Had to repost this from the Brother Kushite Prince, because Love is Love.
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.
“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 …
“By interviewing people from different walks of life and approaches, I am trying to show that leadership is just as richly layered, diverse and multidimensional as humanity itself. A very often overlooked aspect of leadership is artistic leadership or any type of leadership that does not emanate from traditional quarters like politics or business. The fact of the matter is, we are all leaders and we show leadership best in ways that feel authentic to us and the contribution we are trying to make to the world. Trena Bolden-Fields, based in Minnesota in the United States, is one such leader. As an actor, writer, and coach who works with artists to help them unleash their artistic dreams and forms of expression, Ms. Bolden-Fields shows that we all have an immense contribution to make whether we’re sportspeople, actors, musicians, fine artists, writers, fashion designers and so on. Trena and I unpacked this topic via virtual means from the Villa Moji at the Fairlawns.
There’s a monolithic view of “leadership” it seems: often male, authoritarian, distant and not so inclusive. How would you define “artistic leadership” and what does it look like to you?
Yes, I agree. Also, with artists, once they become leaders or are recognized, they have to think about their platform and how that can multiply and amplify their views and what matters most to them. Through having a platform that is seen, your message will reach more people and I believe in promoting positive, supportive and helpful messages that help humanity and our world.”
This is so worth listening to.
There is a very clear as well as symbolic presence of serpents in various world cultures. Have we totally forgotten the Meaning or Significance of these in our Information age and what is the consequence of our amnesia? The symbol of the serpent is everywhere and it is not always what we have been indoctrinated to believe.
I will just leave this here, we shall revisit and analyse it thoroughly later, from esoteric as well as Afrocentric perspective. I am currently reading a book called The Cosmic Serpent, this is a great documentary on the subject matter and covers most of the world, but not very much of the Afrikan connection.
Sound Escapades from the indomitable Pan African Space Station.