State of the Arts in Southern Afrika

A great part of the Green Ankh Works vision includes the making of sustainable creative, cultural events throughout the Southern African Development Community and beyond. These events, must not only be economically or commercially successful, but they should have an impact that transcends tourism brochures and public relations or advertising. The primary purpose is to touch people’s lives in the most positive way.

Today we are exposed to an almost overwhelming amount of information, the proverbial internet of things is upon us, yet artists, creative people and many aspects of the cultural economy remain impoverished. There is either very poor or negative appreciation of the roles of the artists, idealists and social entrepreneurs or there is blatant disregard for authenticity. It may have a lot to do with the socio-economic conditioning of all of us under a neoliberal or capitalist world which favours competition over collaboration, or it is simply a survival game where corruption and corruptibility is built into the very sinews of the system. Either way, we as Afrikans are joining the rest of the world in becoming “less Spiritual“, more materialistic and less socially responsible, ‘we are following the material that we created rather then the spiritual force that creates it’, as Toumani Diabate mentioned during his 2009 concert in Cape Town. Essentially we are losing Ubuntu to materialism and are largely distracted from community participation by programming, commercial interests as well as social media.

In my next post I will write about my experience at the Creative and Cultural Industries Federation of South Africa conference which took place in Joburg on 31st of May 2018. This is where we were supposed to engage rigorously with a Policy document that is geared towards regulating and organising the Creative/Cultural economy in Southern Afrika, my aim is to use this platform to promote synergies within the whole SADC region and beyond, beginning with South Afrika/Azania and Zimbabwe. But for now, just listen to this beautiful, deeply spiritual music from the West Afrikan brother Diabate Sounds

 

 

 

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Ideas Worth Sharing

Here I am sharing something I gleaned from the net. These are the words of Kate Raworth from her website Exploring Doughnut Economics. I am keenly interested in people who propagate new ways of viewing and doing economics and guiding social change. Although I am more Afrocentric and tend to promote ideas by people of my own ‘race’, I also believe that a holistic civilization can only flourish through the collaborative efforts of all human beings who seek the greater good. Kate Raworth wrote:
“For 21st century progress, pick your paradigm…

 

I spent a day at the OECD in Paris earlier this week, and had fascinating discussions there. They had asked me to be provocative so I proposed they rewrite Article 1a of the OECD’s founding constitution – and I later tweeted it like this:

That tweet caught the attention of Branko Milanovic, who is one of the world’s leading economists in analysing global income inequality trends, and whose work I hugely admire (and cite in Doughnut Economics, of course).

Branko had a visceral reaction against my suggestion, prompting him to write a fiery blog on why economic growth is an inevitable necessity in all countries, no matter how rich they already are.

What fascinated me in reading Branko’s blog was the deep difference in the fundamentals underlying the worldviews that he and I hold – differences that implicitly underpin many public debates today.

So I have done my best to summarise the crux of Branko’s position in just five bullet points – and then to write down, in equally stark terms, a five-point summary of my own, very different, worldview (spelt out more fully here).

I absolutely understand why Branko might find my assumptions and beliefs untenable – just as I hope he would understand why I think his are equally so.

Here I’m not interested in twitter spats or bloggers’ boxing matches – they are ten-a-penny online and there are far more fruitful ways to engage.

I sincerely believe we – humanity – are at a critical juncture in determining our chances of having a flourishing planet on which we all can thrive this century. And the economic worldview that we use will significantly shape that. So there is much to be gained by engaging respectfully with those who disagree with us.

Hence I’m taking this opportunity to step back and acknowledge that both of our visions of the future include strong beliefs about human nature versus human nurture, big uncertainties about how economic variables may respond, deep assumptions about how much change is possible, and lots of hope about how the future might be different from the past.

Neither route is easy. Neither is proven. And a lot depends upon the choices we make.

Listening respectfully to those who disagree with us is a fascinating (and still too rare) thing to do.

So thanks for the opportunity, Branko.”

I ( Menzi Maseko) have decided to add one of the comments that followed, this post.

 

A comment by Herb Wiseman
14 July 2017 at 19:02

The scientists who study Nature vs. Nurture generally note that they interact with each other. I had a brother-in-law who was a scientist of some renown and he told me that nature is vitally important. But more and more studies are being published showing how genetic structures and supposedly innate physiological processes can be altered by environmental factors. Manufacturing Consent and the entire PR industry coupled to the work of Lakoff and others points to how we need to reframe our minds to understand society and its purpose. People may also want to take note of a Canadian initiative called the LEAP Manifesto. It is best described in a book by Naomi Klein called No Is Not Enough.”

While I am Searching for ways to do business unusually and to work within a transformative economic paradigm. I am currently in Zimbabwe, but I want to take and apply these ideas in Southern Africa and anywhere I may move to next.

Here is the link to Kate Raworth’s website: https://www.kateraworth.com/2017/07/14/for-21st-century-progress-pick-your-paradigm/

Re-Afrikanization or Another Dead End?

My heart yearns for the glory of an Africa that is gone. But I shall labour for the birth of a new Africa, free and great among the nations of the world.”
– Anton Lembede

Many African nationalists do believe that Western imperialism was an exercise in divide and rule. The argument sometimes sounds like the following, ‘We were all Africans until colonialism split us into Ugandans, Kenyans. Ghanaians, and Ivorians.’ The logical jump is the assertion that Africans must ‘therefore’ have previously been just ‘Africans’. It is not a simple case of the very word African being itself non-African in origin, however true that may be. Rather it is a case of the inhabitants of the continent having known other, often narrower, group identities than ‘Ugandans’, and ‘Ivorians’ before colonial rule.” – Ali Mazrui, The Africans: A Triple Heritage

Did the experience of colonialism and the Trans-Atlantic slave-trade unite us as Afrikans only to divide us as Blacks? Can we not be simultaneously proud to be Black and retain our loyal identity as Afrikans, or is it a case of not being able to functionally coexists with both?
Today I am hearing more and more of my comrades advocating for a return to African Nationalism. They are evoking the likes of Anton Muziwakhe Lembede, Marcus Garvey and various other Afrikanist leaders from the bygone era. They state that the term Black no longer suffices as a definition of who we are, as people of this rich continent we should simply be known as Afrikans qha. I find it alarming and quite regressive, because I assumed we were all on the same page regarding the histories related to our being defined from without as well as from within.What alarms me even more is that these are comrades with whom we have spent almost a decade promoting Black Consciousness according to how we have read and understood it from the great activist Bantu Steve Biko. But today it appears as though we have not really understood Biko at all, or at least not the same way. This is not surprising, as Black Consciousness is neither a dogmatic doctrine nor a set of rules set in stone.
We can and have developed it and adapted it to many other progressive ideas of the 20th and 21st century, such as Black Existentialism, Afrikology, Intertextuality/Intersectionality, Black Feminism as well as Afro-Pessimism as developed by the likes of Frank B. Wilderson.
These and more are all part of the Black Radical tradition and form part of the a people’s movements towards liberation. But beyond scholarship, there have been global musical ideas and innovative artistic expressions based on the foundation of functional Black Consciousness.So what makes it different from Pan Afrikanism or even Afrikan Nationalism as advocated by our honourable predecessors from Garvey to Nkrumah to Nyerere,Cabral, Sankara, Toure’ and others?

Let’s begin by hypothetically accepting this geographically based definition,by agreeing that an Afrikan person no matter where she may be born or resides is still an Afrikan first, This means that all people of colour from the continent known as Africa, to the Brazilians, the Carribeans ( also known as West Indians), the Dominicans, some from South America as well as other parts of the Diaspora are to be identified as Afrikans first.
This definition is in spite of whether they personally identify as Afrikans of with the country of the birth, by virtue of being brown skinned or tan or as dark as ebony, they are African first.

But then there is a conundrum here, there are various peoples from all over the globe who appear dark skinned and yet they have not been in Afrika for several centuries. We can begin with the obvious Australian Aboriginals, New Zealanders, some peoples from the various Asian Islands, various so called Indians from that sub-continent as well as peoples from Mesopotamia and the Middle East who do not identify as Arabs, and some of those who do due to their religion. Are we saying that our Afrikan NAtionalism should exclude all these people even though they have suffered and continue to suffer the tribulations of anti-Black and racially based capitalist brutality?
Are we saying that only Afrikans in the continent are worth fighting and sacrificing for? Where does Afrikanness begin and end. I also need to know whether the knowledge based and technocratic economies of today …or rather can Afrikan Nationalism benefit the younger generation and assist them to become the best that they can be today? Is it a question of identity or is it really about loyalty and patriotism? If that is the case, does patriotism and loyalty to a continent progressively lead to social wellbeing or is it a question of being part of the nationalist ego?

Liberating voices from our past

One of the most influential books in my intellectual and activist life has been W.E.B. Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk: Essays and Sketches, published in 1903. This book not only opened my eyes wider to the challenge of racial justice but also endowed me with the tools I needed in order to discern between race hustlers and authentic justice activists. Du Bois is among the most revered founding fathers of Pan Afrikanism. He was there at the beginning structures of the men and women who organised themselves not only for diaspora emancipation projects, but worked tirelessly for the liberation of Afrika’s various countries, and his last days were spend in Ghana wherein he lies buried. Like many Pan Afrikanists of his day, and even many of us today, he was mostly concerned with the building of properly equipped and ideologically sound institutions for the development of Black people. I hereby would like to quote him where he wrote about the establishment of Afrikan American colleges.

The function of the Negro college, then, is clear. it must maintain the standards of popular education, it must seek the social regeneration of the Negro, and it must help in the solution of problems of race contact and co-operation. And finally, beyond all this, it must develop men. Above our modern socialism, and out of the worship of the mass, must persist and evolve that higher individualism which the centers of culture protect; there must come a loftier respect for the sovereign human soul that seeks to know itself and the world about it, that seeks a freedom for expansion and self development; that will love and hate and labor in its own way; untrammeled alike by old and new. 

Herein the longing of black men must have respect: the rich and bitter depth of their experience, the unknown treasures of their inner life, the strange rendings of nature they have seen, may give the world new points of view and make their loving, living and doing precious to all human hearts.” – page 73 ( The Souls of Black Folk )

When I read such words, written so long ago by men who strove for real justice and whose primary focus was on freeing their own kind yet whose scope was truly about freeing the whole human race, I shudder in shame. Somehow with all our technology and knowing, we have not really achieved the great feats that these men and women fought and worked so hard for. Yes of course there are many shining examples of Black excellence, there are now many schools and institutions that do great work in our communities globally, but the missing link is still unity of purpose. Many are either divided by religious dogma while others have perished through the corrosive egotistical character of their founders or inheritors. All in all, we are moving forward, but rather slowly or too gradually. This is why it appears as if the posturing and shock tactics of radical Black political activists are our main hope. Groups such as the Economic Freedom Fighter, the Black First Land First movement and others appear as the clearest choices for people who have long given up putting their hopes in standard political processes. But herein lies the difference between the likes of Marcus Garvey, Du Bois and other Pan Afrikan leaders of the past, while they were engaged in political processes, they were also engaged in community uplift projects that were entrepreneurial in nature, but above all that, they were also educators and institution builders, the foundations of which are strong because even after a century we still look to them for guidance.

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.

Revolutionary Ideas worth sharing

http://www.asante.net/articles/1/afrocentricity/

“The Afrocentric paradigm is a revolutionary shift in thinking proposed as a constructural adjustment to black disorientation, decenteredness, and lack of agency. The Afrocentrist asks the question, “What would African people do if there were no white people?”  In other words, what natural responses would occur in the relationships, attitudes toward the environment, kinship patterns, preferences for colors, type of religion, and historical referent points for African people if there had not been any intervention of colonialism or enslavement? Afrocentricity answers this question by asserting the central role of the African subject within the context of African history, thereby removing Europe from the center of the African reality. In this way, Afrocentricity becomes a revolutionary idea because it studies ideas, concepts, events, personalities, and political and economic processes from a standpoint of black people as subjects and not as objects, basing all knowledge on the authentic interrogation of location.” – Asante

Save RSA From Itself, Especially Those Liberals

http://theconversation.com/how-south-african-business-can-help-government-fix-the-economy-83167?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20for%20September%205%202017%20-%2082276695&utm_content=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20for%20September%205%202017%20-%2082276695+CID_710c9c341b62e03e18f961ab100bac8a&utm_source=campaign_monitor_africa&utm_term=How%20South%20African%20business%20can%20help%20government%20fix%20the%20economy