Monday, June 26, 2006

Rene Carayol - Dedication and Motivation

This blog has moved to:

Keywords: success, Black success, African Caribbean, UK, business, enterprise, achieve your goals

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Afrikan Heritage in Latin America

Nubiart - Wed 5pm / Fri 10pm, Sound Radio 1503AM. Tel: 08700 414 606.
Also on the web at:
African Americans escaping enslavement in the United States were welcomed into Mexico.
The following is taken from the Nubiart Diary. Many thanks to Brotha K. for this research.

NUBIART EDITORIAL: Editorial Pt 1 Following Chief Lola Ayorinde repeating her view that Afrikans outside Afrika are no longer Afrikan, both Nubiart shows were dedicated to the Afrikan diaspora in places where it doesn’t get much coverage. In the first half of midweek Nubiart, we looked at the western diaspora and in the second half, at the eastern diaspora. Nubiart welcomes equally well-documented research that supports the stance of Chief Lola Ayorinde and her fellow travelers.
Mexico – We started with an article called ‘African Roots Stretch Deep in Mexico’ by Roberto Rodriquez and Patrisia Gozales. The article came with photos of a man and woman (who may be the authors) and confirms their Afrikan identity. This article supports ‘Mexico Welcomed Fugitive Slaves and African American Job-Seekers: New Perspectives On The Immigration Debate’ by Ron Wilkins of the Patrice Lumumba Coalition which we read out on the show a month ago.
Afrikans still live in Mexico, mainly in Veracruz and the Costa Chica in Guerrero and Oaxaca states. The groundbreaking scholar on this issue is Aguirre Beltran, who published ‘The Black Population of Mexico’ in 1946. Afrikans had first lived in Yucatan, Michoacan, Tlaxcala, Mexico, Chiapas, Veracruz, Guerrero and Oaxaca but moved around the country to work in mining, textiles, ranching, fishing and agriculture.
“The first documented slave rebellion in Mexico occurred in 1537; this was followed by the establishment of various runaway slave settlements called ‘palenques’…In 1608, Spaniards negotiated the establishment of a free black community with Yagna, a runaway rebel slave. Today that community in Veracruz bears its founder’s name.”
The Afrikan, Vicente Guerrero, Mexico’s second President, abolished slavery in 1822 (143 years before the US civil rights movement). “In the summer of 1850, the Mascogos, composed of runaway slaves and free blacks from Florida, along with the Seminoles and Kikapus, fled south from the United States, to the Mexican border state of Coahuila. Accompanying the Seminoles were also ‘Black Seminoles’ – slaves who had been freed by the tribe after battles against white settlers in Florida. The three groups eventually settled the town of El Nacimento, Coahuila, where many of their descendants remain.”
There are Afrikan instruments in Mexico that are played by the indigenous peoples. More information is available from:
Venezuela – Humberto Marquez wrote ‘Venezuela: 150 Years After Abolishment of Slavery, Racism Persists’, from Caracas on Mar 23, 2004. Mar 24 is marked in Venezuela as the abolition of slavery in 1854. At the time, there were 25,000 slaves in a population close to 1 million. It is estimated the free Afrikan population in Venezuela at that time was 400,000. Slaveholders were indemnified for their loss with 200 pesos for each slave. However, the total of 5 million pesos was more than the state budget of 3 million pesos and their claims were never paid as civil war broke out (1859-64).
The main centres of Afrikan population are Caracas, Maracay-Valencia and Maracaibo. The insults heaped on Hugo Chavez, who is of mixed Indian and Afrikan ancestry, give an idea of the general treatment and attitude of many Venezuelans to Afrikans. Many are spurred on by US racism and the media, which includes the notorious monkey noises which TV station Globovision made over footage of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe when he was in the country to attend a Group of 15 summit in February 2004. This brought a statement of protest from the Ambassadors of Algeria, Egypt, Libya, the Saharawi Republic (Western Sahara), Nigeria and South Afrika. The station’s managers justified their coverage by saying that the Afrikan ambassadors didn’t understand Venezuelan humour!!!
Colombia РOn Tues night, we attended the Colombian Solidarity meeting with Jorge Isaac Aramburo Garcia & Maria Encina Valencia Córdoba, members of Proceso de Comunidades Negras (PCN - Black Communities Process), who have been visiting Europe for the last two months. Maria has been a teacher for 24 years and concentrates on giving advice and support and the promotion of culture. She believes that music and dance are central to the struggle. She kicked off the evening with a song of solidarity to stop children lamenting that their parents did not struggle for a better life. We have to answer to history.
Jorge Garcia claims Mandinke forebears from the west coast of Afrika and so wants to be called Naca Mandinka. Their forebears were dominated by imperialism and they are now dominated by the Colombian state. They want an autonomous state on Colombia’s Pacific coast to live their culture.
Afrikans make up 26% of Colombia’s 45 million people – 11 million. Colombia is third after Brazil and the US in terms of the size of its Afrikan community, yet their history and culture has never been properly documented or promoted. They were never allowed to return to Afrika and slavemasters separated those from the same region or language group to stop rebellions.This led to the loss of their language and culture so NM is frustrated that he cannot speak an Afrikan language.There are 83 groups in their network covering arts, students, farmers, politics and the environment. They areunited by the struggle for the right to their identity and also work with Mestizos. 4 million Afrikans are organised along these lines.They demand the right to self-determination and control of any project that affects them as part of their campaign for reparations for the crimes of slavery.
They helped the Creoles in their fight for freedom but when independence came, it only benefited the Creoles. European nations supplied Bolivar’s army but Haiti played the biggest part but when the independence celebrations came, Europeans were invited but not the Afrikan Haitians.
The 1991 Constitution said Colombia was a plural ethnic society and Afrikans are using this to gain recognition. But the Colombian state is promoting uniculture. “Every culture has its own concept of what is necessary for its evelopment.” They refuse to integrate in to the dominant culture. Discrimination has a double sense – that which is equal is treated differently and that which is different is treated equally. “A pig doesn’t eat dog food.”
Justice and reparations is a law of impunity, as people won’t find out the truth of what happened. In the past, there was the slave triangle, now there is the triangle of multinationals, paramilitaries and the multinational inland theft. He called for a human rights mission to report on the mistreatment of Afrikans and for groups in Europe to denounce attacks on them as Colombian media doesn’t do it as it is controlled by the state. In Durban 2000, they struggled to get slavery recognised as a crime against humanity, but the perpetrators left the room when reparations came up, showing their racist ideology.
MC said that education in Colombia has negated Afrikan-Colombian identity, making them out to be ugly and brutish. Afrikans mix with whites and mestizos, claiming they want to ‘improve the race’. PCN wants education that generates autonomy, equal pay, gender equality and justice. They stressed the importance of ending discrimination against women at home, school and work. Illiteracy is 40% in rural areas.
NM said the 1991 law legitimised what was already standard Afrikan-Colombian practice. Pacific lands are common lands, but this was interpreted as empty lands, allowing multinationals to move in and claim them. Afrikan-Colombians didn’t have an instrument to resist this, but Law 70 passed in 1993 should allow them some defence. They are also using International Labour Organisation Article 69 which promotes the rights of indigenous people.
Slavery still continues. In Choco, workers are not paid wages, but given vouchers that they can only use in the landowners' shops. Choco is the poorest region in Colombia but has the most Afrikans. Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere and sub-Saharan Afrika is the poorest region in the world. This is not because of divine providence but the institution of racism. The racism is also present in meetings they go to outside Colombia, where women and indigenous issues make it to the final recommendations but the Afrikans rights don’t get mentioned. He urged the left to be modern and accept that capitalism, while global, impacts and manifests differently at a local level.
They both stressed the importance of Afrikan links and would like to unite with other diaspora groups on projects in Afrika especially in the fields of education and medicine. In Colombia, healthcare is is provided by private agencies, so it is effectively privatised. PCN is setting up health collectives but, although they are recognised by central government, they do not have the resources to really make an impact. They will be looking to make links with Cuba and their Latin American School of Medicine although there are no Cuban doctors in Colombia at present. There are links between Colombia and Cuba’s Ministries of Education.
MC rounded off the talk with two songs about exploitation among workers and people who migrate from rural to urban areas only to find that life is harder there and so return to their home region.

See also: 2007 Commemoration; Maafa Photographs; Soul Survivors.

NUBIART PODCASTS NOW AVAILABLE: ‘What Is Beauty?’, looking at attitudes to hair, skin bleaching, relationships and Afrikan identity. You can downloadthis now at:

NB: Nubiart Diary can also be read weekly at and on the Afrikan Quest website.
Keywords: Afrikan identity; Afrikan heritage; Latin American; slavery; Black history

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Happy Juneteenth Everyone

Juneteenth celebrates the day in 1865 when enslaved African Americans were informed that the Civil War had ended and with it, their enslavement.

On June 19, 1865, the Union General Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas and announced the news. Texas was apparently the last part of the United States to be liberated, two and a half years after Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation.

Juneteenth is celebrated in many parts of the United States as well as other parts of the world, as the day when African Americans finally were free. Or rather, when the government finally got around to telling us we were free.

I ask myself, are we really free? Compared to our enslaved ancestors, of course we are. Reading Soul Survivors recently, I was reminded yet again of the daily brutality which the enslaved Africans faced and accepted as their lot.

Seeing the Maafa Photographs reminds me of the unspeakable conditions they endured when brought to the Americas as ships' cargo.

But remembering Stephen Lawrence, Rodney King, Cherry Groce, Cynthia Jarrett, Joy Gardner, and so many others, I have to ask, how free are we really? Too many white people in authority continue to want to treat us as objects, brutalise us and discourage us from enjoying the freedoms which are ours by right.

Last year, when I was verbally abused by a racist white man, the police did nothing to protect my freedom (see State of London – Policing).

I am reminded, too, of Harriet Jacobs's Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. After she had finally escaped and moved to the North, a white friend of hers bought her from her 'owners' in order to spare her any further harassment by them. But, she reports, although in enslavement she had sought her freedom, living in the North she came to realise that she was entitled to it - freedom was her birthright.

Soul Survivors also reminded me of the enslaved African people's determination to escape and to liberate their family members, whatever the cost.

We have never had an African President of the U.S.A. Many of our brothers and sisters on the Continent are living and dying in grinding poverty and losing their family members to preventable diseases. Many of us still deny that we are even Africans.

Next year, we shall commemorate the ending of the Transatlantic trade. What are we really celebrating? Is freedom not ours by right? And what do we need to do to really be free?

Juneteenth Resources:

African Heritage Resources:

See also: 2007 Commemoration

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Abolish the N Word

Some of these images are disturbing, but this site is definitely worth viewing.

I am not convinced by their argument that 'The “N” word is not a term of endearment. It cannot be reapropriated. We cannot redefine the “N” word' because I have personally seen it redefined and I have seen it used as a term of endearment. That does not mean it is appropriate to continue using it today.

Of course, the argument is vastly more complex than this. Some of the most racist people and institutions do not use the 'No' word - they act in a way that is far more subtle.

See also: Soul Survivors

Click here for dozens of Black history links.

Keywords: African American, Black History

Monday, June 12, 2006

New Course for Black Parents

Saturday was hot and sunny and I had passed up an opportunity to be in the countryside, doing some Buddhist practice and chillin', to be in Camberwell with its smog, traffic and ever-present sirens. Why? Because I had helped to plan and organise the open day for the Parent Personal Development Programme. I think I made the right choice.

Despite the fact that it was the first day of the World Cup, many men and women chose to join us at Southwark Town Hall because they prioritise the education of the next generation.

Some statistics show that 70% of African Caribbean children are failing in Southwark schools. We want to know what to do about it. The PPPD will help us to gain skills to support young people to succeed and excel within the educational system.

The speakers were very articulate and erudite. They included academics Dr. Kimani Nehusi and Dr. Lez Henry, as well as Clarence Thompson, a pioneer in supplementary/complementary schools movement.

I shall be blogging about some of their key points in future, once I have typed up my notes.

Equally impressive were some of the audience members, including Mia Morris of Well Placed Consultancy and Decima Francis of the Boyhood to Manhood foundation. Decima made the following points:

1) There are two types of GCSEs and our young people are not being put forward to the A-C type GCSEs, they tend only to be put forward for the lower grades.

2) You only need five children in order to set up your own school. You have to provide teaching in English, maths and science, and after that you can provide any subject - Yoruba, Twi, Caribbean history, whatever you want.

It was very heartwarming to see so many people there who are committed to helping our young people achieve a better future and better choices.

The Parent Personal Development Programme will be offering our first course for African Caribbean parents from the end of June. To join, contact:

Pamela Hamilton (020) 7525 5504

See also: Black Success Stories, a brilliant resource for parents and teachers.

Keywords: African Caribbean, education, young people, schools, parents

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Dr. Lez Henry + Parent Personal Development Programme

Well-known academic Dr. Lez Henry will be one of the speakers at an open day launching the Parent Personal Development Programme, to support African Caribbean parents and school children in Southwark.

The open day will be held on Saturday 10th June at 2:00 p.m. at Southwark Town Hall.

For more info, click here.

See also: Empowering Black Parents

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Soul Survivors: Slave Narratives

I have been reading a book of what are commonly termed "slave narratives", entitled Soul Survivors.

I have been reading "slave narratives" since I was a child. What is unique about this collection, edited by Marcia Williams, is that it contains only narratives by women.

The stories cover a wide historical range, from the Revolutionary War in 1776 to the end of the American Civil War in 1865 and beyond.

This collection also contains "Incidents from the Life of a Slave Girl", by Harriet Jacobs, which many of us have already read as a separate volume. This is one of the rare texts which portray the sexual harassment and abuse which enslaved African women and young people must have commonly experienced.

The author shares her own experiences as a way of depicting the immorality that was inflicted upon enslaved women, and to which they were often forced to submit. I can't help thinking that many women probably did not write of these experiences, either because of embarassment or because they feared being labelled "immoral" or "loose" themselves.

African American women, during and after enslavement, were often at pains to prove that they were not sexually "immoral" because our women were commonly labelled as such by their enslavers, who used this as a justification for raping or prostituting African American girls and women.

Jacobs describes having to hide in a small attic for seven years to escape from her libidinous 'owner' who was so obsessed with her that he scoured the country trying to track her down. She also depicts how, prior to her escape, her white mistress heaped scorn and abuse on her and other enslaved women because of her husband's licentious behaviour and her own intense sexual jealousy.

Many of the women describe the horrendous physical abuse, including beatings, whippings and heavy labour, that they continually experienced. Many of these personal histories were recorded in order to support the abolitionist cause.

In fact, one of the authors, Mary Prince from the Caribbean, states, "I am often much vexed and I feel great sorrow when I hear some people say that slaves ... do not need better usage and do not want to be free. They believe the foreign people who deceive them and say slaves are happy". She continues, "There is no modesty or decency shown by the owner to his slaves".

The authors all describe their great sorrow and grief at having been sold away from their own children, partners, parents, brothers and sisters, and their attempts to reunite with their family members. They also relate the enslaved African people's constant attempts to gain their freedom by any means necessary, either through escape or through purchasing their own or their children's freedom, sometimes saving up for years in order to do so.

Another common experience was the greed and duplicity of white people: many of the authors were descended from people who had been born free in the United States but kidnapped and sold into enslavement; and several had been freed by their owners but still found themselves enslaved and sold. One woman even took her owner to court to sue for her freedom and won.

My one criticism of this collection is that it could have done with better editing. There are no historical or bibliographic notes or indications as to the sources of these narratives. The table of contents does not even contain page numbers. The narratives sometimes jump around in time and I found this confusing.

Having said that, this volume is an important addition to any collection of African diasporic history.

Click here to order Soul Survivors.

See also: 2007 Commemoration

Keywords: Enslavement, Slavery, African American, African Caribbean, African Diaspora, Black History, African heritage, slave narratives, women

EFT Workshop Yesterday

Click here for DVDs + free manual

Yesterday, I attended my first-ever EFT group meeting, led by a very experienced EFT practitioner, Suzanne B Zacharia.

The hour-and-a-half workshop was excellent, I really learned a lot within that short period.

There were about seven of us participating and the workshop focused on using "Borrowing Benefits", an EFT technique. This means that we all tapped along on the same points, at the same time, saying the same words, regardless of what issues each of us were working on, and we all benefited from this. We all experienced a great reduction in our stress and upset about the various issues we were working with. Borrowing Benefits work on the basis that we are all interconnected, and thus can all benefit from tapping together.

You can also experience Borrowing Benefits by tapping along with the DVDs.

Another thing I really like about EFT is that you don't even have to say what issue you are working with. If you don't want to talk about it, you don't have to - you still get the benefit of EFT.

Some people may object to working with a white therapist, but I can personally recommend Suzanne. She is very highly skilled at using EFT and was certainly able to pick up on some of my issues. I think what I got out of it most was when I became very upset about something and she had us all tap on "It's okay to be upset", along with affirmations about unconditional love. She said, "Maybe I was not allowed to be upset" and asked me if this was the case for me, which it was.

The only drawback for me was that I was the only person of African heritage attending the workshop, but don't let this put you off!

The next workshop is Sunday 25th June 2006 at 3:00 p.m. and I may be attending.

You can contact Suzanne at:

1 Fleet Place
Hoborn Viaduct,
London EC4
0800 78 19 315

She also conducts workshops and clinic sessions in various other London locations and will do home visits within London.

Click here to order EFT DVDs and download the free manual.

Click here to read more about EFT.

Click here to read about Strong Black Woman Syndrome.
Keywords: Emotional Freedom Technique, EFT, healing, health, therapy, mind/body/spirit, African American

Young Author/CEO Dante Lee Giving Inspiration

Young Author/CEO Dante Lee Tapped to Inspire Black Employees At AT&T

Lee will keynote the company's annual African-American telecommunications conference in St. Louis.

St. Louis, MO - The National Board of Community NETwork, African American Telecommunication Professionals of AT&T and the St. Louis Chapter National Conference Committee are hosting a dynamic weekend in July 20-23, 2006 at their eighth annual conference in St. Louis, Missouri.

The 2006 conference theme is Encouraging Empowerment...Shaping the Future, and Dante Lee, CEO/president of Diversity City Media, will be one of the keynote speakers.

Lee will address the attendees with tips on how to be successful in business and in life, and will discuss points from his book - How To Think Big...When You're Small.

Click here for Black Success Stories

Keywords: Black Success Stories, African American, Dante Lee , AT&T