Africa

I have been busy lately writing a term paper that leaves little time to blog or visit your wonderful blogs. So in the meantime, you can watch the documentary below and others in the series. I will be a minute.

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Should infidels send their children to Sunday school?

Many times, it has been suggested to me that I should let my children go to church and learn about god. They add they will have a choice to believe or quit as I did. My corollary has been why not let them grow without superstition and if they should become religious as adults, it’s because they were not as intelligent as their parents? Whoever goes looking for a toothache just so they can in future say it is not a good thing to have?

The great agnostic, Robert Ingersoll, said this on the subject

My advice to all Agnostics is to keep their children from the orthodox Sunday schools, from the orthodox churches, from the poison of the pulpits.

Teach your children the facts you know. If you do not know, say so. Be as honest as you are ignorant. Do all you can to develop their minds, to the end that they may live useful and happy lives.

Strangle the serpent of superstition that crawls and hisses about the cradle. Keep your children from the augurs, the soothsayers, the medicine-men, the priests of the supernatural. Tell them that all religions have been made by folks and that all the “sacred books” were written by ignorant men.

Teach them that the world is natural. Teach them to be absolutely honest. Do not send them where they will contract diseases of the mind — the leprosy of the soul. Let us do all we can to make them intelligent.

and I agree with him.

what do we expect of the African thinkers, intellectuals and leaders?

Bethwell Ogot, in Who, if anyone, owns the past? writes

African scholars, thinkers and leaders have a moral responsibility, therefore to create a New Africa, an Africa they want and that they have to decide to help shape. Such a new Africa will have to exist in the minds of all its inhabitants and become part of their every day life-a life that is full, vital, open and in which dialogue, co-existence, and mutual aid are taken for granted.

The collective identity of this New Africa in the making which will include peoples with different cultures, languages and histories, will be found in a shared set of values: the primacy of individual human rights, democracy, a balance between freedom and solidarity and between efficiency and equity, as well as openness to the world.

The new Africa must recognize the complementarity between its values, and the knowledge and understanding of the values of others.

Most African intellectuals have helped prop up dictatorships. They serve in the cabinets. They see no evil and say no evil. They contribute no thought in knowledge acquisition or development. They have PhDs but just for show or to get to the positions from where they can stifle thought.

The other group of intellectuals and scholars lock themselves comfortably in the academy earning meager salaries and because of fear of their employer, they see no evil. They, too, are no different from their partners who get into government and become one with the oppressive state.

I find it beyond belief in the face of human rights abuses by the state in Kenya and elsewhere in Africa, scholars and intellectuals cannot find a single voice to condemn it. The academy has not issued a statement condemning state brutality at University of Nairobi or at Daystar or any other university for that matter? What role models are you? Are you cowards? Are you so fearful of university admins or the government that you can’t issue a statement in defense of your charges? You are a disappointment. You should all feel ashamed.

For the few independent scholars, Keguro, I can see you, thank you for asking the questions you do. For expanding the fields of thought in how we are showing care.

While I am no scholar, I find the attitude of the African populace towards their suffering sometimes perplexing. Are we so afraid of our oppressors to stand up to them? To mock them in our poetry? To show them our displeasure as a people and demand for better? Did the Christianization and Islamizations projects leave us as submissive and subservient to authority no matter who represents it, whether a god or a leader who claims to be from god?

Rise Africa and claim your humanity and dignity. Make the despots afraid, send them away, but save lives, if you must employ violence. But chase them away. They have caused enough misery already. They are the reasons our brothers and sisters die in the Med trying to get to Europe to be anything except poor and dirty African in Africa!

Many Africans, especially those brainwashed in the Abrahamic religions think Israel favourably as the holy[sic] land. These same people are blind to the injustices Africans suffer in that country or to the forced deportations. Fools all of you!

African Religion vs Christianity?

Or is it something else?

A friend brought to my attention this tweet

We are not interested in that for the time being, but the debate that ensued on her facebook page is of interest to us and is the basis of this post and it’s title.

She set the ball rolling when she wrote, in response to the tweet,

folly of culture without consciousness: the dead are reminding us to get off the land; not bribe them with rituals.

which in my view, if the newspaper article is believable, makes a lot of sense. So when she is told by Eva

the dead are quiet dead. Any interaction with them is with dark forces

I am quite shocked at how unaware Africans can be. There is a lot of interaction between the dead and the living in our cultures. Take for example, the naming process. Most people are given names of the remembered dead and this has never been said by anyone to be an interaction with dark forces. My friend, Wandia, is right in her assertion. In most African traditions, desecration of graveyards is believed to have potential of disturbing the unity of the community and thus, the dead would have to be appeased if such a thing were to happen.

When Eva writes, in part,

It’s folly also if as Christians we do not highlight the in-congruence of these “cultural” (scare quotes in the original)  practices with out faith.

is actually laughable. For one, Christians are always praying at ground-breaking of new construction sites. The only difference between what the elders would be doing and the Christians is in the utterances, but the practice is similar. Two, I sympathize with Eva. She has eschewed her African traditional religion without taking a moment to investigate it. She has been told Christianity is right and she is willing to go with it.

Wandia, says it better than I, when she writes

[..]if you can apply such intellectual skills every Sunday listening to sermons bout Jews in Israel 2000 years ago who have nothing to do with your own history, you can do it for your own culture.

In response, without even taking a pause to reflect on Wandia’s response, Eva writes

Of course, Africa cultures are laden with metaphors. The practice of necromancy is however not a metaphor, and even if ignorantly presumed to be one, is odious and an abomination to God. But as the bible also indicates in Deut 27, cursed also is the man who moves his neighbors boundaries (land theft) as is the case here. Also, and I can speak authoritatively for myself if for no one else, what came out of the land of the Jews 2000 years ago has much to do with my own history and present and future than whatever “culture” I was born into. Period.

And with this, I can say without fear of contradiction, the colonialist project succeeded fully. Necromancy or the process of divination, to refer to it differently, was and has been the African way of knowing. Diviners were important members of the society. The community; the living dead, the living and the yet to be born- have to live in harmony. This is the African way. And she is right, though, not the way she means it but the colonial/ slavery project has succeeded in making her believe whatever is African is dark. She can’t even bring herself to write culture without scare quotes.

Again Wandia is right when she writes in response

[..]It is [possible to refute such stupidity using African culture, and that is what I was trying to do.

There has been talk a lot of finding African solutions to African problems. If we cannot bring our cultural histories to address some of the challenges facing us today, we really are lost. We have become a people without a history.

Eva writes, in attempt to backpedal

Indeed, our cultures are capable of condemning witchcraft, but can they do so about necromancy, what with pouring libations to dead spirits, consulting them on burial spots, etc..? I don’t think so… I was raising a flag about what you probably wrote in light touch regarding the dead reminding us to get off the land because I have seen Christians ensnared in these practices without realizing their in-congruence with their professed faith.

my irony meter went burst. I will have to order another. First, she displays her ignorance of African Religion. Two she conveniently ignores the similarity of christian practice with the cultural practices. As a bible believing christian, she must be committed to accepting, as Mathew wrote, that graves opened and the dead walked into town. She is here busy condemning African traditions she knows nothing about.

I agree with Wandia’s closing remark,

The problem is with taking libations literally as feeding the dead. Every society needs to remember those who left before the living, and while Europeans did it through sculptures and monuments, we did it by acknowledging our ancestors and telling our oral histories. We can still maintain the act of remembering while condemning those who want to endorse injustice and greed using African culture. We can still use Christianity for those who believe, but for those who don’t, we must insist the justice, public spaces and environmental conservation are also African concepts.

and add, without fear of contradiction, that Eva is blind to the prayers said to saints(sic) who, to the best of my knowledge, are all dead. I don’t think she condemns that practice. Eva/ Eve is not an African name. She has been made to believe she needs a Christian name. She has forgotten her roots. She has swallowed Christianity is the one true™ religion. Everything African then is dark, primitive and need to be forgotten quickly and erased from history. How misguided can we be?

A god who can flood the whole earth, or send earthquakes to destroy cities cannot be appealed to for conservation. I would argue, the African’s relationship to his environment and the community is more dynamic, more pragmatic and earthbound than the Christian ethic.

Let the African be a Christian, but while at it, let them educate themselves on the content of African Religion. Let the investigate the methodology that was used by the missionary to spread his religion and only then, should they pass judgement on African practices. Doing so while ignorant of the level and extent of brainwashing the missionary used is not only irresponsible but reckless.

Question time

I am hoping that you, fine people, could help me answer some questions that I have. You can choose anyone question or answer all of them.

  1. What is art
  2. is art universal
  3. what is beauty
  4. is there a relationship between what is beautiful and what is good
  5. what is truth
  6. is there a relationship between what is good, beautiful and true
  7. in political discourse, what does left and right stand for
  8. in discussions of culture, what is cultural appropriation?

Who said sex sells

It seems they have been spreading half truths

The researchers looked at past experiments in which participants reported on their memory of, attitudes toward, and intentions to buy products after they were shown ads in print, billboards, posters, TV, or video that may have played elsewhere, like online. They found participants were more likely to remember ads that made sexual appeals than the ones that didn’t. But that they were not more likely to remember the brands featured in the ads. The participants were also more likely to have a negative attitude towards the brands that used sex in their ads than those that didn’t.

Study