Tuesday, March 31, 2009


After being in Africa I learned some things.

I learned where some of the traditions that we have today came from. The funny thing is that many of the traditions or rituals that we have I don't think we really know where we got them from. When we visited the chief we had to bring him a bottle of schnapps. This was used for the pouring of libations. Whenever there is a ceremony there is a pouring of libations. In this tradition what happens is the chief holds a glass of schnapps up to thank god and then pours some on the ground for the ancestors before he takes a sip himself. This is very similiar to what people do when the pour some liquor on the ground for the homies that are gone. When I learned this it made me think that someone heard about this ritual but somehow misinterpreted it a little. But yet and still it's done and it came from Africa. They talked about Ghanian time...which is the same thing as CP time (colored people time). You've heard the saying that it takes a villiage to raise a child. You probably even lived that growing up and being reprimanded by a neighbor or someone not of your family but that knows your family. We it doesn't have to be said in Africa it's just done. Children roamed around the villiage alone with no fear of being harmed because there is always someone watching and taking care of them. This is where we got that from too.

Even with these traditions or rituals that we were able to hold on to and not knowing why necessarily. We still somehow were able to hold on to things that slave masters couldn't take from us. Now that's just a couple of things that I found similiar but there are more.

You may have read or heard a Black person reciting in a poem or stated in a book or some other source that we are Kings and Queens. I have even said it before in my blog. What I realized while in Africa is that we are not all Kings and Queens and that was evident to me by the hierarchy of things that I saw. So I will no longer refer to myself as a King or anyone else that is Black as King or Queen because the truth of the matter is that I just really don't know. The one thing that I do know and as sad as it is this is one thing that all Black people in America, Spain, or anywhere else in the world can be proud of is that those slaves that were taken from Africa and survived the horrific circumstances that they did were the strongest of Africans. While visiting one of the slave castles the African guide made this quite clear. Not only did they survive the unsanitary and inhumane transportation but even surviving the time spent in the slave castle was indication of their strength. 100s of African men, women and children positioned in rooms with little space to move. There were no bathrooms for the slaves to relieve themselves or places for women to clean themselves when menstruating. So the stench of all this they endured in rooms approximately 500 square feet holding upwards of 200 people, in tightly packed rooms in the castle and also on the ships.

We are who we are and can be proud of our ancestors and know that even if we couldn't survive what they did then today...it's possible that wherever that strength came from is the continued strength that our slave ancestors and beyond had that now affords us some of the liberties that we have today. If you didn't know before you should know now that we come from strong people. Be proud of that because the strength that they had is still in us.

Somkey Robinson recited a poem on Def Comedy Jam sometime ago. Take a listen.


Curious said...

I don't know about you, but it seems like it was only yesterday that you left for the Motherland. I am always glad when I can find that there is something that can relate to my own story when I see or experience something new. I think that is what you found and I am glad for you also.

Chet said...

D, Man thank you for enlightening me , and others of the fact where some of those rituals we have been practicing without ever knowing where the practices started or why we continued to perform them, instead we just went along with the program so to speak.

Our history is rich and we are a proud, strong people! Thank you for sharing your findings with us.

Jamar Herrod said...

I hope I get the opportunity to go to Africa. None the less, I definitely feel you on some of the aesthetics that originated in Africa we still use today. Those aesthetics you mentioned are important and help us understand ourselves and where we came from.

When I was in my African-American studies course in my undegrad my instructor had us all sit on the floor and pretend we were on a slave ship and we all we very close together and by that act alone shown that through that traumatic turmoil, our people endured still the same. They made a way out of no way.

Btw the Poem recited by Smokie Robinson was brilliant. I loved it.

Moanerplicity said...

Your recollections and revelations of the Mother land are precious an much needed here. So many of us (myself included) are pretty ignorant about Africa, its customs, its differences, its people, and your sojourn provides some necessary food for thought. I'm glad someone of your experience and sensitivity is penning of this adventure. It's mad didactic reading in the best way possible.

Seen Sir Smoke do this piece on Def Poetry Jam. Love the verbiage. It's powerful because it's so true.

Snatch JOY!


kennyking78 said...

I live for your stories right now. Thanks for taking the time to tell us about your trip and the way it has enlightened you.

I am still trying to imagine the slave castles and living under such conditions.