Lockdown: Just maybe…(Day #8)

The End of Absence

Africa Zwelibanzi

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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Covid-19 diaries: Afrikan Peoples Responses

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 handwashing as measures for preventing the virus from spreading like a bushfire.

Although countries such as South Afrika/Azania have deployed their national defence forces an police officers in communities, there are various challenges in implementing these measures. 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. 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 an 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 …

Surviving COVID-19 in a fragile state: why social resilience is essential


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

Ian Scoones

Zimbabwe had three confirmed cases and one recorded death of COVID-19 (coronavirus) as of 26 March, and a national disaster has been declared. So far suspected cases have been…

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Sankofaring With Nkrumah

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?


devout sprout – a rap song

10th of October 2019

jumped off the Hyundai stretching my spleen

was bumping Madlib meditating on the Green

checking out the violets an daisies along the way

was on the highway when the thought hit me

nothing worth the while really comes easily

unless your spiritual practice is really in tune

otherwise everything we say and do is going through

the multiple dualities of infinitude

positive an negative out coming in and out goes the finished

in comes the nu’

we see n hear it everyday in the papers and the news

crimes and punishments nothing’s really new

all except for change – unless your intention rearrange

the universal order causes an effects

even these stories we tell are really ust

an echo of eternities sounding bell

calling us to church, gathering or temples

calling us to order or cannon fodder

opening up the hearts and opening up the borders

the bell tolls for thee an the trumpet sounds for me

we are just in different places going through the paces

two hands moving on the time-less face

biological clocking perfect timing when the beat knocks

when love calls we all answer

if we don’t we all suffer

the door swings out the mirror’s two faces

karma come again with renewed ancestral traces