Update from Qudus' blog

Apr 26, 2008

INSPIRE AFRICA... Trilogy.(Part 1)

INSPIRE AFRICA... Something is wrong with us!

Sometimes, i tend to think that something is Freaking wrong with us! Consciousness seem to have  disappeared from our moral dictionary, we often forget to take pride in who we are, forgetting that we are so worthy and beyond doubts, this is coming more from our so called artiste and men of ideas who are supposed to be the once to lead the way to such discovery. 

I am sick and tired of an African musician basing his greatest achievement on bringing Grammys home, for who? Likewise an African film-maker or Actor whose greatest aspiration is to win the Oscar award or be in Cannes festival. If we then decide to go a bit further we will see similarities in other aspects of our lives as AFRICANS. I hope that if there is a true infusion of consciousness, add to the power and influence that our artistes has and become more and more reflective of our societal reality, more educating that people starts to see themselves, and inspire Africa to dream through popular works. Nollywood for example is popular cinema, and what it can do beyond Hollywoodian aesthetics is to inspire people to see this new dream of African renaissance, instill confidence in the people, for them to see that they are good enough and give a hype to everything local. I believe by now, we should have entered a faze of that renaissance.

We have to know where we were coming from, what we are running away from, we have to know where we have been, what our history is and we have to reflect it in the art of whatever we are doing.
Why for example do we ill-tag products “Made in Aba” why can't they proudly put their sticker on it, they have the technical expertise, just raise the quality, work a bit more on it rigorousely, like the artisan in little town in Italy or China would do, work on the stuff, put his name on it, be proud of it instead of putting or immitating someone else’s name like Nike or Hike or Kike... which makes it turn out to be an inferior version of the original one. Meanwhile, if we can inspire ourselves to take pride, we know the technique, all we have to do is apply ourselves as who we are, truthfully and believe me, it will be different, new, people would want to see it and people would buy the idea, the concept, they will buy the consciousness, it can be a shoe but it’s a concept and that is what sells not the form, with all of these we can avoid the stumbling back into where we have been.

If we refuze to take pride in who we are and give priority to our local expertise and initiations, dictatorial institutions and propagandist machandizes like Grammys or Oscar or Nobel price will continue to be the dictator of what standard and aesthetics should “be”, while this is the concept of capitalism in the shadows of globalization. Globalization in contemporary understanding, which at the same time is very capitalist in nature, is the standardization of what taste should be, its like *bling bling* is good, its pretty, ok, this old wooden traditional thing is ugly, that is what you should like, this is what you should reject - now there is the flip side of it, which makes it organic and becomes an elitic product, only for those who can afford it, only those who belong to a certain social class or national hierarchy are previledged.

INSPIRE AFRICA... Trilogy.(Part 2)

INSPIRE AFRICA... farewell to post-colonial era!

I strongly buy the idea of Pan-Africanism, because we are a people from common shared root with common shared experience, our journey and narrative is quite similar, whather Anglophone, Francophone, Arabophone etc. We have a shared heritage and I believe that as long as Africa is not uniformly stable, black people will have problems in the world, because by nature we have been given this exterior color that anyone identifies immediately, we are complex people, we are not Europeans, we are not Cartesians, you cannot figure us with Cartesian logic, we are too complex for that, our experiences is so complex and diverse, we are complex and strong people because, we’ve been through hell and back, and it forms you, the more trials you go through in life, your mind is stronger, but still, we cannot live on the superficiality of whatever that means, because of that doesn’t mean black people are sort of superior or so big ourselves up with an idea, this is a notion, a potentiality of what we are, now expressing those potentiality in its complexity is what we should look out for. When you look at any African art, good African art, when African art is good you will see those complexity of the experience, not in the -bling bling- or “I’m black and proud” superficialities, the things that you can market and sell by Coca-Cola; no, that’s not what we are about, we are deeper than that and its in our work.

Europe has been defining the world and setting the pace for the world to grasp with, and i think what Europe has done on the long civilization, from the ancient Greece to Rome and to the west that we know today, what we know or understand through western civilization is only an aspect of what humanity can be and its an aspect that has failed, because it has failed the human family, and any civilization that fails the human family, whether before or in the future, will always crumble and will show nothing to us but to say this is not what to do, in a new civilization, perhaps in another time in the future, people will look at this period hopefully as what not to do as human being, how a failed civilization has been pushed and pushed and pushed till there is nothing there anymore. 

When you relinquish your power, then you start to be told who you are, then you start to be told how to behave, what to do, then you get more lost, then you will always be controlled because you are no longer leading yourself, you are being led, you will never know as much what they are doing, you will always be the second to know, so there is always someone that knows before you and that is the portion we've always been in and that is where we need to get out from, we have to know and move aside from it, because we are more educated than perhaps our father's generation, we know more, the illusion is not much as our father's generation, but you have to learn that - to know that - and then knowing that - then you have to find other place in another part, otherwise “you are talking about it, then what do you propose?”.

Africa has to go back to find its own path before its encounter with the west, well we cant literally go back but we can have the courage to veer, to go back to an essence of who we are and from there grow, build a new thing, because if we are bound to their laid down rules, we are going to collapse with it, its falling all over the place. The reason why the post sixties experience collapsed with the great leaders like Nkuruma, Lumumba, and all other great leaders and why they were wiped out is because we were still fused with the so called people we are suppose to be independent of, and i think that will continue until we find our own essence, build on it and start to veer off from all of these, then, we will see who we are for real. 

INSPIRE AFRICA... Trilogy.(Part 3)

INSPIRE AFRICA... You can't stop wanting to know!

The job that has been done to our head as Africans is some major surgery, colonial mentality is major surgery, its not a joke - beware of the guy that says he is free of colonial mentality because he is a guy who doesn't even understand what that means to a certain level, its a daily job, because it is centuries of work, we were brought up in it, we were thought that it’s the only way, these are the guys, these are the masters, but getting here we realized that the guys are shit, the guys that your life is not even in their narrative, that you don’t even exist except to supply works and find a way to cheat your own home and kill your own people, to supply your natural resources to build their empire, we are helping building people's house while our house is in disarray, its sad but that’s what’s happening everyday, we always like to be the buttom scale Europe or America, when we can be the top scale Africa.

Some of us rolls in the delusion of the role western aid is playing in Africa. Aid in Africa is a business and I think we have to understand that, It’s like a bigger kind of tax write off to put on some “well meaning” like we mean well so we put some money in Africa, but if they want to cure the problems In Africa, like war problems, then find all the arms traffickers and lock them all up, stop all the arms in-flow in Africa. They know what to do, the United Nations know what to do, if they want to help Africa then find the solution for malaria and typhoid, there are more people dying of these diseases than of AIDS all across Africa. 

If they want to help Africa, they cut off all those trade barriers set up through their institutions so that we can trade fairly and sell decent food that don’t taste like they have been grown in dark or sun room, we can export food crops that we have grown like we used to, they break all the barriers, all these aid stuff is just token, it doesn’t affect the balance of Europe and America, it does nothing to them instead its a surplus value added to their stars, it becomes an employment service, you see big guys traveling in first class ticket up and down flying down to Africa and you see them in their big jeeps with the windows wound up, they don’t interact with the people or the place because they have their air conditioned jeeps and those jeeps come out of the same aid money, now find out how much of the aid money finally goes to the people it suppose to go to, find that out and you will see how much of this is so much not about helping Africa really, in a deep sense it is not, its just another con to make it look like illusion through cinema and media “we are giving aid” advertising it, but they are not helping Africa because the way to help is very clear and they know it. 

That’s why we have to take things into our own hands and stop believing all these and find ways, we are doing it in art and others will be doing it in science, painting, cinematography, historians re-teaching us the true history as oppose all that we have been taught, educate us on the whole curriculum system, changing everything, a kind of a re-evolution of the mind that comes from every aspect of where we are doing it, because we are not all just musicians or footballers, even in carpentry, in anything, I don’t care what we are doing, but making sure that we are expressing what it means to be African, then imagine the snow ball of what can happen from there and that’s why I don’t like to put Nollywood down because its expressing a facet, some might say they don’t like it because its all about juju or a man who’s having an affair, but this is daily life of grinding on and its expressing a facet of what it is to be Nigerian, an African and its valid so we are taking stuff back because we cannot wait to be given anymore and I don’t think that we have always done that, but you know, they will give the aid but lets not be fooled by what it means.

To we the youth, we need to know, we cannot stop wanting to know, because the more we know the more we free ourself, know what is working for and against us, then we can make choices to move towards more of what is working for us, I don't know about those studying in Africa but most of what I read here has nothing to do with my reality, I am been taught things that doesn't correlate but i decided to be inquisitive, we have to read outside the curriculum of whatever someone has prepared for us as the list of what to read, then whether you are a lawyer or doctor, a mechanic or an artisan whatever you do, the rest are just branches but this is the root and then you can do whatever you want from that point but that consciousness of searching for knowledge and not suffice yourself in the knowledge that is proposed, they are mostly based on someone else's agenda, but I can listen to their own sense and then take what is good for me, try and figure out why am not being taught the ones that should be good for me and then go searching for the ones that are good for me.