There are few religions as globally misunderstood as African traditional religions. Whether it is being wrongly labelled voodoo, juju or witchcraft, indigenous African faith systems tend to be associated with darkness, animal and human sacrifices, violence and general backwardness
Speaking in Harare after meeting Benin’s president, Thomas Boni Yayi, who is the outgoing African Union (AU) chairman, Mugabe argued that a figurehead is needed to move Africa beyond regional blocs and into the global superleague.
“Get them to get out of the regional shell and get into one continental shell,” he was quoted as saying by the state-owned Herald newspaper.
“The continent of Africa: this is what we must become. And there, we must also have an African head. He was talking of the president of Africa. Yes, we need one. We are not yet there.
The raw silence spoken of by Tina Mbachu in this article rings back to my vision of small enclaves peppered with frightened aged African Americans in America. She points to white feminists’ singular focus on their backyard and their circus. Similarly, the last few years of heightened African Americans murdered and elder malaise leaves one to gasp with each news flash, each video of gunfire spurting from a sea of blue.
“This coming Black History month plagues me the most, as I look back over my social media posts. We have become numb to those sepia and black and white photos of the sixties. They dramatize the void between then and now. They ceased to represent hope so long ago that our Black politicians forgot what they truly represented and are to represent. And so, this paraphernalia becomes an addition to our term papers, articles, festivals, and blogs. We market them to the forlorn instead of justice. We pull them out to wipe our brows after we have sold the community to feed our bellies.
“We are fighting the same issues, yet our children are forming new ideas — new means of protest,” one social media poster said. And I grunt. Another prided the police’s traffic control prowess during our local march. I am still stunned from the vision of a young man shot to death by police just a few years ago on our streets that ended in silence; and her politicizing the mother’s grief. I digress because the she is a woman, a mother, and Black; and the message she sent is “No mother. Your son’s death is not important here. Our borrowed crinoline skirts must remain intact.””
So Tina Mbachu’s indictment against white feminist can be broadened to include a hubris and selfish protest adopted by all of us for too long. The selfish protest our children are now rejecting. The protest that used them as blame, shields, and sacrifices to what we labeled Black Progress. I hear Mbachu clearly when she states:
Traumatic transmission across generation is the leftover pain, the unbearable weight of it on our mothers, our fathers. This grief is transferred to us across multiple vectors. The transferring of trauma is also a transferring of tasks. Once solidarity is created in the process, the new generation must now find ways to deal with the pain. We must find new ways to represent our pains, to discuss them, and to heal.
As a feminist, whether a white liberal or radical feminist, you are absolutely wrong to question how I express this pain.
Racism and its close cousin xenophobia are ingredients baked into the slave morality that afflicts so many white Americans, feeding a persecution complex and a sense of permanent aggrievement among the most historically privileged demographic group on the planet. (Yes, there are millions of poor whites, and they have good reason to lament their marginal, forgotten status. They also have a strong tendency to look for enemies in the wrong places.) Crime is at or near all-time lows, employment is high, many consumer goods are cheaper than ever before and the United States has not experienced a major attack by foreign terrorists in 13 years. Given all that, it is crucial to conceal the real source of middle-class and working-class America’s worsening anomie: the vast gulf of inequality between the super-rich and the rest of us, along with the stagnant wages, declining benefits and longer work weeks confronted by ordinary people.
As the black radical philosopher Frantz Fanon observed in the early 1960s, racism becomes a tool in the hands of the masters, used to pit different sectors of the oppressed against each other. He was talking about the European working class and its reluctance to join forces with the anti-colonial struggle in Africa, but we face a version of the same problem today. This week I watched an eerie and powerful new collage film from Swedish documentarian Göran Hugo Olsson called “Concerning Violence,” which is inspired by Fanon’s revolutionary classic “The Wretched of the Earth” (a book not as far away from Nietzsche as you might suppose). The film is an essayistic and aphoristic assemblage of archival footage from the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s, opening a window onto various episodes from that little-understood and profoundly important period of post-colonial and anti-colonial history in Africa. But it also struck me as a distorted mirror reflecting our own situation, which has elements of internal colonialism (with respect to the poorest elements of our population), and an external neo-colonialism, although held at a great distance and largely invisible.
Concerning Violence is inspired by The Wretched of the Earth, the 1961 book of Martinique-born psychiatrist and revolutionary Frantz Fanon, excerpts of which serve as the film’s narrative and are read by singer and activist Lauryn Hill.
Among Fanon’s sober assessments is that colonialism “is violence in its natural state, and it will only yield when confronted with greater violence”. Decolonisation, he writes, “is always a violent phenomenon”. “Decolonisation, which sets out to change the order of the world, is, obviously, a program of complete disorder”.
The film corroborates these assertions with footage from former European colonial possessions in Africa. Scenes variously depict the subjugation and impoverishment of native populations, juxtaposed with Europeans sun-tanning and playing golf in picturesque African settings in between wantonly extracting resources and imprisoning and torturing people.
…For another modern-day example of legitimised violence and self-victimisation by the very purveyors of said violence, it seems appropriate to once again bring up the state of Israel, which shares the ex-Rhodesian resident’s knack for hallucinating himself into a position of unparalleled suffering at the hands of “terrorists”.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the self-proclaimed Happy African Feminist, discusses the scope of feminism in the modern world. In her delightful style of comedic and educating insights, Adichie explains how we stunt the growth of our men in their humanity, especially towards women. Men have to be hard, she posits, resulting in their weakness. Her commentary on culture, sex, rape, marriage, and pretending is priceless in the value of scholarship.
Adichie follows up this essay in her book by the same title, We Should All be Feminists.
ForHarriet.com‘s Michelle Denise Jackson posted this list of webisodes featuring Black women. What made this most special was the commentor’s additions to the already noteworthy list. Snuggle in. This is going to be a warm and exciting winter on the web.
Here are a few nibbles to get you started.
Michelle Denise Jackson: I am a writer, storyteller, and performer, as well as an aspiring screenwriter and producer. I have spent most of my adult life feeling various degrees of outrage, disappointment, and frustration by the limited roles and narratives available to Black women in the mainstream entertainment and media industry.
Liberia was established by citizens of the United States as a colony for former African American slaves and their free black descendants. It is one of only two sovereign states in the world that were started by citizens of a political power as a colony for former slaves of the same political power: Sierra Leone was begun as a colony for resettlement of Black Loyalists and poor blacks from England for the same purpose by Britain. – Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Liberia
Uploaded on Feb 5, 2012
Our beautiful billionaire Nigerian queen, Folorunsho Alakija, trumps the rush to college promoted by American politicians. She is rich and did it all without a college degree. As of late, we are seeing many clock the 7 figure mark before scaling the ivory towers. Most are teens. So what does they say for the future of academia? Only Folorunsho can answer that question.
When you go to high school you are pushed to figure out which college you want to attend and what you would like to do with your life. They make college out to be something that you must do if you want to be successful. This is not always the case however. You can still be very successful in life without having a college degree under your belt. That is exactly what Folorunsho Alakija did. She is Nigeria’s wealthiest woman. She revealed recently that she never went to college but yet she has still managed to become a billionaire.
With more than a billion people spread across 54 countries speaking more than 3,000 languages, Africa cannot — and should not — be limited to a single narrative. Africa Straight Up is a more complete story about Africa and its diaspora.
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