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Ubuntu: Unity First! #TeachMeTuesdays

Hello All! So as you know, I’ve been defining my audience and really listening to what we have to say. I am a member of my audience because I have a message but I am learning the language of others to speak in a way that will reach them effectively. One thing I notice is that, Black people, we are stubborn, in a good way! We really are a people that sticks to what we believe in when we want to make a difference. We also have internalized the system that has oppressed us, which is divide and conquer. We keep finding ways to further divide ourselves within the fight for liberation. I get that and it’s expected. I am not here to make us look bad. I am here to teach on this Teach Me Tuesday and help you heal from that.

Ubuntu is a common African – Zulu word meaning unity, “I am because you are”. African culture is unity first, and we have a culture, historically of inviting others in and taking care of them, even as strangers, that is how we as Africans were finally colonized. In Nigeria, the English colonizers came in “peace”, after realizing coming in war didn’t work for the Spanish and Portuguese. They then turned and used our cultures against us, they tricked us. Anyway, African culture is one where we share, even though we recognize our differences, we inherently share and take care of our neighbors. This is not a post about uniting with other ethnicities for liberation, this is African/Black unity only, but follow me.

When I was working in Namibia, a common phrase amongst my students used everyday was “in Africa we share”. They didn’t even like me saying “thank you”, as it was normal to do good for one another. Please and thank you wasn’t needed, it was expected for us to take care of each other. It’s what we call, an African spirit, because even when I go to Nigeria, anywhere I go, people treat me like family. When I tripped and fell, I expected people to laugh – because that’s what happens in America; I only found several people standing over to me to make sure I was alright, and helping me up.

Why am I saying this? Because, Melanated Gems, each of us has a movement we are attached to that we strongly believe in. Some Pan-Africans believe it’s only Pan-African if LGBT is involved; some Pan-Africans believe that it’s only Pan-African if LGBT is not involved. Some people believe certain religions such as Christian or Muslim can’t possibly be fully pro-Black, some believe that only faith in your Christian religion will lead to liberation. Some Foundational Black American (FBA)/American Descendant of Slaves (ADOS) believe that Africans don’t deserve reparations, some Africans believe that African-Americans aren’t allowed to claim Africa… and the list goes on, and on.

Here’s what I’m here to tell you…

All of this doesn’t matter if we don’t start with unity. I firmly believe that with unity, everything will balance itself out. With unity, natural leaders will lead, and everyone will fall into their rightful place. With unity, the unlikely will rise, and the least likely will fall off. If we are truly African and seek to reconnect with our ancestors ways, we have to recognize our Africanness first, and all the other things later. If we literally wait for everyone to have the same thinking, we’ll be on an 11 day journey for 40 years. We don’t have time, our humanity is on the line.

Africa is a really big continent, and there are many of us in the Diaspora. By the time we reunite, we’ll be so far away from everyone else that we won’t be thinking about what someone is doing in the Horn of Africa, on the west coast of Nigeria. Our first thought is liberation and reparations, that has nothing to do with friendship or “isms”; whoever is owed, is owed. We are not looking for friendships, we are looking for people who will keep the main purpose at the forefront, just like coworkers who don’t like each other, but work together to get the job done. We protect each other like a family, and deal with ourselves internally. We are a people fighting for our lives, when society discriminates they are not seeing Christian, Muslim, pan-African; they are seeing a Black person. We are not based on our struggle, but we’re fighting collectively against a struggle, so stay there! Stay there until we make progress, because trying to make everyone believe the same thing before moving forward is quite useless. We have to act now.

To be honest, I don’t identify with any “isms”, at all. I’ll tell you what I do, but I don’t identify with any schools of thought, because it puts me in a box. I’ve always been that way, I don’t like political labels, religion labels, or anything that will make people put you on their approval checklist. DiasporAfri, LLC celebrates, uplifts, and unites the global Black Diaspora through education for the purpose of liberation. I have many talents, and each of them was given to me to reach different parts of the diaspora. I obviously have activists I admire, but I do my own thing and took years to decolonize my mind to get to what God called me to be. I have Nigerian and Enslaved African heritage, one from my mom, and one from my dad, having spent much time with populations in the diaspora studying them. I say this because, it tells a fuller story of my why. I took a whole class on Pan-Africanism in grad school and loved it, I learned about Negritude, Alex Crumwell, and Marcus Garvey; but as much as I love Pan-Africanism, I don’t believe I have to call myself a Pan-African to tell how much I love, pray for, fight for, fast for, advocate for and more for Black people. It goes beyond titles, for me. I think everyone has a right to state what they are, whether Pan-African or FBA, but I don’t think we have the right to use it to divide ourselves when all of our ancestors suffered the same misfortune. Whatever is for us, is for us, without reservation. If we’re telling white supremacy to give it back to us, we can’t withhold it from each other, that’s very contradictory, in my opinion. There are unworthy white people who benefit from white supremacy because of their grandfathers. So if my ancestors were enslaved, whether my brethren deems me worthy or not, it is my inheritance. This is what we fight for.

I truly pray that all of you please find it deep in your heart to undo the colonization. I teach about it in my Dear Black People Webinar Series, which will be back at the end of this month. I encourage you to join to learn how I decolonized my mind and how you can too.

Watch this video in the meantime. Enjoy!

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