Nana Kwaku always says that you can’t eat your way to health but you sure can eat your way to the grave. What does he mean by that?
He means that what you eat is vitally important. We all should do all we can to eat the healthiest diet possible. That WILL go a long way to helping us be healthy. However what we eat is just one part of the picture. There are other things we must attend to if we want to be healthy. He outlines these things (16 in all) in his book The Rule Book And User Guide For Healthy Living.
One of those things, for us as people of Afrikan descent, is to “re-Afrikanize”. This means learning about our Afrikan history and traditions. It means recognizing the lies we have been fed and replacing them with the truth. The Euro-centric culture we live in has and is doing everything it can to disconnect us from the truth, and to feed us images and ideas that weaken us. How can we be healthy if we don’t know our history and our potential?
Today is “Columbus Day,” a prime example of this mis-education and the start of a season of celebrations that are built on the horrible truth of this nations creation. A nation created at the expense of Native Peoples, and Afrikan peoples. We need to remember or to learn about just what really happened.
And while it is important to know the ugly side of the white washed history we are taught, it is even more important to learn about our own peoples history of triumphs and power. To learn history from our perspective, “ourstory” as some have called it. We must commit ourselves to Sankofa.
Sankofa is a word in the language of the Akan people in Ghana that means to go forward by looking back, and the importance of learning from the past. You may have seen these West Afrikan adinkra symbols that mean Sankofa.
There is much we need to look back at and to learn. We can learn an Afrikan language. We can learn the ourstory of Afrika. We can learn about the powerful societies that lasted for thousands of years in East Afrika. We can learn about Haiti and the successful revolution against French, Spanish and English colonial rule. We can learn about Palmaris in Brazil, a society of escaped Afrikans that lived in the mountains for nearly one hundred years. There is the ourstory here in the US of successful revolts and resistance to the KKK and Jim Crow in communities in the south.
There is the music, the dance, the creativity of our people from the beginning of human existence until today. There is the powerful (and therefore feared and condemned) spiritual tradition that is still being practiced all over the diaspora.
“Ourstory” didn’t start with our enslavement. It began long before the European existed. It is still being written everyday. It will take some digging but the story is there for discovering. It is a healing journey to take.
Forget the macaroni and cheese, the practice of Sankofa is our real soul food.
Here are some books and movies to feed your soul. There are many more. I would love to hear your recommendations. Add them and your thoughts to the comments below.
We Will Shoot Back: Armed Resistance in the Mississippi Freedom Movement, by Akinyele Omowale Umoja
Quilombo – A movie about the Palmaris society in Brazil. Full movie on YouTube.
The African Origin of Civilization: Myth or Reality, by Cheikh Anta Diop
Afrocentricity: The theory of Social Change, by Molefi Kete Asante
Let the circle be unbroken: The implications of African Spirituality in the Diaspora, by Marimba Ani
Eureason: An Afrikan Centered Critique of Eurocentric Social Science, by Mwalimu K. Bomani Baruti
Ancient Future: The Teachings and Prophetic Wisdom of the Seven Hermetic Laws of Ancient Egypt, by Wayne B. Chandler
500 Years Later DVD “Chronicles the struggle of a people who have fought and continue to fight for the most essential human right self determination”
Two Thousand Seasons, by Ayi Kwei Armah