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Thursday, November 9, 2017

Canto das Três Raças (The Chanting of the Three Races) by Clara Nunes ~ Translated by Cecilia Beatriz Silveira-Marroquin

Canto das Três Raças – by Clara Nunes
(The Chanting of the Three Races – by Clara Nunes)
Composed by: Mauro Duarte e Paulo César Pinheiro


Song Video (Click here to listen to Clara Nunes' The Chanting of the Three Races)

Ninguém ouviu
Um soluçar de dor
No canto do Brasil
Um lamento triste
Sempre ecoou
Desde que o Índio guerreiro
Foi pro cativeiro
E de lá cantou

Negro entoou
Um canto de revolta pelos ares
No Quilombo dos Palmares
Onde se refugiou
Fora a luta dos Inconfidentes
Pela quebra das correntes
Nada adiantou
E de guerra em paz
De paz em guerra
Todo o Povo dessa terra
Quando pode cantar
Canta de dor
ô, ô, ô, ô, ô, ô ô, ô, ô, ô, ô,
E ecoa noite e dia
É ensurdecedor
Ai, mas que agonia
O canto do trabalhador
Esse canto que devia
Ser um canto de alegria
Soa apenas
Como um soluçar de dor ...

Nobody heard
The sobbing of pain
In Brazil’s chanting
A sad cry
Always echoed
Since the Indian warrior
Went in captivity
And from there, he sang
The Black echoed
A revolt chanting through the air
In the Palmares Kilombo
Where he took refuge
Besides the fight of the Inconfidentes
By the breaking of the chains
Nothing else worked
And from war to peace
From peace to war
All the People of this land
When they can sing
Sing in pain
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
And it echoes night and day
It is deafening
Oh, what an agony
The worker’s chanting
This song that should have been
A song of joy
It just sounds
Like a sobbing of pain ...
________________________________


Translated by Cecilia Beatriz
 Silveira-Marroquin

Abeng and My Conscious Pen readers, for starts I decided to translate this song for you, not only because it is one of my very favorite Brazilian songs of all times and because it is sung by this amazing singer, Clara Nunes who is no longer amongst us, but because it is about the Palmares Kilombo. I urge you to listen to it, following the translation.
What is interesting about it, is that it shows how the collaboration of the three races was important for the survival of the Kilombos. For some reason, it is almost never mentioned that the Indigenous Natives and the Inconfidentes (Whites who were actively working against African slavery in Brazil) were fundamental for the success of the Kilombos.
This singer, Clara Nunes, was very outspoken about the cultural mix in Brasil and the richness that it brought us, especially from our African roots. Most of her songs are about that. She was an amazing musician and human being…. her premature death due to medical error during a minor surgery, left a hole in the hearts of Brazilians of all heritages.
~ Love,
 Cecilia


Cecilia Beatriz Silveira-Marroquin was born and raised in Brasil but
lived most of her life in the San Francisco Bay Area, California where she mostly worked in the legal field. Cecilia has a degree in Paralegal Studies
and Criminology. Now back in Brazil, after 37 years, she makes a living
by teaching English and is a published writer. Her book Real Dreams and Daydreams: Sonhos Reais e Devaneios 
can be purchased on Amazon.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Abeng Op-Ed: Are Many African-Americans Still Disconnected From Africa? by Joshua Chikudo

 Many Young African Americans Are Still  Disconnected From Their African Roots

                   By Joshua Chikudo August, 2017


"You Africans look like some of us African Americans" a young man accompanied by his girlfriend said to me as we waited for our beverages at a starbucks in South Florida. The statement caught me by surprise, how could somebody know I was African in a community full of so many  Caribbean immigrants. I had been mistaken for a Jamaican or Haitian in the past, but rarely called African American. I then remembered I had just finished telephone conversation with one of my African brothers before I placed the order. 

Now, the first thing that came into my mind was this African saying: "A father does not look like the son; it is the son that looks like the father". Since I have always enjoyed sharing the culture, politics and business knowledge of our African people and I have always assumed that African history or heritage is not taught in-depth at most American elementary schools, I was extremely eager to answer any questions the young couple had regarding Africa, our people and culture. I invited them to an empty table. My father always said there were no stupid questions in life, so I answered every question as best as I could.

One of the questions the young man posed was why so many different cultures existed amongst black people. Since the majority of African-Americans descended from the West African region, we can clearly see African culture in those parts of the United States where African Americans reside. And also, though African cultures vary, many share similar fundamental beliefs. But the slave era interrupted the continuity of culture when Africans were brought to America.


Though Europeans primarily orchestrated the slave trade, corrupt chiefs also played a significant role. Our communities were too welcoming which led to the success of the slave trade. The traders took advantages of our hospitality; our people were overpowered by better weapons and many of our strong men and women were forced into captivity in foreign lands


It is in these lands where their culture was altered to fit their masters' desires. The slave system ensured that our people lost contact with Africa. So much of African-American culture has European influence; however, if one looks deeper one can see some semblance of African culture within African America.

I was astonished when the young couple asked me why Africans believe in voodoo and if we believed in God. Many Westerners and Americans view African spirituality as evil. In Southern Africa many of us have always believed in the Higher power, The Almighty( Uthixo in Ndebele/Zulu, Mwari in Shona). Communities communicated with the higher power differently depending on the  specific culture.
Our ceremonies have been portrayed as voodoo by those who do not understand our practices. In many ceremonies we invite the spirits of our departed( Amadlozi in Ndebele/ Zulu, Vadzimu in Shona); we ask them for continual spiritual  guidance while relaying our prayer requests to The Most High.
Some people believe that African spirits can harm others by relaying bad energy to a targeted individual.(Ubuloyi in Ndebele/ Zulu, Kuroya in shona)

The first Europeans settlers that came to Africa did not approve of our worship. They introduced the Bible, their version of Christianity: God The Father was white, God's son Jesus was white, The Holy Ghost, too, was white. In their eyes everything had to be white to be pure.
These same people brought the idea that the devil Lucifer and our African beliefs were black and satanic. These views helped shape the African-American misconception of African cultures. Today Africa practices a variety religious beliefs; Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Rastafarian and traditional African animism contrary to Western media portrays.

Our conversation had gone on for an hour before the young couple asked me a very complex question: Why Africa was so poor, undeveloped, backwards and full of diseases? Most African Americans I have met are taught to glorify white-American and European culture. Images have been implanted in their minds that Africa is back-wards and primitive. Media outlets fail to share the growth and progression taking place across the continent. 
Many subscribe to the propaganda that broadly paints African governments as corrupt dictatorships. While there are still a few corrupt and undemocratic regimes, the vast majority of Africa is now stable.

Africa has a young population that seeks the same peace, financial stability and security that younger generations in the West seek. African Millennials, like Millennials all over the world, are spearheading technological advances that are helping to diversify and globalize African economies.
Some of these young African inventors and innovators are helping to change people's lives in many positive ways. I recommend those who like to learn about some of the progressive innovations that the continent has taken to read Ashish Thakkar's " The Lion Awakes" which highlights some of the many advances occurring in the motherland. 

Africa has been responding successfully to disease outbreaks. Since the 2014 and 2016 Ebola Deadly virus in the West Africa which left 11300 people dead( Wall street Journal; July, 2017). With the help of the World Health Organization and other NGOs, western doctors and African personnel, Africa managed to contain the disease. Even when it resurfaced in Congo ( Kinshasa) Africans contained the disease. Diseases like Malaria, Tuberculosis are now controllable. When it comes to AIDS, people are more educated about safe sex, avoiding infection and and adhering to available medication.

I concluded our conversation reiterating that Africa has evolved and continues to better its communities. I let the young couple know that having members of their generation connecting with their heritage will indeed be a great asset to the continent.
If we can get some of these educated, professional Africans in the Diaspora to come home to empower communities with productive wisdom and technological knowledge, we can catch up with the developed world faster and be better sales people for the continent.

Mr Joshua Chikudo

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The Abeng Presents: Cries of Redemption

Cries of Redemption: Songs of Life
.@The Abeng #abeng #literature


Re•demp•tion
:the act, process, or an instance of redeeming

Re•deem
transitive verb
2: to free from what distresses or harms: such as
  a: to free from captivity by payment of ransom
  b : to extricate from or help to
Cries of
Redemption
overcome something detrimental
  c: to release from blame or debt :clear
  d :to free from the consequences of sin

3: to change for the better : reform
4: repair, restore

My Little Sister commanded this book be created. She damn near demanded I compile Cries of Redemption from some of my writings she'd read. She's always twirling me 'round her little finger, so you know she got her way - as a big brother, ain't too much I denying my Baby Sis.

So, even though Cries of Redemption wasn't supposed to be my debut, here it comes. It's a variety book: story and rhyme (prose and poetry), joy and pain, sensible and little bit schupidy (jokey or playful).
But I'm sharing my reflections on them pages. Even when the stories are not about me, they're my perceptions, still. I'm a writer because I want my voice, no I need my voice to be heard. This is why I write. And like Steve Biko, I Write What I Like!
Jah Bless
K. Omodele
Cries of Redemption, coming November, on Amazon.

UPDATE: Cries of Redemption is Now Available on Amazon


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