our breaking bread, making arts en crafts, playing, praying, reasoning and replenishing not only ourselves, but with our families and friends, en ‘others’.

Bless the motherless and fatherless, those sick in hospital. Bless the homeless, and those who ignore them. Ifa,  I pray that you continue to guide us in coming to our right/full destinites. I pray that the circle may be unbroken. Bless our wotas en granmama earth. Ase. Ase….

[blogger’s notes: It’s, only officially, been less than a moon that I’ve been working on programs at the peace theatre, there’s still many pieces of the past that I’m not familiar with, but I give thanks that this place, in another space, not home, is exactly where I need to be,….naushukuru that the blessings of yesterday, manifested today en I pray for them to carry forward to tomorrow…..

85 days 16[+72]hours 25 minutes – the caps finally contained the oil spill, and we are bound to pray for our continued healing en self recovery, to learn from our mis-steps, and continue changing the destructive path we’ve been on.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taylor-Massey_Creek

Taylor-Massey Creek is 16 kilometres long. Its headwaters are near Sheppard and Victoria Park Avenues. It flowed diagonally through Wishing Well Park and under Highway 401 at Pharmacy Avenue. The original headwaters were diverted to Highland Creek when the highway was widened to 12 lanes, so the creek now starts at a stormwater outfall just south of the highway.

The creek starts in Terraview Willowfield Park, a restoration project, named after a nearby public school. It flows through two medium sized ponds with naturalized channels. From there it flows southeast through a series of concrete lined channels and drains. This section runs along an abandoned hydro right-of-way before entering a residential and industrial section that is closed to public access.

South of Eglinton Avenue East it enters a shallow ravine and flows south passing through Pine Hills Cemetery. It exits the cemetery travelling west and enters a small park on St. Clair Avenue East. At Warden Avenue it turns southwest, moving through a park called Warden Woods. West of Pharmacy Avenue it enters a city run golf course. At Victoria Park Avenue it enters Taylor Creek Park and continues uninterrupted to where it empties into the Don River East Branch, just north of the forks of the Don.

[a is for] a video diary of The ‘Q’ werd

betwixt en between: m is for molisa(n.)

on love,  truth, justice & reconciliation

coming out stories

I (not-so) secretly would like to be married to jus 2 (or 2 more) of all the kings en queens that have walked on this earth en that live today….children of oya, ogun, shango (en others…)

I am a(n. Afrikan)  wom(b)an (been) in love with 2 (wo)men, all met betwixt en between, in another place not here (my story is not new)….  I confess that if I had my wishes fulfilled, I would be married to at least 3 queens en a king, yes I am (unfortunately nowadays marginalised for being) non-monogamous, that’s my coming out story.

 I confess that even though I’m ‘mostly’ out of the closet, in deference to overwhelming majorities, en the likelihood that ‘the one(s)’ might be one-woman-shacking-up type o’ folks, I have proven time en again to be not only willing to settle with monogamy, but secretly hope that I might be enough for one person. coz I really don’t know how many ‘partners’ I can handle, the truth is I’ve never actually being in a committed ‘non-monogamous relationship, so it’s fair to suppose that I might NOT  be non-monogamous in the first place at all, it could jus be a subjective ideal, a case of wishes & horses, or it could be my memory en hints in the fluidity of relationships, it could just be that monogamy is not appealing or logical to me (or many others), I mean why marry just one, if you could build a revolushunary village with 10? why NOT  have whatever your heart desires, as long as it’s consensual? And, technically one could argue that ‘monogamy’ is un-African, (one of the myriad of imposed imperialist/western values)

it’s simple really….in the end, I’ll have whoever I want to be with for life that not only wants to be with me, but shares my dreams en hopes for better lives, to raise pikney en farm (for real!), (re)build communities of love, justice, (peace) en truth

Ukweli ni, I’d be satisfied with  ‘one’ coz I haven’t met any yet that have wanted to marry not jus’ me, but a few others, besides the bigger point of THIS hadithi is not who I want to share my life with, but how we’re re/connecting with the ones we’ve been looking for….

 [C is] the crux: we ’ve heard (more than) a few hadithi about eshu, obatala, ogun, Olokun, orunmile, osanyin, oshun, oya, shango, en Yemoja, but only a couple of versions of mumbi en nambi. It (almost) always goes that mumbi births 9+1 daughtas with (a)G….., en nambi, daughta of G, marries kintu, at least that’s (part of) the crux. The bigger point is most of it seems to be lost under centuries of whitewash(ing), and our freedom is hinged on going back for not only what we have forgotten, but that, which has been distorted & exploited, like the story of c(ee),

n is for nneke/d. Is for: parts of herstory

See stories will only get us started, the rest of what we (don’t) say are our actions. The work we do to make our dreams happen, this IS the Q werd, a journey that begins with the realities of (more than 9+1) dadas.in.solidarity.

The interviews are real, the events are not fictional, these are OUR pan-afrikan postcards, in the spirit of the biggest holiday this moon, African Liberation Day, and in honour of ‘an ordinary African doing his best to unite his people’ (Taju)

Kesho, on (Agwambo Odera, Frederick Odhiambo, Gacheke Gachihi, George Nyongesa, Hilary Mulialia,  Onyango Oloo, Sam Ojiayo, Willy Mutunga, Tajudeen Abdul Raheem) 9 + 1 ALD kings (in the Q werd)

(some) Facts. Many Catholic scholars now deny that there was ever a female pope, but the legend of Pope Joan persists. Even the church accepted Joan’s pontificate as historical fact, up to the beginning of the 17th century.

Her portrait appeared in a row of papal busts in Siena Cathedral, labeled Johannes VIII, femina ex Anglia:

John VIII, an Englishwoman.

Pope Joan was first mentioned by her contemporary Anastasius the Librarian (d.886).

 Scotus’s chronicle of the popes listed her:

“A.D 854, Lotharii 14, Joanna, a woman, succeeded Leo, and reigned two years, five months, and four days.”……

Pope Joan many not have been so apocryphal as she is now portrayed. Part of the church’s most carefully hidden history shows that there were women in high ecclesiastical positions up to the 12th century, when they began to be deposed in Europe…….

The Papess of the Tarot Decks was often called Pope Joan. When the first Tarot decks were being (re)produced, Joan’s pontificate was universally accepted as historical fact. The card-Papess’s three-tiered tiara was the same as the headdress shown on engravings of Pope Joan…..

(but) whether Pope Joan existed or not, a curious Vatican custom arose in the wake of her legend. Candidates for the papacy had to seat themselves naked on an open stool, to be viewed through a hole in the floor by cardinals in the room below. The committee had to make its official announcement:

Testiculo habet et bene pendentes,

“he has testicles, and they hang all right.”

It seemed important that “Holy Mother Church” must never be governed by a Holy Mother….

[Blogger’s note: Pope Joan’s is a herstorical landmark in the Tdot of the Q werd. a real gender bender…….excerpt/ed from Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, Barbara Walker, p. 475]

Na bado, ni kweli kama hadithi ya……

 Juno

…had many attributes or emanations which are sometimes erroneously viewed as separate Goddesses. Juno Fortuna (Fortune), Sospita (Preserver), Regina(Queen of Heaven), Lucina(Celestial Light), Moneta (Advisor/Admonisher), Martialis (mother of Mars), Carprotina/Februa(love), Populonia (mother of the people), en so on, through many other Junos….

Among Juno’s sacred symbols were the peacock, the cowrie shell, and ofcourse, the lily, or lotus, universal yonic emblem. With her sacred lily, Juno conceived the God Mars without any assistance from her consort, Jupiter; later to be called the Blessed Virgin Juno.

The three-lobed lily that used to represent her parthenogenetic power was inherited by the ‘virgin’ Mary, who still retains it.

[The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets: p.484, Juno.]

To be continued….

 The truth according to makmende is……

blogger’s note: this is a spoof of a spoof of very serious matters. It is definitely not to be taken as the gospel truth of afrikan liberation, then again what is the truth of our freedom?…..FUN.damentalism na hadithi that affirm OUR power….

the beauty about stories is that WE re/tell them, en we change/d them, en we can re/vision almost  any parts  we want.

 The crux is (in) manifest.ing the truth en re/build.ing with others, much easier said than practised.

Like, all jokes aside, I love where Makmende comes from ( and if at this point you’re still wondering who makmende is, then this post isn’t for you), I love that he’s one of our own, a uniquely urban Kenyan (Afrikan) meme, en a super hero by most accounts.

But, seriously, what would makmende really do to the ‘bad guys’? and just who are the ‘bad guys’? and if Hitler’s having a near makmende experience, then shouldn’t Bush, Raila, Kibaki, Pattni, Kiplagat, en many many ‘others’ jus go hang themselves with tissue paper?

Because we sho’ as hell working hard on exploiting en breaking so many more of US down in private en in public, much more it would seem than figuring out this whole damu ni mzito kuliko maji thing….a concept that’s rendered alien when we deny kin/dred…..

what’s funny, sad, en much deeper than we can imagine are the connecshuns we share through our relationship to Afrikan/ness…..in the end, just a band, for all your hating on the ‘queers’ among us, you’re jus as bad as my ‘girlfriend’, a new Afrikan, (Goddess knows I love, respekt en admire her but she also has this divisive notion that she was taught) like many others  who insist that what they REALLY  are is African AMERICAN……to each their own, but  the question remains, what to do bout our own ?

is it really just enough to rewrite the script of white supremacist ideologues  with hateful/misguided beliefs of another flavour?

If you haven’t figured it out yet, these are the responses of an angry  Afrikan woman……one who’s laughed at en being inspired by the makmende videos, but who is definitely NOT  satisfied with the caricatures drawn of me en my sistas………I am NOT  Abscondita, Britannia Zimeisha, or one of Godfrey’s Laydayz, so technically I really don’t have no place passing judgement on their representations, I would love to hear THEIR  stories…..and I am definitely not (bigger than) makmende, so I submit to the power of the people speaking through griots, messengers, teachers en  facebook & youtube ratings.

All I have is a request, dear just a band, hadithi? Hadithi? Kitendawili? Would you tell me another story?

Like the true true legends of…..

Coz I love where you’re going with this, I been on this path many times before, so I suspect where we’re liable to get lost in the forest of black  nationalism & neo colonialist regimes. Do you think we may be missing the mark on the heart of the matter? If it’s love for our cultures, then is it really manifest? Do we even have to go across the oceans en use foreign scripts for our own purposes, are we not rich enough with our own?

From one (urban) Afrikan to another, do you think that (all jokes aside) WE are the problem?

I know there are so many more stories that we have, we know that we’ve denied many of them, even our sheng, the very language you use to re/tell makmende’s story, is divided along class/tribe lines, we all  KNOW the markers, but are we really manifest.ing our true true powers? is the current version of makmende really the best we can do?

If there’s many more pieces that I’m missing to the story about makmende’s  return, then please tell me me those bits, boss,  coz you got me hooked, but there really is plenty of fish in the ocean, so I’m prepared to swim with dolphins, en even on the back of a whale, anywhere to get to paradise….en I would prefer ogun or shango’s story any day to your (version of) makmende

a warrior by any other name

As many props as I give to the kings (en queens?) of just a band, I am still that ‘angry’ Afrikan woman who is NOT satisfied with the ‘latest’ picture, en is willing to work with my bredrin en sistren to change it, all the betta for us to build solidarity with……..

by any means necessary

so dear just a band, do you think you could change the script, to start just remove the ‘ushoga’  is the cause of our downfall parts……it’s a strategically homophobic en sinister connection that you’re drawing between sexuality and  the destruction of the ‘oppressors’, one that divides even comrades en families.

I am not Makmende’s enemy, yet in your video you try to make me one, and in your pieces, the enemy was supposed to be white supremacist ideologies, or was that just a matter of false advertising? Askyua mutha black militants en black sahara are really a big big joke, na tena, ka wahenga, nauliza je, hii ni ungwana? Again, is makmende really jus a spoof? will the ‘real’ revolutionary please stand up?

you see, Makmende is real because (s)he comes from the people, en dear just a band, not one person or group can  have  a copyright on makmende….so, I may not be able to take all your jokes, I may be taking this whole makmende goes after hitler thing too personally, and  too seriously, I may need to chillax with the whole defending queer rights thing…..but if I don’t name my anger then who will? En if you don’t take it seriously then who will?

Why even waste our time repeating the oppressor’s lies? Kitendawili? Mavi ya kuku ni….? and it don’t matter how much honey you pile on IT en laughter that you produce from IT…..what’s not true is…..new, en ushoga is as old as mama afrika herself…so why not just focus on what we need to re/member (about the ways of our ancestors) to move forward, en share some of OUR true true stories……

like the kinda shit that you just don’t have to make up

Dear just a band, we have much more in common than many would assume…….the beauty of makmende, is like the purloined letter, it’s an open secret that only a ‘nairobian’ can truly appreciate, en that all Afrikans should be able to translate…. makmende IS  bigger than just a band, congratulations!  You have achieved what you wanted en worked for…revived a legend through the creative use of media………now what?

makmende oh

What will makmende do next?

Hadithi? Hadithi?

In the beginning, is too far away to start from…..but in keeping with ‘easter’ traditions, where better to turn to than the ‘original’ bible,

 1.     To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

2.     A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck that which is planted;

3.     A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

4.     A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

5.     A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing.

6.     A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

7.     A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

8.     A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8

blogger’s note: like this series, the chosen quotes are relevant because they’re not new. So, if nothing is new under this sun….it doesn’t matter who said these words or where they were written. The sentiments are nothing more or less than afrikan feminist principles indelibly re/marked in/to every grand monument we have of our ‘progress’….en where better to continue looking than in our own backyard/s?

we’re doing it like makmende coz makmende is bigger than the past, bigger than yo’ mama(‘s) stories.

Osa Otura asks what is ‘truth’ I ask what is truth?. Truth is the word that cannot fall.

Orunmila says truth is the Lord of Heaven who guides the world rightly.

Osa Otura asks what is ‘truth’ I ask what is truth?

Orunmila says truth is the Unseen One guiding the world in the right way. The wisdom that Olodumare uses, great wisdom, abundant wisdom.

Osa Otura asks what is ‘truth’ I ask what is truth?

Orunmila says truth is the nature of Olodumare

ESE IFA, OSA OTURA

Hadithi? Hadithi?

Nilipotoka zaria, nilienda baharini kuongea na Olokun…naye akanichukua ayiti, nipe mji!

we (re)introduce the holy trinity of the Q werd…these, (Our) stories of wo/myn, you probably already knew, (en if you didn’t well then now you know that these hadithi) are derived from indigenus myths of divinities like Asiis, Fatima, Mumbi, Nambi, Nomkhulwana, among millions of other legends that have walked…

queen of stars

Yemoja (Iemanja Yemaja, Imanja, Yemayá, Jemanja, Yemalla, Yemana, Yemanja, Yemaya, Yemayah, Yemoja, Ymoja, Nanã, La Sirène, LaSiren, Mami Wata) – divine mother

la siren-e

Yemoja is the “Mother of the Children of Fishes.” As such, she is the penultimate symbol of motherhood. Yemoja is the all encompassing mother; like the sea, her ability to nurture is vast. Though associated with the ocean in the African Diaspora, in Yorubaland, Yemoja is the Orisa of the Ogun river. Yemoja is associated with the top layers of the ocean- Olokun is considered the deep, deep realm of the Ocean. The Ocean is the largest environment for life on the earth, therefore Yemoja is viewed as the mother who gave birth to civilization and who continues to sustain us. 

nomkhulwana

of the most high

Oshun is the Orisa associated with fresh water. The name Oshun translates to mean “spring” or “source.” As the Orisa of fresh water, Oshun is the source of all life. She is the owner of the Osun river in Oshogbo, Nigeria. She is a powerful healer, especially as it concerns to issues of conception, women’s health and love relationships. Oshun is a great diviner and is said to own sixteen cowrie divination. Oshun is the champion of women and protector of mothers. Like the river, this Orisa has many faces. As it is said, “the river is calm, but it also rages.”  Oshun is the spark of creation; she is abundance and joy and reminds us that we are meant to have abundance, joy and love in our lives.

Oya is the complex Orisha who guides transformation and change in life.  As the Goddess of the Winds, she can come as a fierce tornado or hurricane or as a cool breeze on a hot summer day.  In her transformative mode she is always moving toward ideal justice for all.  She wants the best for each of us, and sometimes that means taking away our illusions about the world regarding things and people.  Oya is also known as the keeper of the Ancestors.  In this capacity she serves as the guardian of Egun (Ancestors) at the outskirts of the cemetery, serving as mediator between the living and the sacred dead.  There is a Yoruba prayer for Oya that says, “ Ajalaiye, Ajalorun, fun mi ire,” translated as “the winds of Earth and Heaven bring me good fortune.”  She moves heaven (ancestors) and earth (living) to create communication between the realms.  Finally, as Patron of the Marketplace, Oya is a shrewd businesswoman who reigns over commerce and exchange.  Invoke her before you go shopping.  Take an offering to her and leave it at the opening to a flea market, and she will smile upon your bargaining.  She is also called Iyansan (The Mother of Nine), particularly in Brazil.  Her number is nine, and she loves eggplants and red wine.  Oya- Iyansan is a complex warrior deity who will go to battle for her children out of love and justice…….

en makmende hepad all of them en went for nana buluku instead……

 to be continued.