[in-the middle hadithi…..Chapter5]                                      

Mentors and the Life of Youth

There are certain things without which young people cannot survive and flourish, and mentoring is one of them. Westerners see adolescents as fundamentally naive about life. By contrast, the tribal mentor sees a youth as someone who already contains all of the knowledge that he or she needs, but who must work with an older, more experienced person to “remember” what they know.

A mentor therefore is not a teacher in the strict sense of the term, but a guide who shows the way, working from a position of respect and affinity, addressing the knowledge within the young person. The pupil is not an ignorant person in the eye of her or his mentor. The pupil is seen as a storehouse, a repository of something the mentor is quite familiar with and very interested in, something the mentor themselves has and know very well. The mentor perceives a presence knocking at a door within the pupil, and accepts the task of finding, or becoming, the key that opens the door. There develops a relationship of trust between mentor and pupil, motivated by love, and without which success would be unlikely.

AWAKENING GENIUS

Mentoring is aimed at increasing security, clarity, and maturity in the young person. It seeks to develop the genius within a young person so that the youth can arrive at his, hir or her destination – the sharing of one’s gifts within the community….in Afrika, as elsewhere, the journey of a young person through adolescence is taken with the help of a mentor, so that the young person may grow into the mature adult who can live out her, hir or his purpose in the community, giving of one’s genius and receiving, in turn, the help of others.

At the core of mentoring is the understanding that genius must be invited out of a person. People carry to this world something important that they must deliver, and mentors help deliver that genius to the community. To see the genius in a young person is to give it the fertile ground required for it to burst forth and blossom, for it is not enough to be born into this world loaded with such a beauty.

The newborn must be assisted in giving birth to the genius that s/he is born with. Failure to do so kills the genius along with the person carrying it. The community responsible for the death of an inner genius is like an assassin. The community that is able to receive the person’s genius gives birth to an adult who is able to contribute his or her healing gifts to that community.

The West defines genius as a great intelligence, or an exceptional talent. I don’t reject that definition. But it is different from the indigenous definition, which sees genius as an open line that flows through a person from the Other World. It seems to me that limiting the meaning of genius to intelligence or talent displaces it from its real source, and privatizes it in the individual. If genius has no grounding in the sacred, then it becomes easy for the community to ignore it if it chooses. In the traditional context, the community does not have a choice. The community is obligated to awaken the newcomer’s genius, and the ritual welcoming of the newborn into this world is the community’s official acceptance of this responsibility….

Mentoring is a role that is assumed not strictly by age, but by ability and experience….but more parents and grandparents are mentors. It is not surprising to find mentors aged twenty-five to thirty years if the need and the knowledge are present. Similarly the people mentored cover a wide range of ages, at least with respect to the knowledge being exchanged in that relationship. This is because in indigenous Afrika, knowing means becoming old. To say that someone is old is to say that this person knows something or has experienced something valuable. Furthermore, the mature self is hardened in the field of experience by awareness. In contrast, the werd young refers not just to age but also to the absence of awareness.

The way villages are structured leaves no room for a young person to escape having a mentor. The cohesiveness and identity of a village require this kind of caretaking. Unlike loosely formed modern communities, where each person is preoccupied by his, hir or her own affairs, kijiji life requires that most things be done collectively because people are very tightly connected. Tight connecshun requires friction. In turn, friction among people deepens their sense of belonging. People bound by community are sure, at some point, to get on one another’s nerves. This is not considered a bad thing, but rather a part of the natural human experience…..

If mentors are spiritual parents, biological parents are stepping stones, the points of departure for children. At their best, biological mamas and babas are friends of their children. They can help their children as special friends do in times of need. But their limitation is to be almost helpless in the business of bringing out the child’s true spirit. This is where the mentor enters in, since his or her spirit becomes for the pikney a mirror of what the pikin is feeling inside. Consequently, their relationship has some content that is based on Spirit, in contrast to the paternal relationship, which is based on biology……

Chapter 6                                                            Elders and the Community

No matter what culture you belong to, certain personal situations and social relationships are inescapable. For example, common to everyone is the recurrent feeling of needing to expand and to grow. Similarly, you cannot help at certain points in your life feeling the need for the emotional, psychological, and social support of others. Everyone needs to come into some sort of visibility, some sort of recognition. Just as these experiences establish the need for a mentor, they also establish the need for elders. Where a mentor invites the genius of a youth to come out of its hiding, an elder blesses that genius, thereby allowing it to serve efficiently the greater good.

Zanele Muholi

We will be talking about two kinds of elders in this series (of hadithi), an elder in the formal sense of a village or community leader who helps community members coexist peacefully, and elders in the informal sense of people whose age makes them invaluable resources in community life……

The elder is as important to the community as the newborn, in that they both share proximity with the Other World, the ancestors’ world. The newborn just arrived from there, and the old one, the elder, is preparing to go there. The very young and the very old complement each other because they draw from one another. The very old honour youth as the source of collective physical stability and strength and as recent arrivals to this world, who are more closely connected to the ancestors….

Perhaps the respect owed to the elder derives from the perception that the elder is at this critical junction where the natural meets the supernatural and where the ancestors and the divine intersect with the humans. In indigenous Afrikan context, this is a place of great freedom and great responsibility. In effect, the elder is almost the only one in the village who can have things his, hir or her way.

But more important, the elder’s posture is rooted in their intimate connection to the balance between this life and the Other World without which village life would be a nightmare. Not only Dagara people have made up their minds that they can’t live without elders….indigenous belief in this is so strong that tribal communities cannot understand how cultures can thrive without elders, the same way that a modern person would have a hard time imagining a life without electricity and running water…..

[coming soon…. profiles of elders! from revised excerpts from The Healing Wisdom of Africa: Finding Life Purpose Through Nature, Ritual and Community by Malidoma Patrice Some]

Wahenga walisema, it is not taboo to go back and fetch what you forgot.

So the series starts before the turn of this century, not so long ago that many would have forgotten the major events in their lives, back in our youth’, when we analysed, questioned and instinctively rebelled, all the way to our growing (up) present selves, and our (collective) visions of the future.

Season one features 31 (+3) biomyth monodrama hadithi.

It only makes sense that we re-introduce ourselves, share the truth about our stories;

So we’ll start somewhere in the middle with these hadithi. In this place here, now…..

There are 4 afrikans (A,D,M en T) behind not only the q/t werd but, principally, the series that inspired dis’ quest for unity (with)in our diversity, Nekkyd.

There are also the growing villages, and the energies of many more who are weaving indigenUS & pan-afrikan narratives of ancestral memories and legacies; this tapestry includes those who are rebuilding healthy, loving, sustaining and sustainable communities.

[ between the lines: in The Q-t Werd is a vision of fundraising for yet another grassroots collective, bredrin en dadas in solidarity whose mission is to work on our own unity first by mobilising & sharing (capacity building) resources with grassroots groups working with queer/trans communities and sex workers in East & South Afrika.  Our inaugural project is the Queer/Trans Youth Arts Collective set to run in Kenya & Uganda from May 2011]

hapo zamani za kale, kulikuwa na (m)wana wa Obatala, Ogun, Olokun na Yemoja…….

hadithi no. 14 is for (the spaces between) nneka en nneke in

neKKyd: Each episode is a different journey inside Nneke’s (Tsholo Khalema) world as her wry observations take us into the mind of a screwed up, loved up, lustful queer world.

Being a lesbian is tough, Being a black immigrant Afrikan lesbian trying to fit in…

well lets just say, to survive you gotta know the RULEZ TA BEIN’ A STUD!

NEKKyD explores the world of Nneke Dumela and her earth-shattering lust for the gorgeous and sassy women

Hadithi no.13 is for Medusa en Molisa

bio(myth)drama: on using a pseudonym

molisa nyakale is a name that comes from my family. It is the name of my great-great-great-grandmother on my father’s side, and a mark-er of my true true home….claiming this name was a way to link my voice to an ancestral legacy of womban speaking

Molisa is originally from the Shona, maybe even the Ndorobo. Partially re/constructed from mawu-lisa. I first read about her in the stories of sista outsiders.

Nyakale was given to me in a marriage vow; I chose to keep the name but rejected the suitor’s proposal.

10 years ago: I was in my last year of high school, full of possibilities and already getting used to rebelling with (self)righteous causes….I was excited to go to the next level, pursue freedom where I thought I was surely bound to get it, in uni.

9 years ago: I was in my first year of university @ the United States International University – Africa,

I had fantasised about this land of (queer) dates, milk en honey/when I got out of ‘here’, dreamed of growing up and getting a loft of my own, like the one that Alex had in Flashdance, where I would grow passion fruit in the backyard and be surrounded by big city scapes; I (en)visioned driving a car like the one that Vanessa Williams drove in Dance with Me, but all that dramatically changed when I finally realised one of my big dreams.

8 years ago: I landed in Tdot –  Canada.

Bio/facts: Timelines that point not only to geographic locations, but also vastly different worlds betwixt en between ideologies, traditions and wealth

7 years ago: I was in my ‘first’ year of university at University of Toronto – Mississauga

Fiction/myths: lie in the names we’ve chosen, and (un)mask(ing)s discarded en nurtured in our quest to wholeness.

Facts: The village is necessary in re/locating our afrikan stories, the baba en mama of this biomyth-drama inspired and trans/formed by bredrin en dadas channelling the truth of their own stories in the practice of arts for revolushunary change en healing.

Bio/drama: My name/s have been rebellions, running to visions of betta lives. I first experimented with sounding alternate realities with word! when I was about 10 years old, from Henrialovna en Henrievna to Nyakale

4 years ago: the seeds of the Q/t werd were planted at the Inside Out festival with hadithi yetu!, and in Vancouver with 31 stories

2 years ago: the Q/t werd travelled to great rivers and re/discovered their source

Over a year ago: the Q/t was reborn in the Ngong Forest Sanctuary.

This year: we launched Nekkyd & The Q/t werd in ‘foreign’ lands, aka. these spaces that are our homes (for) now, documenting our individual and collective quests to continue fulfilling our destinies with bredrin en dadas in solidarity & colour spill productions…..

Hadithi no.3 is for cee as the crux, in swagger; en cea walker in “i”

These are (some of) the legends of the q/t werd…..

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.

 Open letter to Tdot;

On Friday July 23rd, children and their companions will proceed on a path of peace, before that, we’ll meet to pray for grandmother earth and all our relatives @ taylor creek park, and after we will break/fast together…..

The  ”peace-is-possible” parade plan is to converge @ the parking lot of Shopper’s World, 3003 Danforth at 10:00am,

The parade starts @ 11:00am, and we’ll parade west along the danforth to dawes road, and north to (a picnic lunch in) taylor creek park

@ 1:00pm – the matinee of ‘The Space Between’ by The Peace Camp @ the peace theatre

[blogger’s notes: one version of the peace is possible parade is something like]

Drum circle with the funketeers

6:30AM – Sunrise ceremony  – Yoruba house project

A/(c)/r/ti/vists & volunteers hub

8:00 – (community) breakfast  @ the peace theatre

9:30 – Yoga class – the people project

10:00 – Dance class – house of munro

11:00 – parade led by the samba kidz & the piper: Merril Matthews

11:30 – water stop @ Dentonia  Park United Church

11:45 – silent “B.O.P” march with LAL

 

NOON  – lunch @ taylor creek park – afghan women’s catering group

 

1300 – MATINEE: THE SPACE(S) BETWEEN – outdoor amphitheatre @ the (children’s) peace theatre

305 Dawes Road

1800 – outdoor film screening @ The peace theatre

 red lips [cages for black girls] & trailers of Walking in Victor’s shoes/Nekkyd en The q[‘t] werd series

 

2000 – tambor