Thursday, February 16, 2012

QUILOMBISMO - History, and the African Diaspora - Commentary

It's time to give our roots lots of TLC 

The author of "QUILOMBISMO An Afro-Brazilian Political Alternative" expresses the need of Brazilian Black people to win back their memory of Africa. Then goes on to say that the same goes for people of African descent on the continent and throughout the Americas. Indeed we have our work cut out for us. This article is just one of many that accentuates the need for Africans on the continent and throughout the diaspora to to get in touch with our African roots and stop wandering around the world as if we haven't got a history that is every bit as consequential as any other. The fact is we must take possession of our own legacy and relate our story from the point of view and the facts surrounding the lives of our ancestors. The first step on the road to this happening will be for us as Africans to fully embrace and acknowledge our ancestry. Whatever admixtures we may have by race or by place we are still Africans and nothing is going to change that. The very strength of our DNA insures that we shall not be mistaken for anything else. 
 Contrary to what's been drummed into far too many of us - that's a good thing.
Once we get beyond such obstacles we can begin the work of exploring our past with the same healthy curiosity that all offspring have about their forebearers, while simultaneously creating systems to ensure that our own progeny can keep and build on our efforts. We don't have to start from scratch either because those kindred souls named at the end of this following excerpt have already begun to dig, as well as organize systems for the study of and the preservation of our history. We do have to keep up the effort though and we must get the full attention of our youth, at this point in time I'd say their lives depend on it. Our young people need to see us extoll the exploits of our heroes and mentors as well as our kings and conquerors  of which there have actually been many, in recent and ancient history. if they never hear about them then it's easy to assume that they never existed. Our situation of living in eurocentric cultures or euro-colonialized cultures has placed us in a position where African history and culture is a subject, that not only has not been taught but even worse has been treated as a source of shame, something to be shunned. As Malcolm X so eloquently pointed out  if you hate the root then you gotta hate the tree.  It's time for our roots to get lots of TLC.                                                                                     Web Prospector

The following is an excerpt from an article in 
The Journal of Black Studies 
edited by
ABDIAS DO NASCIMENTO State University of New York. 

An Afro-Brazilian
Political Alternative 
"I want to begin this text emphasizing the urgent need of the Brazilian Black people to win back their memory, which has been systematically assaulted by Brazilian Western-inspired structures of domination for almost 500 years. A similar pro- cess holds true with the history of Africans on the Continent and their descendants scattered through all the Americas. The memory of Afro-Brazilians, very much to the contrary of what is said by conventional historians of limited vision and superficial understanding, does not begin with the slave traffic or the dawn of chattel slavery of Africans in the fifteenth century. In my country, the ruling class always, and particu- larly after the so-called abolition of slavery (1888), has developed and refined myriad techniques of preventing Black 
Brazilians from being able to identify and actively assume their ethnic, historical and cultural roots, thus cutting them off from the trunk of their African family tree. Except in terms of recent expansionist interests of the industrial elite, Brazil as a traditional norm has always ignored the African continent. It turned its back on Africa as soon as the slaver elite found itself no longer able to scorn the prohibition of commerce in African flesh imposed by Britain around 1850. A massive immigration of Europeans occurred a few years later, and the ruling elite emphasized its intentions and its actions in the sense of wrenching out of the mind and heart of slaves' descendants any image of Africa as a positive memory of nation, of motherland, of native home. Never in our educational system was there taught a discipline revealing any appreciation or respect for the cultures, arts, languages, political or economic systems, or religions of Africa. And physical contact of Afro-Brazilians with their brothers in the continent and the diaspora was always prevented or made difficult, among other methods, by the denial of economic means permitting Black people to move and travel outside the country. But none of these hindrances had the power of obliterating completely, from our spirit and memory, the living presence of Mother Africa. And even in the existential hell we are subjected to now, this rejection of Africa on the part of tle domindnt classes has functioned as a notably positive factor, helping to maintain the Black nation as a community above and beyond difficulties in time and space.
Diversified as are the strategies and devices arrayed against Black people's memory, they have recently undergone serious erosion and irreparable discrediting. This is due largely to the dedication and competence of a few Africans preoccupied with the secular destitution the Black race has suffered at the hands of European and Euro-American' capitalist civilization. This group of Africans, simultaneously scholars, scientists, philosophers, and creators of literature and art, includes persons from the African continent and diaspora. To mention only a few of their names: Cheikh Anta Diop, of Senegal; Chancellor Williams, Shawna Maglangbayan Moore, Haki Madhubuti, Molefi K. Asante and Maulana Ron Karenga of the United States; George G. M. James and Ivan Van Sertima of Guyana; Yosef Ben-Jochannan of Ethiopia; Theophile Obenga, of Congo Brazzaville; Wole Soyinka Ola Balogun and Wande Abimbola of Nigeria; these figure among the many who are actively producing works fundamental to the contemporary and coming development of Africa. In different fields, with diverse perspectives, the energies of these eminent Africans channel themselves toward the exorcism of the falsities, distortions and negations that Europeans for so long have been weaving around Africa, with the purpose of obscuring or erasing our memory of the wisdom, scientific and philosoph- ical knowledge and realizations of the peoples of Black African origin. Black Brazilian memory is only a part and particle in this gigantic project of reconstruction of a larger past to which all Afro-Brazilians are connected. To redeem this past is to have a consequent responsibility in the destinies and futures of the Black African nation worldwide, still preserving our quality as edifiers and genuine citizens of Brazil." 

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