Teaching Myself How To Love: A journey into the spirit of our ancestors (Entry 4)

IMG_1078.JPG

Entry 4 : A divided kingdom is a weak kingdom

“If you fear what your ancestors practiced you fear aspects of yourself.”

Nothing can exemplify this quote better than the way we treat each other. Black people do not trust each other because they are afraid of who they are.  Now, whether we want it or not Africans and African-Americans are one of the same people. It was our family, friends, lover or mentor that was stolen, capture and taken to America and it was our family, friends, lover or mentor who stayed in Africa. The experience was different, but the outcome was the same, at the end of the day our identity in every shape and form was taken away from us.

It is important that I talk about this issue before introducing the ways of our ancestors through these journal entries, because finding ways to dis-empower our brothers and sisters whether it be Africans towards African-American or African-American towards Africans deeply hurts the people on both sides of the continent who suffered the atrocities of slavery and colonization and is exactly the outcome that the system desires; a divided kingdom is a weak kingdom.

I was never aware of this division between Africans and African-Americans until I moved to America. On the one side I had African Americans belittling my identity with comments like “African booty scratcher” ect… insinuating that I was primitive because of were I was from and on the other I had Africans warning me of African-Americans “they are all gangstas, with no roots of who they are”. So before we move forward I want you to visualize this story that takes place on the gold coast of Africa in 1808:

 

“When it happened I had just finished making love to my husband, the children were sound asleep. The village was quiet, quieter than usual, but we laid there skin on skin, my head on his chest while his hand roamed the wonders of my back, I was at peace in his arms, they took my peace away. They came while everyone was asleep troops of them with their mysterious gri-gri** that spit fire. There weren’t too many of them, but we couldn’t compete. Who were their gods? How did they arm them with such terrible objects that killed life wherever it aimed. My heart tenses as I say this, the village turned into hell. Mothers carrying their children, children being left behind, I took one child and my husband took the other and we ran; I was fast but the kid on my back slowed me down, he was ahead of me but when he didn’t see me by his side  he slowed down. He tried to grab the child from my back to help me move faster but as soon as he did, they fired. I held on to the child tighter and sprinted, not realizing what had happened. They fired on my husband but it wasn’t him that they killed; as I turned around I saw the body of my eldest son slip away from my husband back. A hole grew inside of my throat, my ovaries throbbed, my skin I cried my flesh! A circle of men grew around my husband. He couldn’t move. I wanted to help him but there was a child depending on my survival holding on tight to my back, whose life could I choose?  My feet kept running. That night I lost my peace.” 

 

Listening to the Elders

I had an interesting conversation during my stay in Benin with one of the elders in the community. During our conversation I inquired about the slave trade and the myths surrounding it. “did African kings really sell their people?” He responded, “Let’s not be ridiculous now! Why would a king sell his people when we all know a king is only as strong as his kingdom?” In the history books we weren’t told the whole truth, and we would probably never know the whole truth until we inquire from those in the continent, who kept the oral records of what happened to  our people. A kingdom is only as strong as the people who are in it, we need each other for our kingdom as black people to flourish. In every, interaction we must be reminded of the story of that young wife and her husband and know that somewhere along the line this could have been our family.

 

Gri-gri: is an emulate made to protect

wilize maleombho