Nyansapo – Making Waking Media
“It is the ear that penetrates through darkness, not the eye" – African Proverb, Maasai
Greetings, I hope you are all good. I hadn’t planned to publish a newsletter for the next few months whilst I was still studying but after becoming involved in a forthcoming memorial tribute I felt inspired to share some thoughts with you all.
A little over a few weeks ago I made a visit to Liverpool with my family. It was an interesting journey and in the short time I spent in the city experiencing both its museums and street life I was able to get a little vibe of how life was and is for African people in the area. Later during the day as my family returned back to London, I remained, you see I was scheduled to travel onwards to Bradford for a screening of one of my films (thank you Sista Asher and family).
Now being a bookworm, in the time I had to wait between trains I decided I would do some reading in one of the Liverpudlian public libraries. But as I entered and walked passed rows and rows of books, it was a graphic novel that caught my eye.
“Spiderman – Civil War” was splattered all over the front cover.
Now let me explain to you, growing up as a young boy I used to love reading comics - I still do but sadly, rarely make the time. Before I was introduced to favourites like the Dark Knight and X-Men, little ole Peter Parker was one of the few characters in western culture I could identify with. But it wasn’t his webslinging ability nor his proportionate super strength and agility that fascinated me the most. Ask my sister, it was his spider sense. For those of you who don’t know, one of the abilities Spiderman has is an instinctive intuition that warns him of danger moments before it occurs. As such I used to send my sister mad telling her when my spider sense was tingling. We may have not understood it then as children, but now as an adult I can appreciate that many times - it probably was.
Anyways, I sat there in this library mesmerised by this tale of superheroes being persecuted and going underground as an oppressive US government forced them to unmask and register their identities with the state. This story seemed almost too real for my liking, African freedom fighters... sorry I mean ‘capes’ as they were nicknamed, that did not comply with the state were ‘processed’ and made to face indefinite detention in a super powered Guantanamo Bay styled prison. I wont spoil the story but as I read how former friends, colleagues turned against each other, how when the going got tough those with principles and integrity stood up for Truth whilst others turned liar, my spidey sense started tingling.
This time last year, we launched Nyansapo Radio. It was just before the forced closure of the New Nation newspaper and just as the Ligali Organisation was facing serious threats from both outside and within. We were in a civil war.
As we were being sniped by ‘friendly fire’ I personally sustained many losses, many injuries. The Ligali Organisation itself almost collapsed and I was both physically and spiritually fatigued. Fortunately it was at that moment when my true family and friends pulled together, some people I barely knew offered help - even former enemies came to our defence. As a result I was able to take a spiritual retreat to the motherland and through the kindness of the Gueye family, able to rest, able to learn, able to write, able to heal.
One of my guides through that time was a young elder spirit (there are few ways to describe his spirit in English) named Cheik Ahmed Tidiane Gueye. Over the course of several weeks he took me on a journey - a rite that not only relit my fire, but also cleansed my soul. We reasoned hard, laughing, shouting, crying and in return I was given the opportunity to study at the feet of many wise Africans.
I treasure the little time we shared. You see in meeting Cheik and those I was introduced to during my homecoming I became aware of the presence of real super heroes still working, still walking amongst us both here in the Diaspora and on the motherland. I needed my faith restored in the goodness of our people, I needed an alternative to the tired media image that paints a monolithic image of a helpless African people. So it was almost an act of divinity that in the shadow of the media circus event that was to become the crowning of Obama, I actually got to meet genuine Africans, sincere brothas and sistas, wise elders, holistic healers, all whose very existence transcended the tired presented stereotypes we see of African passivity, disloyalty and individualism breeding egotistical greed for both money and power.
I returned to the UK reborn, my subsequent journey to my village in Nigeria and then onto Ghana through volunteering with the wonderful ADAP organisation also strengthened me. Sadly before I could return to Senegal to continue my dialogue with Cheik, he crossed to join the Ancestors on 12th September 2009.
We miss him.
You see Cheik had a larger than life character, his charisma, work ethic and values meant he couldn’t just be defined as an artist. He was a cultural worker, and in the true sense of the word - a revolutionary. Definitely one of Gods bits of wood. Today many African wear t-shirts promoting Che Guevara. And yes, he was definitely a friend of Africa. But how many of us know of our own homegrown heroes, those who fought in wars of independence, those that fed and protected our families during times of war. How many of us know of those others who did not always make it into the mainstream media written and maintained by the hunters, the oppressors. Those whose names and deeds are still passed down like a whisper from generation to generation and continue to keep the dream of liberation alive by using words as a life affirming surgical instrument like the novel Two Thousand Seasons and create songs and conscious raising poems that paints an African Dawn, inspires others, penetrating the skulls of those fast asleep to our plight, through what I dub - waking media.
Today, my spidersense is still tingling, it’s still using that energy within to provide guidance to the world outside. A couple of days ago I had to intervene as several police officers forcibly restrained a young brotha in Stratford shopping centre causing him to bleed, it continues, people around me are losing their jobs, and with it their supposed purpose, their confidence, their faith. Others are becoming depressed, physically ill, spiritually weak. As a result some of us are becoming undisciplined - abandoning and in the worst instances turning on each other. As a result many of our children are unaware of our Ancestors achievements and are losing respect for our perceived lack of progress, lack of purpose, lack of knowledge of self. And with that they are choosing not only to mimic all the madness they see around them, but also our own bad behaviour. By failing to lead by example, the examples have started to lead them.
We must do better.
Lest we have allowed the malignant media outside our community to come inside and succeed in socialising us in a manner contrary to our true character. You see, many of us seem to want quick and easy answers, simple solutions to lifes challenges but right now I can’t and won’t even try to offer any solutions beyond work harder, love harder.
We must also be prepared to move with the times, venture into the realms where are youth inhabit in order to provide a moral anchor to guide them back. Today I have made the decision to go into that madness that is Facebook in order to key an eye on some of the young ones in my family it has trapped in its matrix. Unless we are actively engaged in guiding, helping and protecting others in our family, our community wherever they are - then the enemy is no longer who you think it is.
Think about it. Meditate on it.
Meanwhile, I want to thank all of you for supporting the Ligali Organisation and the work that we do. Nyansapo is a year old and much has happened in that time. What hasn’t changed is the fact that everything we are, everything we achieve is done on the shoulders of those that came before us. I beg you, please don’t forget to support those elders that led by example and are still walking amongst us. We owe them at least that.
May the Ancestors guide and protect us. Ase.
Toyin Agbetu is a writer,
film director, poet, and founder of Ligali, the pan African human rights based organisation
Memorial Tribute: Cheikh Ahmed Tidiane Gueye
A remembrance in music, images and words for...
Cheikh Ahmed Tidiane Gueye
Pan African Activist, Poet, Critic - a unique son of Africa
26 November 1954 - 12th September 2009
When: 28 November 2009, From 2pm till late
Where: Institute of Education,
Student Union Bar,
20 Bedford Way,
London WC1H 0AL
Adm: Food Available, Donations Welcome
Artists, friends, colleagues and family come together to pay their respects and celebrate Cheik’s life in a memorial event reflecting his progressive ideas and
development in revolutionary thought and spirit....
African Dawn Members | Elliot Ngubane | Brother Niyi Fred Macha Bro Molchopari | Leeto | Dade Krama
Abdul Tee Jay | Tunde Jegede | Wazalendo Players
Adesosa Wallace | Juwon | Wangui wa Goro | Bonolo Sisters
Nsimba Foggis Bitendi and many more surprise guests
Led by members of African Dawn and the Gueye family
Libation: We Remember
Derek B: UK Hip Hop Artist
Friday 13 November 2009
Baby Damali who passed away aged 3 years, her family wish her safe journey to the Ancestors.
Monday 16 November 2009
Derek Boland, 44 who crossed to meet the Ancestors after experiencing a heart attack.
Nyansapo: News and Updates
Nyansapo: The Pan African Drum
Greetings: Welcome new listeners to Nyansapo. The Pan African drum is broadcast from the UK and attracts new supporters from Africa and the Americas every week. Our broadcast is currently only available online. Our podcasts of previous shows are usually available 24 hours after broadcast.
The radio show is also available by going to Nyansapo on MySpace or clicking either of the links: Nyansapo Radio or Nyansapo Direct Studio Link
Screening: The Walk
When: 21 November 2009, 5pm - 8 pm
Adm: Free Screening (Donations Welcome)
Where: The Lecture Theatre, Hackney Community College, Falkirk Street, Shoreditch, London N1 6HQ
The Walk will be screened alongside From You Were Black by scholar activist, Colin Prescod. These two films by local film makers are essential family viewing. Tell the whole town and bring your whole family down.
For more details of how to find us
Malcolm X in Oxford before addressing university students on the subject of extremism and liberty, 3rd December 1964.
|Debate: This House would make Reparations for Colonialism
When: 26th Nov 2009 8:30pm
Where: Oxford Union, Frewin Court,
It has been argued that much of Europe’s wealth today is based on past actions which, by today’s standards, are morally reprehensible. Given that without colonialism the relative wealth of continents would be completely different, should we correct the wrongdoings of history? Or does the passage of generations alter the course of justice?
Lord Parekh - Political theorist. He was appointed a Life Peer in 2000. He was born in India and educated both there and in the UK.
John Newsinger - Professor of History at Bath Spa University. In his book Blood Never Dried, he described the Raj as a ‘regime of torture’ that has been almost ‘completely unexplored’ by historians.
Toyin Agbetu - Pan African human rights activist. In 2007 he was invited to a ritual at Westminster Abbey and whilst leaving disrupted the service commemorating William Wilberforce and the abolition of the so called 'slave trade', exposing it as a self-congratulatory exercise insulting to Africans and their Ancestors.
Count Nikolai Tolstoy - Historian, author and Parliamentary candidate. Chancellor of the International Monarchist League, he is the UKIP Candidate for Parliament in David Cameron’s Witney constituency.
Tiffany Jenkins - the Institute of Ideas. Recently commented that “the pursuit of apologising for the past by politicians...has come to replace a more important debate about what a good society might be like today.”
Phillip Van Der Elst - Author and lecturer. A UKIP candidate for the European Parliament earlier this year, he has written extensively on British foreign policy.
Click here for more information
When the elements sing
By Cheikh Ahmed Tidiane Gueye
Hail the hurricane
hail the harmattan
sing and dance
with the whirlwind
I am one with nature
I sing of unrest
I sing of passion
not of sighing brooks
but of the unharnessed crest
the tidal wave
and the cataract
I am one with nature
I sing of dawn
when the eye of the sky
is crimson red
the very colour of my dreams
I am one with nature
are on my side
my people too
mountains, valleys, canyons
where we ensnare
the enemy's metal herd
I am one with nature
don't you know?
Ask the Palestinian
ask the Eritrean
ask the Mau Mau
ask Sandero Luminoso in Peru
they will tell you that
I am one with nature
listen and listen well
what does it say?
I am on with nature
I speak of crops and harvests
to feed the starving
I grew up by the Nile
and spread across the globe
do not ask me
where I have been
what I have seen
I am one with nature
the sun shines on my brow
so too Malcolm x
when you eavesdrop
What do you hear?
What do you see?
What do you feel?
Are you with me?
Are you with nature?
Are you with nature?
Are you with the people?
Are you with the people?
I am one with nature
I am one with nature
AJAMU session: Youth Identity - Black, Black British, Urban or African?
When: Saturday 21st November 2009, 6pm - 9pm
Where: Chestnuts Community Centre, St Ann's Road, Tottenham, N15 (nearest tube: Seven Sisters - Victoria Line)
Adm: £3 donation requested (children free)
Does it matter what we call ourselves? What do you call yourself. Come and tell us why. Why does identity matter? Join the discussion.
Main Speaker: Bro Omowale Ru-pert Em Pru (Pan-African Society Community Forum) and Leon Kwesi Esimi (AJAMU)
Contact: AJAMU on 07852.937.981 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Afrikan Revolutions in the Western Hemisphere: Successes of Palmares and the women of Haiti
When: Friday 20 November 2009, 6:30pm arrival, 7pm start
Where: Starlight Music Academy, 44-46 Offley Road, The Oval, London SW9 0LS
Adm: Youths are especially welcome - All free of charge
Part of the Afrikan Freedom means Defeating Neo-colonialism: Nkrumah @ 100 (1909-2009) season of lectures and workshops.
Facilitated by Bro. Oxalando and Sista C
For more information: Ring 07940 005 907; email – Panascf@yahoo.co.uk; Website – www.pascf.org.uk
Nearest Tube: Oval (Northern Line); Buses: 3, 36, 59, 133, 155, 159, 185, 333, 436
London African Film Festival
When: Thu 26 November – Thu 3 December 2009
Where: The Barbican, Cine Lumière, The Lexi Cinema, The Rich Mix and the University of Westminster.
New currents in narrative forms are the special focus of the London African Film Festival 2009. We are showcasing debuts by a wide range of dynamic, young film-making talent and the most creative of TV/film practitioners to celebrate the energy that young Africans from all corners of the continent have brought to drama as they embrace the digital age.
Digital technology is having a huge impact on African cinema. The poorest continent to produce compelling films. Film and video have become one of the success stories with Nigeria leading the way with its Home Video Cinema. Other countries are following the Nigerian model with spectacular results.
The festival launches with screening of a selection of feature films and documentaries including the UK Première of Tariq Teguia’s INLAND, Abakar Chene Massar’s CAPTAIN MAJID, a film that is a metaphor of the disenchanted youth in Chad and the Ethiopian director Nega Tariku’s film that offers us ADERA, a story of an Ethiopian refugee’s struggle to survive in Johannesburg. A selection of the best of AMAA (the African Movie Academy Awards) that include the Nigerian documentary filmmaker Sani Elhadj Magori’s seminal documentary FOR THE BEST AND FOR THE ONION, about one man’s determination to get the best onion harvest in order to marry the love of his life, Wanuri Kahui’s FROM A WHISPER, a superb drama based on the bombing of the US embassy in Nairobi in 1998.
Central to the festival is a major conference entitled Producing and Distributing African Film in the Digital Era that will take place on Sunday 29 November in partnership with the University of Westminster Africa Media Centre (AMC) and in association with the Communication and Media Research Institute (CAMRI) and Communication Research in Arts and Media (CREAM).
This one-day interdisciplinary conference has invited academics, film and video producers, policy makers, film distributors, Africa specialists, and development practitioners to debate the role and future of African film and video.
We are hoping for a long week of discussions and interactions with some of our invited guests. Everyone is welcome.
This week in the media:
BBC Radio 4
8pm File on 4 With record gold prices stimulating demand, Jenny Cuffe reports from the Democratic Republic of Congo on the scale of illegal mining and asks if the industry does enough to ensure that gold supplies aren't being used to fund conflict.
9pm Banged Up Abroad Jamaican Getaway The story of TK White and her lover, who were imprisoned in Kingston, Jamaica, after being caught trying to smuggle marijuana back to America.
BBC Radio 4
8pm The Report The sacking of the government's former chief drugs adviser caused outrage in some quarters of the scientific community. Professor David Nutt had criticised the government's decision to reclassify cannabis from class C to class B. James Silver investigates the causes of the row and asks if the government's cannabis classification policy is in disarray.
9pm Natural World: Black Mamba, White Witch As the summer arrives in the African kingdom of Swaziland, so does the fearsome black mamba, whose bite in a country with limited health care and no anti-venom may be fatal. Hotel manager Thea Litschka-Koen and her husband are on call 24 hours a day to help locals remove the snakes when they appear, and have set up a scientific project to track the black mambas after they are released back into the wild and learn how they spend their lives. Narrated by Lenny Henry
9pm Confessions of a Traffic Warden
Cutting Edge goes behind the scenes of Westminster Council's parking enforcement operation, following new recruits as they join a team of traffic wardens heading onto London's streets. They face the possibility of being sworn at, racially abused and even physically assaulted, and with most wardens new to Britain as well as to the job, the film offers a fresh perspective on the country they have decided to settle in
The Ligali Organisation thanks Bro Chigbo for compiling these details.
Rites of Passage: Training, Healing and Meditation
Akoben: Symbol of vigilance and wariness. Akoben is a horn used to sound a battle cry.
Spirit of the Warrior
Date: Every Week, Mon, Wed, Fri (7 - 9:30pm), Thurs (7:15 - 8:45pm)
Adm: 1st lesson is free. Thereafter, £4.50 per lesson. Members £2.50 per lesson
Where (Mon and Fri): Lord Morrison Hall, Chestnut Grove (off Scales Rd), Tottenham, London N17 9ET (Tube: Seven Sisters (Victoria Line), Tottenham Hale / Rail: Bruce Grove / Buses: 243, 341, 149, 259,279)
Mashufaa is a martial are created for the mental, physical and spiritual upliftment of a generation of people who have become detached from themselves! Mashufaa is about living a life with light through the sweat of training. Sweat lets you know you are alive.
Remember Mind, Body and Spirit are one. Train to live and live to train. Mashufaa Classes will take place from at The Albany Theatre (Plum Room) nearest Rail: Deptford or DLR Deptford Bridge.
Tel: 07956 337391/ 07715 942734