This is a continuation from Part 1: In the previous post, I explained how African (Black) history is mostly a history of distortion and is mostly missing. We talk of the fallen antelope and not the lion that killed her and continues to feed on her. We fake-cry over a burning building and ignore those who set fire to it. We talk of Africa without knowing her. And to not know Africa is to not know the world. You do not study the world if such a massive part of it is missing from your knowledge base. You do not study the world.
This post is an amalgamation of two talks I gave in the last half a year:
- ‘Pan-Africanism, Afrofuturism and Decolonisation: Realising visions of freedom,’ University of Bristol, Black History Month programmes, 4 October 2018
- Getting to the Future by Revisiting the Past: Law, history, education, knowledge in Africa, The International Students Conference for Africa (TISCA) 2019, University of Lancaster, 5-7 April 2019
I have divided this into two parts.
John Pepper Clark-Bekederemo was born 6 April 1935. He is a Nigerian poet and playwright, who often publishes as J. P. Clark and John Pepper Clark. His poem, “The Casualties” is essentially about the Nigerian Civil War (1967-1970). When the Eastern part of Nigeria named itself Biafra and seceded from Nigeria, in the resulting conflict there were there were about 100,000 overall military casualties, while between 500,000 and 2 million Biafran civilians died of starvation. Most of them children. “The Casualties” emphasises the very widespread fallout of war. Nigeria has not come to terms with this tragedy and atrocity. (Note: I have deliberately not included pictures of starving children below, though they are readily available. It is my personal belief that it is disrespectful to share pictures of children in this way)
Lucille Clifton was an African American poet born in Depew, New York, in 1936 to working class parents. Lucille Clifton began writing at an early age. Clifton is noted for saying much with few words. In a Christian Century review of Clifton’s work, Peggy Rosenthal commented, “The first thing that strikes us about Lucille Clifton’s poetry is what is missing: capitalization, punctuation, long and plentiful lines. We see a poetry so pared down that its spaces take on substance, become a shaping presence as much as the words themselves”
Dress Code: Pan African
Theme: ‘Building the Pan-African Inspired Multiversity.’
Within the last decade, a number of universities in the Global North have begun to come to terms with the complicity of the academe in the legitimisation, perpetuation and erasure from intellectual memory of the Transatlantic Slave trade and attendant practice of slavery. Particular interest is being paid to financial gains, direct and indirect, as well as in some cases the use of actual labour of persons enslaved.
I have also been quite motivated by varying perspectives on the nature of freedom. Followers of African Skies may have read one or all of the following pieces I have written on freedom. It would be fair to say that I am very preoccupied with the idea of freedom, what it entails. When we know we have got it. What it means. How we define freedom. The thing is that we often think of freedom as an absolute – We are either free or we are not. I do not agree with this. Which is why I describe freedom as a becoming.
Ok, so I love and hate romcoms… Due to the nature and content of my research, I often need something light to step away from the darkness of human injustice. So I love rom-coms. I have watched Love Actually at least 10 times, and the Sound of Music owes at least £1000 worth of their revenue to my viewing alone. However there seems to be this misconception that they should be held to a lower standard and can dispense with logic, verisimilitude and connections to reality. So I am here to share some of my personal gripes:
Apparently it still needs to be said. Africa is not a country. It is the second largest continent in the world. Europe and the Americas can comfortably fit into its landmass. Simultaneously. Africa is 55 countries and 2 disputed territories (I am counting Somaliland as a country. The whys and wherefores of that are a whole different article. I can’t shout.)