[B is for bredrin en dadas in solidarity: our (vision) quest is to implement queer/trans youth arts collective/programs & circles for healing and self recovery in East & South Afrika in collaboration with anitafrika! dub theatre: an intersection of radical creativity, activity, and thought, human positive and moyo wa afrika: a coalition of Afrikans on the continent and in the diaspora who are committed to the reclamation of Indigenous Afrikan spiritualities, knowledge systems, economic praxis, and resources as the only viable means of addressing the colonially-induced dis-ease and dysfunction plaguing our peoples….

Lakini kwanza….]

A is for anitafrika! dub theatre: founded by artistic director d’bi.young in spring 2008 under the mentorship of visionary dub artist ahdri zhina mandiela, adt is a radical arts initiative rooted in the orplusi principles of storytelling, being developed by d’bi.young.

The 7 living/en/working principles are 

language, orality,

political context (or protext),

rhythm, urgency, sacredness, and integrity:

fundamental tools in the (re)emerging genre of bio-myth-solo-performance storytelling or ‘dubbin solo’,

according to artistic director d’bi.young.

[en between the lines: the Q_t werd is a documentary series/work in progress, charting the evolution of these principles  en reclaiming ancestral legacies……]

Through the intersection of these principles, the theatre seeks to explore and expand the relationship between the storyteller, their village(s), and transformation.

herstory

adt! is inspired by the seminal work of dubpoetry visionaries anita stewart and ahdri zhina mandiela. trained during the early to mid eighties at the jamaica school of drama (now the edna manley college of visual and performing arts), anita stewart wrote her thesis dubbin theatre: dub poetry as a theatre form on the progressive movement of dubpoetry into a theatrical realm which radically dramatized both the socio-economic tribulations of the jamaican people, as well as their potential for rebellion against their oppressors.

in her unpublished manuscript stewart identifies four major elements of the then emerging artform of dubpoetry — music, language, politics and performance — as bridges between the personal and the political and vice versa. stewart’s early documentation and analysis of dubpoetry as a working people’s socio-political movement, provide the primary lens through which adt! focuses.

in the late eighties early nineties, ahdri zhina mandiela coined and further developed the term dub theatre in reference to her own evolving work as a dub aatist. in the prelude to her dark diaspora… in dub: a dub theatre piece she defines dubtheatre as dramatized stage presentation comprised of varying performance component, including an indispensable/uniquely tailored dance language threading thru oral/choral work proliferating with endemic musical elements.

d’bi.young is a second generation dubpoet who learnt the artform from her her mother anita stewart and her mentor ahdri zhina mandiela. young is building on the foundational work of stewart and mandiela by developing dubpoetry/dubtheatre theory and practice through anitafrika! dub theatre: a launch pad of artistic training that locates itself within art for social change.

En A is for the legacies of audre lorde, that’s wassup!

Dream/songs from the moon of Beulah land I-V

I

How much love can I pour into you I said

Before it runs out of you

Like undigested spinach

Or shall i stuff you

Like a ritual goose

With whatever you think

You want of me

And for whose killing

Shall I grow you up

To leave me

To mourn

In the broken potsherds

Upon my doorstep

In silent tears of the empty morning?

But I’m not going anywhere you said

Why is there always

Another question

Beyond the last question

Answered

Out of your mouth

Another storm?

It’s happening

I said

II

Whenever I look for you the wind

Howls with danger

Beware the tree arms scream

What you are seeking

Will find you

In the night

In the fist of your dreaming

And in my mouth

The words became sabers

Cutting my boundaries

To ribbons

Of merciless light

IV.

You say I yam

Sound as a drum

But that’s very hard to be

As you covers your ears with academic parchment

Be careful

You might rip the cover

With your sharp nails

And then I will not sound at all.

To put us another way

What I come wrapped in

Should be familiar to you

As hate is

What I come wrapped in

Is close to you

As love is

Close

To death

Or your lying tongue

Surveying the countries of our mouths.

If I were drum

You would beat me

Listening for the echo

Of your own touch

Not seeking

The voice of the spirit

Inside the drum

Only the spreading out shape

Of your own hand on my skin

Cover.

If I ever really sounded

I would rupture your eardrums

Or your heart.

V.

Learning to say goodbye

Is finding a new tomorrow

On some cooler planet

Barren and unfamiliar

And guiltless.

It costs the journey

To learn

Letting go

Of the burn-out rockets

To learn  how

To light up space

With the quick fiya of refusal

Then drift gently down

To the dead surface of the moon.

Kesho……The (A, B, en C’s Of the) Q_t werd in dub video

[re/posted]scribbles from the den

When the idea was first hatched to put forward South Africa’s candidacy for the 2010 World Cup, it seemed a far-fetched dream. And when FIFA actually awarded the tournament to South Africa, it was, in the view of many, a gamble destined to fail. However, after six years of turmoil, controversy and acrimony later, South Africa is finally set for the 2010 World Cup tournament.

For the next month, (legitimate) concerns about the financial toll of the tournament on South Africa’s economy, the absence of concrete benefits for large swathes of the South African population, or about FIFA’s stifling rules will be put on the backburner as the world enjoys the beautiful game.

Dori Moreno

Dori Moreno is one of those unapologetically afflicted by ‘World Cup Fever’:

I have been waiting for the World Cup to arrive ever since the announcement was made that it would be hosted in South Africa. It’s difficult to get excited about something happening so far into the future. But now, the World Cup is upon us, and in just 2 more sleeps, South Africa will face Mexico in the kick off game of the 2010 World Cup. And South Africa has woken up and is alive with energy, passion and enthusiasm.

 ‘Today, the Bafana Bafana team took to the streets of Sandton, Johannesburg in an open top bus. South African fans came out en masse to celebrate and get a glimpse of their national team. The vibe was indescribable and when the Soweto Marimba Youth League played the national anthem, I confess to being moved to tears from the sheer emotion and energy of the event.


‘I think even the die-hard pessimists out there will struggle not to get caught up in the positive energy that will carry us all on a cloud for the next month. To everyone out there, I say, ENJOY! To all the visitors to our awesome country, feel it, live it and fall in love. It’s time for AFRICA!!!!’

Jeanette Verster’s Photography

And talking about the June 9 ‘United We Stand for Bafana Bafana’ parade organised in Sandton to encourage South Africans to show their support for their national team, Jeanette Verster publishes a colorful picture essay that vividly captures the national excitement.

Brand South Africa Blog

Brand South Africa Blog hopes that the unity and patriotism demonstrated in the run-up to the World Cup will last long after the tournament:

‘The past few months have been an incredible sight. Road works, bridges being built and the most spectacular, the giant eye which watches over all of us from the entrance to the V&A Waterfront. To say I feel proud would really be an understatement, although true. Undeniably through all of this is the tangible feeling of patriotism, excitement and unified spirit in the air.

‘Flags, Zakumi’s (official World Cup mascot), soccer jerseys everywhere makes me feel that we can unite as a country, evident in the progress made.

‘*** I love SA ***

‘The feeling I hope for South Africa is that we stay this way long past the end game is played. Everyone is watching and can see that through working together and progress, we can be pushed into another league and be part of a set of countries people all of the world would like to visit sometime in their life.

‘So, Bafana, we are behind you 150%, make us proud and do your best.

‘Visitors to South Africa, our country is beautiful, take the opportunity to visit places off the beaten track you’ll be pleasantly surprised and p.s. don’t forget to shop!’

Constitutionally Speaking

Even as the excitement builds up, there is anger just beneath the surface over a number of (FIFA-inspired?) decisions which do not benefit South Africans. One such issue is the apparent blanket ban on public gatherings in many municipalities for the duration of the World Cup. Constitutionally Speaking argues that:



‘If this is true, it would mean that parts of South Africa are now effectively functioning under a state of emergency in which the right to freedom of assembly and protest have been suspended. This would be both illegal and unconstitutional. Other reports have suggested that such orders were indeed given, but that the police are now backtracking – probably because the police have realised that they are breaking the law and that the order, in fact, constitutes a grave breach of the law and the Constitution.

‘It is a sad day indeed when the police itself become a threat to our democracy and our rights because Fifa and the government want us all to behave and shut up for the next month and to forget about our democratic rights.’

Scribbles from the Den (and betwixt en between the lines: a video diary of the ‘Q[/t]’ werd)

Scribbles from the Den takes us back 20 years to a memorable World Cup game which is now part of the football folklore and which credited to have changed the World Football Order in favor of African countries:

‘Exactly 20 years ago on June 8, 1990 at the Giuseppe Maezza Stadium in Milan, Italy, the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon, “a humble team with an insignificant past” to quote the Miami Herald, defeated Argentina, the star-studded defending World Champions led by Diego Armando Maradona, in a thrilling Italia ’90 World Cup opening game that came to be known as the “Miracle of Milan”…



‘The victory over Argentina was merely the beginning of Cameroon’s Cinderella story which came to an end only after England ousted the Lions in an epic quarterfinal game that is also part of World Cup folklore. Cameroon’s brilliant run in Italia ’90 in general, and its historic win over Argentina in particular reverberated around the world and changed the Football World Order forever…

‘The aftershocks from that memorable Friday afternoon at the Giuseppe Maezza Stadium would be felt years later first with FIFA increasing the number of African teams taking part in the World Cup from two to five, then with the “browning” of European leagues which opened their doors to players from the continent and in the process unearthed African football prodigies such as “King” George Weah of Liberia, Same Eto’o of Cameroon and Didier Drogba of Cote d’Ivoire.’

Up Station Mountain Club

As the football fiesta goes on in South Africa, Charles Taku, a lead counsel at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania, wonders whether Africa has any reason to celebrate as many states turn 50:

‘Africa is sick; very sick indeed. It is safe to state that at 50, there is nothing to celebrate. Rather than celebrate, Africa should be engaged in a moment of soul searching to find out where we went wrong and to generate ideas about how to resolve the myriad problems afflicting the continent…



‘There is no gainsaying that Africa is a victim of its colonial heritage. It is also true that many African problems are self inflicted. For that reason, according to Peter Schwab, Africa is its own worst enemy.

‘As Africa enters the second half of the century, there is a compelling need for it to eschew all pretensions to celebration and to use the opportunity of the moment to search for viable solutions to its plethora of problems. Our collective failure enjoins us to do a lot of soul searching at this point of our history rather than celebrate a failed past in anticipation of a bleaker future. Africa and the black race in general need to take their destiny into their own hands once again. Time has come for all black people of this world to invoke the spirits of Marcus Garvey, George Padmore, CLR James, the Osagyefo Mwalimu and others whose mere mention of name give us the inspiration, courage and hope to start all over again, in seeking a path of glory they once laid out for us.

The time to build and improve on what they started for our collective survival in a mercilessly competitive world is now. Waiting for dictators that preside over the destiny of most of the continent at present to pave that path to glory is simply foolhardy, if not suicidal.”



Kumekucha

Kumekucha explains how he believes the ruling elite plan to rig the August Referendum for the proposed new Kenyan Constitution:

‘Folks I am afraid that I have more bad news for you concerning the new constitution most of us are yearning for. Let me start by confessing that for a person with my years of experience I was rather naïve to believe that those who own Kenya would ever allow for an electoral system that they did not have any control over. The truth is that the so called “tamper-proof” electoral roll has already been tampered with and non-existent voters introduced. And since it is NOT the same electoral roll that we will go to the general elections with, the only conclusion is that the intention is to rig the August 4th Referendum.

‘The game plan by the powerful owners of Kenya is for the NO camp to catch up with the YES majority so that the difference is around 20% or less. What will then happen is that NO will win with a very slim majority. Enough to deny most Kenyans what they are yearning for so much that they can no longer sleep too well. Those wh o have read the document and realize the sweeping changes it will bring into the country and the deadly blow it will deal to impunity.

‘What really scares me is that so far these powerful forces have been able to get things done through the NSIS and have even influenced the judiciary to make certain bizarre rulings. To me that is evidence enough that they are quite capable of going ahead with their well laid plan even as the president tires himself crisscrossing the country campaigning for a new constitution.’


BROUGHT TO YOU BY PAMBAZUKA NEWS

* Dibussi Tande blogs at Scribbles from the Den.

 

 I give thanks for yesterday, today and tomorrow. I give thanks for the gathering for the memorial of the death of Elijah Masinde, and our deepening connection with egun en those yet to be born.

Bless our ancestors, bredrin and dadas in solidarity en pikney. I pray that you forgive my sins, those that I do and don’t know about. I pray for my family, friends, enemies, and that I may not have any enemies…..Guide us to our right [full] destinies.

I pray for health and prosperity not only for myself but for others. Bless those who heal and look after themselves AND others, en (gran) mama earth.  

Ase. Ase…..

 I invite you to listen to dis’ poem and consider dis quote found (again) in a post on http://www.blacklooks.org/

“The second angel poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became
blood like that of a dead man; and every living thing in the sea died.”
Revelation 16:3

 

Sankofa! Our ancestors are not gone, we stand on their shoulders, (as) they live deep in (around en under) us.

so consider then dis’ (pre) Obituary of Simiyu Barasa

Written by Himself

 Focus [on Afrika]: Kenya view 

When you find yourself talking with several guests of the morbid situation of your country during the wedding of one of your friends, you quickly realize there is something wrong with your country. When your National broadcasters show men being dragged out of public service vehicles and hacked to death by a mob of young men who do not even hide their faces from the police a few metres away, and such scenes are repeated more than the advertisements and commercials, then your country is doomed. When you hear that people are chased from their homes into a church for belonging to a particular tribe, and then followed into the church where women and children are locked inside and then burnt alive, my friends, you are no longer in a country, you are living inside hell on earth.

The Swahili (oh, that language that was supposed to unite us and now has been rendered impotent in its intended super-glue powers) – the Swahili say that when you see your friend being shaved with a razor, start wetting your hair in preparation for your shave too.

I do not intend to go gently into that dark beyond without saying a word of goodbye. Friends, (and those who consider me an enemy because of my tribe or lack of it), being of sane mind and in charge of my mental faculties, I bid you goodbye. I chose to write you an obituary, which you should read as a love letter to my country that has died in that critical moment when its dreams were giving birth to a beautiful bouncing future.

I know not the hour of my death, for no one knows the hour of their death in this country anymore. That man on Naivasha, who was dragged from the car and his speech as he answered questions betrayed him as belonging to a tribe the highway blockers were hunting down, he did not know his death. I have seen myself trying to run from the mob the way he desperately tried, machetes raining on his back, and yet he ran on, three desperate steps, before his body disintegrated into huge chunks of human flesh and fell down. Upon which they cubed him. I too, my friend, am about to face the same death. My tongue, when I try to speak, shall definitely betray me as a targeted tribesman when the mob does come to me. For I do not belong to any tribe.

My sister, Rozi, called me yesterday trembling with fear. She lives in Western Kenya, on the Eldoret/Kakamega border. They had taken a patient to Moi Referral Hospital Eldoret. On their way back, the ambulance was stopped by youths bearing all forms of crude weapons. They demanded to know which tribes everyone in the ambulance belonged to. The driver was of the local tribe, so he was told to step aside. As the others showed their National Identity cards, my sister realized that all around them were corpses of human beings freshly chopped to death. Her turn came and she said she was Luhya. They told her to speak in Luhya, but my Sister doesn’t know Luhya. “I really can’t speak it because my mother is a Taita!” she pleaded. She had to desperately show a photocopy of my mother’s National Identity card which she had in her purse, a photocopy my mother had given to her the previous week to use as a referee for the bank account she was switching to. That photocopy saved my sister. The only language my sister can speak, apart from English and the National Swahili, is Gikuyu. The tribe the youths were targeting.

My friend, I know no tribe. I only know languages. My mother is Taita, my Father is Luhya, and we were raised in Kiambu among the Gikuyu. It has never been important in our family to know which tribe we should belong to, my sisters and brothers have names from both sides of our parents communities. In this chaos, if the hunters of fellow humans were to find us in our house, would they really believe we are brothers and sisters from our names?

If I say am Luhya, the Gikuyu with whom I have lived and now am engaged to one of their daughters would kill me as they have gone on a mission to revenge the deaths of their kinsmen in Western Kenya. If I flee to my parent’s home in Luhyaland, the neighbours will barbecue me alive for I can’t speak their language and of course my mom is from a foreign tribe. Not to forget that the guy who sold us that piece of land where my mom and Dad saved so hard to buy is known to come and insist on grazing his cow on our compound claiming “my cows used to feed here, buying the land doesn’t mean I don’t own it!”

Now in this Nairobi where I stay, I am wary of my neighbours. The guy opposite my flat is a Luo with whom we argued amicably during the pre-election period on which party we supported. Maybe now, given that friendly neighbours have been the ones killing each other, he might remember our political chats over my litres of coffee and come chop me up?

That is why friends, I have decided to write this obituary. I know not my tribe, I have only known myself as Kenyan, and others as fellow Kenyans. In these times, belonging or not belonging means not being dead or being seriously dead. What chances does a person like me have?

My friends have their tribes mates to protect them. The cosmopolitan Nairobi has now been balkanized with residential estates being exclusive reserves of certain tribes. Complete with murderous gangs imported from up-country to protect their own. Mungiki for the Gikuyu, Chingororo for the Gusii, and the Baghdad Boys and Taliban for the Luo. Where, pray I, is the estate Balkanised for those of us of mixed heritage who know not their war cry of their tribal warriors? The only two tribes I can run to don’t have such armies. And claiming my Dad’s Luhya identity, and a Bukusu at that, is problematic in itself. The Gikuyus are hunting them down claiming they voted ODM together with the Luos, and the Luos are hunting them down too claiming they voted for Kibaki together with the Gikuyus. So such is my fate for my father belonging to this tribe that voted 50-50!

My friends, I have prepared myself for my death. I don’t know how it will be, but since as a Film and TV drama person I believe in rehearsals, I have rehearsed all possible scenarios so that when my moment comes, it won’t be so hard to take it. Chekhov’s method acting manuals are no longer needed. I just turn the TV on during news time or read the papers, and from the several images of people who have been killed in various ways, I choose one to dream and perfect that night. I have dreamt of being locked into a church or building with several others and torched alive. I have smelt the petrol fumes as its being splattered through the window onto our bodies and then round the building. I have seen the flash of the matchstick being lit, and smelled my flesh burning to ashes.

I have rehearsed how I will smile when I am dragged out of a public vehicle and hacked to pieces by the marauding youths who pop up in our numerous roads. I want to die smiling bravely, but just like the guys I see on Al Jazeera and other International TV channels, the moment I get to that part where a red eyed bearded man pokes his head into the bus and shouts “everyone wave your ID cards in the air!” I wet myself and start screaming for mercy, instantly easing their work of identifying foreigners for the blades to work on.

I have rehearsed how best to gasp when a barbed arrow strikes my chest. Or a club smashes my brain out of my skull. Or a spiked plank of wood is driven through my mouth. I have died so many times, my friends, that now I must be immune to the real death when it comes.

I used to laugh at tourists buying maps of Nairobi. I bought one recently. It is stuck in the wall of my bedroom where small pencil marks indicate all the escape routes I will try to walk in to get out of town once the mayhem knocks on my door. Unfortunately, to the west are roadblocks where my Luhya name will mean instant death. If I go Mombasa Road I might run into a roadblock where Kamba’s and all coast people are being cubed. To the North I can’t even dare. To the south I might pass, coz I can speak Gikuyu, but my name would be my passport to the grave yard. That map, my friend, directed me to writing this obituary.

Maybe if I was a famous poet I would go down in history alongside Chris Okigbo, the Nigerian poet who went to Biafra seeking to actualize his poetry but found bullets instead. My friends abroad are asking me if I am safe. Maybe if I had been bright of mind like they were I would have faked a bank account statement immediately I cleared my o-levels and fled to the United States to wash toilets in between my degree courses, but no. When they told me America is the land of dreams, I swore to them I am an Africanist, a believer in the African dream. When they filled scholarship forms to get away from this dark continent, I laughed at them. Now my faith in my country has faded faster than the newness of the new(s) year.

So, friends, some of us never really thought that our tribe was that important. Simply because we were from the tribes that make up Kenya. Some of us have lived in every province of this once great nation and learnt the local languages, drank the local brews, danced the local songs-so well that the locals even gave us the names of their tribes to fondly call us by. I have been called Kamau, Mwanganyi, Wambua, and even Bayelsa in Nigeria. (I should have known, when Dudun told me that Bayelsa is the troublesome state of Nigeria where the Delta is, that it was a premonition of the war in my country.)

I have nowhere to go. No tribe to run to. No tribesmen to protect me. Except the grave. Which is what my fellow country men are intent on sending all those who don’t belong to their tribe. Goodbye, friends.. Seeing that all fast food restaurants have a notice ‘pay in advance’, let me take the cue and say Goodbye in advance. When you see a pulp of human flesh in the tarmac with youths dancing round it waving their bloody matchetes, look closely. That ear might be mine. That grinning upper lip might be mine. I loved you, my fellow countrymen. I loved without thinking of your parental lineage. I loved Kenya. But look what this country has done to me: sodomised my sense of humanity and pride. 

Jan. 30th   2008, Nairobi

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKK3D0H9fWo]

reposted from mars group kenya

DESMOND TUTU AND OTHER INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE FIGURES CALL ON AMBASSADOR BETHUEL KIPLAGAT KENYAN TJRC CHAIR TO STEP DOWN

24.02.2010

We, former chairpersons and commissioners of truth commissions from around the world, respectfully call upon Ambassador Bethuel Kiplagat, Chairperson of the Truth Justice & Reconciliation Commission’s (TJRC) to step down from his positions as Chairperson and Commissioner.

We are deeply troubled by serious allegations of bias and misconduct that have been made against Chairperson Kiplagat. The allegations about his role in the former Moi government have generated a widely held perception that he labours under an unavoidable conflict of interest and that he is unable to bring an impartial mind to bear on his important duties as TJRC Chairperson. We are advised that in previous years, a statutory Commission of Inquiry as well as a Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry have made disturbing findings against Ambassador Kiplagat on matters that fall squarely within the TJRC’s mandate. The Report of the Commission of Inquiry into Illegal and Irregular Allocation of Public Land (released in 2004) makes references to instances of the illegal acquisition of public land on the part of Ambassador Kiplagat. The Report of the Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry into the Murder of Dr. Robert Ouko includes a report from an investigation team which concluded that Ambassador Kiplagat was untruthful in his submissions.

While Ambassador Kiplagat has disputed the references to him in these reports, they nonetheless have a direct and serious impact on public perceptions in relation to his fitness to hold high office in the Commission. All truth commissioners must be seen to be upholding the highest standards of ethics and integrity. They need to be seen to be scrupulously independent and objective. We are constrained to point out that Ambassador Kiplagat does not meet these essential standards.

We note that truth commissions must enjoy the confidence of the public to succeed. Since objective grounds of a reasonable apprehension of bias on the part of Ambassador Kiplagat exist in the minds of the public, he is duty bound to resign for the greater good of the commission and country. We believe that if the current state of affairs is not addressed the TJRC will not be able to deliver truth, justice and accountability for past injustices and gross human rights violations.

For these reasons we call upon Ambassador Kiplagat to immediately step down so that the TJRC may proceed with its critical tasks of promoting justice and combating impunity in Kenya.

Statement endorsed by:

Archbishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu • Former Chairperson of the South African Truth & Reconciliation Commission • Former Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town • Former General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches • Recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize

Bishop Joseph Christian Humper • Former Chairperson of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission for Sierra Leone • Bishop of the United Methodist Church, Sierra Leone • Member of the General Board of Global Ministries, The United Methodist Church • Recipient of the Distinguished Peacemaker Award – Africa

Salomon Lerner Febres • Former Chairperson of the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission • Former President of the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru • Current President of the Institute for Democracy and Human Rights at the Catholic University, Lima

Alexander Lionel Boraine • Chairperson of the Mauritian Truth & Reconciliation Commission • Former Deputy-Chairperson of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission • Chairperson of the Board of the International Centre for Transitional Justice • Former member of the South African Parliament • Former President of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa • Global Visiting Professor of Law at the New York University School of Law

Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza SC • Former Commissioner of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission • Member of the South African Judicial Services Commission • Acting Judge of the Cape High Court • Member of the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur • National Chairperson of Advocates for Transformation (South Africa)

Yasmin Sooka • Former Commissioner of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission • Former Commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for Sierra Leone • Former Acting Judge of the High Court of South Africa • Director of the Foundation for Human Rights

Reverend Bongani Blessing Finca • Former Commissioner of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission • Provincial Electoral Officer for the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa

Mary Burton • Former Commissioner of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission • Former President of the Black Sash • Deputy Chairperson of the Council of the University of Cape Town • Recipient of National Order of Luthuli Award

Dr Fazel Randera • Former Commissioner of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission • Former Inspector-General of Intelligence (South Africa) • Medical Director of the Aurum Institute • Former National Chairperson of the South African Human Rights Committee

Richard Lyster • Former Commissioner of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission • Former Director, Legal Resources Centre, Durban

for the 5 th installment of this series for 16 days of activism…..

we’re using werd on the ground to re-examine the necessity of safe spaces,

and the particular responsibility that allies bear in creating and maintaining positive space….

like the kptj listserv for example, one of those where I maintain a dubious silence.

I’ve only ever posted one piece on that listserv, and the backlash I got was silent and pervasive,

but at least there were a few that voiced their support for the issues we were advocating for….then,

still many more remained silent, and, reiterated their solidarity in our ‘private’ conversations,

it is always ‘u people’ or them that’s the problem……

that was then…

now, with recent events, more are voicing the shift in the boundaries to be drawn,

it’s the ripple effect in the story of that butterfly that flapped it’s wings, and like a bill that was drawn by bahati,

it seems the winds are changing,

even though this statement is from one of our strongest allies in Kenya, and thankfully, to be expected, it’s posting needs to be examined in the context within which our rights are being re-shaped….there has been much more public debate on sexuality,and unfortunately, on the ground, it’s still being led by homophobes & well-meaning ignorant folk…..so everytime our rights are re-asserted in a simple & direct way, it’s something to acknolwedge and respect.

Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) Position on Rights related to Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation
 
 
The KHRC is concerned by ongoing expressions of prejudice about and stereotyping of Kenyans due to their gender identity or sexual orientation. Prejudice and stereotyping, when not consciously addressed, feed the discrimination, harassment and violence experienced by Kenyans because of their gender identity or sexual orientation.
 
Some sections of Kenyan media, particularly uninformed radio presenters, have led this frenzy of disinformation and hate speech. Being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual or intersex is not ‘un-African’—Africa’s history is replete with examples of how those of different gender identities and sexual orientations were named and addressed by various communities. Even if it were not, the fact that some Kenyans now identify as being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual or intersex openly makes being so African.
 
Being lesbian, gay or bisexual is simply the sexual orientation of some Kenyans—nothing more than where some Kenyans happen to be on the continuum of human sexuality. Being transsexual or intersex is simply the gender orientation of some Kenyans—nothing more than the fact that some Kenyans find themselves at odds with the biological binary of being ‘male’ or ‘female’. Kenyans who happen to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual or intersex continue to be, as all Kenyans are, subjects of legal protections provided by our Constitution and African and international human rights standards we are signatory too.
 
All Kenyans are entitled to equality under the law—and to be free from discrimination in education, in employment, in health care provision, in housing and so on. All Kenyans are entitled to security of the person—and to be free from violence. All Kenyans are entitled to privacy—and to be free from arbitrary and illegal intrusions on this privacy. Regardless of what prejudices and stereotypes persist about Kenyans who happen to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual or intersex, these entitlements stand.
 
Yet some sections of the media—supported by some conservative religious organisations—continue to bombard the Kenyan public with messages implying that those entitlements exist only for some Kenyans. In declaring themselves defenders of “authentic” (though often invented) African cultural traditions, they pit “culture/African family values/morality” against human rights and attempt to subject sexuality to restrictive state control.
 
The KHRC strongly opposes efforts to reduce this debate to one of “culture, family values or morality.” It is a debate about human rights—freedom of expression, equality, security of the person and privacy in particular. The KHRC strongly opposes discrimination against, harassment of, violence against or prosecution and punishment of all Kenyans, including on the grounds of gender identity and sexual orientation.
 
Kenya is at a critical moment in our construction of a democracy inclusive of diversity and based on respect for human rights. We urge all involved in drafting the new Constitution to take all the necessary measures to ensure all Kenyans full citizenship and protection from non-discrimination—by including gender identity and sexual orientation as protected grounds in the equality rights section. We urge all public service providers, the police and the judiciary to act with respect for the Constitution to protect gender and sexual minorities from discrimination, harassment and violence.
 
The KHRC firmly believes that dialogue is key to understanding gender identity and sexual orientation. We urge the Kenyan media to enable such dialogue while desisting from prejudicial and stereotypical hate speech. The dialogue is not about creating new human rights, but about acknowledging that all Kenyans have the same human rights, regardless of their gender identity and sexual orientation.
 
Makau Mutua
Chair
 
Board of Directors
Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC)
 
The KHRC works towards the observance, protection and support of all human rights for all people irrespective of sexual orientation, ethnicity, social origin, economic status, gender, political belief or because of their religious or other conscientiously held beliefs. 

and while we’re on the tip of acknowledging, how’s this for direct response from allies?

this piece is also taken from the kptj listserv

Dear Beatrice

The issue is not whether we agree or not. The list has always been open to the expression of diverse opinions.

But expressing diverse opinions is one thing. The expression of abuse, violent language, and other forms of attacks on people of other persuasions is not acceptable on this list. The right of Omtatah and others to express their views has to be assessed in relation to their call for the repression of those of different sexual preferences to organise and live without fear of aggression or calls for the suppression of their views.

I have no hesitation therefore in banning such antisocial behaviour from this list.

Firoze

So here’s yet another repost…another in/direct relay of the shit that our east afrikan “media” personalities spew….as with everything else nowadays,we ain’t agonising, so much as, using this homo & trans phobic backlash to organise ourselves & advocate for queer/trans rights.

in other words, we’re  TAKING BACK SPACE!carolinemutoko1

you’re right Caroline, we have much more important shit to deal with. I resent that folks like you, who getting paid plenty nuff to get people’s attention and sell stuff, that you would waste airtime with such ignorance and (mis) understanding, that you would trigger me to JUS HAVTA  respond

……tolerance is not equated with sticking your head in the sand or allowing for hate to flourish. I told this to John Allan Namu, and I’ll tell this to you, sometimes you just need to go by a really simple rule of thumb. if you don’t have anything good to say, then don’t say nothing at all. (and yes, that one is another tricky principle to negotiate…but I’ll show you an example of the power there is in language….I’mm check you, en still keep it positive….practise long enough and you can do it too)

both you (en John Allan Namu) need to sign up for our upcoming AO101  workshops. If like you say, Caroline, there are so many  “gay” folk that you support, and kudos for trying, then I’m sure you would jump at the chance of educating yourself on anti-oppression issues.

we all gots learning to do. and this will be my gift to you. I offer you a 2 – 3hr workshop, for you and your colleagues in March…at your convenience, where we will challenge homo/les/bi/trans phobia in a decolonization framework.

In other words, we’ll interrogate the intersections of our diversity and oppressions, and teach you more appropriate words than gay, like queer, & ” so gay” like neo colonialism & the masters tools will never dismantle the master’s house……and you can learn more about the role of allies, and all those folks in the closet…..most importantly, you’ll hear from people who’re OUT  of the closet, and won’t take you shoving us back inside…relegating us to sensationalist news items on the latest western craze and 2 gay men getting married in the  UK.

and dear reader, this post is for you too,  judge for yourself if Caroline needs any checking on her “issues”..

here’s what she had to say, in her own words.

stefanbruggermannwordsthatbecompics

THIS IS WHAT CAROLINE MUTOKO OF KISS FM wrote last week concerning an issue that was raised by many listeners of their sister station- CLASSIC 105 when the on air presenters went on and on poking fun at the gay community and concluding by telling their listerners to SLAP THE GAYNESS out of any gay person they meet in Kenya…………………..

*The violence in Kenya in 2007 can never be compared to the intolerance Kenya and Africa have for gay people. It trivializes the issues we underwent politically and ethically. The very people who suffered in 2007 would be shocked and disgusted to think some small minded people think it’s the same thing. How you chose to have sex cannot and does not compare to the suffering of our IDPS.*

*I am tolerant of homosexuals, period. When I start getting garbage in the name of the “persecuted minorities” then I have to put an end to it. There’s a threshold to how tolerant I or anyone can be of something that whether you like it or not, goes against the very sensibilities of more than 90% of humanity, let alone Kenyans.*

No single media personality has given the homosexuals in this country more air-time or space to speak and be heard without judging them than I have. So spare me the crap and the moral high-ground on what I can or cannot say and whether or not Nick and Marcus were right or wrong. There are homosexuals who work with us how do you want to know I care? Would you like to me “out” them so you can ask them if Caroline is legitimate.

What Kenya went through in early 2008 and this nonsense with the homosexuals cannot and should not be compared at all. How fickle can you be.

I can be tolerant, and tolerant I am, but I don’t have to embrace it and I sure as hell don’t have to apologise for saying it’s a none issue if I think so. There are bigger issues in this nation to deal with right now and the fact that afew homosexuals are hurt because Marcus and Nick said, give them a quick slap is beyond logic.

(NO SHE DI(UH)N!!!!!!)

From [*Name*], to [*Name*], to [*Name*], [*Name*], the organisation called Forgotten Sheep, [*Name*], [*Name*], [*Name*], to [*Name*] and [*Name*], to [*Name*] and [*Name*], to [*Name*] and [*Name*] and not to mention [*Name*] and [*Name*] who still rely on me for cash and jobs, I am very tolerant of homosexuals in Kenya. I’m not some silly little talking head looking for cheap publicity, I actually keep their confidences, respect their secrets and accept they want to remain in the closet.

(Yes! This is ironically THE  Harvey milk moment of this rant)

They come to my show, call me and take me into confidence because they know I get it. I’m their go-to-person. But when some air-heads thinks this is their new soap box to get mileage, you’ve got another think coming.

Incidentally, can you all get back to work, Paul Ilado, Patrick Quarcoo and myself have real issues to deal with. Caroline.

PS- SHE HAS WRITTEN ANOTHER LONG ARTICLE TITLED-  SO YOU’RE GAY, SO WHAT????

in todays THE STAR newspaper…..

 

As Ugandan MP David Bahati spearheads a campaign around the adoption of the homophobic ‘Bahati’s bill’, Solome Nakaweesi-Kimbugwe and Frank Mugisha call for an unwavering rejection of a piece of legislation entirely against the interests of wider Ugandan society.

With strong suspicions of Bahati’s financial backing by extreme-right Christian groups in the US, the bill seeks not only to establish draconian punishments for homosexual acts but also to actively encourage Ugandans to snoop on one another indefinitely for the supposed good of the nation.

If homophobes like Bahati were really worried about ‘protect[ing] the traditional family’, Nakaweesi-Kimbugwe and Mugisha argue, they’d concern themselves with tackling the conditions keeping so many Ugandans in poverty, rather than making scapegoats of homosexual people. The authors conclude that with an election approaching in 2011, the momentum behind the bill smacks of a none-too-subtle attempt to divert attention away from Uganda’s true issues.

Pambazuka – Bahati?s bill: A convenient distraction for Uganda’s government

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