African Solutions: Reclaiming History and Culture to Achieve Sovereignty
The Oppressor, Oppression and the Oppressed: Dialectic Of Violence and Dehumanization
Africa today is no more developed than it was for the Red Men(Indians) of Saint Lawrence and the France of Louis XIV is as great as , if not greater than, that between the United States and a newly independent Black Africa today. These contrasts certainly activated the coherent life of the world as a whole, in the same way as differences in voltage activate an electric current; but they were, in effect, external distinctions.They are only art of the story. Every economy, society and civilization is a world unto itself, divided internally and shared equally/unequally amongst its members.
Each of these individual mechanisms must therefore be taken to pieces and put together again to bring out the resemblances, similarities, recurring features and hierarchies among their components. Such comparisons required a precise vocabulary, hardly the one used by the men of the time, but rather that of the present-day human sciences, rethought in the context of the past.However, nascent capitalism clearly does not cover the whole of economic life.
There are at least three levels and three spheres: everyday material life, very widespread, concerned with basic necessities and short-range; economic life, calculated, articulated, emerging as a system of rules and almost natural necessities; and finally the more sophisticated capitalist mechanisms, which encroaches on all forms of life, whether economic or material, however little they lend themselves to its maneuvers. (Braudel)
Man is locked in an economic condition that reflected his human condition. He was an unconscious prisoner of the frontier marking the inflexible boundaries between the possible and the impossible. Before the eighteenth century his sphere of action was tightly circumscribed, largely limited to what he could achieve by physical effort. Whatever he did, he could not strip over a certain life - and this line was always drawn close to him He did not even reach it most of the time. this was possible only for individuals, groups or civilizations peculiarly favored by circumstances. . Those who succeed usually do so ruthlessly at the expense of others. For this advance, though always limited, required an infinite number of victims.We lean from Paulo Freire that:
"Violence is initiated by those who oppress, who exploit, who fail to recognize others as persons - not by those who are oppressed, exploited, and unrecognized. It is not the unloved who initiate disaffection, but those who cannot love because they love only themselves. It is not the helpless, subject to terror, who initiate the terror, but the violent, who with their power create the concrete situation which begets the "rejects of life." IIt is not the despised who initiate hatred, but those who despise. It is not those whose humanity is denied them who negate humankind, but those who denied that humanity (thus negating their own as well). Force is used not by those who have become weak under the preponderance of the strong, but by the strong who emasculated them.
"For the oppressors, however, it is always the oppressed (whom they obviously never call "the oppressed" but-depending on whether they are fellow countrymen or not-"those people" or "the blind and envious masses or "savages" or "natives" or "subversives") who are disaffected, who are "violent," "barbaric," "wicked," or "ferocious" when they react to the violence of the oppressor. Whereas the violence of the oppressors prevents the oppressed from being fully human, the response of the latter into this violence is grounded in the desire to pursue the right to be human.As the oppressors dehumanize others and violate their rights, they themselves also become dehumanized. As the oppressed, fighting to be human, take away the oppressors' power to dominate and suppress, the restore to the oppressors the humanity they had lost in the exercise of oppression
Liberators Of The Oppressed Must Engage In Critique Anti-Critique
We pick Freire's analysis wherein he writes:
"As the beneficiaries of a situation of oppression, the oppressors cannot perceive that if 'having' is a condition of being, it is a necessary condition for all women and men. That is why their generosity is false. Humanity is a "thing" and they possess it as an exclusive right, as inherited property. To the oppressor consciousness, the humanization of the "others" of the people, appears not as the pursuit of full humanity, but as subversion.
"The oppressors do not perceve their monopoly on 'having' more as privilege which dehumanizes others and themselves. They cannot see that, in the egoistic pursuit of 'having' as a possessing class, they suffocate in their own possessions and no longer 'are'; they merely 'have.' for them, 'having more' is an alienable right they acquired through their own "effort," with their "courage to take risks." If others do not have more, it is because they are incompetent and lazy, and worst of all is their unjustifiable ingratitude towards the "generous gestures" of the dominant class. Precisely because they are "ungrateful" and "envious," the oppressed are regarded as potential enemies who must be watched.
"It could not be otherwise. If the humanization of the oppressed signifies subversion, so also does their freedom; hence the necessity for constant control. And the more the oppressors control the oppressed, the more they change them into apparently inanimate "things." This tendency of the oppressor consciousness to "in-animate" everything and everyone it encounters, in its eagerness to possess, unquestionably corresponds with a tendency to sadism."
Eric Fromm adds to this by saying:
"The pleasure in complete domination over another person (or other animate creature) is the very essence of the sadistic drive. Another way of formulating the same thought is to say that the aim of sadism is to transform a man into a thing, something animate into something inanimate, since by complete and absolute control, the living loses one essential quality of life-freddom"
"One of the characteristics of the oppressor consciousness and its necrophilic view of the world is thus sadism. As the oppressor consciousness, in order to dominate, tries to deter the drive to search, the restlessness, and the creative power which characterize life, it kills life. More and more, the oppressors are using science and technology as unquestionably powerful instruments for their purpose: the maintenance of the oppressive order through manipulation and repression. the oppressed, as objects, as "things," have no purpose except those their oppressors prescribe for them.
"Given the preceding context, another issue of indubitable importance arises: the fact that certain members of the oppressor class joint the oppressed in their struggle for liberation, thus moving from one pole of the contradiction to the other. Theirs is a fundamental role, and has been so throughout history of this struggle. It happens, however, that as they cease to be exploiters or indifferent spectators of simply the heirs of exploitation and move to the side of the exploited, they almost always bring with them the marks of their origin: their prejudices and their deformations, which include a lack of confidence in the people's ability to think, to want, and to know.
"Accordingly, these adherents to the people's cause constantly run the risk of falling into a type of generosity as malefic as that of the oppressors. the generosity of the oppressors is nourished by an unjust order, which must be maintained in order to justify that generosity. Our converts, on the other hand, truly desire to transform the unjust order; but because of their background, they believe that they must be the executors of the transformation. They talk about the people, but they do not trust them; and trusting the people is the indispensable precondition for revolutionary chage. A real humanist can be identified more by his trust in the people, which engages him in their struggle, than by a thousand actions in their favor without that trust.
"Those who authentically commit themselves to the people must re-examine themselves constantly. this conversion is so radical as not to allow of ambiguous behavior. To affirm this commitment but to consider oneself the proprietor of revolutionary wisdom-which must then be given to (or imposed on) the people-is to retain the old ways."the man or woman who proclaims devotion to the cause of liberation, yet is unable to enter into 'communion' with the people, whom he or she continues to regard as totally ignorant, is grievously self-deceived. The convert who approaches the people but feels alarm at each step they take, each doubt they express, and each suggestion they offer, and attempts to impose his "status", remains nostalgic towards his origins."Conversion to the people requires a profound rebirth. those who undergo it must take on a new form of existence; they can no longer remain as they were
Mode Of Critique and Anti-Critique
It is important at this stage and time to holistically work on given solutions to insoluble national problems by talking about issues that concern and affect different cultures, customs, traditions, practices as they have clashed in history and continue to the present. Looking at and being immersed in a turbulent diverse cultural milieu demand that we look at the present cultural, customary and so forth conditions and try to investigate, recognize and work on the solutions that have not yet been cultivated and present them as a learning curve and moment.
It is also important to critique and give and anti- critique to that which was in the past, and in process flesh-out the commonalities that which help to recreate and social engineer anew a melting pot multi-cultural social milieu. The 'thinking' box that has been the social norm need to be interrogated and deconstructed and work with what will be left after trimming off historical excess and replacing it with contemporary ever present reality.
Thinking along the past construct inhibits present growth and a 'great new society'. This can only happen if the past is a lesson which we will use as something to learn from in order to understand the present, thus shape, formulate and forecast a new human being in Africa/South Africa and the rest of he Third World full of past baggages, and unfolding new and socially produced social interaction and elaboration.
At one point there needs to be new voices, new people and and a new society. We can wrangle about how we are seeing the present with past eyes and memories, but that will not not move the people forward. If one group is superior in all civil ways, and the other is not, the advanced one stays with the forsaken lot at the bottom of the World barrel. When we consider the movement forward of any nation and people, we study history*(the past) in order to understand the present(latter-day Africa/South Africa and the Third world), and ponder the future, (the coming of the mid-millennium), this should help interrogate and inform the new and bold society.
There must be increasingly from the defensive position, an attempt to defend a hopefully still revolutionary position against reformism and necessarily reactionary and successful reactions it generates. This essay, must like the past which have been been in these Pages, be conditioned... 'most directly by the political climate (which in turn,is related to all other changes in society) ... responding to changing political conditions and opportunities'(Gunnar Myrdal), ... 'and the people must maintain the stance 'that the point in interpreting the world is to change it, we also responded to political conditions and opportunities that changed from offensive to defensive' (Karl Marx).
This essay, is mostly suggesting the criterion of selection that is critical and indeed polemical, perhaps all the more so in being on the defensive. The contents of this Hub will range in subject matter from the "science" of social science, via political science, anthropology and sociology, history culture, customs, economics, to politics. We ought to understand that social science must be political science.
Moreover in the battle with reaction and reformism, the best defense of a revolutionary position may be offensive, and in ideological battle polemical. The present world is sharply divided between industrialized, relatively well-off societies and non-industrialized, impoverished peoples. The attraction of economic development has an understandably powerful, perhaps irresistible, appeal to poor countries and their leaders. The conditions accompanying development along western lines are less appreciated, for they create the under-development of poor countries.
Dependency, therefore, is the cause of under-delvelopment. Andre Guder Frank writes about this issue as follows:
"What, in your judgement, is the scientific value of the study of the development of underdevelopment" None. While the capitalist system,which generates underdevelopment and avails itself of exploitation and alienation for development, subsists - and even while the class struggle in the establishment of socialism subsists - - science can ony have an instrumental political and ideological value, and no value in and of itself.
On the contrary, capitalism and the bourgeois ideology have long been employing both social and natural science as purely reactionary tools in defense of their interests. This is the case, for example, with the concepts and even the very terms "development and underdevelopment" that are used in the class struggle on the ideological level, to make it appear that entire peoples develop through their own efforts, thanks to national capitalism, and other entire countries remain underdeveloped because of supposedly inherent conditions - the lack of capital and inadequate intelligence and institutions or culture - that is to say, because of traditionalism. This focus, or better yet, this deviation from the problem, lies the real cause of underdevelopment and the exploitation that the aforementioned cause determines." (Andre Gunder Frank)
Gundar Myrdal ptuts the manner in which we should view politics in our efforts to change it. "The direction of our scientific exertions, particularly in economics is conditioned by the society in which we live, and most directly by the political climate (which in turn, is related to all other changes in society).... The cue to the continual reorientation of our work has normally come from the sphere of politics. Responding to that cue, students turn to research on issues that have attained political importance ... So it has always been. The major recastings of economic thought ... were all responses to changing political conditions and opportunities.."
When we are preoccupied in the discourse of change about change, Marx Reminds us: "The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point, however, is to change it." Marx astutely adds to this notion of change and humans building society as follows: "Man makes his own history, but not as he pleases." Gunder Franks subtly point out the probabilities and possibilities of change by admonishing: "Scientific study has a political and ideological value: ideological, because it permits us to unmask orthodox by antiscientific study and to prove that imperialism and national capitalism are fundamental causes of underdevelopment: political, because the scientific study of social and natural reality is a necessary, although not sufficient, to change it.."
"Studying development and underdevelopment in order to fulfill the requirement imposed by those same processes as an ideological and political responsibility for all hones progressive researchers, one has to follow the fundamental rule of all science (something orthodoxy does not do) - that is, to focus on the study on the study of the whole social system, which is really causal or determining, and to analyze it.
For development and underdevelopment, the causal determinant is without doubt the world capitalist system, since it was capitalist development throughout the world last five centuries that promoted economic development in some parts of th world at the cost of simultaneously generating, as an integral part of the same process, the development of underdevelopment in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and some other areas."
The problem is made sharper by the fact that a large range of very tangible goal tend to validate the so-called "developed-underdeveloped" continuum. Modern manufacturing, electrification, transportation, housing, adequate health facilities, education, and hosts of correlated consumer goods are more plentiful in some countries and much less widely distributed in others.
These latter are, however, dedicated to achieving more of such goods, services, and the means to produce them. Thus, contemporary social change does divide the world into those who have more and those who have less material wealth and technologically advanced productive capacities. And those who have less, but want more, are dubbed "underdeveloped," since they wish to obtain more of these 'particular' values for themselves.
Gunder Frank further breaksdown and clarifies the modus operandi and structure, form and functioning of the Structure as it metamorphoses and morphs according to its need and interest, historically and today as follows."
"One would have to study, in addition, how the colonial, semi-colonial, or neo-colonial structure of the capitalist system in its entirety and its development has formed and transformed the economic class structure in the colonies and in the cities themselves at each stage of the aforementioned development. In the case of countries that are underdeveloped today, through this scientific procedure - global, historical, structural, and therefore dialectic - one would see how colonial relationships formed the class structure and how his determined the interests and the policies of the ruling sector of the colonial bourgeoisie.
And it would be proved why, given its dependence and its political and economic interests, these (neo) colonial bourgeoisie of necessity had to, and still have to, impose on their people repressive economic systems that generate and deepened underdevelopment, while their senior partners in the imperialist centers are interested in sponsoring development, albeit in a very unequal way." (Andre Gunder Frank, 1984)
Deconstruct, Invalidate and Reconstruct
In the latter half of the twentieth century,most African societies are still struggling to resolve conflicts between the forces of tradition and change. In contrast to Westerners who found their societies mercilessly ravaged by the Industrial Revolution a few generations earlier, contemporary Africans are more self-aware and conscious of the revolution restructuring their live, working hard to deconstruct their oppressive reality and applying themselves to reconstructing their present condition. And many hope this awareness will make it possible for them to play a greater role in controlling change and in shaping their ways of life(culture) in the future.
We must remember that history informs us that 'change' came upon Africans and other people of the "underdeveloped world with a vengeance; and somehow Africans try their best to adapt in that most inhuman reality in all ways - by understanding. This context partly informs this Hub, and indeed, much of the emphasis on change in scholarly world. With more complex political systems and the increasingly advanced technology devised by modern science, the pace of change has accelerated the threads that tie the past to the future, which have become taut with tension and pressure. It is almost as if man advances, whatever that means, by becoming more insecure, less sure of what he really is, or was, or will be. When change is great enough, then the past fails to inform the future and must either be rejected or interpreted. This applies particularly to the Oppressed Africans and the downtrodden of the World.
Under such conditions individuals, groups, or nations as wholes, experience a crisis in identity. It is extremely difficult to desire change and yet continue to set one's own past as a guide for the future. Then along with modernization goes a haunting, albeit false, that the "less developed" must become like the "more developed" in order to achieve what they desire. To become more like others is to become less like oneself, and so rapid social change has o\as one of its possible parts a harrowing side effect - that of a possible denial of the worthiness of one's own cultural heritage.
The result can be a sense of inferiority which is only assuaged by becoming as much like the goal objects of change as much as possible so that self-confidence becomes limited to the degree to which there is self denial. Identity can then only be future orientated since the past is busily being shed, yet it is always there producing tension in identity.
For most people living through such changes much of this conflict may be unconscious or even irrelevant. Still, they experience difficulties over their desires for what often turns out to be conflicting things, briefly discussed above. But in the end they do make choices - because they must. They have to decide whether they move to the city for good or to maintain some long-term interest in the rural area from which they come.
They must decide, consciously or unconsciously, about a large range of things that determine whether they will become "new men" or members of a traditional group unchanging in its ways. For leaders and intellectuals who wish to create an ideology for the people with such problems, things are more difficult. It is from these groups that we can see the various strategies of adaptation emerging.
One strategy is that of rejection of tradition. Generally this seems to be associated with the pre-independence periods and even then to be seen as a form of self-rejection. Colonial officials often stimulated such reactions by rewarding those in the conquered territories who were most like themselves. And such a reward system created its own tradition so that even when independence is achieved, it is hard to get over the idea that what is foreign is modern and, by a false definition, "better" as well.
And that rewards will come in droves from the Masters whom the new neo-rulers seek to emulate and want to fit into their life-style, and are so accepted by the Dominators. This idea applies even within countries among groups trying to achieve better status and greater equality. Thus, for nearly a hundred years American Blacks who were most like the dominant white middle class were more acceptable and generally seen a more successful than the majority who were culturally somewhat divergent. The same applies to Africans who are still hooked-up to the metropolis and seek recognition from their former masters, who in-turn dole out those rewards depending on whether the local elites are what they consider to be close like them in all aspects of life.
People whose pre-colonial societies were already in the form of centralized states generally have traditions of statecraft, diplomacy, administrative skills, and political ideology that can be looked back upon not only with pride, but as a source of inspiration. Where such large-scale systems did not exist, contemporary writers are reinterpreting comparative categories so that nationhood is in fact part of their tradition. For example, the Igbo political cultures, often end as an ascephalus, are now being viewed as a series of local city states having an indigenously developed concept of African democracy.
And where even this much organization was lacking, the quality of past social relations rather than complexity of organization can be looked to as a guide for the future.(South Africa and other Third World countries). This is what Radcliffe-Brown characterized as the 'solidarity of siblings in African societies' and for example, can become instead the traditional basis for a modern ideology of brotherhood among all members of a nation- or even among all Africans and the dominated of the world.
Religion serves similar functions from a different perspective. In Islamic Africa the traditional religion is recognized as one of the great world wide religious movements with a highly developed background of law, criticism, and literacy. This has stimulated a search for indigenous Islamic scholarship, as reflected in the establishment of many local institutes, and a feeling of solidarity with the wider Moslem community. Although sometimes the object of reformist efforts, Islam is generally regarded as an extremely important link to the past and to the roots of identity.
Christianity in Africa has created more of a crisis in identity since it is foreign and antagonistic to indigenous religions. To be a christian in Africa is to be a person who has given up his past, or at least it unique cultural roots. It is interesting in this respect to observe the growth of indigenous African Christian religion such as the Jamaa movement in Zaire (Fabian 1971) and the Aladura movement in Nigeria which is now rapidly spreading from the Yoruba are to such peoples as the Kaje and the Kagoro in the middle-belt Nigeria.
The Zion Chrisiatian church(South Africa), the practice of Candomble in Brazil, Abakua in Cuba, and Santeria in the caribbean, Shembe and Bishop Lekganyane's ZCC and other Zion Christian churches, Anglican and Roman churches in South Africa. These people claim the newer forms of Christianity allow them go bring African ideas, rituals, and beliefs into church, making them feel more comfortable and giving the religion itself a more definable African identity.
Although it is fast disappearing, the colonial intrusion has also shaped the search for identity. In some places it was considered the height of success to cultivate an Oxford accent, while in others to obtain the Legion d'Honneur served a similar purpose.To a significant degree, this phase has passed. The generation now reaching adulthood in many African countries grew up entirely in the postcolonial period.
But wisps of this perversity remain, even though much of Africa is well into the third-or-so decade of independence. In many states, for example, the national language is still the language of the colonial power(South Africa included). Unknown to much of the populace and only a second language to most of the rest, linguistic patterns thus constitute an aspect of identity that keeps many Africa nations cut off from their past and tied to their former colonizers.
The painful awareness that income between rich and poor nations (as between rich and poor within nations) will not lose readily or in the near future is beginning to sink in and is a stimulus to a new aspect of the identity crisis. In view of a long road ahead in which relative economic positions in the world may change very little, if at all, continued position near the bottom of world economic status faces many African nations and their intellectuals. Instead of looking only to their own conditions, their own past, and their own identity as an explanation for this continued lower international position, some are now looking outward as well.
Throwing over the western concept that a country is a developing unit whose infrastructure is the primary ingredient in its development, they are taking up A.G. Frank's (1969) idea that unequal development is primarily a function of the worldwide structuring of economic and military power. It follows then that their relative poverty is due to the structure of International political and economic relationship rather that their own internal "backwardness) This notion will be carefully developed as the Hub continues.
However, it is well designed to serve as a rebuttal to the proposition frequently advanced in the west that nations are poor largely because of poverty of their cultural traditions. In sum, the identity crisis lends to a search for outside as well as inside reasons for low economic status, and this contributes to national dignity and pride by shifting some of the burden else where The result is antagonism to the richer nations, especially those with economic claims for redressing the balance as an additional stimulus to development.
There is also a spillover effect as well, since the ideology itself propagates the view that development requires not simply bootstrap efforts, and foreign loans, but redistribution of wealth between nations as well. Thus, for example, terms of trade favorable to poorer nations must be part of international agreements even where exploitation is not so clearly obvious on a bilateral basis. And so, identity crisis has both an internal and external face. Understanding this helps Africans to see what it is they will need to Deconstruct, Invalidate and Reconstruct their present history and national narrative for and as a new nation in a state of flux, currently.
Change of Historical Paradigm: The Death of Colonial birth
At this juncture, we need to understand as has been stated above that Africans understand what happened to them, and it is important for them to project that understanding, to make the world understand Her(Africa). Mark Twain wryly observes: "In many countries we have chained the savage and starved him to death ... in many countries we have burned the savage at the stake ... we have hunted the savage and his little children and their mother, with dogs and guns ... in many countries we have taken the savage's land from him, and made him our slave, and lashed him every day, and broken his pride and made death is only friend, and overworked him till he dropped in his tracks."
This macabre existence pigeon-holed by Mark Twain is one which we will look closely at because it was part of the regulatory mechanism that indoctrinated and created societies within which individual races exercise power, control, procedural liberties and individual restraints that condition their personalities as the one of the post apartheid elites persons and societies in contemporary Africa, South Africa and the Third World. Amos Wilson explains it as follows:
"The constitution of the United States, as beautiful as it may sound, is ultimately an elitist document. The Russian constitution is a most beautiful document, when you read it. And yet, we see a minority of White Russians ruling over Moslems, other minorities, and other Europeans, despite what the constitution says. The Constitution of our nation guarantees what we call procedural liberties, while not guaranteeing what we may call the real nitty-gritty substantial liberties. What do we mean by that?
It guarantees that certain procedure will be followed: that we can go to court, that we will be heard before a so-called jury of our peers and so forth. But does it guarantee a freedom from hunger? Does it guarantee housing, health care(evidently Obama passed his health-care Bill - my addition), and true education? Does it guarantee full employment? Does it guarantee safe working conditions? Does it guarantee a non-polluted earth? Does it guarantee true equality and equal distribution of resources?
The constitution does not guarantee those things. It guarantees us certain procedural rights and rules. It says,then, that we can go to court the same way the rich people go to court. That we can be heard in a court of law, that we must be read our Miranda rights upon arrest."
Wilson continues: "But there is a difference between procedure and what actually happens. Certainly we may be read our rights, and certainly we may go to court - but without the money to pay for a good lawyer? Belonging to the wrong ethnic group. Belonging to the wrong class - while we may go through procedure - does not guarantee justice. Consequently, the justice and legal establishments become the very sources of injustice and illegality.
We are therein faced with a contradiction wherein the very law and order that is written into the constitution becomes a double standard. I remember reading a phrase once that said: "the freedom of the press belongs to those who own the press." We can thus reiterate that the constitution and the legal system in this society are not a neutral instruments, and that the law belongs to those who write it, and to those who use it to control the resources of a society."
Amos breaks it down: " The very concept of criminal has an image attached to it. We shall find, of course, that to a great extent that image is non-European, non-middle-class, and non-upper-class, but is an image that portrays the so-called lower-classes ( or non-Europeans). While European children get a slap on the wrist for contravening the laws, our sons and daughters, who may steal nickels are sent to jail, and executed, done it, beaten, and assassinated by the police.
We are gouged for rent and other kinds of things by the system; yet those that gouge us are perceived as pillars of the community. These are the kinds of contradictions that breed disrespect for the law, and disrespect for those who enforce the law. It does not matter if a law is written in neutral terms. What really matters is whether that law is enforced non-discriminately; and this society is one that is famous for writing beautiful laws, which are enforced in a no-equal fashion.
We recognize that the policeman is not merely an officer of the law, not merely there to enforce the law, but the policeman has discretion in enforcing the law, and can determine when and under what circumstances (to a good extent) the law will be enforced, and against what people, regardless of how that law is written. So, a law that may be on the books in a non-discriminatory manner, can be executed in a very discriminatory fashion.
Therefore, we recognize that the Black individual who exhibits the same so-called behavior (that is designated as criminal by a cop) as a White individual, is far more likely to be arrested, convicted, and jailed for that behavior. So a cop makes a determination based on the individual's race, upon the individual's sexuality, upon the individual's political and class characteristics, as to whether arrest, conviction, and so forth, will take place."
Wilson adds: "So, we recognize that a law, even though it is written in neutral terms, may be used for the purpose of intimidation, harassment, and a means of immobilizing individuals. The very charges against arrested individuals may depend upon the racial nature, the class, and the politics of the individual's background. These are the kinds of contradictions that have destroyed the personalities of our people, that have destroyed our self-confidence, have destroyed the society, and have destroyed our self-concept as a people. These contradictions, therefore, have created a psychic situation that is often diagnosed as neurosis and psychosis; that are often used as a means of maintaining a political system as such."
Issues of personal restrains are adjudicated upon by the mechanism of the police who control, patrol and apply the law to the people and within the(biased?) law. Wilson takes on this discussion further: "We see the law, then, may not be the problem; it is the execution of the law. We see the law used as the means of repression and dissent. The police are used as the means of maintaining the social and control.
We then get to see a system of law enforcement that spent great time and energy, that went on for years of eavesdropping into people's personal lives, of placing electronic bugs all over the households of these people, of putting eavesdropping equipment in every room(including the bathroom), that puts bugging equipment their telephones, that picked up the conversations of not only of those individuals who were supposedly involved in conspiracies, but those individuals who may have called and talked to them for various other reasons.
We see a system that generates a law that says -- you can now detain people without bail and are perceived as some kind of major danger to the community - that soon after it passes that lawman goes right out and arrests a group of people and come prepared to destroy those people.
We see a system that is not so much concerned with defending the individual as defending the prerogatives of the state and making certain that the state has a monopoly on the weapons, that the citizens are disarmed, not so much as a means of preventing citizens from killing each other - but as a means of keeping the citizens from killing the government that rules over them! It is the police that who are taking the law into their own hands - not the people themselves.
It is the police who are the vigilantes for the establishment, and for maintaining the status quo. It is the police,then, who have the means of holding people hostage in jails and prisons; and who harass our people; and who lock our people in dungeons; and who exercise penalties and terror. Who is going to guard the guardians of our so-called law?" The poor often have no one to defend them, and have to do it themselves.
Wilson deconstructs the problem of policing and capitalism: "We see the law, then, may not be the problem; it is the execution of the law. We see the law used as the means of repression of dissent. The police are used as the mends of maintaining the social status and social order, not so much when a person threatens to disturb-the-peace, but where a person threatens to disturb the social system itself.
Police officers often see Americanism as being equivalent to capitalism; that one cannot be American if one is not also capitalist. And therefore, to be anti-capitalist is to be anti-American. To be for a different system of distribution of wealth of the nation, which belongs to the nation, is to be anti-American. To concern oneself with a more equitable means of distributing justice and freedom, to question the current system of inequality, is to be perceived as un-American and a threat-to-national-security; it is to be made fair game for repression and the denial of the democratic tights that are supposedly guaranteed by the Constitution..
It is when different groups think independently and and talk about a different type of arrangement of social relations, that we see them being criminalized for it. But that speech and that thought laid the basis for their very rights being taken away from them - the right of bail and other rights." The mens of controlling and patrolling are usually found in the dominated countries and the metropolis itself
Amos Wilson elaborates more succinctly on the systems of coercion, control and and repression as follows: "Under the guise of defending democracy, the security agencies of our national legal departments are able to deny so-called dissenters their democratic rights, and to move the nation closer to a police-state; which is exactly what we are seeing here. And therefore, we see telephone tapped, offices raided, records and funds of dissident organizations stolen by the police themselves.
We see agencies of law enforcement department engaged in theft, breaking and entering. We see agencies of the saw engaged in threatening the embers of non-conforming groups, maligning the reputation of those who dare question the system: beating, murdering, arresting and "trumping-up" charges against those who dare think out loud or indicate that they are looking at other possibilities for dealing with the tremendous problems we have today."
Wilson concludes thus: "So, we have a system that may even "free" us and then congratulates itself: "Oh, the system works, doesn't it?" But only after a course it works. but it is set up such that in the end it will still attain its oppressive goals. You have the right to equal housing; the law says so. We even have agencies that we can complain to about being discriminated against. All of tat is et up.
We have a right to move into any neighborhood we want to - if we can afford it. Here the system that grants these rights simultaneously takes away the very mans of full exercising them. This is a system that uses all types of psycho-controls for law and order. Once we are arrested, once we are convicted, our rights are denied; now we can be subject to electro-shock, psycho-surgery, etc.
Recall that in the sixties (1960s) the dissidents - those who were part of riot situations, those who protested against the oppression of Black people - were seen as sick, were seen as having a problem. And one of the means proposed for dealing with the problem was to cut parts of their brains out; was to go directly into their skulls and lobotomize them, because of a diagnosis of illness,and more than anything else, because of political diagnosis. Some of you saw the Amsterdam News, I believe.
It came out Thursday. It discusses the experimentation on our people by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and other agencies inside and outside of this country. Even in South Africa and other places, the experimentation on our people is taking place currently - and certainly has taken place in the past. We must recognize that this kind of thing continues and is a part of the so-called law and order system that exists today."(Amos Wilson)
Conscious awareness by the poor and dominated is key to their self liberation and understanding of their oppression much more better. This is important if the oppressed will be able to liberate themselves and their oppressors into a more kind and gentler humanity.
Cultural Consciousness and Action
Paulo Freire says: "For men as beings of praxis, to transform the world is to humanize it, even if making the world human may not yet signify the humanization of men. It may simply mean impregnating the world with man's curious and inventive presence, imprinting it with these traces of his works. The process of transforming the world, which reveals the presence of man, can lead to his humanization as well as his dehumanization, to his growth or diminution.
These alternatives reveal to man his problematic nature and pose a problem for him, requiring that he choose one path or the other. Nevertheless, because they impregnate the world with their reflective presence, only men can humanize or dehumanize . Humanization is their utopia,which they announce in denouncing the dehumanizing processes."
It is important to begin to understand more clearly the differences caused by structural relations of the domination and the dominated: the culture of social science and those of the 'culture which has a voice'. Below, after explaining this, we will look at the 'privilege this brings to those other races who are dominating. But prior to that,Paulo Freire put this into a much more better perspective for our understanding as follows"
"To understand the levels of consciousness, we must understand cultural-historical reality as a superstructure in relation to an infrastructure. Therefore, we will try to discern in relative rather than in absolute terms, the fundamentals characteristics of the historical-cultural configuration to which such levels corresponds. Our intention is to attempt a study of the origins and historical evaluation of consciousness, but to make a concrete introductory analysis of the levels of consciousness in Latin America, etc., reality.
This does not invalidate such an analysis for other areas of the Third World, nor for those areas in the metropolises which identify themselves with the Third world as "areas of silence". We will study the historical-cultural configuration which we have called "the culture of silence." This mode of culture is a Superstructural expression which conditions a special form of consciousness.
The culture of silence "over-determines" the infrastructure in which it originates(Antonio Gramsci). Treating the oppressed in an oppressive manner creates a dehumanized people who both they and their oppressor remain dehumanized. Freire will pick up this point a little below in the Hub.
Understanding the 'culture of silence' is possible only if it is taken as a totality which is itself part of a greater whole. In this 'greater whole' we must also recognize the culture or cultures which determine the 'voice' of the culture of silence. We do not mean that the culture of silence is an entity created by the metropolis in specialized laboratories and transported to the Third world. Neither is it true, however, that the culture of silence emerges by spontaneous generation.
The fact is that the culture of silence is born in the relationship between the Third World and the metropolis. It is not the dominator who constructs a culture and imposes it on the dominated. This culture is the result of the 'structural relations' between the dominated and the dominators (Jose Luis Fiori). Thus, understanding the culture of silence presupposes an analysis of 'dependence as a relational phenomenon' which gives rise to different forms of being, of thinking, of expression, those of the culture of silence and those of the culture which "has a voice".
We must avoid both of the position previously criticized: objectivism, which leads to mechanism; and idealism, which leads to solipsism. Further, we must guard against idealizing the superstructure,dichotomizing it from the infrastructure. If we underestimate either the superstructure or infrastructure, it will be impossible to explain the social structure itself. Social structure is not an abstraction; it exists in the dialectic between super- and infra-structures. Failing to understand this dialectic, we will not understand the dialectic of change and permanence as the expression of the social structure (Paulo Freire).
Both the 'metropolitan society' and the 'dependent society', totalities in themselves, are part of a grater whole, the economic, historical, cultural, and political context in which their mutual relationships evolve. The action of the metropolitan society upon the dependent society has a 'directive' character, whereas the object society's action, whether it be response or initiative, has a 'dependent' character. The relationship between the dominator and the dominated reflect the greater social context, even when formally personal. Such relationships imply the introjection by the dominated of cultural myths of the dominator.
Similarly, the dependent society introjects the values and life-style of the metropolitan society since the structure of the latter shapes that of the former. The infrastructure of the 'dependent society' is shaped by the 'director society's' will. The resultant superstructure, therefore, reflects the inauthenticity of the infrastructure. Whereas, the metropolis can absorb its ideological crisis through mechanisms of economic power and a highly developed technology, the dependent structure is too weak to support the slightest popular manifestation. This accounts for the frequent rigidity of the dependent structure.
The dependent society is by definition a silent society. Its voice is not an authentic voice, but merely an echo of the voice of the metropolis - in every way, the metropolis speaks, the dependent society listens. The silence of the 'object society' in relation to the 'director society' is repeated in the relationships within the objet society itself. Its power elites, silent in the face of the metropolis, silence their own people in turn. Only when the people of a dependent society break out of the culture of silence and win their right to speak - only, that is, when radical structural changes transform the dependent society - can such a society as a whole cease to be silent towards the director society. (Paulo Freire)
On the other hand, if a group seizes power and begins to take nationalistic economic and cultural defense measures, its policies create a new contradiction, with one of the following consequences: "First, the new regime may exceed its own intentions and be obliged to break definitely with the 'culture of silence' both internally and externally. Or, secondly, fearing the ascension of the people, it may retrogress, and re-impose silence on the people. Thirdly, the government may sponsor a new type of populism.
Stimulated by the first nationalist measures, the submerged masses would have the illusion that they were participating in the transformation of their society, when, in fact they were being shrewdly manipulated.(Read my hubs of South Africa about this issue) And as this government pursues its political objectives,many of its actions in closed areas(and in this case, South Africa) society. Through these cracks, the masses will begin to emerge from their silence with increasingly demanding attitudes(as in the case of strikes in South Africa today).
Insofar as their demands are met, the masses will tend not only to increase their frequency, but also alter their nature. Such closed societies are characterized by a rigid hierarchical social structure by the lack of internal markets, since their economy is controlled from the outside by the exportation of raw materials am importation of manufactured goods 'without a voice in either process', by a precarious and selective educational system whose schools are an instrument of maintaining the status quo by high percentages of illiteracy and disease including the naively named tropical diseases" which are really 'diseases of underdevelopment and dependence'; by alarming rates of infant morality, by malnutrition, often with irreparable effects on mental faculties, by a low life expectancy, and by a high rate of crime. (Paulo Freire).
While the problem of humanization has always, from an axiological point of view, been humankind's central problem,it now takes on the character of an inescapable concern. Concern for humanization leads at once to the recognition of dehumanization, not only as an ontological possibility but as an historical reality. And as an individual perceives the extent of dehumanization, he or she may ask if humanization is a viable possibility. Within history in concrete, objective contexts, both humanization and dehumanization are possibilities for a person as an uncompleted being conscious of their incompletion.
But whole both humanization and dehumanization are real alternatives, only the first is the people's vocation. This vocation is constantly negated, yet it is affirmed by that very negation. It is thwarted by injustice, exploitation, oppression, and the violence of the oppressors; it is affirmed by the yearning of the oppressed fro freedom and justice and by their struggle to recover their lost humanity.(Paulo Freire)
Freire further add: "Dehumanization, which marks not only those whose humanity has been stolen, but also (though in a different way) those who have stolen it, it a distortion of the vocation of becoming more fully human. this distortion occurs within history, but it is not an historical vocation. Indeed, to admit of dehumanization as an historical vocation would lead either to cynicism or total despair. The struggle for humanization, for the emancipation of labor, for the overcoming of alienation, for the affirmation of men and women as persons would be meaningless.
This struggle is possible only because dehumanization, although a concrete historical fact,is not a given destiny but the result of an unjust order that engenders violence in the oppressors, which in turn dehumanizes the oppressed. Because it is a distortion of being more fully human, sooner or later being less human leads the oppressed to struggle against those who made them so. In order for this struggle to have meaning, the oppressed must not, in seeking to regain their humanity (which is a way to create it), become in turn oppressors of the oppressors, but rather restorers of the humanity of both." (Freire)
In the final analysis, Freire observes thus: "This, then, is he great humanistic and historical task of the oppressed: to liberate themselves and their oppressors as well. The oppressors who oppress, exploit, and rape by virtue of their power, cannot find in this power the strength to liberate either the oppressed or themselves. Only power that springs from the weakness o f the oppressed will be sufficiently strong to free both.
Any attempt to "soften" the power of the oppressor in deference to the weakness of the oppressed almost always manifests itself in the form of false generosity; indeed, the attempt never goes beyond this. In order to have the continued opportunity to express their "generosity," the oppressors must perpetuate injustice as well. an unjust social order is the permanent fount of this "generosity," which is nourished by death, despair, and poverty. That is why the dispensers of false generosity become desperate at the slightest threat its source."
In the end, Freire writes: "But almost always, during the initial stage of the struggle, the oppressed, instead of striving for liberation, tend themselves to become oppressors, oor "sub-oppressors." The very structure of their thought has been conditioned by the contradictions of the concrete, existential situation by which they were shaped. Their ideal is to be men; but for them, to be men is to be oppressors. This is their model of humanity. This phenomenon derives from the fact that the oppressed, at a certain moment of their existential experience, adopt an attitude of "adhesion" to the oppressor. Under these circumstances they cannot "consider" him sufficiently clearly to objectivize him - to discover him "outside" themselves.
This does not necessarily mean that the oppressed are unaware that they are downtrodden. But their perception of themselves as oppressed is impaired by their submersion in the reality of oppression. At this level, their perception of themselves as opposites of their oppressor does not signify engagement in a struggle to overcome the contradiction; the one pole aspires to liberation, but to identification with its opposite pole."
When a belligerent culture collided with a very humanistic one, then it in turn, turns it to being its exact copy, and those cultures that ooze out of this clash, tend to cary the burden of humanizing both the oppressor and [themselves] oppressed. The oppressor become a privileged class at the expense of the oppressed masses. We will now look into this issue of privilege below.
The Dominant Voices of White Privilege and Male Privilege
Since the take-over of the ANC-led government, the White people of south Africa have displayed a more shrill voice in pointing out the ineptitude of the ruling government and their failure to govern and deliver series. They have also complained vehemently about the corruption and the abuses of power displayed by the present ANC-led government. While most of the issues they are raising are true,it is important that we understand White people's opinionated and loud criticism for what they are.
These white people are a product of a system that made white skin and white male privilege a realities of life in South Africa, and other developed societies as we have discussed above about the Constitution of America that we will at this juncture interrogate the this phenomenon. Peggy McIntosh writes: I think whites are carefully taught not to recognize while privilege, as male are taught not to recognize male privilege.
I have come to see White privilege as an invisible package of unearned assets that I can count on casing in each day, but about which I was "meant" to remain oblivious. White privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, assurances, tool, maps, guides, codebooks, passports, visas, clothes, compass, emergency gear and blank checks." (McIntosh) A lot of Whites in south Africa arrogant abrogate this right and practice it with vengeance as if there are the parents of all Africans, whom they regard a s children
Peggy Continues: "There is a strong denial and reluctance by men in acknowledging male privilege. Only rarely will a man go beyond acknowledging that women are disadvantaged to acknowledging that men have unearned advantage, or that unearned privilege has not been good for men's development as human beings, or for society's development, or that privilege systems might ever be challenged and changed.
The denial of men's overprivileged state takes many forms in discussions of curriculum change work. Some claim that men must be central in the curriculum because they have done most of what is important or distinctive in. At the very least, obliviousness of one's privileged state can make a person or group irritating to be with. I began to count the ways in which I enjoyed unearned skin privilege and have been conditioned into oblivion about its existence, unable to see that it put me "ahead" in any way, or put my people 'ahead', overrewarding us and yet, also, paradoxically, damaging us, or that it could or should be changed." McIntosh)
Peggy McIntosh delves deeper into the privileged position of Whites: "My schooling gave me no training in seeing myself as an oppressor, as an unfairly advantaged person, or a s a participant in a damaged culture. I was taught to see myself as an individual whose moral state depends on her individual moral will. At school, we were not taught about slavery in any depth; we were not taught to see slaveholders as damaged people. Slaves were seen as the only group at risk of being dehumanized.
My schooling followed the pattern which Elizabeth Minnich has pointed out: 'Whites are taught to think of their lives as morally neutral, normative, and average, and also ideal, so that when we work to benefit others, this is seen as work that will allowing "them" to be more like "us". I will give here a list of special circumstances and conditions I experienced that I did not earn, but have been made to feel are mine by birth, by citizenship, and by virtue of being a conscientious law-abiding "normal" person of goodwill.
I have chosen those conditions that I think in my case attach somewhat more skin-color privilege than to class, religion, ethnic status, or geographical location, though these other privileging factors are intricately intertwined. As far as I can see, my Afro-American workers, friends, and acquaintances with whom I come into daily or frequent contact in this particular time, place, and line of work cannot count most of these conditions:
1. I can, if I wish, arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.
2. I can avoid spending time with people whom I was trained to mistrust and those who have learned to mistrust my kind or me.
3. If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in area which I can afford and in which I would want to live.
4. I can be reasonably sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me.(Recall "A Raisin in the Sun" movie)
5. I can shopping alone most of the time, fairly well assured that I will not be follwed or harassed by stor detectives.
6. I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the papers and see people of my race widely and postitively represented.
7. When I am told about our national heritage or about "civilization," I am shown that people of my colr made it what iti is.
8. I an be sure that my childn will be given curricular matrials that testify to the existence of their race.
9. If I want to, I can be pretty sure of finding a publisher for this piece on white privilege.
10. I can be causal about whether or not to listen to another woman's voice in a group in which she is the only member of her race.
11. I can go into a supermarket and find the staple foods that fit with my cultural foods, that fit with my cultural traditions, into a hairdresser's shop and find someone who can deal with my hair.
12. Whether I used checks, credit cards, or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work against the the appearance that I am financially reliable.
13. I could arrange to protect our young children most of the time from people who might not like them.
14. I did not have to educate our children to be aware of systemic racism for their own daily physical protection.
15. I can be pretty sure that my children's teachers and employers will tolerate them if they fit school and workplace norms; my chief worries about them do not oncern others' attitudes towards their race.
16. I can talk with my mouth full and not have people put this down to my color.
17. I can swear, or dress in second hand clothing, or not answer letters, without having people attribute these class/race(see Nietzsche below on morals) or race poverty, or the illiteracy of my race.
18. I can speak in public to a powerful male group without putting my race on trial.
19. I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race.
20. I am never asked to speak for all the people of my race.
21. I can remain oblivious to the language and customs of persons of color who constitute the world's majority without feeling in my culture any penalty for such.
22. I can criticize our government and talk about how much I fear its policies and behavior without being seen as a cultural outsider.
23. I can be reasonably sure that if I ask to talk to "the person in charge," I will be facing a person of my race.
24. If a traffic cop pulls me over or if the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven't been singled out because of my race.
25. I can easily buy posters,postcards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys, and children's magazines featuring people of my race.
26. I can go home from most meetings of organizations I belong to feeling somewhat tied in, rather than isolated, out of place, outnumbered, unheard, held a a distance,or feared.
27. I can be pretty sure that an argument with a colleague of another race is more likely to jeopardize her chances for advancement than to jeopardize mine.
28. I can be fairly sure that if I argue for the promotion of a person of another race, or a program centering on race, this is not likely to cost me heavily within my present setting, even if my colleagues disagree with me.
29. If I declare there is a racial issue at hand, or there isn't a racial issue at hand, my race will lend me more credibility for the position than a person of color will have.
30. I can choose to ignore developments in minority writing and minority activist programs,or disparage them, or learn from them, but in any case, I can find ways to be more or less protected from negative consequences of any of these choices.
31. My culture gives me little fear about ignoring the perspectives and powers of people of other races.
32. I am not made acutely aware that my shape, bearing, or body odor will be taken as a reflection on my race.
33. I can worry about racim without being seen as self-interested or self-seeking.
34. I can take a job with an affirmation action employer without having my co-workers on the job suspect that I got because of my race.
35. If my day, week, or year is going badly, I need not ask of each episode or situation whether it has racial overtones.
36. I can be pretty sure of finding people who would be willing to talk with me and advise me about my next steps, professionally.
37. I can think over many options, social, political, imaginative, or professional, without asking whether a person of my race would be accepted or allowed to do what I want to do.
38. I can be late to a meeting without having lateness reflect on my race.
39. I can choose public accommodation without fearing that people of my race cannot get in or will be mistreated in the places I have chosen.
40. I can be sure that if I need legal or medical help, my race will not work against me.
41. I can arrange my activities so that I will never have to experience feelings of rejection owing to my race.
42. If I have low credibility as a leader, I can be sure that my race is not the problem.
43. I can easily find academic courses and isntituitions that give attention only to people of my race.
44. I can expect figurative language and imagery in all of the arts to testify to experiences of my race.
45. I can choose blemish cover or bandages in "flesh" color and have them more or less match my skin. (Peggy McIntosh).
"For me. White privilege has turned out to be an elusive, and fugitive subject. The pressure to avoid it is great, for in facing it, I must give up the myth of 'meritocracy'. If these things are true, this is not such a free country; one's life is not what one makes it; many doors open for certain people through no virtue of their own. These perceptions means also that my moral(Read Nietzsche below) condition is not what I have been led to believe.
The appearance of being a good citizen rather than a troublemaker comes in large part from having all sorts of doors open automatically because of my color. In unpacking this invisible knapsack of white privilege, I have listed conditions of daily experience that I once took for granted, as neutral, normal, and universally available to everybody, just as I once thought of a male-focused curriculum a the neutral or accurate account that can speak for all, I no more believe. Nor did I think think of any of these prerequisites as bad for the holder."(McIntosh)"
"In this potpourri of examples, some privileges make me feel at home in the world. Others allow me to escape penalties or dangers that others suffer. Through some, I escape fear, anxiety, insult, injury, or a sense of not being welcome, not being real. Some keep me from having to hide, to be in disguise, to feel sick or crazy, to negotiate each transaction from the position of being an outsider or, within my group, a person who is suspected of having too close links with a dominant culture.
Most keep me from being having to be angry. I see a pattern through the matrix of White privilege, a pattern of assumption that were passed on to me as a White person. There was one main piece of cultural turf; it was my own turf, and I was among those who could control the turf. I could measure up to the cultural standards and take advantage of the many opinions, I saw around me to make what the culture would call a success of my life. My skin color was an asset for any move I was educated to want to make.
I could freely disparage, fear, neglect, or be oblivious to anything outside of the dominant cultural forms. Being of the main culture, I could criticize it freely. My life was reflected back to me frequently enough so that I felt, with regard to my race, if not to my sex, like one of the real people (McIntosh).
Whether through the curriculum or in the newspaper, the television, the economic system, or the general look of people in the streets, I received daily signals and indications that my people counted and that others either didn't exist or must be trying, not very successfully, to be like people of my race. I was given cultural permission no to hear voices of people of other races or a tepid cultural tolerance for hearing or acting on such voices(silent voices and cultures?).
I was also raised not to suffer seriously from anything that darker-skinned people might say about my group, "protected," though perhaps I should more accurately say prohibited, through the habits of my economic class and social group, from living in racially mixed groups or being reflective about interactions between people of differing races. In proportion as my racial group was being made confident, comfortable, and oblivious, other groups were likely being made unconfident, uncomfortable, and alienated. Whiteness protected me from many kinds of hostility, distress, and violence, which I was being subtly trained to visit in turn upon people of color. For this reason, the word "privilege" now seems to misleading, Its connotations are too positive to fit the conditions and behaviors which "privilege systems" produce.
We usually think of privilege as being a favored state, whether earned, or conferred by birth or luck. School graduates are reminded they are privileged and urged to use their (enviable) assets well. The word "privilege" carries the connotation of being something everyone must want. Yet some of the conditions I have described here work to systematically over empower certain groups, not others.
Such privilege simply confers dominance, gives permission to control, because of one's race or sex. The kind of privilegethat gives license to some people to be, at best, thoughtless, and, at worst, murderous should not continue to be referred to as a desirable attribute. Such "privilege" may be widely desired without being in any way beneficial to the whole society (McIntosh).
A general theme and pattern is emerging. I utilize all the different approaches to showing what cultural domination means and how this works for the dominant racial group. From development of underdevelopment by Andre Gunder Frank. to the metropolis and the third world countries by Paolo Freire, we are able to see that these patterns of repression, dominance and control, are made more clearer for us by Peggy McIntosh, who describe the life of privilege brought about by racial dominance with its cultural imperialism, and how this is affecting those who receive it.
This same attitude and behavior is what characterizes the relations of African and Whites in South Africa. And in the case of South Africa, they are not only affecting White people, as described by McIntosh, but they are followed up with repression,and in the latter days of ANC-led government, by oblivion to the Africans' life-styles, also criticizing, or dismissing Africans and their ideas, governance, and being blamed for the state of existence they find themselves in, 16 years of Apartheid rule; having been submerged into that existence and reality by the very Apartheid white privilege mind-set of the pre-ANC era
Why Study History
The study of history cannot be a mere celebration of these who struggled on our behalf. We must be instructed by history and should transform history into concrete reality, into planning and development,into the construction of power and the ability to ensure our survival as a people. So, let us make sure that we look and study history in a light such that it advances our interests, not inflate our egos and blinds us to reality. Cheik Anta Diop writes this about the Origins and History of the Black World:
"In all likelihood, present-day African peoples are in no way invaders come from another continent; they are the aborigines. Recent discoveries show Africa to be the cradle of humanity increasingly negate the hypothesis of this continent being peopled by outlanders. From the appearance of homo sapiens - from earliest prehistory until our time - we are able to trace our origins as a people without significant breaks in continuity. In early prehistory, a great South-North movement brought the African peoples of the Great Lakes region into the Nile Basin. They lived there in clusters for millennia.
It is important at this point to talk about what has made Africa underdeveloped. This will also help us understand what gave rise those entitlements that the dominant white race accorded themselves at the expense of Africans and other colonized people throughout the world. From the early pats of the fifteenth century to the end of the sixteenth century, when invaders from Europe and North Africa broke or encroached upon the autonomy of African States, till this day, (this also goes for the rest of Africa), Africa has lived in satellization to Europe and the Western world.
From the end of the sixteenth through the end of the nineteenth centuries, Africa suffered through a strange satellization that was not plain and obvious. Not having been conquered and occupied, it seemed quite autonomous, indistinguishable in this regard from the pre-seventeenth century Africa. But all appearances to the contrary, it had lost its autonomy and passed into economic satellization. As Dr. Clarke put it: 'Africa became the bread-basket of Europe; Europe wanted Africas' natural resources, which she was not prepared to pay for, and used force to acquire.'
The mechanisms of this satellization were such that Africa suffered the the devastating tornado of slaving, depopulation and social disintegration without receiving any benefit from its economic overlords in Europe. The fact of the situation was that though the African Kingdoms of the late sixteenth century had either repelled or absorbed their invaders from across the seas and desert, their military and political successes at resistance were to prove Pyrrhic.
The economic forces of a developing industrial capitalism, forces that would soon prove immensely stronger than the mercantilism of the Portuguese, stronger than the religious commitment adventurism of the Moroccans and Turks, would fasten the slave trade on Africa and so drag her off to ruin. Against this economic plunder and devastation, Africa had no defenses.
For the next two centuries, and well into the nineteenth century, her past shattered and cut off, Africa would be forced by the industrial capitalism of a predatory Europe through what must be seen as her Dark Ages. And just as in Europe's Dark Ages, the Graeco-Roman achievement had decayed and Europe was cut off from that legacy, even so would Africa of the slaving era be cut off from the legacy of her past and plunged into decline.
A continent pushed to the nadir of its history by European economic forces would endure great human, social and cultural hemorrhage, a hemorrhage from which it has yet to recover. With the spread of slaving in the seventeenth century, Africa's indigenous civilizing centers were eclipsed, her autonomy was lost, and she was dragged off into a satellization and subordination to Europe that she has never since managed to escape. But this human hemorrhage, though great, was by itself perhaps not the greatest price Africa paid. In the countryside of the spreading slaving belt, slaving wars and expeditions disrupted settled life for over two centuries.
They forced a ceaseless and damaging migration of peoples, settling here today,harried tomorrow, moving on the next day in a vin search for safety and security that were nowhere to be found. The spread of ruin that accompanied this chronic disorder as settlements were burned and abandoned to rain and termites, plunged Africa into into the terrible backwardness that bedevils her even today. Without people to tend them, farms and settlements were reclaimed by the tropical forests and deserts. With neither peace nor prosperity there was little energy left over for creative enterprises.
Agricultural production dropped; the economic arrangements that had supported towns and cities, that had fed them with the products of country-side, broke down and vanished. Famines came and stayed. With that, the towns thinned out and declined. Everywhere the level of culture declined in a maelstrom of social disorders. Everywhere traditional humane values, the security of life and person, the established relations of decent community, were endangered and undermined.
Under the excuses of necessity, moral decay spread. As slaving touched community after after community with its pressures, there was a debasement of legality. Customs lost their hold on men, and arbitrary laws an practices were instituted for the advantage of the slaving elites. Sale into slavery became punishment for more and more offenses, down to the trivial. Hallowed institution, religious as well as secular, were subverted.
With spreading insecurity, for individuals as well as communities, peace and tranquility vanished and learning declined as men's minds concentrated on elementary security. Es-Sadi tells us in Tarikh es-Sudan that amidst the disorders of the early seventeenth century:
"I saw the ruin of learning and its utter collapse ... and because the learning is rich in beauty and fertile in its teaching, since it tells men of their fatherland, their ancestors, their annals, the names of the heroes and what lives these led, I asked divine help and decided to record all that I myself could gather on the subject of the Songhay princes of the Sudan, their adventures,their history, their achievements and their wars.
Then I added the history of Timbuktu from the foundation of that city, of the princes who ruled there and the scholars and saints who lived there,and other things besides...." As learning declined,ignorance and fear became entrenched. The social pulverization brought about by slaving resulted in the minute fragmentation of African polities. The fact that it was external forces - the economic opportunities of slaving for overseas export that called Africa's slaving states into existence played as much a part in cutting them off from the legacies of the pre-slaving predecessors as the fact of the ruin and disintegration of those sixteenth-century states."
With the European triumph, Africa's reviving political, economic, military and cultural initiatives were extinguished. Economic satellization became total economic colonization - and without disguise. Under the economic dispensation, even the ancient trans-Saharan trade that had partially revived in the nineteenth century would finally be liquidated as everything was brought under direct European administration. In imposing their peace and order upon Africa, what our conquerors and colonizers from Europe did was:
1. to build colonial polities tributary to Europe upon the graves of our sovereign nineteenth-century politie;
2. to construct a new, but colonized, economy in our lands;
3. to foist a colonial version of the culture on us; and
4. to proclaim their superiority on the battlefield a superiority in every aspect of life, and therefore to inflict a sense of general inadequacy as well as an assortment of colonial complexes upon our psyches. All these have combined to produce a distortion in our self-image and a loss of our sense of dignity. That is why Africa has to reclaim and restore her history and sovereignty.
With the slaving holocaust, our political initiatives either succumbed to stupor or had been exercised in the building of ruin-spreading carrion-states. But it was not lost. Now, with conquest, it was trampled down. Political sovereignty was finally lost. In short, through this conquest, Africa was finally moved from a state of economic satellization to one of open and undisguised political, economic and cultural subordination.
The Clash of Cultures Post Colonial Disorders
If the postcolonial nation-state had become a shackle on progress, as more and more critics in Africa seem to agree by the end of the 1980(right up to 2010) the prime reason could appear in little doubt. The state was and is not liberating and protective neither protecting of and its citizens, no matter what its propaganda claimed: on the contrary, its gross effect was and is still constricting and exploitative, or else it failed to operate in any social sense at all. The miseries of malice and incompetence or greed could be blamed for "the prime failure of this government."
But they were not the cause; they were their effects. The cause was to be found elsewhere. It lay in the "failure of our rulers to re-establish vital inner links with the poor and dispossessed of their country." It was the failure of postcolonial communities to find and insist upon means of living together by strategies less primitive and destructive than rival kinship networks, whether of "ethnic" clientelism or is camouflaged in no less clientelist "multiparty systems."
Development strategies in Africa, with minor exceptions, have tended to be strategies by which the few use the many for their purposes. They are uncompromisingly top down. There is not, and never has been, popular participation in political and economic decision-making. Everything, on the contrary, is done "to prevent the expression of popular interest", and to endure acquiescence in policies which are hostile to the public interest.
"Seeing" Within and Into the future: Synergy
Changing old ways with new ways is not instantaneous and is a process that takes time. Whenever we interrogate the past in some order, some things have to be put into perspective. Some kind of narrative ought to be gleaned from all of the social ills, malaise and and their historicity to enable us to amble over the cultural misunderstandings that affect our present reality. What Peggy McIntosh says below is very enlightening and very important:
" I have met a few men who are truly distressed about systemic, unearned male advantage, unearned male advantage and conferred dominance. And so, one question for me and others like me is whether we will be like them, or whether we will get truly distressed, even outraged, about unearned race advantage and conferred dominance and if so, and if so what we will do to lessen them.
In any case, we need to do more work in identifying how they actually affect our daily lives. We need more down-to-earth writing by people about these taboo subjects. We need more understanding of the ways in which White "privilege" damages White people, for these are not the same ways in which it damages the victimized(Italics mine). Skewed White psyches are an inseparable part of the picture, though I do not wan't to confuse the kinds of damage done to the holders of special assets and to those who suffer the deficits.
Many, perhaps most, of our White students in the United States think that racism doesn't affect them because they are not people of color; they do not see "whiteness" as a racial identity. In addition, since race and sex are not the only advantaging systems at work, we need to similarly examine the daily experience of having age advantage, or ethic advantage, or physical ability, or advantage elated to nationality, religion or sexual orientation.
Professor Marnie Evans suggested to me that in may ways the list I made applies directly to heterosexual privilege. There is still more taboo subject than race privilege; the daily news in which heterosexual privilege makes some persons comfortable or powerful, providing supports, assets, approvals and rewards to those who live or expect to live in heterosexual pairs. Unpacking that content is still more difficult, owning to the deeper imbeddedness of heterosexual advantage, white privilege, dominance and stricter taboos surrounding these.
One factor seem clear about all the interlocking oppressions. They take both active forms that we can see and embedded forms that members of the dominant group are taught to see. The silences and denials surrounding privilege are the key political tool here. They keep the thinking about equality or equity incomplete, protecting unearned advantage and conferred dominance by making these taboo subjects.
Keeping most people unaware that freedom of confident action is there for just a mall number of people props up those in power and serves to keep power in the hands of the same groups that have it already. Though systemic changes takes many decades, there are pressing questions that really need to addressed and asked, and some tentative solution be proposed."(McIntosh).
These are the realities of living under dominance, whether it is in the Metropolis, or the "Third World". To be on the receiving end of these rights is what also needs to be highlighted within this piece. The brief history given above is to try to bring to bear the need for changing and debunking some of these social tools of control, taboos and dominance, and begin to formulate some new jargon; new ways of seeing; new and thinking millennium.
Some of these 'systemic' changes that take place over decades, have their origins in a society hat had practiced slavery, whether in the US or elsewhere the world. In order to address the problem of breaking he chains of slavery
In The Secret of the Ages, it is written: "It is not always the man who struggles hardest who gets on in the world. It is the direction as well as the energy of struggle that counts in making progress. To get ahead - you must swim with the tide. Men prosper and succeed who work in accord with the natural forces. A given amount of effort with these forces carries a man faster and farther than much more effort used against the current. Those who work blindly, regardless of these forces, make life difficult for themselves and rarely prosper."
Friedrich Nietzsche Enlightens Us With Some Teachable Moments:
"The moral sentiment in Europe today is as refined, old, diverse,irritable, and subtle, as the "science of morals" that accompanies it is still young, raw, clumsy, and butterfingered - an attractive contrast that occasionally even becomes visible and incarnate in the person of a moralist. Even the term "science of morals" is much too arrogant considering what it designates, and offends good taste - which always prefers more modest terms. ...
Just because our moral philosophers knew the facts of morality only very approximately in arbitrary extracts or in accidental epitomes - for example, as the morality of their environment, their class, their church, the spirit of their time and part of the world - just because they were poorly informed and not even very curious about different a people, times, and past age - they never laid eyes on the real problems of morality; for these emerge only when we compare many moralities. In all "science of morals" so far one thing was lacking, strange as it my sound: the problem of morality itself; what was lacking was any suspicion that there was something problematic here.
What the philosophers called a "rational foundation of morality" and tried to supply was, seen in the right light, merely a scholarly variation of the common faith in the prevalent morality; a new means of expression for this faith; and thus just another fact within a particular morality; indeed, in the last analysis a kind of denial that this morality might ever be considered problematic - certainly the very opposite of an examination, analysis, questioning, and vivisection of this very faith."
Nietzsche continues: "Even apart from the values of such claims "there is a categorical imperative in us," one can still always ask: what does such a claim tell us about the man who makes it? There are moralities which are meant to justify their creator before others. Other moralities are meant to calm him to be satisfied with himself. With yet others he wants to crucify himself and humiliate himself.
With others he wants to wreak revenge, with others conceal himself, with others transfigure himself and ; place himself way up, at a distance. This morality is used by its creator to forget, that one to have have others forget him or something about him. Some moralists want to vent their power and creative whims on humanity; some others,perhaps including Kant, suggest with their morality: "What deserves respect in me is that I can obey - and you ought not to be different from me." In short, moralities are also a sign of language of the affects."
In the end , Nietzsche informs us that: "Indeed, it would sound nicer if we were said, whispered, reputed(Nachsagte, nachraunte, nachruhmte: literary, "said after, whispered after, praised after us an extravagant honesty."), to be distinguished not by cruelty but by "extravagant honesty," we free, very free spirits - and perhaps that will actually be our - posthumous reputation(Nachruhm: literally, after fame).
Meanwhile - for there is plenty of time until then - we ourselves are probably least inclined to put on the garish finery of such moral word tinsels: our whole work so far makes us sick of this taste and its cheerful luxury. These are beautiful, glittering, jingling, festive words: honesty, love of the truth, love of wisdom, sacrifice for knowledge, heroism of the truthful - they have something that swells one's pride.
But we hermits and marmots have long persuaded ourselves in full secrecy of a hermit's conscience that this worthy verbal pomp, too, belongs to the old mendacious pomp, junk, and gold dust of unconscious human vanity, and that under such flattering colors and make-up as well, the basic text of homo natura must again be recognized."
Nietzsche concludes thus: "To translate man back to nature; to become master over many vain and overtly enthusiastic interpretations and connotations that have so far been scrawled and painted over that eternal basic text of homo natura; to see to it that man henceforth stands before man as even today, hardened in the discipline of science, he stands before the rest of nature, with intrepid Oedipus eyes and sealed Odysseus ears, deaf to the siren song of old metaphysical bird catchers who have been piping at him all too long, "up are more, you are higher, you are of a different origin!" - that may be a strange and insane task, but it is a task - who would deny that? Why did we choose this insane talk? Or putiing it differently: "Why have knowledge at all? Everyody will ask us that. And we,pressed in this way, we have put the same question to ourselves a hundred times, we have found in it no better answer-."
In the end, Frederich Nietzsche finally informs us: "Learning changes us; it does what all nourishment does which also does not merely "preserve" - as physiologists know. But at the bottom of us, really deep "down," there is, of course, something unteachable, some granite of spiritual fatum(fate), of predetermined selected questions. Whenever a cardinal problem is at stake, there speaks an unchangeable "this is I"; about man and woman, for example, a thinker cannot relearn but only finish learning - only discover ultimately how this is "settled in him."
At times we find certain solutions of problems that inspire strong faith in us; some call them henceforth their "convictions," Later - we see them only as steps to self-knowledge, sign-posts to the problem we are - rather, to the great stupidity we are, to our spiritual fatum, to what is unteachable very "deep down".
Colonialism Gained the Past and the Colonized lost The Future
This is so true when one begins to understand all what has been said in this Hub. It is important to learn from those who perceive goodness, evil and injustices, and having the gall to put it down for all to see. A lot of babble in the media and the viral-speak on the Net and in social networks is filled with half truths, lies, distortion and disinformation that is now becoming harder to sift the chaff from the wheat.
Whenever history is put into some perspective, there is bound to be a huge paradigm shift, and the jargon of these effects and affects become new an alien, and some subjects are taboo and only the feel good false grid become acceptable, and yet unsustainable. The social relation of domination and dominated assured the conquerers of a bountiful past and a poverty-stricken future for the Africans and other colonized people of the world.
As we live in the future whose past is littered with wars, ruin, slavery and cultural, customary dismemberment of the indigenous way of life and economical self-sustenance and freedom, and keep on hearing denials of the past historical events taken over through the use of the Gatlin gun, pistols, capture murder and destruction; gun-boat diplomacy and so forth, was Nietsche right when he asked if their was any need for education/enlightenment?
That, again, spiritually and intellectually changing or forcing people to change was the doings of a culture whose insight, was focused on accumulation of wealth? It is also true that the persistence of past memes poisons the future disabling it in its trying to form the future. The new ways of seeing thinking and acting is still out of sight because hardened beliefs still persist and opportunistically perpetuating the present and trying to influence the future, more so.
This issues can be gleaned whenever we look a little closer at the interactions between the dominating and the dominated, or the metropolis and the Third World, or those with unearned privilege and those of the silent cultures. Amos Wilson says: "There are a number of means by which we see to resolve certain contradictions in our lives. We may excuse them by saying that the circumstances which determined our lives, particularly the failures in our lives, are beyond our control.
That it is other peoples who are totally responsible for the situation we are in, and therefore we have no control over. While this is to a degree true, it also can lead to the possibility that the individual becomes apathetic; gives up and resigns from life, give up trying and begin to believe that he or she is powerless. Unfortunately, the resignation and the apathy of too many people are part of the means by which the system maintains itself.
The fear of trusting and uniting with each other, the fear of coming together and solving our problems together, the belief that it is just no in us to unite and solve our problems and overcome dominance of European imperialism itself becomes a part of the problem and helps to maintain the system. Others try to deal with the discrepancy between what the system says they can achieve and our failure to achieve lowering their personal aspirations, by, in a sense, fitting into a lesser place that the society reserves for them. Others try to inflate their achievements to inflate their personalities."
Wilson continues: "We see many of us along the highways and byways being very boastful, being very egocentric, bragging a great deal, pumping ourselves up, pumping even small achievements up into giant achievements. we see it even infecting the Black Nationalist community that buries itself in the great history of Egypt and the great empires of Africa. Yes I am speaking of the kind of historicism that has developed in this community as a means of not confronting reality!
Of people who live their lives in history, and dig among the pyramids of Egypt, and dig among the lost kingdoms of Mali and Songhai, and who built themselves false pride, and pum themselves up aabout the achievements of our history - withouth facing the perils of the current reality and preparing themselves for the future."
But self hatred is not only an individual reaction. It becomes part of a social system, because the individual who hates himself hates other people who remind him of himself. And therefore, when he looks out at his sisters and brothers he also looks at himself; and if he questions the adequacy and competence of himself, he questions the adequacy and competence of his sisters and brothers.
So then, the experience of failure and the experience of not achieving in society not only becomes an individual experience; it becomes a social experience(Recall McIntosh), and a social disease. therefore, the philosophy and the ideology of individualism is not an ideology that attacks the individual: It is an ideology that attacks the whole of a community:It is a part of a community ideology designed to maintain the dominance of one community over another; to maintain the dominance of the Eurocentric community over the African community."
Wilson concludes thus: "The individual who accepts the ideology of individualism, and sees his failure to achieve as the result of some deficiency in his personality, and thinks that opportunities exist and that if he merely had the right personality he could make the best of these opportunities, when the achievement does not occur, is faced with a major contradiction. He is faced with what we call a sense of cognitive dissonance. That certain things do not jibe. Dissonance, contradictions and conflicts are painful and are hard to bear. They make life discomforting, and hence motivate the individual to seek to resolve the contradictions - to try and remove these contradictions and put them out of existence."
Third World Peoples, Look Into The Mirror: What Do You See?
Kwame Nrumah said: "A state in the grip of neo-colonialism is not master of its own destiny." And to this, Julius Nyerere admonished: "What we have in common is that we are all, in relation to the developed world, dependent - not interdependent - nations. Each of our economies has developed as a by-product and a subsidiary of development in the industrialized North, and is externally orientated.
We are not prime movers in our destiny. We are ashamed to admit it. But economically we are dependencies - semi-colonies at best - not sovereign states." Finally Samora Machel put it this way: "The truth is that we understand fully what we do not want: oppression, exploitation, humiliation. But as to what we do want and how to get it, our ideas are necessarily still vague. They are born of practice, corrected by practice. ... We undoubtedly will run into setbacks. but it is from these setbacks that we will learn."
Eurocentric history is used to motivate forgetting int the African Personality, to create amnesia, to maintain repression. Many of us, as individuals, seek to forget our history and do no want to confront our history because of anxiety, the anger, the fear, the same, the guilt we feel when we read bout some aspects of the African experience, and hence will often stay away from it. We think we have escaped its effects thereby.
We can hear some of our uninformed children say, "well, that was back there 100 years ago; that ain't got nothing to do with me today." The Black child at this very moment is still affected and suffering from the slave and colonial experiences, whether he or she nows it or not. In fact, As Russel Jacoby says in his book, Social Amnesia: "Exactly because the past is forgotten,it rules unchallenged. To be transcended it must first be remembered. Social amnesia is society's repression of remembrance."
Wilson adds: "Simply because we choose to forget a traumatic event, simply because we choose not to learn of a traumatic a traumatic history and a history that make us feel ashamed, does not mean that that history is not controlling our behavior. Simply because we don't know our history, and have not heard of it, does not mean. ... Amnesia is a state where a person seeks unconsciously to forget aspects of his/her past life because apparently those aspects are painful and, therefore, the individual seeks to rid himself of anxieties and fears connected with them.
Consequently, by ridding himself of his conscious remembrance of painful experiences he seeks to rid himself anxieties and fears connected with them. He may then succeed in forgetting those experiences completely, to the point where he cannot recall them, but his does not mean that those experiences do not continue to operate within his personality"
"History is real;" continues Wilson, "it brings real tangible results;. When we wish to negate it and not integrate it, when we wish to negate it and not affirm it, then it negates us in the end. The negation wins out. The African person who lives in social amnesia brought on by the projection of mythological Eurocentric history, lives a life that is unintegrated and misunderstood. ... Often, other people can understand us better than we can understand ourselves.
Frequently they have a greater knowledge of the history that made us into who we are than we do. If we do not know our history, or if we've made our history unconscious and therefore place it out of awareness, that unconscious history becomes a source of our unconscious motivation, then why we behave the way we do becomes a puzzle. We're confused by our own behavior. If we want to know why we behave the way we do then, we must know our history: the unconscious must be made conscious."
Finally Wilson concludes: "When we get into social amnesia - into forgetting our history - we also forget or misinterpret the history and motives of others as well as our own motives.
Teachable Moments: Restoring Historical Awareness and Humanity
"I have often asked my students: "Who has control of your food? Who has control of your electricity? Who has control of your water? Of your jobs? Who tells you what to wear when you go to work? Who tells you when to come to work.... when to leave... when to go to lunch ... how to speak ... how to write ... who to do this ... how to do that .. and how are these things taught, and how are they conditioned - It is by reward and punishment. 'You do this you get paid; and you don't do this you don't get paid; you get a raise, you get docked." What do we have here?
We see the same basic situation and the same basic principles for conditioning rats ate now transferred to life and reality itself(Recall the Skinnerian Rat Experiment). Therefore, to live in the "ghetto" under the power of another people is to be created by that people; to be rewarded or punished by that people is to be created by that people. What would happen if these "ghettos" we live in today are surrounded by a force that blocks food and the water, cuts off the electricity and other things? What kind of situation would we be in? We are living under them as the result of the exercise of the power of another people over us.
Therefore, if we wish to change this situation, (i.e., the conditions under which we live), then we must change the power relationships. If we are to prevent ourselves from being created by another people and are to engage in the act of self-creation, then we must change the power relations."(Wilson)
"Hence, we will have to look at our situation politically, socially and economically. So, when history is projected as irrelevant, as unprofitable, as a system of dates and events, as a system of rarified causes and effects,it is projected that way, I think, because it helps to maintain the political and social status quo, and because it serves serves a politcoeconomic function.
People who are ahistorical, who have little knowledge of history, are people who are more gullible, more easily manipulated and people who can be more easily adapted to the capitalist machine than people who are historically knowledgeable. History can become a basis for self-criticism, a basis for self understanding, and more importantly, the basis for the understanding of the motives and the psychology of others.
When history is not taught appropriately we are left to just follow orders, and to just trudge to our work, our jobs, without knowing the reasons why. Yet trudging to our jobs has not secured our futures at all. We must recognize that merely to work, merely studying computer science, merely going to the office , is not enough. We are going to have to understand that the psychology of the people who run this world. We must recognize that history is at the very center of life." (Wilson).
The Oppressors and the The Oppressed
Freire did not write just for the sake of writing, and he did not become an educator just to be the educator of the people, but rather to be an educator-writer who wanted to provide men and women with epistemological instruments so that they could transforming and reinventing their societies, assert themselves as the subjects of their own histories, conscious, engaged, and happy. (Ana Maria Araujo and Donaldo Macedo).
However, the oppressed, who have adapted to the structure of domination in which they are immersed , and have become resigned to it, are inhibited from waging the struggle for freedom so long as they feel incapable of running the risks it requires. Moreover, their struggle for freedom threatens not only the oppressor, but also their own oppressed comrades who are fearful of still greater repression.
When they discover within themselves the yearning to be free, they perceive that this yearning can be transformed into reality only when the same yearning is aroused in their comrades. But while dominated by the fear of freedom they refuse to appeal to others, or to listen to the appeals of others, or even to the appeals of their own conscience. They prefer the security of conformity with their state of unfreedom to the creative communion produced by freedom and even the pursuit of freedom (Paulo Freire)
Freire makes us much more clearer about the issues and reactions of the oppressed when he writes: "The oppressed suffer from the duality which has established itself in their innermost being. They discover that without freedom the cannot exist authentically. Yet, although they desire authentic existence, they fear it. The are at one and the same time themselves and the oppressor whose consciousness they have internalized.
The conflict lies in the choice between being wholly themselves or being divided, between ejecting the oppressor within or not ejecting them; between acting or having the illusion of acting through the action of the oppressors; between speaking out or being silent, castrated in their power to create and re-create, in their power to transform the world. This is the tragic dilemma of the oppressed which their education must take into account." In the case of Africans and other oppressed majorities, it is important for them to know, understand and study, if not apply their history and its lessons in trying to overcome part of the oppression. As Wilson stated above: "We must recognize that history is at the very center of life."
Up to this day, there is some type or form of social divisions which continue to pit the affluent against the poverty-stricken masses. Societies which are laden with capitalist ideology and means of production get away by pretend. As for those who have privileges doled out by the system of domination, continue to hide the fact that they are privileged and have had an unfair head-start.
The countries that have been dominated since the 15th century continue to be the poorest nations on earth and those that gained from the exploitation of the Third World, continue to be the metropolis and the one that wield world power. If the poor peoples children could be taught their histories in school and in the societies, they could be put in a position to debunk and deconstruct the lies that are continuously being perpetrated against the poor lot, and help the ahistorical to grasp history so as to control their futures. Looking in the mirror, as pointed out above, means that the mirror in this case is the history of the dominated and their study of it. This will enable them to overcome one of the many aspects of underdevelopment and move from being a silent culture and dominated people.
We must know and make history and it cannot be a mere celebration of those who struggled on our behalf. We must be instructed by history and should transform history into concrete reality, into planning and development, into construction of power and the ability to ensure our survival a people. If we are not studying history`in a way that it is a threat to the Imperial powers, then we are studying it incorrectly.
We must study history in a light such that it advances our interests,not inflates our egos and blinds us to reality. There is a struggle presently of attacking what is called ethnic studies as being some of the top metropolis countries. We should pay attention to the reason as to why the conquerors rewrote history. They did so because there is a direct relationship between history and money, a direct relationship between history and power, history and rulership, history and domination.
Apparently the rewriting and the distortion and the stealing of the oppressed people's history, is that it must have served the vital economic, political and social functions for the Europeans and other Imperialists, or else they would not bother, even to date, to try so hard to keep African and other oppressed peoples histories away fro the downtrodden, and to work hard to distort it in the oppressed minds. Africans and the dominated people all over the world must understand the tremendous value of the study of history for the re-gaining of power.
If the education of the oppressed is not about gaining real power, they are being miseducated and misled they will therefore perish "educated and misled"; and Africans and the rest of the dominated have to remember that there is a direct correlation and connection history and economics. All the past wars of domination in the past, all the clashes of cultures in Africa and elsewhere, were between the interests of the dominators and the gaining of natural resources of the dominated.
Through use of their European historiography, this meant that its function was to maintain repression. That is why truthful African History is not only to be seen only as a correction of the imperialists' history, but as a direct attack against his ego, status and position in the World. Tha's why African centered history is reacted to with such great anxiety. That is why almost anything African is reacted to with alarm. Anyway it is through Africanness that African freedom can be attained as a whole people, and European domination brought to an end.
In the final analysis, history is a time dimension. History structures time. In this case, then culture is not only about behavior, dress and so forth, but that all cultures have a time dimension related to them. If Africans do not write about their history, they are then letting other people write history put that history within an arbitrary division of time - they thus end up defining Africans and others of the dominated world within that division of their own set time-line, and trying to pretend that they do not exist nor acknowledge their humanity.
Paulo Freire informs us thus:"Violence is initiated by those who oppress, who exploit, who fail to recognize others as persons-not by those who are oppressed, exploited and unrecognized. It is not the unloved who initiate disaffection, but those who cannot love because they love only themselves. It is not the helpless, subject to terror, who initiate the terror, but the violent, who with their power create the concrete situation which begets the "rejects of life." It is not the tyrannized who initiate despotism, but the tyrants. It is not the despised who initiate hatred, but those who despise.
It is not those whose humanity is denied them who negate humankind, but those who denied that humanity(thus negating their own as well). Force is used not by those who have become weak under the preponderance of the strong, but the strong who have emasculated them. For the oppressors, however, it always the oppressed (whom they obviously never call "the oppressed" but-depending on whether they are fellow countrymen or not-"these people" or "the blind and envious masses" or "savages" or "natives" or "subversives") who are disaffected, who are "violent," "barbaric." "wicked," or "ferocious" when the react to the violence of the oppressors. ...
Whereas the violence of the oppressors prevents the oppressed from being fully human, the response of the latter to this violence is grounded in the desire to pursue right to be human. As the oppressors dehumanize others and violate their rights, they themselves also become dehumanized. As the oppressed, fighting to be human, take away the oppressors' power to dominate and suppress, they restore to the oppressors the humanity they had lost in the exercise of oppression."
If you have to oppress someone, you will need to stay down there with them; applying all one's energies to dehumanize others means therefore that one looses their own humanity, too, in the process of denying others their. The Imperialist or oppressors may have gained affluence, power and control,this only means that Africans need to reclaim their history, lands and natural resources, and their sovereignty, humanity and dignity, and restore not only their humanity and that of their oppressor while liberating themselves.
It is important at this juncture to look at the contemporary Clash of cultures and human rights in South Africa, in brief as researched and presented/written by John Cantius Mubangizi.
"South Africa is infamous for its history of disenfranchising most of its population under the dehumanizing policy of apartheid. A country of almost 50 million people, South Africa has a diverse array of languages, races, religions and ethnic communities, and has faced significant challenges - political, cultural and socio-economic - since the advent of democracy in 1994. The writers of the 1996 Constitution faced the unenviable task of accommodating the diverse viewpoints that inevitably derived from South Africa‟s fractured history and society.
The Constitution is one of the most progressive in the world, and notably includes a Bill of Rights, which in addition to including civil and political rights typically protected by international human rights instruments, includes protection of socio-economic and cultural rights. Cultural rights are protected in Sections 30 and 31 of the Constitution, although such protection is not without limitation.
This highly complex interplay and “competition” between human rights and culture is the golden thread that traces through the paper, which focuses on several cultural practices and traditions which, it is suggested, violate certain human rights norms in South Africa. These practices and traditions, all of which relate to women, are reviewed – together with the sections of the South African Constitution that they are considered to violate. Using the example of curbing the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) in other African countries through the NGO Tostan, it is emphasized that the law is only one component of a multidisciplinary approach, and that civil society, government and other role-players are all needed to change perceptions and attitudes.
In conclusion, general recommendations are made about reducing the conflict between culture and human rights in South Africa. These include the use of human rights education, human rights advocacy on gender issues, legislative measures, and developing customary law to ensure compatibility with the South African Constitution.
South Africa is a country of many cultures. Its multicultural nature is reflected in its array of languages, races, religions and ethnic communities. The country has a population of about 49 million people, 79.5 per cent of whom are Black, 9.2 per cent White, 8.8 per cent of mixed race , and 2.5 per cent being of Indian/Asian descent.
The Black population comprises numerous ethnic groupings, the most populous being the Zulu and Xhosa in the eastern provinces of KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape, respectively. In terms of language, there are eleven constitutionally recognized official languages, which are mainly spoken by and along the various ethnic groupings. It is important to note, that as with language, cultures are specific to individual groupings, and hence the extensive cultural diversity in South Africa.
“Culture” has been defined in various ways. A modern definition of the concept however, is provided by the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary as “the integrated pattern of human knowledge, beliefs, and behavior that depends upon man‟s capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations.”
According to this definition, “culture” includes “the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group.”4 Simplistically speaking then - in the South African context and as defined in this paper - culture could be said to mean a way of acting, thinking and doing things, that is unique to a particular group of people.
The South African Constitution (1996) is regarded as one of the most progressive in the world, and contains a Bill of Rights providing for all categories of human rights, that are ordinarily included in most international human rights instruments. The uniqueness of the South African Bill of Rights, however, is the ambitious inclusion of the controversial socio-economic and cultural rights - in addition to the traditional civil and political rights.
The inclusion of socio-economic rights should be seen in the context of South African history - a history characterized by gross human rights violations, denial of access to social goods and services to most citizens, and lack of access to economic means and resources by these people. The inclusion of cultural rights has its origins in the fractured history of South African society, in which the cultures and cultural diversity of the majority were, for centuries, disparaged and ignored - first under colonialism, and then under apartheid from 1948 to 1994 (Grant, 2006:).
This paper briefly reviews several cultural practices and traditions - circumcision/female genital mutilation (FGM), virginity testing, marriage by abduction, bride price, polygamy and primogeniture - that might clash with certain human rights norms in South Africa. Much has been said about these practices in the African literature, but not in the South African constitutional context, and it is here that the value and contribution of this paper lies.
The practices are generally rooted in a culture of discrimination against women, and as violations of human rights they function as instruments for socializing women into prescribed gender roles in South African society, and socializing men into a particular facet of masculinity vis-à-vis these practices – which in turn promotes their perpetuation. The cultural practices concerned are also linked to the unequal position of women in political, social, and economic structures of the society where they are practiced, and represent a particular society‟s control over women (WHO, 2008).
The paper concludes by suggesting how the clash between culture and human rights in the South African context, could be minimized. In this regard, the paper reviews, with particular reference to FGM, the experience and lessons learned in some African countries - especially the work of the NGO Tostan in West Africa - which South Africa might heed. It is clear that legislation is just part of the holistic solution - which lies in
education, consultation, empowerment and encouraging positive deviance from particular cultural practices by both genders.
The constitutional context
The 1996 South African Constitution - adopted after the advent of democracy in 1994 - was crafted to accommodate a wide variety of views, ranging from political to social and economic, from cultural to religious and linguistic, and from ideological to practical and pragmatic. Cultural rights are protected in sections 30 and 31. Section 30 provides for an individual right to culture and language, while section 31 (which provides for rights of cultural, religious and linguistic communities), introduces a collective dimension and emphasizes the idea of belonging to a community - which underpins the whole concept of culture. This is because cultural rights “are by their nature group oriented since individuals share their culture with other persons constituting a group or community” (Devenish, 1998: 422).
The protection of cultural rights in sections 30 and 31 is given further impetus by section 185 of the Constitution, which provides for the creation of a Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities. It is also recognized by section 211(3), which provides for the application of customary law by the courts, “subject to the Constitution and any legislation that specifically deals with customary law.” This is because, it has been argued, the right to culture implies the right to recognition and application of customary law (Grant, 2006: ).
The cultural rights in Sections 30 and 31 are not unlimited. They have to be exercised in a manner that is not inconsistent with any provision of the Bill of Rights. The subjection of these rights to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights was a subject of bitter contestation during the negotiations that led to the 1993 Interim Constitution, and was again reflected in the process of ratification of the 1996 Constitution - through lobbying by traditional leaders to have culture excluded from the reach of the Bill of Rights (Grant, 2006: ).
Needless to say, this lobbying and in particular the attempt to exempt culture and customary law from the requirements of the right to equality enshrined in Section 9 of the 1996 Constitution, was fiercely resisted by women‟s groups. As is now clear from the Bill of Rights, support for the requirements of the right to equality over culture and customary law, carried the day. Therefore, any attempts to undermine the fundamental right to equality under the guise of cultural rights, can only be seen as a contradiction and violation of the constitutional position on that right.
Further limitations to the cultural rights in sections 30 and 31 of the Constitution are imposed by Section 36. This general limitation clause permits limitations that are “reasonable and justifiable in an open and democratic society, based on human dignity, equality and freedom.” It is in the context of this limitation clause and the limitations built into Sections 30 and 31, that the clash between culture and human rights must be seen.
Polygamy is another age-old custom that is not unique to South Africa or to the African continent. It is a practice that takes place in many parts of the world, and it extends beyond the realm of culture into religion and family law. Just like lobola, polygamy is hotly debated and contested, with proponents arguing that there is nothing wrong with it and that those who reject it do so merely on the basis of their western and Christian mindsets that disregard other traditional and religious thinking. Others have defended polygamy on the ground that those who enter into polygamous marriages choose to do so freely and consensually. However, those opposed to polygamy, argue that it is “often fraught with difficulty within the family circle not only amid the wives, but between the wives and the husband” (Mswela, 2009: 4). They point to the potential for infidelity, the high risk of contracting and spreading HIV/AIDS, and the complications surrounding issues of inheritance after the death of a polygamous husband.
From a human rights perspective, polygamy impacts directly and indirectly on the fundamental rights of women. The right to equality immediately springs to mind. Despite one commentator‟s argument that “as far as polygamy is concerned, it is hard to identify in what way it is incompatible with notions of human rights” (Murray, 1994: 37, 38), it is submitted that polygamy is actually in direct conflict with the notions of equality between men and women. It could also be argued that the potential for differential treatment of the
wives in a polygamous marriage is so real, as to result in unfair discrimination. Moreover, the fact that polygamy is only practiced by men marrying several wives and not vice versa, could be interpreted as discriminatory to men.
The right to dignity is another right that risks violation by the practice of polygamy. In this regard, Section 8(d) of the Promotion of Equality and the Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act is significant. It provides for the prohibition of unfair discrimination on the grounds of gender, “including any practice which impairs the dignity of women and undermines equality between men and women.” It is submitted that polygamy does just that. In fact, the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations has categorically pronounced on this, by stating that:
“It should also be noted that equality of treatment with regard to the right to marry implies that polygamy is incompatible with this principle [the right of women to marry only when they have given free and full consent]. Polygamy violates the dignity of women. It is an inadmissible discrimination against women. Consequently, it should be definitely abolished wherever it continues to exist.”
It must be acknowledged that South African law recognizes polygamy and lobola through the Recognition of Customary Marriages Act. The Act regulates customary marriages, and by implication, polygamy, and makes the payment of lobola one of the requirements of a valid customary marriage. It is submitted, however, that this legal recognition of polygamy and payment of lobola does not remove the violation of the rights to equality and dignity. In this regard, in the case of Bhe v Magistrate Khayelitsha, Langa D. C. J. noted that:
“The rights to equality and dignity are the most valuable rights in an open and democratic state. They assume special importance in South Africa because of our past history of inequality and hurtful discrimination on grounds that include race and gender.”
The importance of the rights to equality and human dignity cannot be over- emphasized. They are not only enshrined in sections 9 and 10 of the Constitution, but they are also mentioned among the values upon which the Republic of South Africa is founded as a sovereign democratic state. Moreover, they are also mentioned several other times in various sections of the Bill of Rights. In view of the overriding importance of these rights in the Constitution, therefore, it can be argued that in the inevitable clash between culture and the rights to equality and dignity, the rights must necessarily take priority."
Deconstruction of Falsified Analysis of The Clash of Cultures
As a scholar of African History and African Culture, traditions, customs, practices, rites and orality of South Africa, I have a lot of problems with the analysis above for it comes from a western persepctive. I come from an African centered perspective in my negating and elaborating upon those features of African "Culture" that need to be put into their proper context.
It is also important to begin to talk about African culture and what it was designed to be, do, and function-like. One cannot analyze this culture of Africans from the total exclusion of what the authentic culture is all about. One cannot attack or try to debase the culture of Africans pretending that some of its virtues, aspects and make has in it its manifestation become a violation of Human Rights.
Also, ignorance of contemporary cultures and what it had to undergo to be what we see it to be today in of itself is ahistorical and very weak. Looking at Africans of South Africa today, and deducing from their way of presently trying to cling to their culture as in of itself a violation of women's rights and human rights, reeks of biased Western notion of what a culture is and is all about.
Before we can even talk about the Constitution of South Africa of the present-day ruled by the ANC, we had better put into context as to what is African culture and also, what it is all about, in the first place. What is the History, Cultures, Customs, Traditions and their Practice, Sacred Rites and Practices, languages, musics, dances and respect of the rights of others embedded in the concept of "Ubuntu/Botho". One can read all about this this facets and aspects of African History, Cultures, Customs, etc, from the the following Hubs I have written on this subject.
- "Restoration Of African South African Historical Consciousness: Culture, Customs, Traditions and Practices"
- "South African Culture, Customs, Practices rit Large: Re-Morphed Cultural Renaissance Against Dysfunctional Existence"
- "History, Culture, CuStoms, Traditions and Practices of the Africans of South Africa: Deconstructing Historical Historical Amnesia"
I have also written several Hubs on the effects and affects of music, dance and traditional dresses of Africans of south africa. This is also been made much more clear about the articles I have written about Apartheid in south Africa and how it transformed the Africans and their African to b e what most people who are Johnny-come-laelies into the Historical and cultural scene of South Africa.
Some people just jump onto the bandwagon and begin to write about Africans of South Africa and their culture without having an inkling nor knowledge, neither have lived extensively amongst the ir different, and they in turn are regarded as authorities on the matters of African south African culture, without their really having any grasp nor understanding of this African Culture of south Africa in particular, and specifically.
I have not given enough space to issue a direct critique and total rejection of Prof. Mubangizi's legal efforts at trying to deconstruct African South African culture, which is truly unique to South Africa, and it is, in other ways, generally practiced throughout Africa. What I think the erstwhile Prof. does not Understand is the practice of "Ubuntu/Botho" by the Africans of south, which in reality is a practice in Human rights, and yet, he has not really understood nor grasped the role of this one concept, amongst the many, that guaranteed the rights of Humanity because these concepts recognize the humanity of others-thus "Ubuntu/Botho".
Before one can talk about the constitution and is sub sections to whit, one would be better advised to begin to study African History, Culture, Customs, form an African centered standpoint and African centered perspectives. If then, we are going to address the "Clash Of Cultures"(Foreign Cultures) with African Cultures, and in this instance, African south african History, cultures, customs, etc, then it will be better to understand African Culture prior to the coming of the Europeans, and the cultures, history, customs, traditions, etc., of Africans as they had practiced them, and the retensions that have been made thus far. Not to know the culture of Africans, and then using the constitution of Africans of South African today to rail against this culture etc., is to falsify and create more confusion to the students and the the whole collective of Africans in South Africa. This, some of us will challenge, and in time, I will beak down the whole article or book as it has been presented to us by the 'venerable' Prof. as cited above.
Africans of Africa
In The Face Of Cultural Wars Facing Africans, African People Need To know Their Cultures Better
Now, we need to look much more in-depth in this part of the Hub into the Cultural Wars that have been the bane of history over the Millennium of the History of African people. Before I delve into the subject of Cultural Wars against Africans, I would like to cite something that Asa Hilliard said:
"Many Africans have never made the choice to disappear, and to be merely "mainstream," and never will. For these Africans who are not alienated from family and traditions, it is time to restore our structures for sicialization. It is time to mobilize and to rescue our people, before they are lost in utter and irreversible identity confusion. We may not always understand that the consequences of that identity confusion are economic, political, social, esthetic and spiritual. It is to these Africans that this brief commentary is directed.
"Truly, there is no valid way for Africans to be, to exist, as an ethnic family, in ignorance of our own traditions. We simply must not be ignorant of our own traditions. We simply must not be ignorant of our own heritage. The cost is too high. We have a basic decision to make, "To be African or not to be." Is there an ethnic family, or is there only a share phenotype? If it is the latter, then there really is nothing left for us to do. We then exist only as individuals who "just happen to be Black."
"On the Other hand, if we choose family, then we have immediate and essential work to do. Our unity and solidarity is based on our shared culture, not merely on our pigment and hair texture, or other aspects of our phenotype. Otherwise we are playing ping-pong while others are playing hardball.
"Our traditions have made a profound impact on world civilization. they still do. but today, we must reclaim these traditions, and where appropriate, utilize them to help us to address the many issues that plague our communities today.
"We continue to live in dangerous and treacherous times. The same propaganda and calculated manipulation of information about Africans that has existed since the start of Maafa is prevalent today. Mass media send messages to us and about us that are beyond our control. Schools have little to nothing to engage our students in African cultural traditions or in support of African communities.
"Our communities rarely acknowledges our traditions and they fail to create adequate structures to guarantee "Intergenerational Cultural Transmission" We are culturally lazy and our ancestors are not pleased. History will not be kind to those who forget. shame, disintegration and dependency on others, or worse, will be the outcome.
"This is not a rhetorical matter. It is not a "feel good matter." It is a matter that is real, deep, and relevant. It is a matter of life and death.It is worthy of serious study by Africans. We can choose a path of self-determination - "To be African or not to be?" There are no voices that see our welfare as their high priority. Our own voice must be one.
"While I am addressing a general audience, it is my highest hope that serious researchers will make a careful review of the references and selected bibliography. special attention should be paid to those that point to documentation and descriptions informing us about our traditions. I am hopeful that these references will tease, enlighten, and heighten the interest of researchers so that they may be motivated to do the hard work of digging up greater details to illuminate traditional African aims, methods, contents, and outcomes.
"Time is of the essence as many of our living human sources are dying. Much of the information that we need is in "fugitive sources," like literature, film, tape recording, photographs, artifacts, and architectural, structures, carvings, paintings, music, games, symbols and more. In other words, in order for us to develop and maintain a robust understanding of our cultural wealth, we have a great deal of study to do. there is a virtual treasure trove to be uncovered. There is no time to waste in tapping our African Power."
Asa is right and this is very important, our living sources are dying off, and we need to do more than we are doing at this time and age.Most of us are lazy, as he said, and many of us are looking for short-cuts and stealing work without having to work or put in an effort ourselves into it. Most of us, especially the so-called African Intelligentsia, is content with quoting bits and small pieces of information without going into detail, like creating a synergy of what they have learn in order to advance the already created works of master teachers/composers, artists and writes. some of us just cite books to show-off without reading the material. We are just a very poor shadow of our great writers and historians. We do not read, nor research neither write and advance our available material. This is a travesty and we will soon be paying a price for this lack and slothful approach or our history and culture.
So, What to be done? Asa give us a hint:
Homework must intensify and Continue
"There is no way around serious and disciplined study. We must study, and study more. Study, will reintroduce us to our tradition as African people; a beneficial tradition. Nothing in the general culture requires us to do this and so we must set our own standards. We must do this work for ourselves, on our own initiative. there is no chance, whatsoever, that we can launch an appropriate socialization effort without study, without structure, and without habit, tied to our own heritage.
"Nothing is more pitiful than to be led by those who have not done their homework. Around the world, some African and non-African lead panel discussions, public meetings, and more, are held to address the African agenda. While often well intentioned, the meetings feature disorganized sound bites, confusion, and a lack of synthesis and mission.
"Further, some of the valuable information revealed in these forums are sometimes repeating what Africans have said 20, 30, 50, 100 and 200 years ago. Because there was no study, Africans behave as though they are representing new information. Had they studied and not been taught to avoid or resist their own history, they would not be reinventing the wheel. When you have not studied, you represent the accurate image of a disorganized, unfocused and controlled group. Unfortunately, to many individuals stand ready to enter the limelight with no clear vision.
"We must conduct study groups in every community for leaders and followers. This is our basic preparation for economic and political action. More important, this is our basic preparation for healing, renewal and for developing our vision. No public schools anywhere in the African world, deal with the matters reflected in the bibliography below. Sadly, very few of the organizations that are under the control of African people transmit our profound cultural heritage. This is a sorry condition.
There is no way we can survive as a people without study. There is no way that study can serve us unless we ACT on what we Learn. Knowing is not enough. we must construct the world we want. Nothing comes to those who wait.
"We have all that we need to do what is necessary. We can come to know what we need to know. We, however, must choose to do what is necessary to make the sacrifices that we need to make. Today, we have more resources, books, computers, etc. still, we waste far more resources than we need to take care of the socialization requirements. Now is the time to save us. The Struggle Continues!"
I have written various articles here on Hub pages and some excerpts on Facebook. what I find is that one gets a cold receptions or theft of whatever ideas one brings forth. Anther thing is that the present African intelligentsia is busy trying to outdo each other in quoting, citing and present a whole list of books and some useless information so that they look good to their hapless readers. You find this mostly on Facebook and even here on HubPages. I am not afraid to state what I have just said. some people have accused me of writing articles(on Facebook) and Hubs that are 'too long". What? What is too long for a people who have no writers who are synthesizing what they read in order to create new and fresh ideas. How do you say putting together different and new ides as being too long. some people have said that people have a short attention-span here on the Web. Yeah, Right!
I want to say this here and ow.. I do not write for people's attention span. I write for all those willing to learn and find new and fresh knowledge. I do not write here on Hub pages so that I get more traffic, but write so that whatever I write has longevity and is 'evergreen' for eons to come. I do not write with a 'fast-food-mind-et" but to make sure that I accurately write a history or story or document that which will be used centuries form now. It it really make the readers bored of my work, those are not the people I write for. I want to make sure that my articles and Hubs satisfy and are 'Penned for those people who think they need to kow'.
As for my African brothers and sisters, they will have to come to realize, on their own, the importance of 'studying' and exhorted by Asa, and the writing of original articles, with the use of all the information at our disposal, which is the nature of my Hubs here on HubPages. If we are to have an Intergenerational Cultural Transmission, we ned to be brave and work very hard to transcend the already existing material and compose anew that which will fit and be relevant in the early stages of the 21st century, in preparation for the next millennium.
In the face of the Cultural terrorism and Wars that we face, we should be disciplines enough to take on the bull by its horns and keep on writing with the hope that our people, who are under siege culturally, will pick up on Hubs like the one I write in order to assert and set themselves for the confrontations that are ongoing and they too will inevitably come face to face with the wrath of the cultural warriors who are intend and bent of destroying Africa culture and all the conduits of Intergenerational cultural Transmission. I write to ward off this threat; I also write to help make a contribution in helping people of African descent be able to retain maintain and propagate their own cultures, custom, traditions, music, history and the whole bit.
Tribe And Nation: We Are The "NATION" of Afrikans Of Mzantsi? Azania...
What's In a Name or Term? Everything....
Let's take it from 1948 -, we have been subjected to slavery and interned into the Labor camps(Concentration Camps) and defined every-which way once cares to recall by our enslavers. We have been handcuffed from birth to death, indoctrinated to be lesser than the people or offspring of our Apartheidizers. We fled into different exiles, got killed there and abused there; most came back, only to be blinded by material gain and unimagined wealth that in the end-others lost the struggle and died; so that now we have now bought into this Western paradigm of self-enrichment - all that we could grab from our enslavers' crumbs to us. Today we just talk without even thinking what it is we are saying, how we are saying it and why we are saying it the way we are. We are in a semi-comatose state of decrepit existence.
Some people even fully and totally reinforce this stereotype of ourselves as being and trying to qualify it as African culture and real. We have lost our knowledge base about our culture, history, etc. If you look at our history, they way it has been taught-we are projected as perpetual losers and our culture backward and useless and are referred to as 'tribes'. We were referred to as Boys" and Girls(Adults) and picanniny's, young ones. We know that we have been told, are still being written about as the "Tribes" of Afrika" and in their so doing, want us to remain clad in very stone-age clothing and drinking beer, and making babies-which is how we've been caricatured. And yet, our labor power was exploited to build the modern-day South Africa everyone sees.
We were referred to as lazy marabouts, and indolent savages. We were looked at as such in the light that we never developed or modernized, and had no histroy or anything scientific nor religious to show for from our culture. Our detractors claim they found us in a state of savagery-and we migrated to south Africa when they landed in Cape in 1652. That is what is still being insisted upon by many South African writers, and their copy-cats. Everyone is an expert on Africans of South Africa and the country of South Africa, except 'we' Africans of South Africa, are ignored, and never consulted on anything, nor credited for anything, and we are seen as useless and lazy, and lacking foresight and insight-according to our detractors and the 'pros'. All of which is untrue and weak.
Meanwhile, we have been killed in all imaginable ways there are in the world. The latest: HIV/AIDS; Drugs-Nyaope, Hunga, etc; jobless ness is over 70 percent, I contend; Hunger and diseases are decimating the poor; confusion and ignorance prevail; mental illness and plain community madness are endemic; people cannot afford basic necessities; gas goes up, everything has become 'very expensive; churches fleecing their parishioners-and the pews are empty; sports activity and organization very much dead. We have a decrepit state of existence that we have to live in and with so long as we are alive here in South Africa.
Some of us are very rich, and live a different life from us who are poor. Many(of these rich pseudo-petty Afrikan potentates, no more see what the fuss is all about when we begin to rattle off some of the draby and dreaded conditions that we, the masses live under. Riches have been made a lot more remote and hard to come-by and those who are pillaging the public coffers behave like the real "have somethings"(a lot of whatever it is), and the 'have nothings', exist in abject poverty and diseases and death, as their only companion and something that they have to live with. We have have to bury all the unfortunate victims of this social malaise everyday, that it has now become a permanent fixture and feature of life-lived here in the Mzantsi hovels.
Our Analysis of ourselves should be far more deeper than a few words we may haggle about here on Facebook/or any Internet medium. The way we refer to ourselves should not be helping our enemies carry on belittling us whether consciously or subconsciously. I do not buy into being referred to as a Native" or Bantu" or any term that takes my identity away. I am not impressed with those who would like to 'disappear' us, as in when some ethnic groups here in Mzantsi try to Hijack the term African and "Ubuntu". Africans, is who we are here, we the indigenous.
Ubuntu, in one part of our language systems and the core of our culture-Ubuntu(Zulu) and Botho(Sotho~and in many other parts of our lingua franca, and has that embedded in them, and found only in our culture-linguistical, historical, culturally, customary and otherwise- for, what ever the definitions that lie outside the matrix of our linguistic, customary, traditional culture, they are just that, outside interpretations. But, we have to show the world by writing and talking about it-meaning our culture, history, customs, traditions, etc. We, the Africans of Mzantsi, should take ownership or it, intellectually or otherwise, and the world should listen to us when we relay the semiotics of these terms, and we should own and control/propagate them.
Status does not come from our own evaluations about ourselves, but is instead prescribed by a social organization. It may thus remain a value judgement that does not always coincide with the persons's perceptions of his or her self. Furthermore, status is always associated with social context.
This brings us to the fact that an intellectual enterprise is characterized by attention to the systems, relations, languages and forms - the structures - that make meaning possible in any cultural activity or artefact. We, in our society and culture have already long established structures, strictures, cultural activities and so on that have help us survive throughout the centuries of our oppression. We should also realize that these forms/structures are still with us today, it is just that we think, some of us, we are European, and speak great English with an African accent and are in the technological age, and therefore we are modern too-that we have no need or use for or of our cultures, customs, traditions and so on.
All these are delusions of grandeur given our poverty stricken and ignorant existence we have been subjected to since 1948, with the introduction of Bantu Education, to today's Model C schools miseducation of our children, that I say, our education needs to be re-evaluated and 'we', the people of Mzantsi, should determine how and why we want to do it our way; and not this confusing and irrelevant type of education which serves to alienate and make our children ignorant and useless/arrogant, in both cases, to the people/elderly and African communities.
When it comes to calling ourselves Tribes", we are merely further incarcerating ourselves firmly into the camp of our detractors. When we unconsciously refer to ourselves as Black, who are we talking about, exactly? Africans. So, then, let's talk about how Africans regard and accept/treat/use words and naming of things as according to their culture, custom, traditions and the whole bit.
"Every people recognize that a name is connected to social role. A name is not just something you call people, but the name a people are called signifies their role. Therefore, a change of name represents a people's attempt to change their role and position in the world. Some Africans here in Mzantsi think that to not call ourselves is just an insignificant act/thing. It's not about that. Even other people recognize that.
This change of name - if it comes, will be deeply felt, and if what it implies becomes a true part of the Afrikan personality - represents fundamental changes in this world."(Wilson)
It's not a game we are playing here. Identity is very important, as is the idea that Afrikan people would dare to name themselves. Whites recognize that as an incursion on their power of naming and an incursion on the their power of domination.
History is what creates a shared identity in a people. It is based on that shared identity that they act collectively. To take away a people's history, to degrade their history is to degrade their sense of shared identity, is to remove the basis upon which they must behave collectively and reach their goals collectively. That is why the history is rewritten and why people get alarmed about it.
When we suffer from social amnesia, we forget that the debt we owe to past and future generations We then misinterpret our accomplishments as solely our own 'individual achievements. I remind my college audience thats that , "you're not here in this college just because you're smart, because you come from the right family, because you scored high on the SAT's and all the other stuff. Africans have scored high on the SATs since the beginning of time; we've had good families and the right families from the beginning; we've had had 4.0 students from the beginning; we had all of that and we were still being kept out of the university. So, You're not here because of your own personal achievement. You're here because people who didn't score anything put their bodies and their lives on the line to see that you got here - and you owe them something for that. (Wilson)
This should be tied and and made much more clearer to our children and Youth. They did not get to where they are now in any station of life here in Mzansti on their own accord. People died to rid Africans of the Apartheid regime.. Too many people for that matter, took it up onto themsleves to face and fight Apartheid until the ANC was allowed to come back to South Africa. The crrent generation is not so smart when it comes to figuring out the future. Their future is now, and nothing for tomorrow. The Parents and the elderly people feel disempowered and cannot guide the Youth and the up-coming children. We parents, we should stop making our children feel like their are special just becasue they attend thiese White private schools. What do these children do in return? They look-down upon their parents and communities, languages, culture, tradtions and custom because we handed them over to white instructors. This has a long history to it.
During the coming of the missionaries, a lot of children were ripped of from their parents and made to follow their Europeans culture/religion-Read "Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe; we have had mission schools which indoctrinated our children in the middle to late 19th century; Then we saw the advent of Bantu Education; and now we are faced with the ogre of Model C education and its making our children our enemies. We, the parents and elders are to blame. When the ANC came, we let off our guard and thought that we were free. As I am onto this article, we are clearly not free nor controlling the power and neither owning our land than we were during Apartheid. Today we are being conned to believe that we are our own masters, when in effect, we have been degraded to a status lower than that of a slave, in any context.
We are thusly informed by Wilson that: "When we get ready to create revolution, we must 'redefine' the world, and 'redefine' words; there's no way around it. In Genesis, we see Adam being given the power to name things. Through being given the power to name things, he is given dominion. There is a connection between naming and dominion, between naming and bringing into reality. when we permit another people to name and define, we permit another people to gain dominion and control over us."
Wilson adds: "The languages that people learn and speak are most frequently directly related to the power relations between them. Many people will now learn Japanese, as for a while they learned Russian, as for a while they learned German, Latin, etc. Why? Because the people who speak or spoke those languages were or are in ascendance or in power at that or this time.
"There is no "good" English or "bad" English, or "good" language or "bad" language; there is language that's connected to power. People tend to learn first after their native tongue whatever language is spoken by people in power. There's a connection between the capacity to have other people speak your language and to call things by names you give them, and power. If we wish to assume power, then we must assume the capacity to name and define things."
"We cannot operate and dialogue in those terms and words that were used to diminish and wipe away our identity and humanity in our daily discourses. If we are then going to use the same words, from a language that diminishes us as a people and nation, what chance do we stand against all the forces and obstacles allayed against us? None. We must recognize the intimate relationship between culture, history and personality. If we do not know our history, and what we know is other people's history then our personality has been created by that history."(Wilson)
No matter how we try to cut it, we will never be anyone else but African. One of the things that our people need to introduced to is traveling. We need to tour other lands and places, and this experience, on its own, will enable us to grow and be a better Nation. We need to know more and read more. We shall have to study and practice our culture; educate the entire population, and no one must be left behind-no matter what.
So that, what we learn from this piece is that we are now supposed to be picking up the pieces and get about building and constructing a Nation of the Africans of Mzantsi. In regards to changing our lot and lives revolutionarily, we learn from Wilson that paying attention to history of how we got to be where we are is important:
"We owe a lot to those who put their bodies on the line for our present success. If this institution decides to put you out, it will be these same people who will be up here to see that you get in here again! Some of you want to forget that history and then claim you owe them nothing when you make a couple of little bucks in front of a TV camera or some other place. Then not only do you forget them, you forget the ones coming after you, and don't make sure that they can also get in and their privileges are also maintained.
"You want to act like 'revolution' is something that's temporary and not permanent: It is permanent. You forget your history and forget who you are and lose your obligation to the past, to those who made your success possible and do not fulfill your obligations for those to come - some of whom will be your own sons and daughters!
"When we suffer from social amnesia, we identify with abstractions: "I am not Black; I am not Afrikan; I am a human being. I am an American." Sterile, abstract identity... The closer we get to it, the less we see of it, and the more we recognize that it has no meaning. "What is that? Who is that? What does that stand for" What does it mean."
"It's empty, and people who identify themselves with these abstractions are also empty and experience their lives as empty, as people who have no feelings. They identify with the abstraction so as to escape feelings. Therefore, we see them detached and cut-off from themselves as persons, as well as from their people. In fact, they use their abstract identity to escape their responsibilities to their own people and to escape the pain and struggle that happens today to be a part of our situation."Wilson)
Therefore, when we discuss the naming of our environment, children land and whatever, we are empowering a whole nation. We should never shy away from our ignorance and begin to learn anew the things that are relevant for us and to the whole nation. We need to begin to wrap our heads around the Notion of an African Nation of Mzantsi, not 'tribes". We grow when we revolutionize our perceptions and actions. We are much better than this...
Culture As A National Liberation Tool
National Liberation and Culture
This text was originally delivered on February 20, 1970; as part of the Eduardo Mondlane (1) Memorial Lecture Series at Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York, under the auspices of The Program of Eastern African Studies. It was translated from the French by Maureen Webster.
When Goebbels, the brain behind Nazi propaganda, heard culture being discussed, he brought out his revolver. That shows that the Nazis, who were and are the most tragic expression of imperialism and of its thirst for domination--even if they were all degenerates like Hitler, had a clear idea of the value of culture as a factor of resistance to foreign domination.
History teaches us that, in certain circumstances, it is very easy for the foreigner to impose his domination on a people. But it also teaches us that, whatever may be the material aspects of this domination, it can be maintained only by the permanent, organized repression of the cultural life of the people concerned. Implantation of foreign domination can be assured definitively only by physical liquidation of a significant part of the dominated population.
In fact, to take up arms to dominate a people is, above all, to take up arms to destroy, or at least to neutralize, to paralyze, its cultural life. For, with a strong indigenous cultural life, foreign domination cannot be sure of its perpetuation. At any moment, depending on internal and external factors determining the evolution of the society in question, cultural resistance (indestructible) may take on new forms (political, economic, armed) in order fully to contest foreign domination.
The ideal for foreign domination, whether imperialist or not, would be to choose:
- either to liquidate practically all the population of the dominated country, thereby eliminating the possibilities for cultural resistance;
- or to succeed in imposing itself without damage to the culture of the dominated people--that is, to harmonize economic and political domination of these people with their cultural personality.
The first hypothesis implies genocide of the indigenous population and creates a void which empties foreign domination of its content and its object: the dominated people. The second hypothesis has not, until now, been confirmed by history. The broad experience of mankind allows us to postulate that it has no practical viability: it is not possible to harmonize the economic and political domination of a people, whatever may be the degree of their social development, with the preservation of their cultural personality.
In order to escape this choice--which may be called the dilemma of cultural resistance--imperialist colonial domination has tried to create theories which, in fact, are only gross formulations of racism, and which, in practice, are translated into a permanent state of siege of the indigenous populations on the basis of racist dictatorship (or democracy).
This, for example, is the case with the so-called theory of progressive assimilation of native populations, which turns out to be only a more or less violent attempt to deny the culture of the people in question. The utter failure of this "theory," implemented in practice by several colonial powers, including Portugal, is the most obvious proof of its lack of viability, if not of its inhuman character. It attains the highest degree of absurdity in the Portuguese case, where Salazar affirmed that Africa does not exist.
This is also the case with the so-called theory of apartheid, created, applied and developed on the basis of the economic and political domination of the people of Southern Africa by a racist minority, with all the outrageous crimes against humanity which that involves. The practice of apartheid takes the form of unrestrained exploitation of the labor force of the African masses, incarcerated and repressed in the largest concentration camp mankind has ever known.
These practical examples give a measure of the drama of foreign imperialist domination as it confronts the cultural reality of the dominated people. They also suggest the strong, dependent and reciprocal relationships existing between the cultural situation and the economic (and political) situation in the behavior of human societies. In fact, culture is always in the life of a society (open or closed), the more or less conscious result of the economic and political activities of that society, the more or less dynamic expression of the kinds of relationships which prevail in that society, on the one hand between man (considered individually or collectively) and nature, and, on the other hand, among individuals, groups of individuals, social strata or classes.
The value of culture as an element of resistance to foreign domination lies in the fact that culture is the vigorous manifestation on the ideological or idealist plane of the physical and historical reality of the society that is dominated or to be dominated. Culture is simultaneously the fruit of a people’s history and a determinant of history, by the positive or negative influence which it exerts on the evolution of relationships between man and his environment, among men or groups of men within a society, as well as among different societies. Ignorance of this fact may explain the failure of several attempts at foreign domination--as well as the failure of some international liberation movements.
Let us examine the nature of national liberation. We shall consider this historical phenomenon in its contemporary context, that is, national liberation in opposition to imperialist domination. The latter is, as we know, distinct both in form and in content from preceding types of foreign domination (tribal, military-aristocratic, feudal, and capitalist domination in time free competition era).
The principal characteristic, common to every kind of imperialist domination, is the negation of the historical process of the dominated people by means of violently usurping the free operation of the process of development of the productive forces. Now, in any given society, the level of development of the productive forces and the system for social utilization of these forces (the ownership system) determine the mode of production. In our opinion, the mode of production whose contradictions are manifested with more or less intensity through the class struggle, is the principal factor in the history of any human group, the level of the productive forces being the true and permanent driving power of history.
For every society, for every group of people, considered as an evolving entity, the level of the productive forces indicates the stage of development of the society and of each of its components in relation to nature, its capacity to act or to react consciously in relation to nature. It indicates and conditions the type of material relationships (expressed objectively or subjectively) which exists among the various elements or groups constituting the society in question. Relationships and types of relationships between man and nature, between man and his environment. Relationships and type of relationships among the individual or collective components of a society. To speak of these is to speak of history, but it is also to speak of culture.
Whatever may be the ideological or idealistic characteristics of cultural expression, culture is an essential element of the history of a people. Culture is, perhaps, the product of this history just as the flower is the product of a plant. Like history, or because it is history, culture has as its material base the level of the productive forces and the mode of production. Culture plunges its roots into the physical reality of the environmental humus in which it develops, and it reflects the organic nature of the society, which may be more or less influenced by external factors. History allows us to know the nature and extent of the imbalance and conflicts (economic, political and social) which characterize the evolution of a society; culture allows us to know the dynamic syntheses which have been developed and established by social conscience to resolve these conflicts at each stage of its evolution, in the search for survival and progress.
Just as happens with the flower in a plant, in culture there lies the capacity (or the responsibility) for forming and fertilizing the seedling which will assure the continuity of history, at the same time assuring the prospects for evolution and progress of the society in question. Thus it is understood that imperialist domination by denying the historical development of the dominated people, necessarily also denies their cultural development. It is also understood why imperialist domination, like all other foreign domination for its own security, requires cultural oppression and the attempt at direct or indirect liquidation of the essential elements of the culture of the dominated people.
The study of the history of national liberation struggles shows that generally these struggles are preceded by an increase in expression of culture, consolidated progressively into a successful or unsuccessful attempt to affirm the cultural personality of the dominated people, as a means of negating the oppressor culture. Whatever may be the conditions of a people's political and social factors in practicing this domination, it is generally within the culture that we find the seed of opposition, which leads to the structuring and development of the liberation movement.
In our opinion, the foundation for national liberation rests in the inalienable right of every people to have their own history whatever formulations may be adopted at the level of international law. The objective of national liberation, is therefore, to reclaim the right, usurped by imperialist domination, namely: the liberation of the process of development of national productive forces. Therefore, national liberation takes place when, and only when, national productive forces are completely free of all kinds of foreign domination. The liberation of productive forces and consequently the ability to determine the mode of production most appropriate to the evolution of the liberated people, necessarily opens up new prospects for the cultural development of the society in question, by returning to that society all its capacity to create progress.
A people who free themselves from foreign domination will be free culturally only if, without complexes and without underestimating the importance of positive accretions from the oppressor and other cultures, they return to the upward paths of their own culture, which is nourished by the living reality of its environment, and which negates both harmful influences and any kind of subjection to foreign culture. Thus, it may be seen that if imperialist domination has the vital need to practice culturaloppression, national liberation is necessarily an act of culture.
On the basis of what has just been said, we may consider the national liberation movement as the organized political expression of the culture of the people who are undertaking the struggle. For this reason, those who lead the movement must have a clear idea of the value of the culture in the framework of the struggle and must have a thorough knowledge of the people's culture, whatever may be their level of economic development.
In our time it is common to affirm that all peoples have a culture. The time is past when, in an effort to perpetuate the domination of a people, culture was considered an attribute of privileged peoples or nations, and when, out of either ignorance or malice, culture was confused with technical power, if not with skin color or the shape of one's eyes. The liberation movement, as representative and defender of the culture of the people, must be conscious of the fact that, whatever may be the material conditions of the society it represents, the society is the bearer and creator of culture. The liberation movement must furthermore embody the mass character, the popular character of the culture--which is not and never could be the privilege of one or of some sectors of the society.
In the thorough analysis of social structure which every liberation movement should be capable of making in relation to the imperative of the struggle, the cultural characteristics of each group in society have a place of prime importance. For, while the culture has a mass character, it is not uniform, it is not equally developed in all sectors of society. The attitude of each social group toward the liberation struggle is dictated by its social group toward the liberation struggle is dictated by its economic interests, but is also influenced profoundly by its culture. It may even be admitted that these differences in cultural level explain differences in behavior toward the liberation movement on the part of individuals who belong to the same socio-economic group. It is at the point that culture reaches its full significance for each individual: understanding and integration in to his environment, identification with fundamental problems and aspirations of the society, acceptance of the possibility of change in the direction of progress.
In the specific conditions of our country--and we would say, of Africa--the horizontal and vertical distribution of levels of culture is somewhat complex. In fact, from villages to towns, from one ethnic group to another, from one age group to another, from the peasant to the workman or to the indigenous intellectual who is more or less assimilated, and, as we have said, even from individual to individual within the same social group, the quantitative and qualitative level of culture varies significantly. It is of prime importance for the liberation movement to take these facts into consideration.
In societies with a horizontal social structure, such as the Balante, for example, the distribution of cultural levels is more or less uniform, variations being linked uniquely to characteristics of individuals or of age groups. On the other hand, in societies with a vertical structure, such as the Fula, there are important variations from the top to the bottom of the social pyramid. These differences in social structure illustrate once more the close relationship between culture and economy, and also explain differences in the general or sectoral behavior of these two ethnic groups in relation to the liberation movement.
It is true that the multiplicity of social and ethnic groups complicates the effort to determine the role of culture in the liberation movement. But it is vital not to lose sight of the decisive importance of the liberation struggle, even when class structure is to appear to be in embryonic stages of development.
The experience of colonial domination shows that, in the effort to perpetuate exploitation, the colonizers not only creates a system to repress the cultural life of the colonized people; he also provokes and develops the cultural alienation of a part of the population, either by so-called assimilation of indigenous people, or by creating a social gap between the indigenous elites and the popular masses. As a result of this process of dividing or of deepening the divisions in the society, it happens that a considerable part of the population, notably the urban or peasant petite bourgeoisie, assimilates the colonizer's mentality, considers itself culturally superior to its own people and ignores or looks down upon their cultural values. This situation, characteristic of the majority of colonized intellectuals, is consolidated by increases in the social privileges of the assimilated or alienated group with direct implications for the behavior of individuals in this group in relation to the liberation movement. A reconversion of minds--of mental set--is thus indispensable to the true integration of people into the liberation movement. Such reonversion--re-Africanization, in our case--may take place before the struggle, but it is completed only during the course of the struggle, through daily contact with the popular masses in the communion of sacrifice required by the struggle.
However, we must take into account the fact that, faced with the prospect of political independence, the ambition and opportunism from which the liberation movement generally suffers may bring into the struggle unconverted individuals. The latter, on the basis of their level of schooling, their scientific or technical knowledge, but without losing any of their social class biases, may attain the highest positions in the liberation movement. Vigilance is thus indispensable on the cultural as well as the political plane. For, in the liberation movement as elsewhere, all that glitters is not necessarily gold: political leaders--even the most famous--may be culturally alienated people. But the social class characteristics of the culture are even more discernible in the behavior of privileged groups in rural areas, especially in the case of ethnic groups with a vertical social structure, where, nevertheless, assimilation or cultural alienation influences are non-existent or practically non-existent. This is the case, for example, with the Fula ruling class. Under colonial domination, the political authority of this class (traditional chiefs, noble families, religious leaders) is purely nominal, and the popular masses know that true authority lies with an is acted upon by colonial administrators. However, the ruling class preserves in essence its basic cultural authority over the masses and this has very important political implications.
Recognizing this reality, the colonizer who represses or inhibits significant cultural activity on the part of the masses at the base of the social pyramid, strengthens and protects the prestige and the cultural influence of the ruling class at the summit. The colonizer installs chiefs who support him and who are to some degree accepted by the masses; he gives these chiefs material privileges such as education for their eldest children, creates chiefdoms where they did not exist before, develops cordial relations with religious leaders, builds mosques, organizes journeys to Mecca, etc. And above all, by means of the repressive organs of colonial administration, he guarantees economic and social privileges to the ruling class in their relations with the masses. All this does not make it impossible that, among these ruling classes, there may be individuals or groups of individuals who join the liberation movement, although less frequently than in the case of the assimilated "petite bourgeoisie." Several traditional and religious leaders join the struggle at the very beginning or during its development, making an enthusiastic contribution to the cause of liberation.
But here again vigilance is indispensable: preserving deep down the cultural prejudices of their class, individuals in this category generally see in the liberation movement the only valid means, using the sacrifices of the masses, to eliminate colonial oppression of their own class and to re-establish in this way their complete political and cultural domination of the people.
In the general framework of contesting colonial imperialist domination and in the actual situation to which we refer, among the oppressor's most loyal allies are found some high officials and intellectuals of the liberal professions, assimilated people, and also a significant number of representatives of the ruling class from rural areas. This fact gives some measure of the influence (positive or negative) of culture and cultural prejudices in the problem of political choice when one is confronted with the liberation movement. It also illustrates the limits of this influence and the supremacy of the class factor in the behavior of the different social groups. The high official or the assimilated intellectual, characterized by total cultural alienation, identifies himself by political choice with the traditional or religious leader who has experienced no significant foreign cultural influences.
For these two categories of people place above all principles our demands of a cultural nature--and against the aspirations of the people--their own economic and social privileges, their own class interests. That is a truth which the liberation movement cannot afford to ignore without risking betrayal of the economic, political, social and cultural objectives of the struggle.
Without minimizing the positive contribution which privileged classes may bring to the struggle, the liberation movement must, on the cultural level just as on the political level, base its action in popular culture, whatever may be the diversity of levels of cultures in the country. The cultural combat against colonial domination--the first phase of the liberation movement--can be planned efficiently only on the basis of the culture of the rural and urban working masses, including the nationalist (revolutionary) "petite bourgeoisie" who have been re-Africanized or who are ready for cultural reconversion. Whatever may be the complexity of this basic cultural panorama, the liberation movement must be capable of distinguishing within it the essential from the secondary, the positive from the negative, the progressive from the reactionary in order to characterize the master line which defines progressively a national culture.
In order for culture to play the important role which falls to it in the framework of the liberation movement, the movement must be able to preserve the positive cultural values of every well defined social group, of every category, and to achieve the confluence of these values in the service of the struggle, giving it a new dimension--the national dimension. Confronted with such a necessity, the liberation struggle is, above all, a struggle both for the preservation and survival of the cultural values of the people and for the harmonization and development of these values within a national framework.
Watching The Stars
The Need For New Afrikan Self-Identity:
Under certain social-economic circumstances cultural identity can become the instrument for the expression of the power of the predominant cultural system which molded it, and my also also become the instrument used by the dominant culture and its members to further its survival and enhance its empowerment. Black cultural identity, even in its stratified and diffused state, even on the individual level, is a political economy or essentially an organization of lacks, efficiencies, interests, needs, desires, passions, tastes,ideal, motives, values, etc., the response to which on the part of Blacks helps to maintain or enhance the social power relations, prerogatives, and integrity of the White Dominated racial Status Quo.
In the context of White American/[South African] supremacy, Africans must ask themselves: What is the political economy of oppressed African culture and the various personal and social identities it produces? We must no longer though the abuse of reality, denial and distortion fail to recognize that our basic identities as an oppressed people are largely socially manufactured by the White-dominated American/European culture and its related social practices in which we as a people are immersed. These identities are therefore incarnations and instruments of their social power; and are socially designed and conditioned when activated, to unwittingly serve the political-economic interests on dominant White society to the detriment of Africans and African culture globally. African cultural identity and behavioral orientations as currently defined, are functionally defined to perpetuate self-negating, self-defeating, and under certain circumstances, self-destructive behavior amongst Africans.
The salvation, empowerment and liberation of Afrikan peoples require an appropriate, thorough, pragmatic cultural analysis of the deculturation and reculturation of ourselves by the dominant European peoples, of reactionary "Black Culture," and their social products as represented by reactionary Black identities. we must analyze these identities, whether considered prosocial and antisocial, function to maintain the oppressive power of Whites and the subordinate powerlessness of Africans. our salvation requires that we perceive White Supremacy as the major social, political,economic and spiritual problem to be resolved by Afrikan peoples, and that we ask and answer definitively the questions: "WHat kind of a culture must we construct in order to overthrow White Supremacy?" "What kinds of social identities, relations, arrangements, alignments, institutions, values, etc., which when actualized, will allow us to attain and protect our liberty?"; enhance our quality of life?" "What kinds of socialization practices must we institute in order to empower ourselves to become the kinds of people we must become if we are to secure our right to be free?"
Certainly the answers lie in the direction of the reclamation of our Afrikan identity and the reconstitution of our Afrika-centered consciousness supported by commensurate African-centered cultural, social, political and economic values, institutions and relations. (Wilson).
Pertinent Notes On racism: A Fanon-esque Perspective:
To study the relation of racism and culture is to raise the question of their reciprocal action. If culture is the combination of motor and mental behavior patterns arising from the encounter of man with nature and with fellow-man, it can be said that racism is indeed a cultural element. There are thus cultures with racism and cultures without racism.
This precise cultural element, however,has not become encysted. Racism has not managed to harden. It has had to renew itself , to adapt itself, to change its appearance. It has had to undergo the fate of the cultural whole that informed it.
The vulgar, primitive, over-simple racism purported to find in biology-the Scriptures having proved insufficient-the material basis of the doctrine. It would be tedious to recall the efforts then undertaken: the comparative form of the skulls, the quantity and the configuration of the folds of the brain, the characteristics of the cell layers of the cortex, the dimensions of the vertebrae, the microscopic appearance of the epiderm, etc. ... Intellectual and emotional primitivism appeared as a banal consequence, a recognition of existence.
Such affirmations, crude and massive, give way to a more refined argument. Here and there, however, an occasional relapse is to be noted. thus the "emotional instability of the African," the subcritical integration of the Arab," the "quasi-generic culpability of the Jew" are data that one come upon among a few contemporary writes. the monograph by J. Carothers, for example, sponsored by the world Health Organization, invokes "scientific arguments" in support of a physiological lobotomy of the African.
These old fashioned positions tend in any case to disappear. This racism that aspires to be rational, individual, genotypically and phenotypically determined, becomes transformed into cultural racism. The object of racism is not longer the individual man but a certain from of existing. At the extreme, such terms as "message" and "cultural style" are resorted to. "Occidental values" oddly blend with the already famous appeal to the fight of the "cross against the crescent(this can be traced from the time when the Moors civilized Europe via Spain, Portugal, Germany, France and Britain).
The morphological equation, to be sure, has not totally disappeared, but events of the pst four decades or more have shaken the most solidly anchored convictions and upset the checkerboard, restructured a great number of relationships. We must look for the consequences of racism on the cultural level.
Racism, as we have seen, is only one element of a vaster whole: that of the systematized oppression of a people. How does an oppressing people behave? Here we rediscover constants.
We witness the destruction of cultural values, or ways of life. Language, dress, techniques, are devalorized. how can one account for this constant? Psychologists, who tend to explain everything by movements of the psyche, claim to discover this behavior on the level of contacts between individuals: the criticism of an original hat, of a way of speaking, of walking...
Such attempts deliberately leave out of account the special character of the colonial situation. In reality the nations that undertake a colonial was have no concern for the confrontation of cultures. Wa is gigantic business and every approach must be governed by this datum. The enslavement, in the strictest sense,of the native population is the prime necessity.
For this its system of reference have to be broken. Expropriation, spoliation, raids, objective murder, are matched by the sacking of cultural patterns, or at least condition such sacking. The social panorama is destructed; values are flaunted, crushed and emptied. The lines of force, having crumbled, no longer give directions. In their stead a new system of values is imposed, not proposed but affirmed, by the heavy weight of cannons and sabers.
The setting up of the colonial system does not itself bring about the death of the native culture. Historic observation reveals, on the contrary, that the aim sought is rather a continue agony than a total disappearance of the pre-existing culture. This culture, once living and open to the future, becomes closed, fixed in the colonial status, caught in the yoke of oppression. Both present and mummified, it testifies against its members. It defines them in fact without appeal. the cultural mummification leads to to a mummification of individual thinking. The apathy so universally noted among colonial peoples is but the logical consequence of this operation.the reproach of inertia constantly directed at the "native" is utterly dishonest. As though it were possible for a man to evolve otherwise than within the framework of a culture that recognizes him and that he decides to assume.
Thus we witness the setting up of archaic, inert institutions, functioning under the oppressor's supervision and patterned like a caricature of formerly fertile institutions... Racism is never a super-added element discovered by chance in the course of investigation of the cultural data of group. The social constellation, the cultural whole, are deeply modified by the existence of racism.
By Frantz Fanon:
Cultural Gyroscope: Each One Teach One-Each One Reach One...
Everything Is Everything With Cultural Transmission...
One thing about the cultural festivities and dress of Africans of South Africa, this includes Lesotho, Botswana and Swaziland. These cultural societies have their brand of culture represented fully in South Africa. So that, like the Swazi festivities of the Reeds, the traditional dress of the women is part of the showcasing of the culture-you also find this amongst the Zulus. This about the cultural dress of women is seen differently by different people, globally, once posted on the Web.
Now, in countries like America, there is a segregated perception and ways of seeing others' and their cultures. So that, the photo below may been seen by Africans as cultural presentation and the beauty/colors and youthfulness of our little girls-this is seen as "nakedness" and "Porn" by many around the world. The Boers did a good job of projecting and presenting us to the world, without our consent/knowledge, and described us as backward, savages, and unclad which just shows how barbaric we are. This is a fact, and is still proliferating throughout the Web, today
The Boers also made it a point in implementing their Apartheid strategies, so that they divided and conquered us. They convinced us that we were and are a '"Tribal" people. This was done not to reinforce our cultural force and cohesion, but to break it down-divide us amongst ourselves and so that we should end up seeing each as different. The Apartheid regime build/ or should I say-created/forced upon us the 'tribal' ideas, like when the Townships of Soweto were built, they created what they called sections throughout the Ghetto: The Sotho sections, Tswana, Shangaan and Zulu's sections,Xhosa sections in one big townships.
So they ingrained into our psyches that we are a different people, not the same, are 'tribes' which never got along, and are not the same-be it Zulu, Pedi, Sotho, Tswana Swazi and so forth. Today, those of us ignorant and opportunistic of this act, want to reinforce that belief that we are "TRIBES" and we must accept it for it identifies us originally. Balderdash!
This is a flawed and distorted way of Seeing Ourselves and prohibits/inhibits us from seeing Ourselves as A United Nation with One Unique and diverse culture. Some of us today cringe when we see photos like the ones I have posted below of the Swazi lasses in their cultural element below, etc. I have so far been showcasing the posts of the Xhosas, Pedi, Tsongas, and I decided to add other diverse cultural manifestations of the People of Mzantsi. It is better when we begin to See Ourselves in Diverse cultural mode. Some of us truly believe the myth that if we see and think, act and acknowledge ourselves as a Nation we will lose our "Tribalness". What Hogwash!
So far that is fiction and bogus perceptions and perspectives implanted in our minds. I reiterate: South African African cultureHistory, cultures, traditions, customs, languages, music, dances, cultural rites and practices along with cultural dress, are but of one diverse people with not much differences if any. We are presenting and showing off our identities as distinct but of a similarly varied and diverse people, and We are a Nation that is able to have such elements as part of its Nationess/Nationhood.
But Since we have just emerged from the debilitating and grueling slave/concentration-camp mentality and lives under Apartheid, we still have to coalesce our beliefs and ways of understanding and seeing ourselves as a cultural diverse but one people-to that of a United Nation with a diverse culture. Those who oppose this, are comfortable in their slave-mind incarcerated conditioned and low-self-esteem subjected self-confidence-that they are in effect confirming what Apartheid has long tried to engorge in our minds of past dictates of divide and conquer and crass Apartheid regimed and enforced slavery.
This comes with an arrogant chauvinism, in many personalities in our midst, that further dividers and shatters families and all times of relationships in the collective of African people-just because the man maintains their 'triblalness' and can only see as far as the their nose.
The clinging to this 'tribalist' mythology is a self-defeating endeavor for our people to be in a potion to envision themselves as a Nation. So that, by posting our various groups and elaborating on some, is one way of the African viewers of Mzantsi to see their culture with diverse as one Culture.: in our case this means a heightened our prolific culture manifesting itself as of the Nation of Africans in Mzantsi
It is the same cults, traditions, customs, music, dance and multi-colored traditional dress and very pity and efficient languages. We dance with cowrie shells or whatever percussion we can attach to our bodies, we gyrate, stomp and stomp the ground, we all clap rhythmically to dance e and song, we roll, and sit flat hitting the ground; we all sing together in groups and so forth; the dances are the same, 'Mtjitjimbo" for we''s say, Amaxhosa, "Mokgibo" in Sesotho; theres the "Domba" snake Dance in the Ndebele, as found in the Zulus; We all dance and sing accompanied by the Drum-drums of all sizes and kinds.
If we see us different and as 'tribes', other Nations will take our everything because we are too busy outdoing, out besting, pulling each other down like crabs in a barrel, they will own our everything, whilst we look on in puzzlement as to who the authorities about our culture are-but it will not be us the indigenous of South Africa. If one gets to have a holistic look at our cultural photographs or listen to our music and watch our dances, one is awestruck by this magnificent culture, so variable, and yet uniquely similar and the same-One Nation Of Africans In South Africa dotting the whole landscape of Mzatnsi-like tentacles-interconnected.
1. Swazi Girl In formation in the celebration of the "Reeds" Festivities..
2. Bapedi women In A Cultural Vibe...
3. Venda Girls in Traditonal Dress Mode and traditional accessories..
4. Xhosa Women Breastfeeding her infant...
5. Zulu Youth perfuming Zulu Traditional Warrior's Dance...
6. Ndebele girls in their traditional clothing and sitting next to their house they decorated themselves, with the help of their mothers...
7. Basotho Men Wearing there Animal skins and traditional hats sitting next to their house..
8. Batswana Dancers clad in their traditional Tswana dress..
9. Tsonga woman in a trance doing a traditional dance...
10. The Khoisan family...
11. The Cape Coloreds. Celebrating The Minstrel and Coon Festivals..
12. Zulu Woman In Full Cultural Gear
If we are saying to ourselves let's Talk About culture.. Okay, Let's show what we talking about and look at it holistically, and not 'tribally'. We cannot 'claim' to be African people of Mzantsi and then we know less or nothing about our other 'selves'. It's not only seeing others in our culture and tribes, but as part of a larger Nation, which is diverse.
The ways of looking at ourselves cannot be confined to our 'tribal' localities, as some would stubbornly intone. It is is these groups as seen together that is the main point here. If the Boers wished to divide and conquer us but making us believe that we are different, we might as well begin to see ourselves as a nation of African people, despite all our perceived differences foisted on us by our being Apartheidized.
I have collected a smidgen of our photographs of all the 11(eleven) nations of Mzantsi. I choose to see ourselves as a collectives of nations that are part of one Untied Nation of Mzantsi. for us to even think along these terms is a stretch for many of us. Cultutral education and transmission should take place in ever lesson or information we impart to ourselves. We are One People, and that is a fact many will have a tough time trying to dislodge.
The pictures of the eleven people I have used is to orientate ourselves to the fact that we are One people. This is important that I keep on reiterating it. We cannot move forward from our "Past"(Apartheidization), so that the complete indoctrination of our entire people, is what needs to be overturned here. Not only must we see ourselves as presented here, we have to begin to learn and know well the ways of others, which, many-a-times, is the same or one with the rest-and how to use all this tour own advantage.
This we will discover when we interact amongst each other with each-respectfully(Hlompho/Inhlonipho), and we consciously work hard understanding and knowing each other, and in many ways than one; thus when we will more in common than differences in our cultures, custom, tradition and so forth.
When we use the collage above, go through it, see others as we see ourselves, for that is evident and eminent, that one comes to that point of self recognition and recognition of the others(Ubuntu/Botho) - so that, what has been denied us from becoming a being a nation, can come from us being and making a nation by knowing more about ourselves as a diverse collective and authentic nation.
Self appreciation bears self knowledge-we can divide how we want to propagate that knowledge to the world and amongst ourselves. We cannot keep on citing other people when we can do ourselves a favor and studying, knowing and understanding ourselves collectively; be ourselves for ourselves and act and talk about ourselves, and present or cultural manifestations our rudder bearing and also anchoring our moorings to what we dictate, propagate and project .
It's easy to dismiss what I have just said, but one is more respected for being what and who they are, than faked selves. We cannot run away from ourselves, so, we might as well deal with ourselves.
The presentation above is one of the attempt I have been working on of many decades, and it is not getting any easier-that of asserting that we are Unified ad Diverse Nation. How we see, can be 'reset' to what we what to see about ourselves and our culture. We wonder why our education is in crisis.. It is so because we control and own nothing. We depend on imports and we export nothing.
We have culture, music, dance, languages, etc., and these are being controlled and taken from us by people who are not us and they profit on them and so forth. I am not saying anything new here, but the discourse needs to broadened, the ways of looking and seeing need to be adjusted from the past to the present, our modus operandi is to resuscitate this African culture and redress our lack of understanding and knowing it, and practice new ways of applying, manifesting and celebrating it, for that is what we can recoup from our lost treasures/land/wealth/history/dance/music/languages and culture.
If we keep on going the way of the herd' mentality-modernism and all its accourtements/assortments to be our final goal, we will forever be slaves, cutters of wood and hewers of water-if not worse-in the land of our birth. I am nationalistic is that's what I am to be termed. It is important that one is, for we still have yet to address our inability that has been embedded in our African psyches that we cannot up to this point see and say to ourselves that we are a Nation of African people of Mzantsi, without making excuses to anyone of attempting obfuscation/confusing the issues. I cannot see myself as a 'tribesman' when I have lived and been nurtured by all the 11 people I have posted above.
I cannot wrap my mind around that unreality that I belong to a 'Tribe". I am more conversant and seriously belonging to a Nation of African people of Mzantsi, and that if it's an obsession, so be it, for in my reality, "One For All And All For One" is my mantra-We are stronger And Cannot Be Moved Bundled-unless we so wish, and that there is Power..
So that as we transmit our culture to each other, its "Each One Teach One-Each One Reach One". If there is something and one thing with the other people within the variegated nations that form our Nation in Mzantsi: It has more common with one another than would any culture be comparatively and seriously speaking. Some may be lax about this issue because we have been taught that matters that concern Africans are of no use.
That we are childish in our bearing and mentality; that we drink beer and make many children; that are lazy and cannot even think or learn-all this was practiced and we were constantly reminded by our Boer tormentors that to be a fact and the undisputed truth about us..
The have used this ruse to indoctrinate may of us to the present generation in our midst. The never forsook their 'divide and conquer strategy' it is still in full use as we speak. The sad thing is that many of us do not need Boer enforces, we, Africans, many of us, have taken this opportunity to try and claim being belonging to the 'tribe', and the rest can go to Hades. .
You can't cement a nation with disparate and separated cultures as in our case. You can glue the foundation of a Nation based on the knowledge and commonalities in each and every culture to each other. Ubuntu also means self empowerment and Power in a real sense.
We should be able to speak with authority when it comes to our own clan culture, but have strong convictions in the similarities and sameness of al these cultures, as one diverse culture, then we might be on our way to unchaining our Apartheidized minds and consciousnesses. We also need to be very knowledgeable and articulate eruditely about our own culture and its everything..
Clearly and Authoritatively./Authentically. This is why I have tried to make this article come to light, because many people are busy with other things, I will stick to culture and its everything about Africans of South Africa to whirl us around from the focus and negatives forces of the past.
Cultural transmission and propagation should be done by us, and we should know each's culture very well and solidly. If we can operate from the fusion of all these cultural boons of a nation of Mzantsi, that would shift the old paradigm, and introduce an new way of communication and cooperating with one another based on culture. custom, traditions, history, music, dances, languages, sacred cultural and customary and traditional practices,, with us at the helm, and being the mind force behind it, we shall then be functioning as a nation from a position of unified strength built upon and based on what is relevant and real to all.. of the Africans of Mzantsi..
Music Is Art; Art Is Music: Both Are Culture
Culture Speak And Ways Of Seeing
I have posted here, the photo of the Basotho women, and this was spread-out through out the Facebook viral stream on different Walls/Timelines. The responses vary because they are not only locally South African, the are World Wide. The result has been that I had to post more of the Basotho pictures, but this time with a difference. So that, what really started the formulation of the posting of the photos below was the following exchange between me and someone on another Timeline which went like this:
X: "before europreans came with blankets in the 17th century what did the Basotho wear? its a genuine question.."
Me: "Like all early people of Mzantsi, all had to contend and deal with and wore Skins from various animals of which they had perfected the technique and skill of curing/refining leather, and not only make something to wear, but also ton cover them as do the blankets above. The
Basotho Of South Africa/Lesotho..
They live in the mountains at very high altitudes, and the weather is very unpredictable/cold and snowy. and also affected by the atmospheric conditions and the High Winds blowing at the Peaks of these Mountain Ranges, which span the distance from Lesotho all the Way to Maputo. The Basotho people understand this and know about their existence in what they call "Naheng"(Barren open spaces)- and have written about it, in Sesotho Books - and being in the mountains and seeing these spaces, lof these mountains this bums the mind's eyes when seen and experienced. And the winds are constant and incessant. Their hats are called "Modianyewe" or "Mokorotlo"" Which aids with the Sun's glare, and is a national symbol. The Blakets are called "Lesolanka" Or "Seanamarena"-and they have different names according to their quality and importance-culturally. It's not only culture, its a way of life and self preservation by a people who know best about that region.. Their clothing was just as elaborate and full of decor, prior to the blankets.. And their hand made sandals, of which I own a few, are tough and aesthetically pleasing. The art and crafts of the Basotho are unique and very advanced-up to working with iron.. Anyway, culture is never static....
X: "I fully appreciate that culture is,in and of itself in what would be best described as a state of constant flux hence my interest in seeing those skins that were worn prior to the incorporation of foreign ware,authentic,undiluted pre-colonial Basotho garments,would love to see some pictures if you have so as to get a better understanding of the evolution of the culture.
Skhokho: "See The Post Below"..
Me : "Now, If we have to go deeper into revealing the Basotho in their original state, we run across a problem of paucity of material. So that, the painting and the photography of modern-day Mosotho and his natural state, had to evolve, because, if you have ever been to Lesotho, you'll appreciate those blankets and have a much better understand of why they are so important-and they have to wear them.. I have already made mention to the reason way in my first response to you. Anyway, below I am just going to cobble together some photos that give another view of Basotho. Also, there photos I will not post and respect those.
1. A Mosotho Girl hitting her stride during the initiation festivities..
2. A Mosotho man with his animal hat(Although it is nowadays Lesotho.. Some remnants of wearing these skins still prevails)
3. Mosotho Medicine Man... (This is where one can fully trace the traditional garb of the Basotho as I have indicated in my response)
4. A portrait captured during the times when photography was not such a luxury of a Mosotho woman in her traditional clothes
5. The Man on the left of your picture has hi Animal skin Blanket, and as I had noted in my prior response to you, the Basotho had refined the skill of curing the skin of an animal and make it a blanket, something wearable and sandals.
6. A Basotho Hat
What I have done above, was to give another view of the Basotho people.. This is by no means all about the Basotho, but, because I understand the Image post and suggestion of an Image on viral community.. I preferred to showcase these, to try and respond to your query, X.
I evidently left out many photo, but the thrust of the response was to at least concretize the fact that the Basotho wore animal skins as part of their clothing and blankets. It is also practical for them to wear blankets, it does not matter who brought them to South Africa. The place is cold. I tried to post the following piece just to try make my point:
Apparently in my presenting our culture, I have to come against 'tribalists' and 'political operatives' who are all out to debunk and destroy the fact that our culture lives, and is not static..also it adapts and still retains its core. is malleable to any obstacle thrown its way. Our clothes are not our culture.. but it is the knowledge and spirit of doing as we do things according to our culture, that will determine if whether we are serious about our culture customs, traditions, languages,music, dances clothes, foods and deferment to the ancestor, the whole bit, that we might then begin to pick up the pieces.
I also learnt from X that we have to say things much more clearer, a fact I partly overlooked, when presenting certain aspects of our culture, for, as X noted very well.. What we see them wearing has a historical genesis.. So, X correctly pointed out as to the history, i.e., what came before the blankets that the Basotho are Wearing.. What we find as another obstacle about finding concrete material about Africans in Mzantsi, is the lack of books, and there are those that are worse for wear. so... I really appreciate X's input for it emboldened me to post the more concrete Basotho.. With the prerogative of choosing what I post, for as I have noted above, Images are powerful.. And my intent is to project and propagate our African everything in the best of possible ways and means...
Facing Our Past and Refurbishing the Present- For a United National Pride in the Future...
Theoretical Revolutionary Theory Will Come from the Assessment and Concrete Reality of the Poor Masses.
I am an ardent advocate of Anything African South African culture and its everything and am not backing off my stance. Why? It seems like few people really understand what is happening to us here in Mzantsi [A place down South of The Continent Of Africa] as the Africans fondly call their country. Well, I am editorializing about things South African and why it is so important to air these points of view On the Web and Social Media.
Africans are currently facing a crisis amongst in their midst as African South Africans. I am not talking on behalf of those who have taken the responsibility that they are the middle class of South Africa. I am talking on behalf of the army of the poor and ignored. In the Townships, there are people who drink bails of water just to go to sleep; people who cannot receive medical help or never know when the next meal is coming from.
People are still suffering the devastating effects of alcoholism, malnutrition, mental illnesses; freezing and unheated houses; drug abuses and multiple devastating diseases.
People used to bury on weekends only-now they do so everyday- the cemeteries are already full and other space is being sought; they suffer unemployment, messed-up education; they live with rats, rodents and some bigger and larger than cats; there are still many people living in shacks; the government is not taking care of the meek, weak, sick and poor as it should; Africans in Mzantsi are jeered at by everyone as being lazy, won't works; they still have to fight against the undercurrent maneuvers of their past enslavers who are manipulating foreign labor at the expense of local workers; enforced ignorance; women being raped; men being killed, drugged-
In sum, Africans are worse-off than during the Apartheid era- and the people themselves say so too. Then, when I defend the defenseless of South Africa, some people who are African accuse me of being only about South Africa. Well, Africans in South Africa are about to loose their current population and land, humanity, and facing extinction-albeit creeping up slowly, but consistently wiping them out in a myriad ways...
They see their land being parceled away to the highest bidders, amidst corruption. I am talking here, not about the rich and comfortable, but what is going on in the poor's lives... everything that they thought was theirs, is not. At the same time they have to fight against a relentless and determined enemy which has all the resources available like those with money, so that when the oppressed raise their voices in disgruntlement they are told that they have to remember that they are more free than the whole of Africa(An old Apartheid logic-trumpeted by the presently ANC-lded government today.
But we forget that Africa was not liberated in one swoop. It went on over many years, and still those that were free such a long time ago, still have not resolved their internal contradictions in their respective countries.
South Africans are talking here of a mere 20 years and instead, they, the supposed-owners of South Africa and its wealth, but are the wretched of the earth. How can Africans talk in terms of the continental unity when they still have to battle the West and the rest of those who think Africans in Africa and African South africans should not complain, protest in trying to push their national agenda, [of which none of these things have been accomplished], and should not protect themselves and their lands with their a natural wealth and abundance. Africans are still reeling from the 48 straight years of the worst form of Naziism(Apartheid) with its presently continuing effort to eliminate, confuse, and oppress/depress/suppress and dehumanize Africans..
Africans in South Africa are facing a predatory and gendarme rogue government bent on fleecing and enriching/deepening their pockets at the expense of the locals. Some people think that South Africa is New York, and they have the right to do as they please... Others act like they're fighting for issues and that South African is not fighting for Africa! Preposterous!.
Some of our South African brothers think that they are white, and you can tell from the way they are talk, act, behave and plan their lives and ignore their culture, tradition,customs, practices,languages and sacred rites. They quickly run away from the present morbid and dreadful conditions of their bleak existence with the hope that if they concentrate elsewhere, they might find respite from the present harsh realities of their witnessing and facing their extinction.
Thus far, what the people of Mzantsi see there is nothing that they can be proud of or claim as theirs - therefore, my insistence on the preservation of South Africa culture, custom, traditions, languages and practices and rites is not because they have any handle on it, but because they are barely recognizable, nor most of them acknowledge it. Poor education is disempowering people, that is, unless one has money to send their child to better schools, those who cannot afford it are doomed to abject poverty and ignorance.
Without knowing,practicing and respecting their cultures, customs, traditions, history, music and dance, there is now a proliferation of mental illness and total amnesia about what as Africans they should be doing, or what their identity means to them and how to move on with it into the burgeoning future, the 21st century and beyond. This calamity and dysfunction is eroding the true social fabric of our people; its disappearing millions of people due to HIV-AIDS, TB; cholera; high blood pressure, sugar diabetes, kidney failure; depression, repression; genocidal attrition... Everyday of their liver lives...
Ignoring Culture and all else I mentioned above are the real course of the present dysfunction and working towards elevating the cultures, traditions, customs, history, languages, practices of sacred rites will alleviate the suffering the africans are facing today in Mzantsi.
South Africa is in Africa but it is run by everybody except the African masses of Africans in South Africa. You cannot talk of fixing your neighbors houses before you put yours in order. One cannot overlook the importance of building ones' Street, Township, Province without first taking care of and hold of all that which is local. How can these leaders talk of fixing Africa which has so many different countries run by the West and the East? Why pretend like we can take on this mammoth task whilst the city states within Africa are dependencies of the West and the Rest of the Capitalist vultures lurking within and owning African and Africa's mines, farms, railway system, African land, all the metropolitan towns and our labor power? It really does not add up.
How can this lack of control and ownership help in the reunification of Africa if the Africans of South Africa are not even having a smidgen of unity; a semblance of a nation; neither controllers of their economy, media, sports, arts, dance,music, culture, tradition, custom, practices, languages manufacturing, you name it. Africans in South Africa, as a collective, are not holders of rights to everything that is enclosed within the borders of that country as a nation or the indigenous rightful owners of all that is in and within South Africa?.
These questions still linger on, and African people are dying by their millions from a myriad of ailments in this putrid and decrepit South Africa.. yearly... all the time.. And they are going crazy in many numbers than before; and their cultures, customs, traditions, history, languages, dance,music and all is not in their service nor made to work for them-instead it is owned and controlled by outsiders more than the African people themselves. Some of these foreign Cultural hawkers claim that they have Intellectual property ownership and rights to what is not theirs but that of Africans in South Africa.
Nobody has asked Africans of South Africa as to what is really going on here in Mzantsi. Everyone knows that they can get a piece of action, but as to the locals, they are dismissed and are not even listened to.. I am raising this issue knowing that it is going to raise the ire of some people- so be it. What do I have to loose but raise pertinent issues of nation, custom, culture, traditions, languages, practice and rites and their being African South African and for them and should be run and controlled and owned by Africans of South Africa-I see nothing wrong with that.... What do Africans have to lose but their already lost land, its resources and all that is contained in it. Africans need to fight even harder, irk some people, maybe find some allies, if possible, but fight this war which has morphed into many differentiated fronts.
I am identifying those fronts here, and I do not want any compensation for it. But I will use this viral media to get my point across- and I am using many new technologies to get this type of message- through Blogs, Internet radio, journal posts and writing; FM and Television-Worldwide to make our concern to be at the forefront of the global purview. Below I will be going deeper and making the points above more clearer and I embarked on a project which I will be discussing in a short while below
Everyone comes to South Africa and African South Africans cannot go out as they please for many reasons. African People have been purposefully kept ignorant, penniless, poor and oppressed up to this day; books are hard to come bye; the media is white-owned; Malls are white-owned; Whites still own 83% of the land; if you ask the locals what's going on, they will tell you that the sad thing is that really nothing is going on, or nothing has changed, but instead, they are now living in hell without a choice of changing the order of things inside their country.
The say, as matter of fact and conviction that "Our brothers are our enemies; our children disrespect us elders; our social mores and norms have been sacked, flaunted and discarded. We really never had 'freedom of speech', economic self sufficiency nor educational development where teaching and learning should take place; we do not own our own businesses and are attacked from any imaginable angle; we are the most deprived on knowledge, information and at the tail-end of this modern era as a technologically come up as a disempowered people," and they always answer in one or the many ways I have pointed out above and more.
To have people decry the fact that they should not be living under such conditions in the land of their birth, and have begun to see their lives ebb away because of corruption and other things, is to see how disconcerting it is for them; but mainly because they seem to be loosing the "The Cultural War", and it has never be attacked in a way that utilizes the present technology and relaying information that can get to the people; or conversely, get under the skin of the roving capitalists vulture of all stripes and ethnicities within their midst.
The people have stopped being proactive, and have not had time to ameliorate their present condition; or to seriously begin to mount a revolutionary path towards addressing and setting all these social maladjustments and maladaptive societies and individuals. If I have to advocate for South Africa, I will do so with gusto and much energy. I approach the issue of Africa from many points of view, and will mostly attack it, as in the case of this Hub, from a historical cultural point of view.
Some of us are fake..
We still cling to the past era of our disempowerment by apartheid.. Many of us still abuse the word culture, to further their own ends.. Others are using culture to hide their being vulture capitalist.. Many claim to belong to "Tribes, what I have been arguing now for years on the Viral stream that it's all Rubbish. Some use the word culture to contract themselves mega government deals, using double-speak- On one end they are are cultural purists; whilst on the other end of their mouths they spew that they are modernized Africans..
They want to have their cake and eat it. I do not care for such glib utterances and I attack them mercilessly and relentlessly. Some of our brothers want to claim that we use the English language, which is the Masters Language, to address these issues using the English language themselves-hypocrisy in abundance. Many people when they realize they cannot hack it intellectually-in an African centered way.. resort to trying to uphold the values which run contrary to their present existential cultural realities. The sad and worst ones are those who claim to have a culture and a lineage and come from a cultural/cultured place that really does not exist anymore.. what am I talking about here? Well..
If one were to go, for instance into the Eastern Cape, many houses have been abandoned, in the North and west of our country, our so-called villages lie fallow and empty and houses and lands are unoccupied. Many people come to the Areas of Gauteng(mainly present-day Johannesburg and Tshwane, present-day Pretoria) and such like metropolis escaping the poverty of the rural areas-many living in abject poverty and decrepit corrugated housing, and some, when they get settled, they buy cars, fine clothes and perfumes and computers and live a lavish life-style in these cities and ghettoes. Many you find crawling here on the Web, claiming that they still have those farm and rural areas and homes, which is a lie, and that their communities are still intact, another lie, farce and hypocrisy. They even go to the extend of gloating and boasting about the fact that when they go to these areas, they are treated like "Kings".
They have followers on these social media like Twitter, Facebook and so forth wherein they sell these bogus claims, and these followers are just the same groupies who want to reinforce a lie and none-existent cultures-many are ust followers with no inkling as to what is happening and going on around them. They really ignore their own culture, languages, music, and all what that entails. They instead want to show-off their knowledge of Western culture, music, clothes, cars, languages, and many from exile still speak, dreamingly about their lives away from Home for so many years-yet consciously and deliberately, also conveniently forgetting that they are back in the country, and so much needs to be done, and they are not doing it.
For instance, post anything America or European on many of these Facebook Walls, where they congregate, meaning our African people from South Africa, you'll see and notice how they flock with false 'likes' to that a article or post. Post anything, as in my case South African.. Only few respond, but the false howlers of culture themselves, you'll never see them comment or 'like' anything that has to do with South African Culture. All these 'edumacated' Africans who know not/and ignore their history, culture, customs traditions and so forth, especially the men, they are the ones who abuse women, who claim to be men because , according to their false claim and knowledge, that is our culture, and many falsities that are the bane of their modus operandi. These men are the ones who trumpet cultural observation, values and all that clap-trap without caring whether there's such a culture and how it is like today..
Then we have this very opportunistic and unconscious class who say that they are 'workers' whilst employed in White people's establishments of all types.. These sell-outs, cabals, turncoats, and quislings, boast about their accumulated wealth, and acculturated selves; their begotten and acquired technological toys-foreign and expensive cars, and shout out loud for all to hear about their ability to travel overseas to import all the rare foreign 'gifts' furnishers, cutlery, you name it, of the things they purchase from overseas-hastily showing all these to their poor brethrenm families and communities; they have houses in White suburban enclaves, they are even scared to visit the Townships! Wihch is where many if not all, were born and grew up Even those who were born in these ghetto hovels now living in opulence!!, they say, "Oh! when I get off work, I will back home to the 'village' and live my culture".. Nah! This is all handkerchief head talk-knyuckleheads inebbriated with wealth they have never seen before. They go back there, in the poor rural villages, to show off, talk like 'big' shots(small 'b').. And carry on showing-off their ill-acquired wealth to the poor villagers.
I am not going to castigate White people on this piece, but us African people. A lot of us quote Biko(hardly even understanding either him or read Biko's works), and myriad books just for show off and not having read a sentence of those books. We are living a Big Lie, many of us here in Mzantsi and want to be given accolades on the Facebook Timelines and Twitterverse, by bedazzling our similarly misled followers and hangers on/groupies-who themselves are underlings and half-educated Africans, who relish their fragile status and aim to keep it. Many wax political even when they do not even know jack! A lot of people on these social media do not really want to talk about the bais decrepit material conditions of the army of the poor. A lot of these people who are employed in these foreign companies, are the stumbling block towards the progress of Africans in South Africa. The price we are going to pay is humongous..
A Review Of The Posted Cultural Videos Of The People Of Mzantsi..
I have just finished a series of videos that I had started by posting first with an article articulating my objectives(See Older Posts): to create a format and structural form of our music and culture and frame it such that it has a National body in its manifestations and appearance. What I mean by this is that, I made some means of collating our 'different,' 'variegated,' 'variable' and 'diverse' but Same and One Unified cultures, which up to the point before I started posting it in that manner, and having written a preface to my intentions, had never been done like so. That is, showcasing the African cultures of Mzatnsi in their diversity and showing the commanilities inherent in each one of them
Also, what I did was create the bios or small histories of each of the different musicians, performers and bands so's to lay out a matrix that most of the South Africans on Facebook and other Social Media, might get a glimpse of it holistically.
This exercise in Cultural defense is not a "practice in Promoting My music " as has been claimed by those who are left behind in what I was doing. It seems there is culture of obfuscating the 'right' things for our people in order to "Dumb Them Down". Our people of Mzantsi are prohibited by a new species of "Censurers" and "Gatekeepers" in all sorts of Media and mediums-Mega-Media Corporations. These lackey rulers of our country. are content on the intent on serving the interest of and as dictated by companies like Clear Channel which have assailed all things African culture in South Africa-and many other such-like Multi-Mega-corporations.
Not on the TV and Radio only, but viciously here on these social media that can reach millions of people in Mzantsi and the world over.
Some of us are patently ignorant of these new, burgeoning, emerging, converging, moving-at-the-speed-of-viral-data phenomenon and gizmos. Our people who are in different privileged position are scared of an Independent African South African, who has the potential to learn, and become better, if not different from them.
Some of these leaders are cloaked in Pan Africanism of a "Type". The Pan Africanism that cannot even recognize Africanism in the efforts some of us are trying to disseminate, without us being crass and ignorant about what we are posting and how we are posting it-as African peoples.
The response might not have been an earth shaking event when I posted all the videos, short histories of the 11 people of Mzantsi, namely: The Zulus, Pedis, South Sothos, Shangaans, Vendas, Ndebeles,Swazis, Xhosas, Tswanas, Vendas, Colored and the Khoisan. The main thrust of posting such music, was not, and I still emphasize, to "Promote My music/videos" on the Pan African Sites on Facebook. I wanted to use the Social Media to begin cirulating our cultural memes and zines.
Apparently there are people working as spooks and moles of the Facebook/Twitter owners, and these are the present ANC government, of which they are on its pay and beckon-and-call of these media moguls and their mega-entities. The aim of laying these viral videos was specifically to, in a coordinated and structured way(that of choosing relevant 'cultural ' videos with as much 'authentic' dances and live videos as such as possible), to help us begin to learn much more better and in a 20/20 way the breadth and depth of our cultural matrix and mosaic as it has manifested itself in our daily realities; and, undergirding this first aim, was the second one, wherein I want to draw many parallels that are common and the same in all these African South African cultures.
I was trying to parlay many ideas, ways of seeing, and conceptual ability of our people to begin to see that we are really one people, as opposed to the Apartheidized way of seeing, thinking and being that we are a different disunited collectives of "TRIBES". A Term I have consistently rejected, until we end up having a "French Tribe", "British, Italian, Danish," and so forth tribes, then I might reconsider. I will seriously and mercilessly oppose these false propagators of a false notion of our Nation by them claiming to belong to Tribes.. What trite and rubbish!
But, since that is not what I am talking about, we need certain perceptive ways and perspective of beginning to realize ourselves not as a collection of different "Tribes", but a nation with a diverse, vibrant,energetic, similar and one culture. Even if we were to try and interrogate or investigate the notion that our languages are different and not the same, and that they emerged from our trekking South from the north, is utter balderdash!
We have always been here in Mzantsi for eons, and now there is proof of 'supposedly' disappeared civilization of here in Mzantsi, and it can be traced back to 170,000 B.C, and there is a lot of physical material proof that we have been here since the formation of the earth! So that, when I use our music, culture, customs, dances, languages and their practices, techniques and uniqueness, I am working toward reconstructing our Nation (through all the mentioned building blocks, and making them real through our Music, Dance and authentic interpretation of our Culture, etc) and that they should be viewed as being ONE, not different or unrelated to one another-but ONE Unified Nation and One National Culture, etc..
The Art Of Fikile Magadlela
For us to see ourselves as a Nation of Africans in Mzantsi, we need to see ourselves, in some shape of form, as One people who are having a diverse culture, which is in essence, One culture. It is One culture when one starts listening to the music, which we can group into Mbaqanga and those songs unique to different groups in various regions throughout South Africa. We need to have a sense and way of seeing our different cultures as they seemingly are supposedly different, but see them for their commonalities, originality, energy, similar dances, hand-clapping, rhythmic foot-stomping, movements of all kinds, from the gyration of the Shangaan women, to the active and energetic synchronic dances of their men - to the smooth foot-shuffling ad gentle stepping Batswana , Swazis mass singing, and for the men Zulu-type of dancing; up to the easy, steady and deliberate dance of the Basotho men, with their "Kotos" always held high and the foot-stamping well calculated and seemingly off rhythm, but on the beat; to the 'mokgibo' of their women kneeling on the ground, chest-vibrating to their musical rhythm-along with the Xhosa mix of the Batswanas, khoi, Zulu and Sotho cultural dance nuances, as in the case of the "Xhosa" who perform the "Mtjitjimbo" same as the Basotho women, but in a Xhosa male stylistic fanfare(and of the older Xhosa women generation, more akin to the Basothos) in dance, actions and technique; and the Khoisan animistic dance, projecting the action of different animals(they hunt) in a dance form and which too is related in style and presentation to the Zulus, Xhosas, Pedis and all the other groups. We saw children put up their best efforts, imitating their parents, in dance and song and style(which promises continuity).
That in the final analysis, what I am saying here, is not quoted or cited from some book, but what we are creating through viewing the Music I have been posting, and I do not get paid a cent, and do not own these videos, nor composed anything in them, or am I gaining in any way, shape or form. This is part of my contribution to our struggle, and am using much needed innovative ways of teaching all and reaching all-through creating, from the old, and new ideas and ways of seeing for our self on our own.
I intensely dislike our detractors, whether they be Africans of Mzantsi or from anywhere else. I have a passionate and offensive attitude when it comes to us and now we are blocked by those ignoramuses who are in service of deep vested fiscal pockets. Nobody said I should do what I am doing. I am doing it because we need many different ways of executing and making sure our struggle survives, but we will not get this from those who Police The Pan Africanist Walls, which are humming and howling for revolution, and the truth is that there is not one way to making a revolution.
Ask the Zimbabweans with their Chimurenga; learn from the Angolans and their MPLS; Frelimo; I mean, from all revolutionaries if whether in executing their revolutions, they listened and worked not on one single idea. That is an inexact way of making a revolution. A revolution uses all that is relevant to it to succeed. Not a prescribed panacea from some Facebook revolutionaries who are really out of touch with the people in the country, and how we should be trying, our darnest, to liberate them- By Any Means Necessary [a la Malcolm X).
I have been viciously attacked here on face book on different sites and in my in-box. I can be just as vicious too, but I do so tactfully. I cannot stand Bullies and Ignoramuses. Most of us are in position that prevent our people from dreaming big, and bettering themselves. It does not mean that posting here on FB is not "Free". No, according to these minions that are in service of Big Capital, they themselves vulture-capitalist and self-serving-morons, and they do so at the expense and to the detriment of people learning and yearning to becoming much more better. I beg down to no such quislings!
These gendarmes tell us of "Bottom Line" as they have been instructed to trumpet that by their handlers in various places, institutions and the whole bit! They attack our culture that I am working on here on FB with venomous vengeance, and multiple 'exclamation marks" to drive their point home. They Defend their Master's wish that our people should remain dumb, not made to be awake, by anyone. If some of us remember, when the ANC and some of the PAC people came out, I have the press cuttings, many of the revolutionary ANC cadre and PAC cadre were mercilessly murdered by goons of the BOSS Death and torture squads of the mode of the Vlakplaas executioners, and they worked with some of our brother(terrorists) who made it their business to eliminate all fierce and what they considered to be vexatious elements amongst our worthwhile and erstwhile stalwarts.
Is it not then a wonder that some of them(african quislings) have morphed into the FB police, when we should now be working with our people to create a Sane Society and an independent and well -self-willed and developed polity. No! we have people telling us that they are "Guarding some Walls", and they are the first ones to eat up what they claim to dislike.. I am not really scared of such quirky turncoats, but I will use the FB too, to go for their tainted and fattened-three chinned jugulars.
Our African Cultures, Customs, Traditions, Languages, Rites, Histories and Practices, they too need Warriors. They need fearless and very culturally self-loving and defending Warriors. It is not only the gun "revolution" that has have to be monitored, but our cultural revolution, too. This methodology I have carved up in laying out our culture Bare and bringing it to the fore, with its own structures it already has, but am also giving form, meaning and dignity, which is what ought to preoccupy us. Our attaining power will be the one way that will be made realistic by relearning, and developing 'new ways of seeing and looking', shedding off the Apartheid blinkers in the process, will be what might do for us in moving the struggle forward our own culture of which we live-daily-by our knowledge, control and ownership of our culture.... Our struggle is lined to the International African diaspora and Africa itself. I have posted music of Africans from Cape to Cairo; from South America to North America-and throughout the world, to show how same its its matrix and mosaic-in all genres- that in actual reality(in the Garvey-ite mode and sense).
I posted all the different nations of Mzantsi to show the 'similarities', 'commonalities' and 'converging' points of performance, technique and style(both musically and dance-wise) to be of One p\People-One Nation. We are One Nation, but we have not yet even ready to energetically defend and protect it, if not develop what we have as a culture because, as I usually say, most of us have been 'educated into ignorance', and 'we are running away from ourselves'-many are still suffering from Apartheidized Hangovers. If fact, there are still people in our midst who are still ashamed of, and deride our culture as backward, because they have been conditioned to be so by their masters whom they now serve with zeal and gusto.
They go out of their way to please the master-they might as soon take the disease plaguing their controllers/master and have it manifest itself on them-on his behalf. There are some who attack the way I use this foreign language of English. Well, my take is that, if we ever do anything, we better do it well, and good. This will not and does not take away from me being an African of Mzantsi. It is just like presenting the videos that I have been posting or have posted thus, I still hold on to the belief that we need to do our own things right. We need to take control, shape and form, mold and design our cultures, customs, traditions, history, music, dance and all its styles and techniques fully and correctly-own and control them.
It is amazing that going through YouTube, one discerns the way the Cultural imperialists are using all manners of obfuscation, censorship, and licensing and holding on to information pertaining to our music, cultures, dances-patterned to be released at their own discretion. When researchers like me come and look for the music, artist, it's either there's limited information of the bio, or the music has not yet been uploaded or are ignored, or we have not yet developed ourselves to be in a position to really own, control and disseminate our culture as we see fit: to be able and be also be in a position to disseminate our data in any form we wish to.
I hope the thrust of the small idea I have implemented on all theAfrican and other Walls should be seen as me 'showcasing our music, culture and so forth. I put a lot of short history for the listener/reader to get an idea about what they are listening to, and I posted it en-masse as I did because I was swelling the viral stream with positive vibes and dances. On some other far flung and rare FB Walls, our music rules; our music rocks; our music makes people all over the world come back wanting more- whether it is contemporary music, or traditional/cultural music we make. For people who think that I have backed off from posting music and originally written articles about various, they have got another think coming..
We are much better than this- Ons is nie 'Moegoes', and have never been di-Bari, never! For me, I post what I like, and like what I post, and if anyone on any site needs to block me, go ahead, make my cultural day! I will post, if not create my own Wall(I have Four Of Mine) on various topics and keep on working for our people for no Renumeration.. None at all..
All I have done was collate a culture of music and dance that has already survived for itself without me doing what I am doing, so what I did was that I made sure that it becomes well structured and well-formed for the world to see that we are, and who we say we are; we have a powerful, colorful, variegated, diverse and Same and One culture here in Mzantsi. And I thought that my presenting it as I did by posting it on the FB Walls, will be seen for what it is-and yet, what does one see, cultural quislings who have no regard or use for their own culture, and personalize their dimwitted-myopic and narrow-minded selves and work assiduously to prevent its being made too look as great as it is.
Look for yourself, without ass-licking anyone, at all the different posts I have brought forth.. Is that a culture that should be oppressed(apparently this has not worked with the Boers-but our brothers are working around the clock to suppress and depress it). Well, so long as I do not have arthritis, I will type and post; I will use "Word" and "Image" and Audio to put out Culture of Mzantsi on the Global Cultural Map-and put it up to speed with the spreading/splurging and speed of the viral stream. For me, to Date! ... there is no other better culture than our culture in Mzantsi...
African Egyptian Scribes
Reading Is Imperative And Fundamental
Historical Side-Bar: Egyptian Historical Perspectives
The post I am making is from another blogging site(not FB), I am engaged in its discussion and dialogues and participate in contributing to questions asked and sometime become embroiled in hard and serious arguments about subjects and topics, depending on the questions asked. I usually do not post these here on FB, but this little, I felt would help in educating ourselves. Due to limited space one has in these Sites, I maxed out on my reply and had to heavily edit my response and ran out of the allotted number of characters allowed for one to talk or discuss thoroughly the things we have not yet even touched upon in some of our diatribes here on these different Sites/Blogs and here on the FB. Nonetheless, the little bit I have here would help in informing ourselves about these issues. Knowledge of African History is useless without ones recognition and full understanding and knowledge of Egyptian history and all it has to offer(it offers too many things which I will not go into here). Now A Guy named Andrew, in this particular site asked the following question:
"What Books Were Burnt in The Library Of Alexandria?"
"Julius Caesar usually gets the blame for the fire that destroyed the Great Library of Alexandria in his War against Pompey but others have also been mentioned.
"Depending on which source you choose to believe over 400,000 scrolls of priceless antiquity were destroyed. One must remember that 'books' were written in that time as one continuous scroll not as individual pages but one long page read top to bottom.
"As for what 'books' were destroyed no knows . . . because they were destroyed, get it? As in they cease to exist, they are no longer with us, they are ashes, they are burned, they are destroyed . . . Hello? Anyone home?"
"Tough Question. This has been an ongoing one for millennia and there seems to have been no definitive answer. I will simple give you some general answers at this point. We now know for a fact that the Egyptians educated the Greeks. Also, that the Egyptians were the the first to civilize the Greeks. It is well known too, that Alex and his marauders burned The books and Library.
There's already ample scholarship that point to the fact that what has become the Memphite Theology was an inscription on a stone now kept in the British museum, and contains the theological, cosmological and philosophical views of the Egyptian. It is dated 700 B.C, and bears the name of the Egyptian Pharaoh who stated that he copied it from his ancestors. I need to do an article on its three supplementary parts, 1. Gods of Chaos, 2. Gods of order and Arrangement in Creation, and 3. The Primate of the Gods, or Gods of Gods.
Now, this is a very huge task to answer your question given this little space, but, from my own research sources, the Athenian philosophers, Socrates Plato and Aristotle and all their different philosophies, doctrines and the books they wrote(as in the case of Aristotle), are of Egyptian origin and can be traced there. The 'supposedly large number of books' that Aristotle has purported to have written were and had their sources traced to the library of Alexandria as their true origin, because of the lack of uniformity between the list of books thus pointing to his dubious authorship.
There was also the rarely discussed Curriculum of the Egyptian Mystery system, i,e., The education of the Egyptian Priests according to their Orders; the education of the Egyptian Priests in a. The seven Liberal Arts; b. Secret systems of languages and Mathematical Symbolism; c. Magic; d. and that "A comparison of the Curriculum of The Egyptian Mystery System" with the list of books was drawn up by Aristotle himself.
The authorship of books by Plato is even disputed by modern scholars, and ancient historians deny his authorship of the 'Republic' and 'Timeas', because the allegory of the charioteer and winged steeds is traced to its Egyptian origins.
The doctrines of Socrates are traced to their Egyptian origins, and he taught nothing new(nothing was originated by him)
In a nutshell, Plagiarism has now been shown to have been a common practice among the Greek philosophers who borrowed from each other, but chiefly from Pythagoras, who got all from the Egyptians. This is a tough subject, but there's research and not guess work.
Synergy and Synthesis
I wish I had more space and would have really broken it down to its minutest details to really drive home the point that African Scholarship has now advanced and moved in to areas most of us have not yet come across, and there are still those people out there who just answer anything from old and decrepit, tired writings about African Historiography, etc., concerning these subject matters, they have not given themselves enough time to read-up on nor research extensively and thoroughly.
Well, in contemporary times, African historiography is now in a position to answer and defend falsities that are being spread by some ignoramuses about African folks and they consistently try to show for all the wrong reasons, still find they nothing of value even in the most of the advanced African Civilization of any at any time in Antiquity .
At the same time, I have now researched that the South African Civilization of Mapungubwe was not just an aberration or accident of African ancient history. Instead, for that matter, I have even pushed it further, wherein I am now deep into a research that shows that in South Africa, we Africa, we have a history that predates any history and of which this history which can be traced as far back as 170,000 years B.C., with architectural and any types of discipline being applied and hauled-in to shore-up this claim and physical pictures and proof of ancient ruins and dwellings that dot the South African landscape, that had been hidden from us-speicifically speaking, Materialculture.
There's so much work out there to be done on behalf of our people that the narrow-minded-myopic views adopted by some of us is regressive and very detrimental to our own historical development. Some of us no more care what the White man says, we are and have been able to, if not still research, some of the most difficult areas and topics that we, as the people of Mzantsi and then Africa and the whole Diaspora need to talk about and make sure we dig them out, and offer them to our people to learn from.
Some of us, steal the works and efforts of others without crediting them for their efforts so that they appear 'clever' or 'smart' of something they are not. A lot of us "Plagiarize others'"(that is steal it!) the work, and some ignore it as if it does not exist. Well, as I have pointed out somewhere in my posts, 'running away form 'ourselves' will not cut it.
My African "Master Teachers have taught me well into learning how to be original and challenged, most of us-their historical neophytes, to work on producing scholarly contributions that they have rescued from oblivion, and be able to demonstrate with impeccable and indisputable proof that much of the standard fare in the History of philosophy and African history, culture traditions and customs, is precisely that which we say it is, without asking anyone for their opinion. Which, after-all, up to the point we raise some of these conclusive historical and philosophical concrete facts, these detractors have been maintaining, and still maintain that Africans have no history, and nothing to show for that. Balderdash! We, African people today, are up to the task to tackle these falsifications of African histories, cultures, custom, traditions, languages and practices with gusto and forthrightness.
Mental bondage is invisible violence. Formal physical slavery had ended around the world(in a way). Mental slavery continues to the present day. This slavery affects the minds of all people, and , in one way, it is worse than physical slavery alone. That is, the person who is in mental bondage will be "self-contained." Not only will that person fail to challenge beliefs and patterns of thought which control him, he will defend and protect those beliefs and patterns of thought virtually with his last dying effort.
As as we can see today in Mzantsi, our general public accepts anything any fool trumpets, at times because they have money and status("ma-shayela tops") whose opinion is respected based solely on that rickety assumption. For example, when an occasional scholar, priest, or member of the general public discovers new questions and new treatments of information, especially information that challenges the bedrock of their belief and thought systems, that person is frequently met with "silence," "denial," "isolation," even "death." Well, as I have always said in on other sites or blog-posts:
"We Are Going Nowhere Very Fast" here in Mzantsi... And, "We Are Still Hurrying Up Slowly"...
Passing Culture Along
Miseducation And Socialization
Issues of cultural transmission and perpetuation/permutation have become lost in the melange of talking points and spin abound in our contemporary South African RealPolitik, and in essence circumventing the hard core issues. In this instance, it is better wwe begin to look much more closely and deeply at these matter of culture and its transmision in our society. Continuity of traditions and custom is ths and should be the main feature and focus in or even beginning to talk about transforming and shoring up our people for feature posterity, austerity and autonomy and Freedom uninhindred.
I will like to cite extensively from the following excerpt that I have liberally ulled from Asa Hilliard's observation and historical notations.
The lasting challenge that we face is the absence of information and understanding of African Culture. This has been by design. The enforcers of an oppressive suystem work to create cultural disorder among the oppressed. In particular, they suppress the value of other cultures, while glorifying and fabricating history of themselves. They understand that the resulting disorder will make it impossible for the oppressed to be truly independent. Fanono made some interesting observations along these lines:
"The unilaterally decreed normative value of certain cultures deserves our careful attention.... The enterprise of deculturation turns out to be the negative of a more gigantic work of economic, and even biological enslavement... The dcotrine of cultural hierarchy is thus but one aspect of a systematized hierarchixation implacably pursued.
"...For its systems of reference have to be Broken. Expropriation, spoliation, raids, objective murder, are matched by the sacking of cultural patterns, or at leaast condition such sacking. The social panorama is destructed, values are flaunted, crushed and emptied.
"...The lines of force, having crumbled, no longer give direction. In their stead, a new system of values is imposed, not proposed but affirmed, by heavy weight cannons and sabers.
"...this culture once living and open to the future, becomes closed, fixed in the colonial status, caught in the yoke of oppression. Both present and mummified, it testifies against its members. It defines them in fact without appeal.
"The cultural mummification leads to the mummification of individual thinking. The apathy so universally noted among colonial peoples is nothing but the logical consequence of this operation. Their approach of inertia constantly directed at the natives is utterly dishonest. As though it were possible for a man to evolve otherwise than within the framework of a culture that recognize him and that he decides to assume.
"...Thus, we witness the setting up of archaic, inert institutions, Functioning under the oppressor's supervision and patterned like a caricature of formerly fertile institutions".(Fanon)
Asa continues to add:
Fanon continues to ouline the manner in which French officials maneuvered to control the Algerian people by creating internal conflict among the Algerians concerning the cultural requirement that the women wwerar the veil. While there may have been real issues related to female oppression in the Algerian culture, the Frenh were not genuinely concerned with it. Their goal was to 'divide and conquer' the people so that they could control them all - male and female. Fanon writes:
...the French administration in Algeria committed to destroying the people's "originality", and under instructions to bring about the disintegration, at whatever cost, of forms of existence likely to evoke a national reality directly or indirectly, were to concentrate their efforts on wearing of the veil, which was lokked upon at this juncture as a symbol of the status of the Algerian woman
"Such a postion is not the consequence of a chance intuition. It is on this basis of the analyses of sociologists and ethnologists that the specialists in socalled native affairs and the heads of the Arab Bureaus coordinated their work. At an initial stage, there was a pure and simple adoption of the well-known formal, "Let's win over the women and the rest will follow".(Fanon)
Regardless of our understanding of the diverse ways in which European systems of education typically failed African people, Africans continue to be dependent on the European approach that carries no high exception of us. In fact, the European system is based largely on assumptions that we lack the intellectual and cultural capacity for high levels of achievement.Actually, estern education for the masses carries no high values and aims for anyone, European, African or others; not even excellence in basic skill.
This is a very dangerous development for us. Miseducation continues to be be a threat to our survival as a people. This particular form of miseducation strive to make us 'individuals', non- spirtual', 'materialistic', 'passive consumers', and ever 'cravers of White Supremacy Ideas', contents, behaviors and values.
Fracess Cress Welsing calls this "pro-racism', the act of taking the orientation of one's oppressor. Du Bois, Fanon calls this "Double Consciousness".
For me, these are the key words of what we are all missing as a people under siege on all fronts. And many of us, the eucmacated elite in south Africa and the Dispsora, are playing this game very well for it benefits them. It has given them jobs, mothly of bi-mothly cheques, oppulent and afluent life style, living large and travelling the world; ability to acuire all the materila accoutrements and benefits; it has elevated their status in the poor and suffering milieu to dizzying heights; it has given the some semblence of recognitiona dn acknowledgement by the western wrold and theose world that exploit the natural resources of the porr people's natural resources to the hilt; they masquarade and parade themselves infront of us as 'celebrties and emminent persons of importance and not"; they have become our representatives and spokespeople/talking heads in the media owned and contrlloed by their 'former masters'; we are expected to 'buy into this farce and obdurate miss-en-scen-politically or otherwise.
A much more deeper and ever cogent analysis has been the debunking of to this dysfunction. We, the present day intelligentsi in South Africa, Afric and the Diapsora, are quislings, cut-throats, turncoats and charlatans to the cause of helping our people achieve some modicum of confort and or normalcy. The work assudiously very hard to ilead,misdirect and fool our people into believing that pursion of money, welath and weatern ideeas, cultures and life-styles is the way to go. One can see at the way TV in a place like South Africa Plays out-Western programs that are old and throw-awys form the American TV viewers and the like; the Music that is controlled by foreign companies and the progamming diet being that of America or the Wetern Europe shindigs; our foreign policy and local schtick that is influeced by the PRO(Public Relations Officers) in service of American and Western Europe's idoelogical slant and points of viewing.
It is incumbent upon some of us who are still sane enough to begin to recall who we are. It matters greatly today that we try and remember, record and talk about how were socieities were before we arrived this this social misama and dysfunction. We need to debunk theose flunkies of Western interests and ideas by being more knowledgeable about our stories, histories, customs, traditions, music, dances, cultual garb and languages, and so forth, whenever we begin to talk to these mis-Leaders.
We cannot challenge these misguided, but poetentially dangerous so-called leaders of all stripes to be serving the interests of our people when they do not even know squat/jack, yet, they deliberately carry-on and propagate, and transmit the western values, life-style, mannerisms, languages, dess codes, education, and the whole bit to a Dumbed Down Public, who imbibe it as if its progress', modernization, and being in the world of technology, wealth and as averted by the African Americans.. "Happenin'" "or "Poppin'" in the whatever scene-and this is affected and effected/manifested and fisted upon the poor by our aspirant African elite. This undercuts any cultutural transmission of any kind that might still be prevalent amongst the struggling African masses here in Mzatnsi(South Africa and in the Diaspora.
People are today talking about the war of the Wastern christians, and the muslim religion as if it is just recent history. I will not delve into this subject, but it will be worth noting here that I have published a Hub here on HobPages that deals with the Story and History of The Moors and How They Civilized Euroe. And My sub-heading is This is African Hoistory. It is. In this Hub, one can see that the struggles that Fanon talks about above of the issues of the veil and the assailling of the Muslim religion and its people, has its origins and antecendents in the Hisotry of the Moor within the Hub I say I have published here on Hub Pages. To rreally get a better historical take on this issue of the war we see today, that Hub has some information about it. But, in the Same breadth and thought, I do n dont dondone what the Present-dday organization like Al-Qaeda and ISIS(ISL) are doing. I concur that this is terrorism, and it is not within the realm of the development and advancement that I decribe in the Hub I recommend above about the Moors In Spain.
I do not like not will ever support the dastardly deeeds of those who kill in the name of a religion, even if they are not realy practicing. I will forever err on the side of normalcy, and will also too dubunk and condemn what we are witnessing today with these movements that are destabilizing the so-called Middle East and Africa. We have people of the Muslim Faith here in South Africa.. I have not yet made it my business to know what they have to say about this matter of what I call 'pure and terrifying terrorism' that we are witnessing.
There is also the other side to this story, which is what the West is creating as the present chaos there in the so-called Middle-East and the such like places. I say this only to give a balnced view, but not jhelping to justify the present callous murders of inncoent people, and this is one topic I will revisit in some other Hub in the future, and I will give it its pros and cons on both sides of the conflict. I still say, that what's happening to people in the world today, Bosnia, Russia, and all the demonstrations and idsturbances around the world, is a course for concern. But in this Hub, I am specifically addressing the short-circuiting of the culutual transmission of the African people's cultures, customs,, traditions, etc.
This then will bring me to the the following matter I will like to touch up upon below.
The Double Whammy-Starved Children, And Impoverished Mothers
Cultural Dependency: Stunted Intergenerational Cultural Dissemination
The cultural dependency of African people and many other ethnic groups is due to years of miseducation and gradual loss of control of intergenerational cultural transmission. Most Africans are in deep debt. Most of us purchase most of our goods and services from non-Africans. Even simple things like hair care and nail maintenance are provided for many of us by others. Worst of all, there is an absence of a community controlled intergenerational cultural transmission process. That void is filled by the propaganda of others gradually, we have lost the memory of our values, our history, and our creativity.
Culturally dependent people will believe, internalize and utilize anything that they are socialized to believe is correct. For this reason, Africans around the Globe copy European standards of beauty. In certain African countries, there is a crises in the number of people who bleach their skin in an effort to lighten it and look more European. This can be found in Korea and other Asiatic Countries. In south Africa one can trace it way back in the 50s and 60s, when it was common and rife.
Instead of growing food or practicing the natural medical practices that were passed on to us, we are totally dependent on others. It is ironic, that those who make money o n the medicine and other medical remedies today, studied and copied the practices of indigenous people around the world; the very people that they called backward. Now, instead of benefitting from the legacy of their ancestors, the descendants are dependent for medicine, food, and other things needed to survive.
Africans have begun to internalize the views that exploiters have of us and our traditions. Many of us have become eager seeker to be educated(educated) in alien traditions, without criticism of them. For the past few centuries, the mass education that we received in Africa and the Diaspora is rooted largely in Western European education orientation and practice.
This condition has led to financial and political dependence. We no longer create things that we need to survive, not food, clothing, or shelter. Even those things that we do create as our music are under the control of others who have turned these very creativities against us. Destructive images are carried into Africa Communities, where messages of upliftment should be found
"A people who do not share history, who do not appreciate the shared experiences that their history represents, are a people who cannot utilize mutual trust, dependability, and so forth, upon which to build an economic social system. African people who forget their history are a people who forget that they had an economy beofre the European came into existence. They are a people who forget that their economy was developed and maintained prior to the European imperial ascendancy.
"You are here because people wo didn't score anything put their bodies and their lives on the line to see that you got here - and you owe them something for that. ... You want to act like 'revolution' is something that's temporary and forget who you are and lose your obligation to the past, to those who made your success possible and do not fulfill your obligations for those to come - some of whom will be your own sons and daughters!
"When we become socially amnesic, we forget our location in time and space. History is a grid, a set of coordinates that promote the individual to locate himself/herself in reference to other points in the world. History is a mathematical concept.. it is a geometrical concept; it locates and positions one relative to other things.
"When one is shorn of one's past and does not see the direction of one's future and is very uncertain of one's present, then one cannot tell from whence one comes and where one is going, where one is - and suffers as a result.
"People who manipulate the past and present, manipulate one's mentality, sanity, contact with reality and the ability to deal with reality. In other words, the manipulation of history creates real effects in the inividual's personality. Our history not being taught to us correctly ensures that our potential will be forever underdeveloped/Undeveloped as a people and that we will not challenge those who rule over us.
"Identity is very important, as is the idea that African people would dare to name themselves. Whites recognize that as an incursion on their power of naming and an incursion of their power of domination.[That is why they write our history as African people they way they choose to do s, and ignore the fact that there are Africans, in our midst, who can write our African History as we see fit!]
"History is what creates a shared identity in a people. It is based on that shared identity that they act collectively. To take away a people's history, to degrade their history is to degreade their sense of shared identity, is to remove the basis upon which they much behave collectively and reach their goals collectively.
"That's why the history is rewritten ad why people get alarmed about it.
Often, other people can understand us better than we can understand ourselves. Frequently, they have a greater knowledge of the history that made us into who we are than we do. If we don't know our history, or if we've made our history "unconscious" and therefore placed it out of our awareness, that "unconscious motivation," then, why we behave the way we do becomes a puzzle. We're confused by our own behavior.
"If we want to know why we behave the way we do, then, we must know our history: the unconscious must be made conscious."
Each One Teach One; Each One Reach One
Reading, Teaching And Learning Is Fundamental
To all the above, Asa informs us thus:
"There is no way around serious and disciplined Study. We must study, and study more. Study, will reintroduce us to our tradition as African people; a beneficial tradition. Noting in the general culture requires us to do this and so we must set our own standards. We must do this work for ourselves, on our own initiative. There is no chance, whatsoever, that we can launch an appropriate socialization effort without study, without structure, and without habit, tied to our own heritage.
"Nothing is more pitiful than to be led by those who have not done their homework. Around the world, some African and non-African lead panel discussions, public meetings, and more, are held to ares the African agenda. While often well intentioned, the meetings feature disorganized sound bites, confusion, and a lack of synthesis and mission.
"Further, some of the valuable information revealed in these forums are sometime repeating what Africans have said 20, 30, 40, 50, 100 and 200 years ago. Because there was no study, African behave as though they are presenting new information. Had they studied snd not been taught to avoid or resist their own history, they would not be reinventing the wheel. When you not studied, you represent the accurate image of a disorganized, unfocused and controlled group. Unfortunately, too many individuals stand ready to enter the limelight with no clear vision.
"We must conduct study groups in every community for leaders and followers. This is our basic preparation for economic and political action. More important, this is our basic preparation for healing, renewal and for developing our vision of destiny.
"No public schools, anywhere in the African world, deal with the matters reflected in the references within this piece. Sadly, very few organizations that are under the control of African people transmit our profound cultural heritage.This is a sorry conditions.
"There is no way that we can survive as a people without study. There is no way that study can serve us unless we ACT on what we learn. Knowing is not enough. We must construct the world that we want. Nothing comes to those who wait.
"We have all that we need to do what is necessary and make the sacrifices that we need to make. Today, we have more resources than we need to take care of the socialization requirements. Now is the time to save us. The struggle continues."
Having said all the above, Asa continued to add the following:
"Having lost our understanding of the necessity for and the power of a strong ethnic identity, we confuse national and ethnic identity, sometimes combining both of them in the same name, e.g., "African American." Africans may have an American or other nationality, however, there re many other ethnic groups with that same nationality or within other nationalities.
Moreover, The United States, while one nation, is not simply European. Many Untied States citizens think of it as a mono-ethnic nation. They are one of many ethnic groups in America. The same is true of us in other Diaspora locations. Even on the African Continent, we must be careful when outsiders, and some insiders, refer to "Black Africa," as if there was a "White Africa."
Core functional family indentities are not merely "racial" but ethnic and cultural. These are primary identities. Therefore, African ethnic identity can be understood to correlate with both the biological and geographical variety; but it essentially ethnic and cultural.
"Important, but secondary, identities may include variables like nationality, class, or gender. For example, with segregation/Apartheid in the United States and south Africa, European race/ethnic identity trumpet nationality, class and gender. European citizens of both nations, including European men and women, and European rich and poor, joined together to protect and extend their hegemonic system over the African ethnic family for hundreds of years!
"The European women did not make common struggle with African women. The European poor, on the whole, did not make common struggle with the African poor. We must remember this when oppressors try to make a common use argument with the African poor, because they may be poor, or with African women because they may be women. In the end, the anti-African hegemonic systems remains in place.
The lasting challenge that we face is the absence of information and understanding African Culture. This has been by design. The enforcers of an oppressive system work to create cultural disorder among the oppressed. In particular, they suppress the value of other cultures while glorifying and bricking the history of themselves. They understand that the resulting disorder will make it impossible for the oppressed to be truly independent."
From this information above, Asa proceeds to cite from Fanon:
"The unilaterally decreed normative value of certain cultures deserves our careful attention.... The enterprise of deculturation turns out to be the negative of a more gigantic work of economic, and even biological enslavement... The doctrine of cultural hierarchy is thus but one aspect of a systemized hierarchization impeccably pursued.
"For its systems of reference have to be Broken. Expropriation, and spoliation, raids, objective murder, are matched by the sacking of cultural patterns, or at least condition such sacking. The social panorama is destructed, values flaunted, crushed, emptied.
"...The lines of force, having crumbled, no longer give direction. In their stead, a new system of values is imposed, not proposed, but affirmed, by the heavy weight cannons and sabers.
"...This culture, once living and open to the future, becomes closed, fixed in the colonial status, caught in the yoke of oppression. Both present and mummified, it testifies against its members. It defines them in fact without appeal. The cultural mummification leads to a mummification of individual thinking.
"The apathy so universally noted among colonial people, is but the logical consequence of this operation. Their approach of inertia constantly directed at the 'natives' utterly dishonest. As though it were possible for a man to evolve otherwise than within the framework of a culture that recognizes him and that he decides to assume.
"...Thus, we witness the setting up of archaic, inert institutions, functioning underr the oppressor's supervision and patterned like a caricature of formerly fertile institutions"
Fanon makes note of the efforts of the French to divide and conquer the Africans-so that they could control them all — male and female:
"...The French administration in Algeria committed to destroying the people's originality, and under instructions to bring about disintegration, at whatever cost, of forms of existence likely to evoke a national reality directly or indirectly, were to concentrate their efforts on the wring of the veil, which was looked upon at this juncture as a symbol of the status of Algerian woman.
"Such a position is not the consequence of a chance intuition. It is on the basis of the analyses of sociologist and ethnologists that the specialists in so-called native affairs and the heads of the Arab Bureaus coordinated their work. At an initial stage, there was a pure and simple adoption of the well-known formula, 'Let's win over the women, and the rest will follow'."
Asa therefore adds:
"Regardless of our understanding of the diverse ways in which European systems of eduction typically failed African people, Africans continue to be dependent on the European approach; an approach that carries no high expectations of us. In fact, the European system is based largely on assumptions that we lack the intellectual and cultural capacity for high levels of achievement.
"Actually, Western education for the masses carries no high values and aims for anyone, European, African or others; not even excellence in basic skills. This is a very dangerous development for us. Miseducation continues to be a threat to our survival as a people. This particular form of miseducation strives to make us individuals, non-spiritual, materialistic, passive consumers, and even cravers of white Supremacy ideas,contents, behaviors and values.
"Francess Cress Welsing calls this "Pro-Racism," the act of taking the orientation of one one's oppressor. Dubois calls this "double consciousness." Many other Africans have arrived at the same conclusions though they often used a different language.
Gradually, we have lost the memory of our values, our history, and our creativity. Culturally dependent people will believe, internalize and utilize anything that they are socialized to believe is correct. For this reason, Africans around the globe copy European standards of beauty.In certain African countries, there is a crises in the number of people who bleach their skin in an effort to lighten it and look more European.
"Africans have begun to internalize the views hat exploiters have of us and of our traditions. Many of us have become eager seekers to be educated in alien traditions, without criticism of them. For the pst few centuries, the mass education that we receive in Africa and in the Diaspora is rooted largely in Western European education orientation and practice.
"This condition has led to financial and political dependence. We no longer create things that we need to survive; not food, clothing, or shelter. Even those things that we do create such as our music are under the control of others who have turned these very creativities against us. Destructive images are carried back into the African Communities, where messages of uplift should be found."
This is the reality that is not nor the transmission that is taking place in these communities as pointed out above by Asa
Culture Still The Fulcrum Of Our Lives In Mzatnsi Today
Look Far And Ahead Into Our Future-If We Have And Make One
What Is Going On Here In Our Country We Call Mzantsi... Hmmmm...?
Are We In Control Or Out Of Control? Di Ntshang? Zikhiphani for Ma-What? (What's Going On?)
Rumination About Our State Of OurNation - Not Not -Yet-Developed-Developing African South African Nation...
Today, within the African milieu of Mzantsi, there's a paucity of serious dialogue by those who lead the discussion/talking points, and all those that Partake and end up Leading the nationgroups, as individuals, but like a collective. Some call this socialism, others call it Communism… I call it National Community Communalism.
What is that? Well, one can harken back into our various 10 cultures of Mzantsi and cull from it common elements of behavior, actions, talks, languages, music, dances, clothing, culture, history, customs, traditions, sacred rites and practices, philosophy, psychology, sociology, and the whole human endeavor that we are part of on this earth-we will then begin the infant stutter-steps required to comprehensively control and work with our forlorn, destitute and under siege people to be sure we know what we are doing. Forming One Nation.
We have to begin somewhere down the time line of our existing in South Africa and think/act along these lines, and act as we think and know. There are no half measures or short-cuts here. Otherwise we might as well as all Shut Up and ditch the farce and attempt to keep on writing and posting the farcial inconsequential and pompous utterances which do nothing for us. I repeat this in another way: We better get down seriously.
What's my schtick? Well, for now. I will defer to Jose Marti:
"An ignorant people can be deceived by superstition and become servile. An instructed people will always be strong and free. An ignorant man is on his way to becoming a beast, and a man instructed in knowledge and conscience is on his way to being a god. One must not hesitate to choose between a nation of gods and a nation of beasts."
"The best way to "defend our rights is to know them well"; in so doing one has faith and strength; every nation will be unhappy in proportion to how poorly educated are its inhabitants. "A Nation Of Educated Men Will Always Be A Nation Of Free Men". Education is the only means of being saved from slavery. "A Nation Enslaved To Men Of Another Nation Is As repugnant As Being Enslaved To The Men Of One's Own".
This is the crux and nub of our miseries. Jose encaspulated it brilliantly and simply. The lesson we must take from it is its simplicity and manifestation likewise. When we talking about our African reality, I apologize to no one, and will state simply: It has to be done-What? Educating and Instructing our African people-No matter how long it takes. That's my take on my life and my reason to be in existence.
I really am not interested, at this point in my life, in caring who reads or does not read, nor cares about what I am saying talking about Africans of Mzatnsi-neither will I compromise my zeal and passion to see to it that my own African people begin, again, get to see the importance of education and our controlling and determining our destiny on in this earthly spheroid, blasting through eternity(thought so, for now).
In our present state and existence as the Africans of Mzantsi, there is this gnawing feeling that we have been invaded and are being pushed-out and some places occupied by non-indigenous African people, and when we utter whimpering cry about the fact that this is our country and land, are dismissed and put down by our African brothers.
This is a fact and it is going on as I am onto this piece above. What I am saying then is, I am not going to apologize to anyone when it comes to trying to cobble together our Country and Nation, and its people, in the Sobukwe sense of the meaning and reality/philosophy.
What's happening? I then ask. Di Ntshang? Zikhiphani For Ma What(What's Happening?) Why fore/Whytofore? This to me is interrogating our people's life, mental health, basic human rights and these Rights guaranteed under the Bill Of Rights Of South Africa-of which, many of our people do not know, but have a general sense about it-but as to what they mean-that still needs to be seen. We have to take ourselves seriously and care for each other in the Bikoan sense of creating a brave and new Human Face here in our country-amongst our African people.
Biko has said it best: "Ours is a Human Centered Culture-It Has Man At and As Its center." This is so true and relevantly correct and resonating with many of us, that it becomes easy to imbibe, digest, analyze and apply and make it real without any effort for our African people.
For instance, the Facebook Social Media is well adaptable to our cultural style and practice/orality, that we should by now be prolific in this medium in creating memes and zines that are from the ground up. Meaning, if you work amongst our people, you end up talking and acting like our people and you will only become relevant if what you say they can identify with and within oneself, own people, being themselves, and see them looking at themselves and you as important parts of what is being said about them/him/her-Nation.
This is a very sensitive and dangerous time in our country of Mzantsi, and we still have to talk to what is really taking place. We know that our aquifers are being dried up throughout our country; our underground rivers are being redirected to the burgeoning coal mines along the Limpopo; the new gold minefields that are,desparately business in need of water to develop are drying up our rivers.
We know that there is this fracking issue along the Karoo lands; insufficient housing for millions that are still dwelling in shacks and ramshackle corrugated iron structures that are freezers and fire hazards in the Winter; and are boiling ovens and water dredged in the rainy seasons. So that, whilst the hospitals are no more training competent nurses/too many agencies are fly-by-night training institutions; poorly equiped and badly untrained teachers: no more teachers colleges are built; we are in the rut.
This is a time when we see the real true gendarme element bare its creed. Meaning, we know that the government is useless for and to us. We have heard it in gossip-the type of yellow journalism that characterize our newspapers, with the macabre stories and Believe-it-Or-Not type of reportage, our information is serviced by this type of sensationalism, that in the end, it ends up as useless data. I have written extensively about the South African Press elsewhere, I will simply note that this is something we should be deciphering thoroughly by now, and knowing what we are dealing with.
Television is not worse for wear-Or maybe it is. I mean, it is the syndicated productions from America, who have already and installed infrastructure in South Africa to accommodate their splurging and entrenching their TV-style and American News Dissemination octopus that this too is one pressing thing we should be learning more about, understanding, and setting ourselves up to deal with it to suit our own needs and expectation.
Be that as it may be, our Culture is well-suited to maneuver and manipulate this modern Media and Modern Men/Women. Does this Mean becoming a poor copy of what our Masters are? No. It simply means we have the ability and capability to transform and morph as we see fit in today's techno society and environments.
We have our own narratives which we can work with, and these have an alluring effect and affect on our people, tremendously. I am more interested in the listening habits and media preferences of our people, their wanting to know what the programs are about. I know about those themes of the stories-My interest is to learn and work with our people in transforming present-day media int their own aesthetic holistic understanding of the content and media/medium.
So that, then, if we can configure the whole strata/sector and the whole Nation thingy thingamajig, I think we can begin to get used to thinking in real, coherent and revolutionary changing ways.
It is not enough to only rehash what happened in the June 1976 Revolution, but also we must know and see in ourselves and society what has this Revolution of June 16th 1976 has spawned in us, we will then know truly and surely that it was successful. But until then, if we are going to be like I am about to write about below, then, we are in serious trouble we the people of Mzantsi.
Ziikhipani For Ma What? (Say What? What's Happening)…
Our Township parlance is one way I think I have been particularly enamored with. It is a great shorthand and conceptualizing and discerning phenomena whatever it is. It is a suave way to speak and think, and the language itself is 21st century, and it is as old and different as the regions themselves throughout South Africa are. I am in the Region of Gauteng and in Soweto, and in my particular Hood, we have evolved an extensive and language system that is as urbane as any in any Metropolis around the world.
There are many amongst us who are averse to such palaver. I am not. I consider all African languages throughout South Africa to be a true reflection of the different regions we live in, and perceive no difference, as such with these. I only see diversity that has not been an addressed aggressively from an African centered and clearly informed perspective. I touch up on this, briefly, below.
Our own local motion and intonation and style is well-suited to any other in the world. It is what we are talking about and dealing that helps shape our consciousness, and make us efficiently erudite-at all times. We are just as well equipped and adapt/adept in our colloquialism and annunciation/pronunciation and fkuently eloquent in our Township Slang that I find it very useful as tool of discourse and rapport amongst ourselves. I think that in talking the way our people speak, we become one with them, and we are on the same page with our People.
But this does not end there. It is a means through which we will have to apply ourselves to the decrepit given the conditions and our existential reality. Our education of ourselves and our people for one. This is still eluding our understanding as to what we are doing here and with our education-evenlong after June 16th 1976. Then there's the problem that we the people of Mzantsi have not really defined what and how we want our education to be.
This is tripping everything we might try to do. Our being educated in our own country, by other people either than us, where our education has been outsourced and in many cases in the hands of the Western Public relations officers and huge corporation-this is unconscionable. When we see the education we are fed today, the commercialization of our education, and in the process, you see the local jargon that we have 'Private Schools" or Model C School, and of course there are abandoned and forgotten Township School-Apartheidized Education Post Neo Colonialism-One comes to realize that we are in a serious mess
Josse Marti states:
'Popular Education does not mean education of the poorer classes exclusively, but rather that all classes in the nation, tantamount to saying the people-be well educated. Just as there is no reason why the rich are educated and not the poor, what reason is there for the poor to be educated and not the rich. They are all the same.'
This is what we African people fail to understand that we have the power of doing for our own education-Everything good and excellent. We do not have the necessary materials to be able to work on such matters. because at the forefront of everything we do: Money/Cash nexus is King.
But many of us are still hung up on the fact that our children will be better educated in these expensive suburban schools, when many of Soweto Kids are hauled in private cars and buses to be dropped at those schools into the White people's enclaves, to be edumacated, then, when they come out out of the grist mill of those school factories, they serve no purpose to us. as an African people...
What we have conveniently forgotten is the fact that many of us no more want to do what Jose Marti talks about in short below:
"Every man when he arrives upon this earth has a right to be educated, and then , in payment, the duty to contribute to the education of others."
My thing, therefore, is that, Education as we should be applying and implementing it, should be decided by us as to what that type of activity will be for all and sundry. If we are going to choose the dictation of other people's aphorisms and their edumacating our African polity and collective to get certain ideas forward and forth, that is not a good thing among u, and we should be doing our own educating of ourselves, but that should be not the 'only' thing we should be doing. There are many things we should be doing to begin to cobble our education/nation, not what we are seeing being done to us African preople of south south Africa: Dumbing Us Down.
Books are expensive. The Internet is very expensive and takes a lot of money out of the poor people's budgets and lines up the pocket if International Kapital.[Das Kapital]. It is now more harder to have a broader mass informed society, like we have an army of the captured poor being denied access to all things education and instruction, along with knowledge gathering. This is a tactic and technique we should be cognizant to by now
The whole system of education has been muddled and it is worse than it was during Apartheid. It is a well-known fact that the Fat-Cats in our midst take their children to even more exclusive school, overseas. They have been doing it for years. And now we have a cadre of children, now grown up, and are foreign to us their parents, societies and nation. Meanwhile, we have an army of youth schooled in delapidated and poor schools
We should not be afraid to tell each other of our vices and follies-faults and foibles… But at least be honest enough to badly want per see some form of change in our life-time. Right now, everything is chaos in our midst, and we not do not have any coherent ideas/strategy as to What's To Be Done?(A la Lenin).Well, for us today, that is the conundrum. We all come to fore here on Social Media with various ideas but our own. That is a recipe for disasters, right there.
We can talk or wax about this or that overseas, but less of that and so on about ourselves here at home. It is because many of us want to be what we are not-we can only be what we dreate ourselves to be. There are many people in our Townships who think that they are Americans. This is very distracting and delaying our discovering ourselves fully. I have said this before… Yourself is a sure bet in tackling the vicissitude of life, unlike some phony-baloney of a misperceived and confused self.
We will never be Americans… Instead, we still have a lot in our plate to contend with and become Africans of South South Africa-without apologizing to no one for saying so-nor copy-cating anyone. In the same vein, Cultural Pride is no misdemeanor nor high crime anywhere on earth for present-day humans..
Since we are at it, thus far, it behooves me to remind all reading this that we are a people who are coping and recovering from the most devastating form of slavery and oppression known to man-to date. I do not have to digress in to that story and history, but lest it be forgotten, that there are other nations state that declare that they will not forget the heinous crimes committed on themMeanwhile, we, still today, are having to live with the raw reminders of our decrepit existence, now exacerbated by quislings and cutthroat vulture capitalist, who have melanin-like the majority of us.
Jose Marti Noted:
"An ignorant people can be deceived by superstition and become servile. An instructed people will always be strong and free. An ignorant man is on his way to becoming a beast, and a man instructed in knowledge and conscience is on his way to being a god. One must not hesitate to choose between a nation of gods and a nation of beasts.
"The best way to "defend our rights is to know them well"; in so doing one has faith and strength; every nation will be unhappy in proportion to how poorly educated are its inhabitants. "A Nation Of Educated Men Will Always Be A Nation Of Free Men". Education is the only means of being saved from slavery. "A Nation Enslaved To Men Of Another Nation Is As repugnant As Being Enslaved To The Men Of One's Own".
We cannot escape this truism above. We are all seeing this play out right in front of our own eyes with our present leaders. What Jose was talking about in 1878, was that, up to that time he wrote that, that was the real zeitgeist. From his times, those of Jose, to oour present reality, we have not yet even realized this truth, and today in Mzantsi, we keep on electing those so-called leaders to rule over us and we end up fighting them timex. We paddling the stationary wheel to no end.
This gotta stop, and a more coherent and very focused efforts have to become implemented, anew.
How many times are we going to go through this democratic farce? Mmmmm? Are we going to repeat the oft seen scene without change of optics?
This is a wonderment on my part that we have come, again, towards celebrating an event that was transformative, June 16 1976, and we are still in more or less the same situation, and the ANC has gone to lengths to call it "Youth Day"? What that? How semantics have been deployed here, has numbed us to obsolescence, to being disappeared... Genocide?
This might seem like some ruminations of someone sitting and pondering such issues. Well, some of us have to do just that. It is important we begin to put ourselves into proper African centered perspective… I have played around with some themes and ideas above. Due to the short space of the Facebook posting, I will summarize here by saying:
We have to begin to see a new way of seeing, thinking and acting/doing. We have the opportunity and ability to do the things we want to do, anytime, as a collective. But it begins somewhere in order to go anywhere or be anything. Reading and propagating each other on the Viral Soup is but one sure way to begin to splurge our meme and zines as we see fit.
I want to share this piece in closing:
Amilcar Cabral Writes:
'Unity and Struggle' ... Obviously, to study the basic meaning of this fairly simple principle we must know well what Unity is and What Struggle is. And we must put or treat the question of 'struggle in particular context, that is from the geographical viewpoint and bearing in mind and society — social and economic life, etc., — of the environment in which we want to apply this principle of Unity and Struggle.
"What is Unity? We can clearly take Unity in a sense which one might call static. for example,if we consider the entirety of bottles in the world, one bottle is a Unity. Daniel Barreto[Jabu Mkhwanazi] is a Unity. And so on. Is this the Unity we are interested in considering in our work when we speak to our people's cultural principles? Is it or is not. It is to the extent that we want to transform a varied entirety of persons into a well defined entirety seeking one path.
"And it is not because here we must not forget that within this entirety there are diverse elements. Rather, the meaning of Unity that we see in our principles is the following: whatever might be the existing differences, we must be one, an entirety, to achieve a given aim. This means that our principle, Unity, is taken in dynamic sense, in motion."
"You see a person coming along, for example, with a basket on her head, and the person usually sells fruits. You do not know what fruits are inside the basket, but say: here she comes with a basket of fruit. There might be orangesges, bananas, papayas, guavas, etc., inside the basket. But in our thinking, she is coming with an entirety which represents a Unity, one basket on her head, one basket of fruit.
"You know that it is a Unity, whether from the point of view of number: one basket of fruit; or of objective: sale. It is all one thing, even though there are various things inside: various fruits, mango, bananas, papayas, etc. But the fundamental question that is comment with fruit for sale makes it all into a single thing.
"That is to give you an idea of what Unity is and to tell you that the basic principle of Unity lies in the difference between the items.
So what is Unity for us? What is the objective around which we must make Unity in our land? Obviously we are not a football team, or a basket of fruit.
"We are people, or members of a people, who at a certain stage of their history, have taken a certain course on their path... have raised certain matters in their spirit and their life, have guided their action in certain direction, have put certain question and have sought answers.
"It might all have begun with one person alone, or two, or three, or six. At a certain stage this question appeared in our midst - Unity. And We, as a people, were able to be far-sighted, that is, understood this so well, that in its very theme their adopted as its main principle, as the base of everything, Unity And Struggle"
I would like to cite Cabral as much as possible, but in the final analysis, we are going to get very serious, and mull and ponder these critical issues and matters, very soon, if not Now… For Our Own Survival....
Ndebele Children In Cultural Garb
Recovering Historical Memories
Cultural transmission is and can be done in many ways. One of the ways I am able to provide is by chronicling our antiquated past and make it relevant in filling the gaps of the lies told about African history. By this, this I mean what was life like before the coming of the Europeans in south Africa amongst African South Africans. This is one question that is still puzzling many people today given that they have been educated, so to speak, by the very oppressors who wanted to make them slaves in the beginning.
One of the many ways that has been filled-up in our heads is the notion that we do not belong to South Africa. Not only that, with the divide and conquer thrust, the Boers taught us our history as they saw it fit; meaning, as it served their ruling and dominating interests. We have gone to, and have been schooled through a curriculum that distresses African history, project it as a history of barbarians and losers.
We have been made to believe that when the Boers were coming in from the Cape, we were trekking into South Africa from the north of South Africa. It has been boldly stated, by many European writers, that were had not social order, no nations to speak of, no writing, no sense of self rule. Instead, the all write that we were so unstable and were busy fighting with one another, that any noting of normalcy had never been our norm, as an African people.
By posting the cited piece below is to give African peoples of South Africa a fighting chance in knowing the truth about their past. Long before we came across Van Riebeeck and his cronies, there were Dutch sailors who put on record our past as they objectively saw it. It is nothing like what we have been led to believe know and regurgitate today. If only we knew our true past, and told each other much more about it, it will be at least one way we will be on our way to learning how to transmit our history cultures, traditions, customs, sacred rites and practices, music, dance, traditional garb and our languages to the oncoming generations.
givingThere is one stellar account I have touched upon above that was giving an account of the state of the African nation before the 18th century, written about the survivors of the wreck of Stavenisse on 1686. Elizabeth Eldridge tells us that this stranded crew was shipwrecked along the Eastern Cape coast. They reported that, "In the beginning of this year  another party of nine Englishmen came to them, who had, a short time before, lost their ship, and all their property, at latitude 281/2. These Englishmen helped hem build a boat.
Eleven Dutch and Nine Englishmen then travelled less than 12 days in their boat from Terra De Natal to Cape, The Nord, which left Table Bay October 10, 1688, and arrived at Delegoa Bay on November 15 and left for Cape Town on December 29, 1688. They did not manage to rescue any survivors they found, but only a man who had lived in Natal for more than a year, and the vessel was itself wrecked, requiring another rescue vessel to be sent.
In their declaration the survivors reported about Natal:
"They found the country very fruitful and populous, and the Africans friendly, compassionate, obliging, strong, and ingenious, armed with only one assegai. they are very obedient and complying with the King or chief; living in communities, in huts made of branches, wrought through with rushes and long grass, and rooted like hay stacks in Holland.
"In manners, dress, and behavior, they are much more orderly. The women attend to cultivation; the men herd and milk the cows. They do not eat poultry because they [the poultry] feed on filth; still less do they eat eggs, and it makes them sick to see Europeans eat them.
"For a copper arm ring, or a common neck-ring, of the thickness of a tobacco pipe, they sell a fat cow or ox of 600 lbs. weight, more or less; for a similar ring, they give as much corn as will fill unordinary meal tub, form which corn they make very well tasted and nourishing bread, and brew beer both small and strong, which is not unpleasant in taste, and which they keep in earthen vessels.
"They eat besides a certain bean, in size and taste not unlike the european horse-bean; also, some roots (weaker) and worse favored than sweet potatoes; they too have tobacco and smoke it; its quality very good; of fruits, they have a kind of unknown prune, and cloloquintidas."
These sporadic shipwreck accounts, as few as they are, remain some of the most important written record about Africans of Mzantsi dated since the 11th century and provide a baseline of information with which oral traditions collected centruies later compare very well with. They record the names of the Kings and chiefs and the chiefdoms and kingdoms that provided for the social and political organization of the communities of Southeastern Africa from the 10th to the 18th centuries.
The information that can be correlated between the written and oral sources, however sparse, confirms the antiquity of these Kingdoms and chiefdoms as claimed by late generations in relating the lengthy genealogies of the families, societies and ruling families. The political history of the region was remembered by later generations in relating to their lengthy genealogies and oral traditions, which were passed down to them as oral records of their historical heritage.
The information above is an aid to give the reader a peek at pre-colonial African polity and what it was before it was downgraded by the late 1652 Dutch settlers. The life of the people of Mzantsi was very normal and progressive, as opposed to the later accounts by the Van Riebeck crew and the Boers that came and settled in the Cape beginning of the 17th century. The communities of African people were self-sufficient and thriving, contrary to the Apartheid historical view and propaganda.
Our culture and customs, traditions and the whole bit, have been our practices and reality from time immemorial... Our knowing how we were before what we are now will only help that little bit towards moving forward. The are many other accounts of the other African nations of Mzantsi written by many men who saw it first hand. We can tell as to the quality of lives prior to coming of the European, and we can see and observe that today as we live in the techno age It is important t\for us to know most of the right stuff about ourselves and Africans of Mzantsi