GENERAL CHUKWUEMEKA ODUMEGWU OJUKWU, FORMER LEADER, BIAFRA (4 Nov 1933 – 26 Nov 2011) General Ojukwu passed away in London having suffered a stroke last year. Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu was born at Zungeru in northern Nigeria to Sir Louis Odumegwu Ojukwu, a businessman from Nnewi who during the Second World War became one of Nigeria’s richest men. In 1944 while still a schoolboy the younger Ojukwu was briefly imprisoned for assaulting a white British colonial teacher who was humiliating an Afrikan woman at King’s College in Lagos, which received widespread newspaper coverage. At 13, his father sent him to study in Britain at Epsom College, Lincoln College and Oxford University where he gained a Masters degree in History. He returned to Nigeria in 1956 joining the civil service as an Administrative Officer in present-day Enugu State. In 1957 he became one of the first and few university graduates to join the army. Ojukwu’s background and education guaranteed his promotion to higher ranks. After serving in the UN peacekeeping force in the Congo, under Major General Johnson Thomas Aguiyi-Ironsi, Ojukwu was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel in 1964 and posted to Kano, where he was in charge of the 5th Battalion of the Nigerian Army.
A military coup by Major Patrick Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu against the civilian Nigerian federal government in January 1966 and a counter coup in July 1966 by different military factions, perceived to be ethnic coups, resulted in pogroms in Northern Nigeria in which Igbos were predominantly killed. Ojukwu who was not an active participant in either coup was appointed the military governor of Nigeria’s Eastern region in January 1966 by the Supreme Commander General Aguiyi-Ironsi who with his host Colonel Fajuyi were abducted and killed in Ibadan in the July counter coup. Ojukwu insisted that the military hierarchy must be preserved and Brigadier Ogundipe should take over leadership, not Colonel Gowon, however the leaders of the counter-coup insisted that Colonel Gowon be made head of state.
Ojukwu led talks to seek an end to the hostilities signing the Aburi Accord in Ghana but the agreement reached there was not implemented properly when they returned to Nigeria. Ojukwu then announced a breakaway of the Eastern Region under the new name Biafra Republic in 1967. Ojukwu led the Biafran forces in the ensuing civil war. On the defeat of Biafra in January 1970 he went into exile for 13 years only returning to Nigeria following a pardon.
The people of Nnewi gave him the chieftaincy title of Ikemba (Power of the People), while the Igbo nation called him Dikedioramma (Beloved Hero). He re-entered politics losing a disputed Senate election. The second Republic was ended on 30 Dec 1983 by a coup by Major-General Muhammadu Buhari who put Ojukwu in Kirikiri Maximum Security Prison, Lagos. He was released after General Ibrahim Babangida’s coup and returned to politics. After the nominal return to civilian rule in 1999 he helped form the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), for which he ran as a presidential candidate in the fraudulent 2003 and 2007 elections. Ojukwu’s collected speeches were edited by the writer Frederick Forsyth, and published under the title ‘Biafra’ (1969); Forsyth also wrote a biography, ‘Emeka‘ (1982 & 1991). In 1994 Ojukwu married his third wife, Bianca Onoh, daughter of a senior politician and a former Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria. He is survived by her and several children.
~ BARRY LLEWELLYN, SINGER-SONGWRITER, THE HEPTONES (24 Dec 1947- 23 Nov 2011) Barry Llewellyn passed away at Kingston Public Hospital in Jamaica of pneumonia. He was born in the Trenchtown area and attended Kingston Senior School with other reggae stalwarts such as Marcia Griffiths and Carl Dawkins.
He began singing around the age of 14, and formed the Heptones with schoolfriend Earl Morgan shortly afterward. Leroy Sibbles joined them in 1965. After one unsuccessful single for Ken Lack’s K Calnek label they moved to Studio One and their first single ‘Fattie Fattie’ was a huge hit. They followed this with ‘Pretty Looks Isn’t All’, ‘Get In The Groove’, ‘Be a Man’, ‘Sea of Love’, ‘Ting a Ling’, ‘Party Time’, ‘I Hold the Handle’, ‘Message from a Black Man’, and ‘Love Won’t Come Easy’. They had a big hit with ‘Book of Rules’ (based on an American poem called ‘Bag of Tools’ by R L Sharpe) in 1973 which Barry co-wrote and sung lead vocals. The song was featured on the soundtrack for the 1998 comedy-thriller film ‘Homegrown’.
After Leroy Sibbles emigrated to Canada in 1973 the group stopped recording until 1975 when they signed an album deal with Island Records. They released the album ‘Night Food’ in 1976 produced by Danny Holloway which featured ‘Country Boy’ and ‘Mama Say. In 1977 The Heptones recorded ‘Party Time’ with Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry. They also released several 12” singles with Lee Perry, such as ‘Mystery Babylon’, ‘Mr President’ and ‘Babylon’s Falling’. Sibbles left the group again in 1978 to start a successful solo career and was replaced by Dolphin ‘Naggo’ Morris. They released ‘Good Life’ in 1979 produced by Joseph Hoo Kim at Channel One. The group then went into abeyance while Earl Morgan eventually started re-releasing the back catalogue. Barry Llewellyn wrote the title track and co-produced ‘Israel Be Wise’ for his former postal service work colleague Roy Cousins and The Royals.
The original trio reunited in 1995, and released ‘Pressure!’ produced by Tapper Zukie. Leroy Sibbles said that he and Barry Llewellyn have been touring Europe together for the past five years. “We actually did a tour about three months before his passing. The last date was in Germany, and he was still singing as strong as ever. We never foresaw a problem with him. Barry had more talent than the other guys who were singing with us. He was more musical. He added more inspiration.”
Though he lived in Brooklyn, Barry was in Jamaica working to establish a learning centre to help young people in Kingston. He recently recorded an album of his own music titled ‘On the Road Again’, which has yet to be released. In addition to his wife, Monica, he is survived by several children and grandchildren, as well as four brothers and four sisters. A funeral is scheduled for 4 December.
FORTHCOMING NUBIART PROFILES
NUBIART: Focus on arts, business, education, health, political developments and the media.
~ ‘MADNESS’ - Professor [Groundation Music / SoulBeats Records – Out Now] This is the first solo album from Groundation lead singer Harrison ‘Professor’ Stafford, and was inspired by having made several trips to the imperial nation-state of Israel deciding to focus on what life was like for the original Palestinian inhabitants of the region and the search for some kind of peaceful co-existence. On his travels Palestinians told him they liked the groove of reggae music but didn’t like the Zionist lyrical content and imagery.
Rastafari and Gospel reggae focuses on the ideas of national solidarity, the triumph over adversity and liberation from enslavement. This makes the use of the symbol of the Star of David and references to the 12 Tribes of Israel, Solomon and David controversial for some even as the current imperialist nation state of Israel uses their creation mythology more as a hustling story to justify their intransigence, arrogance and political myopia. For the nations in the region their direct experience of the Hebrew creation mythology is of a migrant community from Ur of the Chaldees (southern Iraq) who believe their ‘unique’, incoherent vision of God entitles them to commit genocide and steal the land and wealth of any peoples on who they set their covetous sights in perpetuity.
There are a few well-known Muslim reggae artists in the west such as Prince Buster and Brother Yahya (with Jimmy Cliff dipping in and out on the issues). Other tracks that are considered as critical of Israel in its various manifestations are Barry Brown’s ‘Give Another Israel A Try’ (‘Some don’t know the man / Some only talk of the man’), The Royals ‘Israel Be Wise’ (‘I was a peaceful man until someone mash my corn / And I don’t want to shoot my brother down for an unjustful cause’), Michael Prophet’s ‘Turn Them Back’ (‘So don’t be like Cain and Abel / ‘Cos Cain killed Abel around the table’), Trevor Junior’s ‘Slave Ship’ (‘It looks like you love the lashing of the whip / Or you love to work on the big slave ship’) and Jah Woosh’s ‘Lick Him With The Dustbin’ (‘You, Mr Begin / You don’t have no behaviour’).
We, as pan-Afrikanists, have many criticisms of the whole Biblical / Talmudic / Judaeo-Christian / Israeli imperialist nation-state worldview including: the creation of the ‘Hamitic’ myth that has been used as a justification for discrimination against Afrikans and their enslavement; the anti-Afrikan lie that Hebrews were enslaved by a nameless ‘wicked’ Egyptian Pharaoh and while there they built the pyramids, sphinx and other monuments – documentary evidence conclusively proves the major monuments were built with paid labour before any group of people known as Hebrews claim to have existed. In fact, during the rule of the Hyksos ‘shepherd kings’, the only group that could even remotely be associated with the Hebrews, monuments were neglected and destroyed [Cf. Prof Cheikh Anta Diop, Prof Theophile Obenga, Jacob Carruthers, George M James, Dr Yosef ben-Jochanan, Prof John Henrik Clarke, et al]; their belief that having a creation myth written in a book was always superior to oral transmission of culture – we recently saw the film ‘Saraguro’ where the Inca leader is told to hear the word of ‘God’ or face death and is handed a Bible, he listens to the inanimate object but he doesn’t receive the wisdom, healing, food, emotional or social support he gets from his own nature-based God. His rejection leads to European imperialism across the Americas. That experience must have been repeated thousands of times across Afrika as Europeans exercised their self-delusional ‘manifest destiny’; the wealth of the current nation-state of Israel is funded by the exploitation and theft of the mineral wealth of Afrika and the continued impoverishment of the Afrikans who provide the minerals and on whose land the minerals are sited; we will never forgive or forget the imperialist nation–state of Israel for being a major armourer and funder of the apartheid regime in South Africa to the point of giving them the technology and materials to build a nuclear weapon with which to terrorise the rest of the Afrikan continent.
Musically, ‘Madness’ is a roots reggae album played by some of the top musicians in Jamaica: Leroy ‘Horsemouth’ Wallace on drums, Roots Radics founder Earl ‘Flabba Holt’ on bass, Lloyd ‘Obeah’ Denton on piano / organ, Dalton Browne and Little David on guitar, Uzziah ‘Sticky’ Thompson on percussion and Steven Stanley on keys and engineering. Alongside Professor vocal duties are shared by a stellar cast of Elders - ‘Daddy’ U-Roy on ‘Madness’, the Abyssinians’ Bernard Collins on ‘Roller Coaster’, Winston ‘Electric Dread’ McAnuff on ‘Right On’ and ‘Congo Ashanti’ Roy on ‘See Them Come’ wondering when will Jerusalem become a city of peace and freedom. There are eight well-mixed dub tracks on the album which brings back the vibes of those 1980s showcase albums.
NUBIART LIBRARY – DEC MEDIA
We will only review books we have read and DVDs we have seen and that are available at reasonable prices online or in shops or libraries. However, given the nature and current state of Afrikan publishing and production there may be books and films on this list that are worth the extra effort to track down.
~ ‘THE RETURN OF THE WATER SPIRIT’ – Pepetela [Heinemann African Writers Series. ISBN: 0-435-91210-0] Pepetela is a sociologist, writer and teacher and former government minister in the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) government. He is the youngest author to receive the Camoes Prize, the highest decoration of Portuguese literature, in 1997.
In ‘The Return Of The Water Spirit’ buildings are coming down in Kinaxixi Square in what is called ‘Luanda Syndrome’ but no one seems to know the cause. Young Cassandra alone hears the songs of the Water Spirit which become more victorious. Is the Water Spirit the cause of the falling houses since the city lagoon has been blocked and built over? Joao Evangelista’s wife, Carmina, is a member of the youth wing of the communist Party in power and attributes the falling buildings to sabotage and even to Americans testing new technology.
The story is told against a backdrop of Angola gradually changing over from communism to a market economy in the midst of war. As a result everybody is trying to take advantage of this change to better themselves. Corruption has become endemic. Party members are stealing state property, civil and public servants are stealing from their workplace with only the poor getting arrested. Meanwhile, others are forming political parties in order to receive subsidies from the government. Both locals and foreigners turn the misfortune into a money-making venture and a spectacle to behold. The story fits into the Latin American tradition of magic realism but set in Angola.
~ DR JEWEL POOKRUM UK TOUR 2011 Jewel I Pookrum, MD (Dr Jewel) is the Medical Director and founder of E’ Medicine created to facilitate and disseminate alternative holistic medicinal practices to the general public. Her approach has helped patients to heal visible signs of cancer, erase ageing lines and learn to live happy, balanced and pain free lives. Dr Pookrum’s approach incorporates her training as a physician and a gynecologist with a 20-year odyssey into wellness therapies and techniques.
- Tues 6 Dec: Introductory Presentation to Dr Jewel Balancing Programme (DJBP). In this presentation, Dr Pookrum together with her co-presenter Ms Julie Umpleby will show you how to Re-Engineer your Brain and Diamond Crystals and subtle Human Anatomy. On Tues 6 Dec.
- Commencement of Dr Jewel Balancing Programme (DJBP). Premiere screening of the film ‘Ghetto Physics’ followed by discussion with Dr Pookrum and Ms Umpleby. On Wed 7 Dec at 6-10pm. Adm: FREE to participants of DJBP Others: Adm. to Screening: £10 / £7 adv / £7 concs.
- ‘Book Launch: ‘Straight from the Heart’ and ‘Vitamins and Minerals: A-Z The Human Element Of Planet Earth’. On Thurs 8 Dec at 7-9.30pm. Adm: £10 / £7 adv / £7 concs.
- ‘States of Consciousness & Disease’. Dr Jewel Pookrum will provide the latest information on Genetics, The illusion of Race and the need to have a Ethno-centric aware Medical System; to ‘First do no Harm’ to any variant of the Hueman. On Sun 11 Dec at 6-9pm. Adm: £10 / £7 adv / £7 concs.
All events take place at Centerprise, 136-138 Kingsland High Street, London, E8 2NS. Tel: 020 7254 9632. E-mail: email@example.com Web: www.centerprisetrust.org.uk
~ MOYO SOLIDARITY FORUM POLITICAL EDUCATION SEMINAR for International Human Rights Day 2011, ‘The New World Order - Road Map For Afrika?’ Foreign Military Intervention in Afrika. Are ‘human rights’ a vehicle for re-colonisation? Bro Omowale, Pan Afrikan Society Community Forum. On Sat 10 Dec at 5-8pm at Moyo Solidarity Centre, 365 Brixton Road, London, SW9. Adm: £5. Tel: 07903 678 302 /; 07958 660 061. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
~ LIBERATION 1838 Come and hear how Afrikans in the Caribbean coped with family life after 1 Aug 1838 a day when many of them left the sugar plantations never to return and how they created family relations from scratch because slaveholders had denied them the right to live together as families before August 1838. Talk with Windrush Foundation Director Sam King MBE, Dr Kimani Nehusi, Cecil Gutzmore, Arthur Torrington CBE and Sandra Agard. On Sat 10 Dec at 6.30-8.30pm at Centerprise, 136-138 Kingsland High Street, London, E8 2NS. Adm: Free. Tel: 07737 271 437. E-mail: email@example.com
~ PCS IN ASSOCIATION WITH BLACK HISTORY STUDIES PRESENTS
- ‘In Prison My Whole Life’: Political activist and former Black Panther member, Mumia Abu-Jamal has unjustly been in prison for 30 years! Facing the death penalty for a crime he did not commit, Mumia continues to fight for all political prisoners and speak out in support of all those struggling for freedom and justice across the globe. Mumia’s cause has created a political storm but after the politicians have said their piece, after the court papers have been filed and the protestors have gone home, we are left with a film about a man, a father, a son, an inspiration and a pariah - who faces his twenty-fifth year (now 30th year) on Death Row. There will be a discussion after the screening with the director William Francome and representatives of the Free Mumia Abu-Jamal UK Campaign. On Mon 12 Dec at 6.45-9.30pm at PCS Headquarters, 160 Falcon Road, Clapham Junction, London SW11 2LN. Adm: £4.
- ‘The Black Candle’. This year marks the 45th Anniversary of Kwanzaa, a celebration of family, community and culture throughout the world African community. Narrated by poet Maya Angelou and directed by award-winning author and filmmaker M.K. Asante, ‘The Black Candle’ is an inspirational story about the struggle and triumph of family, community, and culture. Filmed across the United States, Africa, Europe and the Caribbean, The Black Candle is a timely illumination on why the seven principles of Kwanzaa (unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith) are relevant today. At this event, Linford Sweeney will be launching his book ‘At Peace With Myself: An Affirmations Workbook’. The book may be described as a weekly personal development journal stretched over fifty-two weeks which is written for people facing confidence issues and challenging situations in their lives, and who are now ready to make important and lasting changes. On Tues 13 Dec at 7-9pm at the PCS Learning Centre (Victoria), 3rd Floor, 231 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London, SW1V 1EH. Adm: Free.
Tel / Fax: 0208 881 0660. Mobile: 07951 234 233. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
~ ‘FROM INVISIBILITY TO VISIBILITY: AFRICANS IN PORTUGUESE SPACE’ with Shihan de Silva, author of ‘African Identity in Asia’ and ‘The Portuguese in the East’ and Senior Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies (University of London) and a member of the UNESCO International Scientific Committee (Paris). Concentrating on Africans who moved within Portuguese ruled-areas in India, Sri Lanka, Macau and Timor. On Fri 16 Dec at 6.30-7.30pm at Canning House, 2 Belgrave Square, London, SW1. Adm: Free.
~ AFRCIAN ODYSSEYS: ‘Bob Marley: The Making of a Legend’. A Caribbean perspective on Rastafari culture and Marley’s early life from Jamaican actress Bob’s ex-girlfriend and official photographer Esther Anderson. The documentary combines personal footage with historical and contemporary testimonies. Showing with ‘Exodus: Finding Shelter’. Dir: Tommaso D’Elia and Silvia Bonanni. A documentary on the Rototom Sunsplash, the largest Reggae festival in Europe and its search for new home. On Sat 17 Dec at 1.30-5pm at BFI Southbank, Belvedere Road, London, SE1. Adm: £6.50. Web: www.bfi.org.uk
~ ‘THE STORY OF LOVERS ROCK’. Dir: Menelik Shabazz. Dur: 96 mins. Lovers Rock, often dubbed ‘romantic reggae’ is a uniquely Afrikan British sound that developed in the late 70s and 80s against a backdrop of riots, racial tension and sound systems. Live performance, comedy sketches, dance, interviews and archive shed light on the music and the generation that embraced it. Lovers Rock allowed young people to experience intimacy and healing through dance at parties and clubs. It developed into a successful sound with national UK hits and was influential to British bands. These influences underline the impact the music was making in bridging the multi-cultural gap that polarized the times. The film sheds light on a forgotten period of British music, social and political history. For venues across Britain check: http://www.loversrockthefilm.com
~ WEAVING THE THREADS OF LIVELIHOOD: THE AESTHETIC AND EMBODIED KNOWLEDGE OF BERBER WEAVERS. The Sirwa is situated at the junction of the High Atlas and the Anti Atlas mountain ranges in Morocco. The Berber weavers of the Sirwa are renowned for their wide range of textiles and their technical knowledge and artistry. In addition to embroidery and sprang (an ancient precursor of knitting), female Sirwa weavers master several weaving techniques: tapestry weaving, twinning, brocading and knotting, which they use individually or in combination. Since the 1980s weaving production has complemented subsistence agriculture. The central piece of the exhibition will be a special 19th century cloak, the akhnif, (loaned by the British Museum) a garment unique to Morocco that has inspired the production of a new type of carpet in the 1990s. Visitors will be able to watch as the Sirwa weavers demonstrate their technical skills on equipment especially brought from Morocco and can even try their own hand at weaving. A one-day international conference on Moroccan textiles will take place in conjunction with the exhibition. Until 17 Dec at 10am-5pm at Brunei Gallery, SOAS, Thornhaugh Street, London, WC1H 0XG. Adm: Free. Tel: 020 7898 4046. E-mail: email@example.com Web: www.soas.ac.uk/gallery https://www.facebook.com/Soas.Brunei.Gallery
~ ‘THIN BLACK LINE(S): THE LEGACY OF BLACK WOMEN ARTISTS’
Put together by Tate curator Paul Goodwin and artist Lubaina Himid, MBE, ‘Thin Black Line(s)’ presents a selection of pieces drawn from three major exhibitions of Afrikan and Asian women artists curated by Himid in the early 1980s: ‘Five Black Women’ at the Africa Centre (1983); ‘Black Women Time Now’ at the Battersea Arts Centre (1983-84); and ‘The Thin Black Line’ at the Institute for Contemporary Art (1985). The display includes works by Sutapa Biswas, Sonia Boyce, Lubaina Himid, Claudette Johnson, Ingrid Pollard, Veronica Ryan and Maud Sulter. Drawings, paintings, sculptures and photographs are showcased alongside a video documentary on the ‘Black Art’ scene and archival documents comprising of exhibition posters, invitations, letters, etc. In Britain, the Caribbean Artists Movement (1966-72) and the Black Art (1980s) have enabled Afrikan artists and intellectuals to retain ownership of the discourse on their arts and cultures. Until 18 Mar 2012 at Tate Britain, Millbank, London, SW1P 4RG. Adm: Free. Tel: 020 7887 8888.
~ REEL TRINI fortnightly screenings. The new rendezvous for local film aficionados on Sundays at 5pm at Trevor’s Edge in St Augustine, Trinidad. Tel: 744-4956. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kubara Zamani, Afrikan Quest International, PO Box 35165, London, SE5 8WU. Tel: 07811 494 969. E-mail: email@example.com Web: www.southwark.tv/quest/aqhome.asp
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