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.

With all the g8, g20, pride and world cup fever in the air, I give thanks for the ‘other’ community festivals where generations and diverse people are celebrating. Like, the annual National Aboriginal day on June 21 & Multicultural day at the Peace Theatre on June25th, where friends and neighbours will come together to entertain and re-educate not only youth, but every one of US.  Ase. Ase……

http://peace.twomangoes.com/

the truth about stories (as a native narrative) is, they’re all we are…[like in this hadithi]

there’s a mood sweeping this nation, in which minority groups are demanding that they be perceived as people. We concur in this mood and we trust that it will not be long before the residents of Kadoka shall have advanced to a stage where they, too, can begin to treat their neighbours as people.

community of wanblee, south dakota

 I respect other religions, but I don’t like to see them denatured and made into something else. you’ve made a blondie out of Jesus. I don’t care for those blond, blue-eyed pictures of a sanitised, cloroxed, ajaxed Christ. How would you like it if I put braids on Jesus and stuck a feather in his hair? You’d call me a crazy Indian, wouldn’t you?

Jesus was a Jew. He wasn’t a yellow-haired anglo. I’m sure he had black hair and dark skin like an Indian. The white ranchers around here wouldn’t have let him step out with their daughters and wouldn’t have liked him having a drink in one of their saloons.

His religion came out of the desert in which he lived, out of his kind of mountains, his kind of animals, his kind of plants.

You’ve tried to make him into an Anglo-saxon Fuller Brush salesman, a long-haired Billy Graham in a fancy night shirt, and that’s why he doesn’t work for you anymore. He was a good medicine man, I guess. As you read it in the Bible, he sure had the power, the healing touch. He was a hippie, too.

Hipi – in our language that means ” he is here, we are here, it is here” – something like that.

So I don’t mind a young white man with long hair and a beaded headband coming to me, asking to learn about our Indian religion, even praying with us.

But I would mind it if he tried to change our beliefs, adapt them to his kind of culture, progress, civilization and all that kind of stuff. I would mind that very much.  You can’t take our beliefs out of our badlands and prairies and put them into one of your factories or office buildings……. 

[excerpts from] Seeker of Visions – John (Fire) Lame Deer & Richard Erdoes

hadithi? hadithi?

nipe mji…..

My favourite things about today are yet to come, I love Thursdays for the simple reason that I know every night will be a ‘jood’ one. En I get one night closer to Saturday, another one of those (guaranteed) ‘jood’ time(s), the rest of my evenings are up for grabs by wind (dadas), moon, sun, rain, work en love

Tonight, I’mma break my ritual(s) and go for the (pre)screening of ‘red lips’ instead, in this space en (neo-colonial/post-modern) times, you gotta take stories about (queer/trans/pan) afrikans wherever they offer themselves.  It’s (not) often en (not) widespread, (depending on how/en/where you look at/read it)…

Even though I haven’t even ‘seen’ the (short) film yet, haven’t ‘read’ the reviews, seen the ads, or followed it on any social engine, I’ve marked off the premiere of the Legacy Video Project in my calendar. http://www.insideout.on.ca/20/program_details.php?id=31

It’s ‘special’ in so many ways, one of those (community) rituals that define (not only) my ‘Canadian’ (en Tdot) status (butof  a fragmented and intersecting group of ‘others’).

http://www.insideout.ca/20/schedule/index.php

For (almost) as long as I’ve lived in this country, I have attended the festival; I first volunteered in Tdot @ InsideOut; most of my ‘official’ film experience has been thanks to the queer youth digital video project &

….ndio, there’s a pattern, so, ofcourse I have a sweet spot for all things queer(trans) en (film&video)spice (many others do, en feel me on this too – uchandirayasi!) en it’s (notso) obvious that I have plenty access en privilege to re/define myself in queer & trans positive spaces.

These are one of the many reasons Tdot could ‘potentially’ be the ‘best’ city in the world, we’re a ‘nicer’ (version of) New York (or so I’ve heard, coz I ain’t crossed THAT  border yet, but from what I heard, it sounds like, from a pan-afrikan perspective, the only ting’ that New York has over Tdot is Brooklyn en the Bronx, Manhattan is just so gay), en if you’re an Afrikan in the diaspora, where better to experience the whole world (if you choose to) than in (dis) one city?

Where so many ‘others’ re/define one of the national landmark/s of turtle island? (you couldn’t experience such living in jo’burg, kampala, kigali, lagos, mogadishu, monrovia or nairobi, maybe with enough time en immigrants…..)

En yes, if you unpack these hadithi, you’d read I was telling you this, because it’s Very.Important.People.  I have (more than 31) personal (en political) reasons to be going to see ‘red lips’ tonight…the actions (are) layered, (en symbolic) as markers in the ‘Q’ werd.

Red lips, is the crux, is swagger, is nneke dumele, audrey mbugua & tomee sojourner, trey anthony, zanele muholi, wahu kaara & pouline kimani, bombastic kasha & victor mukasa, tajudeen abdul raheem & audre lorde, seven sisters & anitafrika dub theatre…(many) dadas en bredrin in solidarity, in film/theory but not nearly as many as we need in practice, in intersecting and separate spaces, for different purposes, all to rebuild en reclaim ourselves en our communities….

we gotta still continue from ‘here’, give thanks not only for who we’ve got, or where we’re coming from, but for what’s coming as we prepare…..

the big(ger) point is that we are not the only ones who’ve found (some of) what we’ve been looking for.  We  ARE  the ones we’ve been looking for, so now what?  the crux is working on OUR  unity (first), en manifesting our (re)visions, (or, jus’ what IS  the crux?)

Since time, everything that one does (re)defines oneself, and since ‘we’ walked, we’ve (re)defined ourselves in groups, labelled God/dess(es), en change/d….. in other words, this is a(nother) pan-afrikan postcard, another hadithi of dadas (en mamas) in solidarity

I’m going to see red lips tonight for (more than)a few reasons; I’ve read en heard the story, witnessed en shared in parts of its production, en I (am in) love (with) the performance of this hadithi. There’s something about any producer who delves into the significance of healing en self recovery for womyn through ritual en wota, en about the ‘actors’ who re/tell the story with their (own) body-memories,  something about taking time to see (beautiful/performance) art used for revolushunary change, it’s like (good) food for the soul en dadas.(practis)in(g).solidarity, which is quite simply, jood!

ofcourse i’m also jus more likely to be going coz, the womyn who produced the piece is not only (a) fine as may wine (dada who knows many other sweet as honey sistas) but one of the many afrikans  (or few, depending on how/where you look at/read it) who’ve shared their energy, love, teachings, en time with me…..one of the many that I been looking for, who’ve changed not only me, but others…

And now that it’s spring (or autumn depending on where your latitude is at) again, and (my) be/loved let me go, now that I’ve (quite literally) fallen through the hole en like ‘Alice in Wonderland’ (this is real when I say I volunteered at my first un-Anniversary last nite, so today of all days, I feel particularly qualified to speak on matters of peace & conflict, magic.of.symbolism, truth & reconciliation), today I feel particularly ‘entitled’ to getting some ‘honey’ , I wasn’t beheaded by the Queen, she eve/n ‘spoke’ to me, I ate good food en mostly tended a hookah with a surreal caterpillar, en all in all had quite a sweet (un-anniversary) time…something like when I went to see the ‘other’ queen, the week before that….(went to) fe(e)d the wota, en she gave me some priceless gifts in return…

 (but now that’s another hadithi)…

 the bigger point is that (those) red lips are one of the 31 hadithi of the ‘Q’ werd.

A mystic, organic, and (us) people driven caravan of (change en) pan-afrikan stories.

http://www.anitafrika.com/

Something like a series of auto-myth(o)-biographies en interviews with ordinary people en (super/s)heroes, retelling our true true stories for the sake of pikney. Because if we don’t tell them our true true stories, who will? En if we don’t practice peace, (en fight for our freedom by any means necessary) then where will ‘they’ learn (IT) from?

blogger’s note: you probably already know this story, references to ancient Afrikan cultures are all over the net en the world….so here’s another one of them…of the gran (primeval) mama of us all  (emphasis on ‘the capital’ in the Q werd)

Adapted from http://www.ancientegyptonline.co.uk/hathor.html

Hathor is one of the most ancient Egyptian goddesses. She was known as “the Great One of Many Names” and her titles and attributes are so numerous that she was important in every area of the life and death of the ancient Egyptians. It is thought that her worship was widespread even in the Predynastic period because she appears on the Narmer palette. However, some scholars suggest that the cow-headed goddess depicted on the palette is in fact Bast (an ancient cow goddess who was largely absorbed by Hathor) or even Narmer himself. However, she was certainly popular by the Old Kingdom as she appears with Bast in the valley temple of Khafre at Giza. Hathor represents Upper Egypt and Bast represents Lower Egypt

She was originally a personification of the Milky Way, which was considered to be the milk that flowed from the udders of a heavenly cow (linking her with Nut, Bat and Mehet-Weret). As time passed she absorbed the attributes of many other goddesses but also became more closely associated with Isis, who to some degree usurped her position as the most popular and powerful goddess. Yet she remained popular throughout Egyptian history. More festivals were dedicated to her and more children were named after her than any other god or goddess. Her worship was not confined to Egypt and Nubia. She was worshipped throughout Semitic West Asia, Ethiopian, Somlia and Libya, but was particularly venerated in the city of Byblos.

She was a sky goddess, known as “Lady of Stars” and “Sovereign of Stars” and linked to Sirius (and so the goddesses Sopdet and Isis). Her birthday was celebrated on the day that Sirius first rose in the sky (heralding the coming innundation). By the Ptolemaic period, she was known as the goddess of Hethara, the third month of the Egyptian calendar.

Hathor was also the goddess of beauty and patron of the cosmetic arts. Her traditional votive offering was two mirrors and she was often depicted on mirrors and cosmetic palettes. Yet she was not considered to be vain or shallow, rather she was assured of her own beauty and goodness and loved beautiful and good things. She was known as “the mistress of life” and was seen as the embodiment of joy, love, romance, perfume, dance, music and alcohol.

Hathor was especially connected with the fragrance of myrrh incense, which was considered to be very precious and to embody all of the finer qualities of the female sex. Hathor was associated with turquoise, malachite, gold and copper. As “the Mistress of Turquoise” and the “lady of Malachite” she was the patron of miners and the goddess of the Sinai Peninsula (the location of the famous mines). The Egyptians used eye makeup made from ground malachite which had a protective function (in fighting eye infections) which was attributed to Hathor.

As the “lady of the west” and the “lady of the southern sycamore” she protected and assisted the dead on their final journey. Trees were not commonplace in ancient Egypt, and their shade was welcomed by the living and the dead alike. She was sometimes depicted as handing out water to the deceased from a sycamore tree (a role formerly associated with Amentet who was often described as the daughter of Hathor) and according to myth, she (or Isis) used the milk from the Sycamore tree to restore sight to Horus who had been blinded by Set. Because of her role in helping the dead, she often appears on sarcophagi with Nut (the former on top of the lid, the later under the lid).

She occasionally took the form of the “Seven Hathors” who were associated with fate and fortune telling. It was thought that the “Seven Hathors” knew the length of every childs life from the day it was born and questioned the dead souls as they travelled to the land of the dead. Her priests could read the fortune of a newborn child, and act as oracles to explain the dreams of the people. People would travel for miles to beseech the goddess for protection, assistance and inspiration. The “Seven Hathors” were worshiped in seven cities: Waset (Thebes), Iunu (On, Heliopolis), Aphroditopolis, Sinai, Momemphis, Herakleopolis, and Keset. They may have been linked to the constellations Pleiades.

However, she was also a goddess of destruction in her role as the Eye of Ra – defender of the sun god. According to legend, people started to criticise Ra when he ruled as Pharaoh. Ra decided to send his “eye” against them (in the form of Sekhmet). She began to slaughter people by the hundred. When Ra relented and asked her to stop she refused as she was in a blood lust. The only way to stop the slaughter was to colour beer red (to resemble blood) and pour the mixture over the killing fields. When she drank the beer, she became drunk and drowsy, and slept for three days. When she awoke with a hangover she had no taste for human flesh and mankind was saved. Ra renamed her Hathor and she became a goddess of love and happiness. As a result, soldiers also prayed to Hathor/Sekhmet to give them her strength and focus in battle.

Of course, Thoth already had a wife, Seshat (the goddess of reading, writing, architecture and arithmetic), so Hathor absorbed her role including acting as a witness at the judgement of the dead. Her role in welcoming the dead gained her a further husband – Nehebkau (the guardian of the entrance of the underworld). Then when Ra and Amun merged, Hathor became seen as the wife of Sobek who was considered to be an aspect of Amen-Ra. Yet Sobek was also associated with Seth, the enemy of Horus!

She took the form of a woman, goose, cat, lion, malachite, sycamore fig, to name but a few. However, Hathor’s most famous manifestation is as a cow and even when she appears as a woman she has either the ears of a cow, or a pair of elegant horns. When she is depicted as entirely a cow, she always has beautifully painted eyes. She was often depicted in red (the color of passion) though her sacred color is turquoise.

It is also interesting to note that only she and the dwarf god Bes (who also had a role in childbirth) were ever depicted in portrait (rather than in profile). Isis borrowed many of her functions and adapted her iconography to the extent that it is often difficult to be sure which of the two goddesses is depicted. However, the two deities were not the same. Isis was in many ways a more complex deity who suffered the death of her husband and had to fight to protect her infant son, so she understood the trials and tribulations of the people and could relate to them. Hathor, on the other hand, was the embodiment of power and success and did not experience doubts.

While Isis was merciful, Hathor was single minded in pursuit of her goals.

When she took the form of Sekhmet, she did not take pity on the people and even refused to stop killing when ordered to do so.

to be continued……

 Blogger’s Notes: On big love, black skin (masque/e/rading under) white masks, and dadas in solidarity

 The good(s): (on) The Q werd

The stories aren’t jus’ about queens & queers & trannies of Afrika(n./ descent)… if we used (jus’) ONE  word to describe The Q werd, it would be LOVE [for  (mama) Afrika, our ancestors, bredrin en sistren, our children, and those yet to be born].

These dedications are (personal, spiritual AND political) intended to question and raise awareness of our Afrikan stories, and invoke knowledge/able responses that will help fill the gaps

[coz as little as we may claim we re/member of our true true stories, we know otherwise…

that if it’s true, it’s not new.

To make it plain….

there are no blanks at this time of our ( very-long ) existence on earth: every space has already been re/filled, history revised en stamped with the blood of many of our people.

dis’ earth mapped out en recalibrated according to the powers that be……

so, then what about the rest of US….are we not living proof of the brilliance of truth ?

Many questions (still) will be explored as the Q werd unfolds…..how do we build solidarity not only within our communities, but with conscious allies? In what ways is our freedom tied to the liberation of all oppressed peoples? Knowing that there is so much that we have lost already, how many more compromises are we willing to make to go on trying to survive off borrowed currencies?

En if it’s up to the people to liberate themselves, then how can you (en I) make (y)our contribution to society more meaningful?

A dada, who I was blessed to meet en work with years ago now, (one of the many goddess womyn that I love, respekt en admire, that has taught me through their critical analysis en practice of big love), posted a message on her face book profile (not-so) recently, that has  been reverberating for moons going on years now….

I’m sick and fucking tired of surviving!

En as I’m getting the shit I need together, to go on to THRIVing, as I’m taking care of my own responsibilities, (en)visioning the United States of Afrika, in our lifetime, en trying to atone for MY own negligence and sins, I dream better every night, knowing that (at the very least) I’m trying, en I’m (slowly) changing, en I’m becoming the woman I want to be, en using my strength in the service of my vision (quotes from another goddess…..Audre Lorde)

so I may not be on the continent, may not be a politician, teacher, filmmaker, I may not be an activist (no more), may not be working (for money) for any N.G.O, but I still have a role to play in working for MY  communities en MY  families, en in re/educating not only myself, but others….

en talk is cheap, but it’s also necessary…all the betta for us to get an over/standing of our journeys and needs…… Like on this blog, we’re looking for super(s)heroes [read/ers: artivists, fundraisers, program volunteers & afrikan stars]….for this epic (series) of ‘The Q werd’ in the pipeline (read: grassroots mobilisation en guerrilla style shooting all through the summer moons)

Take a minute. Think about it…listen to/read some of the hadithi we’re  retelling, en remember the stories we’ve told are the ones we haven’t made up to try to set the world straight. Take any one of these stories, do with them as you will. Re/post it. Forget it. But don’t say in the years to come that you would have lived your life differently if only you heard this story. You’ve heard it now.,,,,

We warn you, we have not just begun, we are using the arts for revolushunary change, planning on putting our actions where our preach-talk is – (steeped) in (pan) Afrika (n. landscapes….holla back en let us know how we can share resources.  Afrika moja! Afrika huru!

Hadithi? Hadithi?

Nilienda Bungoma, Kaimosi, Kimilili, Webuye, kweli nilitembea, nanilistaajabu ya musa,  nipe mji! nitakupatia hadithi…..

The bad is when we are alien to ourselves, and nowhere is it more apparent en (seemingly) entrenched than in our religions…..it is no coincidence that Kenya officially has the most Christian sects in the world, or that many indigenous afrikan religions survived the onslaught of slavery, Christianity & colonialism through syncretism with the ‘big boys’….jesus doesn’t have a copyright on being ‘the Christ’, and devils have been known to masquerade as ‘men of God’

There’s a saying at home, Mkono usioweza kuukata, ubusu……kiss the hand you cannot cut…know what I mean? The truth is I, like many others have been afraid en distracted for so long, procrastinating, backing down, compromising, breaking promises, breaking down….. en I have also been changing. The beauty en hope in losing one’s way is that you know the ‘right’ path when you find it….it’s simple really. Like the bible states somewhere in the palimpsest of our stories….. to I & I be true. So,

This post ain’t about proselytizing, the truth is, it shouldn’t really matter what religion one practises, the bigger point is what we practice en work (at) every day that makes things better for not only ourselves, but for others……

en if we spent more time figuring out how to harness our (people) power and share our resources equitably, then we wouldn’t have to be concerned about the ‘devils’ among us…..why waste any more time with bad symbolisms? Let’s jus’ move forward with the angels en super s/heroes, no?

These words are not my own, the sentiment is in the irony of the second story….

For those readers in Africa, a word of advice from the get-go: enjoy your beer now and wear your mini-skirts often because such joys – if that is what they are to you – might not last long.

Let me explain by introducing my new favourite pastor, Rev. Dr David Githii, head of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA). He argues that Kenyan government buildings harbour many satanic symbols and that Kenya is a country reeling under ‘the great influence of devil worship’.

Four years ago, he was quoted in the East African Standard saying that “the two snakes at the entrance to the Kenyan House of Parliament, the huge Masonic star at the entrance to the High Court, the frogs and tortoise signs in the High Court must be demolished.” Presumably because they are signs of the devil. Nor did his investigations into the insidious nature of Lucifer stop there.

It turns out that Kenya’s national rallying call, Harambee, which means pulling together, is actually a religious invocation: Haree means hail, while Ambe is a Hindu Goddess (ahem, a mere 2 years ago, when in high school, we used to call parties harees, as in ‘we are off to haree at carni’. Little did we suspect that we were deep in the Gujarati). It came into usage in Kenya courtesy of the Indians who built the Kenya-Uganda railway and would chant the phrase as they toiled under the gaze of man-eating lions.

Some of the symbols that have come under suspicion for promoting devilry and general evil include ‘a compass and square on the grilles at the entrance to St. Andrews Church, Masonic coffins on the church’s 30 windows and celestial globes on stairs leading to the main sanctuary.’ (See more here) Other symbols on the chopping board are the old church’s spiral which is a spear on top of a hut.

Rev. Githii’s faction has been opposed by one made up of some of the more prominent business leaders in the congregation who according to the press contend that “the targeted symbols and designs have been in the PCEA churches for more than a century and were simple Scottish internal decor engravings and patterns on stained glass windows with links to Freemasonry but not necessarily satanic.”

This faction, perhaps unknowingly, is clutching to the legacy of the Overseas Presbytery of the Church of Scotland which for almost half a century (until 1956) run the affairs of the church and only relinquished direct control in 1975 when the first African senior minister was installed. The glass stained windows that are the subject of Rev. Githii’s righteous wrath are a tangible connection to the colonial ‘history’ of the church. The faction that supports their maintenance shall eventually lose because it is unknowingly in the path of a historical tsunami.

In the past, I have argued that African Christianity is approaching an epochal break with its European roots. The separation of the moral domain of the Kenyan and of the European is the fundamental moment in decolonisation. It should not be a surprise that it is taking place within the church; an institution built on the possibility of transcendence much more so than any secular decolonisation idea. You are more than the sum of your parts in the church. In a moment you can be made whole: transformed from sinner to believer, from sickness to health and witness the dead brought to life. Whether this is true or not matters less than the extent to which it is believed.

During the brief encounter between the peoples in Kenya with European colonialism, there were periodic attempts to spurn the ‘white man’s ways’. Whether it is the Mau Mau or Lukas Pkech, a young Pokot man who was a follower of Elijah Masinde’s Dini of Msambwa and launched an armed rebellion against the British, religious belief has been ground zero in taking on the European yoke which crucially has been based far more on notions of moral superiority than on the Maxim gun.

The Rev. Githii’s of the world are going much further than Pkech who said ‘don’t listen to this man, he is our enemy. Haven’t we a god? We pray to you Jehovah. Who is Jesus? The wazungu say he is god but how could he be if he died?’ (quoted in Bethwell Ogot’s amazing essay in Mau Mau and Nationhood) Today’s rebels are not merely dissenting against colonialism, which is history anyway, they are remaking a moral house from the foundation up. This necessitates that they strive against the latest notion of European moral superiority: secular humanism. And they are taking this fight to the heart of the enemy.

In May 2005, while in the United States, Reverend Githii severed his denomination’s relationship with the National Capitol Presbytery and the Presbytery of Detroit over their ordaining of practicing homosexuals. He spurned the $300,000 in funding that his church receives from the PCUSA writing, “We find it unfortunate for you to question the inspiration of the Bible as the Word of God. This contradicts the message that the Western missionaries gave to us when our people first heard the gospel from them.”

In 2003, his counterpart in the Anglican Church, Bishop Simon Oketch, was almost beaten up by two Church of England colleagues on a London street. He had infuriated them over his uncompromising opposition to the appointment of the gay American pastor, Rev. Gene Kelly, as Bishop of New Hampshire. The Nigerian Anglicans, the largest congregation in that church followed suit by breaking longstanding links with the mother church in a rejection of its prerogative over them. Homosexuality is only the lightening rod. All manner of progressive civil freedoms will come under attack, most focusing on gender roles and sexuality.

There is irony in this. The western church has allowed the mores of secular society not because of reaching an enlightened understanding but by trying to stay relevant to a largely apathetic western public. Only in those areas where it retains a conservative ‘reactionary’ character has it thrived. The African church, rather than rebelling, seems to be saying: “You the progressives are the ones who are rebels who must be cast out of the house of God.”

This is a message that is gaining resonance in Africa where the church is growing faster than almost any other part of the world outside Mongolia. The explosions of sectarian violence worldwide leaving people in need of belonging and security; the march of democracy, which will reduce the power of the authorities to call the tune; and the proliferation of the means of communication will all combine to shrink the secular space and enlarge that of the believer. The nation, throughout all the countries in Christendom, has been erected on the foundations of the church. It will be no different in Kenya.

That Rev. Githii is willing to take aim at a national symbol such as Harambee is proof that his campaign shall not be limited to dissing the western church. Rather than participate in direct politics, the Kenyan church shall eventually absorb politics into the moral space that it is busy carving. Its strictures on the private will be so much stronger than the ideas that maintain the public sphere, creating an immense pressure – and possibly even violence aimed at unbelievers or the immoral etc. What now only seems to be a campaign for souls will eventually colonise increasingly larger parts of the public sphere.

The fact that the ‘centre’ – the collection of individuals and institutions that define national power – is so ideologically feeble and so dependent on western aid and political ideas will only hasten this process. Like Archbishop Rowan Williams who could only look on in helplessness and surrender as the Nigerians and Kenyans threatened to tear the Anglican Church to pieces over the issue of homosexuality, the Kenyan ruling classes will come to mime the moral positions advocated by the most popular of the churches.

I say enjoy your beers and mini skirts for the moment because they may not be with you in similar form for very long. Already, sectors of the government are taking a harsher line on drinking and other ’sin’ products all in the name of public safety and health. But it will soon become noticeable that as bars begin to close ever earlier, churches will stay open later.

In time, this trend will probably make for an intolerant and constricted social space, but one that will for the first time create the basis of a politics connected to the moral lives of a majority. Through fire and brimstone, laws and regulations that reduce all manner of secular freedoms – that I for one enjoy – a nation shall begin to take shape. Or at least that is what I hope.

 

Blogger’s note: That’s bad enough, but THIS is (an even sadder version of) the bad & ugly.

Another case of us denying kind/dred, eating our own, and desecrating the bones of our ancestors.

Taken from http://www.religionnewsblog.com/5478

Americans Got it All Wrong (read: (this) Afrikan got the crux of IT wrong)

Francis Ayieko. Dec 29, 2003.

Recently, the US State Department released the “2003 Annual report on International Religious Freedom” in which it accused the Kenya Government of “harassing” the Mungiki sect.

Although the report says that the people of East African countries enjoy enormous religious freedom, it criticises Kenya for “frequently harassing and periodically arresting and detaining” members of Mungiki.

[blogger’s note: read – the government also systematically targets activists, community workers, poor people, and freedom fighters under the guise of anti- Mungiki /terror/ism]

While the State Department may have every right to criticize any government that has no respect for the religious freedom of its people, its criticism of Kenya for allegedly harassing members of the outlawed sect is obviously misplaced.

That the report turns a blind eye to the many violent incidents members of the sect have been implicated in reeks of betrayal. Should the Government just watch as Mungiki kill and maim innocent Kenyans?

Since its activities came to light in the 1980s, the sect has been blamed for killing scores of people in Nairobi, Murang’a, Nyeri and Laikipia. In Nakuru, relatives of at least 20 people killed in Nakuru by the sect members are still struggling to come to terms with the loss. Is that what religion advocates?

The State Department’s assessment of religious freedom, especially with regard to its handling of Mungiki, may be weird but it has a precedent in Kenya itself.

Only four months after the Government banned the sect along with 17 other organisations in March last year (after Mungiki members were implicated in the massacre of 28 people in Nairobi’s Kariobangi Estate), the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK), released a report which praised some of the Mungiki practices and beliefs as “progressive”.

Titled “Mungiki Movement in Kenya: Religion-Political Analyses”, the report hailed the sect for preaching self-reliance, hard work and independence.

It was very unfortunate that the NCCK, the largest and oldest umbrella body for Kenyan protestants, considered female genital mutilation and tobacco-sniffing as the sect’s only “retrogressive practices”.

Claims by the NCCK official during the launch of the report that Mungiki members had been dismissed and dealt with violently was a very unfortunate move by a religious leader.

But the fact that the US State Department regards Mungiki as one of the religious groups in Kenya is proof of the muddle that religion has turned into. While religion may have played a role in the formation of the sect, observers believe that it is no longer a key characteristic of the group.

It claimed to espouse a return to Kikuyu traditional religion and cultural practices, much like the Tent of the Living God of Ngonya wa Gakonya. But today, its members are free to join any religion.

With its national co-ordinator Ndura Waruinge’s conversion into Christianity a few weeks ago, it should dawn on most sect members that it is time for soul-searching. It appears there is an inner cry in most Mungiki sect members for a religious attachment. This was seen last year when they decided to woo Muslims to become their allies. It failed.

Had it stuck to its initial mission of being a religious group that does not espouse the Western culture without being violent, no one would have bothered the sect. This is because cults and sects are hardly a new idea in Kenya.

The Nomiya group founded by “messiah” Elisha Adet in the 1920s is probably the oldest. But the largest was Dini ya Musambwa of Elijah Masinde. Though Masinde was known for violent brushes with the law between the 1940s and the 1960s, his followers never engaged in the kind of atrocities associated with Mungiki.

The only ugly legacy Masinde, who died in 1987, left for his followers was a deadly religious concoction on which he himself lived.

In Kenya, which is said to have more than 600 registered denominations and several hundred more that are unregistered, cults and sects seem to be a permanent feature. But Mungiki, which is now a group of ruffians, should never be regarded as one of them.

Mr Ayieko is the editor of EndTime News, a monthly Christian newspaper…….

 

en the crux (of the matter) is our solidarity. dadas in solidarity is the ‘dream’ of the Q werd, a coalition group seeded in response to the anti homosexuality bill tabled in Uganda last year…….if we can stop the bill, then we can deliver (more) services to our community, starting with using what we (already) got, the bigger point is we, dear readers, are the ones we’re looking for…..it’s not yet uhuru, but there WILL  be peace for those willing to fight for it……

to be continued…..

 Discography – (some) soundtrack (adaptations) of the Q werd

  1. Asa – 360 degrees, Fire on the Mountain
  2. Ayo – is this supposed to be love
  3. Bob Marley – Buffalo Soldier/Kaya/Zimbabwe
  4. Brenda Fassie – Nakupenda/Vulundlelas/Wedding Song
  5. Hanifah Walidah – Do you mind?
  6. K’naan –Somalia/Take a Minute/ Waving Flag
  7. Lamya – Empires/Lady Borderline
  8. Me’shell Ndegeocello – Beautiful
  9. Nneka – Africans, Beautiful, Changes, Gypsy, Warrior, Love: No longer at Ease trailer
  10. Sade – Soldier of Love/Sweetest Taboo/
  11. Shi Wisdom – just one of those nights
  12. Stella Chiweshe – mbira classics
  13. Weird MC – Riranwo

Queen Sekhmet, Dread Lioness of Khem(Egypt),

She who must be obeyed, the All Conquering Queen of Ethiopia

In indigenous afrikan cosmology, Sekhmet (also spelt Sachmet, Sakhet, and Sakhmet; Greek name: Sacmis), was the primodial war goddess. 

Her name suited her function, and means “the Conquering Lady” or (one who is) powerful, and she was also given titles such as (One) Before Whom Evil Trembles, and Lady of Slaughter. Sekhmet was also known as the Scarlet Lady, (a reference to blood) and the Avenger of Wrongs.

As the one who destroyed the evil relentlessly whilst protecting goodness she was hailed as Nyabinghi, in the upper sections of the Nile, near the borders of Southern Sudan and Uganda, ancient Ethiopia Kush the land of the first Pharaohs.

Sekhmet was She who protected the nation and the Pharaoh in peace and in war.  In wars the protection and strength of the Conquering Queen Mother of Ethiopia were the hopes of the Pharaohs, and in peace She was believed to stalk the land, destroying the enemies of the Pharaoh with arrows of fire.  Indeed it was said that death and destruction of the wicked and the oppressors were balsam for her heart, and hot desert winds were believed to be her breath.

The protection of the Pharaohs was such a crucial function in those time as the instutition was the source of all the tradition and stability of Kush and Khem.

The Pharaoh – the Great Black House – was the government of Egypt, the very soul and center of all the Black-Brown people of Africa.  It comprised of the King of Kush and Egypt and the college of priestly scientists, administrators, legislators and justices that guided and directed Black Africa.  This establishment governed Egypt for more than 3,000 years of its recorded existence and it was the key to its stability and longevity.

The Pharaoh was the source of justice, morality and righteousness.  The office of the King and Queen in the Pharaoh (the great Black House) was seen as the embodiment of the energy of the Sun…Ras. 

The king of Egypt was verily the living son of the great God amongst men.  As such it was crucial that the crucible of order and meaning be protected at all times.  And this was the key function of Sekhmet the Conquering Queen Mother of Ethiopia.  She was the mother and the protector of God!

The devotion of motherhood was also an aspect attributed to the Conquering Mother of Ethiopia, Sekhmet. She was viewed as a form of Hathor the primeval mother of humanity and the gods. As Hathor, she was seen as Atum’s mother.  Since Atum was but another name or aspect of the Kushitic/Khemitic God Amen, Sekhmet was also conceptualized as the mother of God.

In particular, she was seen as the mother of Nefertum, the youthful form of Atum, and so was said to have been Ptah’s lover. Ptah was the archetypal God and Nefertum’s father. Sekhmet, Ptah and Nefertum were thus the original triad of Gods, worshipped especially in the ancient Egyptian city of Memphis.

Sekhmet was the incarnation of the fearless lioness. She was the essence of the majesty, royalty, and power of the fierce lioness.  In art, she was depicted as such, or as a shoulder length dread locks African woman with the head of a lioness, dressed in red, the colour of blood. Given that lions were her totemic animals, tame lions were kept in temples dedicated to Sekhmet like the ones in the ancient Egyptian city of Leontopolis.

The cult of Sekhmet the Powerful Dread Lady of the south was and remains widespread in Africa and in the diaspora.  Sekhmet was known by different names at different time in different areas in Africa.  But her core role, function and attributes remained resiliently unaltered inspite of several local embellishments.  Sometimes, her identity was composited in the identity of a great ancestral female matriarch, and it was rationalized that Sekhmet had incarnated amongst humanity as that female matriarch.

In the animal kingdom Sekhmet ruled as the all powerful dread lock lioness and in the human kingdom she ruled as the Queen of Queens of Kush and Khem.  She was said to manifest in the physical world cyclically either as the lioness, her favourite totem or as the incarnation of an all powerful African Empress.  It is usually in the human form as an African Queen that Sekhmet prefers to leave her marks on humanity.

In parts of Africa where there one finds strong strains of ancient Ethiopian-Egyptian culture one finds Sekhmet composited with various localized strong women such as the Queen of Sheba and Queen Judith in ancient Ethiopia, Queen Amina in Zaira, Nigeria, Queen Kahina, the Black African Jewish Queen of the Berbers, Queen Moremi in the ancient Oyo Empire in Nigeria, Queen Idia in the ancient Benin Empire in Nigeria, Queen Ojedi among the Onitsha Igbos of Nigeria, Queen Nzinga in Angola, and Queen Nyabinghi Muhumusa of Uganda.
 

Origin Of Sekhmet

The Egyptian mythology teaches that in the golden age of the world that Ra (also Ras) himself the king and the father of the gods ruled Egypt himself.  This was the greatest age that Egypt had ever known and until the very end it was described as the age of perfection.

Ra ruled for so long in that time that men forgot the number of years he had been on the throne.  Eventually, even Ra got old, “for it was decreed that no man should rule forever and he had made himself man to live on earth and rule over Ethiopian and Egypt.  In his oldage, “his bones were like silver, his flesh like gold and his hair like lapis lazuli.”

Due to the onset of senility Ras was no more an effective fighter against Apophis the Dragon of Evil, who had subsequently grown bolder in his malfeasance and “sought ever to devour all that was good and bright and kissed by the sun.”

Presently the evil of Apophis entered into the soul of the ancient Africans and many of them rebelled against Ras and did evil in his sight and disrespected his works.

So Ras gathered the high Gods in high council, and he sent for the four living creatures that stand before his throne, Shu and Tefnut, Geb and Nut, and finally he sent for Nun the essence of the waters. 

Before this high and mighty council Ras made his interdiction against men, and he sought to pronounce a malediction against them for their evil, dirty, unrighteous and disrespectful ways. 

But Nun, speaking on behalf of the other Gods urged restraint.  Because the unconstrained wrath of Rastafari could burn up the earth in  totality, consuming the deserving with the undeserving.

So Nun speaking for the Gods called forth and surely, for the appointment of one enthusiastic and steadfast, one burning with sincere love and devotion for the majesty of the dynasty of Ras, one commited to the regency and hegemony of the righteous Empire, to arise and defend the integrity, and the solemnity, and the sanctity and the honour of the law and the works of Ra.

For as Nun argued, “if you send forth the burning glance of your eye to slay mankind, it will turn the land of Ithiopia and the entire world with it into a desert.  Therefore make a power that will smite men and women only; send out that which will burn the evil but not harm the good.  Send out Nyabinghi!”

Then Ras consented with the urging of the Gods.  “I will not send my burning glance upon the Africa, instead I will send my mother, my protector, the love of my heart to protect my holy works. I will send Nyabinghi.”

Even as he spoke, Sekhmet the dread lioness, the mighty lady of Africa, “She” who must be obeyed, sprang into being. Nyabinghi, away she sped into Africa, tearing through Egypt, Ethiopia, Punt, Asmara, Mocambique, even unto Azania in the South.  She slaughtered and devoured mankind until the Nile and the Niger ran red with blood and the earth besides it became desolate.

Before long the most wicked among men had been slain by the Sekhmet, the dread lioness mother of Ras, Queen of Queens of Africa, and the rest prayed to Ras for mercy.  And Ra spared them.

Ra spared them because he wished to spare this ungrateful humanity and grant them any indulgences for which he finds an excuse.  Also it is said some in places, that “Ras wished to spare them (humanity) for he hath no desire to slay all of mankind, and leave himself the ruler of a desolate and barren earth, with no human to sing and play with him.

Since then until this moment, even unto tomorrow,  the name and the essence of the lion goddess has lived with us, and will live with us, without any depletion of her sheer leonine potency.  Sekhmet, the Majestic Lady of power, She who must be obeyed,  the dread lioness goddess of ancient and modern Africa,  still lives dishing out judgement and fire, through word, sound and powerful action, to those who hate righteousness, to those who hate Jah, regardless of the colour of their skin. 

by

Jide Uwechia

January 28, 2007