Friday, 21 October 2016

Rebirth: “I am because I am free; I am free because I am”

Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe

WHY AND HOW DOES a state exist to dominate, exploit, and, in cases such as NigeriaRwanda, the Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, for instance, embark on a mission to destroy some of its constituent nations or peoples? 15 million Africans have been murdered in the genocides in these foursome states and in other wars elsewhere in Africa between 1966 and 2016. As most people know, the states that Europe created in Africa, in the aftermath of its leaders’ infamous November 1884-February 1885 Berlin-conquest conference, cannot lead African peoples to the reconstructive changes they deeply yearn for after the tragic history of centuries of conquest and occupation.

Create own state now
Such changes were and never are the mission of these states but instruments to expropriate and despoil Africa by the conquest in perpetuity. This is the “curse” of Berlin. But, thankfully, just as in Berlin, states are not a gift from the gods but relationships painstakingly formulated and constructed by groups of human beings on planet earth to pursue aspirations and interests envisioned and articulated by these same human beings. For the Igbo, Darfuri, and all other peoples presently besieged by the haematophagous monster of a state emplaced, the message on the unfurled banner for their freedom march couldn’t be more confident and focused: “I am because I am free; I am free because I am”. Create your own state today. This right is inalienable. Now is the time!

Challege to the genocidists of Africa: Break up the barrel & blade for the slaughter 
Let Africa’s constituent peoples or nations unleash at once a dazzling contest of creativity and progress, a continuing mutual bombardment, sharing, and transformation of ideas and streams of possibilities, akin to what the world has seen in south and southeast Asia and elsewhere in the world in the past 40 years – not the “Berlin-state”-programmed seasons of 50 years of mass murdering, pillaging, nihilism, particularly in the genocidist lairs called Nigeria, the Sudan... “Let the kite perch and let the eagle perch, too. If one says no to the other, let their wing break”.

Most surely, now is the time to embark on this rebirth, this beginning for peoples in Africa.
(The New York Contemporary Five plays “Sound barrier” [personnel: Archie Shepp, tenor saxophone; Don Cherry, pocket trumpet; John Tchicai, alto saxophone; Don Moore, bass; JC Moses, drums; recorded: live, Jazzhus Montmarte, Copenhagen, Denmark, 15 November 1963])
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99th birthday of Dizzy Gillespie

(Born 21 October 1917, Cheraw, South Carolina, US)
VIRTUOSO TRUMPETER who, with alto saxophonist Charlie Parker, plays a vanguard role in the bebop revolution in jazz in the 1940s/early 1950s and whose creative genius has influenced a stretch of trumpet luminaries subsequently: Fats Navarro, Miles Davis, Clifford Brown,  Booker Little, Donald Bryd, Kenny Dorham, Lee Morgan,  Art Farmer, Clarence Shaw, Richard Williams, Nat Adderley, Ted Curson, Johnny Coles, Woody Shaw, Lester Bowie, Don Cherry, Alan Shorter, Donald Ayler Dizzy Reece, Freddie Hubbard, Jon Faddis, Wynton Marsalis, Terence Blanchard
(Charlie Parker Quintet plays Tadd Dameron’s classic composition, “Hot House” [personnel: Parker, alto saxophone; Gillespie, trumpet; Dick Hyman, piano; Sandy Block, bass; Charlie Smith, drums; recorded: Dumont Television Studios, New York, US, 24 February 1952])
(The Giants of Jazz, Live album, Copenhagen [personnel: Gillespie, trumpet; Kai Winding, trombone; Sonny Stitt, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone; Thelonious Monk, piano; Al McKibbon, bass; Art Blakey, drums; recorded: live, Tivoli, Copenhagen, Denmark, 9 November 1971])
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Thursday, 20 October 2016

Even the conqueror regime is honest enough, right from the outset, about the entrenched differences in the key sociological and historical markers of the constituent peoples in the contraption that it knows exists soley for its optimum expropriation indefinitely

(Hugh Clifford)
IN DECEMBER 1920, Hugh Clifford, the British conquest and occupation governor in Nigeria, makes the following contribution to a “Legislative Council Debate, Lagos”:
[Nigeria is a] collection of Independent … States, separated from one another by great distances, by differences of history and traditions and by … racial … political, social and religious barrier.[1]
Today, Thursday 20 October 2016, 96 years on, would Hugh Clifford conceivably make these same assertions? If so, why? If not, why not?
(The New York Contemporary Five plays Don Cherry’s composition, “Consequences” [personnel: Archie Shepp, tenor saxophone; Cherry, pocket trumpet; John Tchicai, alto saxophone; Don Moore, bass; JC Moses, drums; recorded: live, Jazzhus Montmarte, Copenhagen, Denmark, 15 November 1963])
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[1]Quoted in George CE Enyoazu, “Sovereign National Conference – Will the people have their say at last?”, African Democrat, 30 October 2013.

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

72nd birthday of Peter Tosh

(Born 19 October 1944, Grange Hill, Jamaica)
Celebrated self-developed musician and Rastafarian who plays a seminal role, beginning in the 1960s, to transform reggae, Jamaica-originated music genre, into an international cultural movement engaged in opposition to centuries of African peoples’ subjugation and all other forms of oppression, and for the promotion of a fairer, equal forms of human relations across the board, offering his prodigious compositional output to the goal, especially: “Get up, Stand up”, “400 years”, “Equal rights”, “Love”, “No sympathy”, “Mama Africa”, “No nuclear war”, “Africa”, “African”, “Here comes the sun”, “Sun valley”, “Creation”, “Oppressor man”, “(You gotta walk and) don’t look back”, “Vampire”, “Apartheid”, “Why must I cry?”, “Go tell it on the mountain”, “You can’t fool me again”, “Keep on moving”
(Peter Tosh: ..“400 years”, 1975)
400 YEARS (400 years, 400 years. Wo-o-o-o)
And it’s the same –
The same (wo-o-o-o) philosophy
I’ve said it’s four hundred years;
(400 years, 400 years. Wo-o-o-o, wo-o-o-o)
Look, how long (wo-o-o-o)
And the people they (wo-o-o-o) still can’t see
Why do they fight against the poor youth of today?
And without these youths, they would be gone –
All gone astray

Come on, let’s make a move:
(make a move, make a move. Wo-o-o-o, wo-o-o-o)
I can (wo-o-o-o) see time (wo-o-o-o) - time has come
And if-a fools don’t see
(fools don’t see, fools don’t see. Wo-o-o-o)
I can’t save the youth:
The youth (wo-o-o-o) is gonna be strong
So, won’t you come with me;
I’ll take you to a land of liberty
Where we can live – live a good, good life
And be free

Look how long: 400 years, (400 years, 400 years) –
Way too long! (wo-o-o-o)
That’s the reason my people (wo-o-o-o) - my people can’t see
Said, it’s four hundred long years – (400 years, 400 years. Wo-o-o-o)
Give me patience (wo-o-o-o) – same philosophy
It’s been 400 years, (400 years, 400 years)
Wait so long! Wo-o-o-o, wo-o-o-o
How long? 400 long, long years
(lyrics: “400 years”)
(Peter Tosh: ... “Oppressor man”, 1977)
(Peter Tosh and 14-piece band, “Get up, Stand up” [Tosh and Bob Marley composition]; recorded: Randy’s Studio, Kingston, Jamaica, 1977)
GET UP, stand up
Stand up for your rights
Get up, stand up
Don’t give up the fight

Get up, stand up
Stand up for your rights
Get up, stand up

Don’t give up the fight

You, preacher man, don’t tell me
Heaven is under the earth
You, a duppy and you don’t know
What life is really worth

It's not all that glitter is gold
And half the story has never been told
So now we see the light
We gonna stand up for your rights, come on

Get up, stand up
Stand up for your rights
Get up, stand up
Don’t give up the fight

Get up, stand up
Stand up for your rights
Get up, stand up
Don’t give up the fight

’Cause you know most people think
A great God will come from the skies
Take away everything
And left everybody dry

But if you know what life is worth
Then you would look for yours on earth
And now you see the light
We gonna stand up for your rights

Get up, stand up
Stand up for your rights
Get up, stand up
Don’t give up the fight

Get up, stand up
Stand up for your rights
Get up, stand up
Don’t give up the fight

We’re sick and tired of this game of technology
Humbly asking Jesus for his mercy
We know and we know and understand
Almighty Jah is a living man

You fool some people sometimes
But you can’t fool all the people all the time
And now we see the light
We gonna stand up for our rights

Get up, stand up
Stand up for your rights
Get up, stand up
Don’t give up the fight

Get up, stand up
Stand up for your rights
Get up, stand up
Don’t give up the fight
(lyrics: “Get up, stand up”)

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

55th birthday of Wynton Marsalis

(Born 18 October 1961, New Orleans, US)
Stellar trumpeter and composer, band leader, distinguished educator, artistic director, Jazz at Lincoln Center, New York, US
(Wynton Marsalis Quintet, “Thick in the South” [personnel: Marsalis, trumpet; Joe Henderson, tenor saxophone; Marcus Roberts, piano; Bob Hurst, bass; Jeff “Tain” Watts, drums; recorded: BMG Studios, New York, US, {? ?} 1991])
(Wynton Marsalis Septet, “Black codes from the underground” [personnel: Marsalis, trumpet; Wycliffe Gordon, trombone; Wes Anderson, alto saxophone; Todd Williams, tenor saxophone; Marcus Roberts, piano; Reginald Veal, bass; Herlin Riley, drums; recorded: Berlin Jazzfest, Germany 3 November 1989])
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Monday, 17 October 2016

Rethinking Africa and these times

Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe

African World   history and geography

RETHINKING AFRICA focuses and discusses the multifaceted stream of socioeconomic and cultural heritage that encapsulates 6000 years of African history: from Kemet (“ancient Egypt”) to Biafra, from ancient Ghana (contemporary Sénégal, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania, part of west Mali) to Gĩkũyũland and Ethiopia of east Africa, from the Atlas Mountains of the north to South Africa, from Canada and the United States to Uruguay and Brazil, from Panama/Jamaica/Haiti/Cuba across the Caribbean to Trinidad/St Lucia/St Kitts & Nevis/Barbados, from Colombia/Venezuela to Guyana/Surinam, from Britain/Europe to Australasia… 

Subject, agency, history

Rethinking Africa is a rigorously studious reference and dependable companion as ever. In Rethinking Africa, African World history is live, continuous, daily, now – not just seasonal! Visit Rethinking Africa daily, all year round, and explore its vast archive which includes commentaries, essays, reports/reviews of publications, conferences, seminars, debates, lectures, concerts, festivals...  and snap biographical sketches on persons and anniversaries of occurrences across the African World that are at once succinct profiles and earmarked opportunities for further reading, analysis, research: 

1. Here, the African, Africans   wherever they are in the world (African continent, African American, African British, African Caribbean, African Mexican, African Venezuelan, African French, African Brazilian, African Spanish, African Canadian, African Indian, African Portuguese, etc., etc), are subject and agency in history. African peoples are definitely not some racist epithets, tags and stereotyping often referenced cavalierly in the West and elsewhere as “ethnic”,  “ethnic minority”, “black and ethnic minority”, “coloured”/“n”/“t” and the threesome poisoned termsother linguistic derivatives, etc., etc. As many are surely aware, the myriads of these typologisations have been the hallmark of both European World and (earlier) Arab/muslim post-conquest sociological constructions to essentially dehistoricise and thus dehumanise African peoples.

2. Find out, for instance, why the survival of the Igbo people (southwestcentral Africa) from the three phases of the genocide of 29 May 1966-12 January 1970, the foundational genocide of post-(European)conquest Africa, executed jointly by Nigeria and its suzerain state Britain (, is one of the most extraordinarily emancipatory developments of recent history. Indeed to understand the politics of the Igbo genocide and the politics of the “post”-Igbo genocide is to have an invaluable insight into the salient features and constitutive indices of politics across Africa in the past 50 years.  

3. Why are Nelson Mandela and Chinua Achebe the dual-colossi of 20th century/21st century African renaissance? 
(Nelson Mandela: ... Colossus)
(Chinua Achebe: ... Colossus)
4. As film director Steve McQueen and actor Chiwetel Ejiofor remind the world of the perspicuity of African resistance in the enslaved emplacements of the United States in 12 Years (2014), what does CLR James’s classic, Black Jacobins (1938), tell us about that historic African uprising in the west Caribbean of the late 18th century/early 19th century? Does Saint Domingue teach the world anything presently? What? What is the title of another classic on African enslavement in the Americas published in 1944 by the African Trinidadian historian, Eric Williams? What does Williams establish in this study?

5. What are James Baldwin’s and Toni Morrison’s contributions to African American letters and history? 

6. Why is Kenneth Onwuka Dike’s reconstructionary scholarship on African history so seminal? 

7. What does “civil war” really mean? ( and why is “sub-Sahara Africa such a repugnant racist epithet? Who employs “sub-Sahara Africa”? Why?  (

8. What epistemology does Flora Nwapa  inaugurate in 1966 when she publishes the novel, Efuru

9. What identical every day-used, important personal product does 20th century/21st century philosopher Cornel West share with men and women of Kemet – 5000 years ago? 

10. Why is the role of Cheikh Anta Diop’s near-40 years of scholarship on Kemet of such vital importance? 

11. How has agriculture played a crucial role in the development of African civilisations across the continent’s regions and epochs? 

12. What is the extent of the research and inventions of George Washington Carver to contemporary society, worldwide? 

13. What business does 20th continental African entrepreneur Louis-Philip Ojukwu share with 19th century African American entrepreneur Paul Cufee

14. What is the “Berlin-state” in Africa? Who are its beneficiaries? Why does the “Berlin-state” have no future for African peoples? What are the alternatives to this state? (

15. What compelling lessons on the African-in-the-world-today do we learn from the January 2015 Boko Haram (currently the world’s most ruthless terrorist organisation, according to the Institute of Economics & Peace [, accessed 7 December 2015])
islamist insurgent attack on Baga, northeast Nigeria, in which the group murdered 2000 townspeople? (

Preeminent African World intellectuals: Freedom

In a word, what is it about the African that is the central preoccupation in the lives and work of the following intellectuals? Olaudah Equiano, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Chinua Achebe, Ida B Wells, CLR James, Christopher Okigbo, Toni Morrison, Malcolm X, Léopold Sédar Senghor, James Baldwin, Louis Mbanefo, Alain Locke, Kenneth Onwuka Dike, Arthur Schomburg, WEB Du Bois, Duke Ellington, Sojourner Truth, Ignatius Sancho, Charlotte Gardens, Claude McKay, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, Frederick Douglass, Mary Seacole, Daniel Hale Williams, Carter G Woodson, Patrice Lumumba, Edward Kamau Brathwaite, Eubie Blake, Maulana Karenga, Cheikh Anta Diop, Akanu Ibiam, Louis Armstrong, Flora Nwapa, Thelonious Monk, Théophile Obenga, Paul Robeson, Ann Petry, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Edward Wilmot Blyden, Amilcar Cabral, Langston Hughes, Tchicaya U Tam’si, Palmer Hayden, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Mordecai Wyatt Johnson, Horace Pipping, Nicolás Guillén, Aimé Césaire, Kwame Nkrumah, Margaret Danner, Ladipo Solanke, Frantz Fanon, Martin Delaney, Chike Obi, Dean Dixon, Ossie Davis, Julius Nyerere, Noble Lee Sissle, Felix Oragwu, Agostinho Neto, Charlie Parker, Bessie Head, Pius Okigbo, Ruby Dee, Maurice Bishop, Nikki Giovanni, Emmanuel Obiechina, Kofi Awoonor, Chancellor Williams, Léon-Gontran Damas, Gwendolyn Brooks, Percy Lavon Julian, Eric Williams, Mbonu Ojike, Mahaila Jackson, Charles Drew, Okot p’Bitek, Billie Holiday, George Lamming, Sterling Brown, Adiele Afigbo, George Russell, Arna Bontemps, Sydney Poitier, Margaret Walker, John Coltrane, Steve Biko, Era Bell Thomson, E Franklin Frazier, Alexander Animalu, Charles Mingus, Alioune Diop, George Bridgetower, Michael Echeruo, Ornette Coleman, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Don Cherry,  Constance Baker Motley, Stevie Wonder, Benedict Obumselu, Grace Ogot, Molefi Kete Asante, Ivan Van Sertima, Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, Countee Cullen, James Brown, Paul Revere Williams, Harriet Tubman, Ray Charles, Sonia Sanchez, George Washington Carver, Walter Rodney, JJ Johnson, Mariama Bâ, Paul Chambers, Cornel West, Bede Okigbo, Miles Davis, George James, Max Roach, John Henrik Clarke, Elvin Jones, Amiri Baraka, Ama Ata Aidoo, JC Moses,  McCoy Tyner, Peter Tosh,  Sonny Simmons, Andrew Hill, Ousmane Sembéne, Paule Marshall, Wynton Kelly, Adu Boahen, Eric Dolphy, John Tchicai, Obiora Udechukwu, Clifford Jordan, Jewel Plummer Cobb, Jaki Byard, Lerone Bennett, Prince Lasha, Mal Waldron, Abbey Lincoln, Danny Glover, Bob Marley, Horace Silver, Arthur Agwuncha Nwankwo, Oscar Peterson, Mariamba Ani, Dannie Richmond, Uzo Egonu, Eddie Khan, Gani Fawehinmi, Johnny Coles, Ayi Kwei Armah, Archie Shepp, Ifeanyi Menkiti, Richard Williams, Faye Harrison, Ihechukwu Madubuike, Ray Brown, Archie Mafeje, Ishmael Reed, Dudu Pukwana, Mĩcere Gĩthae Mũgo, Valentine Mudimbe, Wangari Maathai, Bob Marley, Simon Gikandi, Herbie Hancock, Jimmy Garrison, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Ed Thigpen, Carole Boyce Davies, Spike Lee, Zeal Onyia, Denzel Washington, Hilary Beckles, David Murray, Esiaba Irobi, Thomas Sankara, Rita Dove, Tony Medina: Freedom
(Max Roach Sextet, “Freedom day” [personnel: Roach, drums; Abbey Lincoln, vocals; Booker Little, trumpet; Julian Priester, trombone; Walter Benton, tenor saxophone; James Schenk, bass; recorded: Nola Penthouse Sound Studio, New York, US, 31 August/6 September 1960)
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88th birthday of Lerone Bennett

(Born 17 October 1928, Clarksdale, Miss, US)
Distinguished journalist, essayist, editor and historian who has published prolifically on African American history with influential titles that include Before the Mayflower (1962), What Manner of Man (1964), Pioneers in Protest (1968), and Forced into Glory (2000)
(New York Art Quartet plays Charlie Parkers composition, “Mohawk” [personnel:  John Tchicai, alto saxophone; Roswell Rudd, trombone; Reggie Workman, bass; Milford Graves, drums; recorded: Nippon Phonogram, New York, US, 16 July 1965])