Re-Aligning The Interdependent Entities

This is so worth listening to.

KMT Knowledge

Advertisements

Thoughts from 2009 – Knowledge of Self Determination

This is from my very first blogpost in 2009, I was still working as a Manager/Shop-Keeper in a business called Urban Zulu, which I co-owned with a friend of mine, Papy Kaluw from the Democratic Republic of Congo. We would do a lot of Cultural works there, from events, to workshops in addition to selling clothing, books and music and sometimes even food and ‘herbs’.

I wrote this one day after closing the shop one slow Thursday evening, it is dated (Thursday, October 8, 2009)

kumele sikhumbuzane-We should remind one another

Liberation cannot be achieved except by the perception of the identity of the individual spirit with the universal spirit –” Shankara*
Kuzofunda bani ??? ( WHO WILL LEARN/read)

Examining the meaning of instructive, religious, self improvement and even legislative texts in the context of the high illiteracy rates in my environment.

The efficacy of records: exploring the work of the writer, the utter and the recorder

Abantu abazofunda imibhalo yethu, yibo phela abafowethu, odadewethu kanye nabanye abasinga ukwazi izindlela zeqiniso. Obonayo ukuthi usadinga ulwazi olungamsusa lumubeke kwelinye izinga empilweni, nguye ongazinika ithuba elanele ukuthi afunde.

The word is anti-pollution, anti-corruption, even anti-words. It is pro-action, pro-life and pro-truth. Anti-words means anti-rhetorical. More precisely this means that the Word of truth stands directly against words of lies, nonsense and all other forms of deception.
These word that I am writing are deliberate action directed at eradicating the ghosts of superstition and ignorance, especially in and around my own people the Great Kushite /Afrikan or Black race.

Each language is endowed with syllables, symbols and signs. As we can see from the Ethiopic writing, date-setting and calculating systems, the knowledge of how to read the signs of the times is also vital to each and every civilization:

The Ethiopic Enochian Calendar had 364 days per year. The Book of Enoch, whose Ethiopic version in its entirety survived only in Ethiopia and was taken to Europe by James Bruce was publicized around 1790 A.D. The Book of Enoch has been part of the Ethiopian Bible and Enoch 28:11 mentions the completion of the year in 364 days. (ዓመቱም በሦስት መቶ ስልሳ ኣራት ቀን ይጨረሳል ነገሩ እውነትም ነው የተጻፈው ቍጥሩ የተጠነቀቀ ነው። መጽሓፈ ሄኖክ ምዕ. ፳፰ ቊ. ፲፩።- Amharic Bible.) (In view of the Ethiopian Orthodox, Enoch wrote his Ethiopic Bible as the first and oldest author in any human language.)
The earliest known date is 4236 B.C.E., the founding of the Egyptian calendar. The ancient Egyptian calendar was lunar. The solar Coptic (ግብጽ) calendar, oldest in history, originated three millennia before the birth of Christ. The exact date of its Egyptian origin is unknown.
It is believed that Imhotep, the supreme official of King Djoser C.2670 B.C. had a great impact on the construction of the calendar. Historically, ancient Egyptians initially used a civil calendar based on a solar year that consisted of 365 days only, without making any adjustment for the additional quarter of a day each year.

Each year had 12 months. The heliacal rising of Sirius coincides with the arrival of the highest point of river Nile flood at Memphis marking the first day of the year. The new year of the ancient Egyptians started on Meskerem 1 (መስከረም ፩). This date is an Ethiopian new year signaling the end of Noah’s flood. (The Hebrew new years also start in Meskerem.)
It is imperative for what is written to be succinct, clear, true and possibly be a light in the darkness, illuminating the essence and characteristics of the good. Many things rely on the balance of words, sounds and powers.

Those in positions of power already understand these basic principles, But whether they adhere to them or not is another matter.
To be able to read and even to be educated does not necessarily lead to illumination, right-knowledge or even wisdom, it simply means that one has learned to acquire the skills to carry out the orders of this materialistic plane, yet it also does not guarantee perfection.

Obani abazofunda imibhalo yethu, uma sebeyifundile bazokwenzenjani, ingabe kukhona yini okumele bekwenzile ?.
Lento ekuthiwa umhlaba jikelele, okanye i-Universe, ingabe iyini na?

This collection of stories, sayings and poetical words, what is it, what do all these words, questions, answers and notes amount to in the final analysis?

Kuyiqiniso ukuthi abantu abahlukene babhala noma bafundela izizathu eziningi nezahlukahlukene. Pho kunani uma okunye kubhalelwa ukuthi kungafundwa?
mangaki amagama agcwele emigqomeni, emakhomputheni, nakuma trash-bins emhlabeni wonke?
Ukuze siphendule lemibuzo enqla, ake sibhekisise loku okulotshwe lapha, sigcine nesikhathi sokulotshwa kwayo, ekuqaleni kwalelikhulu-minyaka.
Kwabanye lamagama ahambisana nenkolo noma nosikompilo ethizeni, kepha uma uzovula amehlo nengqondo ngokucacileyo, kuyacaca ukuthi abhalelwe wonke omuntu ophilayo emhlabeni. Ake siwahlaziye:

“The strong Divinity cries out with a lion like roar, and seven thunders utter their voices. Concerning the utterances of the seven thunders Johannes is very reticent. However, as the Greek language has but one word ( phone) for both voice and vowel, the meaning obviously is that the great voice of the Logos, who is the seven vowels in one, is echoed by the seven vowels, the sound by which the higher forces are evoked; and these the seer is forbidden to write down.”
– The Apocalypse Unsealed

Ake siphinde futhi sihlaziye nalawa magama atomulwe kwi-internet journal ebizwa ngokuthi i-Pambazuka.* Akhuluma ngemisebenzi nezinhlelo zomholi owayengumongameli wezwe lase Burkina Faso uThomas Sankara.

Sankara believed it was futile to speak on behalf of the people if they could not be mobilized to become an integral part of the struggle and develop an identity forged in the fire of action.

For Sankara: ‘I think the most important thing is to bring the people to a point where they have self-confidence, and understand that they can, at last…be the authors of their own well-being… And at the same time, have a sense of the price to be paid for that well-being.’ To a great extent, the Burkinabé Revolution was an original experiment in profound social, economic, political and ideological transformation. It was a bold attempt at endogenous development through popular mobilization.

Lapha siyabona ukuthi uma kukhona umholi ophilayo none-Vision (Umbono), ku-Possible, ukuthi singakhona ukubonisana nokusebenzisana njengesizwe (ISintu) emsebenzini onzima wokuguqula imiqondo yeningi (social-psychological transformation), nokuthi ushintsho olubonakalayo noma i-Revolution, iyenzeka uma sibambisene, sibona ngasolinye.

Kuyiqiniso ukuthi njengabantu asisoze sahambisana ngakho konke, siqhamuka emindenini eminengi neyehlukahlukene, kepha lokhu akuchazi ukuthi singebonisane sivele namasu okuqaqa amaketango asibophile.

Lokhu okubizwa ngokuthi iRevolution, kuyinto eyenzakalayo, ebonakalayo neqhutshwa imizwa noma inhloso yabantu abanini. Kubalulekile kodwa ukubambisana ukuze zibonakale izithelo zayo. Ziyini pho, izithelo zeRevolution? Ake sibone izibonakaliso kwezokuphathwa kwezwe:

In the TIME magazine dated June1, 2009, let us consider this piece of information from the seventh page, reporting on events Sri Lanka :

After 26 years of war, now what? The bloody civil war that has claimed more than 70,000 lives appeared to end on May 17 when Sri Lankan government forces overran the rebel Tamil Tigers’ redoubt, killing the groups leader, Valupillai Prabhakaran.
As jubilant members of the ethnic Sinhalese majority celebrated in the streets, President Mahinda Rajapaksa took a first step toward reconciling the fractured nation by delivering a speech to Parliament in Tamil – the language of the insurgents and an estimated 265,000 civilians displaced by the recent offensive.”

I deliberately make a note of this report as a reminder to the reader that it is highly important to speak in a manner that people can relate to, understand and ultimately find honest. So what does it mean that the leader of one group has chosen to speak in the language of the minority?

It is a simple and deliberate act to reconcile the feuding peoples, a show of solidarity and even tolerance and compromise. As we have seen from the works/words of Thomas Sankara and other exemplary leaders all over the so called developing world, what you say and do among the people can either create or destroy.

Words are flammable. As the Hip Hop generation known as the Native tongues has repeatedly said in their songs ‘Word is bond, Word is Life’ and even ‘Word is God’.
There is no separation between the transcendent power of Deity and the elements that make up the material life, the separation is caused by our apparent lack of what Rastafarians call Over-Standing, that ability to know more than what your current environment allows or is able to see.

Lowo ozofunda lamazwi unenhlanhla, kepha uma enza inhliziyo yakhe ibe lukhuni uyazifanela nje nenja ehamba hamba ibone indwayimane bese iyayichamela, ingayithathi iyitshengise umnini wayo.

Finally here is wisdom, the kind that is available to everyone yet very few seem to perceive its true purpose and so like the dog, continue to abuse it at their own peril:
Here is the mind that has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits. There are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come; when he comes, he must continue a short time.” – Revelation 17:9,10.

Sheba Amlak’s book Revelation The Last Prophecy Revealing the Second Coming of Jesus(Yahshua) Christ as King of Kings has this to say:

Wisdom is knowledge with understanding. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. The false mother church of Roman Christianity was built on the seven hills of Rome. There are also seven kings. Five have fallen. The ancient rulers of the world who ruled with paganism were Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia and Greece. Their dominant rule had ceased by the time John received the prophecy. One is, and the other has not yet come. John lived at the time when paganism of Rome dominated the earth, but he did not see the New Rome which has survived till this time. A new ecclesiastical form of worship was devised in Rome and descended from ancient Babylon…which leads to eternal destruction. It is the True and Living God of Israel who has allowed Rome to rule the nations, as a punishment to His people who rejected His Word.” – page 103-104.

The restoration of Ethiopia/Africa/Kushitic people should not only be a spiritual one, as we do not aim to re-establish churches and synagogues of serpents again, we seek to deliver our people to the Loving–Kindness of an Ethiopian God Who shares their souls longing for a better day, Who has noted our sighs and our tears.
For this reason, we aim to relate all that has transpired in history to what is taking place now, so that our redemption should be both practical and sure.
Yes there will be those among us who still crave the ways of the serpents and will do their best to sell out our race through scheming and greedy actions, but the meek shall inherit the earth while the wicked and weak-heart licks the dust. Scheming politicians and greedy corporations that ravish the Earth for Her finite resources, be warned.

In 1897 Martin R. Delaney challenged racist propagandists advocating the inferiority of the Black race by publishing Principia of Ethnology: The Origin of Races and Color. Delaney’s work was among the works that gave inspiration to Dunjee-Houston to further delve into published literature supporting the African Origin of Civilization.
It brings to prominence African-Americans who were writing and publishing literature to counteract the negative portrayal of African peoples. Restoring a record of that publishing history is under-valued and must be encouraged.

Having grown up witnessing Black independent towns, Reconstruction Common Schools founded by Blacks, the oncoming of the Garvey movement, the Harlem Literary Renaissance, the New Negro Movement and the birth-winds of Pan-Africanism, Dunjee-Houston critically assessed their place among the affairs of African-Americans. She knew that until African-Americans truly knew their role as progenitors of civilization and culture they would never fulfill their destiny

This is a time of Revolution, both spiritual and material; One should choose their words carefully as each carries death or Life.
Africans must unite now and forge an independent way of thinking , creating and doing things, there is no better time than now as the pillars of a neo-liberal, capitalist civilization gradually but surely crumble.
There is no place in the world where there is no person of African descent, this very fact should strengthen our resolve to launch ourselves boldly into the reconstructive project of Ethiopia/Africa’s renewal.

This renewal can never truly happen while we hold on to the rotting and double tongued notions of democracy perpetrated by all those who are colonized spiritually and mentally.
The role of the Black woman in this revolution is also one that should never be ignored or merely given lip service.

While W.E. B Dubois, James Weldon Johnson, and Alain Locke fostered political and literary arts during the Harlem Renaissance, Dunjee-Houston was delving into the foundations of civilization by the Cushites. Wonderful Ethiopians, Book II: Origin of Civilization from the Cushites was to create a sensibility and receptivity to Africa with a historical underpinning having utilized the latest findings of her day.
It was a lesson she sought to teach generations of Blacks starting as early as the primary grades through pioneering curricula on the global contributions of the Cushites.
While active in the Black women’s Racial Uplift Movement Bertram concludes that Dunjee-Houston researched and documented the vital cultural significance of the ancient African Matriarchy as a direct link to the historical importance of Black female leaders predating the women’s movement.”
It was Steve Bantubonke Biko who warned us with the words “Black man you are on your own…But without our women we are surely lost. So let us find ways to reconnect, to balance ourselves.
KuyaZwakala!!!– Ras Nabiy Tafari (Menzi Maseko)

ulwazi lusemqoka/knowledge is vital

Khephera

The Egyptian word for becoming is a curiously symbolic one, not only does is signify a dung-beetle with its propensity to roll large balls of dung which gather the earth as it travels to its destination, it is a also a word that like the Hebraic Bereshith, or the Zulu:Ukuqhamuka or Ukuvela, has vast etymological, numerical and theological variants.
Can we just imagine for a moment, what it would be like to possess a photographic memory. To simply see something as it appears and always be able to recall it in ones memory.
Surely this would be a very useful human attribute and a great talent.Perhaps this is not such a far-fetched idea, nowadays there are various ways that people can train themselves, either at remembering or at forgetting. In a world or age where knowledge has not merely increased and become available to whomever desires or can afford it, acquiring skills which were once thought to be the preserve of the either the genius or the gods has become possible.

One of Azania’s (South Africa) most revered poets once named a collection of his poetical stories, ‘Memory Is the weapon’, while yet another elder from this region wrote a novel and titled it ‘ The Memory of Stones’; both are exceptional explorations of times, spaces and experience, dealing with especially, the transitions and experiences of the struggling masses.

We shall not explore the literary aspects of these works, suffice to note that memory, remembrance and the often nostalgic tendency to record the passage of experiences and the messages that go with them. There are lessons to be learned each time one picks up the books.
But writing is not the only , nor the most poignant way of articulating such thoughts.
Orality and the other expressions rooted in the African experience – such as song and dance, ritual and custom – are just as useful. Yet few art forms get as intimate as the act of writing and storytelling. Poets have become the modern philosophers, breaking many boundaries. The concept of Kephera is rooted in Kemeten Hieroglyphics yet means a lot in this technologically advancing age. We will explore why later. Note these ancient Kemeten sayings found in the temple of Luxor*.

* You will free yourself when you learn to be neutral and follow the instructions of your heart without letting things perturb you. This is the way of Maat.*

Judge by cause, not by effect.*
Growth in consciousness doesn’t depend on the will of the intellect or its possibilities but on the intensity of the inner urge.*
Every man must act in the rhythm of his time … such is wisdom.*
Men need images. Lacking them they invent idols. Better then to found the images on realities that lead the true seeker to the source.*
Maat, who links universal to terrestrial, the divine with the human is incomprehensible to the cerebral intelligence.*
Have the wisdom to abandon the values of a time that has passed and pick out the constituents of the future. An environment must be suited to the age and men to their environment.*
Everyone finds himself in the world where he belongs. The essential thing is to have a fixed point from which to check its reality now and then.*
Always watch and follow nature.*
A phenomenon always arises from the interaction of complementaries. If you want something look for the complement that will elicit it. Set causes Horus. Horus redeems Set.*
All seed answer light, but the color is different.*
The plant reveals what is in the seed.…the tree emerges from the broken seed…

These are merely my thoughts and notes as I contemplate the Way we Kushites or Blacks can emerge from being lost in the west. have we become too comfortable in our dying?
Or can we emerge again, like the dung beetle who emerges from the dark whole and rolls performs their duty on the earth with uncahnging precision?
Nabiy-

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?

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

 

what music is and is not

Background: What differentiates the music of Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill ’em All Gang, Danny Brown, The Brother Moves On, Jedi Mind Tricks, Babes Wodumo, Lira, Nduduzo Makhathini, Black Coffee, Poor Righteous Teachers, Beyonce or Bokani Dyer ? Besides the varying levels of musicality, attention to detail or lack thereof and the labels that are often imposed on the artists, is there such a thing as an Equal Music? In other words, if there is such thing as superior and inferior types of music, what impact, if any, does this have on the progression or regression of our societies? Does music have any real impact on the Souls of people and the wellbeing of the communities we reside in?

There is this thing called jazz. Some see it as the most austere and serious type of art, while some do not pay much attention to it. Others have called it the only real Art-form that the United States of America has ever produced. But there are so much political and sociological undertones and overtones related to its use and abuse by all and sundry.

Today, I drove through town listening to everything from A Brother Moves On to Mike Del Ferro. It is all just music. Its all just a matter of choice and our choices have exponentially increased since the age of the internet. While I still occasionally buy music at the few stores that are still miraculously standing, and from its producers, I get most of my music through electronic exchanges with friends and through downloading and online stores. In other words, we share. But how much good quality music is being shared in the broader community and does this affect the behavior or the quality of our society?

Here is what I have recently shared on my Facebook timeline:

At first I was not too sure whether I should write this as a blog post in one of the sites I use, either AmaReflections or on this Green Ankh Works one I frequently post on, to little fanfare.
So I went onto the Blog and after re-reading this half-poetic, half essay, totally serious rant by the ingenious artist Nicholas Payton, it was decided that this is the platform …to put all these thoughts into perspective.
Here is the scenario.
I am listening to Carlo Mombelli‘s Stories album, with songs featuring Mbuso Khoza, among others. Its a brilliant album with many moods, textures and of course multi-storied. Earlier today after listening to Mike Del Ferro’s recordings with Khoza on vocals, I walked into the BAT Centre‘s library to meet an acquaintance, only to gush out at Xolisa Roro Gqoli-Dlamini about the beauty of the music I heard. I was particulary moved by a song called Umlolozelo, which is actually a heart-wrenching rendition of a traditional Zulu “nursery rhyme”, or lullaby…the lyrics are rather bleak and sinister for a children’s song, but as we know, there is always a deeper meaning and a lesson behind all these so called children’s stories.

“Thula mntwana / uMama akekho, uyothez’ izinduku / Azongishaya ngazo / Ethi ngidle amasi / Kant’ adliwe yinja / inja kaGogo emabalabala …”
We shall write some other time about how the immaculately talented Khoza recreates this song into a prayer to the Great Mother, to the Great Spirit, to heal the land that us rife with Child and Women abuse. He even mentions his daughter and calls her the most beautiful girl in the world, and also mentions Allende, the little girl who was raped mutilated a couple of years ago in this beleaguered country.

For now, I wanted to write about this phenomenon called JAZZ. What it is and what it is NOT. If indeed there is anything which it is not. Like the music called Hip Hop and even Afro-Soul and Neo-Soul, these labels hide beneath them far greater resources, greater knowledge systems and expressions than the names can ever depict.
How doe we label the Spirit, the Force, the Impact of Music?
But this is not even about Labelling, I am concerned about WHAT music really represents in our societies.
I often think of the varieties of so called jazz, the styles and forms it takes are as multifarious as the people who play it, the ones who use it and the ones who appreciate it for a multitude of reasons.

 

journeys within

The perfect Age has come, when Man will be his own priest, and Men will not array themselves in special garb to advertise their piety.

Mankind will go within to find Self’s wonderment.  – Mahatma

It is my humble opinion that each Artists is tasked with the mission of being a Revolutionary. To activate his or her potential and talents to positively transform society. In my brief lived experience as an Activist involved in Cultural and Arts sector in Southern Africa and through my world travels, I have met only a handful truly revolutionary Artists.

While I have also met and had conversations with luminaries such as Abdullah Ibrahim, Bheki Mseleku, Hugh Masekela, Ray Phiri and less well known Artists such as Gabi Ngcobo, Zamani Makhanya, Nhlanhla Chonco, Mfanafuthi Wake Mahlobo, Eugene Skeef, Nduduzo Makhathini, Eric Coolfire Hadebe, Zoe Masuku and Mphutlane Wa Bofelo to name just a few. it has been the Poets among them that have continued to inspire me holistically.

Many of the artists I have met have been Dreamers, people who see the world through a radically different kind of Light. They are ordinary yet extraordinary in their own right. In fact, some of them are reluctant to even label themselves or regard themselves as artists at all. In my book Rock ‘n Rule, a collection of writings gleaned from my notes and thoughts of the past 5 years, I attempted to speak about the significance of such people. But I am the first to admit that the book turned out to be something more political and more of a social commentary then what it was intended to me.

In these blog-posts, I aim to revisit some of those essays and even rewrite and complete some of the themes I had explored then. But it is a difficult exercise as I have hundreds of notes that are written in such a poetic way that I am not sure that readers would follow what I am saying, the feelings and thoughts I am attempting to express are often overwhelmingly transcendental. The primary point I am trying to raise though is that We Are All Potential Healers. We Are Artists and Dreamers and Doers. Even the ones who merely Think and Speak or Conceptualize ideas that never manifest at a given time, they matter and they must be regarded as contributes to the symphony of living. Our becoming.

Here is something I wrote on 02/04/2014, titled The Puzzle and The Living of Dreams:

“In writing out our dreams, fixing the points of conception, to cognition, sub-conscious and conscious causal action – I must be at one with the wild currents of trans-linear lights.

Many impressions and many versions of chaos seeking its perfect imperfection. We must do the seemingly impossible and be where we ought to be and know that whenever we are we are on time.

Activate our body, mind and energy towards the Telling.

If such dream-visions are to be told, We must be guided wisely in our Way of Telling. many of the same stories are being told. How each one tells the the same story is what separates the visionaries from the repetitive mimics.

If we say that the proverbial snake spoke and that there was a rope

or if we felt fearful, dread, lightness, transmigration or hope

let hope be wedded to the words and the imagery of the tale, the words’and let the Music play on

let the funk, the jazzy rhythmic blues

History is constructed from future past-times …

Every journey without was once a journey within

There Must be Substance once we Awake from the Dreaming

There must be Movement towards a Birthing of newness, harmonies and melodies

imbued with Love and Justice and Peace, the new birth must be harmonious with Nature … with the ancient future idea of Ma’at.*

Says the jazz man –

I’m the unencumbered bird of my imagination, rising only to fall back toward concrete

each note a black flower / opening, mercifully opening into the unforgiving new day.” – Ai, Man with the Saxophone

And as Paul Berliner put it in Thinking in Jazz : “The language metaphors adopted by jazz artists to describe their conceptions convey more than the notion that, within the bounds of their unique language system, ‘musical ideas’ should have substance. They also suggest that, for improvisers, the patterns are not ends in themselves, but have ongoing implications for thought.” 

The artists that have captured my imagination and inspired me to see and hear the world in a new way have come from Reggae music, jazz, electronic sounds such as Little Dragon, Radiohead, Hyatus Kayote and my brother Khaya’s experimentation with computer generated EDM and Jungle sounds. Mphutlane Wa Bofelo has also inspired me with his Radical Humanism, which in turn is inspired by his over-standing of Black Consciousness and the basic principles of Socialism. What makes an action artistic? What makes a thought original?

Perhaps these are the questions that one can better deal with through deep reflection and meditation, by journeying within …