I am currently reading devoutly a book by Kwame Nkrumah. This particular copy of African Must Unite, is actually signed by none other than Nkrumah’s daughter Sanna, with these words written before her signature, “Our father reminded us that this is our mission.” This copy of Nkrumah’s fourth book, published in 1964 and reprinted again from 1972 onwards was gifted to our esteemed organisation, the Institute of Afrikology by Ms Nkrumah herself. She handed it to the Director of the institute Yaa Ashantewaa-Archer-Ngidi in the year 2019 during her South Afrikan visit.
Towards the final pages of this very important book, Nkrumah confesses’ “I have been accused of pursuing ‘a policy of the impossible’, But I cannot believe in the impossibility of achieving African union any more than I could ever have thought of the impossibility of attaining African freedom. When I came back to Ghana in 1947 to take a leading part in the anti-colonial struggle, I was dubbed an ‘irresponsible agitator’. Independence at that time looked a long way off. None of us really imagined that by 1962 most of the African countries would have thrown off political domination an embarked upon their own national existence as sovereign states. But that did not stop us from going forward with our efforts, buoyed by the certainty of ultimate victory. And it has come, as I said, much sooner than anticipated. This is how I feel about African union. “
Toay more than ever, Afrikan activists are agitating for the very ideas that Nkrumah and other pan-Afrikanists fought so hard for. The language of Regional Integration, Inter and Intra-Afrikan trade must now bear the requisite fruits. But How?
Someone once said that to be well adjusted to a sick or abnormal society is not a sign of sanity. Arthur Koestler in his book Ghost In The Machine writes: “Poets have always said that man is mad; and their audiences always nodded delightedly because they thought it was a cute metaphor. But if the statement were taken literally, there would seem to be little hope : for how can a madman diagnose his own madness? The answer is that he can, because he is not entirely mad the entire time.“
One of Afrika’s greatest and most inspirational leaders, Burkina Faso’s Thomas Sankara once said that socio-political change in Afrika will require a certain amount of ‘madness’. Did we fully grasp the meaning of this statement, after his untimely demise at the hands of betrayers, can we still find mad-ones today who can dare to invent a better future for Afrika? given the amount of problems that are mostly made worst by the non-abating grip of corporate and political corruption, it seems highly unlikely that a large movement of the mad-ones may arrise anytime soon. But then again in Southern Afrika, there are organisations such as Black First Land First and to a certain rather dubious extent, there is also the Economic Freedom Fighters. One of them seems cut from Sankara’s cloth, while the other appears to be larger, but appears similar to an ordinary populist political party – nevertheless, the conversations that these two parties evoke is similar and it leads young Afrikans to boldly seek solutions that appear crazy to nost liberal and mainstream observers.
In the daily course of living and aiming to have a purpose driven life, where conscious choices lead to relatively high levels of success in our endeavors, there is the challenge of knowing exactly when and when not to get involved in social causes. As an Afrikan living in an increasingly crisis prone and economically struggling country/region, one seeks to have a healthy balance between personal ambitions and social responsibility.
We are not well as Black people globally. We each have different battles to fight on personal levels, and there are many success stories and inspiration instances where people beat seemingly impossible odds to emerge victorious or successful in relative terms, but how do we measure that success in the midst of severe social degeneration, poverty and corruption? Can one truly be considered successful when that success exists next-door to squalor, violence and social chaos?
While we are striving to better ourselves we are also striving to transform our society’s, to instill the self confidence and cooperative economic ethos that many social activists have striven to establish in our communities. Surely there are ways for Black Consciousness, the ideals of Kwanzaa and Pan Afrikanism to animate the peoples of the ghettos and the struggling masses of our people. Having many activists and various movements all pontificating and agitating for political powers is not enough – we have to find more ways to create sustainable changes in our communities. Perhaps we are also overstimulated, there is too much information flowing in and out of our lives, the current affairs and crises in the world are a real distraction from the revolutionary mission that many of us believe must take place. We know that revolution and social change is not an event …there are processes that have to take place gradually but we need leadership at different levels that from the legislations/policies to the implementation stages to see to it that what we envision actually transpires.
Here in Zimbabwe, I am currently challenging traditional healers to become more involved in social revolution. I am urging them to create real solutions to the problems of hunger, ignorance and find alternative economies where more can benefit rather than the few elites. To identify the healers among a plethora of hopefuls is not an easy tasks, and one has to deal with a lot of deeply set attitudes, egoes and preconceptions of what it means to be Spiritually gifted or being ‘possessed’ by Ancestral beings. There are risks and dangers at every side, but there are also infinite possibilities for fruitful collaborations. Perhaps this is where Afrika’s new breed of warrior-priests and priestesses will emerge.
When we receive information from whatever source, when does it become knowledge and when does that knowledge transform to wisdom and by what processes does wisdom become enlightenment?
These are the interrelated questions that we shall tackle under this title. There are also some concerns regarding a subject we have covered before, which is the necessity of Guides, Guru’s and Master-teachers – those individuals and even institutions that purport to represent Source.
“The well based resistance to change which is usually for the worse, explains the obvious reticence of officialdom to release information, because the silent approach offers the greatest prospect of getting the obviously unacceptable accepted, if at all possible.” – John Page in Protest at Urban Environment from Protest and Discontent (The Nature and Causes of Student Unrest)
Harare is about to enter into another period of unrest, and I am reasonably nervous and skeptical about the outcomes. The protest planned by the opposition party the Movement for Democratic Change with a few other affected partners such as members of civil society and workers unions does not seem as well planned or articulated as it should, given the track record and results of such uprisings in this country. What is the value of a protest in a country where many people are ruled by fear? What happens when the uprising fails and who compensates for the loss of lives?
The flippant response from the deputy leader of the national defence forces is both predictable and worrying. By simply dismissing the intentions of the people behind the protest and stating that it will not happen, he is simply playimg to the gallery and stoking the fires for more aggression from both ends. It would have been wiser to simply tow the legal or constitutional line and even pretend to be allowing the democratic process to unfold. I personally have been concerned about the lack of coherent revolutionary strategies and ideological incoherence from the opposition party, even though I had not expected much from the liberal and populist leader, I have been hoping that there is a radical youth or intellectual element within the party or countrywide, to at least formulate some semblance of revutionary direction. I am hoping to hear what happens beyond the protests and “legal uprisings”.
We all aware of the States propensity to unleash violence on its citizens but the silence of the president of the country in the face violations of the law by his subordinates clearly shows that he too has no capacity to lead beyond rhetoric and power mongering. He has to fight external and internal battles and pay lip service to economic fundamentals, while his finance ministers spew incomprehensible nonsense at every gala or gathering. Meanwhile there will be many protests in Zimbabwe yet no one has yet mentioned just what will happen to the economy once the rulers are deposed. The crucial question is How Will Zimbabwe rise from the mire of state sponsored debauchery, steering its society from Fear to Creative and Proactive action ….
Some trust in the Ancestors guidance while others trust in Jesus Christ ….I trust in thw people’s Will to get Free and Create a New Zimbabwe, learning from the Ancient, the present and daring to invent and invest in the Future.
They call it jazz but this music is much bigger and broader than any definitions.
Miles Davis called it Social Music, Nicholas Payton calls it BAM (black american music) but the closest description has to be Wayne Shorter’s “I Dare You” music.
Call It what we may, this phenomenon known as jazz is fun, intricate, witty and full of whimsical freedom and wisdom; It is music at its most sincere, although often highly enigmatic.
As Amiri Baraka poetically stated “jazz listen to it at your own risk”.
It can literally either heal your soul or blow your freakin’ mind .
Here is a taste of the gloriously visionary maestro Sun Ra and is Solar Arkestra. Its from a record titled God Is More Than Love Can Ever Be.
Just click on the link and enjoy:
The End of Absence
Eight days into lockdown, Baba is home every night ,he shares meals and childhood adventures with us. The fire is his eyes is reignited; lighting up his face. There is no reek of alcohol in his breath, no anger in his voice; and there is no disgust or fear in Mama’s. The void of silence and thick tension that use to consume us, is now filled with laughter ,and proximity.
It’s in the way he looks at Mama, with that stuporless glare of adoration and remorse. Contemplating and regreting his past actions. It’s in the way he humours my little sister’s million questions ,and the energy with which he feeds her curiousity, as if he is just discovering Fatherhood for the first time in his sobriety.
Maybe there is good to come off this lockdown, just maybe this will mark the end of absence, and emotional deadbeats will understand the…
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Preparing for Living real Living in the New Earth
The celebrated late Ghanaian poet Kofi Awonoor, whose books include ‘The African Predicament’,’The Promise of Hope’, ‘Comes The Voyager At Last’, ‘Ride Me, Memory’, ‘Until the morning after’, ‘Guardians of the Sacred Word: Ewe Poetry’ to name but a few; once wrote in his more famous book ‘This Earth, My Brother’: “What has Africa to contribute to the world? asked the learned professor. If you have no history create one, if you have no culture invent one, for the question is being asked, and brother, you must come forth with an answer, pronto.”
This is just another opportunity for Africa to define itself beyond the definitions and expectations that the world has of us. If we are Healers where are we now, if we are endowed with spiritual, intellectual, mineral-resources and other powers, why are we relying on the International Monetary Funds, World Banks, the United Nations and the WHO for information, guardians and funds? Have we not yet learned that whoever pays the piper calls the tune? Have we not learned that without determining our present our children will have no safer future than the children of the rest of the ailing world?
As much of the world is undergoing involuntary ‘House Arrest’ these days due to the prevailing Covid-19 virus; many are having a chance to reevaluate many things in our lives. This global phenomenon where a “novel” flu-like disease is ravaging most of the world has also evoked a wide ranging and divergent number of opinions.
While the responses to what this virus means to various peoples rages on, much of the so called Third World appears rather unprepared to face the soon coming winter months. Experts and opinion makers are predicting and anticipating some devastating effects in Afrika in particular for the approaching weeks.
Many Afrikans are rather divided as mainstream news agents and governments are pushing for the orthodox messaging of social distancing, self isolation and hand-washing as measures for preventing the virus from spreading like a bush-fire. In fact these measures have are currently being enforced without any negotiation. Ordinary people have no say, we must simply obey.
Although countries such as South Afrika/Azania have deployed their national defence forces and police officers in communities, there are various challenges in implementing these measures. There have already been some deaths as this clamp-down/lock-down is being enforced. As much as it is understandable that governments should act quickly and with conscientious caution in addressing this pandemic, there are so many undercurrents to just how this virus can be effectively responded to. The heavy-handedness and brutality of law-enforcers is not being dealt with adequately.
There was a recent report to the effect that some sectors such as the Indigenous knowledge practitioners feel left out of the conversation. The argument is that the national response has not adequately involved traditional leaders and traditional medicine practitioners. One would argue that they too have not properly asserted themselves. We simply do not see or hear their response. This simply means that like everyone else they are following the instructions of the governments which are a trickle-down from the measures suggested by the World Health Organisation, the United Nations and the industrially developed world.
In an ongoing discussion with a friend of mine who happens to be a very socially conscious doctor, we are seeking to locate the sources of Afrikan readiness and responsiveness to this and other health related matters. Rafiki sent me a voice message yesterday, telling me how the Chinese medical fraternity has through time effectively included alternative or traditional medical practices in their mainstream approaches from childbirth to surgery and chemistry. I reminded him that Southern Afrikan universities as well as civil society has also done extensive work towards regulating and streamlining traditional medicine and ritual practices into the contemporary world, yet in the news – all we hear about is how hospitals are inadequately equipped to deal with this new kind of flu that is devastating the world. My friend and I simply agreed that we Afrikan traditional healers should simply rise to the occassion. They do not have to ask for anyone’s permission. As much as many dealt with relative success with the HIV/AIDS epidemic, so can they offer some solutions to the Covid-19 debacle.
The medical sector is far from being the only aspect of life affected by this disease and government’s responses and reactions to it, whole livelihoods and economies are at stake. Entrepreneurs of all sorts could lose their works, house-holds are being disrupted and the mental health of many survivors is at stake. We won’t even look into the lives of the homeless and indigent, the unemployed and those who other underlying diseases for now, but one can just imagine the pending destruction.
If only Afrikans had a unified purpose with regards to determining our survival as a people, we would be speaking about how we can collectively prosper again after the epidemic has passed. That ‘if only’ is a potential space that can be readily filled with solutions. We are being prepared to Create a new reality, new economies and new ways of being. The Afrikological/Afrocentric worldview is already being considered on many levels of leadership, intercultural and health communications as well as government levels, but WHO WILL take it to its necessary Inclusion and Conclusion?
The People …
The article below appeared on African Arguments’ Debating Ideas blog last Friday. As of 29 March there were 7 cases, and no further deaths. But there is little doubt that the impending situation in Zimbabwe is serious, and the government is unable to respond. The tragic death of Zororo Makamba was an early warning of what may be in store. While support from corporate philanthropists, such as Jack Ma and Strive Masiyiwa, is welcome, everyone needs to take action. So don’t just read the blog, please do donate to the Citizens’ Initiative organised by Freeman Chari and others. It’s a legit outfit and gets money where it’s needed.
Surviving COVID-19: Fragility, Resilience and Inequality in Zimbabwe
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