They call It jazz

alice-3

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 .

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=RJbGQ2wWSR8&sns=fb

 

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poetic reflection: thaka

IMG-20170508-WA0036ngiyabuvuma ubuthakathaka bami

Kanti futhi nobubi bami ngibubonile

Ngibuthaka ngimubi ngijalo nje

Angiyigqizi qakala inkulumo yabangibandlululayo

ngiyishaya indiva imicibilisho yabangizondayo

eminye sengenze ngayo imbuthuma yomlilo esithangamini lapho sesiyoxoxa khona sidingide umsuka nesisombululo sengxabano yethu …

Beyond Libya

Joint Statement on the Migrant Situation in Libya

African and European leaders, gathered in Abidjan for the 5th AU/EU Summit, discussed the terrible media reports on inhuman treatment of African migrants and refugees by criminal groups.
They condemned in the strongest terms any such criminal acts and expressed their firm resolve to work together for an immediate end of these criminal practices and to ensure the well-being of the migrants and refugees.
They also agreed to widely communicate to the youth about the dangers of such hazardous journeys and against the trafficking networks.
They welcomed ongoing efforts of the Presidential Council and the Government of National Accord of Libya in undertaking appropriate measures to address such incidents, as a thorough and swift investigation has been launched in Libya, including to confirm the validity of media allegations.
They called to support Libya, through international cooperation, in undertaking immediate action to fight against the perpetrator of such crimes, inside and outside Libya, and to bring them to justice. This international cooperation should cover enhanced police and judicial mutually agreed cooperation, including freezing of assets of convicted
perpetrators.

They stressed the imperative need to improve the conditions of migrants and refugees in Libya and to undertake all necessary action to provide them with the appropriate assistance and to facilitate their voluntary repatriation to their countries of origin as well as durable solutions for refugees. In this regard, they stressed the need for all Libyan stakeholders to facilitate access by
international organisations and by consular officials of countries of origin.
They welcomed the African Union Commission for swift engagement, including the
AUC Commissioner visit to Libya.
They also commended the existing work by UN
agencies, African countries of origin, and the EU, which together have already allowed for 13,000 assisted voluntary returns of stranded migrants to their countries of origin.
They have committed to work together between AU, UN, EU, Libyan government and countries of origin and transit, and to take the necessary means and actions, in order to accelerate exponentially this work, while continuing to ensure with international organizations that voluntary resettlement is available for those in need, whether to countries of origin or third countries.
They agreed that lasting resolution of the issue of African migrants is closely linked to addressing the root causes of the phenomenon and requires a political solution to the persistent crisis in Libya.
In this respect, they stressed the imperative need for coordinated action involving all the stakeholders concerned, especially the African Union, the United Nations, the European Union and the League of Arab States, in order to expedite the lasting solution to the crisis. To this end, they committed themselves to convey a common and coherent
message.

Afrika Matters

File 20171204 4062 c4kuwu.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

President of the AU Alpha Conde, European Council President Donald Tusk (L) and President of the EU Jean-Claude Juncker. Reuters/Luc Gnago

Frank Mattheis, University of Pretoria and John Kotsopoulos, University of Pretoria

African and European heads of government gathered last week in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, for their 5th summit since 2000. For the first time, the African Union (AU) rather than “Africa”, officially appears as the European Union’s partner. While plenty has been discussed about youth, migration, security and governance less is being said about the shift from an EU-Africa to an AU-EU summit.

Is this just a case of semantics? After all, the AU has been the key organiser of these triennial summits since they started in 2000. Or are there larger implications? We think there are.

The AU-EU summit coincided with the January 2017 report on the reform of the African Union prepared by Rwandan President Paul Kagame. The report recommends rationalising “Africa’s” many international partnerships by having the continental body take the lead. This means that the previous, current and future AU chairpersons, plus the AU Commission chairperson and the chairperson of the Regional Economic Communities, would represent the AU, rather than all its member states.

Despite some misgivings at the July 2017 AU Summit in Addis Ababa, Kagame’s proposed reforms were well received. The AU and its member states have committed to a timetable of reform implementation, heralding a potential new era for the AU.

The transformation of the EU-Africa summit series into the EU-AU summit in Abidjan is more than just a change of name. It reflects the increasing recognition of the AU as an international actor that is becoming difficult to circumvent when engaging Africa. But there’s still a risk that the recognition remains confined to ceremonial purposes, as long as key challenges such as funding and mandate are not resolved.

The history

The first summit in Cairo in 2000 was intended as a meeting of the EU and the AU’s forbearer, the Organization of African Unity (OAU). But, the EU insisted on the inclusion of Morocco – the only African country not a member of the OAU and the exclusion of the self-proclaimed Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), a full member of the OAU.

Only after last minute shuttle diplomacy was the cancellation of the summit averted. The compromise solution was to call the event the “Africa-Europe Summit Under the Aegis of the OAU and the EU”.

The idea of “Africa” as the EU’s interlocutor was set.

This way of seeing Africa had repercussions for the relationship. Although the EU had targeted the AU as its principle partner by 2007, the AU’s organisational growing pains and less clear jurisdiction in external relations meant that it was exposed to the whims of its member states.

This was the case before the 2nd summit in Lisbon in 2007, when after months of AU-driven negotiation of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy, several AU member states voiced strong misgivings about it. Their objections on issues such as the restitution of stolen cultural artefacts, while crucial, were outside of the EU’s jurisdiction and threatened to scuttle the AU’s own good work.

The 2010 summit in Tripoli was overshadowed by the outsized personality of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, who stole headlines insisting that the EU pay him to limit migration to Europe. Lost was the fact that the AU was endeavouring to upturn decades of EU driven agenda setting in the EU-ACP (Africa, Caribbean, Pacific Group of States) relationship.

The upgrade

In theory the AU’s new status in EU-Africa summits has the potential to substantially contribute to the AU’s cohesion, recognition and identity. But whether this upgrade will actually materialise or whether the summit only offers a ceremonial appearance of the AU’s standing will depend on four crucial factors.

Firstly, the AU still needs to be based on a sustainable financial mechanism. So far, it depends heavily on development aid for its activities.

Secondly, member states need to provide the AU with an authoritative mandate to negotiate on their behalf. While it is becoming a stronger institution, it still heavily depends on compromises between heads of states.

Thirdly, the AU has to compete for the EU’s attention with other existing partnerships with Africa. Plans are already underway for the it to play a more prominent role in the ACP. This would underline the central role of the AU for all interregional arrangements.

Fourthly, other international partners such as China will need to recognise AU’s central role in their summits with Africa. So far, China is focusing on bilateral relations and there are few signs of the direct relationship China-AU receiving a substantial upgrade.

Radical Spiritual Transformation from Zulu to All of Afrika

The following was written as a presentation at the Mazisi Kunene Colloquium that was recently held at the University of KwaZulu Natal’s Centre for Indigenous Knowledge Systems on the 4th and 5th of December.

I publish the draft here, the complete article will appear in a publication that features the presentations from the other illustrious delegates:

Radical Spiritual Transformations:

Harvesting the Super-abundance in Mazisi Kunene’s Works for Transforming Our Society

Add Quote from Impepho / Amalokotho Kanomkhubulwane*

Introduction:

I often wonder if modern historians, sociologists and anthropologists, black, white or other have ever read the works of Cheikh Anta Diop. I wonder if they have heard of Ayi Kweyi Armah, Magema Fuze, Walter Rodney, Noni Jabavu.

I recently read an article written by a white American history professor, Mary Lefkowitz, from a journal called The History Place: Points of View. The article entitled: Not Out of Africa, subtitled; Was Greek Culture Stolen from Africa? Modern Myth vs. Ancient History – aimed to debunk the myths peddled by Afrocentric scholars and reputable Black Power activists, that seek to elevate Afrikan knowledge above that of Europeans. The article itself is extracted from her book which is provocatively titled: Not Out of Africa: How Afrocentrism Became an Excuse to Teach Myth as History.

I begin with this reflection because after reading the article, I was troubled by the fact that much of what the white professor said was actually true. As a student of uSolwazi Mazisi Kunene, Cheick Anta Diop, Ayi Kwei Armah, Magema Fuze, Mfuniselwa Bhengu,Toni Morrison, Marcus Garvey, Francis Creswell, Octavia E. Butler, Frantz Fanon,Walter Rodney and Steve Bantubonke Biko and many other Afrika centred writers and activists, I am very intolerant of lies disguised as truth, especially when it comes to matters regarding my people, the Black people of the world.

The point I seek to emphasize is that in a similar way that uMkhulu uMazisi Kunene had done, many scholars of history and writers of the ancient into the future, are very interested in protecting their own people, their own cultural and intellectual heritage. Some even go to the extent of basing their whole work on demystifying or exploding the myths, while others even create their own myths in the process. In answering her own question, “Did ancient Greek religion and culture derive from Egypt” professor Lefkowitz states:

Apparently Greek writers, despite their great admiration for Egypt, looked at Egyptian civilization through cultural blinkers that kept them from understanding any practices or customs that were significantly different from their own. The result was a portrait of Egypt that was both astigmatic and deeply Hellenized. Greek writers operated under other handicaps as well. They did not have access to records; there was no defined system of chronology. They could not read Egyptian inscriptions or question a variety of witnesses because they did not know the language. Hence they were compelled to exaggerate the importance of such resemblances as they could see or find.”

In other words, although she raises many important questions about the claims of Afrocentric writers such as Martin Bernal, Ben Jochannan and others, she also contradicts herself and ends up strengthening the argument of Afrocentric scholars whose sole aim is to raise Afrikan history and Intellectual life to reputable and redemptive levels.

When I first met Baba Kunene in the early 2000’s at SABC studios, at a Creative Writers workshop co-organised with Ukhozi FM, I was intimidated by his regal age, his fiery white hair and his reputation as a no-nonsense intellectual. I had been writing short-stories and only in English, I had also recently read his Emperor Shaka Zulu The Great, Amalokotho KaNomkhubulwane and his books of poetic proverbs, Impepho as well as Igudu LikaSomcabeko.

After the intense workshop, which became really his unique way of asking us armature writers to Become Truly Who We Are, To Redefine The Essence of Storytelling and To Embrace The Wealth Embedded in Our Mother-tongues, I met him when most of the learners were gone. One on one, he became more serious. He read my one page story quietly and frowned and said: “Such a great imagination, but why do you insult your Mother and your ancestors by writing in English?”

He paused and continued, “You are living in the age of freedom and information but you insist on enriching the culture of Abantu abangena’Buntu.” He then through the page on my face and said, “Hamba uyozifuna, uzibuze ukuthi ungumbhali noma ungumlingisi”

Translation: “Go and find yourself, ask yourself if you are a writer or an actor or imitator.”

 Conclusion:

I thought I should share these two, apparently unrelated episodes; it is my way of reaching back and reaching in. Baba Kunene’s work and life asked us to not only reach back but like Biko, or jazz multi-instrumentalist Bheki Mseleku, he forced us to Look Within, mainly because that is where our treasured lie buried, ready to be discovered by us and the world. The world is waiting to Afrika to reveal her wonders. Those wonders are locked in our own stories, both realistic and fantastic.

Lastly, Kunene’s work is revolutionary, and calls for a Radical Spiritual Transformation. They are a cultural reservoir from which we and our children can find sustenance. In the words of Maulana Ron Karenga, another pragmatic Afrocentric worker: The seven criteria for culture are these:

  • Mythology
  • History
  • Social Organisation
  • Political Organisation
  • Economic Organisation
  • Creative Motif
  • As well as Ethos.

We do not have time to get deep into all of these right now, suffice to say Baba Kunene’s work remains one of the most dexterous and purposeful attempts by an Afrikan Intellectual and Sanusi, Inyanga Yamagama, to overthrow a system that is built on eliminating us. His poems and proverbs are Revolutionary magical invocations or charms, written for a generation that would, should and will use them wisely to Create The Afrika We Want.

tbc

Menzi Maseko ©

www.greenankhworks.com

The Institute of Afrikology

 

Puppets On A Strange God’s String

I must state clearly that I have never entertained nor tolerated any discussions regarding the so called Illuminati, the secret societies that are said to run the world. I am neither a believer in Satan nor the Gods of the Jews and Christians. To me, these are all distractions that keep humanity in perpetual mental and emotional chains. That said, I am neither an atheist nor an anarchist or any of the labels and isms that are out there that people believe in. What I can admit to be guilty of is adhering to the Rastafari way of being. This too I regularly question and I am neither a fundamentalist nor a believer in the so called Black supremacy aspect of the Rastafari tradition. I love Rasta for different reasons and most of them have nothing to do with the Ethiopian Orthodoxy of it all. You will have to get to know me a little more intimately to overstand what I mean.

The reason I mention the Illuminati and the inter-relatedness of Abrahamic religious dogma in this story is because, after watching a few You Tube videos where Ab Soul, Jay Electronica and Kendrick Lamar speaks, I find myself questioning the intelligence as well as the foundations of the knowledge systems or the structural straight jackets that these Afrikan Amerikkkan brothers are in.

After all this time, after so much knowledge of alternative or global knowledge systems have been made available, on the internet as well as through various academic platforms, how can seemingly intelligent and clearly talented people still be stuck in the manufactured or whiteness constructed dualism of religion?

Among the plethora of religious propaganda that Kendrick Lamar spews in his other wise brilliantly executed album DAMN, is this curious line “I’m not even Black no more, I’m an Israelite.”

I guess this means he has joined the Afrocentric Biblical sect called the African Hebrew Israelite’s. While I understand and respect my sisters and brothers who are drawn into such archaic religious formations, the question I often ask is why did they not simply join a church? They, just like many Rastafarians who claim to have liberated themselves from the mental slavery of the Abrahamic mythology, and Christian monopolization of the Nature  and the ‘Word’ of ‘God’, all seem to view the world through a very limited and limiting prism. The limitations and contradictions of these Biblical fundamentalists have many repercussions. Most of the claims from the prophecies to the miracles as well as much of the historicity of the texts and personalities can barely withstand scientific scrutiny. Everything from the stories of Adam and Eve, Jonah and the great fish, Noah’s Ark to the existence of personalities such as David, Moses, Jacob, Melchizedek and even Jesus are founded on very fickle historical evidence. Now I appreciate the wondrous power of myth and ancient stories and how belief in such stories and their sacredness has permeated the whole planet, but I also have seen the devastating damage they have visited on the world, human relations as well as humanity’s relationship with the cosmos.

In an essay titled The Faith of our Forefathers, I write about how freedom fighters from Nat Turner, Marcus Garvey to the early South African, ‘exempted’ African leaders found succor, comfort and courage in the Bible and the Quran. I also offer that their, and our own heavy reliance on these religious also limits our capacity to change, innovate and find truly African centered solutions to the problems that we face as a ‘Race’.

There are many contradictions and there are many levels or perspectives with which we can face this matter of ‘foreign religions’, or even the foreignness of religion to we as Abantu. Being in Africa, we have a greater advantage and a greater responsibility to emancipate our selves from mental and spiritual servitude. Our mixing and matching of foreign religions with our indigenous knowledge does not benefit our communities, but only the hierarchical and paternalistic families and societies that control the purses. Listening to the brother Kendrick Lamar and the even more deluded Jay Electronica reminded me of what my brother Madoda Mditshwa always said. We must restore inkolo YeMveli ( We Must Restore Our Ancestors Ways of Knowing and Being.) We have a chance to do it as Afrikans/Abantu, but it mat be too late for our sisters and brothers who dwell in the belly of the beast. Unless they are willing to make a Radical transformation and seek the Afrika that is authentic and unmoved by the trappings of the West.

A New Afrika may yet be created, perhaps with a new name and a new way of Being free, devoid of the exploitation of religion, market economy and blinding illumination.

http://greenankhworks.blogspot.co.za/

 

The Quest for Effective Leadership In Afrika

Green Ankh blog

The People Deserve …

Part 1: Leadership in crisis

We can debate unto infinity about the impact and value of Afrikan leadership on the careworn citizens, all our debates and multi-levelled reasoning would lead us nowhere fast unless we can somehow find out from the led, or the ruled, just what makes them tick.

What makes other people leaders and others mere followers? There are historical, social, psychological as well as political reasons why some people say that the people deserve the leaders they get. In order to find out more about the relations between modern Afrikan peoples ad their leaders, among the questions we would ask are:

  • Are African’s a homogenous group of people?
  • Are we well suited for democratic socio-political frameworks?
  • Is there any strength that can be drawn from our diversity?
  • How many of us would prefer pre-colonial systems of leadership?
  • How much do we know about…

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RUFORUM: An Innovative Mechanism for engaging African Universities for Development

RUFORUM

Okori +Adipala

Prologue: The promise of Africa, as a vibrant strong player in the global economy, remains steadfast, especially, after an impressive 15-year period of steady economic growth. During that period, per capita GDP surged to an average of 3%. However, more recently, this remarkable upturn in the continent’s development fortunes, have diminished, raising concerns about Africa’s renaissance. Nevertheless,  the continent, through its vision 2063, the“ Africa We Want,” remains steadfast in its efforts to build a viable and prosperous home for her people and at the at the same time, contribute to the global economy.

 This grand vision for Africa, notwithstanding, requires that the fundamental levers for development be engaged. Agriculture is one of the fundamental levers needed to actualize Africa’s Vision 2063. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth originating in agriculture is twice as effective in benefiting the poorest half of a country’s population as growth generated in non-agricultural sectors…

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For the Love of African Writers Series

One of my favourite book titles must be Sembene Ousmane’s God’s Bits of Wood. It speaks poetically of the existential position of an embattled and suffering humanity. Ousmane deals most creatively with the lot of Afrikan people and the struggles we go through under various forms of colonialism.

I have read this novel, a very long time ago, during my formative years of being introduced to the awesomely endowed African Writers Series, a trademark of Heinemann, a division of Reed Publishing ( USA) Incorporated. To say that the African Writers Series and the Caribbean Writers Series is a treasure-trove would be an understatement, but I have yet to find the words to describe the wealth of knowledge and joy I have found in exploring all those stories from all over the Afrikan and Diasporic world.

I am about to re-read Sembene Ousmane’s God’s Bits of Wood, ( I aim to write at length about the literary and film works of this great Afrikan artist and prophet -)  and I am so excited. The blurb at the back reads:

“‘Eversince they left Thies, the women had not stopped singing. As soon as one group allowed the refrain to die, another picked it up, and new verses were born at the hazard of chance or inspiration, one word leading to another and each finding in its turn, its rhythm and its place. No one was very sure any longer where the song began, or if it had an ending. It rolled out over its own length, like the movement of a serpent. It was as long as a life.’

In 1947-8 the workers on the Dakar-Niger railway came out on strike. Sembene Ousmane, in thhis vivid and moving novel, evinces all of the colour, passion and tragedy of those decisive years in the history of West Africa.”

 

 

Apply Now: MCF@RUFORUM Scholarships 2018

RUFORUM

MCF@RUFORUM

Deadline Extension: 31 March 2018 

The Mastercard Foundation has partnered with the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM), a network of 85 universities in 35 African countries. The partnership focuses on ‘Transforming African Agricultural Universities to meaningfully contribute to Africa’s growth and development’.

The aim of partnership is to transform African agricultural universities and their graduates to better respond to developmental challenges through enhanced application of science, technology, business and innovation for rural agricultural transformation.

Under this partnership, 110 Bachelor and 110 Master scholarships will be provided over a period of eight years. The scholarships target; academically deserving yet economically disadvantaged, marginalized communities and those coming from conflict and post conflict areas of Africa. The scholarships are tenable at Egerton University in Kenya and Gulu University in Uganda.

Students enrolled under this program will receive comprehensive scholarships, leadership development, life skills support, entrepreneurship training and…

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