There is something so alive about the dead

In the infamous Ancient ciKemetic/Egyptian Book of the Dead, which should be known as the Pert em rhu or Coming Forth by Day or the Book of Awakening there are various chapters written as rituals for the living and the dead. The ancient Egyptian traditions are very similar to what is still practiced by AmaZulu and many other Bantu peoples.

Let us begin by quoting from one titled The Chapter of Making A Man To Return To Look Upon His House on Earth, where it states: “The Osiris Ani saith : – I am the Lion-god who cometh forth with long strides.I have shot arrows, and I have wounded my prey. I am the eye of Horus, I traverse the Eye of Horus in this season. I have arrived at the domains.Grant that the Osiris Ani may come in peace.I have advanced and behold, I have not been found light in weight, and the Balance is emptied of my case.

This book also called the Papyrus of Ani is a great example of how ancient Afrikans viewed and in some instances still view Death. From the modern Zulu to the Oromo in Ethiopia to West and Central Afrika the passage from the living to the dead is seen as just one among many stages of the Spirits existence. Of course Afrikans are not the only ones who held this view, but it appears that many of the peoples of the world have developed an entirely negative attitude towards death and even life after retiring from the physical body.

By mentioning this I also imply that there are various manifestations to the notion of the body. The question is, how and why do embodied spirits attain a Spiritual life and how and when do ethereal bodies attain physical being?

Our ancestors seem to have devoted themselves to elaborate rituals and cults dedicated to just these questions.  Similar to Abantu, the Egyptians also believed that ancestors had an interest and an abiding life among the stars and they either rested, worked or returned from there periodically. Note:

The Neteru who are in the sky are brought to you, the neteru who are on the earth assemble for you, they place their hands under you, they make a ladder for you that you may ascend on it into the sky, the doors of the sky are thrown open to you, the doors of the starry firmament are thrown open for you.

As the dead were identified with the Neter Ausar/Osiris, the Neter was also linked to the constellation of Orion, this linked the dead to the sky ‘gods’ in a perpetual cycle of coming and going from death to life and the eternal circle goes on. The fact that the name AmaZulu means the the people of the Heavens is not coincidental, to the Zulu the ancestors assume the status of gods or divine beings, it is to them we pray and it is through them that we ascend or even descend to the Creative Source of all life. The accepted norm is that no one approaches the Divine Source of life directly, it is through the ‘dead’ who are alive in the Heavens and in the Netherworld that we can reach the divine realms.

In many Afrikan cultures the very young as well as the very old are revered as potentially divine, its not rare to here a Zulu man refer to his youngest son as Mkhulu (Great One or elder) and to his daughter as Gogo (Grandmother or Khokho which means Ancestor). These are small signs that depict how perpetual the cycle of life is, we should call it the cycle of becoming.

TBC

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God Did This To You …

The creativity and pathology of the human mind are, after all, two sides of the same medal coined in the evolutionary mint …something has gone wrong …man is predisposed towards self-destruction. The search for the causes of that deficiency starts with the Book of Genesis and has continued ever since.” – Arthur Koestler, The Ghost In the Machine, 1976

There is Life and there is Death. There are those among us who have sworn allegiance to either one or the other. There are also the in-between folk, those who are merely slaves to the rhythm or the circumstances of their environment and socialization. There are spreaders of good news and there are also merchants of disorder and fear. Some do both without realizing the contradictions in their double messaging. Conspiracy theorists in my view, represent the latter.

Many are keen to expose the ‘secrets’ that have been deliberately hidden by various interests, while others earnestly seek the truth, but then there are those who are gullible enough to swallow everything that they are given without proper analysis. There are extremes to everything, and in the age of information technology, it is of utmost importance to triple check ones facts before taking anything as it is given. Race is one of the theories that has long been debunked as having no scientific foundation, it has been found that we all emanate from the same Ancestors. Yet due to socio-economic systems and traditions and log held prejudices, race and ethnicity remain the most divisive and polarizing issue in the 21st century. Even though W.E.B. Du Bois wrote more than a hundred years ago that the problem of the 20th century will be the problem of the ‘colour-line’. Today, many debates from business, commerce to religion and even technological progress find a way to digress into racial territory somehow, mainly because much of the inequality still prevailing in the world is based on racism.  Race is a conspiracy theory, one that is thousands of years  old, but has been perfected or perverted in the past three or four centuries. Nevertheless, I am compelled to ask, is the Homo Sapien/Human Race the only race or sentient in the universe?

I am not a fan of conspiracy theories, so I have stayed away from most conversations regarding secret societies as well as speculative theories about extra-terrestrial life. However I have done my reading and I have been intrigued by the subject of Sumerian and Ancient ciKemetic/Egyptian history, especially the creation stories found in these interesting cultures as well as what they teach us about our propensity to Create and to destroy. While I have studied ancient Afrikan history as a Pan Afrikanist, I have primarily concentrated on connections with inner Afrika and its Diaspora but have not thoroughly explored the connections with the Mediterranean and Mesopotamian history, aside from Israel/Palestine. The purpose of life is to Know Oneself, the purpose of the Soul and the possibilities of the mind and body as well as to Love and nurture Nature and others. At least this is my purpose. All my learning is channeled towards this goal.

Accepted knowledge is not always wisdom, many things considered true yesterday have been revealed as false or simply debunked as either fables or myths. Some are even considered delusions. But as I have written elsewhere, myths and legends are also useful to know and even to create during the evolution of the story of our existence as humans or whatever we are in the universe. But what is the danger of taking ourselves too seriously and what are the dangers of not taking ourselves and our potential or capabilities seriously?

It has been written that mankind or humanity is inherently flawed. Religions use terms such as the Fall ( referring to the ejection of Adam and Eve from the Edenic garden), the Death of Instinct and the fault in our stars to terms such as ‘Sinful Nature’ or “Born of sin” as espoused by the Christians who offer a Messiah as the solution towards salvation. Basically, all religions have their messiah’s and even Science has its great inventors, discoverers and pioneers. Much of what we learn we eventually unlearn in later times, there is a succession of clarifications and exposure to more knowledge as we advance towards an improbable future. Life is both bitter and sweet and everything else in between, it is the contradictions and unanswered questions that often give us the best taste of who and what we are and what we are becoming.

We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” E.M. Forester

“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? – Not much.” – Jim Rohn

After studying and reading a whole lot of books and videos, lectures and listening to audio as well as peoples theories of creation and the purpose of humanity on Earth, I have come to several conclusions which I shall expand on later. Here are just Four:

  • There is No One God but Many Gods/Divine Beings
  • Creation Is Perpetual and So is Entropy
  • Music and The Language of Sound, Rhythm and Vibration are the Most Profound ‘Inventions”
  • Living and Dying Are Choices We Make Prior to Entering the Body as Well as During Our Incarnation

Even though the title of this essay says ‘God Did This To You …”, I have concluded that not only is there no single entity which is the Creative Force or God of all of this, there are multiple Origins, yet they work in both harmony as well as contestant. This is not to say that there is no design, it simply means the designers are multifarious as well as coordinated from various elemental processes.

But allow me to go back to Koestler’s statement about the search for the cause beginning with Genesis. Of course I refute that notion because it is subjective and only deals with one perspective of the numerous creation stories and how as different peoples we interpret the existence of evil and good. As there are many gods/Gods, there are many forefathers or progenitors of the Human race. But staying with the usual Biblical story, lets hear what Graham Hitchcock has written concerning the genesis of the earth and the place of humanity in it. In Chapter 21, titled A Computer for Calculating the End of the World, he quotes, the Hebrew bible as well as the Mayan Popol Vuh, to compare them and elucidates further on the similarities as well as the geographical, anthropological, mathematical intricacies of ancient calendar making. Here is the famous passage from the Book of Genesis:

The Lord God said, ‘Behold, the man has become as one of us, to know good and evil. Now, lest he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat and live forever, [Let Us] send him forth from the Garden of Eden.”

The Mayan’s attributed their wisdom and origins to the First Men, God-like beings of Quetzalcoatl, also known as Mahucutah (The Distinguished Name); Mayan Popol Vuh states: ” these forefathers were endowed with intelligence, they saw and instantly they could see far; they succeeded in seeing; they succeeded in knowing all that there is in the world. The things hidden in the distance they saw without first having to move…Great was their wisdom; their sight reached to the forests, the rocks, the lakes, the seas, the mountains, and the valleys. In truth they were admirable men …They were able to know all, and they examined the four corners, the four points of the arch of the sky, and the round face of the earth.”

Hancock states that the achievements of these First Men angered some of the gods/Gods who stated that “It is not well that our creatures should know all …must they become equals to ourselves, their Makers, who can see far, who know all and see all? Must they also be gods?”

Many ancient traditions speak of God, gods, deities, Neteru and demi-gods. They speak of various forms and levels of worship, but what connects all these religions is either adherence to particular orthodoxies and even slavish devotion to the Names of their particular deities. There is power in the Name of YAH, or Yehoshua etc the Judeo-Christian ones say, and there is no salvation outside the chanting of the name of Lord  KRSHA, the Vedic school of Krishna Consciousness teaches, even among the Yoruba and the Santeria adherents there Orisha are conjured and they are invoked through their Names and through rhythmic music. Well I say that everything that has a name can be claimed and can be tamed. Humanity may have been created as slaves and flawed in many ways but both our resilience as well as our imaginations and audacity to seek to KNOW MORE and KNOW BETTER as well as our often Unpredictable behavior  are elements that endow us with the ability to reach further than our Creators have planned for us. We must not be arrogant though, our ancestors have also revealed to us that we are far more than Flesh and Blood and that we are capable of ascending to heights they too have not been to. As low, depraved and pathetic as we can sink, similarly we can become far more than even we can imagine, it is more than just an intellectual or scientific existence, our Spirit as well as our DNA is equipped to allow us to keep reaching further and further into the past so as to be able of reaching as far into the future and into space as possible.

Up for air, Down for the money

chorus: deep into the core

we keep digging for more

so what, if we’ve died

a million times

at least we tried

 

someone deep in our tangled past decided

that wealth was stronger than death

the lie was repeated enough times

we now take it as indisputable fact

so true is our belief in the gold, silver and paper trail

we have trained our young to hold on to the dragons tail

or take the bull by the horns

ignoring the man with the crown of thorns

 

today there is hardly anything which is not up for sale

mothers sell their daughters and honor won’t prevail

presidents sell countries while peddling morality tales

miners have been slaughtered but leaders still come up for air

We Are Searching and Working For A Self Determined Afrika

Check out this article I wrote in one of my blogs and feel free to offer your views. The vision of a unified, peaceful and prosperous Afrikan continent is our only motivation. We can no longer bear to repeat Bob Marley’s lyrics “How Long Shall they kill our prophets why we stand aside and look.” Neither can we afford to keep complaining and blaming the past for our condition. Let’s Work.

https://brokenseeds.wordpress.com/2017/11/22/the-quest-for-effective-leadership-in-afrika/

The Essence of Queens, Kings, Gods and Goddesses

In the blockbuster science fiction film Black Panther, the people of Wakanda, a mysterious country in Afrika, the people worship the Ancient Egyptian/Kamitic deity Bast. There are so many angles with which we can approach the significance of this Cat-like Goddess, but we wish to look at the uses and abuses of power, both mythic and realistic by modern and ancient peoples. How much can Afrikan’s gain from the reinstatement of ancient rituals and how much of those rites have become truly obsolete. Here is a brief perspective of how Bast was invoked:

Bast was associated with childbirth, perhaps because of the way a mother cat cares for her kittens – and the fact that she might have continual litters of them. During the 2nd Century AD Plutarch wrote, somewhat mysteriously, that the Egyptian Cat gives birth first to one kitten, then two, until the number seven is reached. He points out that this makes a total of twenty-eight, the same as the days of the lunar month. 
Nowadays, Bast has assumed a mother Goddess aspect. While there is no doubt she has a side whose teeth and claws are bared, she is now generally regarded as benevolent. Her rituals involve music, feasting and dancing, when she can be petitioned to grant boons. Bast can be invoked to help with problems concerning domestic life, work situations and success, as well as love and good health, for the petitioner, their friends and families, or their cats. Any visit to the Temple of Bast, through visualization, is a time of serenity, contemplation and pleasure.” – ( http://www.occultlectures.com/kemetic-deities.html)

Today’s world is like the typical Game of Thrones. Competing queendoms, kingdoms, fiefdoms and principalities contest for a space in the minds of a mostly gullible public. Unfortunately for the less technologically and economically advanced kingdoms, the monopolization of resources has debilitating consequences. Loss of land, natural resources as well as Cultural heritage is real and it has deleterious effects. Afrikan scholars and cultural activists are doing their best to keep us woke. But there are challenges that include the apathy and fragility of the younger generations who hardly ever explore the depths of the war we are in. Writing in his ‘Cultural framework for the development of science and technology in Africa” Mabawonku states:

The problem of scientific and technological development in Afrika was attributed to a predominance of exclusive hierarchical and fatalistic cultural categories. The challenge of science and technology development in Afrika would require a new institutional arrangement with appropriate cultural values and norms of behavior.”  In essence, culture should be the basis for scientific and economic development.

If ever there was a clash of civilizations and of cultures, the 21 century is the most brazen battlefield.  No idea, thought or narrative is left unchallenged, especially in the instantaneously reactive platforms of social media. Sacred cows have long been slaughtered and ‘vampires’ drcorate themselves with crucifixes, while sipping holy water, while myriad truths turn out to be lies.

With reality becoming more and more fragmented and a matter of perception and perspective, the roles of mythology, chance and mysticism are being reactivated and rededined.

The foundations of institutions/structures such as family, community, clan and nationhood are being shaken to their last shaky legs. Non-permanence  and fragility are the order of the day even in fields where exactitude in calculation is the order of the day. One persons divine being is no more than a fantasy, a figment of active imagination, while another persons rationality can be construed as ignorance.

There are various knowledge systems and as many ways of life one can choose from.Freedom of choice, expression as well as other liberties are cherished as human rights. The institution of monarchy, the so called divine rights of rulers along with its various forms of servitude/servant-hood, feudalism and honor and dishonor is gradually losing its grip on the minds of many modern societies who pride themselves as traditional.

Not only are matters of gender equality as well as other already mentioned rights challenged, the deceptively formidable edifices of empire,royalty is becoming as passe as that old time religion. Some would think that the French Revolution did away with any notions of royal power. Yet, there are millions of people who still worship archaic Gods, and reverence their chosen kings and queens. The Ancient Egyptians/Kemetans are renowned for their many so called gods. But the theology and cosmic approach of Egyptians is still very much misunderstood. I have dealt with the fact that Abantu BaseKhemethi (The people of the Black land) were not just idol worshipers, but they, just like many other peoples throughout the Afrikan continent and other First Nations, had a healthy and holistic approach to the supernatural. They held a lot of things and phenomena sacred and associated each and everything with a particular attribute called NTR (Neter/Netcher/Nature), these Beings are symbolic of the essence of the elements that are among us and the people of Sudan/Nubia and Egypt/Kemet created immortal works of art that are also linked to science, governance and other fields. Everything is connected and attributable to another. There is a sense of purpose in everything, a singularity. A unity in the diversity. The ancients ensured that there is Ma’at or cosmic balance between the image and the realization. In this rediscobvery, we will find that Women play a significant role, both as mothers, daughters, queens as well as goddesses. As we know among the Nguni/Ngoni and Tonga, there is no King without a Queen Mother.

In the film Black Panther, the people of the fictional Wakanda kingdom do not only swear by Bast*, they also rely heavily on the language of the Xhosa’s. We will explain how significant the use of isiXhosa is in the context of telling such an Afrocentric yet universal tale. Let us start with a bit of description, who and what is this Bast?

“Bast (known as “Bastet” in later times to emphasise that the “t” was to be pronounced) was one of the most popular goddesses of ancient Egypt. She is generally thought of as a cat goddess. However, she originally had the head of a lion or a desert sand-cat and it was not until the New Kingdom that she became exclusively associated with the domesticated cat. However, even then she remained true to her origins and retained her war-like aspect. She personified the playfulness, grace, affection, and cunning of a cat as well as the fierce power of a lioness. She was also worshiped all over Lower Egypt, but her cult was centred on her temple at Bubastis in the eighteenth nome of Lower Egypt (which is now in ruins). Bubastis was the capital of ancient Egypt for a time during the Late Period, and a number of pharaohs included the goddess in their throne names.”

There is still much to be unlearned since the beginning of the decolonization wave, Afrikans and other First peoples have to find value in their own myths, our own sciences as well as our own languages. The Europeans and other members of the white race have founded their civilizations upon Greek, Roman as well as Nordic tales, both mythical and historical. It is high-time that Afrikans also mine the reservoirs of their past to construct future civilizations.

Indlela Ibuzwa Kwabaphambili …

The Work of Repairing the Afrikan Mind

The Revolution being fought now is a revolution to win the minds of our people. If we fail to win this we cannot wage the violent one.” – Karenga

Waking up this morning, I had planned to begin by re-reading the ‘Summary of Critique of the National Development Plan, March 2013‘, as well as part of the tome National Development Plan, 2030.

Today, I woke up with my mind in a rather chatty mood. The usual routine is to begin with a reflective or meditative attitude of Thanksgiving, giving thanks to the Creators (God, Amathongo, the Ancestors ) for the breath of Life. Then more often than we should, we find ourselves on our phones, scrolling through social media or websites for news and peoples views on what’s the latest this or that. The initial reason for picking up the phone may have been to check the time or update oneself if there are any upcoming events, but what usually happens is one may find oneself absorbed in an unfinished conversation that took place a day or two ago. Such are the distractions, self-created, of social media.

The debate that captured my mind this morning had something to do with Culture, Afrikan culture to be specific, as well as the crimes that are committed in the name of it. At about the same time, I happened to be re-reading some notes I had written in 2014 on the subject of Black Power; from The Black Power Revolt, 1968. I had highlighted the words of Leroi Jones ( Amiri Baraka) as well as Maulana Ron Karenga.

The words of these two Afrikan American cultural icons were very inspirational and urged one to refocus more effort at playing a more significant part in bringing about the Black power dynamic into popular culture. Baraka writes:

WE want power to control our lives, as seperate from what American, white and white oriented people, want to do with their lives. That simple. We ain’t with yuall. Otherwise you are talking tricknology and lie conjuring. Black power cannot exist WITHIN white power. One or the other.

This is what has really put me in a difficult position ever-since I first read it. I am an Afrikan, a Black man living in a previously and still predominantly white suburb near the port of Durban in EThekwini Municipality.

Like many post 1994 situations, we still see more white power than anything else around here. The economic conditions of black people have not changed much. While there are many people who have acquired new wealth and went on to move to more affluent suburbs and even built huge houses in previously impoverished areas such as Adams Mission, eNdwedwe and many others, these symbols of wealth are few and far between and they certainly do not mean that Black people have arrived at the economic, social, cultural liberation that was so long fought for.

Many of the blacks residing in these suburbs are caricatures or mimes of whiteness, they are Christians or Muslims, most of them cannot even tell you something substantial about Afrikan culture and their children know very little about the Afrikan continent as their educational curriculum is essentially Eurocentric. Many Black people today do not even like to be called Black because that makes them feel guilty by association, blackness is equated with lack, with ignorance and various forms of poverty. Precious few black folks have an appreciation of the cultural power that they potentially possess, and even fewer know anything about the Civilizational achievement of fellow Afrikans.

Amiri Baraka continues to write: “The politics and the art and the religion all must be black. The social system. the entirety of the projection. Black power must mean a black people with a past clear back to the beginning of the planet, channeling the roaring energies of black to REVIVE black power. If you can dig it???”

The Afrikan American icon speaks loud and clear and what he says is true of Southern Afrika too. This is partly why in my ideal world, Black power means the amalgamation and collaboration of thought and actions from the whole Black world. There are no borders and no segregation between Abantu Abantsundu/Abamnyama. Since most of our experiences and struggles against imperialism are the same, there should be little that comes between us in terms of cultural unity, a unity that is our only weapon against our extinction. Afrocentricity and Afrikology have given us many tools and many studies to equip us to win the fight for our lives. But we keep being distracted by politics,m disorganization and the disorientation that comes with our lives which are punctuated with all manner of violence.

This brings me to the matter of the National Development Plan 2030, as well as the summary done by COSATU in 2013.

There is a part in the summary, ( Draft for discussion) that reads: “The NDP proposes too many low quality and unsustainable jobs: the target of 11 million jobs by 2030 is based on a plan which is unsustainable, relies disproportionately on exports, and particularly SMME jobs, as well as jobs in the service sector. If the plan is followed, it is highly likely that many of these jobs won’t materialize, and those that do materialize will only be of low quality. The plan conceded that it is based in the creation, particularly in the first 10 years of low paying jobs, as opposed to descent work.  It fails to pursue the NGP ( National Growth Path ) / IPAP ( Industrial Policy Action Plan ) vision of re-industrialization the economy, with manufacturing at the centre…. The NDP vision is based on the acceptance that high levels of inequality will persist until 2030.” –

This bleak scenario is partly what pushes some of us to advocate for a Cultural economy. This paradigm shift places culture and the arts as part of the socio-economic work that must be invested in with adequate urgency. We believe in industrialization and the inevitability of technological advancement, but we know that it is important to prepare the minds and souls of the labour that will take Afrika forward.

TBC

 

Radical Spiritual Transformation from AmaZulu 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

The following poem from Mazisi Kunene is titled Imbewu kaMakhasana, it is quoted from his book INDIDA Yamancasakazi ( The riddle of the young maidens ), published in 1995 by Reach Out Publishers. The Poet speaks about sowing a seed on a pathway between two houses, the leaves and fruits from the tree will nourish forthcoming generations until future generations sing its praises. It is a proverbial description of the work of a conscientious and purposeful cultural worker, someone who knows that our work is not only for present generations, but is merely a seed for the spiritual and cultural sustenance of future generations. It is also obvious that as a metaphysical and Thongocentric ( One Inspired by Ancestral Urging ), Kunene also means much more in the poem.

“71. Imbewu kaMakhasana

Phakathi kwemizi emibili

Mina mina ngitshala imbewu kaMakhasana

Ngiyibekela labo abahamba ngendlela

Ngithi wukuba bathilambile impela baphile 

Badle kuzo izife ezikhulayo

Yiyo lena imizi iyakuzihlakula

ithi uma isilele ubuthongo bobusika

izifudumeze kanjalo emaziko omhlaba

kube yilo iculo lomphefumulo eseliyakuduma.”

 

Introduction:

I often wonder if modern historians, sociologists and anthropologists, black, white or other scholars have ever read the works of Cheikh Anta Diop, Van Sertima or Toni Morrison. I wonder if they have ever heard of Ayi Kweyi Armah, Magema Fuze, B. Kojo Laing, Walter Rodney or Noni Jabavu or even Carl Jung or Levi Strauss, not to mention Molefi Asante and the myriad Afrika-centred scholars.

I ask this because many contemporary intellectuals appear to suffer from an acute form of historical amnesia. It is either that or they are under the spell of neo-colonialism, whose liberal tendencies appear to mask a deep seated attitude of afro-pessimism. This is the logical manifestation of imbibng too much Western philosophy and being mired in the epistemological straight-jackets of colonial racism.

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.

Kunene also reminds us that a love for Afrika, an appreciation of ones own peoples contributions to civilization does not have to be parochial, we do not have to be dogmatic and blind to other influences; the poem says that we should be able to love ourselves while being able to glean wisdom from everywhere else. He writes ;

“72. Ezinkambeni zolwazi lwezizwe

Ongathi lungathi luphela lolu suku

Ngibe sengiphuzile ezinkambeni ezininginingi

NezaseChayina nezase-Arabia nezaseMaija

NezaseNdiya nezaMongoliya nezaseMelika

NezaseYurophu nezaseRashiya nezaseMaori

Nazo zonke zemihlaba ngemihlaba ehlakaniphileyo

Kepha ekugcineni ngibuyele kwezakithi

Ngibuyele kuzo zaseMbokodweni ezimnandiyo

Ezimithombokazi ibomvu ngokuvuthwa ndulweni

Yizo zona zingamafa afihlelwe thina

Sesiyakuwuphinda size sifike ekugcineni.”

 

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/