Tag Archives: Africa

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.

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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.

Goodbye Slave Names!

   I decided to go to Service Canada last week to begin the legalized change of my French slave name to a West African name. I searched long and hard and found new African names for me and my 2 year old son who is of African-Iranian descent.

  I chose Nomolanga Achieng Eksenwe for myself because Nomolanga Achieng because it is Zulu for “sunny” and I’m an optimistic, cheery person born in the middle of summer. I also chose it because “Achieng” which means “sunlit” is reminiscent of the warm, chocolate brown skin I have. I chose the last name Eksenwe, which is a well known last name.

    My son’s new name Chilongola means “firstborn son” and his middle name Masego means “blessings”. I feel our African names are not just a powerful way of reclaiming our African identity that was stolen away, but of defying the racist social control that exists today. It is a constant reminder of our Blackness, our heritage and history. Not just for ourselves, but for everyone we encounter from colleagues, school peers and strangers.

    I have rid ourselves of the continuity of the Blanchette, Riviere and Dangleben slaveholding families that held dominance over my family for over a century by their French names. Therefore, what we achieve will be Black excellency, not that of our oppressors. They cannot bind us with their stamp no more.