So like we’ve blogged  en said before, dis’ documentary/series is a work in progress: like we have a summer’s worth of footage,  yet we’re still developing the storyboard, still deciding (the rest of) our core characters from the 32 (and then some) stories we collected, still trying to get another camera, laptop and editing software, funding, jus’ to start….the bigger point is we hustling to manifest our dreams of a video project and (going) back-to afrika movement/s

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ke67lHxPf8A&feature=related]

So far we’ve got our ABCDE/Fn’G’s (H! ….to P will debut in November )

a is for afrika [is for anitafrika dub theatre! is for amai kuda is for audrey mbugua…..]

is the crux of dis’ here doc

En b is for black august [is for blockorama en blockobana is for bredrin en dadas in solidarity]

Are (some of) the visions of our quest

C is for colour spill productions  [is for cee swagger is for cea walker is for chan mubanga]

Some of the real/live legends of this doc

D is for Dini Ya Msambwa: our ancestral memories

En E is for (the spaces between) Elijah Masinde and Elijah Wilson

That’s wussup.

Hadithi? Hadithi? Hadithi njoo…..Sahani? ya……Giza? ya……

Kesho (kutwa) on the Q/t werd, F n’ G en people we’re learning from, who’re educating others in the practice of freedom and reclaiming indigenous afrikan knowledge systems.

August 1 is Emancipation Day in Canada and other countries that were once British colonies. Africans who had been enslaved in Antigua, Canada and South Africa were freed on August 1, 1834.

Africans who had been enslaved by the British in several Caribbean islands including Barbados, Dominica, Trinidad and Jamaica, in British Guiana (Britain’s sole South American colony) and in British Honduras (Britain’s sole colony in Central America) were subjected to a system of “apprenticeship” which lasted from 1834 to August 1, 1838.

Africans were forced to continue living on the plantations of the people who had enslaved them and worked 40 hours a week without pay (paid a pittance for work over 40 hours) as “apprentices.” They were forced to pay taxes and rent for the dreadful hovels in which they dwelled on the plantations. In 1838 two British men Thomas Harvey and Joseph Sturge documented the brutality of the “apprenticeship” system when they published The West Indies in 1837: Being the Journal of a Visit to Antigua, Montserrat, Dominica, St Lucia, Barbados and Jamaica, Undertaken for the Purpose of Ascertaining the Actual Conditions of the Negro Population of Those Islands. Harvey and Sturge wrote;

“A new kind of slavery under the name Apprenticeship; an anomalous condition, in which the negroes were continued, under a system of coerced and unrequited labour.” They also observed that “the planters have since succeeded in moulding the Apprenticeship into an almost perfect likeness of the system they so unwillingly relinquished.

An equal, if not greater amount, of uncompensated labor, is now extorted from the negros; while, as their owners have no longer the same interest in their health and lives, their condition, and particularly that of mothers and young children, is in many respects worse than during slavery.”

While the Africans were suffering in slave like conditions under the apprenticeship system, white people in Britain were in self congratulatory mode. The Guardian, a British newspaper, published the following piece dated Saturday August 2, 1834:

“Throughout the British dominions the sun no longer rises on a slave. Yesterday was the day from which the emancipation of all our slave population commences; and we trust the great change by which they are elevated to the rank of freemen will be found to have passed into effect in the manner most accordant with the benevolent spirit in which it was decreed, most consistent with the interests of those for whose benefit it was primarily intended, and most calculated to put an end to the apprehensions under which it was hardly to be expected that the planters could fail to labour as the moment of its consummation approaches. We shall await anxiously the arrivals from the West Indies that will bring advices to a date subsequent to the present time.”
Meanwhile on Saturday August 2, 1834, a group of Africans were on their second day of demonstrations in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad because they were furious that complete freedom was still 6 years away. Africans in the Caribbean had learned that those who worked in the fields would be apprenticed until 1840 and those who worked in the homes of the slave holders or were skilled tradesmen would be apprenticed until 1938. It is hardly surprising that on August 1, 1834 a group of angry Africans had gathered at Government House in Port of Spain. Governor George Fitzgerald Hill sent the militia out to intimidate the group but the furious Africans stood their ground recognizing that the “apprenticeship” system was a scam used by the white plantation owners and the government representatives in the Caribbean to use free African labour for a further 6 years. In spite of the presence of the militia, the protest continued until nightfall when the protesters strategically withdrew because they were not allowed to be in the town during the night.

On Saturday August 2nd, when the group of protesters returned to Government House, Hill gave the order to arrest them. There were scuffles with the militia and some of the protesting Africans were arrested, tried, sentenced to hard labour and flogging and taken to the Royal Jail. Their incensed compatriots were forced to flee but returned on the Monday to continue the protest. The numbers had swollen by Monday and there were more clashes with the militia. Some of those who were arrested on the Monday were publicly flogged in Marine Square. The protests continued the entire week before it was quelled, but several of the Africans refused to return to the plantations and instead “squatted” in districts known today as Belmont and East Dry River.

On July 25th, 1838, Governor Hill called an emergency session of the Council of Government to seek approval of a special proclamation he had drafted which ended the apprenticeship period for Africans in Trinidad on August 1, 1838 whether they worked in the fields, homes or were skilled workers. Africans throughout the region protested their continued enslavement under the Apprenticeship system and on August 1, 1838 slavery was abolished in all the British colonies.

Since the abolition of slavery Africans have celebrated August 1st as Emancipation Day or August Monday. British author J.R. Kerr-Ritchie in his 2007 published Rites of August First: Emancipation Day in the Black Atlantic World: Antislavery, Abolition, and the Atlantic World has written about the global impact of August 1.

In her 2010 published Emancipation Day: Celebrating Freedom in Canada, African Canadian author Natasha Henry has researched and written about the history of August 1 celebrations throughout Canada including the connection of Caribana (modeled on Trinidad’s carnival) to Emancipation Day.

The government of Trinidad and Tobago was the first of the former British Caribbean countries to declare August 1 a National holiday in 1985.

In 1997 the Caribbean Historical Society (CHS) of Trinidad and Tobago, supported by the Ontario Black History Society (OBHS) advocated for global recognition of August 1st as Emancipation Day.

The OBHS has been successful in gaining recognition of August 1st as Emancipation Day at the Municipal and Provincial level and close to gaining recognition at the Federal level.

On August 1st the OBHS will host an Emancipation Day event at Nathan Philips Square.

Peace is possible (prayers)

I pray for health en prosperity not only for myself, but for others. Bless our healers en peace-makers. Bless the homeless, motherless and fatherless. Bless those sick in hospital. Bless all our relatives. Bless those who pray for us, and their families. Bless our wotas en grandmama earth.

[BLOGGER’S NOTES: I give thanks that the blessings of yesterday are still here today, and I pray that they may be carried to tomorrow. I am reminded every day I go to work that “peace is possible”….. that we have to work, organise, play, reason & sing [for] it, every minute of our lives.  

I give thanks that I have such good, loving folks en pikney surrounding me, every day that I go into work, and I give thanks that I’m actually getting paid for this shit, to work for peace, and work divine/love-ly tings with government money…

I give thanks that I get to work with en teach youth right close to home, give back to my hood, and I give thanks that I was guided (to) here, where I technically/really should know more of my neighbours (forgive my sins those that I do, and don’t know about. Forgive my foolishness) ]

As we pray, we will fully understand that we are all connected. And that what we create can have lasting effects on all life.

So let us unite spiritually, All Nations, All Faiths, One Prayer. Along with this immediate effort, I also ask to please remember July 23rd, Peace is Possible Parade and Prayer Day/Honoring Egungun/Sacred Sites day. Whether it is a natural site, a temple, a church, a synagogue or just your own sacred space, let us make a prayer for all life, for good decision making by our Nations, for our children¹s future and well-being, and the generations to come.

Onipikte (that we shall live),

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