Sunday, December 14, 2008

Wisdom Chitedze

Wisdom Chitedze is a Malawian poet and singer who is known for songs like Tipewe and Misonzi but I got to know him from a piece he have written. It is heart touching and quite funny! Read it for yourself (edited):

'I'm 100 % man. I was born and raised a man, I will die a man. And as a man, right now I feel very sad, very ashamed, and very angry with myself! I look back in human, and my personal, history and I see a trail of needless pain and sorrow inflicted on women by, or as a result of, us men.
We've been irresponsible fathers, abdicating the throne and forcing the women to assume our responsibilities because we didn't show or pitch up. We've not shown love and kindness to our own. Busy doing "man things", whatever that is. We've substituted the provision of things as the logical and justifiable alternative of our being present, our being caring and loving.
We've been irresponsible brothers, cousins, uncles, friends and fellow citizens. We have not protected the women from harm, we've seen them raped, we've seen them beat upon, and we've seen them vilified with words more lethal than arsenic laced daggers, eviscerating tender hearts and hardening souls. Sometimes, as men we've been the perpetrators not the spectators.
We've promised women to be true leaders; gentle lovers and responsible fathers and we've lived to be the beast to the beauties. I'm tempted to pray that you be infested with camel fleas in places you cannot scratch! We've squandered dreams on booze, gambling, hare-brained get-rich-quick schemes and sleeping with anything that wears a skirt and answers to the name of she!
We've not done what we should, but we have done what we shouldn't have done! We've forgotten our anniversaries, your birthdays, our valentines and the kids' birthdays! but we've remembered to pay for cable, we've remembered to pay for the new plasma and groovy cell phone, we've remembered our own mother's birthdays and wondered why you didn't seem to care!?
We've come home after a day of work and you've tried to reach to us and we just zoned out. You've dressed your best and when you asked us whether you looked good all we said was "uh-huh" but when we were telling you about how our lady workmates were dressed, we did it with so much enthusiasm and were so animated. Sisters, you just had to blow a fuse and give us a bad-hair day! It seems we've the right for you to give us time so we can unburden our hearts, but not vice versa!
It's as if it is inn the constitution that a man gets "it" when he wants, how he wants it, where he wants it. But when you want it, you must give valid reasons as to why otherwise you are a wh....e!
The babies are yours, "Uhm, honey, the baby just poo'd, you need to change the diapers, uhm, darling, the baby's crying" etc. No matter what you are doing or how you feel, we are always busier! Or we say you are better with the kids than we are and so abscond from our duties so we can watch football, wrestling, fashion TV or play Need for Speed till the early hours of morning!
My sisters, my sisters, my sisters. How do I undo this pain? Years and layers of disrespect, abuse, trauma and unmet needs? We've abused you in the name of religion, love, the law, money and so on.
My mother, my sister, my cousin, my aunt, my friend, my colleague, my comrade, my daughter, my niece whatever colour, race, age or creed you are. I'm on my knees as a man, apologising.
I acknowledge that we've done you wrong and hurt you and you didn't deserve it. You deserved better. You are beautiful, you are a miracle, a wonder, but we have treated you like trash, objects, currency, means to an end, occupations.
But it is not enough to apologise and make amends for the past, when the present and the future hold a possibility of a repeat and thus this becomes a fool's errand, rantings of a madman.
In this instant, I become the individual. The one who pledges to start as a person, as a man to make a difference. If I can't agree with you, I'd rather walk away, in peace and leave you with your self-respect and my respect for you than do you wrong so I can feel powerful or vindicated in any way.
I know I've blabbered a lot, but maybe it's because I know it cannot be enough, but it's a start and it's something.
Sisters, I'm sorry.'



Monday, December 1, 2008

First of december blessing

I pray everyone enters december well and that life and all its blessings shower you, my brothers and sisters all around the world. I pray that have-nots may be given an abundance of all physical and spiritual needs. I know that there are angels watching out for you, you're in my prayers and I know that those who are last will be first.
As it is today I turn 19 (yet a baby girl!) I write this to persons who see aging as a beautiful blessing. I hope the yet another year have brought more happiness, more knowledge and understanding to your lives, as it has to me. It is important to ask yourself each day what you have learnt of the day God granted you. I give thanks for being given another year to the heap of experiences in my backpack. It has filled me with hope to read the words of caring souls on the space of hopeful and loving utterances, especially brother Maithri on The Soaring Impulse. I'm grateful to have found this mind relaxing blogspot utopia among so many creative people..

Much love, Carina

Friday, November 28, 2008

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Looking at the stars

For more than 700 years the Dogon people of Mali have had an exceptional astronomical knowledge using only the naked eye. They studied the star Sirius (which is 8.6 light years away) and its invisible companion star Sirius B (it was discovered in 1862 by an American who used the largest telescope of that time) which has a 50 year elliptical orbit and further they told that Sirius B rotates on its own axis. They even have astronomical drawings of it which match the modern western ones even though the Dogon people did not have telescopes and all these fancy facilities the Europeans use.
Professor Ivan van Sertimer, author of Black Women in Antiquity and They Came before Columbus among others, wrote an article of the name The Lost Sciences of Africa in which he argues that the Dogon had a vast modern knowledge of the solar system, and indeed the Dogon knew of the surface of the moon and the characteristics of Sirius B, beyond the awareness of western astronomers.
Even though Professor Ivan van Sertimer and Hunter Adams, African Observers of the Universe - the Sirius Question, find the Dogon's observations intriguing, Robert Temple, a member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Great Britain, thinks that the Dogon possibly could have had the information passed to them by extraterrestrials! An extremely eurocentric view backed up by an astronomer by the name of Carl Sagan who thinks the Dogon got enlightenment from European explorers; exactly as other Europeans suggested that the pyramids and the Great Zimbabwe were built with help from extraterrestrials. Once again Africans will point the Europeans wrong as they have evidence on their side. Maybe the Dogon are the descendants of the ancient Egyptians, and they passed on their knowledge through generations as they've migrated to Mali. Anyhow, they have their place in African history.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wise part of my roots

"Do not push the river, it will flow by itself."

"Never seek the wind in the field. It is useless to try and find what is gone."

"Hunger will lead a fox out the forest."

"Words must be weighed, not counted."

"Innocence itself sometimes hath need of a mask."

Polish seeds of wisdom, a big up to my roots.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Bless thy soul Miriam Makeba

This day the Queen of African music passed away in the early morning in Castel Volturno, Italy, of a heartattack some time after partaking in a concert to support Robert Saviano who's against the Camorra which is a mafia-like organisation.

Miriam Zenzi Makeba was born in Johannesburg on 4 March, 1932, to a Swazi mother and a Xhosa father, who died when she was only 6. She had a talent for singing even as a child when she sang at the Kilmerton Training Institute which she attended for 8 years.
The rest is history one can say. Miriam Makeba began singing, naturally, starting in an amateur group but quicly became a professional when she formed her own group, The Skylarks. She was a speaker against apartheid, and she married the well known African Trinidadian civil rights activist and Black Panther Stokely Carmichael. A woman with a cause.
Her swinging rhythm is characterized by a blend of jazz and South African melodies, and she is one of the best known African artist worldwide.

I remember hearing her music as a little girl from my parents. One song she sang with her group The Skylarks was Inkomo Zodwa; I will never shake that song off my mind. Incredible is a too small word for such a great woman. Bless her soul.







Memorable pictures; Fulah woman


Fula woman (from a photography by Mizon.)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Memorable pictures; meaning of life


Sighting happiness on dusty earth

Beautiful man child by his mother’s bosom

Curiously sensing around him plenty mirth

Material possessions are not needed to make life worth

Saturday, November 8, 2008

My freedom of speech

Bless up. There is something that has been running over and over in my mind lately, and that is the lack of attention on homeless people and Native Americans during the election.
The politicians are inclined to be so mechanical. Machines who have made up an opinion about almost everything, and memerize it, before they address the people. Along the way they forget the tiniest or most fragile minority/minorities. Persons who do not have a place to call a home, whose place is different everyday, who are most likely not to break the vicious circle to create a steady life, and a people who had a culture and a way of life, which do not correspond to the modern life of the western society, are being placed in reservations in dire conditions. In some places Native Americans have a life expectancy which is lower than any country of the world, a suicide rate among teens which is 150% higher than the national average, close to total population living below the poverty line, and this ferocious reality continues to persist.
I am sure most people are mortified that this hell thrives in a powerful nation as the United States. But nothing is to be heard or seen among the ones in power.

People tend to ask questions to the politicians about matters which involve themselves, naturally (we are just humans), while others get left behind.
Democratic countries pride themselves of having the glorious rights upheld in their constitutions since many centuries, and others, decades, ago; of freedom of speech for example. Yet this magnificent right is not used to the extent one may want. The dream behind this right of saying whatever one wants is living out too slowly, and used for topics not so significant. Freedom of speech should be used to pressure the government and the change-makers among other matters, instead of ending up with voices sinking in the mire of arrogance and conservatism.

As humans we must ask ourselves if it is not time for making a change starting with the man in the mirror; change, whether it be locally or globally, speaking up on paper or with your voice, giving the homeless you pass on your way home the 30 bucks you would have used on a pair of new shoes or dedicating your life to helping others. Either way is just as important. The way has been steep and it will keep on being that but we will learn to strengthen ourselves.

Have a blessed morning, afternoon or evening to all.

Great websites
Republic of Lakotah
Homeless
Native Americans

Let America be America again

A beacon of light has shone these days. I truly hope America will change for the better.

In the spirit of Obama, here's a poem by Langston Hughes and it is called "Let America be America again":

"Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed -
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There's never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this 'homeland of the free.')

Say who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?


I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery's scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek -
And finding only the same old stupid plan.
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one's own greed!
I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean -
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today - O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I'm the one who dreamt our basic dream
In that Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That's made America the land it has become.
O, I'm the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home -
For I'm the one who left dark Ireland's shore,
And Poland's plain, and England's grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa's strand I came
To build a 'homeland of the free.'
The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we've dreamed
And all the songs we've sung
And all the hopes we've held
And all the flags we've hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay -
Except the dream that's almost dead today.

O, let America be America again -
The land that never has been yet -
And yet must be - the land where every man is free.
The land that's mine - the poor man's, Indian's, Negro's, ME -
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose -
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people's lives,
We must take back our land again,
America!

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath -
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers,
The mountains and the endless plain -
All, all the stretch of these great green states -
And make America again!

Arising


At times I wish my thoughts would be released

Flowing through all barriers at ease

And hit the hypocrites killin’ Jah people across all HIM seas

Realizing their faults and wickedness down on their knees

Taking back all their expensive misinventions and disease

The righteous people nah need your dreadful expertise

It breaks down the precious mind, oh these heresies

Babylon holds you in slavery by your insecurities

Their mentality so cruel it sets your consciousness in position ‘freeze’

When everyone is paralyzed, who to assist the Sudanese?

I can hear them cry and wheeze

Please oh please..


Unfolding the truth which has never been televised

Perpetrates destructive lies

Deceives and despoil the wise

But we arise, arise, arise


Copyright Ras Love Princess

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Nəgusä Nägäst

This day 78 years ago Ras Tafari became Emperor of Ethiopia: His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I, Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, King of Kings of Ethiopia and Elect of God. Haile Selassie, Power of the Trinity. His wife was crowned Her Imperial Highness Menen Asfaw, Crown Princess of Ethiopia and Crown Prince Asfaw Wossen was anointed as heir to the throne.
Selassie I's royalty goes back to King Solomon and Makeda, the Queen of Sheba, who brought forth a son called Menelik. Menelik I (Ebna la-Hakim, "Son of the Wise") ascended the throne after the death of Makeda and took the title of Emperor and King of Kings of Ethiopia and if one reads the Kebra Negast it tells of Menelik I taking the Ark of the Covenant and bringing it to Ethiopia where it remains this day. That makes HIM Haile Selassie the 225 link of King Solomon.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Nkosi sikelel' iAfrika

Bless up all people. I just read collection of poems "The Soweto I Love" by Sipho Sepamla, published in 1977 and banned of the Apartheid regime, which is dedicated to the victims of the Soweto Riots and all of the people of South Africa. You don't need any pictures to imagine the inexpressible terror commited by the white regime when you read the words of Sepamla. As a devotee of human rights and an activist of Black Consciousness he manifests his love for his countrymen and women and his sorrow of loosing his people to death and the western world.

The Soweto Riots were depicted in the movie Cry Freedom which deals with the great, great man and anti-apartheid activist Stephen Biko (Black is Beautiful and much much more; played by Denzel Washington) and his fight for the regime to stop the atrocities and oppression put on Black people (and to my annoyance, a white, liberal editor of a newspaper has a big role in the movie as well; it's like there MUST be a white actor in every movie about Africa or Black struggle or else the movie will be too black for white audience; The Last King of Scotland, Goodbye Bafana, Red Dust and so on; not that the movies aren't good because they are). It's a good movie and I like that the makers of the movie put in the names of activists killed by the government in jail and what the police wrote as 'cause of death'.
"Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.
What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops." Matthew 10:26-27

Amandla awethu!

Continue educating yourself:

http://www.processedworld.com/Issues/issue25/25violenceprocessing.html

http://www.thepatrioticvanguard.com/article.php3?id_article=1953

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Blessed Mo'Kalamity

Just a quick introduction to Mo'Kalamity and the band the Wizards. You wouldn't know her without listening to this amazing voice from France first. The album "Warriors of Light" came out last year and it is one of the best of 2007. Check out some of her songs on myspace and if you check out her cd then make sure you hear "Princess from the street", "Evolution", "Darling" and "Africa"!


Friday, October 17, 2008

Olympics history

Tommie Smith (center) and John Carlos showing the Black Power salute at the Olympics in 1968, 17 October in Mexico City after medalling in the 200 meter event. It holds historic importance for the Black Power movement and a moment for the innumerable enslaved on the middle passage boats, lynched Africans and Africans living in poverty and the events going on in the US at that time.

But Africans continue to impress the world stage at Olympics. This year Usain Bolt made three world records a long with plenty medals for Jamaica. Two other nations which exceled were Kenya and Ethiopia.
Pamela Jelimo, 18, showed incredible talent this year both in Beijing and in Addis Ababa for the African Championships in Athletics earlier this year the 30 April to 4 May. In winning three times 1st in the 800m at 18 years old, she has much more to show the world.

Ethiopia is a class of itself. There are too many talents to name but Kenenisa Bekele and his countrywoman Tirunesh Dibaba stood out. Bekele is the master of 5,000m and 10,000m twice, when he beat the world record in 10,000 by having 27:01.27 in time.
22-year old Tirunesh Dibaba won gold in 10,000m (with a time of 29:54.26) and 5,000m in Beijing Olympics plus another shiny gold medal in 10,000m in the African Championships.
Talent has its roots firmly planted in African soil.

An inspiring woman; Bessie Head

Great experiences and simply a natural that was Bessie Head. Some of her pain became something that everyone can share, in her works.
Born in Pietermaritzburg in South Africa, 1937 by a white mother and a black father was already a troublesome beginning of life. Her mother was put in a mental institution as she must have been crazy to be with a black man. Completely outrageous, and that were the times in Apartheid South Africa. She never knew her father, instead she was raised by white missionaries and educated as a teacher but later turned to journalism. An unfortunate marriage gave way to her book "Maru" where she plays the leading role in a sad story of racism and love but with an enlightenment so true that is breaks your heart.

She was a refugee in Botswana, where she discovered her brilliance in writing, for 15 years before she was granted citizenship in 1979 but the waiting did not stop her creativity from unleashing. She has written 11 books and in The Khama III Memorial Museum in Serowe, Botswana, have they devoted to her memory The Bessie Head Room where she wrote some of her greatest her-stories.
I hope her memory will live on forever because she was truly outstanding.

Bessie Head

Bessie Head's home in Serowe, Botswana

Serowe, Botswana in dry season

The principal library in Pietermaritzburg which will be renamed, after a decision made by the Msunduzi Municipal Council, to THE BESSIE HEAD LIBRARY

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Namibia; the first genocide in the 20th century

The Colonization of Namibia

The idea of Germany colonizing domains seemed remote as the government had shown no interest in expansion, and the chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, repeatedly emphasized that there would not be colonies ("So lange ich Reichkanzler bin, treiben wir keine Kolonialpolitik"). How did the chancellor have this change of heart? It could have been a diplomatic game in which the colonies were pawns as some historians view it, or it could have been traders and manufacturers who manipulated him. By 1882 Bismarck listened to the proposals of a trader called Adolf Lüderitz, and they made a deal. Bismarck would grant Lüderitz protection for land he might acquire in Africa, if he obtained a harbour and if the colonized territories were given clear titles, which meant that no other power could claim them.
By early 1883 Lüderitz set off, and in May he had bought the first harbour, and he still kept on buying land until the north of Angra Pequena (which he bought from a Nama chief called Joseph Fredericks; Angra Pequena later called Lüderitzbucht), which the British wanted to claim, or did not think the Germans were entitled to it. On the 24 April, 1884, Bismarck proclaimed Lüderitz’s right over his establishments, and that they are under the protection of the Reich.
Of all the German colonies German South-West Africa was the only one which both was a trade colony (primarily export of natural resources) and a settlement colony of large number of German immigrants. They became farmers, and it is estimated that around 1910, 13,000 Germans lived in South-West Africa compared to the total 200 Germans living there around the late 1880s and very start of 1890.
On 1 July, 1890 the Helgoland-Sansibar-Vertrag was agreed between the British and the Germans, which settled the borders between the British and German territories.

Before the Uprisings

The history of the great fights of the tribes in German South-West Africa against the Germans has not received the well-deserved recognition. If one look through the spectacles of the African peoples, it is taking the greatest historical event and their humanity from them. Why was their history hardly written detailed? Maybe the war between the tribes and the Germans was seen as just an ‘incident’ rather than an actual war. However, there is a mass of written records of history in German South-West Africa because the Germans were inveterate record keepers. These were used to justify the Germans’ actions.

The divide-and-rule policy was a way colonial powers created alliances with local chiefs and by doing that the colonial powers took advantage of animosities between the local people. The Germans tried hard to make Samuel Maharero appear like the paramount chief of the Hereros, even though no such term existed in the traditional Herero culture, because Hendrik Witbooi, chief of the Nama people (also called Namaqua; derived from the Khoikhoi people) was against the Germans from the start. By allying with the Hereros, using an old hatred between Nama and Herero, the Germans got what they wanted. In 1890 Maharero reinstated the German protection treaty which had been rejected two years previously.
Hendrik Witbooi (1838-1905) had put up resistance to the Germans (and the Hereros) before they even claimed the land, and he had a dream of uniting all the Nama tribes under one leader, fighting against the Hereros. In a letter to Maharero after he had signed the protection treaty, Witbooi wrote:

“[…] But dear Captain! you have accepted another government, and submitted yourself to that government, to be protected by a human government, from all dangers, the first, and the nearest, against me, in this war, which exists from long past between us […] and you shall eternally bear remorse , for having placed your land and government into the hands of the white people.
I know Dr. Göring [Imperial Commissioner] and you, you are of different nations, and you are from time long past not good and true friends with one another, but you have concluded this friendship, solely to destroy me, just like Herod and Pilate, so that they could remove the lord Jesus, they hid and downplayed their differences…”

Witbooi attacked Herero cattle post a month after, so Maharero appealed to their enemy’s enemy, the Germans, for help but they did not want to “get involved in native affairs”. The Germans’ protection treaty was a sham.
After many tribulations Witbooi was forced to sign a peace treaty in 1894 by Theodor Leutwein, who was made governor and military commander in German South-West Africa.

The Great Uprisings

The natives in German South-West Africa had many reasons to rebel for, and therefore it was only a matter of time before it all broke loose. The Germans had confiscated a lot of land and cattle from the Hereros, and in 1903 Leutwein had a plan to make tribal reserves or reservation, for that reason the Hereros were frightened that they would be left with the desert, Omaheke. Maharero wrote to other chiefs, for support of war against the Germans, including Witbooi.
On 12 January, 1904, the Hereros, led by Maharero, began their first attacks towards German farmers and stores. The Hereros were almost unarmed, but as Maharero said in a letter to a chief, “death has lost its terrors” because their conditions worsened, and they were ready to fight against the German injustice.
In February and March the German troops were reinforced with 1576 officers and men, weapons and horses, ready to counter-attack. “The March and April disasters” were nothing but victories for the Hereros, because Maharero was a good and smart military leader operating from a secure base. Up until April the Germans had lost 210 soldiers, and 250 Hereros were killed. The Germans licked their wounds, so the troops were out of action, and Maharero headed north to Waterberg.
The Battle of Waterberg, 11 August, 1904, was an important battle between the Germans and the Hereros, where the Herero failed resistance. The German forces under the command of Lothar von Trotha, who took over from Leutwein, made the Hereros retreat and fled into the desert where the Germans poisened the wells in the area so the Hereros died. The rest of the Hereros who were left behind on the battlefield (men, women and children) were either killed or kept as prisoners of war in workcamps. On 2 October, 1904, von Trotha promulgated that “the Hereros are no longer German subjects”, and if the Hereros moved within the German border they should be killed. Many were killed and lynched.
The Hereros were numbered to 80,000 at the time the revolt started, and in 1911 there were only 15,130 left and half of the Nama population died as well.
1,000 escaped to the British territory but most died of thirst in the desert. These events are called “the Herero Genocide”.

In September 1904 when Witbooi heard from nineteen Namas that the Germans were slaughtering the natives, rumours of a move against the Germans filled the air. October, 1904, Witbooi started an uprising (which was called “the Hottentot Revolt”, let's call it the Nama Revolt) after the death of a German official called Bezirksamtmann von Burgsdorff was killed. One-half of the remaining tribes in German South-West Africa had joined Witbooi, and the fact that they used guerrilla tactics made it very hard for the Germans to win, even though they had a force of almost 10,000 men, compared to Witbooi’s army of between 1,260-1,410 men. The far distance from the railroad prolonged the war because the Germans constantly lacked supplies.
In a fight on 29 October 1905, Witbooi died. His son, Isaak Witbooi, wanted to continue the struggle but the people were anxious to make peace. On 20 November a sub-chief of the tribes, Samuel Isaak, arranged with the Germans the conditions of surrender. They should give their weapons and ammunition to the Germans and be settled at a labour camp (which were established for other tribes as well), and only those men who killed white farmers would be punished. They agreed, and the following day the warriors rode into the camp “proud and upright, sitting on their horses with grim miens”.

While “the Hottentot Revolt” went on, Jakobus Morenga had already started small insurrections towards the Germans. Morenga and his men used guerrilla tactics as well as the Namas, and humiliated the Germans many times because the German force was much larger.
The great revolt died on 16 November 1906 when the Germans surrounded a group of Morenga’s men, and killed some of them. The rest were driven into the bush.
The German government declared German South-West Africa pacified on 31 March 1907.

Not only the Germans, but also other colonial powers, were in a catch 22 situation as regards to power. On the one hand they had unlimited chances to put violence onto their enemies (the African people whom they subjugated and whose land and resources they stole), but on the other hand no amount of weapons and violence can force their will upon another people. I think the Germans learned, to their dismay, that people would rather die as free men than live their lives in imprisonment by a foreign people. With their power they could kill but not convince.

On 9 July 1915 German South-West Africa was occupied by South Africa.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Gabriel Okara, "Once Upon a Time"

This poem is a good example of his theme about African culture meets European.

"Once upon a time, son,
they used to laugh with their hearts
and laugh with their eyes;
but now they only laugh with their teeth,
while their ice-block-cold eyes
search behind my shadow.

There was a time indeed
they used to shake hands with their hearts;
but that's gone, son.
Now they shake hands without hearts
while their left hands search
my empty pockets.

'Feel at home'! 'Come again';
they say, and when I come
again and feel
at home, once, twice,
there will be no thrice -
for then I find doors shut on me.

So I have learned many things, son.
I have learned to wear many faces
like dresses - homeface,
officeface, streetface, hostface,
cocktailface, with all their conforming smiles
like a fixed portrait smile.

And I have learned, too,
to laugh with only my teeth
and shake hands without my heart.
I have also learned to say, 'Goodbye',
when I mean 'Good-riddance';
to say 'Glad to meet you',
without being glad; and to say 'It's been
nice talking to you', after being bored.

But believe me, son.
I want to be what I used to be
when I was like you. I want
to unlearn all these muting things.
Most off all, I want to relearn
how to laugh, for my laugh in the mirror
shows only my teeth like a snake's bare fangs!

So show me, son,
how to laugh; show me how
I used to laugh and smile
once upon a time when I was like you."

Gabriel Okara, "You Laughed and Laughed and Laughed"


Gabriel Okara, born 1921, is a Nigerian writer, and artist, of modern African literature. His poems deal with the matter when the older African culture meets the European culture and they reflect the definite stages of the country's and his own development. Here's "You Laughed and Laughed and Laughed" from the collection "The Fisherman's Invocation":

"In your ears my song
is motor car misfiring
stopping with a choking cough;
and you laughed and laughed and laughed.

In your eyes my antenatal
walk was inhuman, passing
your 'omnivorous understanding'
and you laughed and laughed and laughed.

You laughed at my song,
you laughed at my walk.

Then I danced my magic dance
to the rhythm of talking drums pleading,
but you shut your eyes and laughed and laughed and laughed.

And then I opened my mystic
inside wide like
the sky, instead you entered your
car and laughed and laughed and laughed.

You laughed at my dance,
you laughed at my inside.

You laughed and laughed and laughed.
But your laughter was ice-block
laughter and it froze your inside froze
your voice froze your ears
froze your eyes and froze your tongue.

And now it's my turn to laugh;
but my laughter is not
ice-block laughter. For I
know not cars, know not ice-blocks.

My laughter is the fire
of the eye of the sky, the fire
of the earth, the fire of the air,
the fire of the seas and the
rivers fishes animals trees
and it thawed your inside,
thawed your voice, thawed your
ears, thawed your eyes and
thawed your tongue.

So a meek wonder held
your shadow and you whispered:
'Why so?'
And I answered:
'Because my fathers and I
are owned by the living
warmth of the earth
through our naked feet.'"

Commemoration

Commemoration; I could not come up with other words which summarize all I want to speak in this first entry. My intention is to big up African people, period.
Africa, the craddle of humanity, which gave birth to everything; the Bible, literature, oral tradition, philosophy, education, art and dance, monarchies, the greatest men and women of time, black pearls in every way and in every key word which I wrote down holds a love and inspiration which cannot be copied.
Beautiful African queens of every shade of black, they are the true mothers of mothers. They continue to be a part of every aspect of Life whether it be grass root movement, politicians, business or singers. Women of any color hold the possibility of change in themselves. They are the ones who give birth and bring up children, and in them is the future. Therefore women must be respected, educated, understood and admired because they have had their confidence taken away from them, especially African women. When I say African, I do not solely mean people IN Africa but Black people, at home or abroad.
Every journey begins with the first step, and the first step should start with the men, they are the fathers, husbands and brothers who must support their daughters, wives and sisters. Men cannot keep disrespecting women in music videos and make them sex objects. Conscious women must not be fooled by the media's vain image of beauty, and neither must men. True beauty comes from within (I am aware that it's kind of a cliche now) but when you are confident in yourself and your worth, it shines out to your outer appearance.
I kinda drew a bit away from my point, but given the long and painful hardships Black people have been and are still exposed to by white people mainly, it is inevitable to be anything else but amazed (and for me, grateful; make Black history month every month!) that they are so strong. Europeans (included Americans, Australian Europeans etc.) cannot apologize enough for the atrocities commited and the ones being commited this very instance.
I hope by writing this blog about pretty much everything from African culture/literature/music and news AND my thoughts will shed a little light on African awareness as I myself have been educated by Africans.

Jah guidance and blessings as we are given life yet another day
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