Why is Nairobi mythologized as the crossroads of the heart of [moyo wa] Afrika? The answer is as simple as the riddle of the sphinx; it’s  where Makmende was (re)born.

Check dis hadithi….hadithi? Hadithi njoo! Uongo njoo! Utamu kolea! Nipe mji?

Nilienda Abuja, Addis Ababa, Benghazi, Brooklyn, Cape town, Cairo, Dar-es-salaam, Harare, Joburg, Kampala, Kigali, Kingston, Lagos, London, Misrata, Port of Spain, Rajasthan, Tdot, Tripoli na Nairobi

Hapo Wahenga walisema “The freedom and development of the Afrikan woman are indispensable to the freedom and emancipation of the Afrikan people”
(Ahmed Sekou Toure) n
a pia,the revolution is not a one time event” (Audre Lorde)   

[There’s a story I know it’s about the earth and how] when spider webs unite they can tie up a lion. [an] Amharic proverb

As long as I been in dis other ‘Britannia’ called Turtle Island, I’ve had to rely on memories en lived experiences like these of….

the spaces between where I grew up and the city that I came back to and [ran away from again], seeking replenishment, re-learning en living vicariously thru [#hadithi ya] Bredrin and sistas in solidarity speaking truth to powah!

With dis blog doing the best it can to archive the metamorphosis of Hadithi zetu in different worlds, from the shores of Afreeka to the diaspora of righteousness

Ai also been co-creating adventures to fulfill vivid dreams harboured for learning villages sustained with a courageous love…with native super/sheroes inspired by honourable legends, working on this thing called Ubuntu…..

these ndoto [dreams] always have me, you en we, as  holistic individuals  in a matrix of pan-Afreekan villages of star youth, mamas, babas en elders doing the best we can to serve our God, ourselves and others

In another place, not here…..Makmende has not only returned, he’s revised everything we [think we] know from creation stories to the truth about Santa, the easter bunny,  AFRICOM, the tooth fairy, Mayan prophecies and the United States of Afreeka

Makmende is [like] a universal archetype ‘he believes that life, true life, is something that is stored in music. True life was kept safe in the lines of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin while you went out in the world and met the obligations required of you. Certainly he knew (though did not completely understand) that hip hop wasn’t for everyone, but for everyone he hoped there was something. The records he cherished, the rare opportunities to see a live performance, those were the marks by which he gauged his ability to love.’ (Bel Canto – 5)

Kwa hivyo, if Makmende is the food of memes then Britannia Zimeisha is the mama of Afrika, so what’s next Abscondita?

Introduction

We are calling for a circle and invite you to join with us. We yearn for safe spaces within which to be authentic, trusting, caring and open to change. We are searching for a way of life that embraces wisdom and compassion as its core principles.

By “wisdom” we mean deep insight into the interdependence of all phenomena, into the ways we are connected and how the strength of each one of us is vital to the whole. By “Compassion” we mean the deep feeling that comes when we recognize our soul’s reflection in another person, when that other person’s pain or joy becomes our own.

We know that the place to begin is within our own hearts and minds…….we want to share our efforts in self discovery, grassroots activism and spiritual inquiry in the company of kindred spirits….

so we invite you to come sit with us in a circle, meeting heart to heart, re-learning from each other’s life experiences and honouring the values that sustain our lives.

This is a place for deep truth telling, for practising a way of relating to each other that can become the norm for all our relationships. This is also a place for recognizing our own unique talents and abilities.

We will pass the talking stick and take turns speaking to our basic inquiry:

How can we continue to survive, hope, dream and thrive during dis time of global tumult? Can you listen from the heart without judgement, without resistance, to the urgencies of a soul longing to be heard? Can you speak from the heart, expressing your truth as you best know it? and will you choose your words carefully, with sensistivity to their impact? Can you express gratitude to those who bear witness to your werds?

Will you sit in silence and wait for deeper thoughts and feelings to rise?

Can you give voice to dis (not-so) new form of community pressing to be re-born?…….

The Ten Constants

No two wisdom circles are alike, yet there are elements that all wisdom circles share.

The wisdom circle is shaped by a set of guidelines called The Ten Constants.

This format has been inspired by councils of indigenous peoples, informed by the legacies of our ancestors and support and dialogue groups, and drawn from our own experience.

We’ ve also investigated group relations theory, mediation techniques and circle-forming traditions such as juma(a) khutbas and Quaker meetings.

We want to help you re-create and sustain your own circle, using the Ten Constants.

A set of guidelines, they also reflect the intentions of a wisdom circle – the shared values and deep purposes common to all wisdom circles, no matter what their individual aims are.

For example, expressing gratitude and acknowledging our interdependence are basic to every wisdom circle. Because it’s useful to learn “the basics”   in any endeavour, we’ve devoted a blog post to each of the constants. We ask you to read these posts slowly.

The better you grasp the constants, the more confidence you will feel in leading and participating in your own group

[revised excerpts from Wisdom Circles: A Guide to Self Discovery and Community Building in Small Groups]

[i,S.I.Sprayer: I give thanks for yesterday and tomorrow, I pray that the blessings of yesterday carry into tomorrow… I give thanks for jamii, bless my family, and all those show share their love with and pray for me, and those around me ….. I give thanks for the continued guidance and protection from my ancestors, give thanks for the fruits of co-creating big love gatherings with Bredrin and dadas in solidarity (collectives like Black Queer Resistance and Women’s Health in Women’s Hands); give thanks for the honour of  witnessing My Barbarian and sharing space with community as envisioned en invited by Post-Living Ante-Action Theater (PoLAAT)  in “The Chamber” of  Buddies in Bad Times Theatre,  give thanks for the spaces between celebrashun, vigils,  wisdom circles and all the wondrous possibilities being dreamed, organised and manifested by those spreading love, hope and positivity in abundance….I pray for help in forgiving my enemies, help to love my enemies, and to turn enemies into friends…so much tings to pray for….I pray to be humble, loving, and strong…pray for knowledge and wisdom, and for peace….bless the motherless and fatherless, bless those who are sick, bless our youth coming into their right destinies, bless our elders, bless our freedom fighters and peace makers, bless our healers, bless dunia yetu…]

I’m sharing what connects me to others, stories that are close(st) to home –  the realities not only of bredrin and dadas on the continent, en in the diaspora, but all our living relatives…sharing moments of silence, deep breaths, cleansing tears, communion with loved ones and prayers for forgiveness for  those who saw David Kato as an enemy….forgive us (Great) Mother, for those sins we know and don’t know about, and those we are yet to commit…bless wale wanaospread upendo in abundance….ase….

 

From Gay Uganda – http://gayuganda.blogspot.com/2011/01/kato-david-kisule.html

I am in shock.

Literal shock. Just heard that one of our members, a prominent gay activist, an out and out man, who has been at the forefront of the gay rights movement in Uganda, David Kato Kisule was murdered. Dead, a blunt instrument to the skull.

Dead. In Lugazi Hospital at the moment.

What to do? Shock. Shock, shock.

So, I write, to try and express that which I feel. But, what can words express?

Kato. A disturbed friend. One of our very special brand of radical activists. He used to say that he was one of the very ‘out’ if not the first out gay man in Uganda.

And, yes, he was one of the people whose photo appeared in the Rolling Stone, one of the three plaintiffs who sued, and won the court case.

Yes, I am paranoid. I wonder whether it had any bearing. Whether that had bearing….!

Impossible, most likely, to prove cause and effect. We just don’t know. And, we are most likely to strike out in our grief at the nearest enemy.

But, is it a coincidence?

Gosh.

——-

Shock indeed.

Just settled down. Apart from trying to inform lots of other people who have already received the news. I have to settle down, get some rest, and then prepare for work tomorrow. Cannot just bounce off just like that.

But, I need to settle down. The shock, the realisation of all the things we fear, and brush off, and hope never ever to face. But, one of our own is gone.

Gone in a violent way. Gone, for reasons that I am as yet to know, or figure out… Oh gosh.

—-

More settled now, but no less shocked. That is what it does to you, a sudden death like this.

David was apparently killed in his home, by a person or persons unknown. Yes, there is a suspect, or suspects. Problem with investigations in Uganda is the fact that what is not verified will always remain in the realms of conjecture.

What remains is that we have lost one of our most prominent firebrands. Indeed, he was on the front page of the Rolling Stone with Bishop Ssenyonjo. Remember, the one with the caption to ‘Hang Them’.

And yes, he was one of the three who sued the Rolling Pebble, and won.

 

[I,s.i.s note: and for those us still living…..]

A LITANY FOR SURVIVAL

For those of us who live at the shoreline
standing upon the constant edges of decision
crucial and alone
for those of us who cannot indulge
the passing dreams of choice
who love in doorways coming and going
in the hours between dawns
looking inward and outward
at once before and after
seeking a now that can breed
futures
like bread in our children’s mouths
so their dreams will not reflect
the death of ours:

For those of us
who were imprinted with fear
like a faint line in the center of our foreheads
learning to be afraid with our mother’s milk
for by this weapon
this illusion of some safety to be found
the heavy-footed hoped to silence us
For all of us
this instant and this triumph
We were never meant to survive.

And when the sun rises we are afraid
it might not remain
when the sun sets we are afraid
it might not rise in the morning
when our stomachs are full we are afraid
of indigestion
when our stomachs are empty we are afraid
we may never eat again
when we are loved we are afraid
love will vanish
when we are alone we are afraid
love will never return
and when we speak we are afraid
our words will not be heard
nor welcomed
but when we are silent
we are still afraid

So it is better to speak
remembering
we were never meant to survive

– Audre Lorde, The Black Unicorn

Ase, Ase, Ase…….


[I,S.I.S prayer:

I give thanks for yesterday, today and tomorrow…..

give thanks for all the love and resources shared not only here in

[dis’ (almost) world wide matrix of the] internet, but in ‘real’ time,

with rebuilding sustainable villages in diverse communities and spaces.

Bless my family, friends, and enemies, and I pray not to have enemies… Bless all our living relatives…

I give thanks for the positive resistance, transformation, and renewal in 2010, and the exciting (not-so) new possibilities of 2011…

Nashukuru Mama Afreeka na dunia, nashukuru orisha…..

[I give thanks for the guidance of our ancestors, give thanks to the orishas… ]

Bless the motherless and fatherless, bless those sick in hospital, Bless those who spread positivity in abundance… Bless our youth, elders, en those who are yet to come, and I pray that we continue to come into our right destinies. I pray for forgiveness…for health, long life, happiness and prosperity not only for myself, but others….. Bless dis earth o…..ase, ase……. ]

As years of (pan) Afreekan renaissance go, werd on the ground, and the love spreading in abundance are clear signs that big tings’ been going on in the past years, en the fiya dis time is in our quest to share resources with folks we love, respekt and admire so, for our cherished collectives….these are the contexts and storyboards of the q_t werd….

(Is) Kenya’s new port the end of lamu’s cultural heritage? http://pambazuka.org/en/category/features/69659

Indigenus encounters diaspora hadithi

Pan-afrikan postcards

Of living legends

Na nia yetu

 “Friends are angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.”

Born in the womb of two brothas that (not only) I love, respekt en admire so, there’s a story I know that goes like El-Farouk Khaki en Troy Jackson seeded Human Positive last year, in response to the backlash that the brothas received for publicly standing in support of Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, Palestinian rights, and criticising the state of Israel. Or so one version of the hadithi (story) goes…

Dis grassroots organisation has been nourished in expanding el-tawhid families (of loving ‘mis-fits’) en evolving collectives of muslim (identified) folks, and is rooted in principles of big love like salaam and ubuntu. Or so another version of the hadithi goes….

The bigger point is, big tings a gwaan with H.P’s programming for next year…..

These are some of the (s)heroes of the Q_t werd: a doc exploring (as ) many intersections of our diversity (as we can), and the possibilities of building revolushunary solidarity, in dub: in a caravan of us-people hadithi of (our vision) quests.

The riddle of the sphinx is in the connecshuns among the legends of GALCK, Human Positive, Fahamu, The People Project, Bredrin en dadas in solidarity, Nneka and Nneke Dumela

 Jus one of the many revolushunary organisations that we love, respekt and admire so, the ones that we have grown with en learnt so much from on building communities of (good) practice and the struggle for Afrikan liberation….

http://blog.trustafrica.org/blog.php?/archives/45-Hakima-Abbas-reflects-on-African-philanthropy.html

http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/68376

these are (some of)  the hadithi of the q_t werd [ on the ground]…

the ones that haven’t been published (yet)….

Proposal – Queer African Reader

Project Consultant: Sokari Ekine
Proposed Editors: Sokari Ekine, Hakima Abbas

We are writing to invite you to participate in the publication of an African LGBTI Reader to be published by Pambazuka Press in June 2011. The African LGBTI Reader is being published in response to the increasing homophobia and transphobia across the continent which aims to silence the voices of African Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Intersex people.

The African LGBTI Reader [Working Title] seeks to make a timely intervention by bringing together a collection of writings and artistic works that engage with the struggle for LGBTI liberation and inform sexual orientation and gender variance. The book seeks to engage with primarily an African audience focusing on intersectionality and will include experiences from rural communities, post-conflict situations, religious experience as well that of immigration and displacement.

We are proposing an alternative framework for the book based on a participatory model in which we ask prospective contributors and the broad queer activist community to discuss possible topics to be included that will push analysis and thinking within this distinct and diverse movement across the continent writing from the standpoint of both personal stories and experiences as activists. We feel this is important because of the multi layered issues which exist historically, regionally and politically with regards to sexual orientation and gender variance in Africa as well as the overall struggle for African liberation.

We hope to facilitate the writing of key African LGBTI leaders, activists and thinkers by providing a two week retreat where activists can create the space to reflect, share their ideas and writing, peer review each other’s work, have access to sources and resources provided by prominent academics and the institution. The writing retreat will be fully sponsored and contributors will be provided an honorarium for their writing which will enable them to take the time away from their activities to provide a critically reflective piece.

Possible Topics – not including personal stories, poems, stories

We have identified eight themes which are listed below with a brief summary of each. We are suggesting each of you think about the theme[s] that interest you and suggest specific topics on which you could write or would like to see addressed.

1. WHAT’S IN A LETTER:

We repeatedly use the terms lesbian, gay, bi-sexual transgender and intersex but what do these mean in your own experience, your own community and country? How limiting or inclusive are these labels? Are they appropriate and do they reflect your own experiences? Does the identity cause more problems than the behavior? Does gender variance or gender non-conforming provide a more appropriate entry point for discussion in Africa given silence around all sexualities? How do we organize across definitions? Why should we?

2. RESISTING OPPRESSION – TOWARDS LIBERATION:

What kind of strategies have been used or could be taken up to resist / challenge queer oppression?

Should we be talking about movement-building? What conceptualisations, experiences and visions of movements do we have / should there be?

Should the struggle for LGBTI Rights be framed within a Western construct which sees Rights as instruments and legislation or should the struggle for rights be constructed within a framework of movement building around which the oppressed organise?

How has the reliance on the NGO Industrial complex supported or hindered movement building? If the latter, what possible alternatives are there to organising and fund raising? How can we move towards more collaborative and collective ways of working which support movement building? What kind of strategies have been used or could be taken up to resist / challenge criminalisation and homophobia including that coming from religious institutions and the media? How should we understand and transcend the limits of the NGO-dominated activist space?

3. PINK COLONIALISM AND WESTERN MISSIONARIES:

What are the problematics of internationalising campaigns and how do we work with allies in the West? How do we overcome donor dependence as a movement? Do the donors and bilaterals save us from ourselves? How do we measure victory e.g. in Malawi and Uganda?

4. A CHANGING WORLD: SOUTH AFRICA AND THE BRICS:

Does South Africa have a particular role to play in supporting queer liberation in Africa? Does the shift in global power create opportunity or threat for African queer liberation? What other geo-political factors determine the course for queer liberation?

5. AFRICAN QUEER LIBERATION AND CLASS STRUGGLE:

What are the intersections between the broader social justice movement in Africa and the movement for queer liberation? Why should one care about the other?

6. ARE GAY MEN FEMINISTS?

What political frames are useful in our movement building? While LBT activists have tended towards feminism does it exclude GT men? How do we address patriarchy and sexism in our movements and personal relationships even among women-identified folks? Why do many straight identified African feminists resist taking on queer issues as a feminist issue in Africa?

7.         GOD AND QUEER –

INCOMPATIBLE OR INSEPARABLE IN AFRICA

Does the movement have to come from a secular space? Given that many African queer folks identify as religious how do we overcome fundamentalism?

The US right wing church are using Africa as a battleground for queer bashing – why is this effective?

What of countries with majority Muslim populations or Islamic law for queer liberation?

What is liberation theology today from a queer liberation and broader social justice perspective?

What are our strategies here?

Are there existing experiences of this, and what can we learn from there? What are the conceptual, spiritual and strategic challenges that the concept of liberation theology throws up to religious queers?

8. RECONCILING THE PERSONAL WITH THE POLITICAL:

What particular role has been/can be played by those engaged in activism through the creative arts? What has been/is the personal cost to working as social justice activists often working in relative isolation and in hostile environments? How can we better balance our lives as social justice activists with that of social people and the need to care for ourselves?

Submissions can be any of the following: essays, case studies of lived experiences on any of the suggested themes, personal stories, poems, art work, photography, short stories, short plays.

Submissions are welcome from Africans both on the continent and in the diaspora.

Download the Concept Note here.

http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/Announce/67004

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

Lakini kwanza….]

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

The 7 living/en/working principles are 

language, orality,

political context (or protext),

rhythm, urgency, sacredness, and integrity:

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

according to artistic director d’bi.young.

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

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

herstory

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

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

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

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

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

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

I

How much love can I pour into you I said

Before it runs out of you

Like undigested spinach

Or shall i stuff you

Like a ritual goose

With whatever you think

You want of me

And for whose killing

Shall I grow you up

To leave me

To mourn

In the broken potsherds

Upon my doorstep

In silent tears of the empty morning?

But I’m not going anywhere you said

Why is there always

Another question

Beyond the last question

Answered

Out of your mouth

Another storm?

It’s happening

I said

II

Whenever I look for you the wind

Howls with danger

Beware the tree arms scream

What you are seeking

Will find you

In the night

In the fist of your dreaming

And in my mouth

The words became sabers

Cutting my boundaries

To ribbons

Of merciless light

IV.

You say I yam

Sound as a drum

But that’s very hard to be

As you covers your ears with academic parchment

Be careful

You might rip the cover

With your sharp nails

And then I will not sound at all.

To put us another way

What I come wrapped in

Should be familiar to you

As hate is

What I come wrapped in

Is close to you

As love is

Close

To death

Or your lying tongue

Surveying the countries of our mouths.

If I were drum

You would beat me

Listening for the echo

Of your own touch

Not seeking

The voice of the spirit

Inside the drum

Only the spreading out shape

Of your own hand on my skin

Cover.

If I ever really sounded

I would rupture your eardrums

Or your heart.

V.

Learning to say goodbye

Is finding a new tomorrow

On some cooler planet

Barren and unfamiliar

And guiltless.

It costs the journey

To learn

Letting go

Of the burn-out rockets

To learn  how

To light up space

With the quick fiya of refusal

Then drift gently down

To the dead surface of the moon.

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