The Stars Still Have It

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Community Education vs Public and Private Education: A case for Integral-Afrocentric Schools

“Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, for none but ourselves can free our minds.” – Marcus Garvey.

These often repeated words from the erstwhile leader of the the pan-Afrikan, Negro Improvement Association were said and written in the early 20th century, yet their impact is still felt today during the 21st as Afrikan people globally still languish at the bottom of the socio-economic ladders. It is dawning on most of us that regardless of accolades, riches or highest levels of educational success, the Afrikan still need to learn more about herself/himself in order to be truly liberated, otherwise their liberation is a sham. Your Phd, Doctorate or Masters thesis which is based on Eurocentric education will not free your people from the shackles of white supremacist hegemony.

The present generation is the hinge of history …we may now be in the time of the most rapid change in the whole evolution of the human race, either past or to come …the world has now become too dangerous for anything less than Utopia.” – J.R. PlattMaa Aankh Cosmology

The word utopia usually conjures up some fantastic vision of idyllic or even imaginary living. This is not always the case though, in a world where almost anything goes and moral/socio-economic as well as ecological decay is rife, it has become crucial for people of vision to apply themselves to processes of healing, restoration, repairation and cosmic balance. Utopia, then does not necessary mean an impossible or fictional world, but actually connotes a highly possible, longed for future state, one which can be attained if people organised themselves to attain it. We must become something we have never been.

We are currently on a quest towards establishing an Afrocentric school for Black children and young learners in the Southern Hemisphere. While this may not be a novel idea/ideal, as it has been done before with varying degrees of success or sustainability, it is becoming more evident that Afrikan parents need an education system that caters to the particular needs of Black children. As a father of three boys who have to attend a ‘secular’ private nursery where 99% of the images the children see do not represent either their race nor our cultural worldview, the urgency of this vision has become very real.
This desire to be taught in one Mother tongue, be surrounded by positive Black/Afrikan images and cosmic symbols,imbued with the cultural aesthetics as well as the values that characterize intrinsic Afrocentric ideals is not new, while it is a noble ideal, it is by no means easy.
The reality of existing within a highly volatile capitalistic global system perpetuated by a so called Free market founded on racist ideologies, means that more and more values that make us human/humane are being eroded for the benefit of unscrupulous profitters.
The aim of such an Afrocentric/Afrikological school is to restore the essential characteristics of Ubuntu and Natural progression of the learner, who then grows up to become a well balanced citizen. It must and will be a Futuristic learning system, characterised by transformative and highly conscious teachers and learners.
The late educational transformation activist Neville Alexandre, wrote during the year of his death:

Once the commodity value of people displaces their intrinsic human worth or dignity, we are well on the way to a state of barbarism. Unless and until we bring back into our paradigms, and thus into our social analyses, the entire human being and the ways in which human beings can live fulfilled lives beyond their mere economic needs, we will continue to promote anti-human philosophies and policies that ultimately tend to work to the benefit of those who have, and to the detriment of those who do not.”

Our school will include a sufficient concentration on Agrarian as well as vocational training. It will also place emphasis on information technology, from coding to robotics as well as ecological knowledge and non-Western examples of mathematics and scientific disciplines.
We are now at the stage of collective information, research and like-minded contributors. The vision is that the schools will begin on digital platforms before establishing satellite schools on the ground.

TBC

Intelligently Questioning The Status Quo

Dr Phil Valentine painstakingly cuts through some of the well established theories from science, to religion to astrophysics. There is an interesting expose on Neil Degrasse Tyson and others who represent conventional science.
I am sharing this because I have also developed a healthy questioning of the status quo according to theoretical physics and dogmatic sciences.

freed style poetics

When will the
Performance End?

From Red lipped black books
to cyber-spaced face books
we still dance the minstrel show

paid, underpaid and unpaid slaves
With no intergenerational wealth to show
While my people being
the greater Gods still give away our Powers
we Give until we got nothing for to live
that is ours
We give
– the world the gifts of gab
too few are filling generation gaps
between the perpetual have nots
and the proverbial haves
who among these luminaries and poor liticians give full effect to freedom
works like freeing Mumia Abu Jamar
or Assata, International justice for Lumumba or Sankara?

from red lipped black
books to white pages
blue eyed face books
Our blues are daily painted
grey / our situation will remain in this way
positive disarray
if our powerful ones don’t really sway
the global powerplay
we making minor – major moves
but to white supremacy
its just another office day at the slave market

mark my word and notice
how every rapper boasting about European cars
labels and titty bars
20 years after MC GZA the Genius exposed Hilfiger
are we major?
have we made it?
We stay vainglorious even when we know we haven’t
Who wears the crown and who wears it/
Black excellence is a fact
but how do we celebrate it?
When invisible hands are the ones who fix our stars
and the fault is ours?
picking cotton
picking niggers
from the housed niggers
pitting noble Africans
against the so called pagans
Thats why more often than not I want to throw away the tell-lie-vision
So I can raise daughters and my sons on a good foundation
of Nina Simone, Ayi Kwei Armah, Lupe Fiasco, Sun Ra
And other sound vibrATIONS of the Divine beings we Are.

Mental Health, Creativity and Stigma

Mental health is a real challenge to our society, especially in the Black communities globally. It is also more prevalent within the Creative Arts communities, yet support is lacking. While we all grew up knowing someone who we called mad or crazy, and we would often tease them harshly, until it was in our own family, wherein we would joke about it but rarely ever took it as seriously as we should – it has only emerged recently that society really stands up and acknowledge its culpability in making life worst for the mentally challenged.

A friend of our just recently died, he had been living on and off the streets for the past year or so. While the erratic and sometimes violently volatile episodes happened sporadically in the earlier times, we were able to help him in various ways. But he eventually returned to the rural home of his estranged father, this is when matters became worse.  Last year a fellow artist took a picture of him on the streets of Durban/eThekwini, looking rather haggard, and carrying items such as plastic bags and pieces of writings including business proposals. It was a hard moment and many strangers poured their hearts out in sympathy. But real actual help was hard to come by. Some of us went out to search for him for a few hours each day and even during some nights. When one of us found him in one of the parks bordering a community arts centre we had all worked at for more than a decade, he was quite difficult to contain and he even refused to be helped. We would later find him posting ‘nonsense verse’ on social media, especially on Facebook. He had always been a very deep and cryptic Poet, but these latest words were borderline ‘freaky’, and very pessimistic. I would then inbox him assuming he is at some internet cafe’, but he would often not respond. The only time he responded he just insulted me and my brother Khaya but later apologized and commended me for starting a family. He seemed to be holding some grudges, but then he would also sound very conciliatory.

The moral of the story is that much of the depression associated with mental illness is not always due to schizophrenia, bipolar disease and any psychosomatic disease, but it is largely due to the state of our broken society. The capitalist system that places profits before Nature ( people, water, plants, the atmosphere etc) is really debilitating on a personal as well as community levels.

The stigma must end but it will not change significantly until humanity configures its ways of co-existence. Many indigenous communities in the so called Third-World had various effective ways to deal with outliers and those who were different in many ways, but the world we live in now is changing too rapidly and materialism seems to erode our core values even further.

I am sharing this post from a Black website to highlight the fact that many celebrities, who are actually our sisters and brothers anyway despite their extra-ordinary talents, also suffer from the same social ills, in spite of money and access to help. What should be transformed is humanity’s way of being.

https://face2faceafrica.com/article/6-black-celebs-who-suffer-from-mental-illness-but-thrive-nonetheless/7

the idea of the idea

“If we are to understand the future of a people, we must appreciate its past. For the way of life of a people in any time and place is built out of past customs adapted to present circumstances and needs. This way of life is what anthropologists call ‘culture’. As anthropologists use the term, all peoples have culture, for culture is their customary way of doing things. It includes all aspects of life; the way they make things, the way in which they organise their society, the way they look at the world about them, even attitudes and sentiments and feelings they share.” – Dr Walter Goldschmidt

While thinking about the way ideas proliferate and become ways of life, I found myself perambulating towards philosophical theories. How do specific thinkers and societies become synonymous with phrases such as ‘I think therefore I am’, or Biblical phrases, ‘As a man thinketh so he is’, or the Nguni become known for Ubuntu, or ‘Umuntu ungumuntu ngabanye abantu’/ A person is a person through other people?

Essentially we are concerned about the issue of thinking, thinking freely may sound simple enough but we live in a world where many are persecuted for even attempted to assertively think and act freely. Since a person is only fully self realized through interactions with others, Afrikans are among those people whose becoming has been curtailed by various levels of unfreedom …