This conversation between two of the most authentic Black artists is so powerful, so instructive, so wise.
This is always a good read, very informative and well researched. Zimbabwe needs truth and not propaganda.
On the teeming, nervous streets of Harare, somewhere along the byways of the promising northern suburbs – stands a boy named Progress. His parents must have been really hopeful, if he has a sister, her name may very likely be Prosperity. The parents could possibly also be faithful with their Sunday tithes, giving of the little they can scrape from almost nothingness.
It is also possible that this eleven year old was named by his ailing grandparents somewhere in the deep in the rural areas. Whatever the case may be, here he stands between the amen corner and impending doom. His country, better to say homeland, has been scating on the thinned ice of total economic collapse for more than two decades now. With a reported 90% unemployment rate, half the citizens residing in various foreign lands …All they had really asked for was an equal share in the wealth of the land.
We can tell the story of a ravenously corruptible, heavily indebted and bloated neo-colonial leadership later, for now we have to simply stop, look and listen to the story of Progress. We need to find out who or what circumstances have led him and millions of other Black somebody’s down this perilous road – being trapped in a spiral of poverty.
My name is Progress Nhamo, I was born in Mbare, Harare in the year 2001. My parents had been farm worker in Kondozi for all their lives, but they had fled that part of the country during the invasions. I know I should not put it that way, many elders do not actually use the word invasion, but land occupations. But as my mother would say gleefully, “Once we had new bosses, there was no more occupation, so let’s call a spade a spade.” Anyways, we had moved around a lot when I was still a baby, and my father told me that we even had to live on the streets of Mutare for several weeks before we finally found a room in notorious Mbare. It is strange to claim that my parents lived together because my father was hardly ever home. Unless he came home drunk out of his wits on some weekends, he was mostly hustling in or out of some part of Harare selling everything he could find. My mother once said that he probably also sold himself. She could not explain to me why this man was hardly ever home.
Revolution is a science, but it is one that takes shape socially, both privately as well as publically, and it is essentially experiential. The theory is as significant as the practice. The ironical art of revolution is comparable to the art of music. One person can compose a symphony in the privacy of their own home or even while walking along as part of a crowd. The symphony will require a number of performers yet it comes from the mind of a single person. In jazz, there is the art of improvisation. While the composer can arrange the music in one way, the music can take a shape of its own in the hands of capable improvisers, but the foundation remains. Is it possible for a whole country to be conducted like a symphony or even a jazz big band, with each musician, audience member and spectator contributiung to a harmonious whole?
The people must first agree to play together, to trust the bandleader, the leader has to have a record of excellence in performance and there must be freedom. Freedom is the prerequisite to more freedom. Afrikan people should or can agree to get off the grid of monopoly foreign capital, we can harmonise. This is what I am learning from listening to Wadada Leo Smith and reading late Ugandan Professor Dani Wadada Nabudere.
While reeling along and ‘taking the pain’, with every other Zimbabwean and even most South Africans amid the seemingly perennial economic crises, we are also edified by the seemingly intangible. Caught between two worlds – that of pursuing the mental liberation of ourselves and our people from the numerous shackles of neo-colonial existence, by working on a cultural/spiritual revolution while at the same time striving to be entrepreneurial and financially independent, it is daunting work. It is our music that really helps us to get over these black and blues. What would we be without this music?
In all our travails we have had music that either interprets, interrogates, elucidates and presents our struggles and our joys. The music reaches further, it can be a comforter as well as an agitating force, compelling us to seek new ways of being, to be more than just labourers and consumers, but to also catch the Spiritual vibrations that surround us, even as it appears as if we are drowning in endless dept, depraved systems and despair. The music is our campus to our Souls true purpose. The music is in everything we do because the music comes from within as well as without.
During my regular errands to do some research at the Harare City Library, I came across an book by one of my all time favourite intellectuals, the consummate philosopher and pragmatic Afrikologist Dr Dani Nabudere. The title of the book also caught my roving eye, called The Rise 7 fall of Money Capital, with the name Dani Wadada Nabudere written below on the cover, I could not resist it. I spent a good three hours perusing its contents. I will explain later how discovering that his name was also Wadada, means so much to me. Firstly, about the book. The best way to describe it is to re-write what is written on the back-page cover and thereafter elucidate on its significance for me personally, for Zimbabwe as well as for the whole continent of Afrika:
“This book comes out at an important time in the history of monetary and financial systems which, with the October 1987 crash on bloody Monday and the mini-crash in October 1989, has undergone tremendous shocks and tremors. The author traces the theory of money and credit in a historical perspective – doing so from a Marxist perspective – and convincingly demonstrates the root causes of monetary and financial crises in the capitalist economy, as well as money’s contradictory role in a socialist economy. His crucial contribution lies in his exposure of the false acceptance of the notion that money is a neutral’ circulating agent in capitalist economies as well as, to some extent, ‘socialist’ economies. He demonstrates the historical role of money as a social relation in which class relations are counterimposed within the monetary relationships ( This is a crucial point we shall return to and investigate further ). Commodity-money relationships are seen as lying at the base of the capitalist economies and monetary and credit crises reflect the class struggles that continue on a world level over the political and technical questions that underlie commodity production and distribution. ( This is the part that really interested me in this book, as Zimbabwe suffers the effects of such a crisis. It is usually easier to point to government corruption and bloated state budgets when trying to find solutions to the issue of finances and foreign investments, but very few if any analysts have tried to look at the intrinsically flawed logic of capitalism itself.)
Nabudere is vigorous and so instructive in this work, that I wished I could just make copies of the requisite chapters and send to some African heads of state and relevant ministers. But one wonders if such people actually make time to read and engage in dialectical thinking in order to steer their countries towards economic well-being. I am not as well versed in financial literacy as I should be, but I often wonder and sometimes even tell my wife that a country such as Zimbabwe has a great opportunity to actually be innovative and be a leader in the electronic and other online /mobile credit avenues such as the clearly workable eco-cash and the the rest of the electronic alternatives. But somehow we are all use to possessing cash. Are we possessed by cash, perhaps? It is possible that it is our attitude towards paper-money that keeps us otherwise impoverished. Why are alternative currencies such as Bitcoin etc not hugely successful in Zimbabwe? There are explanations for this, but I do believe that Afrikan people should be forging ahead with alternatives to the US Dollar and any other foreign capital. Anyway, the book’s description continues:
“The author brings up the old dispute about a definition of money, demonstrating thoroughly the scientificity of Marx’s insistence that money itself is a commodity with its own cost of production., thus undermining the monetarist argument that it is the state that determines the value of money, and other universal equivalents, still remain at the base of the monetary system, despite the fact that gold may no longer be in the reserves of the central banks. In private hoards, gold still plays a central role in the private appropriation of the social product of labour by capital.” – ( Africa In Transition publishers )
I strongly believe that we as Afrikan people can discover new ways to work, to earn and to learn. We can feed ourselves, find water, remunerate each other and gift each other in various ways beyond this commodity called money. This book shows that this is not mere wishful thinking. There is life beyond capitalism, but we should sow those seeds now.
In this new situation the precondition is that capital now stands on one side and labour on the other. Both are alien to one another and are historically presented with the dispossession of direct producers by merchants’ capital as antagonistic forces. The extremes which stand opposite one another are specifically different in their roles in the process of production. on the one side labour exists on condition that it offers itself as use-value to capital for a wage. This use value ( or labour-power) exists only potentially as the bodily and mental capacity of the worker. It becomes a reality only when it has been solicited by capital and set in motion by it within the process of production. On the other side stands capital as exchange-value which is no longer its original quality, as we have seen, but is now money-capital. It is not money in the simple form of gold and silver, nor is it money in opposition to circulation, but it is now in the form of commodities.
In conclusion, let me just reiterate what has already been said; there is life after capitalism, just as there was life before. But we are not suggesting that we should return to the rudimentary sort of bartering system or to simplistic economies that existed before the industrial era and the advent of globalization, what we are saying is that rather than collapsing along with the failing system of money-capital, we can invent other ways of doing business and forging our existence, the financial markets have done nothing good for Afrika, instead, we are used as the source of raw materials, slave labour and charity cases. We can be more creative but our creativity should not be wasted on saving a system that is intrinsically harmful to the entire planet, especially to we the Children of the Sun.
Countries such as Zimbabwe and indeed many more so called Third World countries are caught up in debilitating conditions of debt from accruing aid from all and sundry. Nabudere writes:
“In this way an alliance is sealed between the state comprador bourgeoisie which receives the ‘aid’ and the dominant international bourgeoisie, which dishes out the ‘aid’. Under such a situation, any expansion in the economy which generates growth elements immediately leads to a further depreciation of the currency, of neo-colonial Third World countries, ad the appreciation of the currencies of the stronger developed capitalist currency.”
In my next essay, I will expand on why the name Wadada, shared by my inpsirations, is so significant. I will also share how serendipitous it is that Wadada Nabudere finished this particular book The Rise and Fall of Money Capital in the city of Harare, from where I am writing this.
I recommend this very highly ….
Angazi nokuthi ngiqalephi … the rage one feels regarding the Zulu King’s recent statements and his decision to join hands with a right leaning racist white political formation called AfriForum is palpable. Yet, if one understand the history of Southern Africa and how apartheid was established and how colonialism installed its own loyal people to oversee the land and its people, it is easy to rationally conclude that the king is still being used, whether he knows it or not. South Africa is a strange place of multifarious paradoxes.
I don’t even know where to begin …the sheer betrayal of trust that Afrikan leaders, including kings have exhibited towards us is beyond my ability to contemplate. While I am aware of how white supremacy uses folks against each other,employing all kinds of devices to turn governments against their own people, states against traditional leaders as well as customary leaders against their “subjects”; the things that are happening in South Afrika right now are just too much to bear.
Let us briefly examine a few key players in the land, farming and socio-political climate of the entity called South Africa. We shall begin with the roles of traditional leaders, then and now. We shall then analyse just what purpose they serve in the so called developmental state, as the Republic of South Africa purports to be one.
South African History 101
An overview of South African history is necessary in order to gain some understanding of the current socio-economic situation.
The African National Congress
The Pan Africanist Congress
The EFF and Other Insurgent movements
Key Elements of Divide and Rule
Who is King Goodwill Zwelithini?
What Should be Done With Kings and Lands Under Their Stewardship?
“The North Star is the 49th brightest star” …not the brightest …
“Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, for none but ourselves can free our minds.” – Marcus Garvey.
These often repeated words from the erstwhile leader of the the pan-Afrikan, Negro Improvement Association were said and written in the early 20th century, yet their impact is still felt today during the 21st as Afrikan people globally still languish at the bottom of the socio-economic ladders. It is dawning on most of us that regardless of accolades, riches or highest levels of educational success, the Afrikan still need to learn more about herself/himself in order to be truly liberated, otherwise their liberation is a sham. Your Phd, Doctorate or Masters thesis which is based on Eurocentric education will not free your people from the shackles of white supremacist hegemony.
“The present generation is the hinge of history …we may now be in the time of the most rapid change in the whole evolution of the human race, either past or to come …the world has now become too dangerous for anything less than Utopia.” – J.R. Platt
The word utopia usually conjures up some fantastic vision of idyllic or even imaginary living. This is not always the case though, in a world where almost anything goes and moral/socio-economic as well as ecological decay is rife, it has become crucial for people of vision to apply themselves to processes of healing, restoration, repairation and cosmic balance. Utopia, then does not necessary mean an impossible or fictional world, but actually connotes a highly possible, longed for future state, one which can be attained if people organised themselves to attain it. We must become something we have never been.
We are currently on a quest towards establishing an Afrocentric school for Black children and young learners in the Southern Hemisphere. While this may not be a novel idea/ideal, as it has been done before with varying degrees of success or sustainability, it is becoming more evident that Afrikan parents need an education system that caters to the particular needs of Black children. As a father of three boys who have to attend a ‘secular’ private nursery where 99% of the images the children see do not represent either their race nor our cultural worldview, the urgency of this vision has become very real.
This desire to be taught in one Mother tongue, be surrounded by positive Black/Afrikan images and cosmic symbols,imbued with the cultural aesthetics as well as the values that characterize intrinsic Afrocentric ideals is not new, while it is a noble ideal, it is by no means easy.
The reality of existing within a highly volatile capitalistic global system perpetuated by a so called Free market founded on racist ideologies, means that more and more values that make us human/humane are being eroded for the benefit of unscrupulous profitters.
The aim of such an Afrocentric/Afrikological school is to restore the essential characteristics of Ubuntu and Natural progression of the learner, who then grows up to become a well balanced citizen. It must and will be a Futuristic learning system, characterised by transformative and highly conscious teachers and learners.
The late educational transformation activist Neville Alexandre, wrote during the year of his death:
“Once the commodity value of people displaces their intrinsic human worth or dignity, we are well on the way to a state of barbarism. Unless and until we bring back into our paradigms, and thus into our social analyses, the entire human being and the ways in which human beings can live fulfilled lives beyond their mere economic needs, we will continue to promote anti-human philosophies and policies that ultimately tend to work to the benefit of those who have, and to the detriment of those who do not.”
Our school will include a sufficient concentration on Agrarian as well as vocational training. It will also place emphasis on information technology, from coding to robotics as well as ecological knowledge and non-Western examples of mathematics and scientific disciplines.
We are now at the stage of collective information, research and like-minded contributors. The vision is that the schools will begin on digital platforms before establishing satellite schools on the ground.