Tag Archives: Africa

The African Diet

Part of the re-Africanization process is learning your culture, and your roots. You really couldn’t do that without paying attention to the food!It is true that Africa is not a country, but a continent, with many different cuisines. However, the basis of the African diet seems consistent as you can see here.

As the African Heritage Diet Pyramid illustrates, this diet is based on whole, fresh plant foods like colorful fruits and vegetables, especially leafy greens; tubers like yams and sweet potatoes; beans of all kinds; nuts and peanuts; rice, flatbreads and other grain foods, especially whole grains; healthy oils; homemade sauces and marinades of herbs and spices; fish, eggs, poultry and yogurt. It’s naturally low in processed sugar, unhealthy types of fats, and sodium, and includes only small amounts of meats and sweets.

 

Common Foods of African Heritage

Growing up on a West Indian diet, we ate a lot of the foods that West Africans eat with the exception of fufu. We all have our variations of soups, stews and rice. And we tend to boil our provisions while West Africans tend to mash theirs. We also don’t use teff or sorghum. It’s very simple then, for a West Indian to adopt an African diet particularly since Caribean and African grocers offer many of the same foods, spices and oils. However, if you were raised on a more Western diet, it will take some time to learn to cook like an African.

I have made it a goal to perfect one new African recipe a month. This month I would start easy with omo tuo (rice balls) from Ghana, usually served with fufu and a variety of soups! It’s something I know both my son and I would enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

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African Relations with the Diaspora

We, as Black people, can only reach liberation by uniting. Colourism, tribal feuds and classism are only some of the things that are dividing us and having some Black people look down their nose at others.

I read some comments on a Naija forum about Africans studying abroad feeling horror when associated with Black Americans. To be honest,  I have never met a Black American.  I’m a Canadian- born woman with parents from the Caribbean.

Some of the viewpoints of Africans in the Motherland is that we are ignorant,  no-good Blacks whose history started with slavery and we think we are better than Africans because of our citizenship. We are all gangbangers and welfare recipients who can’t get out of poverty because we are lazy.

Meanwhile,  many people  (including  myself) in the Diaspora was taught to believe Africa is a place of cannibalistic savages, extreme poverty and sexism with high rates of female illiteracy, and the home of The Lion King. We considered ourselves superior and some of us even mocked thick African accents and incomprehensible names to our subjugated minds.

However,  the truth is, Blacks in the Diaspora originated from Africa. We are your sisters and brothers taken from your village, your country, your continent.  There is no need to look down on us because some of us don’t have the same drive to success as Contintental Africans. There is no need for us to look down on you for what we may consider to be less civilized ways of living.

We need a better future for Black people everywhere- -from Tokyo to London to Accra. We need to stop listening to this divisive stereotypes and embrace each other.  Africans are not taught the history of the Diaspora,  and we are not taught the history of Africa. Both histories are integrated and the only way to stop the African- Diasporan divide is to have dialogue and find out similarities.  The Diasporan community has an obligation to learn about African culture and history and values,  politics, art, literature- -everything.  And Africans would be wise to see a powerful ally if they could just empathize and realize that we need each other because we ARE each other  .

Charlotte Uprising

Usually when I hear a story of another Black brother shot in the States, I immediately feel anger and frustration. But when I heard about what the organized, militant protest in Charlotte, I felt hope. As a Canadian, I often feel helpless but today I scrutinized a few ways Canadians and others in the Diaspora can help our American comrades fighting with their lives for liberation.

 First, we must be with them on a conscious level. We must offer our positive vibes, we must pray for them to our ancestors. We have to separate ourselves from the notion that White Is Right. White, no matter how innocent it may appear, will not and has not suffered for liberation. We must separate ourselves from white ideology and think African unification.

   Secondly, we need to raise funds for our comrades whether it’s just $5 or $10, or $20. Each comrade protesting is taking time from work to fight for their right to live. They may not have a job when they return. They may have dependents. They may need supplies during the protests. It is our responsibility as Black Canadians who are fighting for freedom in North America to aid our comrades who are literally fighting. Freedom for one, is freedom for all. We are one.

   We must spread awareness through social media, alerting other people to their plight and effort. We must show the world we are in solidarity and we must show we are paying attention to the injustices in our neighbouring country.

   Lastly, if some of us are able to do so, we must go to the States and lend manpower and show that the killing of Black people is affecting us internationally. If there is a protest in nearby New York or Chicago you can attend, drive or bus it and attend. We cannot sit like cowards in Canada, afraid to fight and afraid to lend a voice. It is time we turn anger into action.

Twi Progress

Learning an African language is an important aspect of reAfricanization and one I take so seriously that I don’t even want English spoken in my house, just Asante Twi or other African dialects (I’m dating an African man who speaks both Twi and Yoruba). Learning an African language isn’t easy because I do not have the opportunity to practice my Asante Twi very often since I live in a small, rural town. 

However, if you are dedicated to learning an African language, there is a lot of resources and all it takes is determination, practice and discipline. I found that this comprehensive website is very thorough and has a lot of information, as well as being a reAfricanization website who’s purpose is to assist the African in the Diaspora in their journey. Here Here is a basic Twi language website that’s great because it has pronunciation from an African, and not some random bot. 

  There are a number of Asante Twi and other language apps. I use Twi Junior which is good for beginners, and Twi Proverbs which is just nice to have. My goal is to memorize the Asante proverbs I like. I also listen to Ghanaian music on YouTube although it’s not 100% certain the songs are all in that dialect, but the music is actually good and upbeat and puts me in the right mind frame when I’m studying Twi. The best tutorial on YouTube is GoldCoastDebuty. She makes learning Twi fun! 

I hope to be fluent in Asante Twi by Kwanzaa this year, and I believe in everybody young and old who are reconnecting with their African roots! We can do this! 
 

Black Love Action

   When you become awoken, you will be in a state of anger most of the time. And anger can be very beneficial, it can be the fuel to keep you going; but it can also be tormenting to be in a negative state of mind. It can leave you feeling defeated, miserable and dismal. We may even avoid facing consciousness because it attracts such strong emotions.

   If you feel overwhelmed by the injustices and wickedness done to the Afrikan people around the world, then attack it from a different perspective. Attack it with positivity.

   Growing my son’s locs is something I’m doing as Black Love action. I wear a headwrap as a Black Love action. I smile and seek out Black people as a Black Love action. I buy from Black businesses and individuals as Black Love action. I read Afro-centric books as Black Love action. I celebrate Jankanu and Kwanzaa as a Black Love action. Black Love actions are more powerful than any rhetoric, any theory, any meme, any lip service paid to Black liberation.

    So, the next time you feel you are personally fighting a losing battle, do what you are doing out of positivity instead of anger or vengeance or defiance, or indignation. That culture is wicked, they feed on our Black suffering and oppression sadistically, they can feel it and they salivate victoriously. Do them a big one. Use that anger constructively. Build upon the knowledge, the unity and the growing self-love you are creating and make all your actions one of Black Love.

Kraka Kraka

    

African champions must break the chain that links African ideas to European ones, and listen to the voice of the ancestors without European interpreters. 
                                                 -John Carruthers
                                                   “Mdw Ntr”

  I have put the Akan language Bambara aside for now in favour of Asante Twi, which is far easier to learn and more fun. I don’t know why my heart wasn’t into Bambara, but when I began learning Twi, I felt alive. I felt as if my ancestors were telling me this is right, this is for you to learn. I honestly felt a spiritual connection to the Asante Twi language, despite the fact it is unlikely my ancestors were Akan. Only 3% of the Akan tribe arrived in my Caribbean island via the slave trade. 67% arrived from Southeast Nigeria (Igbo) and Cameroon. So I should probably be learning Yoruba. But Twi is so fun and I love Ghanian culture and music!

    It is super easy for me to teach my son. His favourite Twi word is “kraka kraka” meaning “small small” or “a little”. We watch @goldcoastdebuty on YouTube, Gloria is amazing and vibrant. We also use the Junior Twi app for Android, and I have created an Asante Twi notebook with phrases, words, song lyrics and the national anthem, which you should listen to because it’s in your face awesome.

   Our ancestors want us to continue where they left off before those European slave ships arrived. We are indoctrinated with European ideas but Africa is inside of us, we just have to listen to the voice of our ancestors. It doesn’t hurt to learn their language. A’se, sisters and brothers. Mendase!

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Re-Africanization

   We all know Black struggle. We are aware of the anguish and suffering of our ancestors who were stolen, beaten, burned, lynched, murdered and raped; suffering that still reverberates through our communities today. And now it’s time to re-Africanize ourselves, to relearn and practice what was taken from us as those ships landed on the Motherland: our languages, our culture and ways.

   Re-Africanization is a positive aspect of our struggle towards liberation because this is the part where we begin to pick up the pieces, where we begin to heal and where we continue where our ancestors left off. Re-Africanizing is a powerful undertaking that has political, economical, societal and personal repercussions for the oppressor. They do not want to see us Re-Africanize collectively. They do not want the Afrikan Diaspora to heal and build itself.

    I am on the very beginning of my re-Africanizing journey and I cannot stand at the top of the mountain and preach what you must do to re-Africanize yourself. That is for you to decide individually based on your circumstances. Some people are fortunate enough to go to the Motherland, others are fortunate to live in Little Africa neighbourhoods in their respective cities.

   Some Afrikan people change their slave names, others are comfortable simply adding an African name to their existing name such as “Kwame Michael Button” or “Oke Janet Brown”. If African names sound strange and unpalatable to you, ask yourself as to why. Other people wear dashikis, geles,  asa okes, Bantu knots and Senegalese twists or henna. Some people are reacquainting themselves with African deities, music and dance. Others read books on ancient African history. A few people are even learning a West African language like Asanti Twi. I cannot imagine this is easy.

   We, in the Diaspora, have been cut off from our roots and origin, and it is up to us to educate ourselves for liberation and re-Africanize ourselves which should come naturally as part of our being. Re-Africanizing is about celebration, recovery, discovery and healing. It is not a foolish thing to embark on because once you have knowledge of self, the next step is to apply it.