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Tag Archives: Africa

Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth: Catherine Acholonu and Molara Ogundipe


Hey everyone! I am back after taking a short needed break. Last week marked the third year that I have been running this blog! Yay! Happy Anniversary!

Today I return to highlight a few writers I found out about after reading Bilphena Yahwon’s post on Africa Is Done Suffering, “The Writers I Never Learned About.” In this post, Yahwon writes about mainstream literary establishments and education systems lack of inclusion of black women writers in their canons. Her pieces is an addition to a growing critique of these institutions, like Junot Diaz’s “MFA vs. POC” and “We Need Diverse Books Campaign.”  Besides listing writers I already knew, she did include ones I did not know as well and wanted to show their work here. The two women and their books I want to feature are Nigerian writers and activists Catherine Acholonu and Molara Ogundipe.

Dr. Acholonu, who passed away in March, was a essayist, playwright, poet and published several books of her own anthropological and scientific research into African cultures, specifically Igbo, and gender studies. Some of her books include “The Gram Code of African Adam: Stone Books and Cave Libraries, Reconstructing 450,000 Years of Africa’s Lost Civilizations, which earned her the award of Professor of African History and Philosophy from Pilgrim’s University and Theological Seminary, North Carolina; The Earth Unchained – A Quantum Leap in Consciousness, A Reply to Al Gore; Motherism – The Afrocentric Alternative to Feminism and The Igbo Roots of Olaudah Equiano”

The Gram Code of African Adam is the first book in her African Adam series and explores the history behind the ancient stone inscriptions of Ikom, Cross River State, Nigeria and contributions of ancient Africans to the world in that they possessed systems of writing. The sequel to the book, They Lived Before Adam, delved into prehistoric origins of the Igbo and that “Igbo oral tradition is consistent with scientific research into the origins of humanity.” She said in a lecture at a Harlem book fair, “Igbo oral traditions confirm the findings of geneticists, that by 208000BC – 208000 BC – human evolution was interrupted and Adam, a hybrid, was created through the process of genetic engineering. However, our findings reveal that the creation of Adam was a downward climb on the evolutionary ladder, because he lost his divine essence, he became divided, no longer whole, or wholesome. All over Africa and in ancient Egyptian reports, oral and written traditions maintain that homo erectus people were heavenly beings, and possessed mystical powers such as telepathy, levitation, bi-location, that their words could move rocks and mountains and change the course of rivers. Adam lost all that when his right brain was shut down by those who made him.”

Her last book and last book of the series, “The Lost Testament of the Ancestors of Adam: Unearthing Heliopolis/Igbo Ukwu – The Celestial City of the Gods of Egypt and India,” theorizes West Africa as a place of origin for other Eastern cultures, like Egyptian culture and hieroglyphs.

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Moving on the Wires: This Week’s News and Posts


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Ras G and The Afrikan Space Program

*”Don’t Blame Science Fiction for Hollywood’s Race Problem:” “And there’s a decent amount of it these days, because the post-millennial resurgence in Afrofuturism has been one of the more fascinating and welcome developments of the last decade or so. This trend been written about a fair amount in relation to music — the most prominent example is Janelle Monáe and her ArchAndroid mythos, but there’s also the hyperspace hip hop of Flying Lotus and Deltron 3030 and the more esoteric work of acts like Ras G and the Afrikan Space Program, whose most recent album, Back On the Planet, was one of the under-appreciated joys of last year.

You hear less about an Afrofuturist revival in film and literature, but if there’s not been a resurgence in other areas of pop culture, it might be because, hey, Afrofuturism never really went away. Octavia Butler was writing right up until her death in 2006, and produced as rich a body of work as any of her white male contemporaries. And once you start digging, there’s a wealth of writing that addresses the future from the perspective of people of color, from the reasonably well-known to the fascinatingly obscure.”

*”Star Wars and the 4 Ways Science Fiction Handles Race:” How science fiction uses metaphor, tokenism, diversity and explicit dealing with racial issues to handle race.

 

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The My-Stery: The Ghost of AfroFuture…


Art by Moragot

Social Death, Wounded Transformations and The Hauntings of Prophetic Tradition :

Tomorrow is Christmas and one story that came to mind in relation to afrofuturism, and especially after I watched Arthur Jafa’s Dreams Are Colder than Death, was Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and the story’s ghosts of past, present and future.

In the Western imagination, blackness, darkness and Africa (Heart of Darkness) to an extent has represented a kind of social and metaphorical death. For example, Edgar Allen Poe’s tropes of blackness and darkness representing death and evil in works like “The Raven” (the animal also representing the antithesis of the “human” in western construction) and his lesser known novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket. Even today, we still see the pervasiveness of it, such as Justine Sacco‘s tweet about Africa and aids, reinforcing the implication that Africa as a whole is a wasteland, a place of death only, or even ghettos across America where they are only viewed through lens of crime and death.

But that imagination also be observed within the diaspora as well. Jafa mentioned in the discussion after the film that in one particular West African indigenous group, if certain children were past the point of initiation, they were not able to be reclaimed and thus were left in the woods to die. He asked how did that relate to the diaspora; are we the monsters in the woods, the dark big bad wolf in a sense. Jafa emphasized that this was something we need to address to heal.

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Posted by on December 24, 2013 in Afrofuturism/Afrosurrealism, The My-Stery

 

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Otherworldly Videos: The Brother Moves On


I found out about this band some time ago and also just found out that Spoek Mathambo said in an interview they were one of his favorite groups. The Brother Moves On are also from Johannesburg, South Africa. They describe their group as “The ghost inside the magic, the stranglers of an innocent idea of bringing performance art to its knees through costume, music and storytelling. A playful site specific collaborative piece of performance art in the form of a band based in Johannesburg. The name of this collective is derived from David Simons ‘The Wire’ character Brother Mouzone, meaning “judicious” in Arabic, a transient assassin with that audacious yet sincere difference.” You can listen to their two EPs, The Golden Wake and ETA, here.

“Rainbow Child”

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Posted by on December 11, 2012 in Music, Otherworldly Videos

 

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Modern Griots Review: Ancestral Voices


What are the spiritual and physical consequences of us not studying the spiritual and magic systems of the African Diaspora in depth?  This is one question amongst several explored in the British documentary film, Ancestral Voices: Esoteric African Knowledge. Premiering in New York City last Saturday at the New York African Diaspora International Film Festival,  the film delves into several African and African-American spiritual systems that are often demonized, misrepresented or lack attention in comparison to more mainstream religions like Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.

Filmmakers Verona Spence and Dalian Adofo made this film as a way to educate people on these systems and ancestral knowledge, and interviewed a variety of artists, intellectuals, and spiritual leaders and practitioners, and participants. The interviewees provided a vast amount of knowledge about not only the recurring themes in African and Afro-diapsoric spiritual systems, but also specific elements in different ones, including Egyptian Kemetic, Yoruba, Gabon’s Iboga ritual, The Sky God Tree story of the Akan in Ghana, Caribbean Obeah, Haitian Vodou, Cuban and Puerto Rican Santeria and Brazilian Candomble.

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Posted by on November 28, 2012 in Modern Griots, Religion/Spirituality, Reviews

 

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Rethinking the ‘Fantasy’ of Africa in Roots Reggae


Professor, author and cultural analyst Louis Chude-Sokei speaks in his lecture, “When Echoes Return: Roots, Diaspora and Possible Africas (A Eulogy).” The lecture centers on the death of South African reggae singer Lucky Dube and how the fantasy of a singular Africa in roots reggae music has been both a dangerous space and a space for possibility for people in Africa.

Also, Chude-Sokei said later in the lecture that “there’s nothing more important than fantasy. Without fantasy, you don’t have politics. Without fantasy, you don’t have reality.” Thoughts?

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Posted by on August 30, 2012 in Histories, Politics, Race/Gender/Sexuality

 

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What Is Afrofuturism? Part 11: Cosmic Yoruba


Photo- Leeroy Jason

Cosmic Yoruba wrote a piece on Afrofuturism from various African perspectives. Read an excerpt of “’We’ve Been to the Moon and Back:’ Afro-futurism in Music” and the rest at This Is Africa:

Although Afro-futurism doesn’t have one clear-cut definition, for the purpose of this article we’ll go with the one that defines it as a study of science-fiction themes with particular emphasis on the way advances in technology will affect the Black – that is African diasporic – experience. Afro-futurism is a response to any imagined future that excludes Black people, perspectives from Black culture, as well as African history, artists and writers, and those invested in Afro-futurism are attempting to include and represent Black people in the future as they imagine it.

The first person to use the term was apparently Mark Dery, who defined Afro-futurism as “speculative fiction that treats African-American themes and addresses African-American concerns in the context of 20th century technoculture – and more generally, African-American signification that appropriates images of technology and a prosthetically enhanced – might, for want of a better term, be called ‘Afro-futurism’.” Afro-futuristic fashion, literature and music boomed especially in the 70s and 80s, envisioning a brighter future for oppressed people.

Nonetheless, Afro-futurism is still an emerging genre, so there isn’t that much information about the subject out there, and what there is is scattered all over the place. Most of the discussions on the subject posit Afro-futurism as solely relating to the African-American experience. However, with the growing interest in the place of science fiction in Africa, and in the way Africans imagine themselves in the future, Afro-futurism is slowly being looked at from the African perspective as well….

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