african-autonomy

rodrigves  asked:

I'm not sure why, but l was surprised to see you disagree with Gazi on the religions of Africa post (I'm guessing you disagree?). I don't know how representative that map was, but the idea that religions are brought to people by 'conquerers' and colonisers, and then used as a framework for control seems to have some kind of base. Although I have heard of arguments and evidence that both the origins of Islam and Christianity are more deeply rooted in Africa, is that why you disagree?

Posts like Gazi’s act like Africans have no autonomy and agency. That Africans who follow Abrahamic religions aren’t “real” Africans when in many cases we have practiced syncretic belief systems with our indigenous religions for centuries. And, even if we don’t, that there aren’t conscious and deliberate decisions behind our choices in how we decide to practice our religions.

Of course religion has been used as a tool of colonization, but the people who have accepted these faiths as part of their lives aren’t sheep. They are people. They have intentionality to make conscious decisions for themselves. This is not to write off the fact that religion is a tool of colonization and can have very damaging effects, but you cannot void our agency either. In what world is it “revolutionary” to talk over continental Africans about our lives and imply that we “don’t know better” and can’t make decisions for ourselves? In what world is it “revolutionary” to be ahistorical and erase the history of syncretic belief systems? In what world is it “revolutionary” to imply that Africans who follow Abrahamic religions aren’t “real” Africans, as hotep warriors love to do?

My maternal grandfather was a Catholic and attended mission schools in his village of Enugu-Agidi. Does that somehow void the fact that he was a proud Igbo man who served as a military surgeon during the Biafran war? That he was one of the pioneers of open heart surgery in Africa? Or wait, if I spell it “AfriKa” with a “K,” does that make him a “revolutionary” now? What about all of the African revolutionaries who were also religious? Things are not so cut and dry as posts like Gazi’s try to make it out to be, and I’ve previously written about this from my perspective as a gay Nigerian as well.

atane has also written a thorough breakdown of Gazi’s hotep fuckery which I agree with, too. And this is not even going into the ways in which Gazi cherry picks the words of a small number of hotep contintental Africans to “support” his claims.

The reality here is that Gazi is basic. And if people are looking to this “AfriKan” for social commentary over continental Africans on our lives then you are already lost.

black-girl-decadence-deactivate  asked:

Not trying to start beef, but is it fair to say that you think Gazi appropriates culture? And if you do believe that is the case, you do realize us African Americans don't have a culture of our own? Again not trying to be ignorant

It’s not even a thing of appropriation. It’s a thing of making various African cultures one giant grab bag. One minute he’s talking about Uhuru, the next he’s saying Ase, then channeling Ogun. What is that?

I think if people in the African diaspora want to learn more about African cultures, then great. I absolutely welcome that. I don’t know any African who would have an issue with that, why would they? Speaking for myself, I like people who genuinely want to know more about me.

However, posts like the one he made on African Christians and Muslims are just absurd and patronizing. It ignores African autonomy and agency. It ignores Africans who maintain syncretic and dual beliefs. Many times people who are marked as either Christian or Muslim have incorporated their traditional beliefs as well. Furthermore, so what if Africans want to practice Christianity or Islam first? If you are someone on the outside looking in, you don’t get to decide the path for us to take.

Lastly, he’s positioning himself as someone who knows what is right for us. Based on what? Reading some things? Watching youtube videos from “Afrakan” scholars? Talking to a Babalawo? For someone who was doing “white girl tag” videos fairly recently, it’s clear that this is all new to him. He should humble himself and understand that embracing and connecting to his African identity and African spiritual systems is not a performance art. Many people like this make this mistake, and they “Africanize” themselves in the most overt ways. It’s just about embracing your heritage and widening your scope and understanding. You can do that without throwing some Africans under the bus in the process. Many Africans do it everyday without throwing those with Abrahamic faiths under the bus. In fact, many of them have merged their traditional beliefs with Abrahamic faiths.

I can’t stress how offensive that post he made on Christianity and Islam was, and I say this as someone who is not religious at all. Anyone who follows me knows that I am an atheist, but me not ascribing to a religion doesn’t mean I’ll sit idly by while someone maligns Africans who are religious. I don’t think so. If you’re an Ethiopian Christian or an Egyptian Copt, Christianity is your heritage, but he’s out here yapping about channeling Ogun, and posting Uhuru and Ase like this is applicable to everyone.

Maybe he’s excited because this is all fairly new for him, but he should use this as a teachable moment and learn from it. That’s how we grow. We all make mistakes. What makes you a better person is if you learn from them.

Long story short, people should do less talking and more listening. They should also try reading African writers who don’t spell Africa with a K for one. It doesn’t even have to be historians, just read, watch and listen to intelligent African voices. This is where newly “awakened” folks largely fuck up. They watch and read people like Cheikh Anta Diop or Ben-Jochannan and think they’ve unlocked the secrets to the universe.