[re/posted]scribbles from the den

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

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

Dori Moreno

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

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

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


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

Jeanette Verster’s Photography

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

Brand South Africa Blog

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

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

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

‘*** I love SA ***

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

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

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

Constitutionally Speaking

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



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

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

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

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

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



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

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

Up Station Mountain Club

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

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



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

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

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



Kumekucha

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

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

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

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


BROUGHT TO YOU BY PAMBAZUKA NEWS

* Dibussi Tande blogs at Scribbles from the Den.

 

(re) introducing the q[/t] werd: a video diary

It ain’t no mystery that we (been) preparing for dis’ (not-so) new film & video projects: nekkyd & the Q[/T] werd. 

season 1 features 32[+4]stories en the magic is in  retelling of OUR stories

some of the [extra] ordinary people featured [en behind the scenes] include: anitafrika dub theatre, blackness yes! and blockorama, bombastic kasha, bunge la mwananchi, bredrin and dadas in solidarity, colour me dragg, [is] the crux, deb singh, Elijah Masinde, elimu sanifu, faith Nolan, funkasia, the funketeers, gender education and advocacy project, house of munro, Ishtar, kalmplex, nikki mawanda, nneke dumele, red lips. cages for black girls, swagger, tajudeen abdul raheem, victor mukasa, en the Yoruba house project

A love letter to rafikis, [aka.] bredrin and dadas in solidarity.

 

b is for blackness yes! and blockorama

here’s (yet) another article by my brotha (of another mama), simiyu barasa

Nairobi, KENYA – ‘Pornography is the theory, Rape is the practice’ -Robin Morgan

Pornography has, literally,been viewed from all angles. In universities, ladies have dropped from literature classes after reading Ayi Kwei Armah, D.H.Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover, and David Maillu’s After 4.30, claiming that they are pornographic. Yet in the movie halls films on sex are the craze, and one can’t visit any room without finding the roommates reading glossy porn magazines. One of the ladies, disgusted by all this, almost burnt magazines because the pictures used to advertise cars “expose too much” of the feminine body and thus are ‘pornographic.’ She claims that pornog raphy subordinates women, triggers and promotes violence against women, is immoral, dirty, perverted and bad. But is pornography really to blame for all this?

There has been controversy even in the feminist literary circles, where one group advocates for a total ban on pornography because it denigrates women and another group promotes pornography because they think that it liberates women. It is therefore important that all gender activists debate on the contemporary literary dialectics of feminism, female sexuality and pornography.

What exactly is pornography? Probably the best attempt at its definition is given by Andrea Dworkin, a feminist writer, and her lawyer compatriot, Catherine Mackinnon. Known as the Dworkin /Mackinnon ordinance, it summarises pornography as “. .. the graphic, sexually explicit subordination of women through pictures and/or words” that also includes those in which women enjoy being raped, are seen as sex objects, reduced to their sexual organs, are seen as whores by nature, or as being penetrated by objects or animals.

When our girl says she walked out of the movie hall because the pornography shown there depicted women as sexual objects, she implies that a woman is a tangible object. Raping a woman indeed is treating her as a sex object. Is it the same as in Dambudzo Marechera’s streams of consciousness in House of Hunger, where it is the mental act of fantasizing about having sex with her, a similar case of treating her as a sex object?

By focusing on the ‘body’, we exclude the ‘mind’.

Linda Moncheck in Feminist Politics and Feminist Ethics recognises liberal feminists who see sexual objectification based on physical bodies as what has domesticated women, shackling them to domestic duties and making them mere sex objects to their husbands. They have to eradicate this and press for access to economic and political power that will emancipate them. This is through doing ‘mind’ jobs like astronauts, doctors, etc.

In literature, and especially writing by women, this creates a problem. Don’t women want to be treated as objects of sexual pleasure when they dress up nicely for dinner? Is this not a form of sexual objectification? What then makes one form of sexual objectification good and another one bad?

In the movies and drama, don’t the women want to hear their perfect figures praised? They surely do not want to be treated like philosophers and discuss Cartesian dualism in bed, neither would a movie having a Wole Soyinka discussing African mythiopoesis during foreplay sell.

Linda goes further to show how valuing the mind over the body is no liberation for the woman who enjoys physical sex. Patriarchal societies can even use the superiority of the mind, which such feminists want, to make them ‘sexual’ factors e.g. when a male worker finds his female senior a turn-on due to her brainy nature (“I find her attractive, not because she is beautiful, but because she is intelligent”)

Social feminists seem to offer an answer to this when they propose a rejection of the metaphysical distinction between the mind and the body, and hence a rejection of the moral and aesthetic evaluation we place on the mind at the expense of the body. However this use of dualism would be a paradoxical fall into the anti-feminist trap of using the same traditional values defined by the same patriarchal society they intend to free themselves from.

Our girl also said that pornography subordinates women. One wonders why, in the South African theatre circles, and even causing more controversy when staged here in Kenya, feminists put up a production of The Vagina Monologues that was, to some conservertists, nothing short of vulgarity bordering on pornography.

One is also reminded that in December 1985, Richard Shchener’s Prometheus Project was staged at the Performing Garage in the U.S, to critical acclaim by gender activists. Its central image was the link between the Promethean fire and the Hiroshima bombing. At the end, Annie Sprinkle conducts a masturbation show-within-show. Psychoanalytic feminism supports this as true feminism celebrating women’s genitalia.

When our girl claims that Maillu’s ‘pornography’ about bar room prostitution is for ghetto people and thus is not an art but dirt she invites Marxist feminism to task.

Some feminists see banning of porn as a class argument, where the middle-class identity in a bourgeoisie culture protects itself from contamination.

In Kenya, what people despise as ‘pornography’ are films shown in the Eastland area, while “Kamasutra” and its likes being shown in Nairobi and the Fox Cineplex are seen as ‘erotic’ movies.

Erotica is defended as High Art and as about sexuality (Florida 2000 cabaret shows, D.H.Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Jackie Collin’s Hollywood novels, Playboy magazines and a host of other ‘White’ publications).

Pornography, in turn, is ferociously attacked as back-street trash that needs to be banned because it is about power and sex as a weapon (Mugithi nites in our pubs, Maillu’s After 4.30, and Okot P’Biteks Horn of my love). But where is the boundary between erotica and porn? Erotica is simply the pornography of the elite.

Other feminists, like Jacquelyn Zita in her article ‘Enclitic,’ see a ban on pornography as perpetuation of male dominance. It divides women into good ‘respectable women’ protected by their men (husbands, boyfriends and fathers.) The bad women are out there in the streets unprotected by men. This marks off the privileges of upper-class women against the economic and sexual exploitation of lower class women exemplified by Maillu’s Lili.

Even Susan Sontag, a feminist, is one of the best defenders of porn, for it is “extreme forms of consciousness that transcends social, personality and psychological individuality … because sexuality is the main force of humanity”.

To argue that Maillu’s works are immoral and full of perverse acts would force us to jump into metaethics. If literature is for freedom, then whoever says that pornography is bad has the right to give us advice, but not to impose it on us. Moral advice needs to have justification. Male chauvinists can argue it is an invention by females to serve their agenda.

If our hypothetical outraged girl searched for them in the moral market place that is religion, she can find it exists in all of us. If she links it to the deviation from normalcy because sex is for procreation not literary production, she steps onto the toes of radical feminists who view heterosexual relationships as essential in maintaining the oppressive phallic nature of men, for sex is seen as a manifestation of the anti-feminist violence implicit in the discourse of the dominant power structure.

The fundamental question now remains are we saying that pornography does not subordinate women? Are we saying that CAP.63 sec.181 (1)(a-e) of the Kenyan constitution, which says that anyone caught with pornographic material is liable to be imprisoned is obsolete?

Porn is not the subordination, but a depiction of the subordination of women.

Maillu’s After 4.30 does not subordinate women. It exploits an already existing misogynist attitude for commercial gain.

It shows how bosses exploit their secretaries like Lili after working hours, with one eye on literature and the other on the market value of this controversy. Such works, to quote Dworkin, show how women are humiliated until they finally realise that the ‘O’ in each of their body orifices is a ‘zero’ which symbolizes their nothingness in a man’s world.

These literary works do not encourage violence and rape but they reinforce the already existing negative attitudes towards women. It makes women fall into patriarchal mental slavery that makes them full of contempt for their bodies, so much so that they hate seeing themselves exposed in public. This confines them to domestic spheres.

Literature does not support this. It seeks to resist any systematic devaluation and humiliation of a spec ific target group, be it race, class, or sex.

It however accepts that this might be difficult to engineer if it were to involve tampering, not just with the circulations of magazines and books, but with the modes of thoughts and fantasizing which are not the prerogative of one sex only.

Our hypothetical girl should return to the Literature Department of her hypothetical university and learn that such works like Maillu’s tap into already existing stereotypes. She should also, by now, realise that Maillu, Armah’s and Lawrence’s works are not pornography for they do not fulfill the Dworkin/Mackinnon ordinance.

Literature does not condone pornography. Instead, we should all castigate some of those numerous movies and magazines that go further to represent such evil acts in order to gain financially from the amusement of others. We should condemn pornography and its businesses. It thrives by exploiting the profoundly pernicious enjoyment too many men find in the pornographic images of demeaning subordination.

Blogger’s note: as a pan-afrikan(ist)/feminist, I’d have to disagree with the premise and conclusions of my brotha (in another place, not) here, in his ‘literary’ analysis of the connections between pornography and feminism.

In my (not-so) lil’ ‘one-of-u-people’ position, najua that black feminism is intersectional and sex positive, fundamentally implies that we should not only condone [consensual] pornography but also educate ourselves en others about all the ‘good’ tings’ there are in our sex/uality, so that we KNOW  the difference between de good, bad na taboo.

So that we continue to legislate en support anti-oppressive (re)visions of  the current statutes on pornography, rape, sex work, sodomy, marriage, our right to assembly and privacy…

the bigger point is that , in (honor en memory of) audre lorde’s teachings, ni kama the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house……..na tukona de powah of afrikan fractals.

 Literature, like a gun, depends on the hands it is in.

You ended your literature, blood and doves article with that (poignant en) powerful line, and I agree/d with you in that other place, not here, ndugu…..

precisely because literature CAN and HAS been, like a (loaded) gun, we have to be careful about using it to encourage the criminalization of some of the very people we claim to be advocating for, and strive instead to emulate the ‘good’ in us, doing the best we can to educate in (and for) the practice of freedom, au siyo?

One can play Russian roulette with a loaded gun, kill oneself or an/other (son of a bitch), en you can also remove the bullets, continue to play pretend, jus’ so everyone can continue to ‘think’ you’re tuff’, you can try to hide your darkness, buried deep within.  And ofcourse there’s always the (other) option of Jus’ change/ing and embracing our true true stories, spread(ing) love, (to) gain over/standing.

dear ndugu, literature does actually celebrate, glorify and pathologize sexuality in so, so many ways, WE  all know, because we see, hear, taste, embrace en witness this around us, so what about reflecting the light of sex/uality and decolonising methodologies?

Literature does not condone pornography. Instead, we should all castigate some of those numerous movies and magazines that go further to represent such evil acts in order to gain financially from the amusement of others. We should condemn pornography and its businesses. It thrives by exploiting the profoundly pernicious enjoyment too many men find in the pornographic images of demeaning subordination.

So your conclusion may be way off base [depending on where you look at it from ofcourse], pornography does not equal images of demeaning subordination, and it is not only (too many) men who find profoundly pernicious enjoyment in consuming these images…..the issue may be in jus’ what you glossed over, the consumption of….and these new ‘pernicious’ traditions of debasing [fe/male] sex/uality.

 if we weren’t living in a white supremacist capitalist partriarchal society, and instead in say an indigenous afrikan martriachal society, then there might be way less consumers than actors, lovers, priestesses, freaks, hos and those old couples needing to spice tings up..in that kinda world, everyone would be free to enjoy consensual sex, with guidelines and rules to all relationships influenced by the individual, the ‘village’, and principles (based on something) like maat/ubuntu…..

Look at all the sex/ing around us…why do you think it ain’t that simple to jus’ reclaim (philosophies on) sex work and build bath houses (and temples) for the ‘chosen’ ones?  And why is there much less good porn than there is those straight ‘lesbian’ or cheesy ‘gang-bang/er’ ones?

Maybe we need to advocate more for the institution of affirmative action policies in the sex (work) industry, which would eliminate a lot of the ‘oppressors’ (strategically mis-identified as mostly) straight.white.men (!)

Our (kinda) feminism advocates consensual Sex acts for anyone, anytime they want it, no cop harassment, and as much sweaty, positive sex as you want or can afford instead.

Where [sex]workers are employed in safe spaces and paid fair wages.

 In other words, our kinda feminism practises the vision of a society that respects hos and mamas for their priceless gifts and ancient legacies.

So, dear ndugu, why don’t you listen to what your SISTA has to say on the issue of pornography, if you ask me nicely, I might even introduce you to some delicious, dangerously profoundly enjoyable, totally feminist porn flicks, like champion or crash pad, and there’s many more that (not only) I(‘ve) enjoyed, so I know the differences between good, bad en nasty porn out there, and I gotta confess I quite love the jood stuff,

dear ndugu, asante for writing out and sharing your thoughts on what is necessary to rebuild solidarity with OUR  cause, the liberation of not only all afrikan people, but all oppressed people , may we move forward ever with our growth and unity! The bigger point is, dear brotha, can we be friends and share resources?

Tags

Blogger’s notes:

I, Sista.In.Solidarity, will tell you not only my story, but those of bredrin en sistren, of elders en ancestors, for the sake of our children en those yet to be born….

because we [‘ve probably heard many parts of these hadithi before, we already] KNOW, but if our children are the future re-incarnate, then how satisfied are we with our (supposedly)  civilized trend of forgetfulness?

Hadithi? Hadithi? Nipe hadithi?

The Q werd is a mystic, organic en (us)people-driven hadithi caravan of video diaries. Nothing like the L word, in many ways like I love U People, with a continental twist…….the crux of the series is big love en big mobilizing for, and, within (pan) Afrikan communities (en with our allies)

Hadithi? Hadithi? Nipe mji?

Nilienda meroe, hapo wahenga waliniambia hadithi ya Isis, Oshun, Oya, na Yemoja.

The (inaugural) hadithi ya i,S.I.S, is from the Q werd blog of the day,

http://bedsofpurple.wordpress.com/orishas/

These are some of her parts…..

 “Yemaya is one of the most powerful Goddesses found in the many African-Caribbean traditions. Her name is Yemaya, or Ymoja as she was known to the Yoruban people of West Africa.

She is the Mother of the Ogun River and was also referred to as the “Mother of the Waters”. This is because she is said to give birth to the world’s waters – that new springs would appear whenever she turned over in her sleep, and that springs would also gush forth and turn into rivers wherever she walked.

Together with Oshun and Oya (the guardians of the River Niger), Yemaya was said to be “supreme in the arts of mystic retribution”, and protected her people “against all evil”.

Yemaya is a merciful Goddess who women called upon for aid during childbirth, and the Goddess to whom her people prayed to for fertility, especially by women who have trouble conceiving. According to legend, she birthed 14 of the Yoruban Gods and Goddesses (also referred to as “orishas”). This came about through her being raped by her own son. After this ordeal, Yemaya lay a curse upon him, causing him to die. However, when this happened, the Goddess chose to die as well, and went upon a mountain peak. As she died, the bursting of her uterine waters caused a great flood which, in turn, created the oceans, and from her womb, the 14 orishas were born.

 When the Yoruban people were enslaved, their Goddess went with them, sustaining them with life even in the face of the darkest times, in the new world. When her people were brought to the Americas, Ymoja became known as Yemaya, the “Mother of the Ocean”, for this was the first time that her people had came into contact with the ocean. As the Yoruban people were not allowed to practice their beliefs in this new world, they merged their deities with images of Catholic saints, and subsequently created a number of new religions – Santeria in Cuba, Voudoun in Haiti, Macumba in Brazil, and Candomble in Bahia. Within all these differing religions, Yemaya is still revered as a powerful deity.

To the Brazilian Macumba, she is known as Imanje, the Ocean Goddess of the Crescent Moon. In Cuba, there are many variants to her name – while Yemaya Ataramagwa was the wealth Queen of the Sea, she was also the stern Yemaya Achabba, the violent Yemaya Oqqutte (violent aspect), and the overpowering Yemaya Olokun, who could only be seen in dreams. To the people of Haiti, the Goddess is known as Agwe, and as La Balianne to the people of New Orleans.

Being a Goddess of the Sea, Yemaya is often depicted as a beautiful mermaid, or wearing seven skirts of blue and white. The cowrie shell is sacred to her and her places of worship are the seashores, or large rivers that flow into the sea. In Brazil, where she is referred to as “”Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception”, crowds still gather today on the beach of Bahia to celebrate Candalaria, a ceremony in which offerings of soap, perfume, and jewellery are thrown into the sea in honour of Yemaya. Letters of requests to the Goddess are thrown also. The people wait to see if their offerings are accepted by the Goddess, or returned to them upon the waves. It is believed that the Goddess would wash away the troubles of her followers with her waters, the waters of the womb of creation and dreams.

Colours attributed to Yemaya are blue, silver and white. Symbols are the six-pointed star, an open shell, the Moon, and bodies of water. Stones are turquoise (and other light blue crystals), pearl, mother-of-pearl and coral. The trout lily and sea lavender are her flowers, while sandalwood, tea rose, lilac and frangipani are her fragrances. She is also said to be fond of melons.”

To be continued…..

 Additional reading:

Did you know?….. mami wota in our stories

In a political ploy probably designed to legitimize her reign, after inheriting her father’s expanding colonial kingdoms at the age of 17, the Macedonian (Greek) Cleopatra IV and her 10 year old brother (Theos Philopator)-Ptolemy XIII, installed as the new rulers of Egypt, in imitation of the African queen mothers, reputedly built herself a (now destroyed) Mammisi shrine at Erment (Upper Egypt), when giving birth to her first son. She even had inscribed in her shrine the traditional priestly attributes including depicting herself giving birth to Julius Caesar’s son, being assisted by the seven Netjers (divine African ancestors, including Isis and Osiris). However, lacking the ancestral connection to the divine spirits, she thought she could fake it by trying desperately (without success) to obtain the sacred prophetic poems of the Eastern Masses, authored by the great Sibylline (Mami) prophetesses’. Undeterred, she ordered her conquered African subjects to address her as the “New Isis.” Ironically, she met her demised when she was fatally bitten by one of the sacred asp (serpents). (Walker 1983, p.573, Britannica 1974, Vol. 6, p.484, Vol 8, p. 386, Vol. I p. 261, VIII p.282, Nicholson, p.264,269,Lindsay 1971, p. 384).

[original source: http://www.mamiwata.com/mami.htm]

 

“Our appeal is straightforwardly based on the need for clemency as an essential element in the attainment of that healing process which the present national leader swore to embark upon, on taking oath of office. Without being superstitious, we cannot but observe how a 10-year cycle of blood-letting appears to have become an incubus on the very life of the nation’s Armed Forces – 1966, 1976 and now 1986. You possess the will to break this jinx. You have the moral duty to exercise that will.”

– Chinua Achebe, J.P Clark and Wole Soyinka in a petition to General Ibrahim Babangida at Dodan Barracks on March 4, 1986

blogger’s note: (separating) fact (from history). truth is in the signs…..

1. His obituary in the NY  times on June 9, 1987

NAIROBI, Kenya, June 8— Elijah Masinde, the leader of western Kenya’s Dini ya Musambwa sect and an opponent of colonial and independent Kenyan governments, died today. He was 75 years old.

Mr. Masinde, who regarded himself as a prophet, founded his fundamentalist sect in 1942 as a direct challenge to the authorities. He urged his followers to destroy their identity cards and not pay taxes. He spent much of his life in prison as a result of his activities.

http://www.nytimes.com/1987/06/09/obituaries/elijah-masinde.html?pagewanted=1

2. and according to Wikipedia, (Elijah) Masinde was

Born around 1910 – 1912 in Kimilili, Bungoma District , Masinde wa Nameme okwa Mwasame started out as a footballer, who captained a football team from Kimilili. He also played for Kenyan national team in the Gossage Cup [1] against Uganda in 1930. By the early 1940s, he had risen to the rank of a junior elder within his community in Kimilili area, and became increasingly anti-colonial. In 1944, he led a number of localised defiance campaigns against the colonial authorities, and was imprisoned many times as a result. At one time he was kept in Mathare Mental Hospital and in Lamu.

In his early years Masinde managed to light a fire over a Grass thatched fire and cook a meal that people ate. During his detention in Kapenguria with Jomo Kenyatta he managed to forewarn Kenyatta of an impeding assassination plot, the bullet missed Kenyatta by inches. Before Kenya gained independence, he instructed Masinde Muliro on the tin that contained Kenyan soil.

While in jail, Masinde claimed to have had a vision. In the vision Wele Khakaba(God the Provider) instructed him to tell the whiteman to quit Kenya for it is not his country], and proclaimed that a Blackman is going to rule Kenya in the future.That whitemen are sheep of God now turned into wolves that were feasting on children of Wele(God). When he was released, he revived Musambwa(Luhya word meaning The Spirit of a people”), and gained huge followings in western Kenya, Uganda,Pokot, Turkana and even Baringo District.

Upon Kenya’s independence, Masinde was detained by the government of Jomo Kenyatta for almost 15 years. He had been accused of fomenting religious hatred. He was released by the government of Daniel arap Moi in 1978, Moi also arrested him following his clashes with traffic policemen in Webuye and Kitale. Elija Masinde remained defiant and always questioned post independence Kenya government especially on the issue of land distribution and citizen rights. He died in 1987, a neglected freedom fighter.

Before his death, Masinde pointed out to his elder son the spot where he wanted to be buried – he wanted a huge sycamore tree uprooted to make way for his grave. The family decided to bury him elsewhere, though, but were thwarted when a spot they chose for his grave turned out to be a hidden grave. They took this to be an omen and proceeded to bury him in the spot where the sycamore tree had been.

He left a widow, Sarah Nanyama Masinde. She was still alive in November 2007 and was then reportedly 105 years old.

blogger’s note: it’s sad for me to admit that I know little more about elijah masinde than what I’ve read in books, and mostly just within the past few years. it’s sad, because it serves as a testament to how disconnected we are from our ancestors (read: it serves as a testament to how “I” am disconnected fromy my ancestors, for you see these are hadithi about a hero from ‘my’ hood, of  ‘my’ people…..I shoulda known more, but I can’t say I don’t know parts of the story now….)

Elijah Masinde, Omubichachi

KHU BUNG’OOSI BWA ELIJAH MASINDE, OMUBICHACHI.
By Prof. Julius Wangila Mukhwana
Australia, 2004

On the question of Elijah Masinde’s prophecy,as asked by some of our Lumboka members particularly Omukiyabi Mwalimu Kukubo Barasa, I have this to share with all of you and thereby contribute to responses by many members.

I hope you do not mind my lengthy explanation. I knew about Elijah Masinde when I was growing up in Kibingei. His religion “Dini Ya Musambwa” had intensified and gathered speed across our Masaaba community (Babukusu and Bagisu) and beyond in what is now Kibingei Location.

He used to preach to people that gathered on Kitayi Hill in our village. All herd-boys in the village would bring around “Bibiaayo” (grazing cattle, goats and sheep) to hear him along side the adults.

I was one of those who brought my maternal grand mother’s goats and sheep as well so to listen to his preaching. I believe, and presumably with the other boys of my age not yet attending school,the attraction was not what he preached.
It was rather the spectacular crowd of people that were all dressed in white, long garments. That fascinated me. The adults said he spoke in parables and told them about what the community should do for the days ahead in future.

His inner circle of followers, we told, used to go up-stream to the sources of Lwakhakha, Kuywa, Kibisi, Kibingei, and Kamukuywa rivers to pray and conduct traditional rites. They slaughtered sheep and supplicated to ancestral guardian spirits of our community.
He did the same thing in various caves and climbed the foothills of Masaaba (Mount Elgon) to worship Wele Mukhobe we Bakuka (the Almighty God).

His following grew and eventually all Christian churches in Bukusu shrank in membership because they had joined “Dini Ya Musambwa.” A religion that was described by colonialists and other Christians, the non-believers (who included our own Babukusu, Bagisu, and Batachoni) and those far away in Buluhya and Kalenjin as worshipers of devils.

Yet they were not.

Dini Ya Musambwa dedicated itself to ancestral spirits, and accepted the power of super natural force in the universe or the world in which we live. Something that our people traditionally related to well from time immemorial. Suddenly, we heard that Elijah had gone into hiding. They looked for him every where. As we were children, adults never told us details.
I started school a year after he was arrested. It was then that I learned more about him from my Quaker parents, villagers and other School children.

It was reported that the Kimilili police found him in a well dug out hole around Chesamisi.

As he left with them, he allegedly “cursed” an old man called Isaya and his family for
revealing his hideout. He also “cursed” Chief Namutala for accompanying and guiding them to that hide-out. It is well known that told him, “When I return you, Mayeku’s son, will no longer be around as Chief of Kimilili; Location.
Our religion as a movement for chasing away these evil people you are protecting will have assumed different dimensions.”

Chief Namutala countered that he was crazy and gave orders to his aides to give Elijah Masinde some more flogging. As he was led away and driven in an open police land-rover, flanked both sides by police men, throngs of our people stood by the road side from Chesamisi to Kimilili and cried. Elijah just waved all the way, as he assured them of his return and reminded them of undertaking the “Offerings and rites to rid themselves and the community off the bad spirits
(Mwihosia ki wele kimibii, mukheebilila ta.”

All these things have been said over and over in Bukusu. My father told me, and while working in Nairobi, Omukinyikeu Willis Wangila Wanyonyi told me after he returned to Nairobi to work as an accountant with Treasury in the late 1960s.
Also, mzee Isaya’s son who was kuka Mark Barasa’s driver when he was an MP, and stayed at my flat in Nairobi when parliament was in
session, told me, too.

As Omukananachi Elijah Masinde had predicted, when he was released from detention in Kismayu, he found mzee Isaya economically badly badly off. Omukolongolo Chief Namutala khwa Mayeku was no longer Chief of Kimilili (which had then split into Bokoli, Kimilili,and Ndivisi). The prevalent politics were of KADU and KANU demanding independence. All the protestant and and catholic churches were full to the brim with members as before the peak of Dini Ya Musambwa during 1945 – 1948.

However, our Bukusu Brotherhood East Africa (BBEA) based in Nairobi had split to
reluctantly create Bukusu Welfare Society that was based in Bungoma. The former received Omusakhulu Omukananachi yuno in March 1962 after he had been released from detention.
The split was as a result of the late Willis Wangila Wanyonyi going to Bungoma in 1960 as Treasurer of the African District Council of Elgon Nyanza.

As president, he believed that the association was best run from home in Bungoma. Ordinary members and the Executive disagreed. So from 1961 onwards, Bakokiwe Alfayo Wekesa Lurare from Muchi and his supporters refused and continued
to run the Bukusu Brotherhood E.A from Nairobi as before. The Bukusu young fellows, including myself, from various Secondary Schools and working in Nairobi, did not like the way it was run by the older generation. We felt that they were not radical enough.

On one hand, Willis and Tom Katenya, who was Organising Secretary for the Bukusu
Welfare Society, had the enormous backing of the Chiefs and elders who mattered most in Bungoma district. They collectively promoted the Bukusu Welfare Society amongst our people. They argued that older generations preferred to have their own association. They claimed that Bukusu Brotherhood E.A suited mainly young and
urbanised Bukusus working in various towns of East Africa. In effect, that is how we
operated.

Anyhow, our BBEA executive met with Elijah Masinde, Israel Khaoya, etc in Nairobi.
We discussed the prevalent KANU-KADU politics. Masinde Muliro had already received him at home in Bungoma with a big party. He had bought Elijah a modern transistor radio that he loved so much that wherever he went he carried it.
I remember how he asked each one of us after the meeting started, “to first of all, state our clans and our fathers’ names and their circumcision sets, plus what side of politics we supported.”

After hearing what he requested and that all of us were for KADU, he looked at kuka Israel Khaoya, turned to us and said, “You must ask your fathers to tell you what I told them before Europeans imprisoned me. Tell Masinde Muliro and his friend from the Coast, near the Ocean, that their party will not win government.” All of us executive members believed in KADU and so his revelation shocked us.

There was silence in the room.

Then he added, ““Muliro should have no political association with Kenyatta because
this man had brought too much blood shed in the country.” He asked us whether we had u nderstood all that he had said. When we replied in affirmative, Elijah Masinde stood up and said that the meeting was finished.
We were kind of confused. However, after that meeting, Bernard Barasa Cheloti, who now resides in Cherengany, and I went with our visitors to Nimmi Photograghers Studio
at the corner of Duke Street and River Road to have a photograph with them.
I gave that photo to Wandayase Fred Makila in the late 1960’s when he was researching for a book on “Elijah Masinde and Musambwa.”

If any of our Lumboka historians need a copy of it, I suggest that you check with
him or Bernard B. Cheloti.

Admittedly, I have not seen a publication on Elijah Masinde by Fred Makila or
anybody since then.

Anyway, when the General Election results of May 1963, under the Lancaster House
conference Constitution were declared, KADU had lost. And KANU was victorious.
In effect fulfilling Elijah Masinde’s prophecy or prediction. I still recall vividly how Tom Mboya and Mwai Kibaki hugged each other and performed a bear-dance in
Jevanjee Street in jubilation.

Since the offices were opposite each other, those of us gathered in KADU office
looked like people at some wake and observing vigil. Despite that euphoria, KANU did not want to form government without Jomo Kenyatta.

Governor MacDonald asked KADU to form the required “Responsible Government” which ultimately brought Kenyatta Home Again.
Hence Ronald Ngala’s and Masinde Muliro’s cars, and a similar one given to Kenyatta
were registered with plate numbers KHA 2,and KHA 3, and KHA 1 respectively.

Prior to the General Election of May 1963,a number of elders and chiefs in Bungoma
led by my uncle Pascal Nabwana, had been urging Masinde Muliro to side with the
Luos on grounds of Arithmetic and Geography.
Uncle Pascal Nabwana used to tell me that he kept telling Muliro, “ Khuuba ne Barwa
nende Baswahili, Papa, aba olinga oweikame mumurongoro, efula nekwaa. Soli munju ta.”
Apparently these were same sentiments Elijah Masinde had expressed to Masinde Muliro when the latter sought his support for KADU policy.

Elijah Masinde refused to support any political party or endorse KADU’s policy.

Then in 1964, Elijah Masinde, who had fallen out with Muliro earlier before the General Election, stated that “Masinde Muliro naliowulila, Baana Babukusu, ahambane ne Bajaluo,nyanga balimuwa Bubwami.”

And in 1965/66 he said in Kimilili that “ Nabone omwana aselukhe mu
Babukusu. Omwana mwenoyoo aliamiha.” He continued
as the gathering grew bigger around him, “Omwana wefwe alichaa amihe, ne Muliro akhapanila bali ele khu sisala sya Kenyatta tawe. Alekha busa okundi elekho, eye kamafuki khundebe ng’eneyo.
Mala owililekho oyo, aliaahachililisia babandu barekane mumaya.”

At that time, Elijah Masinde also returned from his visit to Bugisu. He had gone to confer with his Musambwa flock and Omuyinga, the Bagisu ruler/king, and other Kombololo (County) Chiefs especially Wanambwa. But Prime Minister Apollo
Milton Obote ordered his arrest. Upon release from jail in Uganda, he was escorted to the Kenya border. He looked for “Sihuna” from the shrubs, uprooted it, and dragged it along.
It gathered rubbish behind him. Then he told those around and accompanying him “that he had gathered Obote’s power together that would soon end.”

He travelled peacefully to his home in Maeni, Kimilili. Later when briefing his flock, he
declared that it had been revealed to him in the previous night that “Omulang’o emwalo sye e Matore, mbone karurire khu Bwami. Lundi mbone karerire kamafuki musibala. Chia mwekesie baBefwe e Mbale.” Indeed, our people went and
communicated the tidings to Bagisu elders and Omuyinga together with the County Chiefs,and returned to Maeni. Obviously, you all know what happened to President Obote of Uganda when Major General Iddi Amin Dada staged an army
coup in 1971.

That fulfilled Elijah Masinde’s prediction. Prior to this stage, our leaders had dismissed
him and called him names just as they did in 1948 before the colonialists subsequently
arrested and detained him in Kismayu.
Everywhere Elijah Masinde appeared, our political leaders and some of the elders in the community avoided him. These leaders described him as psychotic and called on the Administration to control his movements. Suddenly he was restricted to Maeni village only and not allowed to meet with people from other villages. Some
leaders outside the community did not heed this government requirement.

Notably Jaramogi Oginga Odinga maintained his close contact with him. So did uncle Pascal Nabwana who had not gone along with government restrictions. Pascal Nabwana argued that Elijah Masinde was once more being persecuted for his views by an independent Kenyan Government as the colonialists did. The parliamentarians
in our community from Bungoma to Trans Nzoia distanced themselves as Elijah Masinde snarled and yelled out insults at President Jomo Kenyatta publicly.

After all, he had not liked Kenyatta since he came out of detention. Eventually Elijah was arrested and charged. Like before, he would tell the magistrate trying him,

“Ewe omwana wananu. Ne rarao singilo si? Niko nabolelanga bararao wenywe nebakhawulila ta. Bona wesi solikho owulila ta. Ngosile sina Papa, kila wunjimia ano. Sowolaana khukhumbocha kumuse tawe. Ndekhenjengo.”

To those enforcing the law, they took this to mean Elijah had no respect for the
law and Government leadership. So he was additionally charged with “contempt of
court.” He was jailed for a bundle of these petty misdeeds at Kamiti maximum security prison. He was then later transferred to Mathari Mental Hospital in Nairobi where he stayed without treatment.

For he was not mentally sick. Cosma Makhanu’s young brother, who was a Spdt.Officer of Prison at Kamiti, was very understanding.
He treated Omusakhulu kindly, and at times gave him tea and bread, and cigarettes.
This gentleman used to allow us and other special visitors enough time to converse
with him.

During this time, Bakananachi Kuka Israel Khaoya, Omukitanga khurura e Matili and
papa Wekunda, Omubichachi we e-Maeni, and their Secretary, from Ndivisi, visited him regularly at Kamiti and Mathari Hospital.
I hosted them on each visit. Later they told me that he had demanded that I accompany them whenever they visited on weekends since during the week I was unable to visit with them on account of my employment.
From that time onwards, they empowered me to be visiting him on their behalf and
convey messages both ways including messages to Odinga and Pascal Nabwana.

They had travelled to Kisumu and informed Jaramogi Oginga Odinga of the arrangement.
Jaramogi told them that him and I had been friends for a long time and he knew that
I was a nephew of Pascal Nabwana. Every time I visited Omusakhulu Omukananachi at Kamiti or Mathari, he showed concern all the time for our people. He repeatedly told me his previous advices to Bukusu community that have come to be known as or referred to in Kimilili,

“Elijah Masinde sekwaboola. Elijah, wase, kang’oola khaale busa.”

I wrote to Chairman Michael Wamalwa reminding him of “Elijah’s sayings or prouncements” when he became Vice President.

In short, to me, based on what I outlined earlier, Michael Simiyu Wamalwa fulfilled
Elijah Masinde’s prophecy. It would have been complete, in this regard, had he been
around with us now. Obviously he would have succeeded President Mwai Kibaki.

Balii ka Wele sekamanyikhanga, fwana khuliba nokundi.
Those of you who pore over his archival records, you are bound to see my correspondence with him. Previously, I had shared with him over the phone on many occasions before anybody knew that he would be a V-P in Kenya one day. This was during my usual chats of advice regarding the politics in our community and Kenya at large.

Despite this constant communication with Mike, he apparently paid inadequate attention to viewpoints from various Bukusu friends and colleagues both at home and in diaspora. They include people like omusakhulu Omubuya Zephaneah Wekesa with whom I coordinated effectively the “Sichikhi & Lumuli” politics from 1975 through the demise of President Jomo Kenyatta in 1978 up to the end of 1980.

Undoubtedly, none of you would ever know what that refers to or means within Bukusu politics.Not even the present or the previous politicians
know it save one. You will need to ask Zeph and
I about that in future, God willing.

(first) Posted by Lumboka Star

http://mulumboka.blogspot.com/2004_11_01_archive.html

Additional reading

Elijah Masinde: Rebel with a Cause – Ezekiel Alembi

Elijah Masinde: a biography –  V.G Simiyu

Elijah Masinde and the Dini Ya Musambwa  – James Bandi Shimanyula