Africa’s time of trouble, the Coming of “the white strangers” and the shape of things to come: A “No Humans Involved” sequel.

“Very few people talk about this subject from an African point of view, because the coming of the europeans not only to Africa, but the coming of the europeans to the world was disaster. And yet when you read the history books the assumption is that the coming of the europeans was the bringing of the light and yet everywhere he went in the world he put out  the light……”(John Henrik Clarke, my italics)

“He solemnly told his councilors at the Assembly: Through a vision I saw nations emerging from the ocean. They resemble us but in appearance are the color of pumpkin-porridge….They carry a long stick of fire. With this, they kill and loot from many nations……A veritable race of robbers and cannibals” (Kunene p 206, my italics)

“It is said that more than thousand times years went by in which there was peace on this virgin earth. Peace in the sky. Peace on the forest-veiled plains. There was none of this savage and wanton destruction of life. Such as man today indulges in to gratify their warped and evil souls. But the evil star of self-righteousness was emerging from yonder horizon. And man’s undoing was nigh” (Mutwa p 22-23, my italics)

 

 

The great master-historian Chancellor Williams after a multi-centuries long study of the history of the Africans, especially their encounters with what Mazisi Kunenein his book called Emperor Shaka The Great designated “the white strangers”, ineluctably led him to conclude that “the white strangers” are the implacable enemies of blacks. My reading of his now classic The Destruction of Black Civilization, inescapably led me to infer that “the white strangers” have for centuries waged a race war against the Africans. This is what Van Riebeck, one of these “white strangers”, once argued;

The country had thus fallen to our lot, being justly

won in defensive war and … it was our intention to retain it’ (Ramose 581, my italics).

 

In this paper, which is divided into two sections, I will rely on the concepts of “return to the source”, the“view from the bridge” and “triadic ontology” to argue that as the living we need to heed the admonitions of our living-dead which are rich in wisdom regarding “the coming of the white strangers”, what this coming will do to us and what kind of  beings  “these white strangers” are as explained both in African mythology and historical narratives of our ancestors. The fundamental objective is to intensify the conscientisation process regarding the fact of the race war waged by what Mazisi Kunene also calls the Pumpkin Race, and to recruit the members of the Palm Race (as Kunene calls the Africans) who are willing to be race-warriors for a race army as both Ani Marimba and Dr Welsing envisioned. The race-warriors of the Palm Race must say to the Pumpkin Race, as Marimba would put it,Bolekaja! “Come on down, let us fight”. But in order to be successful race-warriors I suggest they involve the living dead of the Palm Race and use their despatches to which I now turn.

 

 

 

 

Despatches from the Living dead

 

 

“Rather than the modern crooner’s foreign voice,

Or the loud howls of modern township jive,

I shall leave far behind that maddening noise

And hurry home where Tribal Elders live.

There I shall sit before Ubabamkulu

Who shall relate to me the Tales of Yore.

There I shall kneel before the old Gegulu

And hear legends of Those-that-lived-Before.

 

There I shall live, in spirit, once again

In those great days now gone forever more

And see again upon the timeless plain

The massed impi of so long ago

 

The words of men long dead shall reach my soul

From the dark depths of all-consuming Time

Which like muti, shall inflame my whole-

And guide my life’s canoe to shores sublime!

The tree grows well and strong, Oh children mine,

That hath its roots deep in the native earth;

So honour always thy ancestral line. And traditions of thy land of birth! (Mutwa p 3-4, my italics)

“A plunge into the gulf of the past is the condition and the source of liberty” (Fanon p 131, my italics)

 

 

The title of this section is influenced by Dr Tony Martin; a Garveyite Historian who wrote a book (which I recommend to the Palm Race) called The Jewish Onslaught:Despatches from the Wellesley Battlefront. In this book Dr Tony Martin bravely explained how the Jewish people(“the white strangers”) participated in what Prof Chinweizu calls the Black Chattelization War or the Anti-Black Race War which led to the violent transportation of our living dead to the so-called “new world”. For our ancestors there was nothing new about this world as they have been there before as explained by Dr Ivan Van Sertima in They Came Before Columbus. Dr Tony Martin has made his transition, thus he is now a warrior-ancestor or warrior-living dead.

This section will rely on African mythology to demonstrate that our ancestors in their wisdom anticipated the “coming of the white strangers” that are now in our midst and brutalising us in their race war. I will rely briefly on two “creatures” which I argue resemble these “white strangers” in our midst as explained by Ani Marimba and Credo Mutwa. These two “creatures” are Yurugu and Zaralleli.

The reliance on the secret tales of our ancestors is in line with what Prof. Ramose calls Triadic Ontology. In terms of this African philosophical concept, being consists of three levels, namely the living dead, the living and the yet-to-be-born. Thus, there is a spiritual connection between these three levels of being. There is a moral and symbolic communication between the living dead and the living. The living have a moral responsibility to “listen” to their living dead and in so doing they re-member them and create a future for the yet-to-be-born, so that there is an ontological equilibrium which aims at ensuring the survival and prosperity of the Africans.

This analysis corroborates the fact that for the Africans, being is spiritual as Wade Nobles demonstrated. This is how he explains this point:

Given the spirit sense of human be-ing(ness), the often stated observation regarding the spirituality of African

people is somewhat misleading. Spirituality pertains to having the quality of being spiritual. African people have

more than the quality of being spiritual. In fact, for the African to be human is to be a spirit. Spirit is the energy,

force or power that is both the inner essence and the outer envelope of human beingness. (Nobles p 148)

The second concept I want to foreground in this regard is “return to the source”. This is a concept developed by Amilcar Cabral in a book which has this concept as its title. In this context, return to the source implies a critical “plunging into the gulf of the past” as Fanon puts it. This means drawing critically from the wisdom of the living dead in order to fight against “the white strangers”. Serequeberhan calls this “indigenous reorientation”. A critical drawing from the wisdom of our living dead is in line with what Cheikh Anta Diop would argue the act of connecting with our ancient roots in order to re-affirm our African historical consciousness.

Thus far it is clear that Triadic Ontology is intimately intertwined with return to the source. As Ramose puts it:

This consists in a triadic structure of the living, the living dead (the supernatural forces) and the yet-to-be-born.This metaphysical structure ensures communication among the three levels of being. (Ramose p 5)

Simply because by drawing from the wisdom of the living-dead, as the living, we respect our duty to morally and symbolically communicate with them and thus keep them “alive” and also affirm our spirituality as Africans. The third pertinent concept is “the view from the bridge”. This is a concept which was developed by the great Chancellor Williams to convey the idea of a Watchman, who in this context I regard as the living dead. This Watchman can “see” two eternities because of his “elevated position” on the bridge. The Watchman could “see” two eternities, what has happened and what will transpire in the future. Thus the living dead are the Watchman who through their secret tales could tell us the “shape of things to come”. This explains the second part of the title of this paper.

“No Humans Involved” is part of the title of a letter written by Sylvia Wynter to argue that black men and people in general are regarded as not human by “the white strangers” who murder them on a daily basis as admirably discussed by Tommy J Curry in a book called The Man-Not. But I use “No Humans Involved” differently in this context. In this context, by drawing from the secret tales of our living dead, I use it to demonstrate that the living dead in anticipating the “coming of the white strangers” described them as not human. In other words, they used zoological terms to capture the wickedness of “the white strangers”.

Since we are in a race war, I designate these secret tales about “No Humans involved” as despatches. The Oxford Dictionary explains the word despatch as “a message or report from one military officer to another”. Our living dead knew very well that “the white strangers” will wreak havoc on our continent by waging a race war.

In terms of the secret tales of the living dead as narrated by Credo Mutwa, Zaralleli is a “creature” which was born by a beautiful woman called Nelesi. The process of birth of this “creature” took place in a shady recess of a vine-screened cave. In this regard it is important to “listen” to the warrior-ancestor Garvey when he states that “the white strangers” like Zaralleli;

 

“……have sprung from the same family tree of obscurity as we have; their history is as rude in its primitiveness as ours; their ancestors ran wild and naked, lived in caves and in branches of trees, like monkeys, as ours; they made human sacrifices, ate the flesh of their own dead and the raw meat of the wild beast for centuries even as they accuse us of doing; their cannibalism was more prolonged than ours; when we were embracing the arts and sciences on the banks of the Nile their ancestors were still drinking human blood and eating out of the skulls of their conquered dead; when our civilization had reached the noonday of progress they were still running naked and sleeping in holes and caves with rats, bats and other insects and animals. After we had already fathomed the mystery of the stars and reduced the heavenly constellations to minute and regular calculus they were still backwoodsmen, living in ignorance and blatant darkness” (Garvey p 1, my italics)

According to Credo Mutwa Zaralleli was “deformed” not in flesh alone, but also in his soul. The word “deformed” both in flesh and soul in my opinion is reminiscent of Dr Welsing’s The Cress Theory of Colour Confrontation. In terms of this theory, “the white strangers” underwent a genetic mutation which led to de-pigmentation which resulted in the “whiteness” of their flesh as I interpret her. The “deformity” in soul, is what Dr Welsing calls the defensive reflex which “the white strangers” developed as they discovered their genetic inadequacy of inferiority due to their recessive genes.

This “deformity” of the soul took the form of aggression by “the white strangers” towards the Palm Race that is blacks. Thus the Pumpkin Race, as Kunene calls “the white strangers”, without colour, as Dr Welsing would put it, developed a sick psyche as they discovered that most people around the world have colour. In my use of Freudian Psychoanalysis (Freud was a white psychologist, thus one of “these white strangers”) I argue that the Pumpkin Race developed a personality that is aggressive and obsessed with “Thanatos”, which is the death instinct.

Mazisi Kunene explains the “coming of the white strangers” in terms of our living dead as emerging from a different part of the world. For example Kunene states:

“He solemnly told his councilors at the Assembly: Through a vision I saw nations emerging from the ocean. They resemble us but in appearance are the color of pumpkin-porridge….They carry a long stick of fire. With this, they kill and loot from many nations……A veritable race of robbers and cannibals” (Kunene p 206, my italics)

It is not just the phenotypical description which matters as already alluded to Dr Welsing’s Cress Theory of ColorConfrontation, but that their coming symbolizes evil and destruction. Mutwa explains that:

“But that evil star of self-righteousness was emerging from yonder horizon and man’s undoing was nigh” (Mutwa p 23, my italics)

Kunene confirms this by saying:

“They carry a long stick of fire. With this, they kill and loot from many nations……A veritable race of robbers and cannibals” (Kunene p 206 my italics)

And Mutwa further explains that:

“The name of this very unpleasant monstrosity. The Tribal Narrators tell today. Was Zaralleli, The Wicked!This was the man—no rather the Thing. That introduced all evil to this earth” (Mutwa p 23)

How did Zaralleli introduce all evil to this earth? Mutwa explains as follows:

“The woman shrieked with horror and undiluted fear. When she realized her son was in fact creating—That the tune he was humming was an incantation.Commanding the hitherto lifeless iron to assume shape and life…..My son cried she. What and how and why? This he said without emotion is one of my weapons of conquest. Conquest? Conquest of what my son? Of everything-the earth, the sun and the moon!(Mutwa p 26)

Kunene on the other hand, explains how “the white strangers” bring about evil and destruction through a stick. This is how Kunene relates it:

“He solemnly told his councilors at the Assembly: Through a vision I saw nations emerging from the ocean. They resemble us but in appearance are the color of pumpkin-porridge….They carry a long stick of fire. With this, they kill and loot from many nations……A veritable race of robbers and cannibals” (Kunene p 206, my italics)

Yurugu on the other hand, as explained in the book by Ani Marimba of the same name, is a “creature” which according to our Dogon Living dead is an incomplete being. This is a “creature” which when Amma was creating it, it wrested itself from the creation process, thus failed to have the female principle. It is important to also visit Diop in The Cultural Unity of Black Africa in which he demonstrates that because of the nomadic lifestyle of “the white strangers” for them a woman was a burden and that is why they are patriarchal. The Palm Race on the other hand as Ifi Amadiume has demonstrated in The Re-invention of Africa is based on matriarchy, which Oyeronke Oyewumi in What Gender is Motherdemonstrated to be the basis of African society particularly the Yoruba people, that is to say it is based on motherhood or what Du Bois in The Negro calls the mother ideology or right.

In fact archeology has demonstrated that our living dead “worshiped” a female deity together with the male deity, for example the Kemites (ancient Egyptians) invented Isis a black female goddess and Osiris a black male god. John Henrik Clarke, that warrior-ancestor of the Palm Race, once stated that when “the white strangers” invaded Kemet around 751 BC, the Nubian brothers (black men) namely Taharka and Piankhi asked their fellow Kemites this question; “are you obeying the laws and the moral law laid down by a woman (the great goddess of the Nile Valley, namely Maat a black female goddess), are you true to her teachings? Are you obeying the old religion, are you true to the great religions of the river?” In order to deal with the invasion by “the white strangers” these race-warriors from Nubia “returned to the source”. It is important to grasp the African philosophical meaning of this secret tale.Maat is also about balance, truth and justice. In terms of the African world view, we have what is complementary dualism of two opposites, in this case the male and female principle. These two principles have to merge and complement each other otherwise there will be disharmony and disequilibrium. The Palm Race should “return to the source” in order to avoid the contemporary confusion around feminism.

Marimba explains Yurugu as a de-spiritualized being without the female principle. As I have posited Yurugu just like Zaralelli is “the white strangers”. Prof Ramose explains the fact that, in terms of African jurisprudence, justice means equilibrium. This is how Ramose puts it:

Justice is determined by the supernatural forces. Their determination seeks to restore harmony and promote the maintenance of peace. Justice as the restoration of equilibrium is a central element of the Ubuntu philosophy of law. (Ramose p 4, my italics)

Thus it is not surprising that “the coming of the white strangers” resulted in disequilibrium, which is injustice due to conquest.Remember Zaralleli as “the white strangers” said that it wants to conquer everything, the earth, the sun and the moon! This conquest of the earth by Zaralleli, explains why Dr Welsing posits that racism/white supremacy is a global system of white domination. In the light of conquest by Zaralleli and disequilibrium (injustice) as a result ofYurugu, what is the shape of things to come? Let us pay attention to the views of our scholar-Watchmen.

 

 

 Views from our Scholar-Watchmen

 

“And the bridge was suspended between the two eternities.Arched so high up where that the watchman could see all that had gone before-All that was to come” (Williams p 291)

“Today, my resentment at the doctrine of race superiority, as preached and practiced by the white world for the last 250 years has been pointed to with sharp criticism and contrasted with the charity of Gandhi and of the coloured minister [Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.] who lead the recent boycott in Alabama. I am quite frank: I do not pretend to “love white people.” I think that as a race they are the most selfish of any on earth. I think that the history of the world for the last thousand years proves this beyond doubt.”

(W.E.B. DuBois, “Whites in Africa After Negro Autonomy”, my italics)

 

“We are in a race war and we are (Africans) the only one who don’t know it, we refuse to accept it as reality…..” (Wright 1982, my italics)

 

 

In this section I want to portray our great scholar-warriors as the Watchman who, because of their brave scholarship, provided us with both diagnosis and prognosis of the dire situation of blacks due to “the coming of the white strangers”. These scholars are the great Cheikh Anta Diop and the great Chancellor Williams. Diop through his Two Cradle theory provided the Palm Race with an excellent diagnosis by delving into the ancient historyof thePumpkin Race and showing us what had gone before in the land of these “white strangers”. It was through reconstructing the ancient history of the Pumpkin Race that Diop could “see what had gone before”in their environment in order to better explain their current personality of aggression and xenophobia.

In other words,Diop’s notion of the Northern Cradle which will be discussed below is a diagnosis which also lays down the basis of a prognosis. This explains why Diop finally posed a question to the Palm Race to choose between African Civilization or european barbarism in his last book called Civilization or Barbarism: Towards an Authentic Anthropology. According to Diop allthat was to come is for the Palm Race to choose either the rebirth of African Civilization through “a return to the source”, that is the ancient civilization of our living dead of Kemet, or go the route of the barbarism of the Pumpkin Race who in the abovementioned book, Diop demonstrates we have civilized a couple of times in the past.

Part title of the book of the great master-historian Chancellor Williams is “great issues of a race from 4500 BC to 2000 AD”. The other part is “the destruction of black civilization”. In my view this is a clear form of diagnosis of the dire situation of the Palm Race. Williams delved deeper into our history from 4500 BC, to clearly make us see all that had gone before. In his diagnosis Williams has demonstrated that the Pumpkin Race has always been the implacable foe and traditional enemy of the Palm Race. What is then his prognosis? In other words, what is all that is to come?Here is Chancellor Williams in his own words:

 

What, then, is “the view from the bridge”? The outlook is grim. For the black people of the world there is no bright tomorrow. The Blacks may continue to live in their dream world of singing, dancing, marching, praying and hoping, because of the deluding signs of what looks like victories-still trusting in the ultimate justice of the white man; but a thousand years hence their descendants will be substantially where the race was a thousand years before. For the white people, still masters of the world, do not have to yield. They have never changed their real attitude toward black people during all the passing centuries, and there is absolutely nothing upon which to base the belief that they will change in the centuries to come. (Williams p 301, my italics)

 

The race war is the shape of things as are and still to be as long as Africans don’t find a way to eliminate “the white strangers” who have brought destruction and evil; just as our living dead counselled us through their secret tales. In this section of this paper I will also combine the views of our scholar-Watchmen, namely Cheikh Anta Diop and Chancellor Williams. To demonstrate that due to the shape of things as they are, that is race war, Africans can only survive and prosper through Race-First Ideology and Black Power in the form of economic and military power as Prof Chinweizu, another warrior-scholar, advises us today.

In terms of Diop’s Two Cradle Theory as explicated by Vulindlela Wobogo, there are two cradles, namely the Northern Cradle and the Southern Cradle. Because of a nomadic lifestyle in a cold environment, that is harsh, the inhabitants of this part of the world developed an aggressive, patrilineal and xenophobic personality and world view. The inhabitants of an abundantly-endowed environment on the other hand practiced agriculture, thus had a sedentary lifestyle and developed a matrilineal and xenophilic personality and world view.

In this context, “the white strangers” belong to the Northern Cradle while the Palm Race, that is blacks, belong to the Southern Cradle. “The white strangers” who inhabited a cold and harsh environment for a long time adapted to the harsh conditions which molded their highly aggressive, competitive and xenophobic personality. In the words of John Henrik Clarke, “the white strangers” are the “ice people” with a different temperament. Thus, without explaining further much about the environment from which “the white strangers” emerged, our living dead knew that because of a different temperament these “white strangers” emerging from yonder horizon (the Northern Cradle) will bring evil in our midst. To paraphrase Credo Mutwa, “the white strangers” who emerged from the Northern Cradle which is cold and harsh were “deformed not only in flesh but also in soul”.Thus, because of “the white strangers” deformity in flesh and soul, Williams’ view is that “the whites are the implacable foe, the traditional and everlasting enemy of the blacks”. (Williams p 310)

Williams amplifies his view by adding that:

“For this is not the ranting of wild-eyed militancy, but the calm and unmistakable verdict of several thousand years of documented history.” (Williams p 310)

In coming up with the view of the Northern Cradle, Diop was attempting to reconstruct the ancient history of “the white strangers”. Williams was also attempting to “predict” the constant future behavior of “the white strangers” towards blacks. Thus in both the views of Diop and Williams there is the element oftime. In other words, in formulating his view, Diop as a scholar-Watchman, goes back in time  to reconstruct the ancient history of “the white strangers” so that as the living and yet-to-be-born we can better understand the shape of things to come, given the presence of the Pumpkin Race from the Northern Cradle.

Williams as a scholar-Watchman, on the basis of having gone back in time to study our history since 4500 BC, attempted to explain to us that “the white strangers” will remain our implacable and everlasting enemies well into the future. I want to use Buseki Fu-Kiau’s notion of time as conceptualized by the living dead of Bantu-Kongo as he designates this Palm Race. I want to focus on his concepts of the scroll of time and the dam of time as he explained them in Ntangu-Tandu-Kolo Bantu-Kongo Concept of Time.This is how Buseki Fu-Kiau explains these two concepts:

 

Living in time is being able to deal at once with the known and

unknown dams of time as they occur throughout dingo-dingo dia ntangu

(process of time). It also involves comprehending the interrelation

between the past, the present, and the future. It is being able to zinga ye

zingumuna luzingu Iwa ntangu, roll and unroll the scroll of time, that is,

to understand and interpret the present by unrolling and

reviewing the historical part of the scroll that contains the accumulated

experience of learning and to position oneself to predict

the future (the past of tomorrow) by rolling or revealing the hidden part

of the scroll upon which n’kama miampa mia ntangu (new dams of time)

are to be imprinted by man or nature. (Buseki Fu-Kiau p 15)

The scroll of time basically explains time as it unfolds, while the dam of time means an event which takes place in the unfoldment of time in the form of a scroll. In using these two concepts, I argue that when the living dead declared that “but the evil star of self-righteousness was emerging from yonder horizon and man’s undoing was nigh” as Mutwa puts it, they were unrolling forward the scroll of time in order to capture the dam of time in the form of conquest by “the white strangers”. This was their way of telling us the shape of things to come. Diop on the other hand by explaining “the white strangers” as belonging to the Northern Cradle; he was unrolling back the scroll of time in order to capture the origins of the xenophobia and aggression of “the white strangers”.

Chancellor Williams as the Watchman of two eternities, as he explains in the view from the bridge, he unrolled back the scroll of time, in order to capture the dams of time in a form of the encounters between blacks and “the white strangers”. And he also unrolled forward the scroll of time in order to capture the dam of time in the form of the shape of things to come. Ultimately he posed the question:

“What then is the view from the bridge? The outlook is grim. For the black people of the world there is no bright tomorrow” (Williams p 301)

After unrolling forward the scroll of time and concluding that the shape of things to come suggest a future that is not bright;

“If blacks continue to live in their dream world of singing, dancing, marching, praying and hoping, trusting in justice of the white man (which is contradiction in terms, given that “the white strangers” bring injustice in a form of disequilibrium as yurugu) a thousand years hence their descendants will be substantially where the race was a thousand years before” (Williams p 301)

How can we as the living avoid being substantially where the race was a thousand years before? In my view, because this is a race war, only Race-First Ideology and Black Power in the form of economic and military power will change this shape of things brought about by “the white strangers”. For in the final analysis we have to concur with the great John Henrik Clarke that because Africa (the land of the Palm Race) has for centuries been under siege by “the white strangers “(the Pumpkin Race) “it is Pan-Africanism or Perish”. This is in line with what our great warrior-ancestor Marcus Garvey stated a long time ago by concluding that:

“The attitude of the white race is to subjugate, to

exploit, and if necessary exterminate the weaker peoples with whom they come in

contact. They subjugate first, if the weaker peoples will stand for it; then exploit, and if

they will not stand SUBJUGATION nor EXPLOITATION, the other recourse

EXTERMINATION.”(Garvey)

 

By Masilo Lepuru

 

 

 

 

 

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